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Thread: nep grow chamber w/ t5s

  1. #1

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    nep grow chamber w/ t5s

    Hello everyone,

    I'm going to start construction on a new grow chamber and would really appreciate any suggestions or advice.

    The rough plan is to construct a 2x4 and plywood frame approximately 48" long, 36" tall and 30" deep (225 gallons). I'm going to have mirror on three sides and some sort of glass or acrylic on the front, bottom and possibly the top. I'm not exactly sure what type of door to set up to use, I may attempt this sliding design which I found here or perhaps some type of hinged set up.

    http://www.petpitcher.com/images/4ft...oor_design.gif

    My goal here is to give my neps plenty of room to grow up and not slam into the lights as soon as they begin vining, but I also don't want to have a bunch of dead space at the bottom of the chamber where light can't penetrate.

    Lighting:
    I'm thinking of going the t5 route, a metal halide is the other option although I think that this might produce too much heat and I also like how the fluorescents distribute light evenly over the grow area. A local grow shop is selling the hydrofarm 8 lamp with tubes for $320.

    T5
    I have a few questions about t5s, how far do they penetrate, ie how far away from them can I grow my neps. I've looked at Capslock's amazing set up and it looks like his plants are a few feat away from the lights, though maybe the lights were raised for the photos. Also how close to the lamps can the neps get before they burn? And does anyone have any idea how much heat these will generate, will they turn the box into an oven?

    Heating:
    I will probably go with the tried and true aquarium heater in a reservoir below the plants although I may experiment with a 100W heating cable in gravel under the plants. As far as the aqua heaters, what type of wattage, and how many to heat this area? Would two 100W be better than one 200w? This will be a highland tank for starters but may one day become a lowland tank in which case I'll have to be able to raise temps by about 25F.

    Tell me what you think of this set up. I'm totally open to any suggestions and would like to have a good idea of what I'm getting into before construction starts and dollars begin to fly out of my wallet!
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Don't eat me,... Mr. Flytrap thbjr's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not sure how this cost compairs to glass mirror or clear plexiglass with mylar, but here they sell mirrored plexiglass sheets that may work for your project.

    Be sure to take loads of pictures to post of the construction for us.

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    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    Is space an issue? if you're going to make a big terrarium, i'd go ahead and make a big 8 foot by 8 foot chamber. Or larger if you can.

    Or get a greenhouse! If you really want a "tank", make sure it's in the right proportions you want. Get some cheap wood dowels (or whatever, wood rods. What do I look like, a carpenter?) and make a frame. A tank that's too wide/short for it's length/height can look pretty fugly. To me, a 4 foot long tank that's like 3 feet wide would look..strange.

    Or go to a pet store, find a tank you like the proportions of, and then double/triple/quadruple (depending on your space limitations) the measurements.

    About the lighting. Since you want such a wide tank, and T5's are pretty intense and are meant to be packed sort of close together, it might be better to get two, 4 lamp fixtures instead of one, 8 lamp fixture. But also, if your lights are 3 feet away, that's a good distance for the light to spread. Take what I say with a grain of salt, as I've never used T5's and this is just speculation. That way your light will be more evenly spaced. I don't think you'll have any dead spots. It's just fluorescent light, so you're not going to burn your plants. They will produce a little heat, though. I don't know exactly how hot they get, but I know my 250 watt MH warps the acrylic covers.

    Two 100 watt heaters is better than 1 200 watt heater. this is because if one goes out for whatever reason, you've got another one to pick up the slack. Im personally fond of titanium heaters.

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    oh my god! I just wrote a reply and then somehow deleted it and then did the same thing again!!!! I keep having to re sign in for some reason (first forum). Ok third time is a charm:

    thbjr - Thanks for the link, I didn't even know this stuff existed. I'll have to go down to the local tap plastics and see if they sell sheets. Just today I found pre-cut mirrors that would perfectly fit this tank from home depot. 48"x36" for $50 and 30x36 for $30. I'll have to compare prices.

    JLAP - Space definitely is a limiting factor. Ideally I'd like to blow up an entire room but I have roomates so unfortunately this isn't an option. My backyard is shaded and my land lord probably wouldn't appreciate me turning her trees into firewood otherwise I would love to build a greenhouse.

    Yeah, I definitely don't want a fugly tank. But I want some height in order to give the neps room to grow up, although 3ft tall might be too much. I don't really want to sacrifice depth(front to back) because this means less floor space ie less plants. I'm definitely going to give this some more thought and make some scaled down drawings to get an idea of what it would look like. This tank would be almost exactly the same dimensions as four standard 55 gallon tanks stacked two by two.

    Very good point, 2 heaters it is. I'll check into titanium. I'm using a 50W stealth visi-therm for my 55 that automatically shuts off when dry, and it works well.

    Thanks a lot for the input, it is very helpful! I will post pics when I start and of course welcome all critique and advice.

  5. #5
    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick327 View Post
    I keep having to re sign in for some reason (first forum).
    Next time you log in make sure to click the "Remember me?" box. You will not idle out but if you want to officially log out you will need to click the "Log Out" button.

    xvart.
    "The tragedy of life is not that every man loses; but that he almost wins."

    "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"

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    hey xvart,

    thanks for enlightening me, this should make life much more pleasant.


    JLAP got me thinking about the dimensions of the chamber so I drew up some sketches:



    The bottom six inches will be the reservoir, I want to hide all that nasty water. above this are the glass doors, and above this the hood.

    form and function are both equally important here. I would like this to be a show piece but also be able to make the most of an 8 lamp t5 set up and grow thriving plants.

    I'm coming from growing in a 55 gallon tank and I'm tired of being cramped.

    What it boils down to is whether or no the t5s are powerful enough to make use of the larger design.

    So my main question is how far from an 8 bulb t5 fixture can neps be effectively cultivated?

    If I'm going to end up having all or the vast majority of my plants on risers anyways then the extra tank height will be a waste, for this reason at the moment I'm leaning toward the smaller design although in five minutes I'll probably change my mind again.

    construction starts soon, thanks for the help.
    nick

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