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Light Bulbs to Grow Plants?


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I know a fair few people here like growing tomato plants inside.

Do you use special light bulbs? Will a normal light bulb give the light to grow plants? Or do you need a special light bulb?

I'm thinking of growing aquatic plants and wondered if I need special lights. 

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3 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I know a fair few people here like growing tomato plants inside.

Do you use special light bulbs? Will a normal light bulb give the light to grow plants? Or do you need a special light bulb?

I'm thinking of growing aquatic plants and wondered if I need special lights. 

Tropical fish tanks use special bulbs to simulate sunlight for the plants etc.

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7 minutes ago, Great Guy said:

I know a fair few people here like growing tomato plants inside.

Do you use special light bulbs? Will a normal light bulb give the light to grow plants? Or do you need a special light bulb?

I'm thinking of growing aquatic plants and wondered if I need special lights. 

 

Philips make special veggie bulbs. Their blurb tells you why you need them.

https://www.lighting.philips.co.uk/products/horticulture/floriculture?origin=7_gb_en_horti2021q1~s7015I000000DXdf_ppc_____&cid=7015I000000DXdf

 

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I think the approach differs depending on whether you want 'some plants' or 'some plants that grow really well'.

In the instance of an aquarium, you might imagine that 'grow really well' might be an error.  In that case, just 'some lamps' would do (perhaps just the standard tube that fits in the aquarium lid).

I you want 'grow really well inside' then you need lots and lots of light.  This can be expensive, and many people try to get light that's optimised for plants, as that way there's less 'wasted' light and is therefore cheaper (lots of wavelengths of light that humans like ('white' contains everything from red to blue wavelengths) can't be used for photosynthesis).

But if you're not using that much light (=£s) then 'quite bright white light' is sufficient.

Heat is an issue if you're getting the bulb close to the plants, and LED is better in that regard.  But that's not relevant for aquarium plants (unless you're really blasting them, in which case I'm more worried about the fish).

 

Edited by dgul
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7 minutes ago, dgul said:

I think the approach differs depending on whether you want 'some plants' or 'some plants that grow really well'.

In the instance of an aquarium, you might imagine that 'grow really well' might be an error.  In that case, just 'some lamps' would do (perhaps just the standard tube that fits in the aquarium lid).

I you want 'grow really well inside' then you need lots and lots of light.  This can be expensive, and many people try to get light that's optimised for plants, as that way there's less 'wasted' light and is therefore cheaper (lots of wavelengths of light that humans like ('white' contains everything from red to blue wavelengths) can't be used for photosynthesis).

But if you're not using that much light (=£s) then 'quite bright white light' is sufficient.

Heat is an issue if you're getting the bulb close to the plants, and LED is better in that regard.  But that's not relevant for aquarium plants (unless you're really blasting them, in which case I'm more worried about the fish).

 

There is a real art to growing plants properly in a fish tank.  I think it's harder than keeping fish.

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14 minutes ago, Poseidon said:

There is a real art to growing plants properly in a fish tank.  I think it's harder than keeping fish.

Isn't the problem that you preferentially get the 'wrong type of plants' (algae) rather than it being difficult at a fundamental level?

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1 hour ago, MrPin said:

You need a special light bulb, and good roof insulation, otherwise the plod notice the snow melts on your roof, unlike all the neighbours, and you will be back to Viet-Nam in no time, after a custodial sentance.

Or moved to iraland in the back of a lorry

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Just now, dgul said:

Isn't the problem that you preferentially get the 'wrong type of plants' (algae) rather than it being difficult at a fundamental level?

A lot of it is yes.  But there's a whole fertilising thing to be dealt with and more.  Looked into it a few years ago setting up a fish tank, but 5 years ago the heater cutout stopped working and boiled my shrimp and neons. I never really bothered with the plants anyway. So been on with other stuff and forgot most of what I read.

That stuff you buy in the pet shop just grows  gets leggy and dies and needs replacing often. 

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I was growing some lovely basil, parsley, and other herbs outside in pots during the summer. When it started getting colder I wanted to bring them indoors. I know from experience that basil is pretty impossible to grow indoors so wondered if a special grow bulb would work. It didn't do anything and the plants died. Also the weird purple light was visible through the window from outside and I got some shady comments about what I was growing.

