Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
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  #1  
Old 01-03-2022, 08:32 PM
GravesSpeaks GravesSpeaks is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
Default Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?

Hello! I come from a background of high-tech aquascaping - where no problem exists that a fancy piece of expensive equipment cannot fix. In aquscaping, use injected CO2 and super high light LEDs to basically stress our plants to achieve bright, vibrant colors and keep the plants low and thickly packed and make them more willing to uptake nutrients through the water column. I can talk to you about LED spectrums, PAR and the important of red vs pink LEDs all day.

I am looking for a new challenge and am converting a 50 gallon bowfront (36L 16D 20H) into an orchidarium and have been basically rocked by how different things are! So much so that I am now afraid I have thrown away knowledge that may be useful to me. So let me ask y'all what your thoughts are about this:

I am very comfortable how to achieve the right light level/LED spectrums for low, med and high light aquatic plants...is there any reason my knowledge doesn't translate to orchids?

The reason I ask is I was told that basically my weakest LED light bar (A Current USA Satellite Plus) would be enough for my orchids, some of which want med-high light. At 18-19" depth, that light bar would be ok for low light aquatic plants only...is it somehow different for orchids? Is there a reason high light in aquatic plants would be too high for terrestrial plants? I think I may be over thinking this a treating the orchids too preciously.

For example: if this was an aquascape, at a 18" depth on this tank once there was substrate in there, if I wasn't injectign CO2 I would probably put 1 Fluval 3.0 on there to start with.
Fluval 3.0 -36"
LEDs 252
Watts 46W
Lumens 3300lm
Color temp 6500k
This would be a safe, low-impact choice. That would give me essentially a medium-high light level. Most things would grow happily, but it wouldn't be enough to achieve really strong reds and things at the bottom wouldn't really be getting anything special.

How does this work in y'alls mind, orchid people? Is this somehow stronger if I take the water out? Do I need to re-orient my brain?

Last edited by GravesSpeaks; 01-03-2022 at 08:35 PM..
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  #2  
Old 01-04-2022, 02:54 AM
Shadeflower Shadeflower is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
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gravespeaks, I doubt many here could say what the difference between a pink and red led would do for the orchids.
LED#s are fairly new. The people that did use supplemntal lighting started with fluorescents and you know how it is once you start to learn how to do something you rarely want to switch. So the experienced growers have no expeience with LED and the people that have tried them haven't got enough experience to comment.

To me your experience should be relevant, absolutely and it might be that the advice I gave before was not adequate. I was the one that told you that light bar would be enough and you are having second thoughts because your high light aquarium plants could even handle more.

I won't stop people using more light if they want to. I've probably seen people use 90 watts instead of 30 before, practically frying their orchids, but it's just a waste. The orchids get stressed and it wastes electricity.

Like I mentioned you can very easily observe how much light is enough. You start with little light, you increase it a little every week, you observe how the plants react for a week, once you see some leave develop a slight red hue you know you have reached the upper limit.

You can even give slightly too much, look out for any damage and if you spot any, reduce the light for that area. As long as you spot damage straight away and didn't completely overdo it then that will not cause any real sideeffects, just a few spots on the leaves.

It's really not the end of the world if they get too little to start with. I mean not all my phals get enough light.
The ones that do after a year have nice round leaves.
The ones that don't have thinner less full leaves. This is a great guide to use. It requires growing the orchids for a year. So is it so bad if they receive too little light? They might not flower that year. Not the end of the world.

To me you are not taking the strength of the individual LED's into consideration.

If you have 250 led's that use 46 watts then each LED will be using 0.2 watts to provide energy. That is the max you will be providing your plants.

0.2 watts per LED. Whether you use 10 of them to light up 1 plant or you use 100 of them to light up 10 plants is the same, each plant would still be receiving a max energy of 0.2 watts per LED.

For something like a rhyncholalelia glauca that can handle full sunlight that 0.2 watts would not be enough. Even if you use 100 of them.

But one 10 watt LED would be enough for it because that 10 watt will be providing so much more energy. compared to 50 lower powers LED's that would also use 10 watts...

MAybe the problem is the light bars losing all the light they produce by the time the light hits the bottom because of how weak it is to start with.

The other one I commented on at least was using 1 watt per led light so the light intensity per LED was 5 times stronger for the other unit than for this one.

What that means is the other one has light that can penetrate the leaf canopy more whereas a lower powered light would only be good for plants hat require a very uniform precise amount..

Just try what works well.. 1 watt per led is strong enough.

Imo 0.2 watts per led should only be used for seedlings.

Last edited by Shadeflower; 01-04-2022 at 03:15 AM..
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2022, 10:03 PM
Steve83 Steve83 is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs? Male
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You don't need nearly the wattage of an aquascaped tank running CO2.

For reference, I light a 4' x 4' x 7' high light grow tent with two 100w grow bars dialed down to 60watt each. Even the highest light plants I have aren't any closer than 30" directly underneath the bar.

Do you know what types/genus of orchids you want to grow?

---------- Post added at 10:03 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 PM ----------

Oh, by all means, feel free to share some aquascape project pics.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2022, 12:16 PM
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Dorchid Dorchid is offline
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I have a planted tank thread in off topic if you want to post some there. Was actually going to update with some current pics.
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  #5  
Old 01-21-2022, 09:16 AM
clintonsparsons clintonsparsons is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
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I had an all ADA 90-p high-tech setup with two solar I’s then upgraded to ADA solar RGB when ada came out with that. I can promise that aquascapers put 10x more thought and care into their lights than orchid growers do. I quickly found out that my aquarium lights would fry orchids from the same distance. At least the ADA lights. I was sort of shocked at how little orchid growers care about the color of their lights.






It is a REAL PITA to upload pictures on this forum…. Here is my tank halfway through dismantling my old aquascape.

Last edited by clintonsparsons; 01-21-2022 at 09:34 AM..
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  #6  
Old 01-21-2022, 10:39 AM
Dusty Ol' Man Dusty Ol' Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintonsparsons View Post
It is a REAL PITA to upload pictures on this forum…. Here is my tank halfway through dismantling my old aquascape.
Upload you photos to the hosting site Postimages — free image hosting / image upload
Select "thumbnails for forums"
Paste the link in your post.
Done. Easy peasy.
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  #7  
Old 01-21-2022, 11:00 AM
clintonsparsons clintonsparsons is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dusty Ol' Man View Post
Upload you photos to the hosting site Postimages — free image hosting / image upload
Select "thumbnails for forums"
Paste the link in your post.
Done. Easy peasy.

Thanks, I went about it the hard way by going into my user control panel.

I like forums for their in depth discussion but I wish it was as quick and easy as Facebook when it comes to selfies haha
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  #8  
Old 01-21-2022, 02:53 PM
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Leafmite Leafmite is offline
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Aquascaper turned Orchid Keeper is overthinking LEDs?
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Good luck with the switch!

I am glad I opted for easy growing, low-light plants for the shrimp tank. I saw all the work some people were doing with their aquariums and it reminded me of all the work I put into the ornamental goldfish pond. Nope.
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  #9  
Old 01-21-2022, 07:16 PM
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Very cool!
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