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I have been looking at different led lighting options for my future setup . I know current USA and jungle hobbies have offerings as well as a company called nicrew. What do yall recommend for a light that grows plants decently while looking good and not breaking the bank?
 

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Most anything can grow plants nicely. I love my nicrew lights, have no plans to upgrade them even though I could, monetarily , afford to. They produce a nice light quality, are made better than I would expect for the cost, and are dimmable with a ramp up timer.
 

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It depends on the plants. If you're not trying to grow very high light plants (and your frogs won't appreciate intense light anyway), seems like nicrew is a popular, solid choice. I have used two of the highest PAR aquarium lights on the market, supplemented with LED spotlights, to grow things like mini Catts and vandaceous orchids - if you're interested I can go into more detail, but it's probably not what you're looking for for a standard dart frog setup.
 

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I like these! Stupid bright, not dimmable, but decently cheap in price. You can hear the fan but it's not annoying. I'm running two over my 180 planted only tank.
301321
 

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Most anything can grow plants nicely. I love my nicrew lights, have no plans to upgrade them even though I could, monetarily , afford to. They produce a nice light quality, are made better than I would expect for the cost, and are dimmable with a ramp up timer.
Any chance you have links to the Nicrew setup that you have? I'm looking to replace the lighting on my 18x18x24 viv, and it seems a lot of people like their Nicrews. Thanks!
 

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Any chance you have links to the Nicrew setup that you have? I'm looking to replace the lighting on my 18x18x24 viv, and it seems a lot of people like their Nicrews. Thanks!
These are the ones I prefer but they only come in 36" lengths as far as I can tell.


I like these ones too:
https://www.amazon.ca/gp/aw/d/B08JX...=UTF8&psc=1&pd_rd_i=B08JXDC8PMp13NParams&th=1
 

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I'm going to give this one a try, since it comes in the size I need and it has some control (as much as I really like the flexibility of the remote options on the larger one you linked to). I have a UVB bulb in my lighting hood right now for the frogs, so I've been using Repashy Supercal LoD for feeding. I know this question belongs more in the Feeding section, but should I continue using the LoD version with the Nicrew SkyLED Plus light, or switch to Calcium Plus? Happy to repost/move this question to the right section, too.
 

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It depends on the plants. If you're not trying to grow very high light plants (and your frogs won't appreciate intense light anyway), seems like nicrew is a popular, solid choice. I have used two of the highest PAR aquarium lights on the market, supplemented with LED spotlights, to grow things like mini Catts and vandaceous orchids - if you're interested I can go into more detail, but it's probably not what you're looking for for a standard dart frog setup.
Im not OP but could you explain a little bit more about your lighting situation? I’m interested in growing mini Catts as well.
 

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I bought a 4pk of 48" shop lights (LED) and zip ties them to the bottom of each of the racks. Plants are looking great. I know some people even use those adhesive LED strips, and have good results.
 

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Im not OP but could you explain a little bit more about your lighting situation? I’m interested in growing mini Catts as well.
You're going to want lights that have PAR readings (or you can buy a rather expensive PAR/PPFD light meter and take them yourself). This is a great reference for PAR requirements of various plants including orchids:


I've been successfully growing and blooming a Sophronitis cernua at 200-300. I would say to really color up broms, you'll need similar light levels.
 

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Do you have any par meter brand/model recommendations, @Harpspiel ?
The person who contributed PAR readings to that article (Kelly McCracken, a local mini orchid seller who is gaining a name nationally), used a $500 meter by Apogee. I think any reliable PAR meter is at least in the $200 range, so I don't have one. My next non-plant splurge is going to be virus testing my collection, and then at some point I might consider a high quality light meter. I do have a cheap light meter that measures in footcandles, but that measurement system is pretty obsolete - PAR measures wavelengths of light that plants actually use, footcandles is just any wavelength visible to the human eye (I think).

Anyway, when I give PAR estimates for my setup, it's based on the manufacturer specs from the combination of lights I use. How I actually determine how much light a plant wants is based on observing growth and leaf color. Many of the Cattleya family will get red speckling in sufficient light (a "tan"), and Masdevallias should generally be apple-green and not dark green. If other conditions are met and the plant is growing well, but hasn't bloomed in over a year, more light is a likely solution.
 
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