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[APD] Re: DIY (and ferts. supplier)


As someone entering (for the past two years) into the aquarium market, I
have to thank you exceedingly for the offhanded last comment you made about
DIY lights.  I almost did it myself, my lighting, but living in an apt. I
didn't have the space or tools to make my own canopy.  I bought two
SmartLamps which @$140 ea. was an excellent price.  I hear all the time
about  MH lights and their benefits, although the bulbs themselves are
expensive, the upfront costs can be completely inhibiting.  It never occured
to me that such lights might exist outside the aquarium realm, go figure!  I
was hoping to have another tank someday, and this is just what I'm going to
do...take a nice trot on down to the local hardware store and have one of
those guys help me out putting together my very own MH lights ;-)  THANKS!

Glad I could help you out :-). That is what the list is for after all... All you really need to DIY simple lights is a drill and a set of drill bits to make screw holes. You can get good-quality surplus ventilated steel and aluminum enclosures from http://www.fairradio.com and then just mount your ballasts in them. I have a 3-ballast system for 175 watt MH lights built this way that cost about $150 total to build. You can get good MH reflectors from http://www.aquaticlight.com. The hardest part to get is the 105°C cabling to go from the ballast to the light which I ordered through a wire and cable distributor I used to work with (Anicom, which is now defunct, but Anixter is pretty much the same just without the embezzling execs). I used Seoprene 105 from Coleman Cable which was about $65 for a 250' spool of 16/3.

It's still easier to DIY PCF lights using the AHSupply kits, but if you want to try MH you can save a *lot* of money going DIY and it's not terribly difficult to build the system. You will probably need to get the ballasts at a wholesale supplier though, since most hardware stores don't use them much -- even though every Lowes and Home Depot is lit with MH lights. MH is commonly used for both warehouse lighting and highway lighting, along with stadiums and other large places that need bright lighting which is why all the commercial supply houses carry the parts.


Waveform Technology
UNIX Systems Administrator

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