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Hydroponic Lighting

by BVV |

When considering your growing situation, a big factor is lights. There are multiple options to choose from:

  • Lighting Emitting Diodes (LED)
  • Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH)
  • Metal Halide (MH)
  • High Pressure Sodium (HPS)

In this section we will talk about the lamp and what stages of the plant’s life should the light be used at.

Lighting Emitting Diodes (LED):

LEDs are tiny light bulbs that fit into an electrical circuit. They don’t have a filament that will burn out and won’t get especially hot. LEDs are illuminated solely by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material, and last as long as a standard transistor.  LEDs will last thousands of hours above incandescent bulbs. LEDs consume up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs which gives it a distinct advantage over traditional lighting. LEDs have a high light penetration through the plant canopy reaching all of the necessary flower or vegetation sites. The best LEDs on the market are full spectrum. Full spectrum is designed to mimic natural outdoor sunlight to help your plants grow healthier and yield better harvests.

Used in all stages of the plant. From seed to harvest

Image result for led grow lights

Ceramic Metal Halide (CMH) AKA Light Emitting Ceramics (LEC):

CMH are made with an arc tube constructed of a ceramic composite instead of quartz or PZA. This allows the tube to reach a higher temperature. The higher operating temperature of the ceramic tube allows for an ideal mixture of gases. This creates a fuller spectrum of light that increases growth, overall health and yield of your plants. Moderate to high levels of canopy penetration (depending on pruning and training).

Mainly used in the vegetative growth phase. Not well suited for the flowering phase (unless you prune and train the plant well)

Image result for ceramic metal halide light

Metal Halide (MH):

Metal halides are produced as a result of combining halogen with metal. Metal halides work when an electrical arc goes through a gaseous mix creating light. The two main components are the outer bulb and the inner arc tube. At either end of the inner arc tube there are two electrodes, once voltage is supplied the mercury begins to heat up, causing it to vaporize. This helps the electrical current grow. Metal halides turn into gas, the atoms move away from the arc creating white light.

Used in all stages of the plant. Seed to harvest. Great growth in veg as well as in flower  

Image result for metal halide light system

High Pressure Sodium (HPS):

HPS are made with a narrow arc tube supported by a frame in a bulb. The arc tube has a high pressure inside for higher efficiency. Sodium, mercury and xenon are usually inside of the arc tube. The arc tube is made of aluminum oxide ceramic which is resistant to the corrosive effects of alkalis like sodium. Light turns from blue to white to a yellowish blue.

Used in all stages of the plant

Image result for high pressure sodium light system

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When considering your growing situation, a big factor is lights. There are multiple options to choose from:

  • Fluorescent Lamps (T5, T8, T12)
  • Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL)
  • Induction Lighting
  • Double Ended (DE) Lights – (HPS)

In this section we will talk about the lamp and what stages of the plant’s life should the light be used at.

Fluorescent Lamps (T5, T8, T12):

Fluorescent lamps are low pressure mercury-vapor gas discharge lamps that uses fluorescence to produce a visible light. An electrical current in the gas excites mercury vapor, which produces short-wave ultraviolet light that then causes a phosphor coating on the inside of the lamp to glow.

The T in the T5, T8 or T12 indicates the bulb is tubular shaped. The number represents the diameter of the bulb.

T5 = 5/8 of an inch in diameter

T8 = 8/8 of an inch = 1inch in diameter

T12 = 12/8 of an inch = 1 ½ inch in diameter

Mainly used in veg. Not enough power for flower

Image result for fluorescent light


Compact Fluorescent Lighting (CFL):

CFLs work by having an electrical current driven through a tube containing argon and a small amount of mercury vapor. This generates invisible ultraviolet light that excites a fluorescent coating on the inside of the tube, which then emits visible light

Great for veg phase and supplemental lighting

Image result for cfl lighting


Induction Lighting:

Induction lighting is a type of fluorescent light. Induction lamps create light by using an electromagnetic field to excite mercury particles mixed in an inert gas like argon or krypton. The mercury creates a UV light and a phosphor on the inside of the bulb or tube filters the energy into visible light. Induction lighting doesn’t use electrodes in the tube.

Plasma Induction Lighting:

Plasma grow light works by exciting sulfur plasma with microwave radiation. This type of lighting is missing parts of the light spectrum that are important for plant growth.

Magnetic Induction Lighting:

A magnetic grow light is made with similar technology as a regular fluorescent bulb. They use induction instead of electrodes.  They last longer than regular fluorescent grow lights. They provide a great light spectrum for plants

All induction lighting is used in veg growth and supplemental lighting

Image result for induction lighting


Double Ended (DE) Lights – (HPS):

Double ended lights have two ends that connect to the reflector. Most grow lights (Ceramic Metal Halide, Fluorescent Lights, Magnetic, Plasma) are single ended, one end connects with the reflector. A double ended light is a gas-filled tubular lamp with connectors on either end.

Used in all growth stages. Mainly in flower

Image result for double ended light

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