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Would the Roleadro 300w full spectrum light be overkill for my 18" x 18" terrarium?

Joined
Jun 20, 2003
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185
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Would the Roleadro 300w full spectrum light be overkill for my 18" x 18" terrarium?

I received a beautiful terrarium as a gift a couple years ago, and I'm sorry to say that between work, kids, home reno, and other "life" stuff, it's just sat there collecting dust. Now that I have my new office finished I'd like to finally get it setup with some CPs. :)

The terrarium is about 18" on all sides. There is a decorative area in the top that will work to hide a growlight. I'm trying to find something that will work for me, with the following criteria in mind:

  • Bright enough, but not overly bright, for my CPs
  • Provides appropriate frequencies of light for my plants
  • Full spectrum in appearance; I like to show off my plants and don't like the purple/red hue of traditional growlights (yes, I know I need to give up efficiency for this)
  • Bright enough to properly display the plants
  • Not so bright that it's painful to look at out of the corner of my eye 8+ hours per day (the fixture itself will be hidden)
  • Affordable. Under $50 would be great. Under $100 is a requirement.

Some information about the environment:

  • The 12' x 15' office is lit by eleven 9w Aspect LEDs putting out 810 lumens each, usually run at full power; daylight also enters 60" double doors during the day
  • The terrarium sits 6 feet away from my desk chair, at the 10 o'clock position
  • I would like to grow a couple VFTs, D Intermedia, D Capensis, maybe D Scorpioides, and some small TBD Sars
  • The light would sit 13"-15" above 'ground' level

So I'm considering the "Roleadro Upgrade and Newly Developed LED Grow Light Full Spectrum 2nd Generation Series 300w Plants Light" that I found on Amazon. Everything else that meets most of my criteria is either way too expensive, heavy on the red/purple end of the spectrum, or far too weak. My questions about this light are:

  • Is it going to blind me? 5000 lumens seems pretty bright, but potentially bearable, especially with potential internal reflections from the terrarium glass.
  • Will it provide sufficient light for my 18" x 18" of grow space without burning the plants if run for 12-14 hours per day? Many formulae and calculators I've found assume 360-degree bulbs. And lumens is a rating relative to human vision, and not light output, so I'm not sure where to even start calculating here.
  • Is there a better option out there for my needs?
 
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Joined
Jun 20, 2003
Messages
185
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
So I've been trying to do a little more research to understand lighting. It seems like I should be looking for a PAR rating on these things. I found a Youtube review that used a meter to show the Roleandro light putting out barely 180 PAR in the center, and closer to 100 at 18" from center. If I understand correctly, this will be insufficient for any CPs?

I'm now wondering if a better approach might be to purchase something like this Bloomspect, or a similar growlight, and set it on a timer to run from 9pm until 9am. Then attach a white LED strip like this and have that run from 9am until 9pm. That way during the morning, afternoon, and early evening my plants are beautifully displayed. And then they get their grow lighting overnight.

My concern there would be if plants need a day/night cycle. Will 24 hour lighting cause any problems? Feeling very out-of-my-depth here and would love some advice.
 
Joined
Aug 4, 2008
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I'm not too versed with this type of lighting but if you do want to use LED's building you own will be cheap and more effective than any off the shelf unit. As you probably know distance is very important. Lighting intensity drops off exponentially with distance. 18 inches is pretty far for most plants. I, for example keep my plants within 6 inches from the lights. Honestly, I'd suggest you use the terrarium for a dart frog, the majority of carnivorous plants do not need to be grown inside a terrarium. If you did want to use it for plants I'd stick to low light stuff like queensland drosera and utricularia calycifida. But wait until someone more experienced with LED strips chimes in.
 
Joined
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Thanks Grey Moss.

I think I've decided to go ahead with the Bloomspect for now, after watching some Youtube reviews and reading a bit more. Then I'll run a couple strips of white LED lighting for daytime illumination.

I can't find too much on 24-hour lighting for CPs, but the posts I have found are encouraging. The switch between the growlight and the much dimmer white lights should provide somewhat of a day-night cycle in case that's still important. I guess we'll see. :)

I'll post back with my results.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2014
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Oregon
5000 lumens really isn't all that much. I can't imagine that spec is accurate given that it indicates the fixture runs at less than half the efficiency of fluorescent bulbs when even cheap LED products generally match fluorescent efficiency. Yeah we should be using PAR for measuring grow lights, but the specs that most manufacturers provide are either misleading or nonexistent (if they don't just flat-out lie) so it's pretty difficult to shop based on that. They often like to tell you the peak PAR value directly under the fixture and neglect to mention that it falls off rapidly outside the center point, where a fixture with a lower peak value may provide more even light intensity and actually more light overall.

Also a note, that review video you linked seems to be looking at an older version of the Roleadro fixture with no lenses on the LEDs so the light spreads out more. That same channel has one for a newer lensed model which indicates much higher values in the center, but more dropoff so you may need to mount the light higher for good coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIQwdAUd6bM I would like to add though that you don't need a super high PAR value. I'm pretty sure a lot of people grow sundews at around 150 PAR if not lower. Even full sun plants reach light saturation far below the intensity of full sun.

Also ignore those photosynthesis spectrum graphs. They're all wrong.

I'm curious what your reason is for wanting to try 24 hour lighting? I've seen a few people experiment with it and some plants do just fine while others will quickly decline. It'll certainly drive up your electric bill though. Just switching to dimmer lights for half the day won't give your plants a "night", they need it to actually be dark.
 
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