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Best 3 Type of Lighting System for Hydroponics


light for hydroponics is a not a difficult job to find, we need to understand the basic need of light in hydroponics. In nature, plants need things to grow one is nutrients and the other is Light. On earth, we get light from the sun.

sunlight helps in making sugar to provide fuel for the plant growth. These processes we call photosynthesis. Sugar is used for the process of respiration and another use is stored for later use. 

Photosynthesis is possible due to the chlorophyll, which is present in leaves. The green color comes from chlorophyll in leaves. chlorophyll combines with light and carbon dioxide and forms sugar and oxygen. Excess oxygen and water are transported by the leaf into air. 

Photosynthesis can occur indoors also, we can provide artificial light sources that supply the necessary spectrum and intensity. Sunlight appears white, but it contains a mixture of all colors of the rainbow. 

the right light for hydroponics is the most important part in the hydroponics system for healthy plant growth. There is the number of light sets available in the market and all react differently with different plants. for the new growing plants lighting system is important and it should be best .

It is difficult with the lighting as each lighting system offers very different characteristics than another. Temperature is one of the important terms when you grow hydroponics and when looking for ideal light. 

There are a number of lights, which can be used for artificial purposes for plant growth. Wide spectrum fluorescent, metal halide, and high-pressure sodium are the type of artificial light, which we can use for the artificial lighting system.  

Check the 12 Essential Nutrients required by plants


  1. High-Intensity Discharge (H.I.D) grow light
  2. Fluorescent Grow Lights
  3. LED Light
  4. Intensity of Light 
  5. Choosing the right light for Hydroponics
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQ

High-Intensity Discharge (H.I.D) grow light

Nothing can beat the sunlight when it comes to growing the plant. One new type of light is available to grow plants indoors and achieve favorable growth. High-Intensity Discharge is the best lighting for those who are looking for a light for indoor use.

It consists of a lamp, reflector and power supply and is designed to provide maximum light.

Use these tips for lighting

  • Flat white paint reflects with up to 80% efficiency 
  • Use air-cooled reflected due to heat build-up is the problem
  • Wear sunglasses when working close with H.I.D

Type of  bulbs is available in H.I.D

MH – Metal Halide: These bulbs that produce lighting toward the bluer end of the lighting spectrum. This is beneficial for the vegetative stage of a plant’s growth cycle.

HPS – High-Pressure Sodium: the color of this bulb is towards the red/orange end spectrum, which helps the plant to reach theri flowering stage. 

There are some pros and cons of H.I.D


  • We can dim the light or customize the light.
  • Digital ballast can be used for all HID bulbs.
  • H.I.D is better than the T5 light.


  • H.I.D can burn the plant if it is too near.
  • It requires some additional components to work.
  • Bulb loses its efficiency by the period of time.

HID’s lose their (Lumen) effectiveness by almost 70% once they have been used for a total of 10,000 hours or more. H.I.D is a better option for the light for hydroponics.

Fluorescent Grow Lights

There are a number of styles and shapes available of fluorescents and they all work on the same mechanism. Fluorescent comes in different light outputs. One of the advantages of this light is the cool color and you can place it near the plant. These lights come in different shapes and sizes, so you can use it according to the need and sizes.

One of the major draws of T5 tubes is that they cover different color temperatures. There is no exorcist figure for the plant light need but 6,500 Kelvin is a good starting point for plants in the growth phases. 3000 kelvin are more suitable for the flowering stage.

The right height to place the bulb is 6 -8 inches above your plants.if you have seedlings and some dislike signs are seen, raise the height of the bulb to 12 inches. 

Pros and Cons


  • It is cheaper than other hydroponics light
  • Lights can cover large areas.
  • Fluorescent light is Versatile and long-lasting.


  • It is not a good choice for during vegetative growth stages
  • Not the most suitable for flowering stages

LED Light

In the hydroponics LED is new, not many are using it right now. But LED may be a good option for hydroponics because of the number of advantages LEDs have. basic advantages led light has high luminous efficiency as compared to other lighting systems available for hydroponics.


  • LED light consumes less energy as compared to other lights
  • It can run more than other light 
  • LED is small in size
  • Low heat 
  • Customize Color

Intensity of Light 

Light intensity is also a part of selecting the right light for plants. The light intensity can be measured in powers per square foot. The general rule for these is 20-50 watts per square foot. 20 watt is best for small plants and 50 watts for the big ones. 

Color paint also helps in the reflection of the light

Flat white paint75-80%
Gloss white paint70-75%
Yellow  paint65-70%
Aluminum foil60-65%
Table for color with % light reflect

Duration of Light required for plant

Every plant has a different duration of light they need. Some take 16-18 hours and others take 12-14 hours, it depends on the plant requirements. With the different stages of plant requires a different duration of light like in flowering timeless time light is required.

You can use a timer for the control of the duration of light and before applying the timer you must check the requirement of the plant.

Lights Color

The light spectrum is also an important part of finding the right light for plants. Every light has a different spectrum in it. The process of photosynthesis works differently on the different colors of light. We need to find the right color for the plant for growth. 

There are some colors required for photonics like green, red, etc are the color best for the plant growth. Red light is also responsible for the triggering of dormancy in plants. High-Pressure Sodium light emits red color light which is good for flowering and fruiting. 

The chart shows the color and Photosynthesis process with a different color of light.

Choosing the right light for Hydroponics

The two main colors which are necessary for the hydroponics are blue and red. Blue light is responsible for the growth compact and shapely. Red light is responsible for the plant reproduction in plants in the form of flowering and fruits.

Light also emits heat, so we need to make proper vents for the heat transfer. Overheating can damage the plant and affect growth. The temperature of the indoor must be 65-80% and 50-75% humidity.

Duration is also important while choosing the right light for hydroponics. Before applying any light source on a plant go through the plant requirement.


Light is the most important factor in plant growth. Choosing the right light for hydroponics is not that easy. In the above blog, I discussed the factor you should consider while chasing the right light for the plant. You should also read the plant requirements like light duration and color etc.  

Learn about Problems in Hydroponics system


Are LED grow lights effective for hydroponics?

Yes LED lights are good for the Hydroponics. The main advantage of the led light is power consumption and color customized.  With the help of the LED light, you can easily change the light spectrum. LED is also most efficient in power consumption. Due to the low heat descript led is right light for the hydroponics system.

Can I use normal led lights to grow plants indoors?

Yes, you can use the Normal led, but it is not that effective that T5 light. If your led has the option of color change like nowadays there are a number of led which come with different color options. That is perfect for the hydroponics, you just need to understand the right color for the right stage of plant required.



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