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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...I'm having a 48"L x 24"W x 51"H viv currently being built. While this is being done, I have been looking into lighting solutions. I realize with such a tall viv that ligh reaching the bottom to promote good plant growth might be a bit challenging. One simple solution would be to keep the bottom somewhat sparsely planted or perhaps add a few large, low light plants. I currently have a 48" Finnex 24-7 ALC lighting my paludarium. I plan on using this light and maybe an additional 48" Finnex 24-7 ALC on my new build.

My question is: If I use two 48" finnex 24-7 ALC Vs one, will it increase the amount of light that actually reaches the bottom of the viv? When I sit and think about it, I think I'm not fully understanding PAR and how it relates to this situation. Can someone help a bit?

Thanks!
 

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I think a lot of people over think par. Yes, if you double your light at the top of the vivarium, you will get more at the bottom. All else being equal, it will be roughly double.

A simple lux meter, not to expensive to buy, will give you a rough idea of how much light will drop off from the top of the vivarium to the bottom if you really want to measure. A par meter would, of course be more accurate, but also much more expensive.

Some plants require very, very little light to survive, so you can look for some low light plants for the bottom. Use your google foo and do a bunch of searches of tropical forest floor lighting and plants and read. There is a lot of very good info out there. You just have to work at it a little to find the good stuff.

FYI, from what I remember, par at the forest floor is down around 20 to 40. There are plants that grow in this sort of low light.

The amount of light that gets to the bottom of the vivarium would be affected by how your vivarium's hard scape is set up and how the plants near the top fill in.

More experienced people here can probably speak to this better, but I suspect there is a certain amount of trial and error to getting to your final selection of plants for the vivarium.
 

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Check YouTube and here for 250+ gallon tanks. With 51”H by 24” depth I think you have two realistic options, either have some small plants and a bunch of bromeliad’s or get some big leafed plants and let them dominate. Option 1 gives you more color, and more small plant options as light can get through to the ground. And option 2 is if you get a couple big leafed or climbing plants and let them dominate you’ll have less variety but you’ll eventually have a thick canopy level that will utilize all of the vertical space. Usability changes depending on the species. Thumbnails will use everything while large oophaga are more picky
 

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Personally, I think it looks natural and aesthetically pleasing to have fewer plants at the bottom, in an actual rainforest there is riotous growth in the canopy and relatively sparse plants with lots of leaf litter on the forest floor, which I got to observe during an ethnobotany class I took many years ago in Panama.

A few broad-leaves plants would look nice, and some of the iridescent begonias like pavonina, the dark form of burkillii, or metachroa could fit that bill - they are more iridescent in very low light. The only thing someone else will have to comment on is whether Begonia stems will hold up to dart frog activity.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That’s sort of what I was thinking too. I’ll have to start looking into those suggestions.
 

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Personally, I think it looks natural and aesthetically pleasing to have fewer plants at the bottom,

I have always thought about building a tall tank just to do that. You get the best of both worlds. A dense jungle canopy of plants at the top and a cool unobscured by plants hardscape below. Normally when I build a typical tank and install some cool hardscape I think "In a year you won't be able to see any of this."
 
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