As I work most of the day, I’m not around to see me tank w/ the lights on. I could adjust the times to run later in the day, but due to the fact that the tank sits in proximity of windows, I have chosen to time the lighting schedule with daylight peering into the room.
With that, I started looking around at MoonLights. Realizing that, unlike Halides and T5 type fixtures, the LED s for moon lights only required soldier connection and no socket, I was off to Radio Shack for all the parts. Quick note for those of you who may not know, Radio Shack carries a very small assortment of electrical components in addtion to Cell Phones, TV’s and Direct TV recievers.
My parts list included
25′ – of 18/2 AWG wire (speaker wire) – $2.00
4 – 470nm 27maH 3.7V LED – $12.00
1 – 3.7-12V power supply – $Free
1 – 600 ohm resistor – $1.54
I started out by cutting my wire long enough run the length of the canopy, then added 3′ to each end for side routing and LED placement flexibility. Next I made 2″ loops at every location I wanted a LED and placed a cable tie to hold the loop. Next I cut the loops, striped the wire, twisted and tinned each set of wire again (effectively reconnecting the wire I just cut). Next I trimmed and tinned both ends of the wire for the 4th LED connection at the far end, and the power supply connection.
Connecting the LED’s was made easy as all the wire connections were now tinned and ready. I first connected the power supply and resistor. The resistor was placed in-line on the positive side. The resistor is required to balance the circuit and not overdrive the LED’s. Now that the circuit is powered, I tested orientation on the LED’s, connecting one leg to each wire to check polarity. As the LED is a diode, you’ve got to orientate the current correctly (+ to -) or it won’t light. Once that was confirmed, I noted the orientation visually (you can tell by looking that the LED pins in the center of the bulb), nnplugged the power supply, and connected all the LED’s to the wire with a touch of soldier. Circuit complete.
The Moon Lights were installed along the inside of the canopy in locations where they would not impede access to the tank or come in contect with water. Having the flexibility to move them around and/or add more is a nice convenience. And the total price was about $15.00.
Now, the tank has a cool blue/white ambience in the evenings. I’ve added a timer for these lights only, and moved the circulations fans to the Actinic Light timer. Around 9:00 each evening, the tank lights go out, fans stop and within 45 minutes the moon lights come on provide the final setting of the day.
Cheap Moonlights for my Reef tank,
A side benefit to the moonlight addition is that I now have the enhanced possibility of creating a suitable condition in which the corals in my tank can spawn. Typically, coral spawning occurs in/around March April time period after a full moon. Eggs and sperm are released by the coral and float about until fertilized and grounded for development into an adult.
As corals contain cryptochromes, proteins which respond to or are sensitive to light, they can in effect see! It has been documented that these cryptochromes are especially receptive to blue light or light at/near the 470 nano meter wavelength.
Looks like it’s time to get out the PIC programmer and build a little program with relay interface to present variable moon phases to the tank. I know something like this is currently available with the AC and AC JR controllers, but I think I can put something together for about 1/100th of the cost of those units. Will keep you posted…