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T5 HO v.s. HPS? Grow tubes v.s. Standard?

Mummyscurse

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Greetz to all...my first post.

I have been growing my own smokes for the better part of 40 years (started gettin' buzzed as a college student, during the "tumultuous" 1960's). With this much growing experience, I didn't think of myself as a "newbie". But, after watching a couple different Marijuana cultivation videos recently, and reading a few forum posts here, I realize that all I've been doing is repeating the same mistakes. For example, I never brought any plants to bud, until last Fall, and to this day, my intake is 90% skuff! Last year I finally started researching better techniques, and was particularly interested in getting plants to bloom, which I have succeeded in doing, with the 12/12 lights routine.

My problem is that once the first, spikey fronds appeared, I observed very little growth in the four plants (having destroyed 3 males...which, unfortunately pollenated the females first). I had concluded, from this first, untutored, budding experience, that once the plant's flowering stage begins, overall growth yields to producing blooms, after which the plant dies. The videos I've seen clearly demonstrate the extraordinary growth plants go through, while producing the massive bud clusters!

The buds from my first flowered crop, were awfully immature looking, and had none of the mass and density of buds I've purchased over the years, or those in the videos (although, smoking these immature, fertilized buds has been the best "homemade" high I've ever had, by far). My number one suspect, for the failure to grow thick, meaty buds, is poor lighting. After the first crop, I did a modest amount of research, and opted to buy four, inexpensive T5 HO fixtures, with two, 4' tubes in each. My current crop of six budding plants (grown as all-female clones from last Fall's crop), is looking notably better under these T5 HO lights (Lord, what was I thinking, growing grass under shop lights all these years?). Buuuut, I still don't get the sense that there's much overall growth going on, and the buds are developing so slowly.

Thinking that lighting may be the heart of the matter (I have switched to a bloom stimulating fertilizer during this stage, as I did last Fall), I'm looking at alternatives like the Halides or HPS I saw in the videos. The "rub" is a serious wattage issue that I face. No way I'll ever be able to stick two, or more, 400 watt Halide or HPS fixures in here! I was a bit shocked, and pleased, to see that T5 HO lights produce very significant lumens, enough to think that it maybe can used.

I am still feeling that I should be seeing more robust buds forming, though, and more vertical growth at the tips. So, is it still best to think in terms of a HPS system (I could probably get away with two, 250 watt fixtures)...or can an equivalent wattage in T5 HO's (8-10 tubes) really get the job done just as well? Am I daydreaming to think that gorgeous buds can be produced from 500 watts worth of T5 HO's, or is a HPS/Halide system the only suitable option for the finest yield?

Also, what light spectrum do you folks who have made a science of growing better weed, recommend...first for new plants, and then during blooming? Do you use narrow spectrum, or broad spectrum approaches during either phase of growth? 6500 K's or 3000 K's?

Apologies for the lengthy post...I tend to get a little "wordy" when I have a buzz going, and I wanted to give a bit of background on what my growing experience has been. Can any of you younger "heads" offer some much needed advice to a grizzled, old timer? :)

TIA...
 

TURKEYNECK

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Hey mum..Ive never grown with tubes but there are people here who do and can help you. I have a single 400MH with an aircooled reflector and Im looking at some dense frosty nuggets.;) Nice to meet ya.
 

Mummyscurse

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Thanks, Turkeyneck... Doing the math, and attempting to answer my own question, it looks like my four, 54 watt - T5 HO tubes, per ten square feet, is only yielding about 2,000 lumens per square foot, well under the 6,000 lumens/square foot I see referenced here as minimal for good growth. I need to at least double the tubes for those same ten square feet, and it still will be lacking. I'm still hoping to hear otherwise, from someone who has had good results with a "reasonable" number of T5 HO fixtures. It's partly a cost issue, having just invested in the T5 fixtures, I'm loathe to sink another $300 - $400 into a couple, 250 watt HPS fixtures. But, if T5's aren't up to snuff, I'll do what's necessary to make it better, including spending more $$$.

As a footnote here, I hadn't considered that my cheapo T5 HO fixtures probably are producing a smaller % of the light output that better made ballasts routinely produce. So, even if T5 HO is a viable option, I may be hurting myself with poor quality hardware here. Then I'd have to evaluate buying better equipment...in which case, if I'm going to spend more money, I'm back to considering 250 watt HPS fixtures. My basic question still is, are HPS/Halides THE way to go, leaving T5 HO systems for watt conscious amateurs like me?
 

