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Thread: What's the maximum effective distance for Neps under T5s?

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    What's the maximum effective distance for Neps under T5s?

    I've been very pleased with switching to T5HO lights. I was initially worried about burning my plants, but have found that most healthy adult Nepenthes can grow quite close to the bulbs with minimal strain. I was also surprised to see that even plants on the edges of the light cast by my fixtures seem to get along quite well.
    I'm trying to get more bang for my buck out of my lighting setup these days though, so I was hoping to consult some other T5HO growers about the geometry of their setups. How far away can you move your plants from the fixtures before you start to see signs of insufficient light? Most of mine are eight to thirty inches from the lights, depending on height, but even the vines that have grown clear off to the sides of my racks seem to do OK with little to no direct light to their tips, which leads me to believe that I could light a much larger space with clever placement of my lamps.
    Pics, measurements, anecdotal evidence or academic papers are all welcome and would be a great help in my deciding how to proceed. Thanks!
    ~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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    mass's Avatar
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    Mark and I both have our 8 bulb T5H0 fixtures 3ft. above or grow areas.

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    ermahgerd petmantis's Avatar
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    Really? 30 inches away from the lights? Wow, that's impressive... I've always kept my Nepenthes withing 5 inches of the T5 fixture, so that their leaves would begin to show color...
    <Heli> How are you guys losing your hamatas?
    <Brokken> Heli: The hamburglar.

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    swords's Avatar
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    It took a lot of drum beating by Joe and Av8tor before I got into the T5 HO lamps but I'm really happy with 'em so far too. I'm using 4x T5HOs over my new High Land tank at 20-24" above the pot tops and it seems to be doing well and not nearly as hot as I had imagined T5s would be over a HL tank. I know it's not a Nep but I see today that my nearly leafless Utricularia humboldtii is at least flowering! I don't hardly ever get any leaves on it but I can have a flower stalk... LOL


    Pet T5 High Output fixtures are not the same as T5 fixtures from the hardware store.

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    Taliesin-DS's Avatar
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    I got 2 55watt plls (basicly just t5ho bent in a U shape)
    Some lowlanders show signs of exessive light (hookeriana) at about a foot below the lights.
    Dews get bright red about 6 inches below them.
    I got my seedlings and other stuff about 2 foot below them and they look well.
    my growlist: http://terraforums.com/forums/showth...306#post976306
    My pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/taliesin-ds/

    <Exo> @Talie......You are the lord of all things blah....

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    mass's Avatar
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    I still have a blister on my thumb from where I touched a bulb for a split second. HOT HOT HOT!!

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    swords's Avatar
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    Tali I have some of those, a set of 2x 55/65W and a set of 2 x 98 W they're nice to get good light over odd sized tanks. I like the T5 HOs better cos replacement 6500K full spectrum daylight bulbs are only $5 each compared to $20-30 each for the PL lamps. But thankfully both type of bulb last a long time compared to normal outputs.

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    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mass View Post
    I still have a blister on my thumb from where I touched a bulb for a split second. HOT HOT HOT!!
    Wow, really? I've touched the lamps momentarily and it kind of hurt, but didn't have any lasting effects. But then, I frequently singe my fingers while cooking so they may just be used to it. The other day I got a little too close to my soldering iron while I was feeding solder into a joint (pro tip - always have lots of slack between your fingers and the tip of the solder) and it hurt like heck. Smelled like burnt pork, scorched black and white, and I was sure it would blister, but after running cold water on it the burn mark washed off and there's no blistering at all.
    Well from the sound of it, two to three feet is about the maximum most people use. I guess I'll leave a few shelves how they are now and move all my short plants to those, and set up another for the tall ones where the lights are a foot or two above the canopy. Has anyone tried distances of four feet or more? I know these aren't as bright as HID lamps but I think I could satisfy at least my houseplants with one fixture this way and some light from the window to supplement.
    Pet, I do think we may be talking about different classes of bulb. At what wattage are your fixtures rated? I get good coloration even out to the two-foot range with my lights. (That said, I was also able to get coloration using six T12 tubes at the four- to eight-inch range.) Holding my hand six inches from the warmed-up fixtures gets uncomfortable after a few minutes, and starts to feel like a sunburn after 20-30 minutes of continuous exposure. I've got one N. sanguinea vine that's getting close to the six-inch mark, and the pitchers look great as a result, but the leaves are more short-lived than growth points on the same plant elsewhere and they clearly show signs of light stress - reduced size, light green coloration, premature yellowing, etc.
    ~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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