Plant lights

Discussion in 'Enclosures And Supplies' started by CaseyBattershell, Sep 16, 2018.

  1. CaseyBattershell

    CaseyBattershell New Member

    im having trouble keeping my plants alive. Currently I have a Rosa hibiscus. I have a heat bulb my 24in T5 and than three 6500k cfl bulbs which don’t seem to help my plants much. I just bought a LED plant light to see if it would help but I was wondering if it would affect my veileds eyes and it lets off a purple light. Here’s a pic of the bulb.

    Attached Files:

  2. Brodybreaux25

    Brodybreaux25 Chameleon Enthusiast

    What kind of LEDs did you get? I don’t know much about those plant lights. But if you want healthy plants you need at least multiple T5 HO bulbs. You’ll need high end grow bulbs if you want to keep hibiscus, they require a lot of light
    #2 Brodybreaux25, Sep 16, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018
  3. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    For starters CFLs will hurt your chams eyes, you should get rid of them.

    The purple bulb, will have your cage looking purple lol. You don't want that, and it won't be that good anyway.

    The purple bulb craze started trying to grow plants more effiencently, they possess only the most needed light spectrums for Photosynthesis. However other colors are still needed, and are defaintly needed by the animal.

    The largest problem in a Chameleons cage when it comes to plant growth is par. We have very tall cages, and par drops fast on things like Flo's.

    To achieve good par, all the way through, you have 2 options.

    1. Use a mixture of wide angle lights, and spot lights. Spotlights focused beams will push par further into the cage, and you can use wider angled lights (like flos) to fill out par in the top of the cage.

    2. Brute Force, having so many lumens that they can push that par further down.

    My personal suggestion for a budget oriented no frills no fuss setup would be this.

    Assuming you have 24x24 cage. I would put in the center your basking light, I would then put Jungle Dawn Spots on either side, fairly close to the basking bulb. They are 60 degree LED spots, they will light up heavily right below them, as you go further down they will spread and fill in the par gaps.

    I would then sandwich that 3 bulb array with 2 flos. You have your UVB use that and a T5 5600-6500k grow bulb. Place these a few inches from the bulb array. They will help to fill in the par in the top of the cage.

    With that arrangement you should be able to grow pretty much anything you want.
  4. Brodybreaux25

    Brodybreaux25 Chameleon Enthusiast

  5. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    Yep PAR is Photosynthetically Active Radiation, it's a guage of the amount of usable light in a given area.

    The newwer better measurement is PUR, Photosynthetically Usable Radiation, it's similar to PAR but only shows the usuable bits of the spectrum, however it's still in its infancy, and there is only 1 meter I know of that can actually read it.

    With that meter (Seneye Reef Monitor) it gives you a percentage readout. So if the Seneye says your PAR at a certain area is XXX, let's say 200, then it will say the PUR is 78%, that means 78% of that 200 is actually usable Radation.

    You use those, to get a grasp of DLI produced. (DLI = Moles of light (mol) per square meter (m-2) per day (d-1), or molám-2ád-1).

    DLI requirements are what they are speaking of when they say, Full sun, Full shade, Shade, Partial Sun, ect.

    You can increase DLI in 2 ways, by PAR, or by Time.

    Let's say you have 200 PAR on a plant, for 12 hours a day. That plant is getting 8.65 DLI a day, which is in the Shade Range. Now if you ran that same 200 PAR, for 18 hours a day, that's now almost 13DLI, which is Lower requirements of Partial Sun (Full sun starts at 14), though some plants require more like 16+, such as high light orchids.

    A hibiscus is fine with 10-12 DLI (Partial Shade - Partial Sun), more is better. Now since we cannot modify hours, as the chameleon has to sleep. We have to increase the PAR that are received by those plants.

    PAR in a non spot bulb situations drops off fairly quickly as you go down.

    For a rough, calculation if a Flo tube.

    A single 4ft Flo T5HO, Daylight, will give you 189 Par at 6 inches from the bulb.

    However at 12 inches, it will give you 94 PAR. Both of those are directly under the bulb only, as you move out of that sweet spot your PAR decreases as well.

    Now PAR is a derivite of LUX, the more LUX you have, the more PAR you will have. However in the case of PUR as mentioned before the type of bulb affects how much DLI comes from that PAR, with Incans actually giving the most DLI (quite a bit more than Flo's) second only to the Sun, and only by a little.

    MHs are better than Daylight Flo's, but only by a small amount.

    LEDs, are way to all over the place to make a generalazation. They could be better than Flo's or worse, it depends on the LEDs used, and the way they are used.

    At any rate, You can brute Force PAR, by Brute Forcing Lux, which is what the spot bulbs essentially do. They have the same lumens, as a 120° bulb, but since it's focused into a narrow area, there is more LUX in that area, which in turn creates more PAR, then assuming the optimal colors have high PUR, which ends in high DLI.
    #5 cyberlocc, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  6. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    Also here is a good resource that teaches a little more on depth, of the various terms and there meanings.

