Reef Central Online Community

Home Forum Here you can view your subscribed threads, work with private messages and edit your profile and preferences View New Posts View Today's Posts

Find other members Frequently Asked Questions Search Reefkeeping online magazine for marine aquarists Support our sponsors and mention Reef Central

Go Back   Reef Central Online Community > More Forums > RC Archives > Lighting
Register Blogs FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Old 10/30/2000, 08:17 PM   #1
Registered Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 521

For those of you interested in how my venture in DIY MH turned out, here it is. Find the original thread here.

Here's my tank with both 250W Iwasaki 6500K MH and 2 110W VHO actinics:

Here's a shot of the outside of the new hood I built to house the MH:

Here is a shot of the workings of the hood:

Here's an Acropora sp. happy to finally get some "real" light:

Surprisingly, the coral who seems happiest about the new lighting is my frogspawn. It has expanded at least 50% more under the MH:

I hooked everything up Saturday and started with a photoperiod of 3 hours each. I plan on adding 15 minutes every other day until I get to a total of 8 hours. I actually didn't expect things to like the MH so much. I was really expecting corals to wither for awhile as they got used to the extra light. They seem to be taking it well. In fact every single one of my corals looks as good or better than they did under VHO. That includes polyps and mushrooms. The bulbs haven't broken in yet, but the overall color is still very pleasing. I would call it "crisp white". Definitely much less blue than my VHO, but where they gave my family room an overall purple glow, it now has a bluish white glow. Looking at the tank now, it just looks really bright. I'm very glad I went to MH. I only wish I would have done it sooner. As for the $23 ballasts, they get warm but not really hot in 3 hours. They fire up the bulbs right away every time. I highly recommend them as a cheap DIY option. Someday I might replace them with Icecap ballasts, but not anytime soon. I'm also glad to have better access to the tank with the new hood. I took some ques from Playfair's hood with the flip up front design. It affords much better access than my other hood which required me to reach in over the top.

Anyway, I really like the setup. If anybody has any questions, feel free to fire away!


bjmumy is offline  
Old 10/30/2000, 08:25 PM   #2
Premium Member
Clyde's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 2,281

Macintosh for Productivity
Linux for Development
Palm for Mobility
Windows for Solitaire

Current Tank Info: 180g, 3x250W, DIY Stand, DIY Canopy - Sump in basement
Clyde is offline  
Old 10/30/2000, 08:27 PM   #3
RC Sponsor
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: NorCal
Posts: 735
Looks great! I love the color of Iwasaki's! IMO they are by far the best LOOKING bulb on the market, not to mention the additional PAR... Kudos on the cabinet!


PerryinCA is offline  
Old 10/30/2000, 08:35 PM   #4
Team RC Member
MrSandman's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: South Bay, So. Cal.
Posts: 5,407
Blog Entries: 6
WOOOO!!!! that is awesome!!!! i gotta hand it to ya for posting such an informative thread on your Part I version of this. Your tank looks excellent and i can't wait to get mine all set up! That is exactly the type/color of lighting i was looking for. now all i need to do is build my hood to house everything. that is where my next question comes in. I dunno if you have seen my post, but i am looking for a good diy front flip hood just like yours..hehe..i just need some ideas. What did you line the inside of your hood with? You think you can get some better pics of your hood?? from the inside?? and the hinges? how high are your lights from the water? did you hook up any fans to your hood? if so, how did you wire it? where did you place your ballasts?? on the back of your hood?? or under the tank?? I guess thats all i have to ask..hehe..sorry for all the questions, i just wanna be sure i hit all the bases before i get off and running on this thing. i cant wait. once again, great job.

[Edited by MrSandman on 10-30-2000 at 09:43 PM]

MrSandman is offline  
Old 10/30/2000, 08:51 PM   #5
Registered Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 521
MrSandman, I guess I must have missed your post. I will try to take some more pictures tomorrow night. I just painted the inside of the hood with white glossy paint. The hinges are just small brass (couldn't find stainless - if I can ever find some the same size, I will replace them). The bottoms of the lights are about 6" off the water. I have 3 fans in my hood. Two are directly over the MH bulbs blowing up in hopes of exhausting the hot air out of the hood before it ever contacts the water. I'm not sure how effective they'll be - time will tell. The other fan is in the back center of the hood blowing in. They are all very high capacity fans (I forget how many cfm) so that alone has made them very effective in my last hood. I actually have a ledge around my family room that I have been keeping my Icecap 660 on and since the ballast enclosures are so small, there was plenty of room so set them there behind the tank. If I get time to take some more pics of the hood tomorrow, I can give you more details about dimensions, etc.

