Aquaponic Gardening

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What HID reflectors do you use and why? 

 

I know there are other good options, but if you only need 4" or no air-cooling, i keep coming back to the Super Sun original.  I have tried Maybe 7or 8 others.  The super sun original (there is a super sun 2 which i dont like as much, but it does have 6" air-cooled fittings)  is extremely small and lightweight, while sending out a fairly even footprint for all size bulbs.  I have used 400, 600, and 1000W in this reflector.  This reflector would be good for supplemental light in a GH since it is so small it would creating little shading of natural light during the day.  The only downside is it only has 4" air-cooled fittings. I ahev tried 6" and 8" air-cooled reflectors such as Cool Sun XL 8" and the Yield Master 6" and have noticed a poor light footprint (uneven) and a lot of light being lost through the holes for the ducting. The Super Sun OG has reflective covers over the air-cooled ports so that no light is lost down the air cooled ducting.  I will search for an extremely in-depth post from another forum that has people taking a light meter every square inch w/ different reflectors and data logging it.  If i remember correctly i think the Super Sun OG was one of the better ones (least hot spots, most even footprint). I look for that info.

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The silver star reflector is pretty nice too, my buddy runs 5 of those and they are super light-weight.

 

As to the tilapia, i just started a thread in Midwest growers group, come check it out.  I am going to be researching fish sources this week, lets keep each-other updated on that.

I will, sounds good.

Iwill be having 2, 4x8 beds stacked on each other, so if put a 400watt hortilux lamp($129) into the super sun original reflector($121) on a rail($235) for both the beds i would be ok???

I got prices from Paradigm Gardens.

Am I really looking at $1000 to light my setup?

 

Please advise...

 

That sounds a little expensive, but you are also missing ballasts for both lights in your list. I think that sounds like a good setup idea though. How much space is in between the stacked beds? You might also want to think about higher wattages, depends on what you plan to grow and how much you want to spend though.

Crap. You're totally right on the ballasts.

That's the bad part of doing in the basement...gotta pay for lighting. It will be almost 80% of my installation costs.

 

I am modeling my project/system after the following:

 

 

 

That's a really nice idea! I like it a lot. Depending on what you want to grow, you could always do small greens on the bottom and just use 2- 4' T5 fixtures to save a little. The problem with HID lights is they will be a lot hotter and need to be placed higher than T5's. They work great and last a long time, they just have a high initial cost which sucks. With HID's you will also probably need to run a MH for veg and HPS for flowering. So there is another bulb cost. Though I have run MH constant before and it worked out alright.

Josh, i cant lie to you, Artificial lighting is always the most expensive part of an indoor growing system.  You are paying for technology that can grow plants w/out the sun.  That is very high tech in my opinion.  With that said, what you suggested 2  400W on rails, would cost you $1000 with ballast, bulbs, etcs.  At Paradigm (im glad you went there :) ) they have the "grow lush" lighting kits for really cheap (and the ballasts are digital).   Now this will be enough light, but it wont be optimal.  I am running that same thing 400W on a rail over 4x8 and you get good yields, but not max yields.  I do it because i needed to save money and i always try to start with the least then if i need more I build up slowly.  Some of your other options are 4 400W w/ or w/out a rail.  This would provide close to max lighitng needed, but also has more side effects: a higher upfront cost: about $1300 w/out rails and $1800 w/ rails, double electrical bills (each 400W is about $20/month at 14 hours/day), and more heat to be dealt with: more venting or air conditioning which use electricity (conversely, if you are in a cold basement you may be able to use the heat of the lamps to warm the room if it is cold), and more bulbs to replace (HID bulbs need replacement about every year).   Your other option for MAX lighting to get MAX yields would be 8  8 bulb T5s which has even more side effects (but higher yields).  Most likely this final option has to high of upfront costs for you as it did for me.  The question with all of these is does the added costs give you a high enough yield to make up for the higher upfront and running costs.  Starting with what you suggested is probably the best, because you can always add more lights if its not enough further down the road.

