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Supplemental Skylight

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Supplemental Skylight

Postby Rod the Reefer » Sun 10 Sep, 2006 11:29 pm

Hi Guys and gals.

Well there has been a lot of talking, planning and R & D, but I’ve finally done it!!

My dream was to have natural sunlight supplementing my Mh’s.

A bit of background:

I set up my 4’ 7” x 18” x 20” three years ago and have been keeping mainly stoneys. I ventured into the realm of SPS only a couple of years ago.

I have an Eheim 1260 main return pump and another 1260 closed loop giving me over ten times flow.

There are two sumps. In one I have live rock, caulerpa and heaps of pods. The other houses the return, heaters, auto top off (dosing Kalk) and the Turbofloater 1000. I also run a Calcium reactor.

I have two x 150w Mh pendants supplemented with actinic.

Here’s a pic ;

Image

After following various threads on skylights and natural lighting I decided to go for it!

My thought was that the extra light would be supplemental to the Mh’s and wouldn’t replace them. The tank was settled and mature and was already capable of supporting SPS.

Here’s a couple of pics ;

Image

Image

Being a roofer I just happened to have a few skylights hanging around.
I joined two 600 x 800 skylight frames together as I needed a long rectangle to suit the tank. Living in a high bush fire danger area I couldn’t use the domes (Plus I didn’t think I’d get enough light through them) so I discarded them and after much research ordered a sheet of 12.38mm clear laminated glass to go on top.
Fortunately the roof faces north so it picks up max sun.
I liked the idea of Solatube style tubes to bring the directed light right down to the tank and thought that three tubes alternating with the pendants would be good.
As you can see in the pic, my ceiling is raked so I had the added hassle of different length tubes. The shortest is 1200mm up to the longest at 1600mm.
Another problem was that the Solatube tubes only come in 400mm and 600mm lengths that you stick together with tape, which I thought was going to look pretty ordinary inside the room.
The way I got around that was to give them a twin skin of HIP – high impact polystyrene.

Here are some pics of the install ;

Image

Image

Image

Image

And here’s a pic of inside ;

Image

I had to re-think the actinic light issue as the old fittings were in the way of the tubes. So I suspended a 4’ just in front of the lights/tubes.
So I could still get into the tank I installed retractable suspension cables.

Here’s a pic of the tank with all lighting in place ;
(Just skylight, about 9am, no lights on)

Image

Here’s a pic of tubes and actinic, about 9.30am

Image

And all lights on, about 11.30am

Image

I purchased a light meter to check just how much I was getting. (Readings at 12 noon 10.9.06)

Under the 150 Mh – 150000 Lux (150mm from lamp)
Under the skylight – 190000 Lux (150mm from tube)
Outside in full sunshine – 160000 Lux

Observations so far :

Incredible natural dawn. (Mandarin and shrimp love it!)
Very natural fluctuations in light as clouds go overhead.
Amazing moon light.

Well that’s it!! I think that during summer I will probably be able to turn off the halides. During winter I will need them and during spring and autumn, we’ll wait and see.

Rod. :thumbsup:
Last edited by Rod the Reefer on Thu 11 Dec, 2008 1:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby ItDepends » Sun 10 Sep, 2006 11:52 pm

Wow, what else can I say....wow.
As a chem eng the first part of any answer is It depends.......
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Postby R0dd » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 12:04 am

:withyou: :O
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Postby venus » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 2:34 am

Awsome Rod

Done a great job fitting it and it looks awsome

been thinking of doing it for a while an you just convinced me now :clap:
:cheers:
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Postby Ben_Q » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 6:42 am

Very Impressive!
Wow, this trend is really taking off. I remember the months of pondering and reading on RC and there was little change happening with those guys and now us Aussies are out there implementing this technology. Everytime i turn my back, someone else is getting on board. It is great.

Your tank already looked amazing but i am sure it is only the start of the changes you will see. I am still waiting on my new stand to put my tank back unfortunately.

Can you give me some info on the HIP material and sources.
Where did you get the light meter and what did it set you back?