Thanks for the compliments!

bjmumy is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 01:24 AM   #6
Registered Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 51
Hey! Great lights! Great Tank! I cant find that ballast on the graybar site. My dad can order the ballasts from his office so that wont be a problem, but i cant find the ballast wit the 71A3802 model number. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks.


krazykoletang is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 06:36 AM   #7
Premium Member
Playfair's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Rochester, NY USA
Posts: 2,307
Excellent job Brian on everything! Love the design ; wish I had thought of getting rid of the center verticle support piece (great improvement). Do you have any bowing in the top? I think I see a mod to my hood in the near future!

Decided not to do the left/right doors, huh? It does keep things a little simpler, but it may drive you nutz to lift the whole front just to dump in some food. At this point, all you would have to do is add hinges to the outside, remove the lifting panel, and make a cut down the middle of the door. A little weatherstripping in the seam and you're back in business, without even loosing a day of sun (Hey, you said fire away!)


"Anything worth doing, is worth OVER doing"

Current Tank Info: 7 gal mini-bow
Playfair is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 07:48 AM   #8
Registered Member
Olgranddad's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Rochester, MI
Posts: 131
Do you have any prints of your hood. I think its fantastic and would like to build something like it for my 90gal. Your original DIY post has me really excited about setting up my lighting.


Olgranddad is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 08:51 AM   #9
Registered Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 521
krazykoletang, I don't know anything about Graybar's website. To my knowledge, you can only order from their brick and mortar locations. The one closest to me didn't stock those ballasts - they had to order them from Advance. Just call your closest Graybar and tell them what you want and they should be able to get it for you.

Dave, Thanks again for all your help and tips. I don't think that bowing of the top should be a problem. I used all 1x dimensional lumber and the top is a bunch of 1x2s glued together. It seems to be pretty solid. As for the doors, I thought about having the two doors, but I figured 1 door would aid in rigidity. It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but part of the top is actually attached to the front door so that having everything all one piece makes for a really solid setup. I will probably leave it that way because when I open the door (at least for now), I really like being able to see everything from the top and would probably even open both doors just for feeding. I'm just glad to have better access at this point. The only thing bad about having the whole front opened is that it's rather blinding!

Olgranddad, I will take some more pictures of the hood tonight if I get the chance and will post some measurements and specifics then.

bjmumy is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 09:00 AM   #10
10 & Over Club
KW's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 523
Originally posted by bjmumy
The only thing bad about having the whole front opened is that it's rather blinding!

You know, that might not be something to joke about. Maybe you should get a piece of tinted OP4 and put a shield between the bulbs you.


Wear sunglasses

KW is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 09:03 AM   #11
Premium Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Posts: 2,662

Simply impressive, great job, the tank and hood look great!

Staceon is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 09:24 AM   #12
Bamm Bamm
Saltwater Guru
Bamm Bamm's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Brentwood, NOR CAL
Posts: 9,309
Iam gonna go ahead and do it if i can find those ballasts somewhere...Perry has a really sweet flip up hood over his tank..Dan

25g rimless cube in the works

Current Tank Info: 60g cube
Bamm Bamm is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 09:31 AM   #13
FWMAS Member
Jade's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Van Wert, Ohio
Posts: 478
Thumbs up

GREAT LOOKING TANK I can only hope my tank looks that good when I am finished with it! Problem is, I don't think anyone is ever finished, are they??? Keep up the good work!!


Current Tank Info: New set up in the works. 36x36x18, 2x Tunze 6045, RKE with MLC and 4 pods, 2x Lumen Max 3 150w HQI's with Bluewave 7 Ballast. Thats all so far.
Jade is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 11:39 AM   #14
Registered Member
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Shawnee Kansas
Posts: 286
Great looking hood - I've been following these threads lately as I'm going to do the MH thing soon.

One question for you...I couldn't tell from the pics, but did you use any UV shielding on the MHs? I thought they put out harmfull UV rays - or am I smoking an illicit substance?

Icarus is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 11:51 AM   #15
Registered Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 521
Icarus, bulbs made for the aquarium trade have a UV shielding coating on the outer envelopes so no shielding is necessary. If you use bulbs that weren't intended for aquarium use, a UV shield might indeed be necessary.


bjmumy is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 12:08 PM   #16
Registered Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 63
Did we ever figure out which ballast of the 2 disputed best ones for this bulb was best? I know you went with the 3802, but would the other be better? I want to order immediately, and have someone who can get them special order, but I don't know which one to order. Thanks.

