600W of fluoros in my closet

Discussion in 'Indoor Grow Journals' started by bulletcatcher, May 24, 2010.

  1. #1 bulletcatcher, May 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2010
    After doing extensive research, I started experimenting with fluorescents for growing. For the space I was working with, HID wouldn't really be cost-effective. The heating issues would be insane. I decided at first to go with CFLs, which later turned out to be a mistake. T5s have better spectrum options available and are cheaper in the long run.

    I did a grow with 3 125W CFLs first. Everything that was negatively claimed about the fluorescents turned out to be false. The healthier of the two plants was 4 ft tall and produced quite well, and the end product was normally dense, etc. The light penetration was also fine. I switched to all 2700K in flowering, which seems to be something many people do not do. It's a critical step for good results. Red light increases flowering hormone, which is worth more than all the lumens you can throw. I think the hesitation many have on the 2700k is that they're rated at lower "lumens". Lumens is a crap rating that weights the light intensity by the relative sensitivity of the human eye to that light wavelength. The same bulb drawing the same watts is going to put off a very very similar amount of photons, regardless of which phosphors are used.

    Anyway, I proceeded to start another grow. The first grow, my plants didn't come in super thick like you see. I read up on it and found out it was because I vegged 18/6 which stretched them a bunch. Switched to 24/7 veg cycle and never looking back. This round came in thicker under a single 125W 6500K CFL with a better reflector. Switched them to flower on 2x6500k 1x2700K (all 125W) a little over 5 weeks ago.

    Switched to all 2700K about 3 weeks in. Shortly after, I corrected a severe pH problem that was killing 2 of the plants. 3.5 weeks in, I added a 4'x4tube T5 fixture on the wall @3000k. 2 Plants went nuts. The other was too weak and half-dead from the pH problem and so I got rid of it and reshuffled the overhead CFLs and remaining 2 plants to make a light box. The plants started budding from every possible internode. I've burned the crap out of some of the bottom bud leaves just trying to water the plants. It's impossible not to. One of the plants developed a reasonably evident phosphorus deficiency from flowering its guts out, despite me giving it adequate fertilizer. One plant went on MOAB with the last watering and responded incredibly well. It's getting side colas that rival the main cola. The semi-deficient one is getting MOAB today.

    I'm using botanicare CNS-17 w/ calmag+, silica blast, H&G Bud XL, and mad farmer MOAB.

    Attached Files:

  2. Picture guide:

    1) Random side branch that started taking over the gap between the plants where the dead one was.
    2) base of the stem of the same plant. There are buds that are basically lying on the soil.
    3) main cola of same plant. The random side branch in 1 rivals its size.
    4) easiest bud to picture on the other semi-messed up plant (the deficiency signs stopped showing on the newer stuff so it's gonna be ok)
    5) top view of the semi-messed up plant a week or two ago. As you can see they're quite dense.

    Both plants are about 2.5ft-3ft tall (it's hard to tell as their stalks aren't exactly straight). Sorry for lack of wide-angle shots. The lights wash them out really badly.

    and my camera sucks. sorry.
  3. Nice man, the yields look superb for fluoro! When you say T5, what does that mean? I bought 4 double 48" T12 tube ballasts. AKA: 8 48" tubes, rated at 3,000 lumes at 3000k. (Around 2100ish lumens for 6500k) I have one set up with 6500k bulbs for cloning, and I was gonna use the other 3 ballasts (6 tubes) for a flowering scrog. Is this enough light for 4 short, squat scrogged setup? No big deal if not, I just have these balasts and bulbs laying around, just hoping I can use them!

    Thanks man!
  4. T5s are a more modern version of the tube fluorescent. They are much more energy efficient and have HO (and now I hear VHO) versions. The single 4'x4tube fixture with HO T5s puts off 20k lumens from 216W. Lumens are of course crap, but it gives you some idea as to the efficiency/wattage disparity with T5s vs T8/T12 since the spectrum is similar to older tube fluorescents.

    I would recommend using more light for flowering, and make sure to use the lowest K spectrum you can. Maybe buy a T5 fixture for overhead and use the T12s as supplemental?
  5. So are you only using the t5s now or are you using them with the cfls? It looks like your growing in dirt to and you veg for 3 weeks correct? I'm curious to see how much you yield, you seem to have done some research.
  6. it's set up in an L shape. The CFLs are hanging above, and the 4'x4tube T5 panel is against the wall. My last grow with only the 3 CFLs produced about 2oz on the plant that was healthy (afghani kush strain). These plants are looking like they'll fill in significantly better.

