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Thread: Flourescents

  1. #1

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    Hi all -

    Well, I followed swords' guidelines and built a canopy! Very cool!

    I put three 18" flourescent fixtures inside, and I'm kind of boggled about the bulb choices. My local store carries Sylvania, and these come in cool white, warm white, and gro-lux. In previous posts, I've read how people mix and match these things in various combinations, but is there any theory behind how to choose the right combination for a particular situation?

    For a terrarium with highland neps and some sundews getting little natural sunlight, could anyone suggest what combination of bulbs would be best?

    Thanks in advance! Leo

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Cool white has more blue tone. Warm white has more red tone.

    Blue light makes plants grow primarily leaves while red light helps with flowering. Too much red will make plants grow spindly however. Usually one warm bulb to every 2 or 3 cool bulbs is sufficient to give the plants the red light they need.

    Growlux bulbs are supposedly more balanced, but cost more.

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

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    Then for a 3-bulb setup, should I go 2 cool with 1 warm, and forget the Gro-lux? [img]http://www.**********.com/iBhtml/non-cgi/emoticons/confused.gif[/img]

    Leo

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    2 cool to 1 warm would be fine. You could swap in a growlux for a cool if you wanted to splurg although the plants may not notice the difference.
    T
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    Leo,
    Gro lux is simply warm and cool bulbs blended in one, there isn't really anything magical about them (they all claim to be the best thing your plant have ever experienced) basically what tropical plants need is light that is somewhere between 5000K and 6500K these numbers represent the "color" of noonday sun.
    5000K is almost "white" (kind of a golden white) this is the color temperature of the noonday sun at the equator
    6500K is aproximate to the noonday sun farther north of the equator (such as chicago/minneapolis) this is a slightly bluer light.
    warm white tubes usually are about 4100K
    Cool whites are about 7100K
    blending them together creates just about the perfect combo and for much less $$$ than specialty grow lights.
    If you would like to buy an inexpensive all in one 5000K lamp try the "sunshine" tubes sold at home depot they come in a horrid neon orange protective sleeve but are excellent at replicating tropical sunlight. If you slide the bulb out of the sleeve it should say "GE Chroma 50" and you'll know you have the right ones. I quit buying them because I strated trying the warm/cool mixture and it grows the plants just the same for less than even the cheap sunshines.

    have fun!

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    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I agree with Swords on the daylight type chroma 50 etc. However there is a slight benefit to using these specialty daylight bulbs (ultralume is another). The lumen output on them is higher than on the coolwhite/warmwhite. So you get more light out of the set up.

    For large operations this could mean using less tubes and reduced electricity use. It could also mean growing more light demanding plants more easily. Whether the chroma/ultralume would be worth the extra cost would depend on your own situation.

    For your set up I would try the 2 cool 1 warm and see how things go. You could always try different more expensive bulbs later.
    Tony
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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    Thanks for the info! The collective depth of knowledge in this forum is just amazing.

    As you all can tell from the fact that I went through the trouble of building my own canopy to save money, cost is indeed a significant factor for me. I think I'll see how the plants like cheap 2 cool + 1 warm bulbs, and later upgrade if they don't seem happy enough.

    Leo

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    Quote (Leo @ June 19 2002,01:55)
    Thanks for the info! The collective depth of knowledge in this forum is just amazing.
    As you all can tell from the fact that I went through the trouble of building my own canopy to save money, cost is indeed a significant factor for me. I think I'll see how the plants like cheap 2 cool + 1 warm bulbs, and later upgrade if they don't seem happy enough.
    Leo[/QUOTE]
    These guys are amazing, aren't they?

    Be patient--the plants will degrade before they bounce back. The last thing you want to do is keep switching on them.

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

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