Grow light suggestions for beginner indoor growing?

algar32July 5, 2013

I love plants, but unfortunately move around about once or twice a year and was hoping to have plants I could keep with me in each of my places of residence.

I have considered purchasing a small grow light setup like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Hydrofarm-4-Foot-Start-Light-System/dp/B0001XLSGQ/ref=cm_cmu_pg__header

,but figured I would get some professional advice first.
I am looking for something that provides the needed light to my indoor plants. I want it to be as flexible as possible so that it can accommodate the needs of a variety of plants.

The plants I initially planned on growing are as follows:

Mimosa Pudica (sensitive plant)

Calea Zacatechichi (dream herb)
http://www.amazon.com/Calea-zacatechichi-Live-Plant-DREAM/dp/B00A4TLTFM/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1373063703&sr=1-2&keywords=calea+zacatechichi

Panellus Stipticus (glowing mushroom)
http://www.amazon.com/mushroom-Growing-Habitat-Terrariums-Vivariums/dp/B0070C8AIU/ref=cm_rdp_product_img

Stevia rebaudiana (amazing sugar plant)
http://www.amazon.com/Amazing-Sugar-Plant-Calories-Stevia/dp/B000O9SVKS

Assorted Varieties of cacti
and any interesting plants I stumble across in the future.

These plants may require varying levels of light, but was hoping that somehow I could run them all under one light with one timer.

I realize these are somewhat strange plants so it may be hard to get feedback, but they interest me and keep me happy :) .

I am a new member here, so I appologize ahead of time if this isn't in the proper place. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks.

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slimak

I'm no expert by any means but since this forum is not that active I'll try to help.
One bulb fixture won't help you grow all these plants at once to maturity since they are bigger plants. I would get at least a two bulb, preferably four bulb, fixture for the amount of plants you'd like to grow under them. Either over driven T8 bulb fixture or just get the T5 high output fixture.

If these plants have different light needs as far as duration goes than you simply can't really have them under one light fixture :) Unless you cover them with something to block out the light.

Either way, for the amount of plants you're planning to have you need more light. Try to find the fixture on craigslist. I bought a 4 foot 4 bulb T5ho fixture used for $50.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 8:40AM
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algar32

Thanks for the advice. Does something like this look good:
http://delaware.craigslist.org/grd/3904073096.html
or
http://delaware.craigslist.org/grd/3895405025.html

Thanks so much :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 1:39PM
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slimak

Forget about the second one, it's an HPS light great for flowering but it gets hot and you'd need additional cooling set up for it because it gets very hot.

The first one (3904073096) is an induction light, it's pretty new to indoor growing and I haven't found that many reviews on it. However it supposedly outperforms the T5HO technology, it also runs cool and $200 is a good price for it , from what I see a new 400w lamp like this costs around $600. If I had the extra cash I'd grab it just to see how it performs for that amount of money. Worst case scenario it will perform as good as the T5 ho's I talked about.

However, i found a T5HOs fixtures deal near you too that you might consider
http://baltimore.craigslist.org/for/3907385013.html
if that all cost only $75 I'd be in my car on the way to buy it if I were you :)

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 9:29AM
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slimak

The reason that this T5ho set up would be great for you is that you will be able to create different different light duration zones. I did that by putting a reflective film called orca grow film around the shelving unit as well as on the bottom of each shelf. It bounces the light back to the plants, dispurces the light better and since the light doesn't pass through it I created 3 zones in which I can set each light on its own timer. I would recommend getting this type of wire shelving unit. You can easily attach lamps, fans and the grow film to it as well as it's easy to adjust the shelves spacing. I just saw a 50x18x72 unit like this in home depot for $59. If you need help setting it up just let me know.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 10:25AM
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algar32

Here is the email I recieved back from the FFS induction light:

"This lamp was used in a plant research facility. They had switched over to a different type of lighting and retired a few of these induction lights. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one from an employee with the company. I do not have any documentation with the light. Induction bulbs are rated at 100,000+ hours of lighting time and the light I have has less than 10k hours on it so plenty of life left in the bulb. Any other questions feel free to ask. "

I will be calling the company to get some documentation on the light. Despite not having much information on it, I am still interested in this light. I will be calling the company to get some documentation on the light. I will probably offer him $150 once I have gathered some more info from the company. I will post back when I get more details.

The Baltimore listing does look like a great deal and I really appreciate the pictures and detailed information you provided as well as all of the help thus far. I will be emailing the seller for more information, but if possible I would rather pick up the induction light (if I find that there is nothing wrong with it and it suits my needs) simply because it is much closer. Baltimore would be a bit of a hike for me, but I will probably head up there if the induction light deal doesn't pan out.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2013 at 1:12PM
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algar32

I just found another listing quite close to me. It's an led setup.

2 sunshine systems UFOS and a sunshine systems 45 glow panel:
http://delaware.craigslist.org/grd/3895745916.html

What do you think of that? For that price I might pick up all 3 units. LEDs seem to be quite portable and I have heard good things about them. Do you think they will suit my needs? Thanks.

Edit: Also, I am only asking about this one because the induction already sold :(. Sorry for asking you about so much equipment. I greatly appreciate the help.

Edit: If you think these lights will suit my need I might pick these up tomorrow. Thanks.

This post was edited by algar32 on Mon, Jul 8, 13 at 17:42

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 5:23PM
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slimak

Sorry to hear about the induction light, but I'm not surprised that it sold that quick , that was a great price.

Here is a great website that explains LED lights:
http://ledgrowlightsreview.org/

From what I've seen and read, unless you buy a good LED unit which has quality leds with lenses and good heat sinks, as described in the the guide there, is good quality over all, the LEDs are useless. It's still fairly new technology and unless you're gonna get the top brands that implement those lenses you're just wasting your money. A good unit costs around $1000 from what I've seen. Those units that you found on craigs list are a waste of money imo.

My overall suggestion is go with what's known to work. There is a reason why most indoor growers either use Fluorescent, Metal Helide and High Pressure Sodium lamps.... because they work :)

Sure you'll see and hear great things about those UFOs from people on youtube but unless you personally know the person keep in mind that those people most likely are either trying to sell this stuff or are just full of it.
Just ask yourself this, this person who is selling them only after a month! He praises them :) but still selling them :) If they were so freakin great why wouldn't he keep them????

My advise, once again is to invest in Florescent T5HO setup. It's compact, runs cool and energy efficient, easy to disassemble when you'll move again, you can grow different varieties of plants and it works.

If you want higher yields/grow tall plants and have lots of room for these lights than go with MH and HPS combination.

If you're set on the LEDs than go with quality brands and spend the money.

I'm gladly sharing what I know with you so no need to say sorry. That's what these forums are for.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2013 at 11:50PM
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