I had managed to get my hands on one of those black acrylic tops used on the breeder systems that we have all seen in stores. It was in flawless condition and I just couldnt resist not building myself a cool frag tank light from it.
Prior to all this..I had purchased a brand new IceCap 660 ballast and a 48" T5 retro kit from DIY Reef (during there going out of business sale) and after laying everything out, I drilled 2 holes that will later be used to attach the retro kit to the inside (shown on left of pic). I also chamfered these out so that when the screws are installed they would sit flush to the top. I then drilled three .75 dia holes that would allow any heat to escape. I did this on each end.
I cut two 2X4's that would fit on the inside. These will be used to attach the retro kit to the acrylic top. I then attached them to the bottom of the retro using 1" screws and the provided mounting locations. I also attached my 660 ballast to the same side by using some really short sheet metal screws. To keep the powercord or wires from ever rubbing through I applied a couple long strips of black tape to the retro's exposed sharp edges. I was very careful in making sure that everything stayed as centered as possible. That way (with any luck) it will hang correctly and not be off balance.
Now that everything is mounted to the inside of the retro nothing but the powercord will be exposed.
I decided to drill a 1" dia hole in the back to allow the cord to exit. Now all I had to do was drop the retro in and install four 1" long stainless screws from the top to attach the retro to the inside (using the holes that I drilled in step 1).
I began by cutting the holes in the sides where the fans will be placed. The fans are 4"..and I had nothing to cut a hole that large (doh!)..so I ended up having to use my 2.5 hole saw, cutting the first hole out of the center, then taking chunks out untill the hole was large enough. As you can see..I made a few scratches...but once the fans are installed you will never see them.
Ive had these fans sitting around for some time now. I hooked them up and tested them out and found out that they still work really well. So, I gave them a good scrub, let em dry, and shot them with some high gloss rustolium black paint. I plan on mounting them so that they draw air from around the endcaps in a effort to keep them cool and increase the bulb life.
While the fans were drying I made the wiring harness for them. One lead will go to each fan.
I also twisted up each lead to make a nice clean install.
For hanging..I went to Pruess Pets and got a cheap Tek hanging kit (Thanks Steve!) and then installed some eye bolts into the 2x4 inside the fixture. I decided to use chain instead of the cable that the kit came with since I like being able to raise and lower the light by just rehooking the chain at what ever level I want.
And here it is.....UP AND RUNNING! Im very happy with it.
Here is a breakdown of my total cost...
Black Acrylic fixture: I bought a whole breeder unit for $90 and this piece was the top. I used some of the other sections for awhile then sold them for a total of $95..so it turned out Im $5 ahead here.
IceCap Retro Unit: $155 - Purchased new at DIY Reefs going out of business sale. (Included caps & reflectors)
IceCap 660 Ballast: $109 - Purchased new at DIY Reefs going out of business sale. (Included harness and powercord)
(2) 4" fans - Free from a buddy shutting down his tank 2yrs ago
Tek Hanging Kit - .60 cents - It was $10.60..but I had a $10 coupon.
Odds & Ends - $12 - Some 2" Screws, Black Paint, Ceiling Hooks, Chain
Bulbs - I was running in my prior unit and were just purchased 2 months ago.
Total Cost: $271.60