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Hi everyone. I am working on setting up a completely indoor, artificially lit aquaponics facility. Can I get some opinions on what lighting to use?

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And if anyone could comment on induction lighting - brand name Inda-Gro, please share.

Induction lighting notwithstanding...so we can leave them out of what I say...

There is still no better, no more economical, no more energy efficient lighting for the purpose of growing plants  than High Intensity Discharge lighting (HID's)... Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and I should include Ceramic Metal Halide CMH in there as well as all the HPS/MH combo bulbs that are out there as of late. (Like the Phillips Son-T-Agro-plus' that I've been keen on for a while now)...

Much of the details will depend on what you wish to grow, spacial dimensions of your area, air temps (is the heat helpful, or a hinderance? Realistically that will depend on the time of year), but when all is said and done, and you put it all down on paper, that is the conclusion I (and others) have come to time and time again...All personal  'passions' and peoples ridiculous parroting of manufacturers marketing blurbs aside, that is it in black and white.

That said, induction technology seems pretty awesome if you can justify the initial price, I doubt you will find more than a very, very small handful of people (2 maybe 3 that I'm aware of) here who have ever used them, and Jesse Hull is the only one I know of who doesn't own a hydro store and in't trying to sell them. http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/photo/album/listForOwner?sc...

i couldn't justify the price for a "personal use" indoor system.. my goal was to be able to get 1 meal a week (the goal has evolved a bit) from my basement.. so i went with regular flourescent shop lights.. a 2 bulb fixture for 2 32watt t8 lights was about $10,,, i can usually find bulbs for 2 or 3 bucks - i use 3 fixtures per growbed-each gb is a half of an ibc

while this isn't good for many fruiting plants, i've grown carrots, radishes, beats, lettuces, basil, celery,, lots of greens and spices do just fine, and it's lower energy usage.. it all depends on your goals

Ok, sure. But lets look at at it this way...a single HID bulb will need to be replaced in about 2 years time(as opposed to replacing flouro tubes every 6 months due to drastic fall off of PAR, Photosynthetically Active Radiation)...So we'll use that 2 years as a baseline...One grow bed:

3- T-8 fixtures =                              $30   (4 fixtures would be closer to optimal for a 1 by 1.2 metre grow bed)

Replacement tubes =                      $72

3 sets of hangers and/or hardware    $5-$15

Wattage per grow bed   =                192Watts

Lumens you get per Watt =              58 lumens for each one of those Watts you are paying for

Having to constantly adjust fixtures to within 2" of the tops of your plants = Free, but gets to be a hassle IMO

Plants also need to be relatively the same height because of this...         = kinda sucks

 

1- Complete 250Watt HPS rig

(ballast, bulb, reflector and adjustable hanger) = $100-$120

Repalcement bulb after 2 years =                      $10-$12

Wattage per grow bed =                                    250

Lumens you get per Watt =                              112-140 (depending on manufacturer) So you are getting double the amount of lumens per each Watt that you pay the electric company for, when compared to T-8 flouro's…

 

Plus, no (daily sometimes) messing with height adjustments, and you can have a much more varied grow bed in terms of plant height. And then theres the the whole thing with being able to support fruiting plant growth.

And where does all that mercury contained in the flouro tubes end up when you toss them? Should one happen to explode above your grow bed, you can pretty much scrap it all and start over…

I’m not saying “don’t do this, or you have to do that”…just that the difference in cost is no difference at all (actually the flouros come out costing more when you look at what you get i.e lumens per Watt as well as the cost of replacing bulbs at four times the rate). When you realistically look at everything involved and not just the immediate cost of a tube, things start to take on a new light…(pun intended)...                             

great info vlad..my system came together peacemeal, on the cheap.. now that it's up, i might actually be able to make a few bucks off of it, and will seriously consider changing at least one gb over..

 

oh... and i haven't changed bulbs in,,,, well... ever!   the only broken bulb was the result of being stepped on.. lol

 

cheapest: HPS

best: CMH

Hey Vlad, I spent time with Jesse (and Molly) in Orlando last week. Quality guy. And I think I inspired him to give CMH a better look. One thing I hadn't considered before is that red plants need UV light to turn red, so plus one for CMH if your growing red lettuce, or anything that may bud purple 

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Induction lighting notwithstanding...so we can leave them out of what I say...

There is still no better, no more economical, no more energy efficient lighting for the purpose of growing plants  than High Intensity Discharge lighting (HID's)... Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and I should include Ceramic Metal Halide CMH in there as well as all the HPS/MH combo bulbs that are out there as of late. (Like the Phillips Son-T-Agro-plus' that I've been keen on for a while now)...

