Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Do-it-yourself projects such as greenhouse or shadehouse builds and related topics.
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jerrytheplater
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by jerrytheplater »

Ferocactus wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 2:43 am Do you think I might have trouble starting up the fixtures in temperatures below freezing, seeing as they are not HO fixtures? but I'm now a bit worried that they won't perform well in freezing temps.
See if you can put the lights in your freezer and get them really cold. Take it out quickly and try to light it up. See what happens. But you are talking much colder than your freezer in your garage for some days.

The salesman is dropping off a sample heater for me to check out tomorrow. He is also going to go over calculations for determining wattage needed to maintain heat in chambers. Sounds interesting. I'll let you know.
Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ
45 inches (114 cm) rain equivalent per year, approx. evenly spread per month
2012 USDA Hardiness Zone 6b: -5F to OF (-20C to -18C) min.
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Ferocactus
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

Download wrote: Sun May 09, 2021 1:27 pm The lights are 8w (100 lm/W i.e. 800 lumen) downlights I bought from Bunnings (big Australian hardware chain) for A$33 per 4. The "setup" is actually just a spare shelf in my hallways that's sided with cardboard with kitchen foil glued on and a panel of plywood stuck in the top. It's 400m by 900mm and is getting 17,000 lux, which is probably a lot more than needed.

The only thing missing is the fan I added a few days after this photo that blows air behind the lights and into the shelf which keeps them warm.
Wow, that's a neat setup! I love that Melocactus, that genus is quite interesting. Do you still have your F. latispinus?

Thank you for your recommendations, that does make things clearer. I'm thinking I might have to settle for just using my grow tent for yearly acclimation to outdoor full sun, and for overwintering; full-time growing indoors seems to be a bit too challenging for me. I have been thinking of getting a couple clamp-on reptile lamps with 8.5" reflectors; hopefully to outfit one with the smallest UVA bulb I can find to induce some plant stress (denser spination, deeper body color) and maybe add a little heat to the tent. Eventually, I'd probably only run it a couple hours a day, once the plants have acclimated to it. I think this could help in acclimating the plants to full sun outside in the greenhouse. I'm not sure yet if I want to get the lamps, it's just a thought.
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Ferocactus
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

jerrytheplater wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 3:05 am See if you can put the lights in your freezer and get them really cold. Take it out quickly and try to light it up. See what happens. But you are talking much colder than your freezer in your garage for some days.

The salesman is dropping off a sample heater for me to check out tomorrow. He is also going to go over calculations for determining wattage needed to maintain heat in chambers. Sounds interesting. I'll let you know.
Thank you, that does sound interesting! I think my Coralife fixtures have electronic ballasts, but the manual warns to only use them indoors; I did a little searching, and I guess really cold weather is hard on the ballasts. I didn't think cold weather would make much difference, but now I'm not really sure if I want to risk damaging one of my fixtures (bought them for $60 each), so I might have to forget about keeping my grow tent in the garage over winter: the fixtures are perfect for my aquarium, and the Vallisneria I have in it grows and flowers like crazy when both fixtures are used (I currently use my T8 fixtures, since they're less bright and keep my catfishes [Agamyxis, Corydoras, Ancistrus, etc.] more comfortable).

On a side note, my recently repotted F. latispinus/"recurvus" seedling (eBay purchase, shipped bare root from China, about 25 days in the dark) is still not coming out of dormancy; I've had it in 68˚F temps inside for over a couple weeks. I'm not sure if its inactivity is due to the temperature, or that it was repotted only a couple weeks ago. Any thoughts as to what I should do differently right now, or what to do when repotting a dormant cactus that's been in the dark for so long?

Thank you!
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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jerrytheplater
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by jerrytheplater »

Ferocactus: The salesman came today and brought me the heaters. Two are 30 watts each @ 120V and two are 7 watts each @ 120V (30 watt @ 240 V). We did some quick calculations for a 4' long by 3' wide by 3' high insulated on all 6 sides box using R-7 insulation and an outside temp of 0F with inside at 35F. That box could be heated with a single 30 watt heater provided you aren't opening the box and letting cold air in frequently. It would get too hot once the garage reaches 35 F, so it needs to be controlled by a refrigeration thermostat.