Keep up the great work!
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Postby Scooby » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 8:34 am

You have done a fantastic install Rod, with a bit more sun that we are starting to get now it will be interesting to see what impact it has on your Corals.

Great stuff!
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Postby Bandit » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 9:57 am

:clap: :clap:

Rod in this pic:

Image

The tube on the left looks less bright than the others... did you stuff a Tshirt down it or something :poke:
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 10:13 am

Thanks guys,

Ben, the HIP (High Impact Polystyrene) came from a store here in Adelaide called Menzel Plastics.

It's available in White or black in sheets that are 1760 x 680 in either .75mm or 1mm. (Although the black isn't available in .75mm) I had to use the 1mm, which I think was a bit harder to work with than the .75mm. The good news is that it's only about $10 a sheet. It's light and strong and won't corrode.

The light meter (Lux) I found at good old Bunnings for around $40!! (Don't expect the staff to know they've got them though.) I don't know how good it is, but all I wanted to establish was the a comparison between the light output from a Mh, the skylight and sunshine outside. I'm actually quite impressed with the quality of light from the tubes considering it's only the start of spring.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 10:18 am

Hi Jamie,

Yeah, I knew someone would ask that question.

As the sun rises above the trees in the morning, it hits the top tube first, then the centre and last of all the bottom (left hand in the tank) tube.

That photo was taken when the last tube was still in shade.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby Bandit » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 10:23 am

Sweeeeet

Got a chainsaw :devil:
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Postby Ben_Q » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 10:24 am

Rod the Roofer wrote:
The light meter (Lux) I found at good old Bunnings for around $40!! (Don't expect the staff to know they've got them though.) I don't know how good it is, but all I wanted to establish was the a comparison between the light output from a Mh, the skylight and sunshine outside. I'm actually quite impressed with the quality of light from the tubes considering it's only the start of spring.

Rod. :thumbsup:


Rod, any more details.
What was the brand?
What section did you find it? Was it in the tool shop?
At $40 i think it will be a great investment.
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 11:09 am

Hi Ben,

On the box it simply says "Digital Lux Meter". On the unit it has "LX-101 Lux Meter".

I found it in the lighting/electrical dept. (The staff member actually told me they didn't stock them)

The other beauty of owning one is that you can check new globes and record the reading, then periodically check the light output and replace when necessary, more accurately.

I checked a 150w Mh I have on a prop system I have and even though the light looked good it had a reading of just 22000 lux compared with 150000 on the main tank!!

Here's a pic of the meter:

Image

Hope this helps,

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby venus » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 11:39 am

oh oh oh looks like a quick trip to Bunning today

would be handy to have
:cheers:
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Postby Mr Miagi » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 12:13 pm

Lookin' nice Rod!
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Postby Bandit » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 1:54 pm

note it is probably more useful to record PAR than Lux, but better than nothing!
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Postby Ben_Q » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 5:00 pm

Bandit wrote:note it is probably more useful to record PAR than Lux, but better than nothing!


"Please explain"
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Postby rgh » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 5:31 pm

PAR - Photosynthetically Active Radiation

PAR is in the 360nm to 700nm range of the light spectrum and can be measured by a quantum meter which you can get for around USD$270. I've read PAR being referred to as 'usuable light' because it quantifies the energy available for photosysnthesis.
Cheers,
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Postby OzeDiver » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 5:43 pm

rod, that looks awsome! slightly better than my single fluro. just one question...how come no sylight domes in high fire areas?
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 5:48 pm

Thanks OzeDiver,

The domes are made of plastic and in a bush fire they could melt with the extreme heat.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby OzeDiver » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 5:49 pm

oh ok, cant wait to see it in SUMMER!!!
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Postby websquid » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 6:16 pm

ItDepends wrote:Wow, what else can I say....wow.


Fantastic! Well done :cheers:
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Postby shnapper20 » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 7:21 pm

looks great rob Im still waiting for mine but seeing yours just made the waiting harder. :bow:
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Postby JimmyA » Mon 11 Sep, 2006 8:19 pm

Wowsers, had to wait all day until I got home so I could see the pics.

