Whether you already have your indoor aquaponics system or planning to have one. One critical thing you need to consider is what kind of grow light to use. Grow lights in indoor aquaponics systems are essential for plant growth, as they provide the artificial spectrum that help facilitates photosynthesis.
Failure to set up the right grow lights requirements suitable for your system could result in wasting the financial and physical resources invested in building and planning your aquaponics system.
Many artificial lighting systems are available, but choosing the best aquaponics grow lights is necessary for optimal plant growth. Using the wrong grow light can ruin your system by stressing the fish, limiting plant growth, and possibly killing the nitrifying bacteria. This guide will help you choose the best grow lights for your indoor aquaponics system. We will discuss the benefits of using grow lights, the different types available, and the factors to consider when choosing the best grow lights for your indoor aquaponics system.
Choosing the right grow lights for your plants can be challenging, as there are many options available. But in choosing the right grow light, you need to know these few things.
How Much Light Does a Plant Need?
Both light and darkness are essential for the plant growth cycle. The sunlight helps plants produce energy during the daytime through photosynthesis, while plants break this energy down for the growth and flowering process called "respiration" during nighttime.
It is essential to provide both light and darkness to your plants. However, different plants need different amounts of light. Vegetables and flowering plants need 12 to 16 hours of sunlight per day. Plants also need darkness, so you must give plants at least 8 hours of darkness daily. You must observe your plants to know if they are getting enough or too much light.
Signs that plants get too much light:
- Plants' leaves look limp or dried out with curled leaf edges.
- The entire plant looks weak.
- Leaves closest to the light have dead brown spots.
- Signs that plants don't get enough light:
- Thin, uneven growth with tall spindly stems.
- The plant tends to lean more toward the light.
Figuring out how much light your aquaponic garden needs involves trial and error and observation. Still, the good thing about indoor aquaponics lighting is you can move or adjust your lighting to suit your plant's needs.
The Importance of Light to Indoor Aquaponics Systems
Grow lights affect plants, fish, and bacteria differently, which we will discuss below.
Plants need sunlight for photosynthesis to happen. If plants do not have enough light exposure, they will grow thin, stunted, and weak. So if sunlight is not accessible to your indoor aquaponics system, an artificial grow light can also be used to provide the required light.
Different fish species require different light conditions. Some fish need light for normal and healthy growth, while others thrive in darker conditions. However, most fish species thrive better in dark and light periods.
Light is not necessary for the growth of nitrifying bacteria. Blue and ultraviolet lights can negatively affect the growth or kill these bacteria.
Benefits of Using Grow Lights for Indoor Aquaponics Systems
- Year-round plant growth: With grow lights, you can grow plants year-round, regardless of the weather outside.
- Increased plant growth and yield: Grow lights give plants the light they need to photosynthesize and grow, resulting in larger yields.
- Control over light intensity and spectrum: You can adjust the intensity and spectrum of grow lights to match the needs of your plants.
- Sustainable and energy-efficient: Grow lights use less energy than traditional lighting methods and reduce the carbon footprint of indoor agriculture.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Grow Lights for Your Indoor Aquaponics System
1. Type of Grow Light
Four main types of grow lights are used for indoor aquaponics systems. These are LED grow lights, fluorescent grow lights, high-intensity discharge (HID) grow lights, and induction grow lights.
A. Light Emitting Diode Lights (LED Grow Lights)
Led grow lights are very popular grow lights in indoor aquaponics systems and are considered one of the best grow lights. This grow light facilitates plant growth because of its full spectrum. Below are reasons why LED is regarded as one of the best aquaponics grow lights.
- LED lights produce very little heat, emitting limited harmful wavelengths that can dry or burn plants.
- They are very durable, which lessens replacement expenses.
- LED lights have no harmful content like mercury, so they are environmentally friendly.
- LED lights use less energy than other types of lights.
The downside of using LED grow lights is the initial cost, which is quite expensive. However, LED lights are more energy-efficient and must be replaced less often than the other grow lights, which can help aquaponics growers save money in the long run.
B. Flourescent Grow Lights
Using fluorescent bulbs in your aquaponics systems is the most affordable option. Fluorescent is common and can be purchased in most hardware, garden centers, or DIY stores. They provide a full spectrum and are great for small systems with confined spaces, as the bulb can sit just a few inches from your plants. Here are some reasons why fluorescent is one of the best grow lights for aquaponics.
