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Discussion Starter #1
So I'm trying to set up a 10 gallon planted tank so I can get a handle on the hobby and am getting frustrated by the cost of light hoods. I know that for serious aquarists incandescent lights are a big no-no. Sadly down here there's about a 30 dollar price difference between an incandescent and a flourescent hood for a 10 gallon... making the light hood more expensive than any other component I need for the setup!

Anyone have any advice on a way to do this a bit cheaper? I've looked a little into CFL's and have seen some interesting DIY projects for planted aquariums but not sure if I want to go that length for a tank so small.

Is there a cheap way to get a planted 10 gal lit up for healthy plants without shelling out 50 bucks on a hood?

Also, I have some experience with electronics so DIY advice is welcome!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Right now I'm running extremely cheaply with a Desk lamp and a 6500k CFL. The next thing I'm planning to buy is a decent hood, but if my Anachris grows fine I'll probably just save the money for supplies for my 55 gal.
 

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Queen Platy
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Do what WhiteDevil suggested. It is what I did after I saw the prices of the light fixtures. I took an old ceiling fan, took out 4 of the light socket adapters (they look like 4 short tubes) and attached them together parallel, and attached it to an extension cord. And of course attached those to the bottom of my self-made hood. Its brighter then the light fixture that I was going to buy too, because I can adjust the wattage. I use 4 CFL pigtail bulbs 6500k color. The whole thing probably costed me less than 20 bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Do what WhiteDevil suggested. It is what I did after I saw the prices of the light fixtures. I took an old ceiling fan, took out 4 of the light socket adapters (they look like 4 short tubes) and attached them together parallel, and attached it to an extension cord. And of course attached those to the bottom of my self-made hood. Its brighter then the light fixture that I was going to buy too, because I can adjust the wattage. I use 4 CFL pigtail bulbs 6500k color. The whole thing probably costed me less than 20 bucks.
Any pics of your build?
 

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Queen Platy
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Any pics of your build?
Because my tank is only 12" high, 4 bulbs was too much because of the outrageous algae growth. As you can see in the third picture, wattage is adjustable. That pic shows a 13watt bulb, 23watt bulb, ceiling light socket adapters and the extension cord. I used to have 3x 23watts but due to staghorn I lowered it to 2x 13watt and 1x 23watt bulbs. Doing trial and errors runs until my staghorn decreases :p





 

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Discussion Starter #8
Aha! I never thought to just go simple with the open back like you did in the designs I made! Do you ever have trouble with jumpers?

Another weird thing I heard while looking up DIY rigs is that white paint is somehow better for hoods than foil. Not sure if there's any truth to that.

Also, its tough for me to tell from the angle on the photo, but is that massive growth in the back Crypto and egeria?

(that hood looks really good, btw)
 

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Queen Platy
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I dont know what jumpers are. But yes, I like the open back thing too. It lets me move my HOB and CO2 tubing whereever I please without blockage. I was just worried about the fish jumping out from the back but that has not happened yet :p.

I would think the foil is better because the reflectors that are built in the light fixtures is made of metal so foil would be similar and I would think the white paint would absorb some of the light and wouldnt reflect back enough. Did it say why white paint would be better than foil?

That massive growth in the back is a combination of Water Sprite, Ludwigia Repens, and a Red cryptocoryne (I think are the names), but mostly Water Sprite. After introducing the liquid carbon, both the water sprite and ludwigia grew half an inch overnight. So if you have any spare coins you should invest in SeaChem FlourishExcel or Brightwell FlourinAxis :)
 
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I dont know what jumpers are. But yes, I like the open back thing too. It lets me move my HOB and CO2 tubing whereever I please without blockage. I was just worried about the fish jumping out from the back but that has not happened yet :p.

I would think the foil is better because the reflectors that are built in the light fixtures is made of metal so foil would be similar and I would think the white paint would absorb some of the light and wouldnt reflect back enough. Did it say why white paint would be better than foil?

That massive growth in the back is a combination of Water Sprite, Ludwigia Repens, and a Red cryptocoryne (I think are the names), but mostly Water Sprite. After introducing the liquid carbon, both the water sprite and ludwigia grew half an inch overnight. So if you have any spare coins you should invest in SeaChem FlourishExcel or Brightwell FlourinAxis :)
Ah I see, thanks- by jumpers I meant fish jumping out.

Went all over looking for water sprite since I've seen it recommended in other threads but sadly petco(the only aquarium plant retailer near here) told me they get it every once in a while but that they come completely random.. so... I pretty much have to order any plant other than the crypto, which they do carry. I will definitely pick up a bottle of that liquid carbon.

So you add liquid carbon and also run a CO2 bubbling system? You must grow a jungle in days!

Also, I hear PH swings can be a problem with CO2 systems. How are your fish at dealing with that or is it really not major enough to be noticeable?


edit-oops, I went back to the other forum I was browsing the DIY stuff on and saw that the white paint preference is an issue when using Halide lamps. Had something to do with UV.
 

