Custom Aquarium lighting


Old 09-15-14, 12:44 AM
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Custom Aquarium lighting

I have a 144 gallon have circle reef. It's a cool tank but due to its half circle shape lighting has been difficult. So I decided to do a custom one of LEDs and t5 fluorescents. I was able to take two 48" LEDs I had and split up the boards and heat sink to fit my needs however I'm not having as easy of a time with the t5s never tried something like this and it's brought up a few questions I have never delt with and was hoping some one on here could help me. I'm looking to do all high out put two 48" two 36" and one 24".

1- dose any one recommend any places to get the parts for ho t5 in 36 and 24? Home depot only carries 48" for the high output

2 - not sure on best way to wire to do the timer controls I need. I would like to put one 48" one 36" and the 24" on one timer together and the other two on another. Will I need a ballast for each or is there w way to run them of one each?

Any help or recommendations any one could give would be greatly appreciated

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Old 09-16-14, 08:50 AM
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Try an electrical supply house. They will be able to answer your timer question as well.
Old 09-16-14, 07:43 PM
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You'll need to go to an electrical supplier or industrial lighting house as the big box stores generally only carry main stream consumer items.

As for the timers and controls that's up to you. There are simple mechanical timers and I've seen electronic programmable ones. Some folks like the simple, easy to understand nature of a separate mechanical timer for each light but it can consume a lot of space. Electronic timers save room but you need to know how to program them. Then you get to electronic controllers with multiple outputs which have the smallest footprint but may have a steeper learning curve. Depending on how many lighting stages you want there are off the shelf lighting controllers for aquarium use. Some are just day night while some intended for LED's offer near continuous brightening and dimming to more accurately mimic natural lighting changes.

Whatever you choose don't forget adequate cooling for both the water and lights. Even with cool and efficient LED's most of the light energy entering the water will end up being converted to heat. You can't pump 500 or 1'000 watts into a tank of water without it heating up to some extent. I even like an emergency override so if something happens to your chiller and the water temp rises above a set point it kills power or inhibits the lights. Corals can survive without light for a pretty long time but one temperature spike can kill them quickly.
Old 09-21-14, 12:58 AM
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T5 wiring questions

Was wondering if anyone can help me with some questions I had on wiring t5 ho florecets. Is it possible to wire multiple lengths of ho t5s to a single ballast. Example can I do a 48" 54w, a 36" 39w, and 24" 24w all on one ballast? Also dose anyone now of a way to possibly put lights on the same ballast on different timers, or a digital timer that can run different programs for multiple lights? Appreciate any help thanks
Old 09-21-14, 01:50 AM
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Joe... we'll keep your questions in the same thread. It eliminates all the same questions being repeated again.

Yes.... you can put different wattage T5 tubes on a ballast.
One timer = one ballast. If you have three lamps on one ballast.... they'll go off together.

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