 

Now with your setup (stacked grow beds) you have to make sure the bottom layer has enough room for HID lighting;  The reflector could take up 10-12 inches, and you need to have 1-2 feet of space between the bulb and the TOP of the plants.  So if you wanted lettuce growing you would need AT A MINIMUM 3 feet (4 would be better) of space of the grow bed to the bottom of the next shelf, or ceiling.

Are you gonna run growing power style AP, or a modified stacked raft AP system?  I remember you saying something about Friendly AP plans you got.

  Hope this helps.

i have recently changed gears and am now going away from the Friendly model and towards the above pics/growing Power model of stacked beds made of lumber. I am thinking of replacing the bottom grow bed with a Poly tank from Farm n Fleet and have the 2-beds held by 4x4's hovering over it. Seems easier and makes more sense to me in my head.

 My basement ceiling height is 7'6" and the tank stands 25" tall.

I want my top bed to be reachable and the lights to work out...so, if IO am reading this right, I cannot have 4' space between lights and beds on both levels. I was banking on raft lettuce and raft or potted basil in the beds, but this now looks like I cannot accomplish this.

Am I forced to go with lettuce on the top, lighted from the ceiling-based-rail-driven-reflector-light, and then a T5 array lighting the bottom microgreens and other "short" veg options?

 

Wow. not sure if anyone can make sense of this...

 

     / i i i \

 

I___BED___I

     / i i i \

 

I___BED___I

  \_Tank_/

I would definitely follow AJ's space requirements, because if you get the lights too close then it will be more detrimental than beneficial and end up costing you more time and money. You could always run T5's on the bottom and 2- 400 watts on top and run them in series and air cool them and you might be able to get them a little closer for larger plants.

Logical probably has the best suggestion for your scenario.  T5's are really great lights.  Mini-head lettuce could be a good plant for the lower growbed; you could probably even get away with 1.5-2' of vertical space between growbeds. using T5's.

 

Josh, why did you shy away from Friendly AP's setup?  Also will you be having gravel/hydroton in the grow beds; and how deep will the growbeds be?

In response to the ongoing discussion on lighting and spacing:  spacing between beds depends on what lighting is used, and if height is an issue then HID lighting (even 400 watt) can be tricky (heat issues as plants grow closer).  In the picture above I used 4 x 4 foot t5 lights (each with 4 bulbs) on the lower grow bed.  On the top is a plasma light on a light rail.  This light uses 3/4 energy of a 400 watt HID yet produces as many lumens as a 600 watt HID.  Used on a light mover it covers the 4 x 8 top tray great!  I have some new pictures to post of the light + basil ( I got it a couple inches higher by removing s-hook).  The bottom is a 4 x 10 x 1 foot koi area.  It was essential to save space by building it this way.  Also, the pump used for this system is 2000 gallons an hour ( a bit oversized but still only 110 watts 24/7)

  Cheers,     Grow It Right Aquaponics


 
Josh Fagan said:

i have recently changed gears and am now going away from the Friendly model and towards the above pics/growing Power model of stacked beds made of lumber. I am thinking of replacing the bottom grow bed with a Poly tank from Farm n Fleet and have the 2-beds held by 4x4's hovering over it. Seems easier and makes more sense to me in my head.

 My basement ceiling height is 7'6" and the tank stands 25" tall.

I want my top bed to be reachable and the lights to work out...so, if IO am reading this right, I cannot have 4' space between lights and beds on both levels. I was banking on raft lettuce and raft or potted basil in the beds, but this now looks like I cannot accomplish this.

Am I forced to go with lettuce on the top, lighted from the ceiling-based-rail-driven-reflector-light, and then a T5 array lighting the bottom microgreens and other "short" veg options?

 

Wow. not sure if anyone can make sense of this...

 

     / i i i \

 

I___BED___I

     / i i i \

 

I___BED___I

  \_Tank_/

Great input Growit !   Can you give us more details on plasma lighting, or even start a new discussion on it?  Id really love to see that basil picks!  I have a 1000W on a mover over a 4'x8' space growing basil, so id love to see what yours look like :)

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