The Pope

Current Tank Info: 55 acrylic
PopeShawnPaul is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 12:24 PM   #17
David Newman
Registered Member
Join Date: Jan 2000
Posts: 239
This is an e-mail I sent to Eye Lighting:

"A few questions about which of these Advance ballasts would be most appropriate for use with the MT250DL lamp: 71A3572 or 71A3802. If both will work, would you expect any operating characteristics to be different between the two ballasts? Will either affect the life of the lamp?"

And this is the response I received:

"Thank you for your interest in EYE lamp products. In answer to your question, the better ballast for use with this lamp is #71A3572(-001D)Advance mercury CWA. This will best maintain lumens and color over lamp life.

John Petrak
Sales Engineer"

We don't yet know why the 3572 is better (assuming it is better, that is).


David Newman is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 05:46 PM   #18
Premium Member
Snailman's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Va Beach Area
Posts: 4,032
Nice hood and nice tank. You have done a good job. I know why the 71A3572 is better than the 71A3802, it costs three times as much. Graniger has the 3572 for $81.55. Has anyone found it for less?

Snailman is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 06:42 PM   #19
Reefkeeping Ninja
Doug's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: USA
Posts: 12,868
Thumbs up

Hi Brian,

The hood looks great as does the tank!

Great work!



Current Tank Info: 90g, and 75g swamp/prop tank.
Doug is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 06:54 PM   #20
Registered Member
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Pioneer, California
Posts: 17
Thumbs up

I want to thank you for making my lighting decision MUCH easier! I have been searching for the right "Look" for some time now, and you have hit it on the head. Thanks again for all the info. Paul

Thanks, Paul

Current Tank Info: 120g reef in the making...
SumDumGuy is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 08:09 PM   #21
Registered Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 521
Hood info:

For those that asked, here are some more pictures of my hood:

Here you can see the fan tumors on top:

I had to bump up the brightness in this one so you could see anything but the MH bulbs:

This one shows how I mounted the VHO:

That's it for pictures I could take without being redundant. Hopefully they are somewhat helpful. THe hood design is pretty simple. I used 1x10 for the sides which sit directly on top of the tank. The front is 1x3s glued together. I put 1x3 around the bottom to conceal the top lip of the tank and keep the hood from moving side to side. I used 1x2 around the top as moulding. The top piece is just 1x2s glued together. The door consists of the front piece and a 1x3 on top so that it wraps around the top and opens up the top a little when the door is open. I used a rabbit-type joint on the 1x3 part of the top that meets the 1x3 top part of the door and on the 1x3 top part of the door itself so that light doesn't leak out the seem there. Like I said, it's a pretty simple design. Hopefully my description has helped more than confused.


bjmumy is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 09:36 PM   #22
Team RC Member
MrSandman's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: South Bay, So. Cal.
Posts: 5,407
Blog Entries: 6
PurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrFECT! last question... can you build me one just like that? hehe.. just kidding (i'm actually not). Yes i am kidding. Once again, you have managed to be thorough and prompt and damn near flawless in all of your posts. How much easier can you make it? I think i have a pretty good idea of what im gonna do for my canopy now. I appreciate all of your help.

June 2001 Tank of the Month. Yes, i said 2001.

Current Tank Info: 112G 36"x36"x20" Lee-mar rimless. Build Thread:
MrSandman is offline  
Old 10/31/2000, 11:08 PM   #23
Premium Member
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Chico, CA (Nor Cal)
Posts: 826
BJMUMY - Could you give us the exact outside dimensions of your hood? I'd especially like to know how tall it is.


moviegeek is offline  
Old 11/01/2000, 05:03 AM   #24
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: College Park, MD
Posts: 446
Great Hood/Setup!

Now that it's finished, I was wondering how your temperature is doing?

I just built a pendant type hood w/MH for a small tank and was thinking about putting fans in it an lowering it down closer to the tank.

olgakurt is offline  
Old 11/01/2000, 06:13 AM   #25
Premium Member
smiller's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 9,207

Looks great. What size is your tank?

smiller is offline  

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:37 AM.

TapaTalk Enabled

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2021 Axivo Inc.
Use of this web site is subject to the terms and conditions described in the user agreement.
Reef CentralTM Reef Central, LLC. Copyright 1999-2014
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2021 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.