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Old 05-20-2020, 11:08 PM
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Question Plant light through glass tops?

My wife and I are at a disagreement on a tank build. It is my belief that if we were to use an exoterra tank for a dart frog build, and we leave the top the way it is with screen, it will dry out way too fast and be problematic for the plants as well as the frogs. I saw that hey have replacement tops of glass with smaller ventilation in it for the tanks to help hold humidity. Which I agree is necessary for most frog species.

I also believe that the led light fixtures available are plenty for growing your plants in the tank, even through the glass top. My wife feels that the plants will not get enough light through glass as it filters it. Can anyone chime in with something more than an opinion on this? I mean, people run glass tops on reef tanks and corals do well still, so how could it be different for tropical plants? Right?

I just want to do the best I can for lighting in the enclosure for plant growth. I donít think that itís as important for the dart frogs.

Also, anyone know of good custom vivarium builders? I like the euro style tanks I am seeing with the good ventilation in front and top with the sliding glass fronts. Also, the most fruit fly escape proof as possible!

Thanks,

Dave
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Old 05-20-2020, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Plant light through glass tops?

I think most people here will tell you a glass top is required equipment if you are planning to use an exo-terra.

There are not a lot of custom builders in the USA I have found thus far. https://www.neherpetoculture.com/ advertises custom builds but I don't know their quality. Also they are not building right now due to the pandemic. Insitu makes a dart frog specific vivarium (I just got mine a few days ago). Other then that most folks build their own.

Anyway regarding light. The answer is yes glass tops will reduce light by somewhere around 6 to 10% (assuming your top is a 1/4" thick or less). This is the number I have always heard thrown around. I own a par meter and while I have noticed glass does reduce the strength of light slightly but have never bothered to do the math to confirm the 6-10% number.

That said, there are definitely LED lights on the market that are strong enough to grow plants. A bigger question would be what type of plants you plan to grow? If you have a plant in mind that needs full direct sun for 8 hours a day.... then no there are no LED lights that are easily obtainable that will grow that beast. But if you are talking about growing house plants that get labeled "medium" or "low" light plants, then yes that is VERY doable with a glass top. Many aquarium lights will do this just fine.

If you want a light recommendation then frankly we would need to know budget and how big your tank is, plus any special features you want included.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: Plant light through glass tops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by minorhero View Post
I think most people here will tell you a glass top is required equipment if you are planning to use an exo-terra.

There are not a lot of custom builders in the USA I have found thus far. https://www.neherpetoculture.com/ advertises custom builds but I don't know their quality. Also they are not building right now due to the pandemic. Insitu makes a dart frog specific vivarium (I just got mine a few days ago). Other then that most folks build their own.

Anyway regarding light. The answer is yes glass tops will reduce light by somewhere around 6 to 10% (assuming your top is a 1/4" thick or less). This is the number I have always heard thrown around. I own a par meter and while I have noticed glass does reduce the strength of light slightly but have never bothered to do the math to confirm the 6-10% number.

That said, there are definitely LED lights on the market that are strong enough to grow plants. A bigger question would be what type of plants you plan to grow? If you have a plant in mind that needs full direct sun for 8 hours a day.... then no there are no LED lights that are easily obtainable that will grow that beast. But if you are talking about growing house plants that get labeled "medium" or "low" light plants, then yes that is VERY doable with a glass top. Many aquarium lights will do this just fine.

If you want a light recommendation then frankly we would need to know budget and how big your tank is, plus any special features you want included.
The other question is what types of plants you're planning.

I use glass tops in all my tanks, with a mesh section for ventilation, LED lights shine thru the glass quite easily.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:25 AM
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Default Re: Plant light through glass tops?

Ventilation is a complex issue. Neither the full screen top nor a full glass top is suitable. Into the search field on the top of this and every page, enter 'ventilation', 'Exo top' and like terms and read, read, read.

LEDs are the only option you should be considering for an ExoTerra. Most of us place the lighting above glass or acrylic; there is no 'filtering' issue to worry about. Which fixture you choose is also a matter of research here; hundreds of pages of info await you in the archives.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: Plant light through glass tops?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DTL8686 View Post
My wife feels that the plants will not get enough light through glass as it filters it. Can anyone chime in with something more than an opinion on this?
Glass filters out UVB light if that's what she's thinking of. Your plants don't need that, though (and LEDs don't produce it), so decent LED lights through glass will do just fine!
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Old 05-24-2020, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Plant light through glass tops?

I'm getting good plant growth on the substrate level of my 36 inch tall viv with glass panels lying directly ontop of the metal screen of the exo terra. I'm using purely LEDs. You should be good!
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