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Thread: One more terrarium question for you pros

  1. #9
    swords's Avatar
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    I should clarify, I am using a Phazer IV Reef lighting unit by Red Sea (designed for growing stony corals) not a typical compact FL. These are easily obtainable at the salt water reef store you can also buy bulbs in a variety of color temps as well as wattages. At the moment I am actually blotting out the light from this with a dishtowel as it can still fry leaf edges even 3 feet up above the plants. You can buy a DIY version of this light set by purchasing two Lights of America "500 watt cool white work light" at wal mart for around $26.99. It is a 6500K cool white "flourex" compact flourescent screw in tube (a screw in double biax). one of these is 8700 lumens.

    Boy was I steamed when I found these work lights at walmart (check near the halogen lights and look for a red white and blue box-look up www.lights-of-america.com under worklights) after spending well over $200 for mine at the reef shop...! [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/mad.gif[/img]

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    I had a look at this website and found 6825 lumen @ 65 W.

    Even this seems to be extremly (almost unbelieveable) effektive...

    It would be interesting if this data are correct and if the spectrum suits the plants...

    martin

  3. #11
    swords's Avatar
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    Ok, guess my memory was a bit off but yes, it's a darn bright light and works fine for both coral fragments and plants-but like I said, you want to keep it up up and away from thin leaved plants. I burned my coccinea with it (that sounds almost dirty...) by using it over a 29 gallon tank as it was way too close for comfort. but the lights work real good over a tall enclosure.

    The Lights of America light is about 6500K which is the color temp of sunlight around Chicago. Unfortunately I haven't been able to get ahold of just the flourex CF bulbs only the whole kit. You can order them from ESU you just need to do it by mail, no just running out and grabbing a few bulbs and a few regular pocelain sockets and building a lighting hood.

  4. #12

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    Quote (Leo @ June 10 2002,3:22)
    Steve, how many plants (and what kind, other than ventricosa and j.finn) do you keep in your terrarium?
    Do you do anything to cool it down at night, like N.g.'s frozen water bottles?
    Thanks for the info! Leo[/QUOTE]
    I've got tropical sundews (a cape, a spat, and adelae, a diels) and a butterwort in there. The 4 lights (two cool, one warm, one gro-lux) are set up to keep the sundews happy at one end, while the neps are at the "dark" end of the tank. It is safe to say that the neps are getting a little more light than is perfect, but they are still a pretty healthy green color, perhaps a little lighter than is ideal. The Finn's pitchers are coloring up nicely once they mature. The butterwort, which is in full blast light, is also doing really well and sending up a flower stalk now--that has surprised me.

    Since the tank drops 10-15 F every night, corresponding more or less with ambient temperature changes, I don't cool them at night. Airflow is maintained by venting both ends of the tank slightly and letting convection work its magic, 24/7. I'm hoping that this will not be a problem with J Finn and ventricosa, which are not really "highland" plants, as I understand the term. If I am exhausting them, I'd like to hear about it.

    The length of the "day" is 16 hours right now--this is to suit the neps. I may or may not vary the photoperiod, depending on what the butterwort and sundews want, but I don't know what they want, yet.


    Steve
    I'd rather have a butterwort in front of me than a...wait, ummm...I'll come up with something...

  5. #13

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    Quote (steveo @ June 11 2002,1:43)
    I've got tropical sundews (a cape, a spat, and adelae, a diels) and a butterwort in there. The 4 lights (two cool, one warm, one gro-lux) are set up to keep the sundews happy at one end, while the neps are at the "dark" end of the tank. It is safe to say that the neps are getting a little more light than is perfect, but they are still a pretty healthy green color, perhaps a little lighter than is ideal. The Finn's pitchers are coloring up nicely once they mature. The butterwort, which is in full blast light, is also doing really well and sending up a flower stalk now--that has surprised me.[/QUOTE]
    Wow, all that in a 20g tank? [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]

    May I ask what your tank's dimensions are and also what length fluorescents you use? Did you actually find a fixture that takes 4 tubes, or do you have 2 doubles, or do you have 4 singles?

    After doing some lamp and pet store browsing, I'm so surprised at the variation out there in light fixture prices. The so-called "aquarium lights" are so expensive, even though I can't see much of a difference between them and ordinary "shop lights".

