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.
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.
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.
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?
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!