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Thread: High Output Fluorescents

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    lambdlth's Avatar
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    High Output Fluorescents

    OK, I need help from the experts, or at least the experienced. I am in the process of helping our local aquarium (Great Lakes Aquarium) set up a CP display. We have bounced a lot of ideas around which I had personal experience and good success using. For the better, they have decided to dive in and make this a significant display in a kiosk in a prominent part of the museum (opposed to a display aquarium which had less height). We have been discussing lighting and I am a little stumped, because I want this thing to thrive and look fantastic.

    The chamber will be about three feet wide, two feet deep and three feet tall. I have the display part figured out, but I need help with the lighting. The fixture will be in a small enclosed room, therefore, I am hesitant to use any HID lighting because of heat (the room is really small, just large enough for access to the display). The plants will be presented tiered in a planted terrarium style, so plants which need more light can be placed higher in the enclosure. I am going to try my damndest to grow a tall sarracenia in there without any dormancy (I know what your going to say about that). The plan is to rotate a certain couple of plants that may exhaust due to insufficient conditions. Previously, we had success for four years with a sarracenia purpurea which got huge. We are going to try some bladderworts, butterworts and drosera. Anyway, I'm off topic. Can anyone recommend a suitable high output fluorescent fixture? I am guessing the T5 fixtures, but how many bulbs, etc.

    You guys have given me awesome advice in the past, and, if anyone can help me, I know someone here can. Thanks.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Why not Neps instead of Sarracenia? Seems like it would be less effort to make it work, and you'd probably end up with a showier end-product. You could make a paludarium of it and incorporate some fish and stuff. A tall Sarracenia may be possible... but will you really be able to do enough to make it look good? (Do you have access to climate-control systems? If it's an aquarium I bet somebody's got a water chiller.) Also, if you're doing low-growers and tall Sarracenia, how do you plan to make the tiered approach work? It's one thing to keep tall Sarrs happy with artificial lights - you intend to grow things underneath them too? Consider building some fluorescent fixtures into the corners of your display so you can light the sides and not just the top. (I assume you're using some sort of case with flat walls.)
    Sounds like a fun project - I hope it goes well for you. I don't have experience with HFOs, but if you can make the initial investment they seem like a good deal to me. To look at the numbers, they're pretty drool-worthy.
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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I would go the compact fluorescent -- 6400K full-spectrum daylight -- route; they offer plenty of illumination, don't throw off too much heat, and they're economical to run. I use them with my younger plants to great effect. They're second only to daylight in my book . . .
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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    lambdlth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seedjar View Post
    Why not Neps instead of Sarracenia? Consider building some fluorescent fixtures into the corners of your display so you can light the sides and not just the top. (I assume you're using some sort of case with flat walls.)
    Awesome!!! I saw a display a few weeks ago at the orchid show with this setup, and I completely forgot. Thanks.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambdlt...7614970126427/

    We have a beautiful Nep that is going in as well. We are attempting to give examples of many types of CP's to show people the diversity in the field. I am certain there will be additions and exclusions as the project develops. The tiered effect will be accomplished using cork tubes holding drained and undrained pots, based on the plants needs. This way I can get plants up by the light and achieve a natural effect.

    And...BigBella, I am pushing for that fixture you suggested. I am wondering though, how high above your plants do you have the fixture? Thanks.

    If this thing works, I will post photos and let everyone see the end result.
    Last edited by lambdlth; 03-31-2009 at 02:40 PM. Reason: Could not see photo

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    BigBella's Avatar
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    I currently have the compact fluorescent fixtures about 15 cm (6") above a tray of younger plants. The real advantage to these lights stems from the fact that you can suspend the element in a simple socket fixture among the foliage -- vertically, horizontally -- without burning anything. They're fairly cool-running and perfect for smaller enclosures, especially where the prospect of wilted spinach salad is to be avoided at all costs

    The multi-element bulbs are relatively-pricey (about 60.00) but are rated for 10,000 hours; but I haven't replaced mine in eighteen months or more and they're still going strong . . .

    http://www.hydrofarm.com/pb_detail.php?itemid=115
    “Sì perché l'autorità dell'opinione di mille nelle scienze non val per una scintilla di ragione di un solo . . ."

    -- Galileo "Biff" Galilei

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