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Thread: Light?

  1. #1

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    Light?

    So I've been reading alot of the threads and I read that you can never have too much light but what hurts the plants is the heat form the lights. Is it true you can't have too much light? Right now I have a 30" double t5 fixture with a coralife 6500K HO and a regular 6500K about 6-8" away from the plants and the terrarium I have is 30*12*12. I was wondering if that was enough or should I get more light?

  2. #2
    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Without more information,
    like what KIND of plants you are actually growing,
    would help when attempting to answer your question!

    From what I would suggest right off the bat, not knowing what you are trying to grow,
    is to stick with what you have and watch your plants response.
    Plants DO communicate to us if we are attuned to their responses.

    And to say that endlessly the more light the better and
    that you can never have too much light, is more a generalized statement,
    and a comment regarding the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of indoor lighting
    and not an actual rule for growing great plants.
    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

  3. #3
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    This depends largely on what you're growing. A few Nepenthes do better in slightly reduced light, as do an even smaller number of Drosera. Most Utricularia aren't especially demanding of light, I think - but don't quote me on that. Two T5s up close is a very good start, but for some plants the warmth of the bulbs at such close proximity might do more harm than the brightness is doing good. Most small Nepenthes will handle less-than-ideal light better than other stressors like excessive heat, whereas many Drosera and tropical Pinguicula can take hot and bright conditions in stride and may even really like it so long as they're in appropriate media and their water needs are well met.
    A couple of details would really help here, beyond what you're growing. One is the air conditions in the tank - humidity/temperature (both day and night,) whether the tank is lidded or open, and if it has a circulation fan or something else to move the air such as flowing water. Are the plants potted individually, or is this a traditional planted terrarium? Another question would be what wattage your T5s are; most T5 fixtures and bulbs come in ordinary, energy efficient models, and high-output "T5HO" variants that draw much more power. If you're driving a Coralife bulb you probably have high-output ones, but it's worth clarifying.
    Alternatives to getting more light might include building a better reflector for your existing fixture or lining the sides of the terrarium with reflective material. Both will make better use of the light you're already putting in, but the trade-off will likely be increased temperatures. 30x12x12" is a very small volume of air, so even a little more light might create a substantial change in other conditions.
    ~Joe
    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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    Thanks for responding. Last night I actually just set up some tinfoil around the back and sides of the terraium. All the plants are planted in the terrarium and all of them seem to be doing pretty well. I have a repti fogger that I leave on for two hours and off for an hour repeated throughout the day and night which keeps the humidity at around 70-80%. The temp stays at about 78-80 degrees during the day and around 70 at night. I have a red piranha and big mouth flytrap, a white cape sundew, two capillaris and a Nepenthes ramispina. The white cape sundew is growing pretty fast. It looks like the nepenthes is staring to grow another pitcher. The big mouth had a flower bud starting to grow but I clipped it off.

  5. #5
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry too much about adding light in that case until your plants get settled in and you become accustomed to their growth habits. Sounds like things should be pretty manageable for the time being, but I'll give two cautions. First, keeping VFTs indoors can be a challenging, delicate affair and is generally not recommended for beginners - you'll likely have some difficulty with them come next winter because they need lower temperatures and other environmental triggers to tell them when to rest each year. (VFTs are accustomed to near-freezing temperatures and even snows in the winter.) Second, Nepenthes typically have different needs in terms of media compared to wetland carnivores like Drosera and Dionaea. In particular, their roots don't appreciate being in standing water, so you will likely have a hard time sustaining them unless you provided a good drainage layer at the bottom of tank. Most Nepenthes grow in loose substrates comprised primarily of leaf litter or sometimes gravel, which stay moist but not waterlogged.
    People do make mixed terraria work like this sometimes, but rarely just by luck alone. Your water quality will be very important - unless you are able to remove water from the tank, any dissolved solids contained therein will accumulate in the media as the water evaporates. I strongly suggest reading other people's terrarium threads to see the problems they've faced and the methods used to cope. Also, you should familiarize yourself with the native environments that your plants hail from so that you can understand what types of conditions they desire - this can often reveal details that you wouldn't expect by merely looking at how people cultivate them in pots.
    Another general tip is, while you're learning what's what with your plants, research how to propagate them from cuttings. It will likely be a while before your Nepenthes is ready to be cloned, but Drosera and Dionaea are both pretty easy from leaf cuttings on average. Finally, be patient and observant; observe your plants carefully and try not to jump to conclusions about your method. Nepenthes in particular are slow to respond to changes in conditions, but all CPs can take some time to let you know what's going on with them, both good and bad.
    Hope that helps.
    ~Joe
    Last edited by seedjar; 04-01-2011 at 01:23 PM.
    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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    Okay thanks for the help

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    Not Growing Up! GrowinOld's Avatar
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    Well said Joe,
    I couldn't have said it better in the time I have available!

    It is always the weakest variable that limits plant growth, so improving lights without
    improving other necessary conditions doesn't make up for the lacking conditions!

    Smarshall, I knew you would be reprimanded for growing a VFT indoors, but indeed different plants have different needs, some (like VFTs) very specific.
    It is not "one size fits all"!

    Good Luck!
    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

  8. #8
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I try not to condemn people for wanting to grow their VFTs indoors - I've seen skilled growers with some unbelievable successes. But I strongly believe that inital failures are bad for learning, so it's important to start with the basics before you try things "the hard way." There are always exceptions, but there's a reason people in general feel so strongly about outdoor culture for VFTs. I'd rather sound like a jerk for telling people they might be doing it wrong than see them waste their time and money or get frustrated and give up on VFTs altogether just because they got in over their heads. If you point out that VFTs are touchy indoors, even if they don't move them outside, they at least know that problems are to be expected and there are other ways to approach it.
    ~Joe
    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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