IRISHMAN1972

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Rod (lol),

Im a newbie and have 2 switcable 400w hps/mh factory made lights........the both of them cost me a total of $416 usd w/ shipping. My kids are pretty decent and the mh is balls out.......i cant wait till i switch to the hps bulbs. I really know nothing about growing nugs but i'm learning from these guys here.........keep asking questions.....you'll get what you need!!!!!!

I~
ps if you want the link to a private ebay guy who i got these from send me a private message......and i'll give it to you.........gl and im sure well talk soon as im going nowhere........the way i did things was to privately ask HICK and others questions.....he seems to be the most respected guy here for knowledge........
 

TURKEYNECK

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Everyone ive seen use flouros during the 12/12 phase wound up with loose scrawny buds.
 

W ï l l

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Those fixtures are a drag. Too impractical without a heap of green under them. Extra tubes will be needed to negate that dual spectrum silliness.

I wish shops wouldnt advise people / push those fixtures on aspiring growers.

CFLs put most tubes out to pasture btw.
 

Mummyscurse

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Hmmmm, "...loose and scrawny"...I'd say that properly characterizes my first crop of buds. By my estimate, using the T5 HO's now, seems to be 100% better than the plain shop lights, maybe more, but it still ain't what I'd want to see happening.

Perhaps all I needed was to bounce this subject off other growers, and in the process of looking at pros and cons, convince myself that I need to spring for better lighting. Before even reading Turkeyneck's remark about "loose & scrawny" buds, I just plunked the money down on a highly rated, 400 watt HPS fixture and bulb. Should be here in a week. Now I wonder if acclimating the plants to the much more intense HPS light might be necessary...don't want to shock those puppies! Maybe I'll hang the fixture a bit high for a couple days, and inch 'em down incrementally, to the proper growing height above the tips.

Still wonder, though, if anyone has made T5 HO's work well, just as a matter of personal curiousity?
 

ftw2012

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ive read many times that after the inital investment an HPS is cheapest to run considering lumens/watt. you can do a whole grow under an HPS but for best results is MH for Vegg and HPS for flower. as long as you can control the heat with aircooled hoods and fans then the HIDs are the way to go for sure! depending on how much you need to grow you could probably get away with a 400watt switchable and have awesome results! good luck and let us know what you decision is!


or you could use your T5 for veg and an HPS for flower.....
 

Biffdoggie

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I have been thinking of jumping over to all T5's myself after seeing some results with them around here. Here's the basic rub with these.
The average 1000W HPS is gonna give you anywhere between 100,000 lumens to 150,000 lumens depending on the bulb and how much you believe who is selling it to you. The older type "coil and core" ballasts are about the most ineffecient system out there. The light is only being generated by a three to four inch arc system inside the bulb, every inch away from that center arc is loosing lumens, once you get past the reflector and down to the plants who knows what the level is at? You can tell from the amount of heat that is put out from the bulb/ballast the ineffeciency (not hating here, I use them too).
A four foot, 8 bulb T5 system will be putting out around 40,000 to 50,00 lumens, spread evenly along a four foot bulb, reflecting directly down, mere inches above the plants, no central area of illumination. So two of these are going to be roughly the same (probably the same or better counting the distance loss) as one 1000W HPS. You can put them right down on the plants and there will be much less heat which is a serious issue around here, one of the main reasons I am looking to change.
An 8 bulb T5 is pulling about 450 watts and somewhere around 5 amps, a 1000W MH is pulling 1000W and roughly 10 amps. A 1000W MH puts out about 80 lumens per watt and the T5 about 95. T5 bulbs also deteriorate less throughout the lifespan than do MH or HPS
So if it's a two to one ratio with a possible pick up in lumens it will basically be more cash to get started, less A/C, less fans and the power hopefully will go down a bit.
There are also grow and bloom bulbs for the T5 and those nifty little hybrid ones with the smaller HPS an the T5s.
If I do make the leap I willmake sure to documant and report.

As far as the MH versus HPS debate I have run with my buddy side by side and it doesn't matter. A slight color difference, the MH made them a bit darker green.
 

