We have been interested in natural panted eco terraria for many years. I can remember is a child attempting to grow plants alongside my reptiles and amphibians in their vivaria. This was some four decades ago, and needless to say things were not as developed as they are nowadays – it’s easy to be successful nowadays. There is such a great deal of great products, help and advice that should ensure a good success rate for most people. In constructed a multi-vivarium natural terraia department at Coast to Coast Exotics some years ago, and we have actively followed the development of the products that make a big difference to the hobby. One such development is the LED lighting from Reptile Systems.
The first product we tried, some time ago, was the New Dawn LED Compact bulbs. At the time we had used the Arcadia Jungle Dawn, and both provide excellent results. The quality of the light is very good, a true 6500 Kelvin that plants love and it’s a nice level of brightness too. Like the Jungle Dawn its fitting is a standard screw fit ES, which is now very common for light bulbs and ceramic heaters. Our first planted terraria fitted with these LED’s did very well – we can wholeheartedly recommend them for plant growth.
After this we wanted to experiment more, so we tried some of the Reptile System New Dawn LED designed to retro-fit T5 light fittings. We dived in deep, and replaced virtually all of our natural terrarium departments lighting with these. They fit directly and easily into these fittings, and have the added bonus of saving electric and being rotational to point the light downwards – perfect! The come in all the commonly used T5 sizes, and due to their efficiency they can produce up to twice the amount of light. After two years of use, we are completely sold on these light tubes! Great results and fantastic reliability – needless to say they must be confident with a two year guarantee and expected life of +50000 hours. The light we see in our terraria is bright and of a pleasing appearance, and the plants seem to agree too with fantastic growth.
There is now the Reptile Systems ProTen New Dawn, the next generation of planted terrarium lighting from the company. These have the same true 6500 Kelvin high output (at the correct wavelengths) but now with the addition of blue and red LED diodes to stimulate growth and flowering. We have tried these, but cannot give a long term opinion yet. However, on first impressions the controllers and the lights themselves seem of the usual high quality. There is a switch to set the unit to separate channels on the controllers. It is of note that the lights can also be retro-fit to T5 and (surprisingly) even T8 light fittings – that’s all the “standard fittings” covered, great! I was pleased to see the two year guarantee also still stands. We will follow this up with an update after we have used them for a while – but we are convinced they will be very good, and a step up even on the previous New Dawn LED’s!
Its worth mentioning the company also has a range of spotlight LED lights for plant growth and natural terraria. Perhaps a more specialised range of products, we must set some up to check out how they perform.