I found a $35.00 temperature controller which will enable setting temperature ranges down in the refrigeration range 30-35F https://inkbird.com/products/itc-308 that will enable control of a standard soil heating mat for starting seeds. https://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-suppl ... heat-mats/ The higher the wattage mat used, the quicker the growth chamber will heat back up after opening on the most frigid day.

The salesman is going to send me his spreadsheet which he uses to run the calculations to determine heater wattage needed. With that I can run all kinds of numbers and if you want to go this route, I can let you know what size mat would work for your chamber.
Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ
45 inches (114 cm) rain equivalent per year, approx. evenly spread per month
2012 USDA Hardiness Zone 6b: -5F to OF (-20C to -18C) min.
Download
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Download »

Ferocactus wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:16 pm Wow, that's a neat setup! I love that Melocactus, that genus is quite interesting. Do you still have your F. latispinus?
There are actually 4 Melocactus there, though one is behind the cleistocactus cutting. One of them is very sad looking though and despite trying for almost 9 months now its roots haven't recovered from the pot getting blown off its stand in the wind.

My F latispinus is outside. It's not cold enough over winter here to harm it. Just got to keep it and almost everything else dry.
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Ferocactus
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

jerrytheplater wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:14 am Ferocactus: The salesman came today and brought me the heaters. Two are 30 watts each @ 120V and two are 7 watts each @ 120V (30 watt @ 240 V). We did some quick calculations for a 4' long by 3' wide by 3' high insulated on all 6 sides box using R-7 insulation and an outside temp of 0F with inside at 35F. That box could be heated with a single 30 watt heater provided you aren't opening the box and letting cold air in frequently. It would get too hot once the garage reaches 35 F, so it needs to be controlled by a refrigeration thermostat.

I found a $35.00 temperature controller which will enable setting temperature ranges down in the refrigeration range 30-35F https://inkbird.com/products/itc-308 that will enable control of a standard soil heating mat for starting seeds. https://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-suppl ... heat-mats/ The higher the wattage mat used, the quicker the growth chamber will heat back up after opening on the most frigid day.

The salesman is going to send me his spreadsheet which he uses to run the calculations to determine heater wattage needed. With that I can run all kinds of numbers and if you want to go this route, I can let you know what size mat would work for your chamber.
Thank you for letting me know! Those heaters sound really nice, with their being so accurate; I'm sure they'll work wonderfully!

I think I've seen similar thermostats, and one that just goes down to 40 would be perfect (I'd probably keep my plants at about 47-50˚F). I've also looked at germination heat mats, and they would work perfectly for my small tent, but the only thing that's kept me from ordering one is from reading some of the reviews of similar mats on Amazon (melting through the plastic, catching fire, ballooning). I think having a heat mat, that thermostat, and some insulation sheets, would actually work quite well in the garage. Keeping the two fixtures underneath the top insulation sheet should also add a little heat during the daytime.

I'm just nervous about germination mats. I don't think they'd fail, with there being so many positive reviews, so later in the year I think I'll get a 20"x20" mat and a thermostat. Thank you so much for helping me find out what would work in my situation!
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Ferocactus
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

Download wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 6:07 am
Ferocactus wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 6:16 pm Wow, that's a neat setup! I love that Melocactus, that genus is quite interesting. Do you still have your F. latispinus?
There are actually 4 Melocactus there, though one is behind the cleistocactus cutting. One of them is very sad looking though and despite trying for almost 9 months now its roots haven't recovered from the pot getting blown off its stand in the wind.

My F latispinus is outside. It's not cold enough over winter here to harm it. Just got to keep it and almost everything else dry.
I had a 2.5" Melocactus matanzanus seedling for a couple years, but this last year the roots got too a little too wet and it rotted at the base; I tried repotting it, as well as cutting the rotted portions off and letting it callus over. Unfortunately, the cut base molded over, despite my using sterile knife and dusting the cut with sulphur. I had to toss the plant, as there's no way it would ever recover having lost about 1/3 of it's body. I've read that Melcocatus can barely tolerate something so standard as being repotted: it's a wonder that the whole genus isn't extinct in the wild. :(

That's really neat to be able to grow a cactus outside year-round! My little F. recurvus seedling still hasn't come out of dormancy since it was shipped bare-root to me about a month ago (it was from China in a package for about 25 days). I repotted it about a month ago (1 part quartz pool filter sand, 3 parts cactus potting mix), dipped the roots in rain water before repotting, and have been keeping it dry under those LED lights (at about 70˚F) ever since: still no signs of light-colored growth areas between the ribs. Do you have any suggestions as to what should be done after repotting a dormant cactus that's been in the dark for so long? :?:
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by jerrytheplater »