Mummyscurse

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Thanks for the input, guys. It's good to hear that someone has some good things to say about using T5's, and I can follow "Biffdoggie's" logic. If you follow your thoughts thru, and grow exclusively with T5's, I'm sure we'd all like an update in the future.

"ftw2012", I like the idea of using my T5's for the veg growth...was thinking along those lines, myself, after picking up the HPS system. I can't begin to think about using two, 400 watt HID fixtures. A small array of four, 4' T5's is doable, on top of the 400 watts I'm now committed to, but that's pushing it. I need to look to other ways to reduce my energy consumption in here. It's far from a perfect arrangement, but within the energy consumption constraints that I live under, and to protect my invisibility on the power useage charts, I can live with it. Just having a single 400 watt HPS unit is such a valuable step forward to take.

Now I'm pumped...! :)
 

TURKEYNECK

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the 400HPS is a wise investment man..you'll thank yourself soon enough. Just keep that heat off your babies and distance that light about 18-20 inches.
 

RokNStoK

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I've been using T5's to veg with for about a year now. Due to local restrictions, my vegging plants are limited to 12"x12"x12" in size and the T5's work AWESOME at this level. Lush green plants with nodes almost right next to each other (achieved by constantly pruning back the plants to maintain my size restrictions). I currently use HPS for bloom, buy would like to integrate T5's at an earlly stage for effeciency. My idea is to use the red spectrum T5's for the first 4 weeks of bloom while the plants are still small. Then using HPS for the final 4 weeks. My plants will normally grow 2x-3x during the first 4 week period so I'm concerned that the light will move too far away from the bulk of the plant (using T5's) to maintain the lush growth... but will that be overcome the last 4 weeks during the 'main bud production' (using HPS)? My benefits will be:
1. Less heat in the bloom room.
2. Less power consumption for smaller plants.
3. Less power draw on my limited infrastructure (900w v. 2400 during 1st 4 weeks)
4. Smaller capital outlay (I intend to replace 6 vented 400w HPS with 2 4' 8 bulb T5's).
On the other hand, I am extremely happy with my current results (.6g / watt) and am unwilling to compromise either quantity or quality to save a few dollars and watts. Has anybody tried this before? Any input will be appreciated.
 
A

alaskabud

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I wouldn't use anything but 1K HPS's, you can all have them floros, cfls and T5s.
 

shuggy4105

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i`d stick with an HPS 400w that as you said, your commited to. they work great if you get an inter-changeable ballast for a MH bulb during veg. then your HPS for flower. :cool: :tokie: :48: :stoned:
 

SoFlnightlight

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I've grown with just about every light, MH,HPS,FLOURO,CFL,T-5,but not led yet. I've found that useing t-5's( I have 3 sunblaze 4foot 8 bulb) I can get the same quality and quanity doing a SOG with the T-5's. A plus too with these lights is that u don't have a heat issue to deal with, helps big time if growing hydro and keeping the rez at a stable temp. These lights have won me over and as long as you change the bulbs from veg to bloom then there is no way that u can't have a good canopy with thick sugary buds. The downfall to these is that u have to raise them daily in hydro twice daily they are realy great lights imo. Save on electric too!!!
 

niles213

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The downfall to these is that u have to raise them daily in hydro twice daily they are realy great lights imo.


I do not understand what you mean "have to raise them daily in hydro twice daily" - why do you have to raise and how high for how long?
 

thedonofchronic

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im confused...
how on earth have you been growing your own smoke
for 40 years without getting a plant to bud....? :confused2:
haha last time i checked the weed forms when you "bud" (flower)
it.
 

niles213

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You mention that you have to raise the lights - twice a day if hydro - why , how high do you raise - what is the reason for raising them?
 

SoFlnightlight

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The reason I have to raise them is the growth of the plants. I try my best to keep an even canopy meaning all the plants the same size for optimal use of the lumans. Once they hit the third, fifth, and eighth, I top. 3 times total. After that I flip to 12/12 flower mode. This allows me to keep the fixtures 2-3 inches above the plants its whole lifetime. With using 3 sunstems 8 bulb per fixture 54 watts per bulb I'm putting out roughly 150,000 lumans with no hotspots and spread out evenly for a nice SOG result. I find that these lights out perform any other for what I'm doing. I've gone down the road of HPS MH and there is just more work and money to do a proper setup due to heat. T-5's rock!
 

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