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Queen Platy
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Oh yea, Ive never had a problem with jumpers but im sure if they tried... they could. If it ever happens, Ill build some kind of wall somehow.

In my city the water is already high in pH. Ive tried to lower it before but I read somewhere that its very hard to change the water chemistry because the pH GH and KH all tie together in a triangle and you cant change one without altering the other. And its easier to find fish that adapt to your city's water rather than altering the water to match the fish's needs. I keep live-bearers so the hard+alkaline water works best for them. I want to keep discus later on but i'm not sure how im going to soften the water other than buying Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water.

I dont have a pressurized CO2 so my plants dont grow as fast as the others with pressurized :[. I do though, have a DIY sugar+yeast linked up in series of 3 bottles with the addition of liquid carbon. Yea Ive read that the CO2 lowers the pH. I tested my pH and it is still the same. I dont think it changes it much.

*I basically DIY everything if you havent noticed :p. I DIY'ed my substrate, lighting fixture, CO2, and my hanging fishnet breeder*
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Oh yea, Ive never had a problem with jumpers but im sure if they tried... they could. If it ever happens, Ill build some kind of wall somehow.

In my city the water is already high in pH. Ive tried to lower it before but I read somewhere that its very hard to change the water chemistry because the pH GH and KH all tie together in a triangle and you cant change one without altering the other. And its easier to find fish that adapt to your city's water rather than altering the water to match the fish's needs. I keep live-bearers so the hard+alkaline water works best for them. I want to keep discus later on but i'm not sure how im going to soften the water other than buying Reverse Osmosis or Distilled water.

I dont have a pressurized CO2 so my plants dont grow as fast as the others with pressurized :[. I do though, have a DIY sugar+yeast linked up in series of 3 bottles with the addition of liquid carbon. Yea Ive read that the CO2 lowers the pH. I tested my pH and it is still the same. I dont think it changes it much.

*I basically DIY everything if you havent noticed :p. I DIY'ed my substrate, lighting fixture, CO2, and my hanging fishnet breeder*
awesome, because thats what I'm trying to do, :p

I added some florapride yesterday and most of my Anacharis plants seem to have grown an inch since yesterday. Going to pop over to petco and see if they carry liquid Carbon in a bit. Did you use James's DIY CO2 setup?
 

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Queen Platy
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Yep, the jello method. Cept I have 3 bottles linked together in series with tube connectors and if one bottle goes out, ill detach it, refill it, and stick it back in. Looks pretty too with 3 different colors of jello.

Maybe one day i can buy a pressurized CO2, without my parents and boyfriend fussing about spending so much money on something you breathe out of your body just to "feed" plants. Not only it feeds the plants but will hinder algae growth!!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yep, the jello method. Cept I have 3 bottles linked together in series with tube connectors and if one bottle goes out, ill detach it, refill it, and stick it back in. Looks pretty too with 3 different colors of jello.

Maybe one day i can buy a pressurized CO2, without my parents and boyfriend fussing about spending so much money on something you breathe out of your body just to "feed" plants. Not only it feeds the plants but will hinder algae growth!!
I've seen some setups for sale online for 80 bucks. Biggest thing that I'm worried about with an actual CO2 system is the expense of refills.
 

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Queen Platy
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I've seen some setups for sale online for 80 bucks. Biggest thing that I'm worried about with an actual CO2 system is the expense of refills.
There is a system setup that uses an adapter to hook a paintball CO2 cylinder. And refilling a paintball CO2 cylinder is only 3-5 bucks at a sports store. But I dont know what the system is called nor do I know where to get it. I think its Red Sea or Hydor. You may want to research it. I dont think its very expensive either.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ah.. thats not too bad as long as you don't have to refill too often.

Building my hood AND CO2 tommorow, any suggestions with the CO2 setup to save a headache? I'm building James's rig word for word as of right now.
 

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Queen Platy
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Ah.. thats not too bad as long as you don't have to refill too often.

Building my hood AND CO2 tommorow, any suggestions with the CO2 setup to save a headache? I'm building James's rig word for word as of right now.
No suggestions that I know if. I didnt have any complications nor can I think of any. Basically just adding suger-ed jello, then water, yeast and baking soda.
 

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Forget the foil, it's a really lousy reflector. It looks good & it's better than nothing but the reality is that it makes for a very poor reflector. You end up with bright spots & dull spots all over the place unless you can get it glass smooth. It also only reflects around 50% of the available light. Do yourself a favour & paint the inside of your build with flat white paint instead. It's easier & it reflects at least 75% of available light. Mylar film reflects 99% of light but is sort of expensive for what it is & again it has to be super smooth for it to work properly.
 

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Hightemp chrome paint ?
My some paints his engine and it seems very reflective.
 
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