Grow Lights For an old fish tank.

LurrSeptember 30, 2013

Im hoping you can help me , Im in the UK and need to protect my curry leaf tree seedlings that have grow through the summer this winter,
Im limited on cash so ive decided to use an old fish tank that my hubby isnt using at the mo and place my curry leaf seedlings in there. I have heat that im happy with but the light that is currently in the tank doesnt seem to be the correct lighting for plants, Ive been testing it with chillies - The current light is a 2ft tube I dont have any info other than that, as its been rubbed off.I have the chilli seedlings 2 inches from the tube but not directly under the tube and the seedlings are pointing in the directions of the tube and are leggy.
I was hoping that you would be able to tell me what tube I need. I have a local nationwide petstore that i can purchase fish tank lighting from,
Would any of the tubes they sell be good for what i need.

Thanks in advance

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I'll try to help you but in return could you please, please try to take Piers Morgan back to your country :)

In short Yes, seedlings will get leggy because the lamp you have is simply not strong enough so you need to get a stronger one which produces more light.

Secondly, please take your plant out of the tank, it's not a fish :) it needs fresh air.

If you're just trying to get this curry leaf tree seedling alive over the winter you could just go with something like this :

Go on and search "Blue 125w 6u CFL Hydroponics Eco Grow Light"

If that's still too expensive just ask your hubby to build you a simple fixture: cord, E40 fitting or socket and some sheet of metal on top to act as a reflector and then get the bulb(lamp) -
Blue 125w 6u CFL Hydroponics Eco Grow Light Lamp

If you don't want to buy in on the internet than just find a local hydroponic store near you and they should have it or can help you get it.

your 2 foot fixture would be ok to germinate seeds but it won't be enough to successfully support growing seedlings, trust me on this :) I actually have one and tried it. where were we with Piers :) lol

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 2:52PM
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lol @ piers morgan.
I checked out that bulb ill get one of those with the reflector .Im assuming i just hang it over the seedlings ? I have almost 100 seedlings is 1 bulb and reflector enough ? Do i have to use an enclosure like a tent or a home made box to keep heat in ?
Sorry for all the questions.I want to get it right this year I had 100 curry leaf seedlings die last winter as i didnt know what I was doing.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 4:38AM
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100 tree seedlings?! :)
I thought you just got 2 or 3 :)
First of all where are you keeping them because I see that you're concerned about temperature?
Secondly, how long do you plan to keep them indoors?

We're talking about trees here. I don't exactly know how fast they grow but even if it's 3 months you'll probably need to transplant them into at least 1 gallon pots and that would make your growing area roughly 7 feet by 7 feet :)

To cover that much space you might be successful byusing two 600 watt Metal Halide lamps.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:39AM
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At the mo the seedlings are about 2-3 inches tall and will be ok on the windowsill during the day and away from the windowsill at night, Im hoping to keep them warm in the winter via bottom heat ie propgators and mats,
These plants dont grow very fast in this country and are grow as house plants. I only want to keep them of 18 months then i give them to my local school for there summer fete so I only need to keep them under light and heat for the duration of the winter.
Less than 1 meter square would be the coverage of all the seedlings,

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 9:54AM
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Don't get me wrong, I don't try to be pessimistic but just because your seedlings are 3 inches tall right now it doesn't mean that they're going to stay that way through a period of 18 months. They want to grow and if you don't let them they will simply die.

If you don't re-pot them they will get root bound fairly quickly and die. If you don't give them enough light they will get leggy and die. Giving them heat is one thing but there are other factors that you need to look at.

If you don't believe me than just do a little experiment with one of the seedlings that you already have. Transplant it in a 1 gallon container and see how much faster it will grow than the ones you have in your seed trays. Also see if it will get leggy just by having it by your window without any artificial light.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 2:02PM
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I do believe you , I just never really thought about it like that, when they died this year in january they were pretty much the same size they were in october.
Ill put them into 1 gallon pots which you say now is an area of 7ftx7ft- its pretty big considering i need to keep them indoors. I do have a cupboard 9ftx3ft that i could clear out its an actic cupboard and has a low ceiling (4ft)so I can suspend 2 lights ? or is a cupboard not a good idea ? silver foil around the walls im thinking too, Is there a way I can heat it propagators wont do much now im guessing.
The cupboard has double doors that i can open for air so air isnt a problem right ?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 3:21PM
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Well that's the exact reason why your seedlings stayed the same size, the roots didn't have anymore room to grow in so the foliage didn't grow either.
Now I'm not an eanert on this so take my advice for what it's worth. I just speak from experience when I say that it doesn't work very well to keep your seedlings in seed tray for a long time. A more mature seedling could stay longer in a 4 inch pot without showing any stress but eventually the roots will strangle them selves as well. You want to keep them inside for year and a half , that's a very long time. You could slow down the growth by repotting every few months into a bit bigger pots until you reach your 1 gallon pots to buy you some time .