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I think even with the proper bulbs plants grow leggy and thin. Sunlight is a difficult thing to replace. 

Then of course plants' growth is affected by the need for darkness too in order for the proper signals to be sent as when to grow / flower. So it's not just daylight that's important - photoperiodism. 

it is actually the length of uninterrupted darkness experienced by a plant - rather than the length of daylight - that is the most crucial to its development.

Edited by the gardener
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4 minutes ago, Libspero said:

Google "LED strip grow lights"

That's what I use for my chilli plants..  works fine.

It seems to be one of those things that some people get very anal about: researching pink lightbulbs and optimum wavelengths. If you are starving the plant of all natural light (sun) then you may struggle, but I think a lot of the success that people have with vivariums isn't because of the £400 Chinese-made lightbulb they bought, but more the way their tank is sited very close to that big bay window...

They won't ever see it like that of course.

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5 minutes ago, spunko said:

It seems to be one of those things that some people get very anal about: researching pink lightbulbs and optimum wavelengths. If you are starving the plant of all natural light (sun) then you may struggle, but I think a lot of the success that people have with vivariums isn't because of the £400 Chinese-made lightbulb they bought, but more the way their tank is sited very close to that big bay window...

They won't ever see it like that of course.

 

Good point..   I just use them to supplement natural window light that's a bit lacking in the winter. 

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1 hour ago, Poseidon said:

A lot of it is yes.  But there's a whole fertilising thing to be dealt with and more.  Looked into it a few years ago setting up a fish tank, but 5 years ago the heater cutout stopped working and boiled my shrimp and neons. I never really bothered with the plants anyway. So been on with other stuff and forgot most of what I read.

That stuff you buy in the pet shop just grows  gets leggy and dies and needs replacing often. 

If you want to grow plants in an aquarium you need a source of carbon dioxide. I use a fire extinguisher system and tbh the plants grow brilliantly.

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I’ve always used metal halide in veg (bluer light spectrum) and the a red high pressure sodium hps for flowering stage.

600watts is most efficient light for yield/output and running costs.

you will need to deal with the heat(dump outside) and ideally need a fresh air source.

I just got a 300w lunatek Attis led grow light. Led has come a long way in past few years. Much better light penetration and less heat - but that can cause issues as you need ~+5c on top of hps eminent temp as the led does not warm up the plants like hps.

 

it’s a great hobby. Also look into grow tents. 
be careful about taking kit into your house, leaving a heat signature or any purple / brights lights in your rooms- even if you do cacti and nothing illega, you could end up getting the rozzers knocking, or even worse a bunch of chavs looking to tax a ganja grow. 

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1 hour ago, Libspero said:

Google "LED strip grow lights"

That's what I use for my chilli plants..  works fine.

Just chilli ;)

years ago a lad at work asked me if I wanted to buy some scotch bonnet...I grew it myself he told me....I said ok mate , I’ll have an eighth.....next day he gave me 8 chillis ....I thought it was gonna be weed and scotch bonnet was the strain name :)

 

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On 02/02/2021 at 13:10, Bricormortis said:

If you are growing weed you need to spend some serious dosh on a grow tent and led lighting from a hydroponics supplier.

Guess it depends on serious dosh.

can get a 400w hps , ballast and tent for less than 150?  You’ll recoup that on your first grow in what you save from buying off street. And you can harvest when you like to get the buzz you like (early for speed weed, late for herbal Valium)

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If you want LEDs look at the lumatek 300w. They are selling these at as loss leader. Mine is out performing a 600w hps and the growth is amazing. I used to always aim for 1g/w but I reckon I’ll hit 1.5g/w on this run. Won’t need to grow for a couple of years man

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On 02/02/2021 at 11:10, Great Guy said:

I know a fair few people here like growing tomato plants inside.

Do you use special light bulbs? Will a normal light bulb give the light to grow plants? Or do you need a special light bulb?

I'm thinking of growing aquatic plants and wondered if I need special lights. 

Get two pots of cress seeds and stick them in two cupboards. Put a lightbulb in one cupboard. Check on their progress after a while. (Find that both have E484K mutations). 

On 02/02/2021 at 13:07, The Masked Tulip said:

 

Can't you get those little water people to tend to them and keep everything clean?

sea-monkeys_advert_4.jpg

 

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