Aquaponic Gardening

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Sorry if this question is too simple but I am new to aquaponics and I have a small system in my basement no windows.  Grow bed is 55gal drum cut in half.  My question is can I use 2 t12 bulbs for my plants. They are 6280 kelvin color temp 24" long.  If so how close to my plants should I hang the light?  I have been looking through the posts and have only seen t5 and t8 lights but my local store didnt have fixtures and lights for those sizes so I went with t12 I hope it wasnt a mistake.  Side note I had started my system with a 120w incandesent grow blub but it didn't seem to be working that well. it was about 4 feet above the plants. 

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T12 is technology that is on its way out and i thought was now illegal to produce new for retail. It also provides very little light for plants. It will grow something but they will be hurting for light bad you really need t5s if your going to grow anything indoors and t5s are on the low end of what is out there. 

The light I bought will take T8's as well I know they wouldn't be as good as T5's but would they be better then T12's?  Also I thought the only difference between all of them was the energy efficiency of each.  Am I wrong and T5's and T8's accually put out more better light as well?


T8s are definitely better than t12s Its still going to be a major limiting factor in your plant growth tho. Yes the light out put of a T8 is higher than that of a t12 and a t5 has better light out put than a t8.  A few years ago congress passed a law to phase out high mercury bulbs so first to get outlawed was t12 then t8s to move them all to t5s which use the least amount of power for the most amount of light. 


     I have been using T8's with no problems growing. Yes, the T5's are better, but my lettuce, broc, peppers and carrotts are all doing just fine with the T8 lighting. I purchased the 3-bulb shop lights at Lowes, and hung them using small chain and hooks, which allows me to raise and lower them as needed. I hang them about an inch or so above the highest plant in the growing area. The lettuce "reaches" for the light some if to high, and I just let it fill out before harvesting it. I also bought the smaller 2-bulb shop lights, but they had black back ground, and so the reflection down was not as bright as the 3bulb that are reflective.


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