One word - Awesome!

Rod, that tank is a credit to you and has to rank as one of the best in MASAOG.

drooooool

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Postby Jim » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 1:45 pm

Very nice.
Im glad im not the only nutjob that was contemplating doing this!!
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Postby Dr DBW » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 2:02 pm

Very nice.

Any plans to put a reflector on the roof to increase the amount of light going down the tubes?
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Postby Bandit » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 2:21 pm

Ben_Q wrote:
Bandit wrote:note it is probably more useful to record PAR than Lux, but better than nothing!


"Please explain"


From this thread

ATJ wrote:I would be very surprised if spec sheets have PAR information. Most specifications for lamps give the rated light output in lumens. The relationship between light output in lumens to PAR is tenuous to say the least.

If the specifications truly talk about PAR, they'd have to specify the irradiance of the lamp at a certain distance through air with a specific reflector. Comparing lamps to lamps (using manufactures data) is not very accurate.

Just to clarify, light output is the total amount of light the lamp puts out in all directions and can't be measured as such. Normally, they would measure the lux at a certain distance from the lamp and then extrapolate the light output based on a set of assumptions. Both lumens and lux are really only measuring the light at around 555 nm. In fact, that is the definition of lumen.

PAR is a measure/estimate of the number of photons hitting a certain area over time and includes all photons from 400 to 700 nm.

If you are using lux or lumens to compare a 20000K lamp to a 5000K lamp, the results will be pretty meaningless, as much of the light from the 20000K lamp will be less than 555 nm and so won't even get measured. For the same wattage, the PAR is likely to be less due to the extra energy in shorter wavelength photons, but it may not be half.
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Postby Reefing Life » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 2:48 pm

Looking good Rod
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 5:11 pm

Thanks everyone for your encouragement.

In response to the issues of measuring the light, I'm no expert, all I wanted to establish was an inexpensive comparison between the light output from a 150w Mh, the skylight and sunshine outside. Then I could meaningfully check this at various times throughout the day and over periods of time.

Dr DBW,

Quote:

“Very nice.

Any plans to put a reflector on the roof to increase the amount of light going down the tubes?”

Probably not, I have cut the tubes off in line with and just under the glass. The roof has a 25 Degree pitch facing north, so I figured that’s about the best I could do.

According to my Lux readings from Sunday, the amount of light coming down the tubes was greater than the reading in full sun.

I was reading on RC a person has actually installed a sun tracking system on his 4 x 4 skylight, but has since removed it as it actually caused shadows!

Here is a shot of just natural sunlight at 12 noon today:

Image

Rod. :thumbsup:
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Postby noely » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 5:30 pm

Wow that is verrrrry stylish :nod: :nod: :nod:
Well done Rod, not only the dollar savings but enviromental savings aswell. It would be a huge impact on the planet if all tanks had natural lighting.

after much research ordered a sheet of 12.38mm clear laminated glass to go on top.


What factors led to this glass being the choice?

Do the tubes have special reflective coatings internally, or simply the metal tube reflecting the sunlight? If the latter being the case would getting a sheetmetal worker to roll up some aluminium sheeting do the job?
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Postby Rod the Reefer » Tue 12 Sep, 2006 6:03 pm

Hi Noely,

Thanks. The glass choice was the result of much research.

It’s laminated 12.38mm, there are quite a few legal issues and codes to comply with for overhead glazing in a high bush fire area. The standard domes just don't comply. It’s two sheets of 6mm glass with a .38mm laminate.

It's very heavy. Some of the issues are that it has to withstand a bush fire obviously, can't shatter if a tradesman (person) steps on it and I really didn't want it shattering and falling into my tank!

The old Georgian wire glass doesn't comply, toughened glass doesn't comply, so my choices were slim.

The inner part of my tubes are the Solatube style tubes (There are other brands available). They claim they reflect 97% of light. Do a search as these have been discussed at length elsewhere. IMO any other sheet of aluminium etc. won't give the same results.

Hope this answers your question.

Rod. :thumbsup:
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