- Fluorescent lights are affordable and easy to use.
- These grow lights produce low heat, so there is no need to worry about bulbs being too close to the plants.
- They last longer than ordinary bulbs.
- Fluorescent lights are energy efficient.
- They're an excellent choice for small indoor aquaponics systems.
C. High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Grow Lights
Also called HIDS, these lights are more efficient than fluorescent lights and are suited for aquaponics plants requiring more lights. HID lights have a lower initial cost and can be customized according to the grower's needs and budget. This is because its bulbs, ballast, and reflectors are interchangeable. Below are the reasons why fluorescent lights are great for indoor aquaponics systems:
- HID works well in growing plants.
- They can be used 24 hours a day without affecting the system's temperature.
- They emit limited harmful wavelengths that can cause the plants to dry or burn.
- It has no harmful content like mercury.
D. Induction Grow Lights
- Induction grow lights are a type of grow light that uses electromagnetic induction to produce light.
- They are highly efficient and can last up to 100,000 hours.
- They are known for producing a high-quality light spectrum that is ideal for plant growth.
- They emit less heat than other grow lights, making them a good option for plants that require cooler growing conditions.
2. Coverage Area
The coverage area of a grow light refers to the area it can effectively cover with light. The coverage area of a grow light is determined by its wattage and the height it is placed above the plants. You should choose a grow light that can cover the entire area of your indoor aquaponics system.
3. Light Intensity and Spectrum
Different plants require different amounts and types of light. You should choose a grow light that can provide the right light spectrum for your growing plants. You should also choose a grow light that can provide enough light intensity to promote plant growth.
4. Heat Output
Grow lights can produce a lot of heat, which can be a problem for the plants in an indoor aquaponics system. Too much heat can damage your plants and fish. You should choose a grow light that produces a low amount of heat or has a built-in cooling system.
Grow lights can vary in cost depending on their type and features. If cost is an issue, you can do some research before buying your grow light to identify the ones that fit your budget and provide the right spectrum and light for your plants.
6. Energy Efficiency
Grow lights can consume much energy, leading to high energy bills. You should choose a grow light that is energy-efficient and has low wattage.
7. Installation and Maintenance
An aquaponics system requires regular care and maintenance, and you don't want to complicate it by buying grow lights that you cannot fix on your own. So consider the installation, operation, and maintenance of the grow light you're planning to buy.
Grow lights can be expensive, so choose a grow light that is durable and long-lasting. Look for grow lights with high-quality materials and a warranty.
By considering the factors mentioned, you can choose the best grow lights for your indoor aquaponics system.
What is The Best Grow Light For Indoor Aquaponics Systems?
Based on all the considerations mentioned above, growers should easily choose what type of grow lights are needed in their indoor aquaponics system. The best grow light is the LED lighting system. LED has become very popular over the past years because unlike other grow lights, they produce very little heat so there is less chance of them burning your plants. The main downside of LED grow lights are their initial cost. But in the long run, you will be able to save money because LED lights use less energy and do not need to be replaced often as compared to the other types of grow lights.
LED Grow Lights You Can Purchase From Our Website and Amazon
These are the best grow lights for aquaponics systems. Using any of these grow lights ensures that your indoor aquaponics system receives the right light spectrum and intensity for optimal plant growth.
A. ARC 600 LED Light Fixture
A high-output, full-spectrum LED grow light that provides impressive output and coverage to your plants. Whether growing indoors or needing supplemental lighting for your greenhouse, the ARC 600 is a powerful option with performance you can count on. It features 6 COB LEDs, a large aluminum heat sink, and four active cooling fans to ensure excellent operation.
B. GE Grow Light for Plants
These GE grow lights offer an advanced red spectrum, ideal for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, fruit trees, and flowers. At 120 volts, it can fit into most standard lamps, so you don't have to go out and buy any additional accessories or equipment. Plus, it requires minimal setup.
C. Spider Farmer SF4000 LED Grow Light
Choosing the best grow lights is one of the critical decisions you should make in building your own indoor aquaponics system. Many grow light options are available in the market, but the best lights are LED, HID, and fluorescents. Choosing between these three best grow lights will depend on your preference, budget, and specific situation.
We hope this guide has helped you choose the best grow lights for your indoor aquaponics system. Happy growing!
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