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mattsteg
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Wed Jun 27, 2007 11:23 pm

titan wrote:
Well, no used stuff, or existing tank water to be had for me. Other than what little water came from the store. I've got until next Tuesday to take the fish back and get a replacement. I know that isn't long enough to cycle a tank, but I don't want my four bucks going to waste already.
I doubt they'd replace a fish that died in a cycling tank. The stores around here generally want a clean water sample to exchange, and yours isn't going to be. I wouldn't be surprised if you have more deaths over the next few days, particularly among the baby guppies and the cardinals. Probably should have started smaller, or even better with a non-living initial ammonia source, in the absence of available material from an established tank.
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titan
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Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:25 am

mattsteg wrote:
titan wrote:
Well, no used stuff, or existing tank water to be had for me. Other than what little water came from the store. I've got until next Tuesday to take the fish back and get a replacement. I know that isn't long enough to cycle a tank, but I don't want my four bucks going to waste already.
I doubt they'd replace a fish that died in a cycling tank. The stores around here generally want a clean water sample to exchange, and yours isn't going to be. I wouldn't be surprised if you have more deaths over the next few days, particularly among the baby guppies and the cardinals. Probably should have started smaller, or even better with a non-living initial ammonia source, in the absence of available material from an established tank.


Got them from PetSmart and I told the gal it was a fresh tank. They'll replace it.
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titan
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 3:46 pm

Okay, so I replaced the guppy, and now the other one died. I think it was bullied by the replacement guppy. Also, I think the replacement guppy ate the baby guppies. I can't find the bodies, so that's the only thing I can think of.

Turns out the ammonia levels were between .25 and .5 ppm, so I got some ammonia remover. I'll check it in a bit to see what the levels are at now. I did pick up a Mardel Master Test Kit. According to the 5-in-1 test strip my nitrate levels are about 20 ppm, nitrite at about .25 ppm (it wasn't white which is 0 but it wasn't quite to .5 the lightest pink), total hardness is about 250 ppm maybe more, buffer is about 240-300 ppm, and pH... Well, I had a tough time figuring that one out. It's this dark hot pink color. If I'm reading the scale right I'm at a pH of 8.0-8.4.

Like I've said, I've got two cardinal tetras that are still healthy, a pepper cory that's still healthy and one healthy tequila sunrise guppy. I do plan on getting some fish tomorrow. What do you guys think about my water? Should I start buying distilled or natural spring water from the store?
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mattsteg
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 5:40 pm

titan wrote:
Turns out the ammonia levels were between .25 and .5 ppm, so I got some ammonia remover. I'll check it in a bit to see what the levels are at now. I did pick up a Mardel Master Test Kit. According to the 5-in-1 test strip my nitrate levels are about 20 ppm, nitrite at about .25 ppm (it wasn't white which is 0 but it wasn't quite to .5 the lightest pink), total hardness is about 250 ppm maybe more, buffer is about 240-300 ppm, and pH... Well, I had a tough time figuring that one out. It's this dark hot pink color. If I'm reading the scale right I'm at a pH of 8.0-8.4.
Don't fight your tank. Don't try and overpower it with chemistry. Let it reach a balance. Ammonia and nitrite will reach zero on their own in a healthy tank with adequate filtration. Ammonia remover isn't what you need. Time is.
titan wrote:
I do plan on getting some fish tomorrow.
Please don't. Your tank isn't anywhere near ready for that. Try to keep what you have already alive instead. Don't even think about more fish until you have 0 ammonia and nitrite in your tank.
titan wrote:
What do you guys think about my water? Should I start buying distilled or natural spring water from the store?
Are those test results from tap or tank? You should not use distilled water except to mix with other water. It has no buffering.
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titan
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:30 pm

Will the pH balance on its own too? What about the hardness and buffer? I tested both tap and tank. The only difference in the readings were for the ammonia. 0 ppm in the tap.

Alright, no fishies tomorrow. :cry:
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mattsteg
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 9:42 pm

titan wrote:
Will the pH balance on its own too? What about the hardness and buffer? I tested both tap and tank. The only difference in the readings were for the ammonia. 0 ppm in the tap.

