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Thread: Terrarium lighting

  1. #1
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Hello,

    Quite literally, I read all the topics on lighting and am more confused now than before! There seems to be a great deal of debate on watts vs. lumens vs. lux, etc.....

    However, I wasn't able to find a simple answer to a very important question: What is the best lighting (in terms of watts) for for a 20 gal terrarium?

    Question: What is the best lighting for my situation.

    Introduction:
    1. I have a 20 gal terrarium (24"L, 12"W, 12"H)
    2. My only source of lighting will be florescent lighting (compact, tubes, or other). The lighting will sit ontop of a plastic or glass cover ~ 6" above the plants.
    3. I will cover the sides of the tank with reflective material, and will put a fan in the tank to reduce heat. Thus, aesthetic issues such as excessive brightness or light color are not issues.
    4. I will (or at least try) to grow all types of CPs (neps, sar, butterworts, sundews, heliamphora). The species I will chose will be small, hardy and for beginners.

    Materials & Methods (two options):
    1. 1 - 2 double fixtures each holding two 20W tubes.
    Total W = 40 - 80
    2. 1 - 8 single fixtures each holding 23W compact.
    Total W = 23 - 183
    3. Other?
    a. I've heard about Florex lights, street lights, and other
    forms of florescent. Any information on this would be
    appreciated.

    Summary:

    Wattage using the options above can range from 40 - 180. What is the best wattage to use? Obviously, the answer will determine what setup I use. Any recommendations on alternative approaches to florescent lighting (using street lights, florex, etc) would be appreciated.

    I've decided on my plants, now all I need is a little help with lighting. I'm sure that as I become more experienced, issues such as light quality (spectrum, soft/warm) will become more of an issue, but for now, I only care about WATTAGE !!!

    Most importantly, thank you all for your time and patience with me.




    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
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  2. #2
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    While wattage is a good way to gage the amount of light it is not totally accurate since different forms of lighting will put out differing amounts of usable light. Wattage simply measures how much electricity is used.

    Now to answer your questions. For a small terrarium fluorescent is the best way to go. They are efficient and fairly inexpensive and won't overheat the grow chamber. For a 20 gallon sized tank either the 2 2tube (4 tubes total) of the 24" size would work well or a couple of the clip on type reflectors with some compact fluorescent screw in bulbs (I would try and get higher wattage than 23 though. Sometimes you can find them in the 40watt range).

    The florex/regent fixtures are nice and a single fixture would light the tank well. They use a 65watt compact fluorescent bulb with a 6500k spectrum which is nice. They do require some wiring though to use them indoors as a normal plug in light.

    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    You know, I think I'll go with the compacts for a lot of reasons:

    1. More potential total wattage for the future.....putting 2 double fixtures on the top takes all the space and limits me from adding more lighting if need be.

    2. The "ballast issue"......apparently, the tube fixture comes with a ballast box that emits a lot of heat.....i was told that there's a way to rewire the setup and move the box....i'll probably end up electricuting my self in the process.

    3. most importantly.....THERE'S NO PLUG on the fixture! It comes with two wires that I'm supposed to ground!
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Most modern fixtures have electronic ballasts so heat is minimal. Your correct about shoplights and the regent outdoor security light needing wiring for a plug. Not too difficult but does require some knowledge and parts. Better to be safe than sorry if your unsure on it.

    Try a search for 6500k 65w compact fluorescent and you should find a number of sites that sell them. You will have to do some looking around for best price etc.. just be sure it has a medium base so it will fit a standard light socket. One example... 6500k 65w CF

    O yeah.. one word of warning. You might come across these bulbs. They are replacement bulbs for the 65w 6500k Cfluorescent Regent/Fluorex fixture. You can not use these even though they will screw into a standard bulb socket. There is no ballast with these bulbs (which is why they are cheaper). example... fluorex replacement bulb



    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  5. #5
    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info on the compacts; that's a mistake I would probably have made. One other question if you don't mind...

    It seems like buying a small (computer) fan for air circulation is recommended. I was told to get one at a radioshack....how much rewiring is necessary for one of those things. If its a matter of stripping wires and connecting, I might give it a shot with the fan. If there's an alternative, please let me know.

    Thanks again.
    [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Well I havn't used the small computer fans in a terrarium. They come in 120v house voltage and 12v dc (computer voltage). Personally if I were using them in a damp terrarium I would go with the 12v lowvoltage dc kind. To do that though you will need a transformer to turn your 120v AC to 12v DC. If you go to radio shack and tell them exactly what you want to do they can get you all the parts you need to make it work.

    A small fan in your grow chamber would certainly be helpful for the plants to provide just a little steady air movement.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    chloroplast's Avatar
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    Thanks again...I went out today to radioshack and bought a 12v DC fan. Fan and adaptor cost $38, and the employee actually spliced the wires and put everything together for me!

    One last question.... I always end up having problems with fungus (that's why I got the fan)....just in case that isn't enough, what kind of fungicide do you recommend? I've read about cleary and captan? Which is best for use in soil? Which is best for leaves? Talk to you later, [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile_n_32.gif[/img]
    Secretary, New England Carnivorous Plant Society (NECPS) http://www.necps.org/
    Member, International Carnivorous Plant Society (ICPS)
    Member, North American Sarracenia Conservancy (NASC)
    Member, The Carnivorous Plant Society (CPS)

  8. #8
    Stay chooned in for more! Clint's Avatar
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    i use shultz fungicide/insectacide/mitacide. its like a three in one spray, i use it on seeds, cuttings, and plants i'm shipping as a precaution.

    whenever i feed a plant something and it molds, which rarely happens, i rub a little bit of alcohaul on the mold with a Q-tip and it kills it and doesn't harm the plant.

    you shouldn't get fungus as long as things aren't overly wet and theres good air circulation and light. you can also get trichoderma, i think i might buy some of that stuff too.

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