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Moderator: Matt

By hungry carnivores
#371081
I will be detailing my build here!

To start - I purchased a long 38 gallon tank from Petsmart for about 30 USD brand new. It seems to be very nice and well-built, probably was intended for use with reef animals, upside-down jellies (that don't need a kreisel), or bichirs/eels. But, whatever. I'm using it for CP's.

I bought a lid from TAP plastics and had it custom cut, and glued some handles on. The lid cost roughly 15 USD including shipping. A nice lid is key since you don't want something janky you can't trust.

I went out and used a board of birch to create a light fixture holder, the board was 10 USD.

2 of these https://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Advantag ... /100384846, for 42 USD.

1 power cord for 10 USD (Don't skimp on this, buy something that works with the electrical code)
1 Plug ending male 2USD (Again don't buy something janky not in compliance with code)
2 Wire caps (sold in packs of ten for 5USD)

All total it comes out to be 114, then with shipping fees and all added, it was roughly 120 dollars.

I start by putting the lid on the tank, and trying the fit. It was cut perfectly. More updates as I build.
By hungry carnivores
#371118
Quick disclaimer - This project could cost differently depending on where you are. Substitutions can definitely be made. Equipment - Drill, Drill bit, Phillips driver, Wire strippers, and a saw. This guide is for US residents, your plugs and voltages may be different if not residing in the US. Lastly, electricity is pretty dangerous so stay vigilant. Always consult somebody educated with electricity before using it.
The fixture was made of birch, but any wood is OK. Two holders were made to cradle the side of the tank so the fixture would not fall off if jostled. Another two boards, just tall enough to fit the lights underneath, were installed to support the fixture from the side of the tank. The largest piece, where the lamps were mounted, was (1/4" + 2*Wood thickness + Tank length). The side cradlers were 6" but any size works. Supports were (lamp height + 1/2") to ensure that they could hold when the lamps were mounted.
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Lid was ordered through TAP plastics. You can cut polyacrylamide but it's just so much cheaper and more worth it to order online. Plus, they machine to 0.001cm so they're very precise with your measurements. This tank will be a LL tank so it will have stagnant air, and a small fan will circulate once or twice a day.
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A plug was attached to the cord, by stripping the wire and screwing in the wire around the screws very tightly. An outdoor rated plug, IMO is the best thing to buy for plant stuff. Follow the manufacturer's instructions because every plug is different. If you get the option to poke a wire through a hole, and to screw it in, always choose the screwed connection. I didn't want a plug with a ground. You can choose one, I recommend grounded plugs in most cases except, as mentioned below, when you have AFCI breakers (which do not require a ground) and have a timer without grounding, it is OK to consider a two-pronger. Check your fuse-boxes and circuit breakers before choosing parts.
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You can use wire caps to connect the wire to the power supply of the lamp. If your lamp uses a transformer, attach the wire to the high voltage side of the transformer. Remember - Black is hot, White is neutral. I removed the green wire since I do not have a plug with a ground. If you have a plug with a ground, connect green to green. Fasten tightly and securely, to ensure a good connection.
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Time to attach the lights! I drilled some tap holes and screwed them in one by one. This is difficult especially since the mounts of the lamp are hard to reach. Two screws, diagonal, were used for this, in case of error, to make removal easier.
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The lights were attached to the power supply once all of them were drilled in and it lit up! Always check before doing the final steps. I finished completely screwing each of the mounts in. Be vigilant of shorts when plugging in, remove the plug if it 'sparks' in the outlet.
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Final view - Awesome, and it looks pretty. I hope I have disproven the common belief on this forum that DIY setups are ugly. This one is awesome, it's stained hardwood and a nice tank.
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Last edited by hungry carnivores on Fri Dec 25, 2020 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Nepenthes0260 liked this
User avatar
By Matt
Location: 
Posts:  22331
Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
#371121
@hungry carnivores, awesome stuff! Thanks for posting the photos and for writing this up. This is great info!!

Largely irrelevant question: what's up with all of the grainy photos? Is this something I should be doing with our photos and videos?!!
By hungry carnivores
#371124
Matt wrote: Wed Dec 23, 2020 1:07 am @hungry carnivores, awesome stuff! Thanks for posting the photos and for writing this up. This is great info!!

