View Full Version : Lights--A Burning Issues?

09/22/2008, 05:53 AM
I've wanted a metal halite light for a while now and finally had the opportunity to buy one used from someone on the island last night. I bought it for a fair price and it seems like it would be perfect for my 55gal aqurium. Although I would like to add another one later on down the road, perhaps around the Christmas timeframe.

I still haven't found anything wrong with the light, but since I'm new to these T-1 lights, I'm kind of scared of the risk of fire. I have not yet built a hood for my aquarium and I need ideas that are safe to for my home as well. I've been thinking about building a wooden frame around the light and then using some kind of metal at the top to handle the heat. I've even thought it might be a good idea to leave the top part open and let the light radiate out--I'm still not sold on this idea, but it would allow better ventilation for the hot lights. I also want the back of my canopy to be gone for ventilation reasons

When I got the light home I set it up on my plastic hood--it started to melt the plactic. The light is encased and even the casing gave off a lot of light. I didn't even give the ballest a chance to heat up, I'm sure it gets just as hot on the ground--as the previous owner fairly warned me.

I know that others have got away with wood frames to hold their lights, but I still feel kind of unsafe leaving the house with that hot of a light near wood. Please feel free to drop me some ideas and recommendations if you have got around the heat issue. I'm really liking my new toy, I'm just trying to make sure I'm doing it safely. I don't wanna be "that guy" you see catching his house on fire in your work emails...


09/22/2008, 06:35 AM
well wood is fine, actually lionel has his mounted to wood, but leave cracks for the heat to dissipate up. Metal halides are the hottest of all the lights to light up an aquarium. What kind of bulbs do you plan to use? If you use wood i would think about getting a couple computer fans to keep it cool if the heat against wood bothers you. What kind of reef do you plan to run? If you need help take a look at my tank I would be glad to give you a hand.

09/24/2008, 01:32 AM
Hello there from yokota. What Style relector did you get? Is it a pendent style that you can hang or is it something that attaches directly? I built my top myself, and just used 2 little J hooks to hold up the reflector, but mine is a pendent style so its pretty easy. I also kept my hood open top for ventilation although I closed up all 4 sides so the light wont leak out into the rest of the room. It doesn't get THAT hot except of you touch the glass or hold on to the metal for a few seconds. I also have a cooler running, but lately have been annoyed by the amount of noise it makes so i connected a computer fan that hangs into the top of the hood pointing down and across, and blows up the other side of the hood and out. My cooler barely ever turns on now but, my evaporation rate has more than doubled.
Here are the pictures.

http://img88.imageshack.us/img88/1898/cimg0310if3.th.jpg (http://img88.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cimg0310if3.jpg)http://img88.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif (http://g.imageshack.us/thpix.php)

http://img213.imageshack.us/img213/3072/cimg0309ml6.th.jpg (http://img213.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cimg0309ml6.jpg)http://img213.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif (http://g.imageshack.us/thpix.php)

http://img223.imageshack.us/img223/2579/cimg0311qw2.th.jpg (http://img223.imageshack.us/my.php?image=cimg0311qw2.jpg)http://img223.imageshack.us/images/thpix.gif (http://g.imageshack.us/thpix.php)

09/24/2008, 03:59 AM

I looked at the post you had with all of your fish and corals. I didn't see how you had your hood mounted anywhere. Is there a trick to viewing more of your aquarium photos?

I've seen how Lionel's hood is--he has a very nice hood. However something that still scares me is the direct contact of the lights with the pine wood.


I downloaded your pictures and looked closely at them. I got some good ideas from your hood that I really liked. I am still wondering how you made the corners? It looks like you used a piece of wood as backing in the corner then drilled screws through the wood to hold the boards on. The pictures didn't really show much of the corners or how you finished them. I can tell you spent some time and money on the hood--it also looks very nice.

My light is the pendent type, similar to yours only smaller (1 bulb). I intend to use small cable wires to hang the light. I've thought about putting a metal pipe at the top to avoid the heat rising onto metal at all. This might be over kill, but I'm very afraid of fire.

What is everyone's take on keeping your lights on while not home?