Alright, no fishies tomorrow. :cry:
Hardness, buffer, and pH will fall where they will. It's far more painless to pick your fish to suit them than it is to try and change things. You test them to make sure they're not crazy, not to try to make them conform to any particular range. Let them fall where they will, and pick your livestock to match your conditions. At most, if you have very hard water you could dilute your tap water a set percentage with distilled or reverse osmosis water to cut the hardness. You can also do this to cut nitrate levels if your buffering is strong enough. The only real concern you might have is if you have very low levels of buffering - that can potentially make your pH fluctuate too much.

You're looking to establish a stable environment more than you're trying to hit any particular set of parameters. Stability matters much more than whatever the values of different things happen to be, and patience will get you that stability far more quickly than adding extra fish will.

Wait until you register 0 Ammonia and 0 nitrates. Then wait a bit more for good measure.
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paulWTAMU
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:09 pm

Echoing mattsteg; you can I think manipulate ph pretty well but dear heavens why would you? It isn't easy or cheap; just buy hard water fish if you have hard water.

And did you plant your tank? If its a basic 10 gallon, two-three clumps of anachris and some java fern or mondo grass or maybe moneywort would be really about all you need I think, and it'd help a ton for water quality.
 
mattsteg
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:14 pm

paulWTAMU wrote:
Echoing mattsteg; you can I think manipulate ph pretty well but dear heavens why would you?
Well, I actually sorta do, but that's to manipulate CO2 levels in a heavily planted tank ;)
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paulWTAMU
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Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:50 pm

Actually, when that got to be an issue, I just uncovered part of the tank, and lowered the water just a bit, and tossed in an air stone. More evaporation but meh.
 
titan
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Wed Jul 04, 2007 8:52 am

Speaking of real plants, I came across this <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/">place</A> yesterday. I was studying up on planted aquariums and the sort. Seeing what changes in light I would need to make. Then I found that AZ Gardens has <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/newhabts2.php">habitats.</A> Check out the easy life habitat. It sounds like a good deal. $39.00 for a 10 gallon package.

The reason why I was researching that stuff is because I found a <A HREF="http://www.flickr.com/photos/46386042@N00/374523179/in/photostream/">little something</A> done by Amano. He's got some beautiful stuff.

So I was looking at what I could get from home depot to make my own light source thingy majigger using fluorescents. Which brings up Acintic O3 Blue. What is it? Why would I need it? Reason I'm asking is because I was thinking I might replace my 15W Clear Incandescent bulbs with this little thing from <A HREF="http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441809765&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302030061&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023693&bmUID=1183556798473&itemNo=28&Nao=24&In=Fish&N=2030061&Ne=2">Coralife</A>.


I know I'm asking a lot of noob questions. It's just the more I find the more questions I have. I swear I have kept fish in the past. I was a little kid though and my dad took care of the details. I just picked the fish. We tried live plants once, but it didn't work out very well.
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titan
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Thu Jul 05, 2007 10:54 am

Yay! My water is safe now. I just did another ammonia test. No change in the pad. Which means 0 ppm. There is this crowntail betta that I saw that is just beautiful. I hope they still have him.
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Inkedsphynx
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Thu Jul 05, 2007 11:21 am

Few things I'll toss into this discussion:

First off, a good way from my experience to cycle a tank is to just drop in a piece of shrimp and let it rot. This works best in salt-water tanks where you'll be adding live rock/sand that will have some of the beneficial bacteria already on it. However, that doesn't prevent it from being helpful in a freshwater setup. You can, alternatively, purchase supplimentals that contain some of the bacteria you need to get your cycle going well.

The only concrete rule I would personally live by is this: Never put any fish/plants into a tank that isn't cycled, or is being cycled. It's cruel and irresponsible (in my opinion). It's one thing to do it out of ignorance, another to do it knowingly. If you put fish in a tank that isn't cycled, you are probably going to kill them. Just how it is. Some people even use a goldfish or other cheap fish to start the cycle, knowing it will die. I don't believe in that practice, as it runs counter to the idea behind good aquarium keeping: providing the best environment you can for your fish.