Ferocactus wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:03 pm
jerrytheplater wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 3:14 am Ferocactus: The salesman came today and brought me the heaters. Two are 30 watts each @ 120V and two are 7 watts each @ 120V (30 watt @ 240 V). We did some quick calculations for a 4' long by 3' wide by 3' high insulated on all 6 sides box using R-7 insulation and an outside temp of 0F with inside at 35F. That box could be heated with a single 30 watt heater provided you aren't opening the box and letting cold air in frequently. It would get too hot once the garage reaches 35 F, so it needs to be controlled by a refrigeration thermostat.

I found a $35.00 temperature controller which will enable setting temperature ranges down in the refrigeration range 30-35F https://inkbird.com/products/itc-308 that will enable control of a standard soil heating mat for starting seeds. https://www.johnnyseeds.com/tools-suppl ... heat-mats/ The higher the wattage mat used, the quicker the growth chamber will heat back up after opening on the most frigid day.

The salesman is going to send me his spreadsheet which he uses to run the calculations to determine heater wattage needed. With that I can run all kinds of numbers and if you want to go this route, I can let you know what size mat would work for your chamber.
Thank you for letting me know! Those heaters sound really nice, with their being so accurate; I'm sure they'll work wonderfully!

I think I've seen similar thermostats, and one that just goes down to 40 would be perfect (I'd probably keep my plants at about 47-50˚F). I've also looked at germination heat mats, and they would work perfectly for my small tent, but the only thing that's kept me from ordering one is from reading some of the reviews of similar mats on Amazon (melting through the plastic, catching fire, ballooning). I think having a heat mat, that thermostat, and some insulation sheets, would actually work quite well in the garage. Keeping the two fixtures underneath the top insulation sheet should also add a little heat during the daytime.

I'm just nervous about germination mats. I don't think they'd fail, with there being so many positive reviews, so later in the year I think I'll get a 20"x20" mat and a thermostat. Thank you so much for helping me find out what would work in my situation!
If you use that Inkbird controller along with your lights inside, you could rig up a fan to come on connected to the cooling side to pull some air out of the box and cool it down if needed.
Jerry Smith
Bloomingdale, NJ
45 inches (114 cm) rain equivalent per year, approx. evenly spread per month
2012 USDA Hardiness Zone 6b: -5F to OF (-20C to -18C) min.
Download
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Download »

Ferocactus wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:13 pm I repotted it about a month ago (1 part quartz pool filter sand, 3 parts cactus potting mix), dipped the roots in rain water before repotting, and have been keeping it dry under those LED lights (at about 70˚F) ever since: still no signs of light-colored growth areas between the ribs. Do you have any suggestions as to what should be done after repotting a dormant cactus that's been in the dark for so long? :?:
I would hazard a guess that the light isn't strong enough. Do you know the specs of the light? It doesn't look very beefy at a glance.

It also does need water.
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

jerrytheplater wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 12:05 am If you use that Inkbird controller along with your lights inside, you could rig up a fan to come on connected to the cooling side to pull some air out of the box and cool it down if needed.
True, that's a good idea! The fixtures probably would produce excessive heat inside a sealed insulated box during their daily run time.

For the box, I think I might end up placing insulation sheets on all sides of my grow tent outside the Mylar covering; maybe making a small hole right above each fixture could help could help "vent" excess heat from the fixtures? Do you think perhaps that could be a low-tech option?
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Ferocactus
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

Download wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 1:04 am
Ferocactus wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:13 pm I repotted it about a month ago (1 part quartz pool filter sand, 3 parts cactus potting mix), dipped the roots in rain water before repotting, and have been keeping it dry under those LED lights (at about 70˚F) ever since: still no signs of light-colored growth areas between the ribs. Do you have any suggestions as to what should be done after repotting a dormant cactus that's been in the dark for so long? :?:
I would hazard a guess that the light isn't strong enough. Do you know the specs of the light? It doesn't look very beefy at a glance.

It also does need water.
Thank you!

