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Thread: My lighting

  1. #1
    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    My lighting

    Its the ultimate question for terrarium users, I know, but I would like to get the opinion of the experts here, applied specifically to my set up.

    Now lets see if I can recall the specs on my bulbs here...

    I have two 2' fixtures, one T12, the other T8.

    On the T12, there are two bulbs which are 6,500K 'daylight' 20 Watt.
    On the T8, i have one 10,000K and one 5,500K, both are 17 Watts.

    Below is a picture to give you an idea of the distance between most of the plants and the lights (which are roughly 18 inches from the bottom)










    Now i know i could put all those plants at the bottom closer, somehow, but i'm not too concerned with that right now. Im more focused on my Nepenthes, Heliamphora, and Cephalotus which are all within inches of the lights. For example- my H. pulchella has small nectar spoons, my Cephalotus is completely green, and my N. singalana, talangensis, and even ventricosa haven't pitchered in a while! (Though, that talangensis hasn't ever pitchered for me...)

    If you don't think I have enough light, could you suggest what I could do, within reason, to add more?

    Thank you very much!!!

    Still figuring this all out-
    CJ
    Last edited by UnstuckinTime; 10-04-2010 at 05:55 PM. Reason: photo update
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


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    nepguy's Avatar
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    I definitely think you need more light if your cephs are lacking coloration and the neps aren't producing pitchers. I would suggest scrapping the low-wattage lights you are using and get yourself some 23 watt (100 w equivalent) 6500k (daylight) compact fluorescent lights. They are extremely bright and an array of 4 would probably give you all the light you need for the kinds of plants you are growing, and you would only be running 92 watts. You could put them in a cheap 4-lamp bathroom fixture, or rig something up with several individual sockets wired together. They put out enough light that you could actually raise the fixture to have easier access to your tank. You will have to hook them up to a plugged cord, and you can get an extension cord and cut it for that, attaching it to the array with those electrical caps they use for connecting wires.

    I have an array of 8 in my basement, and there are a number of nepenthes producing pitchers with good coloration even from a couple of feet away. I have also found that a combination of 6500k bulbs and regular cool-white fluorescent lights produces excellent results.

    One of my basement lighting setups:
    http://i966.photobucket.com/albums/a...4/DSC02825.jpg

    Plants under those lights:


    A N. x dwarf peacock under the combination lighting I mentioned:
    http://i966.photobucket.com/albums/a...4/DSC02810.jpg

    Cephalotus under 6500k CFLs:

  3. #3
    nepguy's Avatar
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    I was thinking about it, and you don't really need to scrap what you have. You could probably just add to it to boost the light levels. A HO fluorescent fixture the same size, even with similar wattage to the ones you already have, would work just fine to boost the growth of your plants. Even adding a couple of CFLs would do the trick. Cheers!

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    Looking at it financially (I'm a poor college student, after all), i like your answer much better nepguy! Another factor to consider is that (for my nepenthes anyway) I just changed to what I have now from two 42 Watt CFLs earlier this summer, so they could still be adjusting. The Ceph, though (which you can kind of see in the second picture of mine) was deep purple when it showed up, and all growth since then as been very vivid green.

    I like the look of the system now, its more..."tidy" this way. I think the most feasible way would be to add some CFLs to the sides somehow... Any suggestions?

    The lights there take up more or less the whole top (there are a few inches of room on either side) so adding more up there would be tricky.....unless I get a single t-5 HO strip-light!!!
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


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  5. #5
    nepguy's Avatar
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    I've been poor and I've had ugly and I didn't particularly like either one, even though limits tend inspire creativity and the economy is stimulated by ugly (the costs of beautification creating and "saving" jobs). I'm an expert at doing things on the cheap.

    I get what you're saying. I like "tidy," too. I think CFLs on the sides would work, but it wouldn't look very nice. On my big lowland tank I have a couple of T12 fluorescent strips hanging across the back, facing into the tank. It doesn't look messy, and it backlights the plants and makes the whole tank look better, like a sunny morning. Maybe you could do something like that to make room for another strip fixture on the top, keeping the general appearance that you like.

  6. #6
    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    Yeah, this time last year I had two CFLs with tin-foil reflectors suspended in a jerry-rigged fashion over a ten-gallon tank. I had taped-on tinfoil on the outside to reflect light back in. No fan, no "shelving" it was very haphazard. I wanted to get away from that and try to get a little bit closer to civilized... Im getting there!

    But like I said, there are a few inches on either side (front and back) of the fixtures I already have, and I think if I move that forward an inch or so, I would have definate room for one of the following in the back.

    http://www.expresslightbulbs.com/images/image.jpg

    (24" t-5 HO, with a 6500 K bulb)

    In the back, it would be right over my heliamphora and pretty close to my Ceph as well, but I can rearrange as necessary. Thank you for the help! Any other ideas or comments are welcome of course!


    CJ
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


    My Grow List:
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  7. #7
    nepguy's Avatar
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    Sounds like a plan. I'm all for "civilization" in these instances. You know, a lot of these things will grow just fine as houseplants. I have a ventricosa I've been growing like that for a few years, all out in the open with no special considerations for augmenting the humidity, and it makes pitchers constantly. I suspect that eventually you might have to consider doing something similar with yours. Cheers!

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    UnstuckinTime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepguy View Post
    Sounds like a plan. I'm all for "civilization" in these instances. You know, a lot of these things will grow just fine as houseplants. I have a ventricosa I've been growing like that for a few years, all out in the open with no special considerations for augmenting the humidity, and it makes pitchers constantly. I suspect that eventually you might have to consider doing something similar with yours. Cheers!

    Oh I know, and I will! My problem is that I have started this obsession right before I entered college, and there is no way my family at home could care for them. Some of my larger Nepenthes ('Miranda,' 'Judith Finn' and 'Ventrata') I have put up in the University's greenhouse. Those are large and hardy plants, that can handle the changes. The ones in my terrarium are just my little ones that I tend to baby. When I get my own place, in a few years, I will hope to have a place to grow them by a window and this tank will be used for the tricky ones (Heliamphora and nepenthes seedlings, probably). But thanks for all the imput!!


    Cj
    "The plants you grow, end up growing you."


    My Grow List:
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