Plant philosophy
My first steps with MARS HYDRO grow tent
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My first steps with MARS HYDRO grow tent

Hello planty folks! So, six months has passed since I’d assemble the MARS HYDRO grow tent in my living room. From three plants then, now, obviously, I don’t have any space left. From thinking: oh my god this is too huge, to – can I hang somehow the plants on the walls maybe to have some extra space in there? Or…maybe I need  bigger tent?

What I need though is some summary and a plan (not a plant). A plan how to use this space efficiently for the purpose it is intended to serve. Mostly, I want to use it for propagation and winter survival of the most fussy plants in my collection (read Anthuriums). I want to test different ways of propagation and growth in different mediums and then to make a summary. Today I would like to tell you a bit about the equipment and mediums that I used so far.

Dimensions and assembly

How to chose the perfect size

So the first item to talk about is obviously the grow tent. Mine is 100x100x180 cm. For this size, you actually have to have fairly large amount of free space, but there are smaller sizes to choose from and you can check them out here. Also, if you have for example a free attic, you can totally go with a bigger one (I wish…).

It is very easy to assemble and you can see the footage on my instagram under mars hydro highlighted stories. It took me about 20 minutes to put everything in place including the grow light.

Check the tent here.

Grow light


Next, the crucial component of this experiment is the light. I use Marshydro Full spectrum LED TS-1000. Full spectrum means that we deal with a nice, white light, and not with the purple-purple annoying hue. I will explain to you some of the information from the specification. Too be honest, when I was looking for a light to grow plants, I thought I will go crazy with the amount of knowledge that I have to absorb before I even understood what am I looking for. Often the main factor influencing the decision about growing your plants without a grow light is the fear that we will buy something inadequate.

Check the lamp here.

My lamp


Let’s go trough the parameters with an understanding.

  • Power Draw: 150W ±10%

It is a fairly economical use of power, a bit more that an average light bulb in your house.

  • Max Coverage:3 x 3 ft= 90cm x 90cm

For my tent size it is perfect as it covers all the space.

  • Core Coverage:2.5 x 2.5 ft= 80cm x 80cm
  • Product Size:36 x 34 x 3 cm
  • Net Weight:1.76 KG
  • Gross Weight:3.49 KG
  • Cord Length: 6ft=2m (enough to put it on whatever level you want!)

These parameters cover the size, and the lamp is not very big, it fits even to a smaller size tent. For me it is heavy, but I’ve managed to install it by myself (and I am only 158 cm tall).

  • PPFD: 743 umol/m²s

Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density is the light intensity, or rather, how densely packed light is with photons, which are used fot photosynthesis. Intense light has high PPFD and low-intense light has low PPFD. During bright daylight in a warm and sunny place, the sun’s PPFD level hitting the earth is around 2000. In the evening, before sundown, it’s down to 500-1000. During dark nights, close to zero.

Time is also a factor. Low intense light but over a long period results in the same number of photons as twice the light intensity but only during half as long period of time. This is especially important to indoor grows where the light output of a grow light and its photoperiod (how long the light is on) can easily be regulated.

Thanks to this parameter you can calculate the number of hours of sunlight that your plants need to get from the lamp. This is a very efficient lamp, and the plants are happy with about 10-12 hours per day.

  • Lumen :22181 lumen±5% 

Lumen is THE way to find out how bright a lighted bulb or integrated LED lighting fixture is. The exact definition goes as follows:  lumen is equal to the amount of light given out through a solid angle by a source of one candela intensity radiating equally in all directions.

Wait, what? I will tell you this – Lumens are not an absolute measure of the overall power of the grow light. The lumen measurement is weighted according to a model of the HUMAN, not plant eye’s sensitivity to various light wavelengths. This means that yellow light, which humans see best, is weighted higher than blue or red light. We need caution when interpreting lumen levels for grow lights. A grow light that has a high lumen output but primarily produces lots of yellow light will not be very useful to plants. Plants require primarily blue and red light for photosynthesis.

In general it is best to choose a full spectrum grow light with a color temperature in the blue range (5,000 – 7,000K) to promote vegetative growth and choose a color temperature in the red range (3,500 – 4,500K) to promote fruiting and flowering.

The TS-1000 light spectrum looks like this, and I think that it is perfect, we have here alll that we need even it terms of growing and pollinating Anthuriums.

  • Noise Level: 0 DB – it is a fact, it doesn’t make any sound!

And the most important thing about this lamp is that you can adjust the intensity accordingly to your plant needs.

Additional equipment

Basics for the optimal function of the tent

Fan: I use only one fan and for this tent size I think that it is enough. It has regulated intensity, which is golden. I keep it low and direct towards the ceiling, so the air can flow easily touch the top vents of the tent. This way the humidity is not at the level od 100%, but about 87-93% and it keeps the fungus away. 

For the first couple of months I kept the fan in the upper part of the tent, directed 45 degrees towards the floor, but the leaves were getting dry and crispy.

As to the shelves I have to tell you that i didn’t find the perfect solution yet. For now I just know that the small 1mx1m greenhouse shelves are not suitable, because they bought rust pretty fast. Also the electronic temperature and humidity meter collapsed after two months, so i’m still looking for a perfect solution and will let you know.

Working schedule

My parameters and techniques

After a lot of trials, mistakes and failures, my grow light works now at 42%. The higher intensity either burned the leaves badly or made the transpiration so fast (it gets pretty hot), that the plants didn’t grow properly, because I didn’t water the enough.

Now, when I do the watering I also raise the temperature in the tent by turning on the radiator in the room (the radiator is outside of course) and switch the fan to the maximum intensity. Both plants that are in the soil mix and in semi-hydro I do water in the evening, just before my grow light turns on. Then I turn off the radiator, because the lamp will do the job. This way, after the watering, in 30 minutes they can accelerate the photosynthesis when the grow light switches on.

I water most of the plants every three days, depending on their growth phase (if they are producing a leaf/flower) or once a week when it comes to semi-hydro. For semi-hydro I constantly use the growth phase solution, and water only the moss poles.

The moss poles are watered either with rainwater or normal sink water, but with the pH adjusted to 6.6-6.8. The moss poles require the most work. Keeping them moist is easier with an pressure sprayer. I use one from Mesto (3l, 3 bars) and so far I’m very happy with it.

I hope that this first review was helpful to you! Let me know in the comments. If you have any questions feel free to DM me on my instagram account.

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