    I recommend the T5s over CFLs now since I found out about the availability of pure red/blue HO T5s... no such thing in CFLs it seems :\

    I'm not really sure how long I vegged this go around.... and they were vegged under a single 125W CFL (strange circumstances occurred), so it wouldn't be too good a measure of vegging time.

    edit: and yes, growing in soil. Very light soil, though. The lack of heat makes the water last longer, and too absorbent a soil will cause root rot easier.

  7. I can def use the tubes as supplemental. They were purchased to use before I learned about CFL and HID, so they're just sitting in the shed right now. I'm going to read up on the T5 and that may be right for me. Thanks for the info and I'm excited to see what comes out of your grow!
  8. Where did you get your T5's? What brand etc.
  9. #9 bulletcatcher, May 24, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 25, 2010
    Got them from a local hydro store.

    The reflector/ballast/thing is really nice. It's around $100-$120 with no bulbs. Hydrofarm brand I'm pretty sure (I know they make one anyway).

    The bulbs are phillips 3000K


    Get their pure blue/pure red T5s if you can. Results should be phenomenal with those, but they're hard to find. I have to keep pestering the guy at the hydro store to get me some. You can also try aquarium supply stores. T5s are the hotness in aquarium coral grows I guess.

    My ultimate final step is to finish flowering with special 14,000K aquarium bulbs. They largely put off UV and stress the shit out of the plants without really harming them much, causing increased resin production. I guess they use 14000k HUD bulbs or something as part of some super fancy lighting system the hydro store guy was talking about.

    Either that or they give them super weed powers from the radiation. I dunno.

    edit: also make sure you get high output, or very high output bulbs.
  10. good post gave me lots to think about;):bongin:
  11. #11 bulletcatcher, May 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: May 28, 2010
    Turns out the one plant was having issues because spider mites were making a comeback on it. I don't think I mentioned it in the OP, but I got spider mites about 1 week after turning the lights. Got rid of them with some reasonably safe pesticides, but it's way too late for even that at this point. There weren't really any buds and barely preflowers when I used it before.

    Wiped down the apparently affected leaves with alcohol and trimmed the dead growth. Plant probably won't really like it, but it should be enough to keep the mites under control until harvest in 2 weeks or so.

    edit: not to mention the insane trichome development seems to be keeping them corralled onto the larger fan leaves.
  12. I just cant stand people who still use Flourescents. Just CANT ANYMORE AAHHHHHH!!:D:D

    JUST KIDDING!!! I use CFL's everytime I grow, Just with my HPS, and HEY you may not have heating issues with a 150w 250w HPS, and they range from 2400K-3500K on the wavelengths!! its not about lumens your right, BUT if adding MH to your HPS budding closset makes your weed, Danker, than i will ALWAYS use 6500K in my HPS, i use (2) 250w HPS lights, And i produce 0 heat in my garage. i have to use a heater all nite, and some of day.
    But the bud is stacking on like no other CHECK IT!!! and just so we know, IF YOU HAVE 30,000 LUMENS OF 6500K, AND COMPARE THE BUDDING TO 20,000 LUMENS OF 2700K
    I THINK THE BLUE LIGHT WILL YIELD MORE, AND THE RED LIGHT WILL BE MORE POTENT. BOTH OF WITCH IS A MAIN ONE FACTOR IN THE POTENTIAL END RESULT... SO get your card...get your gear, and have fun man, have fun. its not always fun, lots of bullshit. but if its what you want, than use at least an HPS light. lol Just kiding.:D:D
  13. The spectrum of an HPS isn't very accurately represented by a kelvin temperature. It's more accurate to say it's a pressure-broadened emission from sodium centered at its 589nm peak. That peak is of course not great for growing, and is closer to green than the peak of a 2700K cfl. If it weren't, everyone would be growing with LPS.

    Lumens also aren't really a good representation of anything. See this thread for why:


    If for some reason you choose to disbelieve plain fact like half the people on these forums, T5s rival HID in lumens/watt anyway.

    And as far as I've seen/read from grows, MH produces better quality, HPS produces larger yields.

