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Understanding Lighting
#1
Hey everyone, sorry a little long...

I am ready to learn about the lighting for my viv. I have zero experience or knowledge here, all my tanks have had the standard florescent hood, as all I've done is tropical fish.

I understand that the reason for lighting is for the plants. (minus the UV conversations).

I like to be able to see the frogs when they are out. Again, with the exception of the UV, will the lighting cause me to see the frogs more or less often? i.e. will they hide more if the tank is well lit as opposed to less so?
The frogs I'm thinking about are R. imitators 'Cainarachi Valley' in particular in this respect.
The tank I'm going to be lighting is a Zoo Med 18x18x24.

So, what do I need to look for? I see terms like lumens & foot candles, and T5 & T8. All I can figure out is that they are measures of how much "light" output or intensity and types of bulbs, I think I gathered that those types are florescent.
Even though I have tried looking here to learn it, I feel I'm not wrapping my head around it.

I need to do it to be cost effective. From the sounds of it, I think I'd like the LED. Bright, and low heat, cost less to run. They sound like they screw in? So that is a different hood type than my florescent. Should I use one or more of the florescent with a special type of bulb?

Also, there doesn't seem to be anything that will hold a hood in place on the top, now that I've gotten my piece of glass in there. Is there something you all do that I don't know about? Smile

I see talk about using two hoods, multiple bulbs etc. Can someone tell me what I need to study about in order to do due diligence on this topic?
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#2
Big Grin Hi Lisa,
For a Zoo Med tank of that size with a full glass top, You could use the Zoo Med strip light that fits it...with some screw in LED lights in it.
That would be the easiest.
If heat is not an issue (like if your tank is in a cool basement or something), then you could use full spectrum CFLs.
Or mix a full spectrum CFL with a screw in LED of 6.5K .

As far as how bright, folks tend to debate that. I use allot of light for my Variabilis... but the tank has very heavy plant growth and lots of shaded areas.

Start with the Zoo Med light that fits that size tank...it takes 2 bulbs.... and use either full spectrum CFL and / or 6.5K LEDs.
If you have heavy plant growth and it gets real shady .. you can add a second strip light over it. Smile
Thanks,
Todd
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#3
Thanks for the reply Todd, can you tell me what the ZM hood is like? Does it have a connection like a florescent, or like a regular light bulb (screw in?) I'm guessing the latter since you mention the LED is screw in?
Does CFL mean compact florescent?

Does it just set on top? Without the glass would it be meant to fit down in the plastic a little, over the screen? Just curious how they intended it as I haven't had an opportunity to see one in action.

I haven't set up my viv yet, I"m gathering all the required materials (almost there Smile). I'm hoping to have everything, then finalize my plans on how to plant, based on how the plants will affect the lighting, allowing for a variety of choices for the frogs.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#4
@ Phil,

Thanks for the bumps Smile
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#5
you got it !

I can help with the "shy" frogs / too much light worry......not only are all species different in their habits but some INDIVIDUAL animals act outside the hobby "norm". So it's quite impossible to say, for instance, all D. leucomelas are "shy at first but then they always get bolder...yada yada."

Like 97.98 % of everything in this hobby....you're just gonna have to see it through, as to lighting, plant growth, humidity and boldness. It's a grand experiment, after all.

The good news, is that you seem light years ahead of some of the brand new hobbyist and their questions, at such an early stage and you should be commended on doing the research and puttin' in the man (or woman) hours. You are right on track, IMO.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#6
I have a question as well. I'm going to use T5HO bulbs on my 55g. I will have 2 bulbs. 48'' bulbs. I know in the saltwater world the brighter the better. Would you guys and gals suggest 1 6500k and 1 10k, 2 6500k, 2 10k, 1 10k and a plant light (more red) or 1 6500k and a plant light? Sorry I don't mean to jack your thread here.

I do plan on getting a cpl LED lights from Todd soon as I get that frog from him (which I hope is very soon). The LED bulbs are going to be going on smaller vivs and I'll most likely make my own housing for them. I'm choosing the LEDs because of there brightness and they dont get hot like a cfl bulb does.
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#7
Not at all schreff! It is related & I want to learn all I can, so ask away & I'll learn from the replies too!
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#8
Even though I conducted a high output lighting experiment, Rich's counter argument (for lower light fixtures) convinced me that high output or any type of "Reef" lighting is way too over the top. I would not recommend anything high output or hot. No halides ect.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#9
Lady Bullseye Wrote:Thanks for the reply Todd, can you tell me what the ZM hood is like? Does it have a connection like a florescent, or like a regular light bulb (screw in?) I'm guessing the latter since you mention the LED is screw in?
Does CFL mean compact florescent?

