LED Lighting For a Beginner
So I'm about to expand to another shelf of a grow rack. I currently have 2 4-bulb T5HOs on the first two shelves. I'm considering looking into LEDs for the newest shelf, but have no idea on cost, requirements, heating considerations, etc.
Generally speaking, is is practical to use LEDs yet?
A lot of random info about the LEDs I'm using http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...ut!?highlight=, plus some pricing.
Don't think I ever got around to pricing out the LEDs but if I was to build another CP area it would be based off this http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...tand-build-log.
LEDs are very practical if your in it for the long term. For me the break even point is around 2-3 years, after 4-6 years I wasted money using anything other than LEDs.
Just make sure and do your homework, not all LEDs are created equal. Some are just cheap and will not do a good job. A quick search of the forums should get a few specific fixtures to come up with people actually testing them. The best thing ever!
I've had good preliminary results with the LEDs from Jungle Dawn. They seem to be most popular with dart frog enthusiasts (http://www.dendroboard.com/forum/par...g-wattage.html), but some orchid growers have been trying them too.
A few months ago, I set up a little orchidarium with one 13W LED fixture; Lepanthes gargoyla's leaves colored up and it is blooming like crazy, so is the Scaph. rapax that's in there. Those are both lower-light plants, though. I'm curious to see how high-light plants, like most CPs, will do, so I'm trying these out in a bigger setup (20 gallon), which includes a Heliamphora minor (elevated and placed near the lights) so we'll see how that looks in a few months.
Looking forward to the results
Consumer grade White LED does not support plant growth (as they are not truly full spectrum white light! most are actually blue....)
I only use LED in tanks that have no live plants, or contain species that require an easily controlled day/night lighting schedule. (This is because most aquarium rated fluorescents' ballasts are not rated for timer/dimmer control resulting in shortened unit life and a fire hazard.
Temperate and tropical mosses generally do well with ambient lighting. This is true of most temperate ferns. I have gotten out of the habit of using tropical plants in my vivaria, as their requirements are usually very different from the requirements for caudate keeping.
Please use the search for LED in product reviews here on Caudata.org for a detailed breakdown of what I use, including pictures.