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simple hood design


I'm just putting the final touches on a hood for my 45 gal tank. Strictly
speaking, it's not really a ‘hood' per se, but rather a simply built frame
which supports 2 fluorescent fixtures. Since it was somewhat of an original
design, I'd like to share my ideas with the list. But first of all, I'd like
to thank members of the list for their help, especially Dale Deck, Steve
Benz, Doug Valverde, and (surprise, surprise) George Booth.

I bought my tank 2nd hand. Details on it's manufacturer are vague, but I'm
led to believe it was a homemade design. In designing a method of installing
‘sufficient' lighting, the tank has 2 very miserable shortcomings:
1) It is 40" long. So much for the 4' fixture option.
2) The top of the tank, nearst the front, houses a built-in piece of glass
(parallel to the bottom of the tank) which covers about 8" of the top of the
front of the tank ie

			|			      |  					        |	    open	      |
			|			      |
			|	glass		      |

                        (Bird's eye view of tank).

This, besides making cleaning/maintenance somewhat awkward, severely limits
hood design. For ex, George suggests a design in which the front of the hood
opens up and rests upon the back (see his site for more info) but this would
leave me no room to insert my hand into the tank.

So basically what I decided on was to utilize drawer slides (fairly
inexpensive). This will enable me to slide the fluor fixtures from back to
front, thereby enabling easy access for feeding, cleaning, pruning, etc.

To support the drawer slides, I built a simple frame out of 3/4" square
pine. This is relatively cheap, yet reasonably solid. Four pieces of this
pine were glued together like so:

			|   |______________B___________________|   |
			|   |				       |   |
			|A  |		(Bird's eye view)      | A |	
			|   |				       |   |
			|   |_________________________________ |   |

			___				       ___	

					(Front view)

The 'A' pieces rest on the tank sides. To obtain their length, measure your
tank from front to back, then add 1 and ˝ inches (3/4 + 3/4). The 'B' pieces
are as long as the tank itself is. They don't rest on anything, but hold the
'A' pieces in place. Once this frame is completed, it is a simple matter to
attach the drawer slides to the A pieces. 

I installed 2 lights (36" each): a 1 light and a 2 light fixture. For even
more access, I installed several hinges between the 2 fixtures; this enables
me to lift the one light fixture onto the two light fixture (ie the one
light fixture, when lifted, is upside-down).

The ballasts are installed remotely, underneath my tank (in the stand). To
make removing the lights from the tank easier (should I ever have reason to
do so), I installed several wire connectors (ie plugs) in the wires running
from the ballasts to the fixtures. 

As this is getting to be quite a long post, I'll leave it at this... if
anyone wants more detail (on my design, wiring, where to buy what) let me know. 

Regards all,

Halifax, N.S.