Does it just set on top? Without the glass would it be meant to fit down in the plastic a little, over the screen? Just curious how they intended it as I haven't had an opportunity to see one in action.

I haven't set up my viv yet, I"m gathering all the required materials (almost there Smile). I'm hoping to have everything, then finalize my plans on how to plant, based on how the plants will affect the lighting, allowing for a variety of choices for the frogs.

It looks like this and will just sit on the top.
It is fine over glass... but personally would have it raised up 1/8" to 1/4" inch above glass just enough to allow airflow and convection to keep it cool.
I use metal binder clips (as done on the dome light w/ spotlight pic below), that will work on a strip light too.
So it will be 1/4" up off the glass all around.
Less heat will transfer into the viv.
Big Grin
Oh yea..the Zoo Med lights have screw in sockets and can take a variety of screw in bulbs, and they are less than 30.00.
Full Spectrum CFLS give best color rendition, but give off more heat. That's why folks are using 6.5K (Daylight Color) LED now.
The cool thing about the LEDs is that you can just turn them so they point SIDEWAYS instead of straight down to adjust the light!

T-5's are nice on tall tanks.. and I have seen some tanks with heavy plant growth that blocks the light from going down into the tank that need a t-5 or a good pruning! T-5s are usually of the HO variety. That is "ho" = High Output"
"NO" (NO = Nominal Output= regular everyday strength) Fluorescent are good for set ups that are less than say a few feet tall. Like a regular aquarium flo. strip light.

ahh .. yes...I DO admit that lighting can be too much for frogs on some set-ups I have seen.

Cheers.
Todd
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#10
Thank you guys! Yes, the post on lowering the lighting made sense. I would like to have the ability to light it "bright" and lower it, while watching for the reaction to find a good intensity, if that is the right word.

Thanks for the pictures Todd, that was helpful. The clips are a great idea, I wouldn't have thought of that one.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#11
Out of everything I've had to research, understand or learn so far for this hobby, this lighting is being the most difficult! lol Must be because it is the thing that is least similar to anything I've done before, so I have no previous knowledge to build on... And I want/need to understand things that I'm going to be using with my darts!

Anyway, I think I need to back up to the very first piece of lighting. The fixture. I can't figure out what to google so I can read about it and learn. What do I call the fixtures that use screw in bulbs?

What do you use for the CFL, LED and other screw in bulbs for placing it over your vivs? The only thing I know of at this point is the Exo and Zoo Med hoods. Are there other options out there that I can look at or are they the only option?
I do understand what fluorescent go into, like shop light and other fixtures.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#12
Well, theres many different type of bulb sockets. You can get LED and CFL bulbs that fit into the standard "screw lamp" type. You dont need anything fancy to hold the bulb. Just a socket and a reflector. You can use a zoomed/exoterra hood but all they are is box with a horizontal mounted socket. The cheapest way to light is to get a reflector dish from home depot. I place it on 2 inch blocks of the top of my viv. You can get a CFL(screwtype) for this at homedepot for 3-5$ a bulb. These are great to start but can get very warm and raise temps on the tank. The silver clipon dome lights are cheap too. They are not the most efficient bc they put light out in every direction. These are great bulbs, other then the previously mentions heat issue. You can also get LED lights that screw in (thanks http://www.lightyourreptiles.com/). They come as a spotlight type and now are even in horizontal.
You can even make your own hood by getting a lamp socket and cord from home depot, and cutting a hole in a box, and screwing the thing together. Ive also checked in the painting section. Sometimes there is heavy duty scraping pans that look just like your typical fish tank light. I just cut a hole in the side and screw together the lightsocket from ikea. Leds are the best bc of light output and lack of heat, they can be expensive.
These type of fixures work well on smaller single tanks. If you are setting up a rack system, I would go with standard 2 bulb t8 shoplights (long tube type). These are cheap to get at kmart and bulbs are cheap too. I use one on the full length of my 48" rack. Lights all my tanks great.
then you can get T5 bulbs. T5 the best of both worlds but can be $$$ on the fixture.
People get crazy with lighting. The frogs dont need much light and neither do the tanks. I like to go by the rule of 2-3 watts of light, per gallon. Dont get caught up in lumens and all that. Keep it simpler.
You dont have to buy anything by zoomed or exoterra. I dont have a single thing they make on any of my tanks. Feel free to PM with any questions. I love talkin about lighting.
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#13
mordoria Wrote:......
You can even make your own hood by getting a lamp socket and cord from home depot, and cutting a hole in a box, and screwing the thing together. Ive also checked in the painting section. Sometimes there is heavy duty scraping pans that look just like your typical fish tank light. I just cut a hole in the side and screw together the lightsocket from ikea.
.....
I like to go by the rule of 2-3 watts of light, per gallon.