Largely irrelevant question: what's up with all of the grainy photos? Is this something I should be doing with our photos and videos?!!
If you could increase the attachment size, that'd be great. I do a mosaic and downsize the photos since the limit is lower than what my phone shoots, 8mb/photo.
Matt liked this
By hungry carnivores
#371138
Yes @matt it would be great if you could increase the size of uploads haha.

Also, for a total analysis, by using an ammeter and a voltmeter, this setup (I used LED instead of fluorescents), runs about 14 watt-hours. With a Lowland 12 hour photoperiod, it will run 6.1E+4 watts, or about $10.00 per year assuming our pricey 17c/kWh in the Bay Area. Which is not bad. This stores 60 3x3 pots, plus an additional 20 2x2 pots, which sneak in the sides where 3x3s don't fit.

The build was 120 USD. So for the next five years (the forseeable future, I will probably keep this tank the longest since it is pretty and very nice), It will cost a total of 172 USD including electrical costs. Dividing that by 80 (number of pots it holds), it is $2.15 per pot. Which is dirt cheap. So if you're pondering DIYing your own lights and aquarium, I say it is cheaper, more rewarding, and more aesthetically pleasing than buying a growtent/growtank.
User avatar
By Matt
Location: 
Posts:  22331
Joined:  Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:28 pm
#371148
hungry carnivores wrote:Yes @matt it would be great if you could increase the size of uploads haha.
Got it! I'm looking into it. The disk on the server is already 80% full. I think I can expand the disk size dynamically though or simply find some unnecessary files taking up a lot of space and delete them.

EDIT & UPDATE: I have freed up a lot of space on the server. However, I see that the attachment size is already at 4mb on the forum. That's pretty big! How large of an attachment size is needed?

ANOTHER UPDATE: I've increased the attachment size from 4mb to 10mb. I think most images taken by camera phones are less than 10mb, so that should solve a lot of people's problems. Let's hope the disk doesn't get filled up in 2021!!
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By Panman
Location: 
Posts:  1505
Joined:  Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:41 pm
#371170
I have been using Image Resizer to drop down the size of my phone pictures and it works great. It will take forever for me to access a out with multiple 10 meg files.
By 1cashew
Posts:  179
Joined:  Wed Jul 05, 2017 11:45 am
#371175
Hey Hungry! Looks like a beautiful build with nice pictures and instructions! I do have a question as to why you would not have grounded your fixture? You seem to have a lot of electrical knowledge but as to why in a non code compliant way and perhaps since people's houses were not regularly burning down pre 1960's requirement for grounded outlets, you used a non grounded path for your build when you could have easily grounded it. IDK I just do not know why you would risk getting zapped when you could have just grounded the fixture. That said I have a couple of janky ungrounded grow lights in my own garage.
By hungry carnivores
#371199
1cashew wrote: Thu Dec 24, 2020 6:40 pm Hey Hungry! Looks like a beautiful build with nice pictures and instructions! I do have a question as to why you would not have grounded your fixture? You seem to have a lot of electrical knowledge but as to why in a non code compliant way and perhaps since people's houses were not regularly burning down pre 1960's requirement for grounded outlets, you used a non grounded path for your build when you could have easily grounded it. IDK I just do not know why you would risk getting zapped when you could have just grounded the fixture. That said I have a couple of janky ungrounded grow lights in my own garage.
Mainly for three reasons:
- Most industrial light fixtures (several of mine included) do not have a ground, neither do power strips. My set up requires a power strip that is ungrounded since I use a timer to switch it on and off.
- We have AFCI breakers in our house, which are really fast and detect arcing, and will trip instantaneously if there is any problem. They do not require ground for proper operation.
- People in older houses (not me, but still consider) will most likely have AFCI breakers and no ground-plugs, since the 60s standard is quite common.
- I had 2 stranded wire at hand, a nice outdoor kind that cost me tons of money. And, I had a 2 prong plug at hand. I explicitly state that you can and should ground power sources but in this case I chose not to.

Hope this clears questions up. As always, educate yourself on your systems and what you should do with them. It is never a good idea to blindly take two Internet strangers' advice for building things with high voltage.

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