Guide To Hydroponic Lights
Guide To Hydroponic Lights
This film will show you the types of lighting systems available for hydroponic gardening. Different lights have properties that make them suitable for different types and stages of plant growth.
Step 1: Fluorescent lights
Fluorescent lights give off a cool, bluish light which is particualrly suitable for seedlings and cuttings. They give a wide spread of light, and do not generate much heat, so they're ideal for the early stages of plant growth.
Some are known as CFL, or compact fluorescent. In these lights the ballast, which contains the lighting controls, is built into the bulb rather than the light fitting.
Both of these types of fluorescent light provide enough light to get young plants growing but are less suitable for larger plants as they simply do not have a high enough output.
Step 2: Halide lights
Halide lights are much more powerful than fluorescent. They are used for bigger plants, during the vegetative growth stage. The light they give off is pleasing to the eye, with very good colour rendition, therefore they are often used for plants that are on display. Halide lights are less suitable for the flowering/fruiting stage of edible and ornamental crops – for this you should use a sodium light.
Step 3: Sodium lights
Sodium lights are very popular, because they give a strong, even light and make very efficient use of electricity. They give off a warm, orangey-coloured light which is very good for plant growth, but doesn't necessarily look attractive in a display.
Step 4: Accessories
Lights used for hydroponics usually consist of three parts: The lamp itself, a metal reflector and a ballast, which is a box containing all the electronics and controls that make the light work. The reflectors increase the light intensity by reflecting and bouncing it onto the plants. Some reflectors are adjustable, so they can be opened wide to spread the light, or closed down to direct the light. Most lights for hydroponic gardening are attached to a timer, so they automatically switch on and off at set times each day. The ballast should not be plugged directly into a standalone timer though. Instead, a contacter should be used so that the powerful current does not go through the timer and damage it. Plants and lights are often placed into a tent or cupboard to confine and control the light. When lights are in such a confined space, an air cooling system can be used to blow air through the lights and extract the heat. This prevents the lights and plants from overheating. Lights can be put on rollers, so they can go up and down to adjust their distance from the plants. Lights can also be fitted to a light rail, an electronic device that travels backwards and forwards along a rail to spread light over a wider area.