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Hydroponics Gardening and Sprouting Systems for individual use, commercial growing or livestock feed
Hydroponics farming symbol
Hydroponics Farming . com
Hydroponics Gardening and Sprouting Systems for individual use, commercial growing or livestock feed

Hydroponics Lighting

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Incandescent Bulbs

Standard household light bulbs should not be placed very close to growing plants as they create heat as well as light. The heat generated is unsuitable for hydroponic gardening. The light also doesn't provide the optimum spectrum for starting or growing plants. Recommended for casual house plants only.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent Lights provide a better, cooler spectrum for plants but do not provide the full spectrum of grow light for starting or growing plants indoors. They are fine for seedlings and low-light plants but do not deliver the strong light necessary for plants taller than 8 inches.

MH (Meta Halide)

These lights are recommended for propogating and initial growth of hydroponic plants. These bulbs produce primarily the blue-white light end of the spectrum. Their light can be compared to a tropical sun. Blue light drives photosynthesis, translocates sugars and keeps the immune system working properly.
  • Sunmaster COOL lamps are rated at 5 or 6 thousand degrees kelvin and will lock plants into a vegetative state.
  • Sunmaster NEUTRAL lamps are rated at 4 thousand degrees kelvin for both vegetative and bloom growth.
  • Sunmaster WARM lamps are rated at 3 thousand degrees kelvin for superb blooming growth.
These bulbs have enough red light to initiate a hormonal bloom growth and lots of blue light to keep the plants short, compact and healthy during bloom. Therefore you can simply use the appropriate Metal Halide bulb for your current lighting need, growth or bloom.

HPS (High Pressure Sodium)

These lights provide optimum brightness for the final flowering and harvest phase. HPS bulbs elevate the red, orange and yellow electromagnetic wavelengths hitting the plant. This (along with shorter photo-periods) signals the plant to start producing bloom hormones. Plants grown exclusively on HPS light may appear overextended as they search for blue-white light.

Therefore, they are best used as replacements for Meta Halide light when the plants reach the final flowering stage. Caution: The MH and HPS ballasts are different. Do not try to simply replace an MH bulb with a HPS bulb in the same ballast, unless the bulb or ballast is designed for this conversion. Conversion HPS (High Pressure Sodium) Bulbs There are HPS Conversion Bulbs available which are High Pressure Sodium bulbs specifically designed to work in the Meta Halide ballast. These enables you to use both MH and Combination HPS bulbs in a MH ballast thus saving additional wiring and ballast costs needed for the separate HPS lighting.

Conversion MH Bulbs

There are also MH Conversion Bulbs available which are Meta Halide bulbs specifically designed to work in the High Pressure Sodium ballast. This enables you to use both HPS and Combination MH bulbs in a HPS ballast thus saving additional wiring and ballast costs needed for the separate MH lighting.

LED bulb system

The LED (Light Emitting Diode) UFO is the most revolutionary plant lighting product since the inception of High Pressure Sodium lamp. Consuming only 80 watts of power and producing virtually no heat, it boasts light intensity and growth rates exceeding that of a 400W HPS.

The concept of the LED UFO is simple - it uses highly efficient 1 watt LED's, uses only the exact spectrums required for photosynthesis, and uses wide angle directional bulbs. The 1 watt LED is one of the most efficient light sources in the world (lumens per watt). By using only the spectrum required, no light is wasted in the spectrums of light that do little or nothing for a plants growth - such as green light. Lastly the directional LED's ensure 100% of the light is pointed downwards - they do not rely upon reflective materials to direct the light.

Benefits include:
  • Greatly reduced power consumption
  • Less Heat Generated
  • Ideal for all phases of plant growth
  • No setup required
  • Less Pollution
  • Extremely long life - 80,000+ hours
  • Not intended for outdoor use
The LED UFO is many times over the highest powered LED grow light available. It can be used by itself for all cycles of plant growth (covers 9 square feet), can be combined with fluorescent lighting, or can be used to expand your current indoor garden. It can be used in any application - hydroponics or soil, home or greenhouse!

Combination Ballasts

There are a few Combination ballasts available. These ballasts will accept either MH or HPS bulbs. The manufacturer will clearly state if this is the case.

Electronic Ballast

E-ballasts use a micro processor similar to a personal computer which runs a software program. This microprocessor allows the E-ballast to run both metal halide (MH) or high pressure sodium (HPS) lamps, switch between 50 and 60 hertz, make adjustments for the type of bulb it is running and, will even compensate for degrading lamps by increasing output.

Light Movers

The most efficient way to use high intensity lights is to have them moving within the grow room. Moving the lights will eliminate plants tendency to grow toward the light source and provide light to areas which otherwise may be shaded. Since the light is moving, it can pass quite close to the plants without burning the leaves.

More intensity also allows plants to be placed much closer together, greatly increasing yield and quality.

Moving your grow lights from one end of your garden area and back provides a number of advantages and a few disadvantages:
  • The light can be placed closer to the plants without generating plant killing heat
  • The light's area of coverage is increased
  • Provides a much greater variety of light angles to each plant
  • Light will more frequently reach foliage at the bottom of the plant which may have been shielded by higher foliage
  • Movement of the light will result in a decrease in the amount of light that each plant will receive
  • A timed hesitation at the end of each travel will prevent the middle plants growing faster because they received twice the light overhead as did the end plants
  • The timed hesitation will result in a level growing area
  • The size and shape of your room will determine the type of light mover that will best suite your needs.
Lineal movers carry the light fixture slowly along a track and back again during the light cycle. Most are six feet long, support a single lamp, and are recommended when the growing area is long and narrow.

Circular movers are best when the length and width of the room are similar. They are designed to carry either one, two, three or four lights, in a 360 degree circle, ideally lighting a ten by ten foot area. This diameter can be reduced but rarely extended.

Light bulb sizing

The optimum bulb size depends upon several calculations:
  • Floor space to be covered:
  • Plants need between 50 and 80 watts per square foot for optimum growing
    • Multiply the length times the width of the growing area times 50 watts/square foot
    • Example: a 2 foot by 4 foot = 8 square feet. Multiply 8 times 50 to obtain the number of watts needed. Ex: 400.
    • Therefore, you would need at least a 400 watt bulb for this area.
  • Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs should normally never be less than 12 to 18 inches from the tops of your plants.
  • Anything closer than this is likely to "burn" your plant tops from too much heat
  • Plants directly beneath a reflector may receive more light than plants on the side of the growing area
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