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983 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  FwoGiZ
I am a fellow neighbor from the vivarium/frog hobby! For those of you who don't know already, those hobbies are way behind compared to the aquariums hobbies, specially in america so we a lot of time have to rely on hydroponics people (haha yup;) and on you guys too.

It pretty much always was the standard to get some 6500k fluos, T8s or T5s for lighting purposes.. we all know this is "hasbeen".
I have been looking a lot about lighting lately as I am working on a bigger nicer living room display vivarium!
I am kinda hitting a wall on all the info and different stats out there for lights, plus apparently it has changed a lot in the last couple years... watts/gallon doesn't exist anymore... actually watts are almost meaningless apparently?
Anyhow, no need to say how confused I am, coming from a hobby where most couldn't even tell you 3 different brands of lighting fixtures. But I do want to do things right for this one big project of mine.

So here is a description of the vivarium I am working on; 180 gallon 4ft long, 3ft wide, 2ft tall vivarium that has lotso tropical plants, ferns, orchids, moss, etc at different height in the vivarium. Don't forgot here that there is no water diffraction so I guess that is different in regards to red light not penetrating the water right?
Also, I don't know if that changes something but the light has to go thru glass or fiber mesh. Then again, I don't know if that affects lighting quality in itself as I know not all aquariums have tops.
Also, it has a small pond area with an around 20in long, 16in wide, 4in deep "swimmable" volume. Along with the 4 inches accross the whole false bottom and the sump, I guess we could consider there will be roughly 50gal of water altho the fishes (I don't know what kind of fishes yet!) will only be able to swim in about 5 gallons of water! (with the quality of a 50gal tho!)

So then I need to light this thing up right? I want my plants to get lotso good light so that they don't start growing long and skinny stems with huge leaves... I want them bushy and full of leaves but I will need good and proper lighting.
Then I also want the vivarium to be nice to look at, so I guess I don't just want funky colors that will be crazy good for plants but not pleasant for my own eyes.

As it is now, I have been considering those fixtures, and I will tell you the pros and cons from my point of view but don't forget that I might be way off, hence why I am here! For you guys to put me back on the right way haha!

Current-USA Sat+ 175$
I really like this one... it has the cloud features dand dawn/dusk. It also have RGB LEDs which means good color which is good for plants right? But then it delivers only 2000 Lumens at 28 PAR only.

Finnex Planted+ 200$
I read this might be best bang for your buck and lotso good reviews... but when I look at the stats... well I am wondering why?
Low wattage.. 120degree LEDs... only 35.6W for 288 LEDs so that means they're 0.1 W LEDs???
Couldn't find lumens and PAR but I am thinking somewhere around 50-60? Not even sure what affects PAR at that point anyways... Apparently it has good red and some blue and better viewing capabilities than the current-USA.

Finnex RAY DS2 230$
well, this one is all white and 0.1W LED too... someone has to enlighten me as to why it is so popular cause if I compare to beamworks with their 0.4W LEDs and crazy lumens ouput for the less expensive fixtures!

Beamworks 150$
Those are all white too but high lumens, high Wattage and very low price.

BML Dutch 360$
From my understanding, those are what's best out there, but the price follows the quality.

So I have to think that I have 4x3x2 of vivarium and tropical plants, bromeliads, moss and ferns that I want to grow nice colors and be able to see properly... plus this is going to be quite a fancy tank so I was thinking about getting 2x current-usa sat+ along with a beamworks for extra power/light...
But I don't know enough about lighting yet, and that is specially true after reading on this forum for a while; made me realise that the whole lighting thing is huge and basically you kinda gotta try it out and see if you like it but I thought I'd ask here. I know there are some people who prolly tried a couple combinations and will be able to chime in with some great advice.

Thanks in advance!
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Welcome to TPT!

I'm personally just stepping into the LED world, myself, so don't have much experience to offer in regards to the specific fixtures you're considering. I'm sure some other members will be able to help you with that, though. :)

The three fixture combo you're considering sounds like an AWFUL lot of light to me... but then, I also know nothing of the light needs of the viv plants you're wanting.

