terr lighting ?

rda76(z6 mid tn)March 12, 2005

please forgive my ignorance guys, but i'm a little unclear on lighting for a terrarium.

i'd like to start a small terr in an old 10 gal fish tank from plants i have around the house, bolivan jew, wandering jew, java moss, lucky bamboo, ivy, philo, spider plants, etc. if its going to be in a dark area of my home, would the aquarium bulb provide sufficient light for the plants to thrive ? are there special bulbs for terrs or are they supposed to have no artificial lighting and live on indirect sunlight like all other houseplants ?

much thanks in advance.

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I am fairly new to this as well, I started my Terr about 5 - 6 months ago.I have a 29 gal. I used the aquarium light for the first 4 months or so, but my plants were not thriving, they were surviving. I recently added a 40 watt Compact Flourescent bulb to the terr and a 24" flourescent tube and now the plants are thriving...I dont know the exact light requirements for your plants but I would say that they would need more light to thrive...Im sure someone with a bit more knowledge on the subject will come along and answer this question for ya...Sorry I couldnt be of more help

    Bookmark   March 12, 2005 at 8:12PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Unless you have one of those rare 10 gal tanks with a fluorescent bulb, then your tank lights will not be good, as they are most likely incandescents. What you need to do is replace them with screw-in compact fluorescents. These will nicely screw into the same old incandescent fixture that you already have, but will put out way more light. Make sure you get 'Daylight' or 'Cool white' bulbs. They are the best for plant growth. And if the bulbs are too big (which they might be, since they are coiled), try to find mini compacts, or just try making your own light hood! =) You will need artificial light if you want to put your terrarium in a dark corner of your home.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 7:39PM
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A few days ago I went to walmart and bought a replacement lamp socket and used a heated pair of scissors to burn through the hood. in the hole I created I placed the lamp socket and I added a Compact Flour. bulb. the total project cost me $8 and it took about 30 mins to wire up and fasten to the hood. if you were able to put three of these in you should have a good amount of light in your ten gallon. its just an idea. I thought it was easy and pretty cheap but I am sure I could have got the parts cheaper some where else.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2005 at 10:27PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Even two compacts is enough for a ten gallon!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 12:43PM
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ddot(zn1/2 OR)

I also have a ten gal terrarium. I bought 2 light fixtures from walmart and two replacable bulbs. These bulbs are "Plante & Aquarium" bulbs in diffent lengths. Look for these in the light bulb section instead of the pet section of the store. I use two because I have zero natural light. These lights are good because they provide the red and blue color bands- which ordinary incandescent light does NOT provide. Start by placing it 6 inches above your terr and work it up to 12 depending on how your plants do (if they are leggy there isn't enough light). Length of light is important. 8-12 hours is required for most plants, 16 for flowering. As a rule of thumb 15- 20 watts of light for every square ft of growing surface. (for some reason though mine is a black hole!!:) I hope this helps. ddot

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 11:24PM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Why would you want the light 12 inches above your terr? Closer is better in terms of light intensity. And one shouldn't need 16 hours of lights on in order to bloom plants. Just add another bulb. 12-14 hours should be sufficient for growth and flowering. 8 hrs. is too little with fluo's.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 1:12PM
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ddot(zn1/2 OR)

Hey, I just know what works for me and info gathered by time. If I have my lights too close to my tank my mosses lose color. Not all my plants like intense light. I've trained my low intensity to like more light and my high intensity to like less. This is why I have my lights at 11 inches.I adjust them and the length of time they are on depending on the season. I use all spectrum tubes which is different than your run of the mill flourescent. But like I said it depends on your plants and how they respond. For instance my plants are woodland (various mosses, asparagus fern, various ferns including maidenhair,holly fern,brake, shield fern, and ivies such as kelinworth ivy, and English ivy.I have twin flower and others which do not appreciate equatorial/ tropical low/bright light. They like soft understory-ish cool light from all directions. Plants that can live in ordinary living room light such as yours may prefer this sort of light rather than that of say...orchids. In the end it takes experimentation and research on what your plants prefer. Each terrarium is unique. As with anyone, what works for others usually won't work for you ;) Just go for it! Best wishes. ddot

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 2:17AM
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Which type of fluorescent lighting is best in a terrarium? the full spectrum tube or one that specifies it's for plants? If the plant specific variety is preferable, what should I look for when purchasing a tube? I have only one slot for a tube and am growing a strawberry begonia, a nerve plant and some carnivorous plants. I'm not well versed on the technicalities of the different bulbs so the simpler the explanation, the better for my limited understanding.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 12:20AM
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sahoyaref(Alberta z3a)

Well, one bulb won't be enough for carnivorous plants, so try to also place your terrarium in a spot that gets indirect sun through a window. As for what bulb to choose, get whatever is closest to 6500-6700K. This is called the 'colour temperature' of the bulb, and the previous numbers are natural sunlight at noon. This will make your terrarium look natural, and nice and sunny, and the plants will do well. You could also go a bit higher, which would include more blue in the light colour, which plants like, but you might not (makes things look colder, paler). I find that 'plant grow' bulbs are often overpriced, so my guess, without knowing what kind of lumens these bulbs are putting out, or what the K (Kelvin) rating is, is that the full spectrum bulb will be best.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2005 at 9:16PM
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