Relying solely on lights - advice for my next setup?
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Relying solely on lights - advice for my next setup?
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  #1  
Old 01-30-2008, 08:54 PM
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calvin_orchidL calvin_orchidL is offline
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Default Relying solely on lights - advice for my next setup?

Hi everyone,

I made the plunge to artificial lighting about 5 months ago and since then, my plants have loved it!

I'm attempting another grow shelf, and this one is in an area that gets very little ambient light. I would love to grow slightly higher light orchids (If I recall, higher light is considered 2000fc +?), and am looking at lighting options. I recently bought a 125W CFL impulsively, but have come to the conclusion since buying it that it may not be the best option. The reason is that in my original setup, I have a 65W, along with 4 23Ws, and I can only get sufficient light with the plants less than an inch away from the bulbs...if you can imagine, that makes for very little growing space! I'm hoping the 125W CFL will provide decent light at 4" away, but realistically the number of plants I can crowd underneath is miniscule....so I'm starting to think that CFLs are much better suited for spot lighting to supplement natural light rather than as the only source of light. To add to the mix, I'm growing on a rather thin, long shelf. T5s seem like the BEST option for this kind of setup....but then I started reading threads here, and it seems that the maximum FCs you can get with T5s at a reasonable distance from the bulbs are 1500FCs, which is good for blooming phals at best.






Here is my first setup (one with a different exposure so you can see where the lights are). As you can see the leaves are practically up against the lights! Actually to be honest the color temperatures are all wrong but it was my first setup so I didn't really bother checking them....I should really put the plants I want to bloom/grow closer to their appropriate lights, but right now the governing factor in where a plant goes is it's size rather than what it needs...and I'm not too happy about that.



Here is my little phal shelf, with a crappy T12 fixture...but the phals don't seem to mind. It's likely because this area gets pretty good ambient sunlight.

So - I want to get maximum oomf for the minimum buck without having to stuff my plants right up to the light (makes it terrible when they try to bloom!). As a result, I've started thinking about 100W MH (which I have shied away from because I'm scared of electronics and wiring and I have no idea how ballasts work)...I saw some really nice threads here about how to setup 100W-150W MHs, which I perused briefly. How good would something like that be for a shelf setup?

My new pine shelf is 2 tiered, and is roughly 2.5ft by 1ft. It's really shallow, I know, but I'm going to be sticking mainly with minis, and I will also mount some plants at the back to some mesh wiring I hope to acquire. Any advice? I plan to mount my 125 W + 80W CFLs (one at 2700, one at 6500K) on one tier, and hope to get enough light to bloom orchids bordering on high light but still in the intermediate range.

Thoughts? Sorry for the long post, and if I wasn't too clear in what I'm asking! In essence I just want some reassurance/advice from you guys before shelling out the money to buy the lights.
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:07 PM
Deborah Deborah is offline
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Hi Calvin,
What your describing is the same fear I had when I started buying high light species last year. they are in a 12x12 room with a large window on the east and another on the north side
I supplement that with 3-4 ft flourescent fixtures,
then someone from my local orchid society told me this wasn't enough light to bloom them (I was so broken hearted) but, sure enogh not only have we been blooming them, I actually have burned vandaceous species in the east window here in zone 5,Illinois. (take that orchid lady) and.....they growing like crazy. I would post a picture of my setup but it is ugly.but the orchids make it a beautiful sight to me
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:09 PM
Deborah Deborah is offline
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OOOps forgot to say the plants are on large tables 2-3 ft. from the lights and blooming
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Old 01-31-2008, 09:36 AM
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Calvin, a 4' (nomial) 4 tube t5 fixture will produce over 2000 foot-candles 10" away. I am growing Dendrobium and Maxillaria and Angraecum at approx 12" or 1900 foot-candles. I think you'll be fine with a four foot four tube fixture. I personally like the New Wave brand. I also have a Sunblaze44 and it doesn't seem to put out as much light (different type reflector)
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:03 PM
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Thanks Deborah and Ross! So you think it will be sufficient for a relatively dark room with no ambient light? I will look around for sources and pricing for these lights in Canada. Would you suggest mixing 2 warm and 2 cool bulbs? Any idea what the typical price range is?
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:19 PM
Deborah Deborah is offline
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I paid about $12.00 for my fixtures (I didn't know anything at the time about types of fixtures but had heard those expensive grow light bulbs worked best, so this is what I put in my first setup. A few months down the road I bought a couple of cool growers, so had to set something up in a barely heated room for them, I couln't find the grow lights, so I purchased regular florescent, full spectrum that said sunlight on the package at a home improvement store for about $6.00 for 2. there are 3 in this room with a small west window , and so far I have bloomed 2 dendrobium nobile not to mention a citrus tree and 2 jasmines under these lights. I have since then replaced all my bulbs with the full spectrum sunlight bulbs and have seen a huge difference in my plants.sorry for such a long reply.
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Old 01-31-2008, 12:37 PM
Ross Ross is offline
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I really strongly recommend the 48" fixtures. I got mine from T5 Aquarium Lighting, T5 Fluorescent Grow Lights, Plant Grow Light Systems, Horticultural T5 Grow Light, T 5 Grow Light Check with them. They might ship to Canada (don't see why not!) Like I said, the Sunblaze44 is cheaper, but I only got like 1700 foot candles next to the lights. With the New Wave brand I get more than 2200 foot candles neaxt to light and by holding lights above plants 10-12" I measure approx 1900 foot-candles. You can grow Cats and Brassia with that kind of light with lights set for 12 hours winter and 16 hours summer. My basement is pitch black without the lights and looks like sunshine when lights come on. Also check this thread http://www.orchidboard.com/community...r-midwest.html John grows totally under lights. Read this post and see how dedicated he is to total light growing. I've corresponded with him and he is extremely helpful. I recommend either PMing hime or e-mail (he hasn't been around here lately so might not see the PM) if you need it, I think I still have his contact info.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:02 PM
Deborah Deborah is offline
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Wow! I couln't find anything like that when I first started, I think I'll get some of those myself
thanks Ross.
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Old 01-31-2008, 01:45 PM
Ross Ross is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deborah View Post
Wow! I couln't find anything like that when I first started, I think I'll get some of those myself
thanks Ross.
Deb, you won't be disappointed! I assure you. And I am serious that the New Wave is better than the Sun Blaze. Thanks to Becca for stearing me toward these. I was so happy with the output and the company we got ours from (she got the 24" 8 tube version.)
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Old 01-31-2008, 02:29 PM
Deborah Deborah is offline
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That would be perfect for yet another area that I would like to transform into a growing room
Maybe I just need to buy a large greenhouse and move into it, (now there is an Idea )just kidding .
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