    This site has some more in depth easy to understand explantions and some calculators to help on your journey, if you don't wish to invest in a PAR meter :).

    Some of the graphs and stuff focus on CPs, that's okay though, the information is still valid to all plants. (Calculators on Part 2 :).)

    And the DLI referenced with the names, is pretty well standard, so you can apply the phrases used by the plant light suggestions for plants you can not find more detailed requirements.

    When you start looking at more exotic, expensive plants, such as CPs and Orchids, the DLI reqs can usually be found however.

    1 big warning when calculating and trying to gauge adequate plant light. Common window screen like used on Reptibreeze, will reduce your LUX and your PAR by alot. They have about 40-55% open area, which means you are missing half of your light through the screen.

    There is screen that can be obtained, that has 80% open area, but it's pricey and it's stainless steel as it has thinner wires. I will drum up the link in a bit, it's on McMaster Carr, if you want to look in the meantime.

    For DIY cage guys, Hardware cloth also has high open Area %, and can be used but may not hold feeders in.

    The thing about window screen is, it is usually designed to block light, to help house cooling in the summer.

    If you do go with a higher opening screen, remember that also affects UVB lighting, and most of the lighting suggestions are stated with this light loss in mind.

    Also don't buy into the "Is it too much light" Hype. To give you an idea, In my current Viv project, I am using extremely effiencent LEDs that no one sells in off the shelf LED lights, as the price is too high. And in that case, I still will be consuming just over 500ws, to achieve 50k lux in a 4ft wide 2ft deep cage, 50k Lux is shade outside. The canopy Chameleons live in, are still 70k lux or so. The sun is bright.
    #6 cyberlocc, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  7. NickTide

    NickTide Avid Member

    Hibiscus are sun lovers if I am not mistaken. They require a lot of light to thrive. I am guessing the Hibiscus needs more light than what the cham would appreciate. If you live in a warm area, you could probably have 2 plants where 1 is in the cage and 1 is outside and then switch them every 2 weeks or so. If you do not live in such an area, you could probably set up a separate "sun" area to rejuvenate your plant under artficial lights. I would suggest LED sop lights of 5-6000k with white walls around the grow out area to reflect light back to the plant. It would be a lot cheaper to just get Pothos or an umbrella tree.
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  8. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    See, but this is what I am saying, at the end of my above post.

    I see this stated all the time, but it has zero basis imo.

    Panthers and Veilieds are found in full sun, they are in bushes and small shrubs not rainforests. In the wild, they are exposed to and found basking in full 100k+ LUX.

    Let's not confuse, low lighting as what a cham wants, vs what keepers want.

    Low lighting is cheaper up front, and cheaper on the electric bill, that's why it's common, that doesn't mean that's what the cham wants. The cham is telling you what they want with their native habitats, they are found basking in full, extreme sun, that is what they want. If they didn't. They would go into the forest understory, that is close to where they are found, and hide away from the sun.

    I feel this started with a cop out, for people to spend less money, and then devuldged into a well they don't want bright light. Not with Chameleons per se, I seen the same touted with desert lizards.

    They are definitely hit with the full, extremely bright, desert sun, all day everyday, so why do people think nothing more than a basking light is preferred by them?

    People keep Chameleons outside in full sun in Florida all the time with no Ill effects. They can handle all the light you could possibly throw at them, and likely would prefer it.

    Let's not confuse our preference to save money, with their preference of light. Do they accept low light, obviously they do. Do they prefer it, I don't think so.
    #8 cyberlocc, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  9. Brodybreaux25

    Brodybreaux25 Chameleon Enthusiast

  10. NickTide

    NickTide Avid Member

    I am by no means an expert on wild chameleons but my understanding has always been the find a basking area, warm up, then spend the rest of the day under cover in deep cover. My pets do this in their cage. after 10 am the seldom are in the top half of the cage.
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  11. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    Me neither but my understanding, from the podcast with the Chameleon reseracher (I forgot his name, I'll find the podcast later, painting right now, just taking a break :).). That Chameleons are always hunting, never laying around.

    They don't get food on a plate like they do in captivity.

    That all said, shade in the wild is 50k lux, a T5 UVB and a 75w basking light is 6k lux at the screen. There is a huge difference between those.

    And like I said, light differs for a rainforest Cham, then a panther or veiled. Panthers in the wild are found alot by the sides of roads on dead branches of liana's, there is no shade there. There is no leaves, just dead branches.

    I would go and take a look of some of the climate pics on, for Panthers (I don't know if they have Veilieds) they don't live in a rainforest. There environment is much closer to a desert. It's still wet, it isn't a desert, but it isn't what most keepers design there cages to resemble either.

    I was suprised, when I looked more in depth as well, when James pointed it out to me.

    And as far as montanes they stay in the undergrowth areas, but the sun is still bright there as well, the trees are mostly palms in that area, or palm like, they don't block the amount of light people think they do.

    They are not hiding from the light in your example, they are hiding from the heat, they are thermoregulating to a cooler part of the cage.