    Leo

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    swords's Avatar
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    I'm not Steve but I will say there is no sense in buying the expensive twin tube sets of lights at the pet store, just go to Home Depot or Lowes and buy two sets of 2 light fixtures. For the 20 gallon tank (either long or tall) the most cost effective setup is to use 24" tubes (these are a standard length and very inexpensive). If you end up getting a 55 gallon tank you can buy the 48" shop light fixtures and tubes very cheap as well.

    If you go to my link below I can show you how to make a canopy for any size aquarium. I show you how to measure your tank and assemble a wooden canopy from those dimensions for use with those assemble yourself shop light fixtures from Home depot you CAN NOT use the prebuilt lights of america shoplight fixtures with a canopy because they are actually about 49"-50" since they are an exclosed unit instead of the celining mounted flourescent light strip kits. If you can use a drill and hand held jig saw (both tools run about $20 each if you don't have them) you'll never spend $100s on lights at the pet store again! I know I feel dumb paying $299 for a "solid oak" canopy (with no lights in it-those costed extra) for my first aquarium (75 gallon) when I could have built it (lights and all) for about $100!

    Anyway, here's that link:
    http://the-natural-aquarium.com/diycanopys.html

    Sorry the graphics suck but other people have been able to build from them easily - I will update the graphics with real photos soon as I will be building a new canopy for a new 29 gallon in a couple days.

    Hit the lights! [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

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    Quote (Leo @ June 12 2002,12:50)
    Wow, all that in a 20g tank? [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]
    May I ask what your tank's dimensions are and also what length fluorescents you use? Did you actually find a fixture that takes 4 tubes, or do you have 2 doubles, or do you have 4 singles?
    After doing some lamp and pet store browsing, I'm so surprised at the variation out there in light fixture prices. The so-called "aquarium lights" are so expensive, even though I can't see much of a difference between them and ordinary "shop lights".
    Leo[/QUOTE]
    My tank is W12" X H12" X L29" or therabouts. It was labeled "20g Long" but it may be larger. I use two shop light fixtures (clamped together) as swords suggests--24" tubes sitting on a plexiglass sheet.

    I keep the nep's water warm by putting a small sealed container of distilled water on the light fixtures. Probably not a safe idea, but I hate wasting heat when I can put it to work. Legal disclaimer--I'm not recommending heating water this way to anyone!

    With careful placement (sharing a water tray between plants with like requirements, for instance) I could get four more plants in there, easy. I have repotted them into space-friendly pots made of translucent drinking glasses. Very chic! [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/smile.gif[/img]

    However, there is a cost to using the shop lights--they are ugly and ungainly, and unless you build a nice hood for them (see sword's post) are not easy to handle.

    There may be a quality issue as well. Common sense tells me that this setup should be way too bright for these plants at this distance--yet it seems just right at a distance of 6 inches. I doubt if my Lowe's El Crappo brand shop lights are putting out anything like their rated intensity. A $150 aquarium hood might be better built.

    Steve
    I'd rather have a butterwort in front of me than a...wait, ummm...I'll come up with something...

  8. #16
    swords's Avatar
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    Steve that is indeed a 20 Long tank. I warm my spray bottle waters the same way, ontop the canopy. And extra RO bottles waiting to be used get warmed on top the fridge. Very true-why waste a good warmer!

    The Lowes & Home Depot strip lights are the exact same thing as GE and Red Sea brand strip lights from the fish shop-just not as fancy (or expensive). No matter how they present it, a flourescent light is simply endcaps, wires, powercord and approprately rated ballast. You can actually get lights even cheaper than the flourescent DIY kits if you buy all these parts and assembling from scratch. Then, should you need to brightly light a terrarium and keep it cool at the same time you can set the ballast away from the tank and just run wires to the endcaps (lamp holders) and there will be almost no heat from the lighting whatsoever. [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/biggrin.gif[/img]

    BTW if you think your bulbs seem "dim" remember to swap em out for new ones every 8-12 months. Do you have a reflector? If not get some polished aluminum flashing from Lowes/HD (about $8 for an 18" tall by 10 fot long sheet) build an arch that you can slide between the bulbs and the box the endcaps are mounted in. (you can use tinfoil too but the flashing is sturdier). this will give you almost 25% more light directed straight down than relying on light just going in.

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