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Which light for a mini veg tent?

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    Which light for a mini veg tent?

    I am growing for only myself, so I have a mini tent, only 2'x2' because that is what I have space for. My first grow was an auto and my second auto grow is undeway. I have a couple more auto seeds, so maybe I will get one more auto grow from these. Sprouting seeds is unreliable and seeds are expensive to keep buying.

    I'd like to switch to photoperiod plants and keep some bonsai mothers in a veg tent that I can clone. I only have space for a tent that is 22"x22" or smaller to add a veg tent. I already have some photoperiod seeds ordered, and they aren't feminized, so I really need a separate veg tent to be able to move a clone to the flowering tent to see gender, then I'll know if I should finish veg or toss.

    Ideally, I'd like to be able to put a shelf halfway(ish) in the tent and keep the small mother plants on one level with the clones / vegging on the other level, which would require two lights which can be kept close to the plants, since I won't have much height available.

    This leads me to consider T5 fluorescent lights. But in looking them up online, they are not as cheap and cheerful as one might hope, esp since I will need two sets. I also notice that a lot of them are not actual fluorescent tubes, they are strips of LED lights and cost less than flurorescent tubes. Another consideration is heat. It would be best if I don't have to duct the veg tent's exhaust out of the room. I'd probably have to with T5s, since fluorescents generate more heat than LED lights.

    Now, there are a whole slew of inexpensive LEDs available for very low cost. They have spectrums and light values that look good - but do they require too much distance from the plants so I will run out of space? The tent is only 4' tall, though I see a more expensive one that could give me 5' if there is no other way to achieve two levels.

    Should I get:

    -classic fluorescent T5s for a shorter level with the bonsai mothers close to the light, and one of the cheap LEDs for the vegging clones?
    -Or cheap LEDs for both?
    -Or stick with the classic (yet more expensive) T5s for both?
    -Or something else that you recommend? Maybe there is a ready-made fixture that I can put a bunch of CFLs into, like they use for spacebuckets? I don't want to have to wire something up, though.

    Keep in mind this is just for vegging and in a small (less than 2'x2') tent.

    Here are some examples of what I have found. Remember this is for a small tent, 18"x18" or mabye 20", so a 2' long light is too long unless I put it diagonally:

    T5 fluorescents

    18" long
    These really have become specialty items in non-LED versions. The vast majority of these are now LED.

    2 fixtures with reflectors - $50 uorescent+fixture+with+reflector&qid=1645558406&sp refix=12+inch+fluorescent+fixture+with+reflector%2 Caps%2C102&sr=8-56

    18" replacement bulbs, T5, 6500k - $11 each +bulb+6500k&qid=1645556377&refinements=p_n_feature _seventeen_browse-bin%3A9692445011&rnid=9692441011&s=hi&sprefix=18+i nch+t5+bulb+6500k%2Caps%2C106&sr=1-11

    T5 lights in larger sizes seem to cost less, but the 18" size is difficult to find and costly.

    There are so many new, inexpensive options available!

    2-pack for $36, 35W each (it seems, listing says 70W but that seems to be for both, combined) Seems like they could be kept pretty close to plants

    2-pack for $43, 45W each true power draw

    2-pack for $70, 60W each true power, DIMMABLE

    For comparison only, here is the Mars Hydro TS600W which has 100W true power, $68 for ONE
    This would be too much light for a mini tent, it would have to be kept really far away from the plants and I'd run out of space

    For reference, this is the light I have in my current 2'x2'x4" flowering tent:
    Maybe I should have gotten the MarsHydro, but this one gives full 2'x2' coverage for bloom and 3'x3' for veg.

    Sorry for this long book!
    TL/DR: Which light is best for a 18"x18" veg tent with 2' or 2.5' max height?
    Last edited by Tone3000; 02-24-2022, 04:16 PM.

    Hi Tone3000. Sounds like you have some significant constraints, i.e. your limited grow space. If you’re only growing for yourself and planning on throwing out male plants, why do you have non-feminized photo seeds on order? Male plants are mostly only useful if you’re planning on breeding, and every reputable breeder has more feminized seeds than regular (male or female luck of the draw).


    • Tone3000
      Tone3000 commented
      Editing a comment
      I was interested in a particular strain which is only available in regular seeds. It's not sold as feminized seeds, otherwise I would have bought the feminized ones.

      Once I've sprouted them and picked the mothers for cloning, it won't matter anyway - I'll only keep the females and I'll only have to go through the process at the start.

    If you read the tutorial you will find that cfl is probably best for that space. It’s what I would go with anyways. Why not just have to flowering tents? No wasting time and space on males. Plus with those heights there will be damn near no veg time because you have to flip quick. I’m thinking small sea of green lit with cfls.


    • Tone3000
      Tone3000 commented
      Editing a comment
      The world of lighting is changing at a pace that the tutorials are not keeping up with. Almost all specific lighting advice on GWE (and much of the internet) is outdated.

      T5s are really hard to find now! Most of them are LEDs in a tubular form factor. LEDs have come to dominate all others.

      I need to have a veg tent to store mother plants for cloning. I figure I can squeeze 9 tiny bonsai mothers in the veg tent, then let the strain I want veg large enough to clone.

      I'll probably grow (flower) 4 small plants (clones of one strain) in a SOG. Vegging them in the veg tent on a shelf above the mothers.

      Next grow, pick a different strain. And then I can just take clones from whichever strain I feel like and not have to buy and sprout seeds again!

    • Tone3000
      Tone3000 commented
      Editing a comment
      Re CFLs: is there a decent fixture on the market that I can just put bulbs into? There's no way I am wiring shit together. Inserting a plug into a socket is my limit.

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    • Tone3000
      Tone3000 commented
      Editing a comment
      No word on lighting?

    • Gingerbeard
      Gingerbeard commented
      Editing a comment
      It's in the link.

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