Basic Indoor hydroponics Gardening Guide – Indoor Grow Lights Fluorescent tubes, Hps and MH

March 21, 2010 by Mario  
Filed under Resources

Fluorescent Grow Light

 Inexpensive and readily available in hardware stores and be utilized with regular light sockets. Producing less heat or none at all compared to full-size fluorescent grow lights.

Not just because of its small size and low heat output; compact fluorescent lights also produce the widest range of color spectrums to any type of lighting. It is ideal for shelf gardening due to their low heat output making the use of multiple shelves on top of each other possible. Compact fluorescent lights can be used with seedlings and small plants in a well designed hydroponic system indoor garden.

 Common Problems with Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

 Problems with compact fluorescent light bulbs like inefficiency and poor light penetration are common.  Several compact fluorescent bulbs maybe used and consume energy as that of one HPS bulb, but do not produce the same useable light for the hydroponic indoor garden. 

Optimizing Fluorescent Grow Lights

 With the disadvantages of comparative inefficiency compared to HID lights, several things maybe done to counteract this.

Properly matching lights to the corresponding growth cycle.

Increasing Watt ratings increases light penetration

One cheap and easy way to maximize energy consumption is by the use of reflectors. Compact fluorescent lights have a 360 degree of distribution but only 90 degrees of it can be practically used. Reflectors direct the light to corners in order to maximize the light produced.

 High Intensity Discharge Lighting

 HID light bulbs are the most after lighting system by both hobbyist and professional growers. It has made possible all-year, all-season planting for thousands of indoor gardeners and industrial nursery growers. Due to their efficiency ( 10x more light produced than conventional incandescent bulbs) and color spectrums ideal for plants have resulted to better yields and plant quality all year round. Metal Halide (MH) light bulbs mainly produce blue lights, making them ideal for plants undergoing the vegetative phase of development.

Industrial cultivators the world over are the main users of HID grow lights. HID lamps provide numerous advantages that conventional Fluorescent and incandescent lights lack. Monetary benefits abound, it boosts overall plant production giving better harvests, and environmental factors are eliminated allowing all year-round production. HID lights operate stock 110 to 220 volts AC home currents and have a standard three prong adapter to link up. HID grow lights mostly come with a ballast resistor and reflective hood.

Photosynshesis in plants allows plants them to produce their own energy. Chlorophyll in plants enables plants to convert CO2, water and energy from light to nutrients and sugars. When all this elements like CO2 and nutrients are readily and plenty in a desired surrounding, the potential for growth is bound only to the amount and quality of light available.

 High Pressure Sodium (HPS) light bulbs produce reddish light, it is ideal during the fruit phase of the plant cycle. Cooler (blue) and Warmer (orange) color spectrums raise chlorophyll production and fruit energy. The sun produces cooler lights when it is higher in the skyline, seen in the summer calendar months. It is essential for plant growth shape and keep it tight. Warmer light, experienced when the sun is lower in relative position to the skyline is important for blooming plants and during the fruit phase.

Choice of lights can also depend on the type of plants grown. Metal Halide growth lights are ideal for bushy harvests such as cabbage and vegetating herbaceous plants. Blossoming plants on the other hand is better suited by high pressure sodium growth lights. Conversion light bulbs are also available for different organizations. More expensive than other lights, conversion lamps give that extra advantage of starting your plants with a metal halide growth light giving taut, small development and being replaced by high pressure sodium light bulbs when the fruit stage of the plant is reached. Recent developments have introduced convertible ballast resistors for regular metal halide growth lights and high pressure sodium light bulbs.

HID grow lights main advantage is that it eliminates such factors as climate, temperature and time of day. Season dependent plants can be grown throughout the year; they provide an alternative to solar light. For those who are garden and flower hobbyists, this would be a plus.

Hydroponic growth lights also gives you control over light exposure. Allowing us to hasten a plants growth or that flower to bloom. Ideal light color, duration and concentration are the key factors in growing those choice plants.

 High Pressure Sodium Bulbs 

A clear ceramic arc tube suspended inside a glass bulb characterizes High Pressure Sodium Bulbs. Xenon gas is the main component inside the inner tube which is then ignited to produce an arc of light. Sizes range fro 35 watts up to 1000 watts. The most popular of which are the 250 watts, 400 watts and 1000 watts.

 Advantages of High Pressure Sodium Bulbs

 Efficiency is one of its advantages; they provide the best light penetration and have strong light spectrums necessary for plant growth. Mainly producing red and yellow lights or little or no blue lights, they mimic the autumn sun. Popularity for HPS lights are mainly attributed to their low energy to light ratio and is the most economical and efficient than any other type of lighting system. HPS lights work best during the flowering or fruit stage of the plant growth cycle.

 Disadvantages of HPS High Pressure Sodium Bulbs

 High Pressure Sodium Bulbs produce great amounts of heat. Proper ventilation and good garden construction and planning help to offset this negative effect. Like all HID growth light systems price is the main drawback compared to fluorescent lights. HPS lights are currently more cost effective compared to other HID growth light systems.

High Pressure Sodium Light bulbs are replaced after 24 months to ensure their and your gardens efficiency.

 Metal Halide Bulbs

 Metal Halide bulbs are constructed by placing an inner arc tube inside vacuum-sealed glass tubing. Electric currents passed through the inner arc which in turn ignites mercury and iodide materials in the tube.

 Advantages of Metal Halide Bulbs

 Metal Halide Bulbs mimic sunlight during summertime. Producing a blue spectrum of light most ideal for plants in their vegetative growth phase. They are also a good choice for indoor hydroponic garden systems because of their efficiency in producing light.

 Other Metal Halide Bulb Information

 Available from 70 to 1500 watts, Metal Halide bulbs present a wide variety of choices. Most popular and commonly used are the 250, 400 and 1000 watts metal halide bulbs. Ballast specifically tailored for each bulb is also essential. Mounting positions depend on its specific bulb type (marks or guides are usually provided). HOR bulbs are mounted horizontally, BU/BD is vertically mounted and U (universal) bulbs could be mounted either way. The vertical position is the most ideal and provides utmost efficiency.