    Your claim of "no heat" is pretty fucking dubious. Tell you what, take a picture of you grasping your lit HPS bulb. I can hold onto my fluoros for as long as I want.
  14. Hey... good of growing be said, I have grabed my flouros and held tight, its nice to feel, My (3) SunBlazer 2 Ft. T-5's no heat with a fan blowing at them, but the 250w HPS, okay fine ya it does produce heat, it gains up from 50F or less up to 64F, and that is not enough heat, THE FACT THAt teh HPS light will heat up the evironment doesnt actualy fully protect my crop.:eek: so... I use a heater at nite to keep the temp at 70F and then 74-75 at day. My 250w HPS will Definetley outgrow the veg, and bloom of the flouros, it grows them faster, and bigger, and stronger, and because of the heat, you have to BLOW SOME AIR AROUND, and out, and that helps the plants grow as well, they LOVE air flow, on them, around them, From room to room if you can, i would definetley get a HPS light if I WERE YOU!!!:cool: there BRIGHT! $30 bucks a piece if your smart and fortunate. I was fortunate enought to hit up craigslist at the right time, HEY GOOD GROW MAN, but you could DEF get a HPS an it will have WAY better results and it will have moe bud, mor epotent, Compared to the same equivalent of CFl's , I think The CFL's cost more, !!!! liek 2-5 bucks more.
  15. DAm you got 600w of flouros in your closet, DAM BRO I WAS WRONG, never mind lol.:hello:
    Thats a horribley non efficient setup man, you would grow 10x danker, and 10 times more wieght and potency with a 250w HPS, 600w of CFL's is just DAm rediculous, and that thing you wrote, thats a personal opinion , not like a factual thing you know. I 'm on my 2nd grow, and its insane, the CFL's are better helpers, than dedicated growers, NAA MEAN!!!:D
    I LOVE U COMMEN GROWER, ItS info you need, and info you'll get.
  16. You really have no idea what you're talking about on multiple counts. My yield will be comparable to HID wattages from growers of similar experience. HID is not magic. I have seen a LOT of grows in person.

    I mean, really, you're trying to convince me that an HPS bulb that throws less lumens in a worse spectrum is better than more lumens in a better spectrum... because it's a fluorescent.

    I mean, really, why do you think less lumens in a worse spectrum will be better? HID magic powers?

    edit: also the only thing that seems to reliably influence quality is presence of UV light and plant genetics. Amount of light doesn't factor into it at all.
  17. Took some more pictures today. Stress from the mites and trimming in conjunction with the apparent p/k deficiency signs have made the mendo purps plant rather droopy. The bud I pictured last time is now about 90* from the main stalk.

    Attached Files:

  18. Picture guide:

    1) Top cola filling in nicely. Can't even really get the whole thing in the shot with any detail due to my crap camera.
    2 & 3) different shots of the same bud from top and side.
    4) Burly side branch from OP, with zippo for scale.
  19. Well, had to resort to no-pest strips at night to kill the mites. Shouldn't make my bud toxic or anything... you can be in a room that has a actively working strip for 4 hours with no ill effects, and at night the plants have no way to uptake it... so I probably shouldn't die from my weed. If I stop posting suddenly I guess you'll know why.

    Anyway, the plants are coming along nicely. Almost at the end stage for the puffing up of the buds. The hairs are oranging up about as expected. The main cola on the raspberry kush is getting insanely massive. The other main cola is kind of weird. The buds on the other plant (mendo purps) in general are kind of weird. Super, super, super dense, but really short. The main cola is only about 3" above the smaller top grouping of colas, but they're all formed into one thick cone of bud. Looks like the raspberry kush main cola will link up with those colas just under it as well, or at least come close.

    Can't wait to see the finish, and then do a better grow with a better spectrum and the proper lighting from the start of flowering... and no pH problems, etc.
  20. One plant experienced a bit of heat stress on the leaf tips near one of the 125W CFLs on a really hot day while I was away from home. I was surprised. The lamps do seem to heat up a good bit more when the ambient temperature gets high, I've noticed. Hot enough to be uncomfortable to the touch anyway. Certainly not HID level still... my plants would have died.

    edit: I also didn't notice how much more bud-like my buds look than that last round of pictures. I'll take some more shots soon.

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