That little mini-rant aside, I'll answer your question about actinics, since I'm fairly familiar with them on my saltwater setups.

Actinic lighting gives off light in the "blue" spectrum. Think "Roy G. Biv". Blue lighting has a particular wavelength range.

As to the purpose of them, that's a pretty debatable subject. Many people think they serve no purpose other than aesthetic, as they can help the colors on some fish "pop" more. Other people argue that they're a valuable tool for any plant/coral/clam types that require, or like, lighting in that spectrum.

You do NOT want to use them as your primary light source. Actinics are merely supplemental, either for aesthetics, or if you have plants proven to thrive on light within the blue spectrum, they can be used to aid in photosynthesis.

As for that particular Coralife item:

First off, I'd want to know how many wats are in the 10k flourescent. Keep in mind that you want a certain wattage/gal in "daylights". Actinic lighting really shouldn't factor into your watt/gal computations.

You'll also have to keep in mind your reflector positioning, especially with there being 2 bulbs on one light. Only half of the light from something like that goes into the tank directly, the rest goes up, and without the proper reflector, is basically wasted. With a split-bulb like that, you could potentially waste more than that even with a good reflector because you'll be bouncing some of it off onto the Actinic bulb, rather than reflecting it down into your tank.

Lighting isn't cheap for quality stuff. I would avoid making it so, since it's a pretty important part of a tank, especially a planted tank (less so for a FO tank).

Either way, remember that aquariums are not for the impatient. If you're going to (I'm just saying this in general to anyone reading) rush around and do things haphazardly, halfassed, or without any real thought to the care of your fish, then get a screensaver instead. Fish are real creatures, and caring for them should be done in the same manner you'd care for any other pet, or even your children. Treat them with respect, offer them the best you can afford, and don't get in over your head. But most of all, take your time, research, learn. It'll pay off in the end when you can keep your fish and enjoy them for years, instead of days or weeks.


Sorry if that was preachy. Good luck :)
 
titan
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Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:01 pm

You know, I didn't notice that they didn't state the wattage. As for the reflectors, I took them out of the assembly because they made the tank "hot." I won't be running around either and doing things haphazardly, but it's important to know. What I'm trying to say is that you're not being preachy, you're just being informative. Which I appreciate.

Thank you so much for your info on the acintic. All the searches I performed just gave back product results. No information. That's how it seems with most of the stuff I've been trying to research. I'm getting frustrated now, and think the only way to find out about this stuff is by testing the products myself.

I have kept some fish quite successfully a while ago, but now I'm really wanting to get into it which is why I'm asking so many questions. (In the past I never used a test kit kind of thing.) Don't misunderstand my questions as someone who doesn't know anything, but instead see them as someone who knows he doesn't know everything and wants to learn more.
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Inkedsphynx
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Thu Jul 05, 2007 12:38 pm

If your lights are making your water temperature rise, then you should do a few things.

Firstly, lower your heater down some, try to get it to balance out. Secondly, try modifying your lighting so it rises up off the tank. Unfortunately, the more wattage you have, the more heat you'll produce, that's just a byproduct of lighting.

However, you might be able to assist the reduction of heat by changing lighting sources. Try using T-8 flourescents, as they produce probably the lowest radiant heat out of any acceptable aquarium lighting source, with MH (Metal Halide) being the most heat-producing.

Your best bet though is to try to lift the lights off the water surface some. This won't stop the heat from being emitted, but it'll cause more of it to transfer into your environment rather than the aquarium environment.

If you're made of money, you could also try a chiller, but that's mostly for people that live in very hot parts of the country with little/no interior temperature control (air conditioning).

Just try to keep your tank in the 78-80ish range, and try to keep it steady, and you should be fine.


Also, again I emphasize that you don't need as much wattage for only fish as you do for plant life.
 
titan
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 10:58 am

Well, my AC had to stop working. I lost some fish because the tank stated to get warm. Unbearably warm apparently. The fish I have left is a male betta, a cardinal tetra and a pepper cory.

