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Thread: 2, 4 6, 8 how many T5s will plants appreciate?

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    swords's Avatar
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    2, 4 6, 8 how many T5s will plants appreciate?

    So I've been allowing you guys to influence my opinion and am willing to try a set of HO T5s. I'm only going to buy one setup initially because I'm worried about their heat and whether or not I'll be able to dissipate it effectively enough for Highlanders.

    I am already using some 98W reef keepers Power compacts shaped like a 3ft long U which some people say are basically like a T5 bent in half and these buggers get very warm when used in an angled reflector 30*C is not uncommon at soil level on the succulents they hang over even though their shelf has a breeze from an air input fan. I don't want my HL chamber getting this hot, I prefer to have the plants 25*C or slightly less with the lights on. However, I am using the PCs over the succulents naked and with the HL chamber the T5s will be behind glass since there will be automated rainmaker misters running inside the chamber and I don't wanna soak a >$200 fixture and see just how waterproof it really is...

    Anyway, I'm curious what size setup I should get for a display vivarium 48" L x 36" T and 24" W. The light will have to reach about 24-30" down to soil level. Hydrofarm sells German reflector ballast fixtures with 2, 4, 6 and 8 tubes. I'm basically trying to settle between a 4 or 6 tube setup there is not more than a $20 price difference between the two units but will 6 tubes be too much for Neps and the lower light orchids or would a 4 tube fixture be better esp cos of the heat issues? I want a few Helis in there but they will be mounted/planted higher up in the display and be closer to the lights anyway.

    Any of you T5ers have both a 4 and 6 tube fixture that you can talk about comparisons between? Av8tor, others?

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    Hermopolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swords View Post
    Anyway, I'm curious what size setup I should get for a display vivarium 48" L x 36" T and 24" W. The light will have to reach about 24-30" down to soil level. Hydrofarm sells German reflector ballast fixtures with 2, 4, 6 and 8 tubes. I'm basically trying to settle between a 4 or 6 tube setup there is not more than a $20 price difference between the two units but will 6 tubes be too much for Neps and the lower light orchids or would a 4 tube fixture be better esp cos of the heat issues? I want a few Helis in there but they will be mounted/planted higher up in the display and be closer to the lights anyway.
    No, it will not be too much. Your terrarium is very tall for T5's, so it's going to be difficult for you to have too many T5 bulbs. You are going to have to illuminate 8 square feet at 3 foot height. I would use as many tubes as possible.

    -Hermes.
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    RL7836's Avatar
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    As you mentioned, heat is a potentially significant issue any time you want bright light in an enclosed area. However, if the costs are similar, I suspect that you can remove lamps and not impact the ones remaining - allowing you some flexibility with the larger fixture. I'd check with some others who are using them to be certain...
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    Hotrod30's Avatar
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    Get the SKU: FLT46 6 tube that has 2 switches. I believe the one switch turns on the two outside lights and the second switch turns on the inside 4 tubes. You would have to check with Hydrofarm to make sure that is right.

    That vivarium size is tall.

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Personally, I would go with the 6 and deal with any issues that may arise... I have a friend who built a simular set up and went with the 4 bulb. They now wish they have bought the 6 bulb instead.

    FWIW I believe most 6 bulb fixtures use 2 ballasts, one 4 and one 2.... at least I think the contractorlighting.com unit does. But dont hold me to that.

    HTH's
    Av

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Those Hydrofarm fixtures are... pretty expensive. If you want to wait a little I'll be starting tests with my highlanders and the six-tube model from contractorlighting.com. You could save a lot of cash that way. I've seen the Hydrofarm unit at specialty shops and IIRC the reflector didn't look any different than the ones that Contractor Lighting uses.
    ~Joe

    PS - Av, what's that doohickey called that holds the power cord in place? I'd like to use those as well, but I'll be installing mine on that nifty slide-out access plate. I guess I forgot about taking a picture when my buddy came over to help me, but I'll show you that quick-connect thing when I start setting things up.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

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    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Joe,

    That is a 1/2" cable adapter, commonly used in breaker and junction boxes to keep the romex cable from chafing and provide strain relief.

    super common

    http://www.electrical-supply.net/cat...subcatid_E_617

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    swords's Avatar
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    Thanks for for the input folks. The option of the Hydrofarms ability to run 4 or 6 tubes was something I'd forgotten about, that makes that 4 or 6 bulb decision over with I suppose! Does the contractor lighting fixture have such an option?

    Joe, yeah I can wait, I'm not in any rush. I've only just cut all my PVC trimboard tonight and am just experimenting gluing some scrap pieces together. Will you have your plants and T5s separated by plexiglass or glass?

    I see the contractor lighting fixture is about $50-75 cheaper but it doesn't come with tubes and teh hydrofarm does. So after I pay for bulbs and postage might make them about equal pricewise no? The Hydrofarm unit is supposedly 2" high whereas the contractor one says it's 4". I'd prefer a slimmer profile for both top and bottom fixtures leaving more space for air circulation/exhaust in the canopy. The Hydrofarm has individual reflectors for each tube whereas the Contractor lighting one looks like it just has one big reflector. Perhaps that's just how the contractor lighting photo looks but each tube is actually in it's own reflector?

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