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Innovative Marine Aquariums

Guide to DIY underwater LED x 2 refugium light for pico tanks


djfrankn

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Hi everyone. I am very new to nano-reef. I have been reefing for almost 5 yrs. now and before I had fresh water tanks since I was 11.

After being with our current 75 gallons reef for a year now (formerly was a 55) I decided to step into a new challenge, a pico tank.

I was looking around for picos, models, specs, prices. Suddenly, last Sunday (January 9th, 2012) I was looking around at my local PETCO here in Naples, FL. It is when I saw this tiny Evolve tanks made by Aqueon. I thought it was what I was looking for since I do not plan to keep any sps in a pico and all the specs on the box were almost everything I was in search of.

I bought it with no doubt. So I bought with it a bag of fine sand PETCO brand as a substrate and headed home. When we arrived, I was like a little child with a new toy, went straight to open the box and look at its components. Here is my thread for the current pico evolution:

 

djfrankn's Aqueon Evolve 2

 

As any system, not everything comes as desired. So I am a strong supporter of having refugiums in sw tanks. The only problem with my tank was that until now no one has designed a refugium for it. But, most important, my major concern was having a light to support the macro alga in it. I thought of something hang on back what that would defeat the aesthetics of the tank (that is my personal opinion). So I researched while checking temperature fluctuations for the first 3 days including evaporation rate with the stock pump and led light fixture. My first thought is that if I want a submersible 10 watt halogen light that may increase my water temps. Although, that is what most people with biocubes use. Then I thought of the fact that there is no biocube made small enough to store 2 gallons +/- of water (take off some of it when you introduce sand and LR).

Since I am a DIY guy for somethings a venture into, I decided to try a set of 2 LED's being encapsulated to make them underwater. After doing the math on expenses and research of materials needed plus the ease of the proyect I decided I will try to make one my self.

I used this for materials:

 

- 1 Power transformer rated for 12 volts (I already had one since I repair computers, otherwise $14.99 BESTBUY)

- 2 LED diodes from Radio Shack.

- 1 Resistor for 150 Ohms

- 2 feet of gauge 18 wire

- Assorted shrink tubes.

- 1 API test kit vial tube (I've got it from my saltwater test kit)

 

The 2 LED's, the resistor and the pack of assorted shrink tubes were $14 some dollars at radio shack. All the rest I already have it. So, here come the pics.

 

<<<< acknowledgement >>>>

I am not responsible for any damage or injury caused by the intent to replicate this project. Be aware that you are going to be working with fine glass and electricity. Wear the neccesary protection and take the required precautions. Anything you do related to my guide is absolutely under your own risk.

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Great DIY! I'd be careful though, cause the api tube is very very fragile, I broke one by just tip over and hitting the table, it could break and release current into your tank.

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Great DIY! I'd be careful though, cause the api tube is very very fragile, I broke one by just tip over and hitting the table, it could break and release current into your tank.

 

Thanks for joining gqlmao. Well, the reason of why I chose 12 volt. is simple... Harmless to the touch. You won't get fried neither end up in the ER (LOL, just don't try it, please :D ). I know what you are saying and I agree with that but glass so thin I think is perfect to diffuse the light at its maximum without fading. And one of the most important things... This underwater LED is so simple to make!.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I still need to post the step by step process. These lights have been running a week underwater and so far they run great and no failure whatsoever... :D:D:D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well as an update, I have been running this light for almost a month with no problems at all. Everything is running good and the chaeto is dark green as it is supposed to be. It is growing slowly do to the fact that the tank is fairly new (around 5 weeks) and there is no much of stock other than one head of palys and a couple of tiny branches of pulsing pink xenia. Frank.

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Well as an update, I have been running this light for almost a month with no problems at all. Everything is running good and the chaeto is dark green as it is supposed to be. It is growing slowly do to the fact that the tank is fairly new (around 5 weeks) and there is no much of stock other than one head of palys and a couple of tiny branches of pulsing pink xenia. Frank.

 

Are you running 24 hr or reverse light cycle?

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  • 3 months later...

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