The good news though is that it seems to have helped the good bacteria to grow. I no longer have a problem with ammonia. My nitrite levels are actually registering now, so I'm assuming there's bacteria at work. I'm doing a water change today. Have to fix that nitrate problem too. Which brings up another question. My tap water already has nitrate in it. According to the strip it's about 20 ppm. I was thinking today though that Nitraban might be a good way to remove some nitrates. I wouldn't use it in lieu of water changes, but as a supplement. Seeing as i don't have plants in the tank right now to use the nitrates.

What do you guys think?
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mattsteg
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:02 am

titan wrote:
My tap water already has nitrate in it. According to the strip it's about 20 ppm. I was thinking today though that Nitraban might be a good way to remove some nitrates. I wouldn't use it in lieu of water changes, but as a supplement. Seeing as i don't have plants in the tank right now to use the nitrates.

What do you guys think?
Dilute with nitrate-free water instead. No need to go nuts with chemicals. [size=0]How interesting that you can use a font size of zero pixels[/size]
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titan
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:06 am

mattsteg wrote:
titan wrote:
My tap water already has nitrate in it. According to the strip it's about 20 ppm. I was thinking today though that Nitraban might be a good way to remove some nitrates. I wouldn't use it in lieu of water changes, but as a supplement. Seeing as i don't have plants in the tank right now to use the nitrates.

What do you guys think?
Dilute with nitrate-free water instead. No need to go nuts with chemicals. [size=0]facktastic[/size]


So, I should pick up a bottle of natural spring drinking water or distilled?
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mattsteg
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:09 am

titan wrote:
mattsteg wrote:
titan wrote:
My tap water already has nitrate in it. According to the strip it's about 20 ppm. I was thinking today though that Nitraban might be a good way to remove some nitrates. I wouldn't use it in lieu of water changes, but as a supplement. Seeing as i don't have plants in the tank right now to use the nitrates.

What do you guys think?
Dilute with nitrate-free water instead. No need to go nuts with chemicals. [size=0]facktastic[/size]


So, I should pick up a bottle of natural spring drinking water or distilled?
Distilled will bring your hardness, buffering, etc down, so be sure that you'll be within reasonable ranges (I suspect you will) Spring water is probably going to be reasonable on its own so it won't move stuff other than nitrate much.
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titan
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:47 am

Well, my water is really hard (425+ppm), 300+ ppm alkalinity/buffering, and past 8.4 probably. I'm a little iffy on the buffering and the pH as the color on the strip doesn't match any color on the bottle. My fish, though, look happy and look healthy, so I'm not too concerned.
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mattsteg
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Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:48 am

titan wrote:
Well, my water is really hard (425+ppm), 300+ ppm alkalinity/buffering, and past 8.4 probably. I'm a little iffy on the buffering and the pH as the color on the strip doesn't match any color on the bottle. My fish, though, look happy and look healthy, so I'm not too concerned.
Yeah, fish are generally pretty tolerant of most levels of stuff, as long as stuff doesn't change rapidly or often. Distilled water would be fine and even useful to mix in, but be sure to keep the ratio you use the same.
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titan
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Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:22 pm

mattsteg wrote:
titan wrote:
Well, my water is really hard (425+ppm), 300+ ppm alkalinity/buffering, and past 8.4 probably. I'm a little iffy on the buffering and the pH as the color on the strip doesn't match any color on the bottle. My fish, though, look happy and look healthy, so I'm not too concerned.
Yeah, fish are generally pretty tolerant of most levels of stuff, as long as stuff doesn't change rapidly or often. Distilled water would be fine and even useful to mix in, but be sure to keep the ratio you use the same.


Thanks for your feedback. What you just said had been echoed somewhere on AuqaFacts.com. Or somewhere similar. I am planning on getting plants though so nitrates from the tap shouldn't be such a big deal.

Speaking of which, I never got any feedback on the plants from AZ Gardens though. Specifically the <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/habitats_easy.php">Easy Habitat</A>. What do you think about that package for the 10 gallon? What about <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/newtools2.php">aquascaping tools</A>?