I love it!!!
I am actually making experimental fixtures that can use LED and UV B flo. bulb! We should talk.

I use 2 - 3 watts of Flo. light too, that's about what freshwater aqu. hobbyist go by as well.

So far, 1 watt of LED per gallon seems be be providing ample light ... most of the customers using LEDS are reporting that as as well.
Something cool I have seen done:
use an LED spotlight(s) to shoot a shaft(s) of light down into the tank... like a shaft of sunlight light shining through forest canopy... and leaving the rest of the tank dim to dark.
Big Grin

Cool stuff & Great Fun!
Todd
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#14
Venutus1 Wrote:use an LED spotlight(s) to shoot a shaft(s) of light down into the tank... like a shaft of sunlight light shining through forest canopy... and leaving the rest of the tank dim to dark.

Todd


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#15
Philsuma Wrote:
Venutus1 Wrote:use an LED spotlight(s) to shoot a shaft(s) of light down into the tank... like a shaft of sunlight light shining through forest canopy... and leaving the rest of the tank dim to dark.

Todd


LIKE this !

YES!

It creates a nice effect .. and creates a habitat for the frogs so that if they should want to stay in the dark...
they can, or be out in the light.

I am also thinking of doing and marketing sort of a track lighting "gantry " that mounts over vivs with smaller, fairly tight focused LED spots. In the 7-10 watt range & with great full spectrum light.

Then LED spotlights can be strategically aimed at the broms etc.so they will get peak color ...
while large areas of the viv can still be dark and shaded.

It is the best of both worlds. Smile

Todd
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#16
Ah, thanks guys this helps me understand better, I think I'm starting to grasp it Smile
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#17
will LED's be bright enough and emit UVA and UVB rays needed for plants to grow? from what i've read, the broms need full spectrum light just to survive let alone be colorful.
Jon
1.0.6 D. Leucomelas
0.0.2 D. Azureus
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#18
From pics I've seen posted the LED's can be quite bright, depends on what you get I guess. To my limited knowledge they don't produce any UV light. Those who want UV use a separate bulb for that.

I can't speak to the broms as I have yet to forge into that specific area of research for my viv.
Lisa
In central NY

R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' 2.3.0
R. Imitator 'Cainarachi Valley' Froglets 8 and counting.
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#19
Not all broms need full spectrum light to survive. There are many different species, cultivated differently - so the chances of one individual bromeliad making it, or not making it is far from predictable.

There are many varieties of "Neo's" that seem to do well with "neglectful" lighting - hold water really well and even pup, for instance.

Not a cut and dry issue / topic.
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"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana".
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#20
Lady Bullseye Wrote:From pics I've seen posted the LED's can be quite bright, depends on what you get I guess. To my limited knowledge they don't produce any UV light. Those who want UV use a separate bulb for that.

I can't speak to the broms as I have yet to forge into that specific area of research for my viv.

Yes, that is true.
At the moment there are no LED lights that are made for herp use that produce good UV a or UV b.

But... that will change. Wink

They do make some very "band specific" UV LEDs in the B range for curing lights... and LEDs in the UV A Range for black-lights... like to detect counterfeit money, or very "CSI" like, to illuminate body fluids spritzed w/ luminol.
(They also make UV C to sterilize surfaces.)

To get a true full spectrum LED, one would need to combine all that (well - minus the UV C*) in the correct wavelengths.... all into one LED unit! And then test it thoroughly to create a full spectrum LED for our uses.
Sounds interesting.
hmmm... is anyone doing/experimenting with that now.

?

Plants do not need UV light. But ...as we have seen in photographs, plants use UV pigments to attract and guide insects to the nectar and probably other things yet to be discovered.

And adding UV A into the light spectrum will actually enhance some species herps vision... so they will "see" better.
See in a way more like they would under natural sunlight.

All very intersting stuff! Big Grin
Cheers.
Todd

* UVc and the low low end of B is considered "non-terestrial" UV.
That is to say, it is not naturally occuring in sunlight that strikes the Earth's surface-- because it has been filtered out by the ozone layer.
Therefore animals (or people!) should not be exposed to it.
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