    If you look at pics of alot of montanes where keeps don't use basking lights, they stay in the light a good part of the day.

    Then there is also, of course personalities, so chams could prefer low light, others prefer high light.

    Also in humans, (I don't think there has been study's done on reptiles) low light levels make us tired, and not want to do anything, where bright lights increase productivity and energy, that is why office buildings are lit so brightly.

    Chameleons also use the brightness of light, to tell time and season, and they adjust their behaviors accordingly to the amount of UV light, the brightness of light, ect. Low lights could be putting them a in a restful, winter state. Where they feel the need to sleep and relax, instead of be active and hunt.

    This is a great read on it. With 1 correction, it's an old article, and we can recreate the sun much much better than back then, by using LEDs and computerizied controllers. We can adjust for time of day, and season, with relative ease now. If you went that extreme, in a cage built for the purpose, would could even recreate the sun's movement across the sky. We can even program storm's, that are accompanied not just misting, but lighting lowering and simulating clouds, ect.

    And to be clear, I am not bashing anyone for useing the tried and true, old school approach. It's exactly that, tried and true, easy, accessible, and fairly inexpensive. However that doesn't mean we should be afraid of moving forward either. Or trying to improve.
    #11 cyberlocc, Sep 20, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2018
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  12. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    I remember reading that article a few years ago, thanks @cyberlocc for the references and an amazing explanation. I can’t wait to see that build and see how you’ve upgraded your lighting. I’m especially interested in your technique for simulating rain along with sunrise/sunset.
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  13. NickTide

    NickTide Avid Member

    Good info and some things I haven't thought of. Like how its still brighter outside in the shade than in a cham cage. Which I should have since I do indoor gardening.

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  14. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    For sure it will be coming in the next couple months. Have to finish the cage itself first. I already have begun collecting parts for the LEDs as well, but waiting to document any of that, until I can make a LED build guide :) for extremely effiencent and bright LEDs for less than half the reef people charge.

    Reef lights (well the fresh water versions) are a premade option, but these use lesser quality LEDs and demand a higher price.

    To line up, the storm's where they work in uniform with the misters. There is 2 options, depending what you want.

    If you just want set storm's at set times of the day, that's easy. Regaular misting timer, and some DIY LEDs with a controller, or some premade Horiculture or Fresh water LEDs, that have those features.

    For me, things get a little more difficult, I want set storm's, in the evening and night, but for midday storm's I want them randomized. They may happen that day, they may not, and the chance of that will also be affected by season.

    The lighting, the colors, the brightness, the ramping up and down, sunrise and set will also be season based, with no input from me beyond intial programming :).

    For that, you need an Apex, which is $$$,

    And that's just the base, for my needs I need to add modules, at 100+ each :(.

    But the things you can do with it, if you know a little coding, are beyond belief :).
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  15. Goose502

    Goose502 Avid Member

    I used a similar type of unit. A herpkeeper from digital aquatics. Mine is very simple, and now a few years old. I’m guessing a raspberry pi would be able to do way more, if only I knew how to code.
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  16. CaseyBattershell

    CaseyBattershell New Member

    Haha I don’t understand half of the things you guys are even talking about.
  17. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    There is a guy, on TCE in Facebook working on just that. Adding the modules if you will is the hard part. I am excited to see what he comes up with.

    I seen the Herpkeeper neat little devices, sad they went out of business :(. They do have the advantage of an affordable humidity gauge.

    There is a way to do humidity with Apex, however it requires there par meter module, and just the break out box from it. They refuse to sell it separately, so that's a 300 dollar kit :( then a 75 dollar humidity sensor. Few of us on the Apex forums are trying to find better options.

    Apex's, and I believe Herp/Reefkeepers are actually just Andrinos as well. They just did all the coding work, and made the hardware modules. The good thing about Apex is it to some degree allows custom code. There is also the reef angel, which is much cheaper, but much less user friendly it requires coding knowledge, they do have a Humidity gauge but they stopped selling it due to issues, the owner offered me a few for free, if I want to try to fix the code, I may do that in time, or just help Tjeu with his.

    For right now, I just wanted something I could get to work, and then share my code for others that want it. This is a test run setup, and after a bit of verifying and working out the bugs, the plan is to have a few of them, so for later a different option is possibility, when I have more time, to sit down and really code.

    The rain, I am still stumped on. I need to just put together some prototypes and see how they go, and I will after I get the cage finished, and planted, as these trees need to be in the cage inside before snow comes lol. Winter is Coming!

    I'm sorry :(. Which parts? I can try to explain better :) that's why I am here, to help :).
  18. CaseyBattershell

    CaseyBattershell New Member

    Is this one of the lights you are talking about?

    Attached Files:

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  19. cyberlocc

    cyberlocc Avid Member

    Yep :). There is LED Pool lightd that look similar, put out the same amoutn of light, and same angle. For half the price, on Amazon.

    However they are low CRI so they will make colors look askew. Up to you :).
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  20. CaseyBattershell

    CaseyBattershell New Member

    Thanks so much for all of the advice!
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