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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I would also like more detail on both the plasma and pics of the Basil!
I will take some more pictures of the basil today and add some information on the plasma light to this discussion and yes AJ, I will start a new thread on plasma lighting technology =)
Thanks alot Growitright, that could really add alot of unique info to this group and the site :)

I think growit has some pictures of his plants in his photo section and there are some pictures of the basil there ... looks pretty good, but I don't know if that is the final harvest height or not.


Have you started your first grow with your indoor system AJ? The manufacture of the LED lights I am looking at suggests supplementing the lights with 400w HID for a 4'x4' area where there is high fruiting plants being grown for up to an hour each three hours.
Given you have a 1000W on a rail I am curious to hear about your results so far. How fast is your rail system? I think I read somewhere that moving bulbs tend to die quicker than stationary bulbs. I am also considering some way to cut out the other bulb I would need in my system (since it will be 4 x 8) but wasn't sure about the light bars.
I did start growing with my system and the plants are growing well.  I dont want to say one way or the either on how well the light rail is working out yet, as there is not a good nutrient source yet.  I dont even have fish.  Once i have had fish for a few months, then i can see how well they really grow.  I personally dont think it would work with fruiting plants, only herbs and leafy greens.  My rail with the 1000W is really slow , 3.5 RPM ,  my 400W's are on fast rails , maybe 8 RPM.  I dont know why a bulb on a rail woundlt last as long seeing as it has nothing to do with he bulb, its moving the reflector.  If anything it would make the bulb last longer because it doesnt heat up as much because its moving.  My main reason for using this light setup is for energy effeciancy, less heat, and hopefully getting more yeild per watt.  It will be a lower yield than using 2-4 lights over the same area, but it may be more efficient in terms of yield/watt.  If you are just growing food for yourself and you are not growing fruiting plants then i think you would be fine with 1 light on a rail over a 4'x8' space.  The plants do grow well, but it nay not be enough for commercial viability.  Ill keep you updated.

I tried to track down the source of the bulb not lasting as long and I could only find this statement on someone who made a dyi light rotator out of a ceiling fan. So the speeds most rail systems go at it should be fine, which is promising.


I am wiring up LED lights to supplement the HID light to be used like this


I might end up making a cylinder style layout of Zipgrow towers with the light source in the center but I haven't decided fully on what I want to do with the growing area. This would make it posible to have a single HID in the center on a counter weighted pulley system. :-D

Burton, i like your thinking!  I could see the "cylinder" of zip grows working out awesome!

Hey, any updates on the comparison between the 400 and 1000 on the 4x8 space.

I am about 2-3 weeks out from my lighting purchase, so am interested in your results.

Loving all the pics you put up.

Well it is hard to say between the two, because im growing different plants of different ages under each light.  What i can say is that a 1000W would be better, but with that said it looks like the 400W is doing good for leafy greens.  The ends are not getting as much light as the middles even though i put the delay on max.  Im thinking if i added 2-3 CFL's on each end it would really even out the growth.  The 1000W is much, much hotter though. If you could afford it i would say 2-400W would be better than 11000W.  I already had the 1000W and i am low on cash so im using it.  For a little extra money i think the 2 400W HID is a great improvement over 1 light, jts for more even distribution.  Also you can get the 400W's closer to the canopy increasing the light available to the canopy.  The better but more expensive options for a 4'x8' space are the 2 400W on a rail, or the highest price and intensity with 4  6 or 8 bulb T5's.  I also feel that if you are just trying to produce for yourself, and make it as cheap as possible, i would  say that 1 400W on rail does do the trick.  The plants are growing more salad than i can eat under that amount of light in a 4'x'8.  It is really what funds you have available and what type of system you want to run.  One nice thing is that you can start with a rail w/ 1 400W light and see how it goes.  If that suits you then its all good, but if you want more food, more consistency, and stockier/denser growth, you could add another 400W later. The light rail is expandable through buying some accessories.  Its another trolley for the rail with a "push rod" that attaches to the existing motor that pushes the other light for a set distance.  I think its like $50-60 for the add a light kit.   Hope this helps, leme know if you want more info.  Ill post pics tonight or tomorrow of the growth.
Prices from

Found these guys randomly but they sell everything

Prices used for the following products


PX-LU400 Plantmax 400W. HPS High Output 50,000 lumens $29.95

UGRCT8 8 in. Cool Tube with external / internal reflector socket with 15 ft cord - 24 in. long $149.95

QD400W Quantum 400 Watt Dimmable Digital Ballast $189.36

QD600W Quantum 600 Watt Dimmable Electronic Ballast $204.75

400w = $369.26 x 2 = $738.52

600w bal. @ 300/450/600w = $384.65 x 2 = $769.3 (+$30.78 difference or +$66.02 if you go with 600w bulbs ($806 total))


LR3.5ID6-kit Light Rail 3.5 6 rpm All in 1 Box - Distributor Pack - Rail & Motor $229.95

LR3AL-SYS 6 ft add-a-lamp pkg. Includes rail pushrod trolley & hardware $59.95

400w + Rail = $369.26 + $229.95 = $599.21 ($139.31 difference vs 2 400w only)

400w x 2 + Rail + "add-a-lamp" = $738.52 + $229.95 + $59.95 = 1028.42 (-$289.9 difference vs 2 400w only OR -$259.12 for 600w bal. @ 300w OR -$223.1 if running 600w @ 300/450/600w w/ 600w bulb)



Note: Did not use 600w bulbs in the calculation for the "upgrade" to 600w, however this ballast is dimmable down to 50% original power (300w) hence it was chosen with the option to "upgrade" in the future, and it was only $16 more.

Also the 8" tube was chosen over the 6" with the idea of upgrading if need be in the future as well as it was only $10 more.

Also obviously this isn't the cheapest place to get bulbs >.< the 600w bulb price above was from another site ($47.96ea) and they sell the 400w cheaper too at like $18 so savings is relevant.


That stated, buying two 400w or 600wbal running at 300w seems to be the way to go if you have the cash for it right now.


In the log run it's probably best to go the 600w with dimmable ballast route than to go 400w this way if you ever expand you can do so easily without purchasing new equipment, and in the mean time you can run your 600w bulbs at 300w / 450w / 600w as you see fit.


But it all comes down to cost, $806 is the entry for the high level, $738 for mid level, and $599.21 low end w rail.


I have already spent $757 on LED's to wire up ... I have no purchased my two 400 / 600 support ballast / reflectors running 4 hours a day. Savings on electricity will be $375.84 a year versus running the 400w every day 16 hours a day >.br/>
So the LED's will pay themselves off in two years on savings then another 2.5 years to pay off the other lights (with energy savings alone of course.)

Was this the "other forum" you were thinking about in your original post?


Just ordered two Quantom 600w dim ballast today >.< $334.85 shipped


Yeah, that was the link.  Thanks.  I beleive they were saying the super suns and the XXL's were the best.  Its a lot of info to go through. 


Nice deal on the Quantoms; what bulbs and reflectors you getting?


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