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Note: FW Plant lights are made to order. They may take up to a week to ship. Then 3 to 5 days to your door. Please plan accordingly. We do stock them in our Pensacola warehouse when possible however demand may be more than expected.
New for 2017! White Powder Coating is now available! $10 additional for 16" units, $20 additional on 30" and 32" units. Please allow an additional 2-3 weeks for processing as they are made to order. Last picture is of the sBox Timer Light in White just to give you an idea of what they will look like.
Making a custom spectrum for fresh water plants is more challenging than it may seem. Plants want lots of blue and red, they also do better with yellow through green than coral. If you use all blue and red, your plants will look brown and the tank over red. Like the old growlux bulbs. Grows plants well, however fish and plants look lackluster. On the other hand if you go with too much yellow, green and whites, you sacrifice growth. Tanks look more like the PowerGlow bulbs. For years FW plant folks combined both bulbs for best effect.
However to get even more complicated, light spectrum to Fresh Water plants at fairly shallow depths changes not only seasonally, but through out the day. Spring light has a more energy in the blue spectrums, fall more red. This helps plants know when to start budding. Plants given a higher percentage of blue tend to have shorter bushier bodies with broader leaves that are closer together. Shifting the spectrum more towards red gives taller more lanky plants with thinner leaves that are farther apart.
Wouldn't it be nice to have an LED light that not only hit the key wavelengths for growth, but also allowed to shift the bias towards blue or red as you wanted through out the year or the plant's life cycle? Well there is, the SB Reef Lights Fresh Water Plant light! One channel is more blue biased, one more red biased. Since the unit make far more power than you need, you can dial in the exact ratio you want for the type of growth you want and aesthetics.
Spectrum early morning also has a higher percent of blue compared to red. Dusk the opposite. Plants can sense this change and use it to set up their circadian rhythm. If done correctly, plants will perk up quicker in the morning and go into to rest mode (Respiration) just prior to lights out. So if you have your lights on for say 10 hours. You can have the blue biased channel on from 9am to 7pm and the red biased channel from 10am to 8pm using simple $5 wall timers. Then use the channel dimmers to dial in the over all bias from 10am to 7pm. Your plants will thank you.
So how about green, you have green diodes and warm whites? We have long known that FW plants need at least red and blue light to grow normally, but recent discoveries have found that green light, while not the most efficient spectrum for photosynthesis, has a significant effect on how FW plants grow. Green light has been shown to be involved in seedling and vegetative development, the initiation of the flowering stage, CO2/water usage, stem growth and overall plant height. There's probably more we don't know about yet! But like the other wavelengths, plants seem to want just the right amount of green light for the best growth, not too much or not too little. After many experiments with green light, the NASA Biological Sciences research group has reported that light sources consisting of more than 50% green cause plants to grow slower, though combinations including up to 24% green actually enhances growth for some plants. Our goal was to hit 15 to 20% green through the use of green diodes with warm and neutral whites. We did throw in a couple 10K whites to make fish pop.
But wait, there's more. Most T8/12 and T5 FW bulbs do not produce 420nm violet. This is a key absorption point of Chlorophyll A. Well, we do! Also we have 495nm teal to excite the cartenoid peridinin in the chloroplast, adding even more energy to the plant for growth. You end up with a light hitting all the key points hard, while also providing crisp accurate, high CRI aesthetics.
Now you can have the incredible power of our basic 16" sBox with a FW plant spectrum! The look is crisp, much more so than you get with T5 or Halide. Yet it has more PAR, PUR as well. And just enough middle range wavelengths for additional growth and proper aesthetics. See the video below. The 16" FW Plant Basic is next to twin tube flourescent fixtures. There is no comparison in LUX.
Here is a quick walk through on how to program the 16" and 32" Pro Timer lights.