DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

  • Nina_W
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Nina_W created the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

I recently built an LED nightlight for Wicket. Before I go into the construction talk, in the six weeks that I've had the night light, there has been 0, zip, nada, not one night time incident where a frightened oscar bashes or jumps or splashes or anything. None. In all the time I've had Wicket, this is the longest we've ever gone without incident (the previous best was about two weeks). I'm sure the night light is the key here.

Plus, I get to see my cat fish more clearly now after dark.

This is what it looks like, if you do exactly what I did:



What you will need:
1. One, narrow band (15 degrees in my case, but as you prefer here), blue LED lightbuld. (Mine is 1 Watt). The bulbs have the transformer that an LED needs to run built in already - makes it bulkier, but easier to use.
It looks like this:

With an end like this:

The end doesn't matter too much, but make sure the light fitting you get matches the end of your lightbuld.

2. A suitable light fixture
I removed the metal casing from a pot light to get only the small, black light fixture itself. The pot light is already waterproofed, but if you get a non-waterproof light fixture, use lots of silicone to seal up all possible water risk areas. Depending on the end of your lightbulb, you may need a different kind of light fixture. Make sure it has some way of attaching to the top of your tank - screw holes on the sides, like mine, is a good way to go.

3. A switch
On and off will do fine

5. Wire
Check that it is appropriately rated. Ask an assistant if you need help here. In my case, I used lamp cord.

4. A plug
Check that it is appropriately rated. Since this is a pretty low-intensity job, pretty much any plug will do.

5. Screws for attaching the light fixture to the tank's top.
I used the screw-holes where the pot light's enclosure was attached to the light fixture to affix it to the tank.

Procedure (takes 20 minutes to an hour, depending on your wiring experience):

1. Cut a length of wire, long enough to go from where your fixture will be, to the point where it will plug in.

2. Wire up the switch. Most switches requires that you cut through one of the two current carrying wires (so either live or neutral, not ground (or earth, the green/yellow one). If you have lamp cord like I do, you have a two barrel wire already - here's a great guide to getting the switch set up:
www.electrical-online.com/how-do-i-install-an-in-line-switch-on-a-lamp-cord/ (except that in switches I know, you have to strip the ends of the wire and screw them in, but there will always be regional variation)

3. Wire up the plug. Since our three pronged plugs look very different from anywhere else's plugs, you're on your own here. If unsure, consult a guide for your location.

4. Now it is time to wire up the light fixture. It may seem odd to add wire to the light fixture before you attach it to your tank, but it is all in all much easier to only have to attach it once. Once this has been wired up, you basically have a lamp!

5. Inset the bulb, plug in the 'lamp', and test that everything is working. If not, check all your electrical connections and also, check that your bulb is ok. When you're done, un-plug and set the bulb aside somewhere safe.

6. The fun/trickier part! Now we attach the fixture to the tank. The basic principle is that screws will go through your hood, holding the fixture flush against your lid. First you must measure how far apart your screw holes need to be. Mark this clearly with a pencil. Check, and double check that this is a good spot for the light (over a prominent piece of decor looks nice - I tried to have mine over the root network in my background).

7. Once you've marked the location, time to screw it on. I tend to drill little pilot holes to guide my screws, but with most self-tapping wood screws this is unnecessary. A second pair of hands is very useful, but it works well to screw the screws through part way, then manually screw them into the fixture's holes with a screwdriver.

8. Time to neaten that tank lid! After the screws are inserted, you have this:

Not so pretty. But, with a bit of sandpaper, wood putty (do let it dry for 24 hours before painting over it/sanding it more?) and some black paint, we have:

(apologies for the finger, the camera was refusing to focus on the slightly raised screw)

(there is, of course, a much simpler way to do this - double sided tape. BUT - then it's harder to remove)

9. Voila! If you insert the bulb, it should now look like this:


Wicket likes it:
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toni-a replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

Looks very nice, good job
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  • JasonR
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JasonR replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

Excellent Nina! Thanks for sharing!:)
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cebosound replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

very cool.

and nice craftmanship. ;)



this is a point i have made multiple times on this site. it is very imporant to have some sort of dim light on all night long. it saves a lot of drama. ... glad this worked out for you nina. :)

My YouTube Channel:http://www.youtube.com/user/cebosound1?blend=1&ob=0
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  • Nina_W
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Nina_W replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

thanks Toni, Jason, and Ryan.

I've come up with a TLDR version - buy a shop light, attach to hood, insert blue bulb.

I've always believed fish need darkness at night. This may be true for some, but for large fish that startle easily and then bash themselves up? I'm a complete convert to the night light.

Also...

ooh... catfishies at 3 am...

So active! Those lazy raphaels are maniacs after midnight.
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  • ehall67
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ehall67 replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

thats awesome and really adds a whole new dimension to your tank !! it is something I must think about doing this !

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Firestorm8215 replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

That sure makes the tank look pretty at night Nina. I think you have to come visit me for a week or two so you can copy all your DIY projects at my house.
I will have to see if all those instructions make sense to my husband and talk him into building me two of those for my tanks. :)
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  • Nina_W
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Nina_W replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

Thanks Eddie and Sandra.

Sandra, that means a lot. :) Give him the TLDR version first, because that sounds insanely easy.

Eddie, If you do two or three 'spotlights' it could look fantastic!

Pictures if you guys do it!
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poelinca replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

great job, now i only wish i didn't ordered the lights :(
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DRACO replied the topic: DIY Led nightlight - the simple method!

Nina_W wrote: Wicket likes it:

good job... and the lighting effects is great....

are those plants and moss real???
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