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New to growing your own tomatoes? This is the forum to learn the successful techniques used by seasoned tomato growers. Questions are welcome, too.

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Old May 1, 2019   #1
jhouse
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Default Grow Lights

I'm fighting a temperature vs light/distance battle -- I bought a new T5 (Sunblaze) system with 6 lights, and am regretting it due to the hear they generate.

With the lights at least 10" away from the seedlings, the temperature is 83 degrees or higher, I've been running an oscillating fan that helps but don't want to run it 24/7.

I am raising the lights higher to lower the temp, but worry that the seedlings are not getting enough light. From what I read, 83 degrees is too warm for the seedlings.
My house runs about 70 degrees or a bit more, so the lights raise the temp a good 10 degrees or more.

I've researched other lighting systems, and am overwhelmed by all the information -- is there a good thread somewhere on this forum about lighting systems? I'd appreciate it if someone pointed me in that direction

Thanks!

Jan H.
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Old May 1, 2019   #2
Salsacharley
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You can try removing 2 of the T5 bulbs and see how hot 4 bulbs are. I'm using 7 T5's on a 72 cell tray. The lights are only 2" above the seedlings (some still sprouting) AND they are on a heat mat. I do run a fan mid-day but I've had no problems with the heat, even though the temp stays up pretty high. I sowed the seeds in 100% coco coir and it dries out very fast so I have to water the seedlings 2 - 3 times per day. Obviously I am watching this situation constantly, so if you can't be present that much you probably can't dance so close to the flames. I've had excellent results with only 4 T5's but I'm trying 7 to see the difference.
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Old May 1, 2019   #3
GrowingCoastal
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This year I got a couple of led strip lights to replace T5's and found that the led is so cool that leaves can touch and not get burned. I see that they also have tubes to replace regular T5 tubes.

This is one company. There are probably others.
https://www.sunblasterlighting.com/o...onvert-to-led/
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Old May 1, 2019   #4
jhouse
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hmm, wonder why my T5s are that much warmer? Or maybe 83 + degrees isn't too warm -- one problem with internet and tons of information, often conflicting.

GrowCoastal, is that a kit that converts the fixture so it can accept LEDs? One thought I had was to just sell the unit I now have and replace with an LED unit. Was looking at a Viparspectra on Amazon.
I could probably sell pretty easily on Craigslist, I've noticed a lot of folks are growing things other than vegetables ;-)

I did call the hydroponic shop where I bought the unit, they weren't sure if removing 2 of the tubes would harm the fixture. Do you think it'd be okay?

Last edited by jhouse; May 1, 2019 at 11:24 AM.
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Old May 1, 2019   #5
SQWIBB
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You can follow my Grow Light Journey here
and here
Hope this helps.
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Old May 1, 2019   #6
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No need to have fan on 24/7 just put it on the light timer cycle.

You can do your own controlled tests and experiments to either prove or disprove what everyone else says here or some place else.
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Old May 1, 2019   #7
jhouse
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wow, that is great information thanks y'all!

Holy cow Sqwibb, that's amazing. Love your mad scientist approach!

I opted to get a Viparspectra TC600, will get it tomorrow or next day. What the heck, nice birthday present! Will see how the Sunblaze sells here locally.

Worth1, that's a great attitude! It's all a learning process -- I started seeds this year for something enjoyable to do after a very difficult year, so worrying too much about it kind of defeats the purpose. O yeah, plus the fact that I'm addicted to tomatoes. . .

Last edited by jhouse; May 1, 2019 at 12:22 PM.
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Old May 1, 2019   #8
GrowingCoastal
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhouse View Post
hmm, wonder why my T5s are that much warmer? Or maybe 83 + degrees isn't too warm -- one problem with internet and tons of information, often conflicting.

GrowCoastal, is that a kit that converts the fixture so it can accept LEDs? One thought I had was to just sell the unit I now have and replace with an LED unit. Was looking at a Viparspectra on Amazon.
I could probably sell pretty easily on Craigslist, I've noticed a lot of folks are growing things other than vegetables ;-)

I did call the hydroponic shop where I bought the unit, they weren't sure if removing 2 of the tubes would harm the fixture. Do you think it'd be okay?
I have no clue whether these are universal. Worth asking the sellers. I have some T5's I might replace but they are all same manufacturer. These are good for seeds and starts but not for growing on.
The VIPARSPECTRA light looks great for growing things to their finish
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Old May 1, 2019   #9
SQWIBB
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The LED's with the bloom setting are nice for indoor grows, you can back of on the bloom setting for seedling's, saves a not in the electric.
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Old May 1, 2019   #10
SharonRossy
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I have the T5 HO Sunblaster set up with the Nanotech reflector and I have 4 bulbs - I don’t find that it makes the room that warm and they are set up next to windows that get a lot of sun. I keep a fan on a few hours a day. The room stays cool as it requires a gas fireplace to increase the heat when it’s cold out. And we’ve had cool weather. 6 bulbs may generate more heat. I was tempted to add the LED strip light instead the 4th T5. They provide much more light and are much cooler. They are also more expensive, so I’m waiting to change over in the next couple of years.
I think the T5’s have the capability of growing plants to flowering - there are replacement bulbs for that from what I learned at the hydroponic store.
All to say, I love the t5 sunblaster system. Just wish I could raise it higher than 18”. And those LEd strip replacements look to be the future. My seedlings are very healthy - I have 39 4” pots currently under the lights. The additional 4th light has made a huge difference. I used 3 lights for a few years and wasn't happy - the plants were healthy, but I see a high difference with the 4th light. 6 might be too many.
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Old May 2, 2019   #11
loulac
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Renewing T5 tubes looks a bit outdated to me. LED’s give much light with very little heat and electricity. You can consider usig LED tubes supposed to be used in traditional holders, I burnt 3 Philips tubes that were supposed to be compatible. I suggest buying LED strips or the whole equipment (LED tube and holder). E-bay may have more choice than Amazon. We must be aware that most of these led’s come from China, buying them is too often playing Russian roulette…
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Old May 2, 2019   #12
encore
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i use sunvie LED t5 single fixtures, i have a set of 8 of them , they are 2200lm, 6500k, super bright white 20w, got them on amazon , they just hook together, all hardware included, the little brackets are kind of cheap, so i usedf wire ties also so they didnt fall out. think it was about 60 bucks---tom picture to come
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Old May 2, 2019   #13
encore
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here's the setup,
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File Type: jpg 005.JPG (119.2 KB, 78 views)
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Old May 2, 2019   #14
jhouse
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nice, love the price!! Very clever rig.

My LED system came today and I have a "few too many" seedlings, so I think I can try an experiment: I can move some of the seedlings to the basement where it's cooler, use the T5s on them, and keep the rest upstairs under the LEDs.
I didn't like the basement for all the seedlings as it is quite a bit more humid down there, but this will be interesting to see how it works out. Plus I do have quite a few til they're big enough to give some away.

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Old May 2, 2019   #15
xellos99
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I just checked weather reports for Ohio and I really think you would be much better off making yourself a mini hoop house type thing and have them outside in the day instead. Grow lights are like a last resort because they give the slowest growth.

Like this :

garden-cloche.jpg
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