I believe that Finnex has PAR values posted for at least most of their fixtures in their Sponsor forum here?

I know one thing you'll want to consider when comparing these fixtures is how well the light is spread from front to back of the tank. Some fixtures are designed with light spread in mind, others have all the LEDs aimed just straight down.

I don't know if that changes something but the light has to go thru glass or fiber mesh.
Yes, anything that blocks light is a huge consideration to factor in.

Something to keep in mind when trying to sift through the information about light fixtures in the aquarium world vs terrestrial world, is that in the aquarium setting we're always trying to balance out plant needs versus conditions that favor algae. Aquatic plants also do not have access to atmospheric carbon as do terrestrial plants, so that's a major factor we have to balance in when picking out light fixtures. Finding the right balance between light levels versus CO2 (to replace atmospheric carbon) versus ferts is the biggest challenge in the planted aquarium.

So in our setting, more light does not always equal better.

I suspect that the same may be true for a viv setting? Plants could be triggered by light levels to grow past the point that they have outstripped available nutrients and/or become invasive/ choke out neighboring plants...

What frogs you setting this up for?

And are you wanting to plant the aquarium portion of your viv?
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Well remember I have 4x3 of top surface for the vivarium, and while I understand "too much light" can be a reality for aquariums, it isn't so much if at all for vivariums. Some plants don't like direct light, some are considered "low-light" but it's usually somewhat easy to just put em at the bottom where light doesn't necessarily reach.
More lights means bushier healthier plants. Better colors on the animals too.
I am still debating what animals will be in there, but some phyllobates terribilis orange, yellow and mint for sure. Maybe some electric blue geckos and then for the fishes, I don't know yet but something really easy, low maint. I was thinking maybe guppies and some algaes eater, maybe some shrimps?

I would also like to get a couple aquatic plants in there, if that is doable. I'll be scrolling thru various threads on this forum as it seems to be extremely close to the vivarium/paludarium hobby! Obviously, the main goal here is the vivarium but if I can possibly make some nice looking pond area that would be awesome. Then again, no connaisseur will be judging the level of that pond area so I will most probably go with all the beginners plants and fishes!:) Only 5 gallon of area to plant/decorate but around 50 gallon of water so I hope I can do something neat out of it!

If you guys have any suggestions as for fishes and plants, feel free to let me know:)

As for light spread, I guess we're talking degrees of the LEDs there? I think in my case since I'll have multiple fixtures, lower (75-90 degrees) would be the best right?
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In the lighting section, there is a thread about the Planted+ PAR value.
Someone got a meter and measured it but thos meters don't recognize the red light
so it's off by x amount. Since it's based on a Fugaray, I'd think you could use the PAR rating for that one and assume it to be just a bit better due to the red being better for the plants.
I would think that two of those would be near excess. Epecially if you rigged a wire
frame which would hold the second fixture in front of, and just about the same as the top of the tank facing at an angle down towards the bottom focused about on the
back edge of the bottom of the tank. Or perhaps build an overhanging hood for it that
would accomodate such an arrangement. Just thinking out loud.
As I recall, every time I've seen Bromilades they have been in shaded aria's. Then to I favor Lichens(seriously doubt the spelling of that one) and mosses for Vivariums and
they do higher light so...
BTW: since I have one of you to ask this to/ do you keep the glass from fogging up on you/w that high humidity ?
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Hmm it's funny because Sat+ has a bad reputation for vivarium because it isn't bright enough... so I thought coupling it with a beamworks would be good (I could just turn off the beamworks when I want cloud effects!)
Most bromeliads need intense light, specially if you want the red to pop up in them. Like I am saying, I haven't really ever heard of such a thing as too much light in a vivarium! No algaes problem and you will still get shade under branches, and top foliage! Orchids are usually planted at the bottom of the tank for that very purpose.

As for condensation, people will use air circulation system.

If that is of interest for you guys, I invite you to follow my journal on dendroboard, or canadart!
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