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DIY light reflector ideas

On Sat, 27 Feb., 1999, Chris Wells wrote:

>I'm in the middle of another DIY lighting project and I am looking for
>reflector ideas.
>I know you can buy nice reflectors through the mail but at ~ $40 for
>or three bulbs it just rubs me the wrong way.  I will have a wood frame

>around the tank from which I will suspend the 6-8  T8 4' lights.


I  bought a highly polished aluminum reflector for $18.00 from a
lighting contractor that specializes in retrofit lighting work here in
the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.  I put it in an oak full hood on a 75
gal and fit three T-8's under it.  If I had moved the bulbs a little
closer together, I could have fit four T-8's.  The reflector was
originally designed to convert an older four bulb T-12 system to a
system that uses two T-8's, but still put out the same amount of usable

I don't have any measurements with a light meter yet, but my guess is
the three T-8's with the reflector are as bright as most four lamp T-8
systems without a reflector or with a less efficient reflector.

I'm currently using Philips F32T8/TL950 lamps.  (5,000 K color, 98 CRI,
and design lumens of 1860.) Philips has a similar lamp, the
F32T8/TL850,  (5,000 K color, 86 CRI, 3050 design lumens) that is
brighter according to the specs, but has a lower CRI. I may try this
lamp the next time I buy some or set up another tank.

I think someone on this list said that the plants don't care a whole lot
about CRI, and I'm not sure if most people could tell a whole lot of
difference between 86 and 98 CRI anyway.  I think the TL850 may be a
little less expensive than the TL950 as it is a little more common.

As this is the first time I have used this lamp (TL950), and this is a
new tank, I'll have to wait and see how the plants like it.  So far, I
really like the way these bulbs make the tank look.

I hope this helps.


Jay Bickford
Savage, MN