Want a cool innovative stylish fishtank to be the centrepiece of your living room? Want to get a gentle introduction to working with LED systems? Want your fish to have groovy boogie lights? Right here!
Step 1: Step 1: Go to Your Local Electronics Supplies Store and Buy Some RGB LED-cable Lighting.
Key points to consider: How much is enough? In my case I have a 120cm long x 60cm wide x 75cm high fishtank, so I though 5 metres would be about right. This cost me about $32 USD to buy here in Taiwan, unsure what the price is elsewhere.
Step 2: Step 2: Constructing the Hood.
Because I wanted to have my electronics and my water kept separate for obvious reasons, I went with some PVC halfpipes. I joined them together with the Mk 1 cable ziptie which means there is some flexibility when I move them, I favour this method purely because I will have to remove the hood at various times to do maintanence etc, it is easier when it has some degree of flexibility.
I used stock standard tinfoil to line the inside of the pipes as a reflective coating and cast a fair amount of light around the entire tank.
Step 3: Step 3: Installing Lights.
Because I wanted the fish to enjoy standard daytime lighting conditions, I used some golden yellow LED lighting plus bright white LEDs on a timer, and had them facing straight down or slightly on an angle to maximise lighting on the flanks of my Golden Dragon Fish. The RGB-LEDs (Red-Green-Blue Light Emitting Diodes, in case you were wondering) went on 45º angles. I wanted them on angles because it means there is "light-spillage" from the tank at night, which when combined with the RGB lighting creates a very cool atmosphere.
No rocket science here, I basically drilled through the hood and used zipties.
Step 4: Step 4: Test and Adjust.
Just to make the whole thing look a bit more professional and not a hackpiece, I used some grey insulation tape to cover over the zipties which blended in really well with the grey PVC. I then made some "caps" for the ends of the piping to avoid light spillage from the hood itself.
As you can see from the aerial view, it is a bit of a spaghetti plate. However it is dry as a bone! One key thing to consider is moisture forming through evaporation, you do not want that anywhere near your electronics for fairly obvious reasons. Take note that the lighting I used was pre-sealed against moisture.
Step 5: Step 5: Happy Time!
As you can see, I am running the lighting system on two separate cycles - Day and night. The daylights kick on at roughly 8am and turn off at about 7pm. The night lights are timed to come on about 30min before the daylight ends, and go off by 11pm at night.
The RGB system has an IR remote so consider where you place the IR receiver carefully. I made it facing out toward the couch, and we keep the remote in our coffee table drawer.
The remote has the ability to customise your lighting layout based on whatever, so if you have a date at your house and want some seduction lighting, you can adjust it so it is red, or if you're sad because your date just slapped you and walked out when you grabbed her woman-bits, you can change it to blue. If you just want it to randomly oscillate between colors, that is also possible.
Remember to be considerate towards your animal's health needs! Most fish will want a night-time lighting cycle where there is minimal light present. Also, the lighting system should be used in a gentle pulsing motion - I don't think most fish would appreciate a hardcore rave style lighting set-up!
Step 6: Step 6: Feed Your Fish a Live Cockroach and Then Rejoice in Its Death (optional).
The lighting effect can be sort of seen here in this video, you'll notice the fish kind of has a different hue at times. It looks much better when all the lights are off!
Arowana fish are notorious for loving to eat cockroaches. This film was not approved of by any animal welfare organisations, having said that, I am not sure there is a cockroach protection league anywhere....
Hope this instructable inspires someone out there to make one like this or better!
Step 7: A Colourful Fish and Language - Don't Watch If You Get Offended by Swearing...
And this is the finished product in the dark!