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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,
After some vigorous reading through old threads I am still having some difficulty deciding on which lights to use for my recent 36x36x18 exo terra. I have another 36 that I built last year and the light I chose was a 12x12 LED panel a friend of mine makes. I put two of them on top and they work great. However, I cannot get these lights anymore and I am on a budget since I just got laid off.

So, I am trying to decide the best way to light this viv and get enough spread and penetration. I'm curious what people are thinking in 2020 for tall vivarium lighting. I am a little doubtful of Spectral designs and they're a little pricey. But, I would consider them if there are no other options. My favorite light is the fluval 3.0 plant light but they are only 3" wide which probably won't get enough spread and they too, are expensive.

I'm currently planning to get a nicrew or beamsworks 36" light and add two 20w led floodlights for supplemental brightness. This will cost around $75
 

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SD panels are more expensive up front than some bargain fixtures, so if initial cost is a priority then they aren't the best choice. You shouldn't doubt that they'd work, though -- they are outstanding performers.

You've apparently built a few vivs before, so I hope this doesn't come off as condescending, but: penetration shouldn't be a priority in a dart viv. The substrate should be mostly leaf litter, and shady.

Lighting that is not full-panel (like many linear or puck-style aquarium lights used on vivs) can throw a lot of shadows that make the viv look as if it isn't bright enough, but is really just a spread issue. Thoughtful landscaping, and mounting the lighting so that it aims not straight down but down and back -- so that the reflected light bounces out the front instead of straight up -- can help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You're not being condescending. Thank you for your comment. I understand what you say about penetration not being a priority in some ways. However, yes, this is 36" tall and while I do not have lots of plants of the ground or a loose substrate. (I have turface with leaf litter) I do have some spots for broms that are at least 24-30" from the lights and I would like to have some intermittent moss close to the ground in this build so I think I do need some amount of "penetration".
 

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I have a 36x36x24" viv that I light using these.

I get the 15W E27 Cool White's, and they're less than $3 each. I am using 6 of them and a couple Jungle Dawns for more general canopy lighting.

I really don't think the Jungle Dawns are necessary.

Here's a shot of the viv


The floor is mostly leaf litter and woody rubble (this is how I like it), but Syngoniums, Macodes, Ficus, and Peperomia grow just fine down there.

Edit to mention: The green bromeliads half way down are 'fireballs.' they get shaded by the bromeliads above them, otherwise they'd be redder. Since you specifically asked about mounting broms deeper down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you. Nice pic. :) I hear what your saying. I guess at the end of the day I can put my slightly lower light plants lower down and let the moss just grow where it wants to. Can't force nature. (Don't have to at least). I've had a few different large vivs and never had a problem really. I appreciate the affordable suggestion for lights.
 

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I have a 36x36x24" viv that I light using these.

I get the 15W E27 Cool White's, and they're less than $3 each. I am using 6 of them and a couple Jungle Dawns for more general canopy lighting.

I really don't think the Jungle Dawns are necessary.

Here's a shot of the viv


The floor is mostly leaf litter and woody rubble (this is how I like it), but Syngoniums, Macodes, Ficus, and Peperomia grow just fine down there.

Edit to mention: The green bromeliads half way down are 'fireballs.' they get shaded by the bromeliads above them, otherwise they'd be redder. Since you specifically asked about mounting broms deeper down.
Thanks for the info! How do you find the light color/spectrum of the 'cool white' is compared to the Jungle Dawns?

Beautiful viv, btw! Slightly off topic, but what are the little vines that you have draping from the broms in the center (and growing throughout)? Thanks!
 

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My eyes don’t see much of a color difference between the jungle dawns and the cool whites. The two styles have very different applications though- the jungle dawns have more spread with less penetration while the cheapies I linked have more penetration with less spread.

The little hanging vines are Peperomia emarginella. It also serves as a ground cover around the pond at bottom left.
 

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@Broseph awesome tank! This is probably a stupid question, but how do you power all those lights? im assuming you use a hood for the jungle dawns, but what about the 6 LEDs from eBay? Are each of them plugged in to a separate socket? I’m a noob when it comes to this stuff, so if you had any pics they would be appreciated 😂 Thanks!
 

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@Broseph awesome tank! This is probably a stupid question, but how do you power all those lights? im assuming you use a hood for the jungle dawns, but what about the 6 LEDs from eBay? Are each of them plugged in to a separate socket? I’m a noob when it comes to this stuff, so if you had any pics they would be appreciated 😂 Thanks!
Hey. I made my own hood and used “pony cleat sockets” for the cheap LED spotlights. They have open terminals and are a shock risk. Honestly, it‘s probably careless of me to recommend these things on the forum.

I’m too busy to hunt it down, but I swear there was a thread in recent history that talked about a safer way to use bulbs like these, maybe using a different base than E27... I’ll keep looking.
 
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