HYDROPONIC LIGHTS
Florescent Bulbs

Florescent bulbs...

 

[Ed. note: yes, you read right! We misspelled fluorescent as "florescent"... But it was on purpose. Our web research told us that more people actually spell it that way in their search box. We aim to serve  ;-) ]







FAQ About Florescent Bulbs & T5 Grow Lights

FAQs about florescent bulbs

Are fluorescents a good lighting option for indoor hydroponics growers?

Yes! But they have limitations. Florescent lamps perform very well for nonflowering crops. In other words, leafy greens, lettuces, most kitchen herbs. They do not supply the spectra necessary for flowering and fruiting vegetables, like tomatoes, squash or peppers.

However,T5 fluorescent fixtures are very versatile and can be used as seed starters/propagation lighting and as a full-term light for nonflowering crops.


What are T5 fluorescent bulbs?

T5 fluorescents are the latest generation, super efficient, High Output (HO) florescent grow lights. Florescent bulb technology has become much more efficient in recent years.  Each four foot T5 lamp produces an amazing 5,000 lumens per bulb! Although smaller than T12 fluorescents (standard "shop-light" fixture) and T8s, T5s produce almost twice as much light. T5 lamps use cool electronic ballasts and dimmable ones are available.

Are there different types of T5 bulbs?
Yes, T5 Fluorescent bulbs come in a variety of light spectrums (such as "warm/bloom" and "cool/growth" spectrums). You can customize your lamp for the type of plant growth desired.

  • "Cool" 6,500 Kelvin Daylight Spectrum bulbs for lush vegetative plant growth 
  • "Warm" 3,000 Kelvin Red Spectrum bulbs for flowering plant growth 
  • Mix  "cool" and "warm" bulbs for a more balanced light spectrum!


What is a good daily use schedule for florescent bulbs? How long do they last?

Time the lights to burn 16 to 18 hours each day. A fluorescent tube's life is normally 10,000 hours or more, or up to two years of daily use.


How far from the plants should I place the lamp?

You can hang the lamp 6 to 12 inches above your plants. (HIDs would burn them this close).

Set up your lamp so you can keep the distance between the light and the plant fairly constant. An inexpensive method is to use chains with S-hooks for easy adjustment from link to link. Raise the lamp as the plants grow.


Can fluorescent bulbs be used in conjunction with HID [Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS)] lighting?


T5 fixtures can supplement existing HID systems by providing needed light spectrums that the HID bulbs lack. Add

  • "Cool" blue spectrum T5 light to gardens using High Pressure Sodium’s orange/red spectrum.
  • Use "warm" red spectrum T5 light to supplement Metal Halide’s blue/white spectrum. 
  • Arrange T5 lights as side lighting for your HID-lit plants to better reach underneath their top canopy.


Fluorescent bulbs vs. High Intensity Discharge (HID) for primary lighting

HID lamps emit light from a very small source - a two to four inch arc tube inside the bulb. The light is very intense and needs to be spread across the entire garden from this one small point of light. Even with a good hood reflector, HID must travel quite a distance to cover your garden, and loses intensity along the way.

T5 Fluorescent lamps emit light along the entire length of the bulbs. This is a much larger light source spread over a much larger area.
Florescent bulbs burn much cooler as well, so you can place them very close to the plant canopy while still achieving the light spread across the entire garden area. A very efficient way to provide proper lighting for  your plants.

Bulb Life: Metal Halide and T12 and T8 lamps can lose as much as half of their initial light output over the life of the bulb. Your plants could be growing at "half speed" without you even knowing it.

T5 fluorescent bulbs hold their lumens much longer than all other bulbs...keeping your garden "up to speed" until the bulbs actually burn out.

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