It's a Vogek LED grow light, and the bulbs are supposed to be full spectrum, but I have no way of checking this. Each bulb is supposedly 72 watts. There is a comment from another buyer on Amazon that says it has about 20k to 35k lux when all three lights are combined on full brightness (at a distance of 6"), but I don't have a light meter to check this (as odd as it seems). I think it might be helpful to some degree for the seedling to transition to the greenhouse outside; you're probably right, it might not produce enough light for full-time growing indoors.

Maybe what I need for my seedling to come out of dormancy is higher temperatures in addition to the light? I could get a germination heat mat if that might help.

I just watered it today with some distilled water, and daily temperatures here are rising gradually, so perhaps I'll see some change in a few weeks. I'm really just unfamiliar with how nearly a month in complete darkness could affect my seedling, or if it would to any significant degree; I bought all my other cacti in person, and this was the first mail-order cactus I have obtained. I guess I'm really not sure what to expect.
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It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Download »

Ferocactus wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 2:35 am
Download wrote: Fri May 14, 2021 1:04 am
Ferocactus wrote: Thu May 13, 2021 8:13 pm I repotted it about a month ago (1 part quartz pool filter sand, 3 parts cactus potting mix), dipped the roots in rain water before repotting, and have been keeping it dry under those LED lights (at about 70˚F) ever since: still no signs of light-colored growth areas between the ribs. Do you have any suggestions as to what should be done after repotting a dormant cactus that's been in the dark for so long? :?:
I would hazard a guess that the light isn't strong enough. Do you know the specs of the light? It doesn't look very beefy at a glance.

It also does need water.
Thank you!

It's a Vogek LED grow light, and the bulbs are supposed to be full spectrum, but I have no way of checking this. Each bulb is supposedly 72 watts. There is a comment from another buyer on Amazon that says it has about 20k to 35k lux when all three lights are combined on full brightness (at a distance of 6"), but I don't have a light meter to check this (as odd as it seems). I think it might be helpful to some degree for the seedling to transition to the greenhouse outside; you're probably right, it might not produce enough light for full-time growing indoors.

Maybe what I need for my seedling to come out of dormancy is higher temperatures in addition to the light? I could get a germination heat mat if that might help.

I just watered it today with some distilled water, and daily temperatures here are rising gradually, so perhaps I'll see some change in a few weeks. I'm really just unfamiliar with how nearly a month in complete darkness could affect my seedling, or if it would to any significant degree; I bought all my other cacti in person, and this was the first mail-order cactus I have obtained. I guess I'm really not sure what to expect.
Sorry, but I think you may have been conned. Those are seller responses to questions, not reviews. The first one by the way says the power supply is only 12 watts yet the light is advertised as 72 watts. What does the plug pack say on it?
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by Ferocactus »

I'm not sure I understand how I was conned? In addition to completely not understanding how to make even a simple circuit (miserably failed that part in HS Physics class), I just can't understand what is meant by watts, amp, volts, and anything to do with electricity, really. I guess it's just good enough that I know enough about it to not stick a knife in a toaster. :lol:

I just know that on each of the lamp heads themselves it reads "12V" next to the LED cells, and the only other meaningful marking on the product is on the separate power cord which reads "300V". I do have a picture of the manual's specs, but again, I'm not sure what to make of the electrical ratings.

I haven't really noticed any significant plant growth using the light, but then again, I've been using it just on cacti and I've only had the light for about a month. My F. recurvus seedling hasn't shown any signs of sunburn/bleaching, despite being about 5" away from the lamp heads at full brightness for 12 hours every day; maybe this means the LED light doesn't do anything, or that the plant is just used to full sun outdoors before I bought it? I'm not sure.
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

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I checked the outlet plug/receptacle of the the light's power cord, but there are no markings of any kind on any of its sides.
It's practically impossible to grow healthy barrel cactus species here outdoors... :(
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Re: Lighting Intensity/Choices For Indoor Setup?

Post by mikethecactusguy »

10,000 lumens at plant surface is the minimum you want to grow plants indoors. Forget about watts and amps and everything else. 12,000 lumens is shaded sun intensity. What does this mean. You have to physically measure the light that reaches your plants. If a Lamp outputs 5000 lumens that is its rating at the lamp surface. It will drop substantially 12 inches away at the plant surface. Download a light meter app for your phone and use it. Buy enough lights to get 10,000 lumens at plant surface. That is the easiest what to explain lighting.
Mike The Cactus Guy
Enjoying the Spines
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