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Thread: First Grow Chamber

  1. #1
    Peat's Avatar
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    First Grow Chamber

    Just finished up on my first nep grow chamber. This one is my lowland chamber... or highland... not sure yet, I have to build the second chamber in a couple of weeks.

    I am still debating whether or not to sacrifice looks for efficiency, the side glass panels let out a lot of light but I will test around and change to foil if necessary. I am also considering different options for the top... I may lower the lights in so I can build a good hood to keep in the humidity. I will add foil to the top for sure though, and I am working on a fan for some air movement. I purchased a fogger at menards to keep up the humidity and heatpads will be positioned on the floor underneath trays of water.

    The front doors are sliding glass and the sides are tempered glass sheets as well. The back is covered with plastic and a layer of foil. The wood is pine, and yes... i used nothing to protect the wood from the humidity : ) I do plan on having to rebuild in a couple years but this is kind of a test.

    Just posting to share with TF, if there are any questions shoot. Hopefully this can give somebody some ideas on how to build in the future.

    Hope you enjoy, if you would like me to post pictures after I have placed my plants inside just say so and Ill update in a bit.

    -Peat

    The dimensions: 4'x3'x2'






    The light fixtures are 4' T8 w/ a warm and cool bulb in each. Any recommendations pertaining to my lights is welcomed.

    Sorry for the enormous size of the pics, resizing on photobucket isnt much of an option with dialup

    Fin

  2. #2
    watnazn's Avatar
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    Lets get some plants in this badboy lol.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Looking good ;>

    4 tubes though seems a bit shy on the lighting. Particularly if they are 1-2' above the plants.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    With a chamber that size you may want to look at a 270 Watt HPS system with the son-agro full spectrum bulb. If it is in your budget can get a Sungrow fan cooled light for about $250-300. It would give you tons of light. If not you should go with as many T8's as you can fit up there. (At least six) Also should raise plants closer to the T8's/put pots on pedistals. Just my opinion, and there may be other options. I am having light issues on my highland chamber which has eight T8's on it now and is not nearly as large as yours/deep.

  5. #5
    Peat's Avatar
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    well college student and large budget dont mix together so nice haha but I do for sure need to raise the plants up to the lights or lower the lights. I am thinking about adding 2 or 4 more T8's as well now that you guys mention it.

    I do have a question though, I got a hold of a 400watt sodium HID fixture for a really good price. I was going to use it on some other plants but what do you guys think would happen if I put it on the top of this chamber for my neps? I personally think my apartment would burn down w/in a couple hours but I havent really heard anyones opinion on this topic before. Obviously the light puts off a lot of heat but do you think the light would be too intense and might burn the plants? I can get more spec on the light if needed.

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    The 400 watt fixture could never be too intense lightwise. Nothing is as intense as the sun. The problem as you already mentioned would be the heat generated. Your chamber could possibly overheat. So unless you get one of the new water cooled bulb fixtures, I think you would have heat issues. That is why I reccommended one of the 270 watt fixtures. Only about 1/3 the heat generated by this fixture. you also could still have heat problems with flourescents too.

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Just on a side note. You could put 8 T8 normal output tubes up there and they still would be too little for the distance. The amount of light that reaches the plants is based on the distance and the intensity of the light source. Normal output fluorescent tubes are very low in intensity and must be close to the plants to provide enough intensity on the leaf surface. The only alternative is to use a higher intensity light source if you wish to have the lights up high. HPS or metal halide, or some sort of higher intensity fluorescent such as T5 high output. You might look into those 100w 6500k compact fluorescent Fluorex fixtures. They are designed for outdoor floodlighting at night but can be rigged to work indoors for this purpose. They run cooler than HPS or MH and put out alot of light. Two of those babies on there would be pretty nice.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  8. #8
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    2 cents....

    Hi,
    To extend the life of the wood/structure of your unit, consider some waterproof caulk
    and or shellac or a good indoor/outdoor spar urethane or marine varnish.
    Allow it to soak into cracks and do a couple coats.
    I have a large lowland chamber I have had unexpectedly for over 18 years, so don't think a
    wooden unit won't last, especially if you take a little extra care and cost to build it well.

    This will not only protect the wood from rotting, but will also keep water from seeping thru
    the cracks or even thru the wood itself. Otherwise with high humidity,
    the wood could warp badly, preventing the glass doors from sliding, or water could even leak
    out onto whatever you have the unit sitting on, like a floor rug!
    (Been there, done that! I had enough flooding the plastic sheet under it un-noticed
    until our rug and floor was drenched!)

    The urethane will also seal around the glass some, which helps even more.
    Just be sure it's dry before putting the glass doors back in.
    (Do keep in mind, that you need enough space for the doors to slide in the track groove
    once the urethane is painted in. Nothing worse than it being so tight fitting that it freezes
    in place, and having uncured varnish literally "glue" the door in place!)

    While my unit is a little different, I have some plastic sheeting (2-3 layers) secured
    around the bottom few inches so if water did build up on the bottom of the unit,
    it doesn't create a "pooling" problem. If your trays/tubs that you may use can fit close
    together and up against the sides, this "loose moisture" can be kept from escaping.
    Taping a strip of plastic around the sides and back glass walls, that then drains/flaps/lays
    down into the trays a few inches below can help divert any moisture
    dripping down the walls even better!*

    If you have no top on the unit, it will allow the humidity to vaporize from the heat
    of the lamps and easily escape. Any plexigalss, glass, plywood scrap pieces can easily be cut
    and set in place between the lamps and the top edges of the unit
    to prevent the humidity from escaping.

    Everyone is right about the lights. I have mine in an east facing window with supplimental
    natural (the sun) lighting, which has worked quite well over the years, but more light is better
    for the best growth, and what you have now isn't much. If you are starting with smaller
    plants, either use lights that fit inside and can be lowered (It looks like your unit is shorter
    than your light fixtures, so thats out), or make shelves to raise the plants up to the lights,
    to maximize your current lighting. *(Using the plastic sheet strip taped to the walls
    mentioned above, will help seal off this smaller [upper] area like a separate smaller chamber,
    maximizing your "humidification" of your plants.)

    If money is an issue, it looks like you can easily and pretty cheaply add one if not two more
    fixtures to the top. It may look bright to you, but with the distance from the bulb to even
    half way down the chamber, a lot of light is lost. (If you look at the bulbs from a distance of
    4-6 inches, and then from a distance of 2', you will see the difference.
    A LOT less light, especially if you are a plant!)
    (Warning! Do not look directly at the bulbs for a long time,
    or you could become blind, and stupid!)


    Well, I have obviously run out of good advice... Oh, almost!
    If you have not grown a lot of plant varieties (Neps) already, do try to start with
    lowlanders/intermediates unless your room temps are already that of a highlanders needs.
    Its a lot easier to have warm household conditions that many plants can thrive at,
    than it is to provide a good highland/ultra-highland environment that some plants require.

    Good luck with your new grow chamber! It is looking good so far.
    I hope some of my suggestions may be of interest or thought provoking and helpful.

    There's many ways to do things,
    and that is part of the challenge, and fun!

    Paul
    Experience is the best teacher. At least it used to be.
    But then, common sense isn't so common anymore, is it.


    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...d.php?t=113866

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