09/24/2008, 06:14 AM
Basically I used 1x1's to build the frame. I built the entire frame first so i would never have to screw anything from the outside in, I could hide all the screws inside. It was a bit flimsy but then I started putting the panels on it and now I could almost stand on it. The outer panels are all prefinished wood that was bought at Cainz home (I don't know if you have them on the Island but they are all over mainland) These particular panels are used in building shelving, the wood matched my stand nearly perfectly, so that saved alot of time on stain and what not. I just designed it to keep all of the parts that I had to cut to the inside of the corners to keep the nice finished sides showing on the outside of the corners. The whole hood cost me around 60-70 bucks for everything, it took about 2 and a half hours to put together. I just premeasured everything down to the millimeter and had that Japanese guys are Cainz do all the cuts for me. Then all I had to do is throw a bunch of screws into it and I was done.

My pendent actually only has 1 bulb too, a 250 HQI.

I have absolutely NO worries about keeping my lights on while I am gone, I am more afraid of My tank cracking and water going all over the floor, then getting over to where my TV equipment is and frying some of that stuff, then i would be of any sort of fire with the metal halides. I just went to test and after my lights have been on all day the wood isn't even warm to the touch, even the J hooks that are screwed into the wood where the pendant swings, those aren't even hot, even thought its metal to metal there.

The only thing I would do differently than what is pictured for mine would be the center piece of wood that is holding the light, I would have moved the outside portion of the frame (the side pieces) down and inch and i would have put the center piece on top of that, instead of screwed under it like mine is now. Although mine is very secure, it's just the only flaw that was an afterthought that COULD have made it a LITTLE safer.

09/24/2008, 07:31 AM
Unfortunately, we don't have Cainz here. If we do, I'm not familiary with it. But that's not a big problem, I still have the hobby shop to chop my wood at. I liked the idea you talked about with putting your center piece above instead of hanging by the screws. It's also good to hear that everything seems cold to the touch when you have it on.

It looks like you have 1/2" or 3/4" plywood for the outer layer. Is there any problem with using 1/4" plywood instead? I may have to use finishing nails from the outside-in, instead of screwing it from the inside out. I think the 1/4" would help with reducing some of the weight on my aquarium as well. Feel free to give your thoughts on going to 1/4" plywood. Thanks for the info already! Let me know if you ever make it down to Okinawa. It's wonderful to dive out here!


09/24/2008, 07:49 AM
Yeah, the hobby shop works good, but me not being a professional carpenter, i wanted all the cuts EXACT. I have 1/2 inch plywood for the outer layer. both the 1x1s and the plywood is really soft lightweight wood though, the whole thing with the light probably weights less than 25 lbs. The 1/4 inch would work as long as you screwed from the outside in, but unless you are going to putty it up and paint it, that will take away from the beauty a bit.

I come down to Okinawa sort of frequently about every 2 months, just flying through, maybe stay 1 night at the most. I have been thinking about bringing my wife down there for both of us to take the PADI course, I hear it's worth the trip to go down and do it there.

09/24/2008, 04:28 PM
Kermie you need to run your lights all day if you have coral. I have a sps tank so it is a must, sounds like you have a pendant, if so suspend it from the ceiling.

09/24/2008, 08:43 PM
I thought about dropping it down from my false ceiling, however I like the way James and Lionel have their lights. I am going for style like theirs.

As for what kind of tank to go with? I'm probably going to change it into a simple fish tank without the fancy corals. I'd like to have an angel in there with some tangs and maybe even a butterfly fish. I figure I'm going over kill for the lighting, but once you go with good lighting, you don't go back...

09/26/2008, 10:58 PM
I don't have a pendent light but I did mine by buying a sheet of aluminum and using screw nuts as spacers between the aluminum and wood top (light bulb - aluminum - spacer - wood). This way you get the reflective quality from the Al plus a heat sink. I'm using about 300 cfm fan to vent my hood. My tank stays in a air conditioned building all day so the fan is enough to keep the water temp at 80 F while the light is on.

09/27/2008, 01:10 AM
check that...130 cfm.