Much of the details will depend on what you wish to grow, spacial dimensions of your area, air temps (is the heat helpful, or a hinderance? Realistically that will depend on the time of year), but when all is said and done, and you put it all down on paper, that is the conclusion I (and others) have come to time and time again...All personal  'passions' and peoples ridiculous parroting of manufacturers marketing blurbs aside, that is it in black and white.

That said, induction technology seems pretty awesome if you can justify the initial price, I doubt you will find more than a very, very small handful of people (2 maybe 3 that I'm aware of) here who have ever used them, and Jesse Hull is the only one I know of who doesn't own a hydro store and in't trying to sell them. http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/photo/album/listForOwner?sc...

@Jon...There have also been studies by the Chinese that concluded that a small amount of UV light increased the nutritional value of the (lettuce if I recall) plants they experimented with. so another 'plus one' for CMH...

@Keith... how long have you been running the same tubes? You're eyes wont see the difference in light output, but plant performance most certainly will decrease with time since its PAR that degrades...just wait and see. Or better yet, change out one pair after about 6 months and leave the other two pairs as is...and observe... 

Thanks to all for your responses. Vlad - how's are those PL-Ls working out now that you've had them a while? Still seeing success??

Julie, there is a reply to that question under where you posted in the PL-L thread...But in short so far so good. Winter time is when they'll be working full-time once again...

I should add (and I've gone over this elsewhere) if I had to pick a favorite (price, lumens, bang for the buck etc...) and if I had an office building or shop or school, to donate tubes to twice a year (since they are still good for 'human' use, but suck at enabling photosynthesis after a time)...I would have to go with either PL-L or... ODNO (OverDriveNormalOperation) modified T-8's. This is a simple modification where you basically run 2 or even 4 leads (instead of just the one) into a T-8 flouro tube. This can only be done with the 'old' style magnetic ballasts and NOT the digital ones. 

It's a great way to get a lot more light out of a T-8 system (still nowhere near HPS territory). They'll run a bit hotter of coarse (as with when you overdrive any piece of equipment). The only difference between say T-5's and HighOutput T-5's is that HO T-5's come ODNO'd right out of the factory (and then there's the ridiculous price difference of coarse for something you can do yourself in a couple of minutes)...

The gains from this mod using old T-12 isn't so great, from T-5's so-so...T-8's are where this mod really shines and you gain the most. But again, none of this...neither PL-L's nor turbocharged T-8's are more cost effective or will grow plants better than a comparable HID set up.

Keep in mind that the tempered glass lenses used in reflectors (required for a UL listing with Metal Halides indoors or out) will block much of the UV produced by the lamp.

Jesse


Vlad Jovanovic said:

@Jon...There have also been studies by the Chinese that concluded that a small amount of UV light increased the nutritional value of the (lettuce if I recall) plants they experimented with. so another 'plus one' for CMH...

@Keith... how long have you been running the same tubes? You're eyes wont see the difference in light output, but plant performance most certainly will decrease with time since its PAR that degrades...just wait and see. Or better yet, change out one pair after about 6 months and leave the other two pairs as is...and observe... 

Thank you Jon.

I'm definitely planning on testing at least one CMH in our new AP system.  

Hey, could you send me a message and remind me where you get yours from?  I have a source, but your person sounded like a quality guy as well.

Jesse

Jon Parr said:

cheapest: HPS

best: CMH

Hey Vlad, I spent time with Jesse (and Molly) in Orlando last week. Quality guy. And I think I inspired him to give CMH a better look. One thing I hadn't considered before is that red plants need UV light to turn red, so plus one for CMH if your growing red lettuce, or anything that may bud purple 

Vlad Jovanovic said:

Induction lighting notwithstanding...so we can leave them out of what I say...

There is still no better, no more economical, no more energy efficient lighting for the purpose of growing plants  than High Intensity Discharge lighting (HID's)... Metal Halide (MH), High Pressure Sodium (HPS) and I should include Ceramic Metal Halide CMH in there as well as all the HPS/MH combo bulbs that are out there as of late. (Like the Phillips Son-T-Agro-plus' that I've been keen on for a while now)...

Much of the details will depend on what you wish to grow, spacial dimensions of your area, air temps (is the heat helpful, or a hinderance? Realistically that will depend on the time of year), but when all is said and done, and you put it all down on paper, that is the conclusion I (and others) have come to time and time again...All personal  'passions' and peoples ridiculous parroting of manufacturers marketing blurbs aside, that is it in black and white.

That said, induction technology seems pretty awesome if you can justify the initial price, I doubt you will find more than a very, very small handful of people (2 maybe 3 that I'm aware of) here who have ever used them, and Jesse Hull is the only one I know of who doesn't own a hydro store and in't trying to sell them. http://community.theaquaponicsource.com/photo/album/listForOwner?sc...

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