Tank Mount for 165W or 300W Chinese LED Fixtures

Sandeep

New member
With the huge popularity of the Chinese 165W LED fixtures, I was looking for a clean tank mount solution. I really don't like the look of ceiling mounts and in my case as the tank sits under a stairway, that's not even an option for me.

I looked around for any tank mounts that could be modified, but not really finding anything, I decided to make my own. This is a super easy and rock steady tank mount that you can make from parts from your local home depot store and the only tools you need are a hack saw, drill and screw drivers.

Looking at the mount from the front you can see how clean it looks. I left the aluminum square tube pieces unpainted, but you could paint them if you want.

lightstand_1.jpg


Mounting it on the fixture, is non-destructive and you don't have to drill any holes into the fixture. Instead you just unscrew the four hanging mount brackets and utilize those holes for your mounting bolts. The fixture bracket is attached to two heavy duty 3/4" metal electrical conduit straps that allow you to slide the fixture along the top rail to wherever you want to position it.

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The aluminum square tubing is 3/4" inch and it's very easy to hand cut and drill. I also got some plastic end caps for the feet for a more professional look. The feet rest on the tank rim and mine are 8 inches in length. My vertical columns are 12 inches, allowing my fixture to be about 10 inches from the water, you can make your longer or shorter if you with. You also see a 90 degree angle bracket in the corners. I used self-tapping metal screws, but drilled small holes first and was able to easily screw them into the soft aluminum using a hand screwdriver.

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I wanted the stand to look clean when you are facing the tank, so most of the bracing is on the side edges on the outside or the back of the frame. Those T-brackets are awesome and just one is needed for the columns for a solid joint with no movement. I used two small straight pieces on each foot to prevent the mounts from sliding off the top of the tank. They are not screwed into or clamped to the tank, as that is not needed. This way you have complete stability, while having the flexibility of moving the tank mount and fixture towards the front or back of the tank when cleaning or for placement of the lights.

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L brackets on the back of the frame corners at the top provide extra support for the frame and are not visible from the front when facing the tank for a cleaner look. This frame has zero movement in any direction and is rock solid. Also the 3/4" aluminum tube is very strong and has no sag,

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Here you see how the fixture mount looks and works from the top. As mentioned, you are just using the four existing holes in the case where the existing hanging mounts were screwed in. The aluminum mounts were cut to be just a bit smaller than the width of the fixture and capped with two of those plastic end caps for a cleaner look.

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This photo shows how the mounts work. I have 3/16" by 1.5" long bolts going through the aluminum mount and a bolt on the underside, opening up the six screws on the fixture to attach the mounts. You also see the 3/16" x 1" upside down two bolts that attach to the electrical metal conduit straps. Their heads are visible and as a bonus provide a bit of an air gap between the mounts and fixture for unobstructed air flow from the top fan vents. Just remember to have these two upside down bolts sticking upwards before you screw the two longer 1.5" end bolts into the fixture case. Then the very last step when you are done is to just put the metal conduit straps into the two upside down bolts and tighten the nuts by hand which hold the fixture braces to the straps.

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Finally here is a photo showing the various different bolts and those self-drilling screws.

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Enjoy and I hope this inspires you to build your own tank mount, if you do be sure to post your pictures in this thread. My 50 gallon is 30 inches wide but you can apply this same design principle to longer tank lengths and mount multiple fixture or to the longer 300W Chinese fixtures as well.
 

Elo500

New member
This is great! Thanks for the details. I've been looking at similar solutions that required welding. This one I can do. How did you determine the right height ?
 

Sandeep

New member
This is great! Thanks for the details. I've been looking at similar solutions that required welding. This one I can do. How did you determine the right height ?

You can vary the height based on the angle of coverage of your fixture. Just hold the fixture over your tank turned on and see what works for you.

Most folks are mounting these fixtures around 10 to 12 inches above the water line.
 

Dealseer

New member
Sandeep, I went to the store and they had 1/20" and 1/16" thick square tubing (both 3/4" of course). Which thickness did you use?
 

Sandeep

New member
Sandeep, I went to the store and they had 1/20" and 1/16" thick square tubing (both 3/4" of course). Which thickness did you use?

I used 1/16" thick square 3/4" tubing. It's really not an issue cutting and screwing into the thicker aluminum. Just be sure to have a good sharp hacksaw blade. A blade with 32 teeth per inch is recommended for cutting aluminum.
 

Ron Reefman

New member
Sandeep, that's a very good looking mounting system. Congratulations. As a long time DIY'er I think you did a really nice job.
 

Jessie2406

New member
That's beautiful! I've put a shelf above my tank to hang my lights from and it's still a bit too far back definitely going to build this! Thank you for such a great and detailed write up

Sent from my SPH-L720 using Tapatalk
 

Sandeep

New member
It really surprised my how solid it is. I thought I might have to build two support frames for the light perhaps sharing one common longer foot. It was nice to only have one with a shorter foot, as it looks so much less cluttered and cleaner.

I don't have any fancy tools to work with metal (welding, bending, etc.) and it was nice that the only power tool that I used was a drill, something most of us have. Using that hack saw on the aluminum bar was honestly easier than sawing through most woods, perhaps because the bars are hollow and aluminum is such an easy metal to cut.

One of the nice advantages of this mount vs most hanging mounts is that you can move the light from side to side over the tank wherever its needed as well as from front to back over the tank.

The only thing you can't do with this fixed mount vs a hanging mounts is move the fixture up or down and I don't really have a need for that as I determined the optimal height that I wanted the fixture to be at based on the angle of light dispersion. In terms of adjusting the light intensity I prefer to use the dimmers on the fixture for that.

I also like that its not clamped to the glass or tank. I wanted the flexibility of moving the mount easily, or removing the entire mount and fixture assembly from the tank when I'm cleaning the tank frame from salt deposits.

Remember to post photos of your builds!
 

azsoccerpop

New member
I can also recommend the Aluminum profiles made by Bosch-RexRoth. it can be a bit pricey but i was able to build a hanging bridge using this product which is top quality. Pictures are not the best but here is the build using there 1/4 round 20x20 profile. It comes slotted and has all kinds of connecting hardware options

http://reefcentral.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2622626

Your solution is well done and takes advantage of easy to find materials at the local hardware.
 

enveetie

New member
Just a heads up that the SB Reef version of the Chinese black boxes comes with tank mounts. Maybe worth checking out. I don't use them personally, I hung mine.
 

Sandeep

New member
Here is another version of the stand that I built for my 10g nano reef tank that is table mounted rather than tank mounted.

Although my light fixture came with those rod tank mounts, they were way too big for my tank rim and I would rather have the weight of the light fixture resting on my table rather than the tank edge.

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The feet in this version are 10" long and the vertical support columns are 26" long (my tank sits on a little cantilever stand, so its a few inches off the ground).

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Again a clean uncluttered look from the front, with the corner braces on the back. I taped the power cord to the back of the column so it does not stand out from the front.

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This light fixture only came with four thread mounted bolt shafts sticking out of it for for screwing in those hanging fixture mounts. I wanted a non-destructive mount, so I utilized those four threaded hanging mount bolts, just cutting my fixture support beams and drilling the holes so that I would be able to screw in a nut using a needle nose pliers from the edges. Just take your fixture to the hardware store and see what nuts you need for those hanging mount bolts.

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Yellow_donkey

New member
Thank you for posting this, will be building this today. Excellent option versus $100 name brand rail systems which still require significant modifications. Thanks again.
 
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