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How much lighting do I need?

  • ~150w

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  • ~200w

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  • ~250w

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  • ~300w

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The tank is a 115g (36L x 24W x 30H).

I want to grow a variety of plants, from broms to epips to mosses, of course excluding the most extreme plants which would need ridiculous amounts of lights.

Luke
 

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You can't really go by wattage because watts are not a measure of light. Watts are a measure of power and indicate how much power a given bulb consumes. Different light technologies produce different amounts of light per watt. A 40w incandescent bulb produces a lot less light than a 40w fluorescent bulb, which produces much less than a 40w compact fluorescent. And although a higher wattage bulb of a given technology produces more light than a lower watt, you can't know how much more. For example a 200w bulb may not produce twice as much light as a 100w.

The light units that bulbs are typically rated with are lux, lumens, or sometimes footcandles which can be helpful for deciding light needs but still isn't the best measurement for plants. Photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) measured as photosynthetic photon flux density per second (PPFD) is the best measurement but I've never seen a bulb rated with PPFD.

The rule I use is to cram in the brightest light you can without cooking the viv with heat. I think compact fluorescent are the best thing going right now but they run much warmer than standard fluorescent. In general, even plants with low light requirements have better growth form under bright lights and are more forgiving of wet conditions. Mosses need a fair amount light to grow in a viv and broms will go nuts under CF. You can do orchids too if you can keep the heat down and the air moving around the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Forgot to mention, but i meant in fluorescent tubes. Anyway, i'm trying to keep at as cheap as possible right now, and it will be DIY, so i'm thinking of 2 ballasts powering 8 32w tubes as of right now. They are 4ft long tubes, but i was wondering if i could use 3' tubes instead with the same ballasts?

Luke
 
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