Either way if you're set on nursing 100 seedlings indoors you will need a serious light fixture.

Why do you want to keep them indoors for 18 months instead of just start them ahead and plant them?
If you do it this way you could use smaller size pots and just use a 4 foot 8 bulb grow light fixture to cover the area nicely.

And why do you insist on enclosing them so much? :)
All you need is hang your light and maybe put some white painted boards on the sides if you want to bounce the light back. Stay away from aluminium foil, it's good for sandwiches ,not to reflect and defuse light.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2013 at 10:17PM
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I need to keep them indoors as they are tropical plants, here in the uk it snows in winter.I need to keep them at 15c or above.
I dont want to enclose them unless i have to,Im just going by what i have found searching the net and utube.
I searched Ebay last night and found a hps/hm set up with bulb/ballast and reflecter 600w for just over ã50 ill get one of those for now and buy another in a month or so.Do i need dual/red or blue light spectrum?

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay light set up

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 1:55AM
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:) I do understand that you need to keep them indoors but why for so long instead of just getting them started of the winter months and give them away in spring?

People ( I was one of them :) in the beginning ) tend to over complicate things. You seedlings just need some light, water, fresh warm air and they will grow.

I did forget to mention something about using these High Intensity Discharge lamps (HPS/MH) they get HOT :) Usually people use special ventilation systems for them composed of Fans and round ducting to cool them if the grow area is enclosed in a tent or very small grow room.
Just keep that in mind. You just need blue spectrum light.

I'm not a big fan of those lights just for that reason, too much heat in one point. Fluorescents generate heat too but it's spread out and you can actually touch the tube and not get burned. It would cost you more to get fluorescent fixtures in order to get the same job done.
However you make a decision of what you think will be safe for you to use, I don't know how your growing area looks like so I don't want to say if it's safe or not.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2013 at 5:24PM
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Yes I think your right im complicating things im just going to buy the bulb you sugested 125w blue with a reflector for now and get another of those later- Im going to keep them ontop of the wardrobe and hang the reflector from the ceiling.i can add more light s when they plants get bigger. one other question i have,should i still use 125w bulb or go with a bigger one?

Here is a link that might be useful: lamp from amazon

    Bookmark   October 3, 2013 at 3:03AM
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bumblebees_mom(z9 Jax, FL)

I actually do grow curry leaf plants and I have experience in cold weather climates as well as warm. First of all your pots are fine for that size seedling. Using too large of a pot often leads to the soil staying too wet and then the roots rotting. On the flip side be careful with small pots and bottom heat, as the soil may dry out too quickly. The heat mat should be at a very low heat setting. Curry leaf plants also don't like to have their roots disturbed and since they are trees they do a lot better in a taller pot. I start them in 2 inch talk pots or I cut the tops off of plastic drink bottles, drill some holes in the bottom and I have an instant tall pot that gives lots of room for root growth without having so much soil that the pot stays wet for too long. And this way you don't have to repot as often, which they don't like, they go through a shock period when you disturb the roots and stop growing for a bit.

Anyway for lighting, yes in a colder climate the plants go semi dormant and growth slows down. Make sure the temp is never below 60 degrees and I have had good luck over wintering them under 2 T8 fluorescent lights ( one warm, one cool). They don't put out a lot of heat, they are inexpensive and available in the hardware store here, and sufficient to not only keep the plants alive but to grow as well. Curry leaf plants love heat, but seedlings are very delicate. Also don't be surprised to lose some. I find that curry leaf seeds germinate readily but not every plant is strong enough to make it. It is best when one seed gives one plant. Sometimes you will get 2 or more plants from one seed and those plants tend to be not as big or as strong. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2013 at 11:38AM
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