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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
so im still lurking thru the forums so when i finally get permission from the other half to re-build my vivs, i will be able to keep darts.

my main question is reguarding lighting.

i recently got a hold of some free light bulbs but im not sure if they would work with growing plants in a viv.
the first one i got two of:
http://genet.gelighting.com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=CONSUMERSPECPAGE&PRODUCTCODE=12224&BreadCrumbValues=Fluorescent_GE%20Sunshine%20Bulbs%20-%20bright,%20noonday%20lightFP&ModelSelectionFilter=FT0025:Fluorescent^FT0007:Sunshine

the second i have one of:
http://genet.gelighting.com/LightProducts/Dispatcher?REQUEST=CONSUMERSPECPAGE&PRODUCTCODE=13969&BreadCrumbValues=Fluorescent_GE%20Daylight%20Bulbs%20-%20cool,%20natural%20lightFP&ModelSelectionFilter=FT0025:Fluorescent^FT0007:Daylight

so this is where i get confused, do you need a specific type of flourescent or would any flourescent that fits between a certain color temp work so say any flourescent between 5k-7k? i know they make those "special" UVB&UVA bulbs at petshops, but are they really that different than say a hardware bought Daylight 6,500?

now my next question is for LED lighting, i know they make special LED modules for Salt water tanks and such which are awesome, (my uncle has 5 aqua illumination setups in his reef tank.) but what makes these so different than say a high wattage LED or LED strips like you see people use to accent their vivs.

sorry if these have been asked but it has been confusing me for quite some time. thanks for any advice and input!

-Jason
 

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Hey, most light bulbs will work for normal plants, the reason why people use the UVA and UVB bulbs is for the frogs or other reptiles. I have had a normal 48 inch bulb on a empty 55 gallon viv for quite a while and all the plants are still doing good.

Good Luck, Curtis
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry I posted it on my iPad I wasn't sure if the link would work. Basically I have two 48" GE sunlight bulbs rated at 5k and a 48" daylight bulb rated at 6.5k so they will work! Awesome thanks for your input!

Now does anybody know about the LEDs?
 

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It's all about supplying a proper spectrum for the plants. Your frogs only need enough light to see and hunt dinner in. Your plants, on the other hand, need a growth spectrum.
You can NOT just use any old bulb. Regular, screw in bulbs are virtually worthless. You are looking for bulbs in the 5000 K to 6500 K spectrum. 5000 K, however, will not supply a pleasing spectrum to your eye. That means your frogs and plants may have a funny color under them. Your 6500 K light will be fine and is a good choice.
 

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I use a 36 inch CFL and the plants love it. my jewel orchid is already growing rapidly!
 

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5000 K, however, will not supply a pleasing spectrum to your eye. That means your frogs and plants may have a funny color under them. Your 6500 K light will be fine and is a good choice.
Agree'd. Noon day sun is 5500k. Anything less than that has a warmer color temp, or shifts more towards the yellow spectrum. Colors above 5500k are on the cooler side and shift towards the blue spectrum. Most people would agree a cooler color is more pleasing to the eye.
 

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It's all about supplying a proper spectrum for the plants. Your frogs only need enough light to see and hunt dinner in. Your plants, on the other hand, need a growth spectrum.
You can NOT just use any old bulb. Regular, screw in bulbs are virtually worthless. You are looking for bulbs in the 5000 K to 6500 K spectrum. 5000 K, however, will not supply a pleasing spectrum to your eye. That means your frogs and plants may have a funny color under them. Your 6500 K light will be fine and is a good choice.
I find it hard to disagree with you on anything when it comes to frogs, however with plants i have grown very well with 2000k and over 14000k, most plants will adapt to the light you provide just don't try actinics or super yellow. I have my hydro system setup with 10000k bulbs and my plants grow vigorously. for your viv though i'd recommend using something that is pleasing to your eyes as well as intense enough for the plants. you're looking more for intensity over color.


also I like leds, you get a brighter light with a lower wattage, not sure what leds you're looking at but i'm sure they'll work out if you have enough of them
 

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I find it hard to disagree with you on anything when it comes to frogs, however with plants i have grown very well with 2000k and over 14000k, most plants will adapt to the light you provide just don't try actinics or super yellow. I have my hydro system setup with 10000k bulbs and my plants grow vigorously. for your viv though i'd recommend using something that is pleasing to your eyes as well as intense enough for the plants. you're looking more for intensity over color.


also I like leds, you get a brighter light with a lower wattage, not sure what leds you're looking at but i'm sure they'll work out if you have enough of them
Other spectrums can be useful for specific things, like flowering. (I know this from a "past life" a long time ago.) However, watt per watt, something closer to 6000 K is generally brighter than a 10,000 K or 14,000K. So yes, while it will grow plants. A 6000 K is much more efficient, having more of the proper, usable spectrum and less "wasted" spectrum. So, comparing the same style bulb (t-5 6000K compared to t-5 14,000K), The T-5 6000 K will have more PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation). This means that you might need 50 watts of 14,000 K to do the same job as 30 watts of 6,000K. Therefore, the 14,000 K would be wasting electricity and causing extra, unnecessary heat.
So you are absolutely right, other spectrums will work, (I even admit I have some "sale" 10,000 K bulbs over some of my vivs right now. :eek:) but I will stand by my opinion that 5000 K to 6500 K is the best choice for vivs.
Lower spectrums simply look really bad in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Wow! Thanks for all the great info!

