View Full Version : T5 Reflector Mod

10/15/2006, 09:18 AM
I got a 6x54W Tek retrofit with IceCap SLS reflectors back in March. My bulbs sit about 4" off of the water, and after using that setup for a while and experimenting with different spectrum bulbs, I thought it was globally too bright across my tank (SPS dominated, but I still have a few softies). I first tried lighting with all the reflectors removed and actually liked that much better than with reflectors on. My acros seemed to like that just fine, but I thought I needed more intensity in some spots. During the time I was using the reflectors, I had some problems with the initial plastic clips they came with and had received some metal replacement clips. Those gripped the bulbs well and held the reflectors very steady. The idea occured to me that I could try smaller reflectors by cutting up a couple of my larger ones, and attach the reflectors using the metal clips. So far I'm really liking this mod. The idea is to provide more "point-source-like" intensity over a narrower spread of the aquarium, rather than blanketing the entire aquarium with the same intensity. My local club is thinking about getting a PAR meter and if we do I'm planning to measure the relative change in PAR as the horizontal distance from the reflectors increases.

Anyway -- here is how I did the mod :)

First, I took an IceCap reflector and measured out 7" sections. There are 42" between the slots for mounting the original clips, and I have 6 lights, so 6 x 7" = 42":

Next, I put a metal cutting wheel on my rotozip, fired it up and cut through the reflector at each mark:
http://bellsouthpwp2.net/c/r/crumbletop/images/reflectors/DSCN2716.jpg http://bellsouthpwp2.net/c/r/crumbletop/images/reflectors/DSCN2717.jpg

The cut reflectors looked like this:

Next, I drilled a hole in the center of each new reflector big enough for the clip mounting screw:

I mounted the clips:

And mounted the reflectors :D

I have a row on each side of my tank. So far the tank seems to really like the light. Not too much, not too little. IMO, this cuts back on one of the drawbacks of T5s which is that typically T5 setups blanket the entire aquarium with a uniform intensity.

Anyway, I thought some of you who are running T5s would be interested in what I'm up to with mine :)

10/15/2006, 10:14 AM
good pics of your mod. I had cut some 4' down to the 2' size on another thread. But i was trying to cut costs on a 29 gallon hood. although, I could'nt figure out how to post the pics in the thread.

10/15/2006, 12:52 PM
cool mod, just curious why you didnt want more intense light over more of your tank? also, do you have a problem keeping the reflectors aimed correctly or do the plastic clips hold pretty well. i only have exp. with the aquamedic retrofits and their clips/reflectors are a PITA.

you still have the other five reflectors? ill buy 2 if you do :D


old salty
10/15/2006, 09:18 PM
Nice mod!! I use T5 lights and will attest that low light loving corals do NOT appreciate this stuff! My SPS even seem a bit happier the low I put them. My eyes don't appreciate my childlike desire to stare at bright shiney objects!!

10/15/2006, 10:06 PM
nice man

10/16/2006, 10:54 AM
Thanks. Yeah, I can't wait to get a hold of a PAR meter to see what the readings look like. I've been doing this on one side of my tank for several weeks and just got the clips in to do the other side (hence the pics).

exoticaquatix - The plastic clips stink and I don't think will work. They don't grip tightly enough. The metal clips work great.