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Cheap DIY Lighting Control

Fish Folk

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Most serious aquarists invest in good lighting—especially for planted tanks. Dropping a few hundred dollars is not unusual for lighting a single aquarium.

Now, a confession: I’m a cheapskate. Raising a bunch of kids... I don’t have a lot of excess money. I already spend too much on this hobby, and breed and sell fish to cut the edge off the costs.


Here’s my approach to lighting. I buy very cheap $10 LED under-cabinet lights at WalMart. 900+ lumens. 5,000-K.


Now, the thing I’ve found is that this light is often too _bright_ for long photo periods. So what I’ve done as a cheap DIY is to lay black cupboard liner underneath these lights.


I can move these around to filter more or less light as desired. Here are some examples...

Fishroom “dark morning”... liners filtering most light on tanks...


Example of liner under LEDs...


Here is the tank lighting with liners filtering light...


And now here is the same tank with _one_ liner moved so LED is full...


Now, here is another tank with a low-end block-light aquarium LED that clips on the sides. I still use cupboard liners.


Here is direct light filtration...


Here is _partial_ light filtration providing partial light...


And here again is the tank with no light filtration...


Now, obviously a nice programmable light of high quality will do much, much more. I do sort of envy everyone’s fancy, expensively-lit tanks! 😂

But if you’re on a budget... while still suffering from MTS... this post is for you. 

Edited by Fish Folk
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