T12 or T8 for these plants?
Right now on my plant shelves I am using 48" shop lights with T12 cool whites.
I have two fixtures per shelve (4 bulbs).
I am thinking of adding switching lights to T8's for a brighter light.
The fixtures are about 8 inches from the bulb to the plant tops.
Would you stick with the T12 and switch out to T8s?
(I was ruling out T5 because of the cost.)
I am currently growing:
Nepenthes (mostly highland)
I would replace one of the T12 fixtures with a single bulb T5 one. You can easily replace 2 T12 or 2 T8 Bulbs with 1 T5 bulb and end up with a noticable increase in light. Depending on your budget, alot of the online stores offer free shipping between $75-100, so I usually place orders to hit those. I'm using 1 or 2 T5 Bulbs with most of the CPs and am very happy with them. I'm not sure of the costs of T8 stuff but if you replace 2 of them with 1 T5, it should not be that much more. The reduction in heat and energy useage is also a plus.
The ones I've been using are $35 per strip light, with bulb, with the optional reflector at $18.
If cost is the main factor, do what I've been doing sell/trade cuttings/divisions to upgrade your growing area. I started with a handful of compact flourescent screw in bulbs and 12" X 12" of grow space...many years later and now I have a multi-level 6 foot grow area + random terrariums around our home. All from growing and selling/trading.
Just my thoughts.
If youre on a budget, I would recommend you improve the shop light's reflector with some mylar first.... this is a one time modification that may provide significant improvment with practically no cost over the life of the fixture.
Ths increase in efficiency will be even more noticable with the smaller diameter of the T8
But all other things equal, the T8's are actually less wattage.... 36w vs. 40w of the T12
Their main advantages are greater lumen maintenance
And as I mentioned, the reduced diameter facilitates higher reflector efficiency and greater luminosity.
Not sure If I'm ready to switch to T5's this plant rack is 24" x 48" per shelf, so would you just place two single T5 fixtures on it? Any links to something you would recommend?
I think I'm just used to using T12 for a few dozen African violet fixture, of course the African Violet does not need as strong a light.
Guess I could start saving $$$ for them.
I'm lighting an 18" X 48" area with 2 T5's, I'm growning some Neps, Ferns, Orchids, Utric's, Heli's and other assorted things. I've grown Ceph's in there but they were moved to a higher light, lower humidity setup. They did just fine and had ok red colors in there.
Originally Posted by Steverd
I would probably use 3 T5's to light a 24" area, but that me. I'm using a single strip on an 8" X 48" area and I'm liking the light levels with that.
The ones I'm using are the single strip lights made by Sun Blaze. The online hydroponics shops are a good place to get lighting.
Without knowing what you growing its hard to recommend things. If you only have a few higher light requiring plants, it might be better to just get some of the screw in compact flourscent bulbs to supplement the ones you already have. I have a Ceph under a single 26W and its getting some good reds now. Located here New Vivarium Project. its colored up more since the last update but it will give an example.
So many options .