confused about which lights to use! please help!

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)January 26, 2013

I need advice on how to set up a tiered light stand for starting seedlings. It would be 3 or 4 tiers, probably using a shelving unit with 3 or 4 tiers.

My first question is what type of lighting to use?
Somebody recommended to me that the wattage should be between 5500k-6500k (6500k preferred).

It was recommended to use T8 bulbs. How long should they be? What do these look like? Can I order them online, if so where? I can't get to Walmart, Home Depot etc cause of poor weather, and there isn't one available locally where I live; the closest one is 30-40 minutes away.

I have heard there are high definition lights for plants and 'LED'. Which are the best to use for starting seedlings?

What does LED look like and what does the high definition look like?

I have also heard there 'cool' lights and 'warm' lights
I'd be growing veggie and herb transplants so which one should I use?

Pictures, links, etc. would be appreciated please.

Thank you

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Michael.Masztal

For seedlings, T5 aren�t necessary. You can do just as well with the less expensive T8 and daylight (6500K) bulbs. LED aren�t appropriate for seedlings. THey work well with larger fruiting plants

Go to YouTube and search under "tiered hydroponic systems" and you�ll get a lot of videos to watch. One of my favorite YT contributors is mhpgardener. Check his videos out.

I mail order most of what I buy. It�s easy to find stuff on line.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 7:44PM
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kawaiineko_gardener(5a)

Thank you for posting on my thread as well as the suggestion to look up the videos on you tube.

Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, but what on earth do the t8 bulbs (the 6500k ones that are daylight bulbs) look like? I've never used them before, so a picture of what they look like would be helpful please.

Also I plan to do a 3 tiered set up for starting seedlings. How many of these T8 bulbs would you recommend per tier?

With the lengths of the shelves I'd be using, per tier they would probably be 4'-5' long.

Also what could I use to actually 'clip' the lights/affix them? I can't use anything that requires them being screwed into the ceiling.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 4:40PM
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Michael.Masztal

They look like regular fluorescent bulbs. T5, T8, T10, refer to the size (thickness) of the bulb. T5 are thin, T10 thicker. They come in 2, 4� lengths. For your set up you could go with a 2 or 4 bulb fixture, but the 4 bulb will have wider coverage area. As far as how to fix them, they all have some sort of hanging arrangement on the housing. You�ll have to figure out which will work best.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 7:38AM
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kawaiineko_gardener(5a)

Thanks for the clarification regarding the grow lights, as well as the advice of how many to use per tier.

I found this via a web search (you'll have to copy and paste it manually into your web browser, it won't display it as a hyper link, I don't know why).

http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=255340-3-22210&langId=-1&storeId=10151&productId=1072613&catalogId=10051&cmRelshp=rel&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

Also can you give me ideas as to what to use to attach the lights to? What they're called? Again I know very little about growing seedlings under lights, and I've never tried to build and design a set up myself. Add to that I'm unfortunately not good with building things.

I was thinking of just using a 3 tier shelving unit as the place to put the light set up system itself (the lights and whatever they'll be affixed to). Would this suffice?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:54PM
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Michael.Masztal

Your link shows that those would be the lights to use.

You really want your overhead lights to be adjustable as your crops grow. I've used rope with a tautline hitch knot or chains with an open link so I can raise and lower them as needed. In both rigs, the rope/chain simply loops over a cross piece of PVC. If you�re wanting to attach the fixtures to the bottom of a shelf on your shelving unit, get some eye screws which will screw into the bottom of the shelf and suspend the lights from there. It wold actually be easier to build your own rack with some PVC pipe if that is available in your area.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 10:31PM
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kawaiineko_gardener(5a)

Um can you give links that show pictures as to the different things you're talking about please? I am NOT referring to pictures of the set up itself but rather of the individual pieces you described that you would affix the lights to.

As I said, unfortunately I'm not good with Do it yourself things as far as building/constructing stuff goes.

Unfortunately even if this is 'simple' it's extremely complicated and difficult for me as this (construction building etc.) IS NOT my area of expertise.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:48PM
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Michael.Masztal

Screw hooks http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/catalog/servlet/Search?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&keyword=screw%20hooks&Ns=None&Ntpr=1&Ntpc=1&selectedCatgry=Search+All

Screw into bottom of shelf.Hang fixture from there.

Try YouTube under hydroponics for some set-ups.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 8:57PM
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kawaiineko_gardener(5a)

Thanks for all the time you've taken to post on my thread as well as all the suggestions, recommendations, and advice you've given.

I don't mind attaching the lights onto some sort of fixture like you described. However is it necessary to screw whatever is holding the lights (the fixtures) directly into the shelves?

Or can you just set the lights (attached to the fixtures they'll be used with) onto the shelves?

I don't mind if I have to attach them to the shelves, but do I have to hang them from the ceiling? Unfortunately doing so from the ceiling really isn't an option. I can attach the fixtures the lights will be on in various other ways, but putting them into the ceiling isn't an option.

Are there any alternatives besides hanging the fixture the lights will be on? Do the lights have hung or can they be attached using some other method?

Also with the 2nd and 3rd tiers how would I attach the fixtures the lights would go on? Would they just be attached to the shelves?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 12:13PM
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Michael.Masztal

I constructed something like this with 1" schedule 40 PVC pipe. Look at some YouTube hydroponic set-ups in "Hydroponic DIY lighting
. http://www.greners.com/i/hydroponics/components/benches-stands/cap-grandstand-light-stand-kit.html

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:57PM
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