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UV light

Discussion in 'Growing Areas' started by Jeff9, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Jeff9

    Jeff9 Member

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    Does anyone have any experience with UV light in cabinets or on plants?

    I'm experiencing quite a bit of algae under lights and i'd like to know if running a UV light for a few hours a day would have any impact on reducing the amount of algae.

    As far as i understand there are different types of UV lights, and they are always visibly colored (correct?)

    If anyone has any other tips on reducing algae i'd be happy to hear them. My best one to control it is very dilute hydrogen peroxide at every watering (it helps and also seems to reduce risk of fungal and bacterial infection).

    Thanks.
     
  2. ramp

    ramp New Member

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    First of all don't use to much UV on your orchids. Some types of UV lights can burn your plants. Don't know which species you grow but most species that grow in vivariums don't need much UV as they grow in nature under more shady conditions. I've had good experiences with UV lights, used in reptile keeping. Exo Terra brings a new line of energy efficient lamps that are realy good, with the right UV output you need, depending on species.
    Don't know how you water/spray/mist your plants but there is a lamp system with UV-C bulbs, used by aquarium/pond keepers that could be helpfull. Water is passed trough a tube containing a UV-C lamp before it goes back in to the aquarium/pond; For you it would be before it is being sprayed in the vivarium. The UV-C burns all algae and it's spores. This way you could keep algae under control. Other factors that cause algae growth are the use of incorect lighting , water quality and light that comes in to the vivarium trough you window screens. Glass blocks some types of UV en lets trough mostly the wrong ones for your plats.
    Exo Terra has some good info on light and UV on it's site, check it out.
    Hope this helps a bit
     
  3. Jeff9

    Jeff9 Member

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    Hi Ramp,

    Thanks, that's very helpful.

    I'm growing alpine species, oxyglossum dendrobiums, which as far as i know receive alot of UV in nature aswell.

    Half my plants are growing in high pressure aeroponics, so nozzles spray the plant roots from below. Right now i'm not recycling the water.

    I'm working on a new design which is not traditional aeroponics, the misters will fall flush with the false bottom of the cabinet, and the plants will hang suspended above in cylinder shaped net mounts - So the difference here is that the roots are not in a dark root chamber, but rather the plants grow on mounts.

    I'm not sure if the water UV system is useful in my small setups, i'm not even sure if i will recycle water since the system uses so little, and it seems alot of risk and effort to design a system that will not clog the nozzles with any debris or algae.

    As far as i understand UV light is invisible right? My cabinet is a display-style which means i want it to look beautiful. Both systems are lit with white LED lighting (blue LED's with yellow phosphor coating)'

    So i would have to place a UV tube in between the two panels. Does this require shielding the LED panels from the UV tube so it does not harm them?

    My cabinets will be both acrylic, so if i'm correct the UV should pass through the acrylic - unlike glass.

    I'm using distilled water to which i add MSU fertilizer 1/2 gram per litre.

    I do get quite a bit of algae grow in my current cabinet, so i'm wondering if it might be a pH issue as Marni already suggested.

    Any comments you have are welcome.

    Thanks again
     
  4. Ray

    Ray Orchid Iconoclast Supporting Member

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    Any time you have light, moisture and nutrition, you're going to get algae growth. Using pH to affect it will affect your plants, as well, which is also the case with a disinfecting UV source. If you want to get rid of it, use an algaecide. I recommend Oxidate, as it is not going to harm any of your plants.

    As to the "need" for UV, how do you know that's the case? It seems to me that it's entirely plausible that the plants have evolved to tolerate it, rather than to require it.
     
  5. Jeff9

    Jeff9 Member

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    Hello Ray,

    Thanks for your insight, i did not say the plants require it, rather that since the plants receive high levels in nature, adding UV lights would not harm these species.

    I will look into the algaecide you recommend. However, since you can never completely remove algae, only control them, it might make more sense to optimize my cabinet to minimize algae.

    By the way, i never said that i wanted to reduce algae by influencing the pH, rather, i am wondering if my pH might be off, causing more algae than normally would be the case - I will check the pH as soon as i can find the time!

    Jeff