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    Design Q&A | 20in Cube Lighting

    We receive quite a few questions from individual readers and have decided we will begin sharing a few with all of our readers. If you have any questions for us, e-mail them to info (a) glassbox-design.com and you may see it posted here.   Hi: I’ve read most of the ‘minimalist’ thread and really appreciate […]

    We receive quite a few questions from individual readers and have decided we will begin sharing a few with all of our readers. If you have any questions for us, e-mail them to info (a) glassbox-design.com and you may see it posted here.

     

    Hi:

    I’ve read most of the ‘minimalist’ thread and really appreciate your thoughts on it. I also looked at your blog.

    I’m looking for a spotlight / pendant for my 20″ cube. I am keeping a crocea clam / encrusting montis (all in the top 1/3), ricordea, and zoas. I’d like something really modern, that doesn’t ‘bleed’ too much light into the rest of the room.

    I’m keeping all my corals in about the middle 1/2 of the aquarium, so it really only needs to cover about at 13″ by 13″ space that is 20″ deep.

    I currently use a 250W Lumen Max hanging pendant, but it is so blinding my neighbors even wondered what was going on.

    I’d really appreciate your thoughts on this.

    Thanks,

    MS

     Hi MS,

    Thanks for the kind words. Cube’s present a great opportunity to aquascape, but can be tricky to light properly. 20in makes it too narrow for T5’s to be used well, and the 20in depth means you need some punch. That said,  250’s are a bit too much, particularly given the 13″x 13″ area you wish to illuminate.

    Currently there are no true spot lights available in the U.S. Although, that may change in the future, we are limited to the “traditional” lighting sources.

    Given the space restrictions and height of your tank Metal Halide is the obvious choice. A 150w DE Metal Halide should work nicely. They are compact which allows a smaller, tighter reflector which can create a spot light effect. 

    Starting with the pre-made units available, Coralife has a 150 MH pendant that is simple, clean and worth looking into. They are not very popular, but are one of the best looking DE Halide pendants available.

     Coralife

    If you really want something that is modern and fits in, DIY is the route you’ll have to go. You often read on the boards people calling certain reflectors poor because they create hot spots and have poor spread. Think the opposite in this case.

    Yes, a better reflector can be made, but given your needs the well known “cheapie” DE MH reflector should work well, and focus the light where you want it.  A DE retro, like the one shown below can be had for around $150. 

     

    Now comes the important part–the exterior. I would suggest a simple “floating” canopy with a minimum height of 5in. This will help prevent light spill. Another option to consider are Barn Doors.

     barn doors

    The actual length and width dimensions are up to you. 20″x 20″ will give it a canopy feel, with tighter dimensions creating a pendant feel. Be sure to add vents and a fan for cooling.  

    This can be made from scratch, or if you go to a store such as Hobby Lobby you can find small pre-made wooden boxes for a few dollars. These work well as the base, then skin as you see fit. For a high-gloss-resin effect look into automotive paint. 

    These floating canopies can look great hung from the ceiling or wall mounted. Which menthod, completely depends on the room it’s in and your needs.

    We hope this helps. Thanks again for the message and we wish you luck in your modern-luminaire-endeavor. If you, or any other readers have questions please post them in the comments section below.

     

    Regards,

    e&f 

     

    3 Comments

    1. Cam Barr
      June 30, 2008 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

      I too have been looking for a solution for my cube that is similar in dimensions 20x20x20. What is available that is more modern in design?

      I would suggest a 250 watt pendant for sps i currently am using a 150 and find that it is a bit dim. i bet if would work fine for minties and lps but not my light loving SPS. What units are available in an affordable price range in a 250 watt version?

      I know of the Giesemann Nova and some of the ADA pendents are nice, but they are way out of my range

      see here

      ADA:
      http://www.adana-usa.com/index.php?main_page=afa_product_info&cPath=9_38&products_id=188

    2. June 30, 2008 at 4:08 PM | Permalink

      Hey Cam,

      Unfortunately there is not much to pick from, in the US. I do like the ADA unit’s but they really are not that much better than what else is out there… and then there is the price-tag.

      DIY is all we have for now. It would be great to create a simple, affordable, and attractive modern DIY light that could be replicated by the average Joe. If there is enough interest perhaps it would make a good post here 😉 I have a few ideas.

      Thankfully, many hobbyists are realizing the lack of choices and as of late there has been a real push and emphasis on design. Your thread on RC has made quite an impact.

      Don’t be surprised if you see some very nice pendants coming to market over the next year or so… Companies are definitely seeing this, I just hope they act upon it.

    3. June 10, 2010 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

      This is so interested! Where can I find more like this?

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