As for the LEDs Id assume that you would need more of them because I know comparing to CFL's their actual light output is less than that of a CFL. Am I correct? So for instance I had the idea of "lining" the top and inside edges of the viv with low profile LED strips. And I would assume I would want to get the "cool white" LEDs. So you would almost get a display case effect. I am just not sure if any type of LED strip would work.
An example: Waterproof Ribbon LED Strips
Sorry if the link doesn't work.
 

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led strips are very weak when compared to screw in leds or single 3+watt leds like cree or bridgelux, comparing light output of cree leds to cfl per watt the leds win, to led strips though i think i'd give it to the cfl
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ok awesome, that's what I wasn't sure about. So if someone had a tall viv how would the best way to light it be? I have a 55(?)gal tall that I've thought of making into a vert. But it's about 3' wide. So that would make it 3' tall. Not sure if it's better to just leave it horizontal or make it a vert. It's I believe 36"x12"x18" for the dimensions.
 

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Ok awesome, that's what I wasn't sure about. So if someone had a tall viv how would the best way to light it be? I have a 55(?)gal tall that I've thought of making into a vert. But it's about 3' wide. So that would make it 3' tall. Not sure if it's better to just leave it horizontal or make it a vert. It's I believe 36"x12"x18" for the dimensions.
A 55 is usually 4 ft. So it kind of depends on your actual measurement. Sounds like you are just eyeballing it. For a 3 foot tall I think Compact Florescent would work (sometimes called power compacts. If you are a full 4 ft, you may need to go up to Metal Halide but that could cause heat issues. You could also consider Compact Flourescent on top with some flourescent strip lights amending the sides.
 

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A 55 is usually 4 ft. So it kind of depends on your actual measurement. Sounds like you are just eyeballing it. For a 3 foot tall I think Compact Florescent would work (sometimes called power compacts. If you are a full 4 ft, you may need to go up to Metal Halide but that could cause heat issues. You could also consider Compact Flourescent on top with some flourescent strip lights amending the sides.
I don't see any reason for a MH. I think that's pretty overkill and will really cause heating issues unless suspended above the tank. T5's have supported successful SPS tanks for years, and those are some of the most light demanding species out there. JMTC.
 

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I don't see any reason for a MH. I think that's pretty overkill and will really cause heating issues unless suspended above the tank. T5's have supported successful SPS tanks for years, and those are some of the most light demanding species out there. JMTC.
For a 4 foot tall vertical tank?? T5s would never reach the bottom of a 4 foot tall tank. You need some serious penetration to do that. And I already mentioned you would have to deal with venting the heat somehow.
 

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For a 4 foot tall vertical tank?? T5s would never reach the bottom of a 4 foot tall tank. You need some serious penetration to do that. And I already mentioned you would have to deal with venting the heat somehow.
I'm pretty sure if I could get thriving SPS 24" under water, you wouldn't have any problem growing plants in a free air environment. ;)
 

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For a 4 foot tall vertical tank?? T5s would never reach the bottom of a 4 foot tall tank. You need some serious penetration to do that. And I already mentioned you would have to deal with venting the heat somehow.
+1 on a 4 foot tall tank even with nothing really blocking the light you'll need pretty damn intense lights depending on the species of plants you keep at the bottom, most viv plants though won't REQUIRE high lighting so unless you want super bright red plants you can use t5HO but you'll need more than 4 tubes, and when you reach the 4 bulb point i'd rather do bridglux leds or the hotter more expensive alternative metal halides
 

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I'm pretty sure if I could get thriving SPS 24" under water, you wouldn't have any problem growing plants in a free air environment. ;)
I am quite familiar with T5's and reef tanks. I owned and operated Colorado Coral Farms for over 10 years during which time I propagated, grew and distributed many thousands of corals from zoanthids and Xenias to Acropora, Millipora and many other SPS corals. During this time I farmed with Compact Flourescent, Metal Halide, T12's, T8's and yes, T5's. My last set of T5's by Sunlight Supply is still lighting my frog vivs.
Have you ever used a PAR meter to check your lighting? I have and I think that you are vastly underestimating how fast your light intensity drops off with each foot of distance from the bulbs. I no longer have my notes showing actual numbers but really, it is quite common knowledge that the intensity drops very quickly.
It is also commonly recommended in Reefing hobby, that T5's are generally considered unacceptable for anything deeper than 24"
I absolutely loved using T5's over my coral grow out vats and also over my frog vivs. But I can assure you that if and when a brightly colored acropora fell off my growing shelf, down to the bottom of my 30" deep growing vat, it would promptly turn brown and die. It would turn brown from a lack of light. They zooxanthella algae tries to increase to a point where it can support the coral. The zooxanthella is a golden brown in color and this would quickly cover the bright colors in the coral. Then is would still starve for light and die. This was over a 30" deep vat measuring 4 ft x 4 ft with 12 HO T5 bulbs over it using Sunlight Supply Tec2 reflectors which have been tested to be among the most efficient and effective reflectors made.

Now if you turn a 55 gallon tank on it's side, you have, what, maybe 20 or 22 inches of bulb space across the top. Those are going to be some tiny, low watt, T5's my friend.
I must stand by my opinion that you simply could not generate the penetrating power to get much light down to the lower levels. Plants would be extremely leggy at best. Absolutely no way could it support any Broms lower than about 24" down.
 
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I'm pretty sure if I could get thriving SPS 24" under water, you wouldn't have any problem growing plants in a free air environment. ;)
you would be very surprised, because of the huge amount of available co2 and nutrients from the soil the plants like alot more light, i thought the same thing once i started keeping planted fish tanks but then I started groing hydro and that changed in my mind. you'll need more light than you think at 48"
 
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