With two 15W incandescent bulbs, do I count that as 30W total, or 15W effective as far as plants are concerned?
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mattsteg
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Wed Aug 08, 2007 12:40 pm

titan wrote:
mattsteg wrote:
titan wrote:
Well, my water is really hard (425+ppm), 300+ ppm alkalinity/buffering, and past 8.4 probably. I'm a little iffy on the buffering and the pH as the color on the strip doesn't match any color on the bottle. My fish, though, look happy and look healthy, so I'm not too concerned.
Yeah, fish are generally pretty tolerant of most levels of stuff, as long as stuff doesn't change rapidly or often. Distilled water would be fine and even useful to mix in, but be sure to keep the ratio you use the same.


Thanks for your feedback. What you just said had been echoed somewhere on AuqaFacts.com. Or somewhere similar. I am planning on getting plants though so nitrates from the tap shouldn't be such a big deal.

Speaking of which, I never got any feedback on the plants from AZ Gardens though. Specifically the <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/habitats_easy.php">Easy Habitat</A>. What do you think about that package for the 10 gallon? What about <A HREF="http://www.azgardens.com/newtools2.php">aquascaping tools</A>?

With two 15W incandescent bulbs, do I count that as 30W total, or 15W effective as far as plants are concerned?
The best thing to do would be to lose the incandescents. They generate a lot of heat and not much light. Wattage recommendations are generally related to fluorescent lighting. Consider looking into compact fluorescents. I got my lighting stuff from ahsupply.com Of course, "easy" plants require less light, but I'd at least get away from incandescents. Looks like a nice package of plants.
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mattsteg
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Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:40 pm

Hooray, picking up a 120 gal tomorrow! Now I just need to finish building my far-too-delayed stand for it.
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|FN|Steel
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Fri Aug 10, 2007 11:57 pm

Hey guys. My wife has a tank made by TruVue about 20 years ago. We recently attempted to get a new hood from the TruVue website and were a bit unhappy with the results. The plastic hoods apparently come of the assembly line in such a way that one side is always jagged and doesn't sit on the tank evenly. This was a line from a CSR, and at first I was highly skeptical, until the second hood came nearly the same way.

Anyways, this is an older 55-60 gallon tank and my wife is having problems locating a hood that will fit correctly. I think it has something to do with the tank being mid size, and hood placement being in the top center of the tank, etc. We are sending the other hoods back for a refund, but was wondering if anyone had suggestions for finding a suitable hood. I'm willing to spend around $100 if necessary, but that seems a bit much for what amounts to a lamp stand.

Thanks!
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mattsteg
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Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:07 am

Are we talking about an acrylic tank that's only partially covered by the hood or something?
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|FN|Steel
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Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:32 am

Correct. The top of the tank has two rectangular openings that are centered and seperated by about one inch of acrylic. I'll get some pics posted shortly.
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titan
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Sat Aug 11, 2007 12:34 am

Steel, is it a standard 55 gallon or something special? Have you checked out your LFS -- local fish store? PetSmart has a <A HREF="http://www.petsmart.com/global/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441776905&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302030061&ASSORTMENT%3C%3East_id=2534374302023693&bmUID=1186809974588&itemNo=0&In=Fish&N=2030061&Ne=2">full hood</A> available $70 if I'm looking at the right one.

On a similar topic: anyone know why there's such a large price difference from incandescent to fluorescent?

Mattsteg, would I be able to convert the strip I have now to a fluorescent, or am I better off just picking one up from PetSmart?
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|FN|Steel
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Sat Aug 11, 2007 1:03 am

Pics

Image
Image
Image
Image

Edit: Yeah, not a full hood. LFS's have been pretty worthless.
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titan
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Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:36 am

Well, I've been poking around a bit and haven't been able to find anything for you Steel. Maybe you should just get a lamp. Or you could go to the hardware store and build your own hanging fluorescent light. Something that you could hang from the ceiling.

Or were you looking for something to cover up the holes? In that case you might just need to get a plexiglass sheet.
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mattsteg
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Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:02 am

titan wrote:
Or you could go to the hardware store and build your own hanging fluorescent light. Something that you could hang from the ceiling.
No need to hang, a simple hood along the lines of http://www.ahsupply.com/finished_enclosures.htm that sits on the tank is pretty straightforward to construct.
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