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Thread: A Newbie's Plant Rack

  1. #9
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    Would these be the lighting kits I am looking for?

    http://www.electricalmarketplace.com...-P254C213.aspx
    http://www.electricalmarketplace.com...-P256C213.aspx

    I'd be probably using 2 on each rack. Do they need ballasts as well?

    I am not sure if I should aim for a 4' or just a smaller 2' rack, or what. I am in an apartment so that makes a big difference.

  2. #10
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    You really want to go for 4' or longer with your shoplights. 4' and 8' are industrial standards and as a result it seem the bulbs and fixtures are available at a much lower price. Smaller sizes are usually marketed towards pet hobbyists and decorative lighting, so they go for nonsensically higher prices. In an apartment, 8' lights would almost certainly be overkill, but 4' is pretty good. A single shelf with two fixtures and four bulbs can grow six to eight square feet of most basic CPs. If you get things close together and put the lights closer to your plants, you can get really high light levels for four square feet.
    ~Joe

    PS - To do a little estimate, I use the above setup and have six lit shelves now. Each light cost me $7-$10 and each bulb cost less than $2, so each shelf cost about $20 to set up, with a $20 investment in a surge protector and timer for every three shelves. I think each shelf costs no more than $5 a month to run... possibly less. I use wire racks like a lot of people here do, and they're about $75 a rack. They can fit as much as five banks of lights, but I usually don't put more than three on a rack because I also use them for storage. By comparison, I spent almost as much on my first plant lighting setup, with 2' "grow bulbs" mounted on a small standing cabinet, as a 4'x6' rack with two 4'x18" lit shelves.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
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  3. #11
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    I currently have a flood light in a desk lamp pointing at a Chinese food container full of LFS that I'm trying to regenerate and get growing. Said food container also has a dusting of D. Filiformis "Florida All Red" seeds in it. (I'm actually kinda worried about them falling in between the LFS and getting lost, but, we'll see... I might have to try again with standard peat.)

    Anyway. Said flood light is a 65W CF replacement that uses 15W of power, and has a rating of 700 Lumens. I have it less than an inch above the container, and it's on for approximately 16 hours a day.

    The LFS seems to be perking right on up, greening up all over the place -- especially now that I have a heat mat under it -- but I'm worried about the seed, to be honest. Is that enough light? Should I aim for a second light? Or push my plant rack plans up more? Currently I'm waiting for my Tax refund, but could push that up if needed...


    I did see this system linked from the sticky on Terrarium Lights in here. The price is a bit... over the top, but the light mounts is pretty much exactly what I'm wanting. I could create the actual frame out of scrap if I could find the fixture, but finding a 6x T12 48" fixture is incredibly hard. Maybe I should just go back to 2 2x T12 fixtures instead...

  4. #12
    The Consuming Flame EdaxFlamma's Avatar
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    I can say that the shelving unit is the way to go. I wish I had thought to put the lights on chain though! I just zip-tied them to the upper shelf and that seems to work very well. So definitely splurge for that shelf. But how can I find out if I can put T-8's in my T-12 light fixtures? Would it be on the ballast?

    And I was under the impression that sphagnum liked to be cool if anything... I could be wrong on that though.
    Trying to rebuild. Feel free to PM me with questions.

    Grow/Want List

  5. #13
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    Starting to think it might be a really bad algae problem. It still doesn't come up with my fingers, but it's kinda... oozy... And I can no longer see the Filiformis seeds.... might need to consider a second go at it. Fortunately I still have some seeds...

  6. #14
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    Got the rack, and the lights, except whoops, the light kit I got was a "commercial" light kit -- read, no AC cord. Whoopsy! Going to return it tomorrow. Camera should be here today or tomorrow, too.

    The rack is a nice one, it's about 6 or 7' tall, 4' wide, and about 18"-24" deep. I currently plan on putting just one set of plants on one of the racks and going from there.


    Lowes here has abysmal light kits. I had a lot of trouble finding a T12 light mount -- but found plenty of T12 lights. Could find plenty of T8 mounts, but the T8 bulb selection was pretty crappy.

    Which do I want, exactly? T8s seemed to be smaller but brighter, T12s were bigger and cooler? I heard one will fit into the other one, is that true?

  7. #15
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    T8's are brighter than T12's, or atleast look it...........i use T8's exclusively anymore....

    BTW on bulb size....they are measured in eighths of an inch...a T12 is 12/8ths or an inch and a half in diameter, a T8 is 8/8ths or 1 inch in diameter and a T5 is 5/8ths inch in diameter........
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  8. #16
    mcantrell's Avatar
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    Hm, so by that reasoning, T12 mounts will fit T8s just fine, but not the other way around?

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