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Lighting duration

Kingyfish1

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30 Jan 2021
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36
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Chelmsford essex
How long do most people run there lights for without having problems with alge, I have 27 Watts led light over an (LxWxH): 77.5 x 36 x 53cm (Volume 118 Litres) tank. I was thinking 8-9 hours but don't know for sure.
 

Kogre

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14 Apr 2013
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Derby
Hi @Kingyfish1. I'm by no means an expert, but I'd say 8 hours is about typical.

If you have the option to adjust the lighting intensity it may help to start slightly weak and increase the intensity over time. If you see a bloom, reduce it back.

Other factors to take into consideration when it comes to algae are the amount of nutrients in the water column. If there is an absolute abundance, again, algae may thrive. Plants can limit this by soaking up said nutrients, and floating plants may be a good way to also suck these up along with affecting light penetration so could be a way of adjusting intensity if your light is not dimmable. Regular water changes also help dilute these nutrients.

Best way though is to set it all up and let it run, then combat the situational issues you face and learn from them.

This place is also a great resource for input and feedback based on what you experience with your aquarium. Perhaps not the most prompt but a good resource nonetheless.
 
Last edited:

PARAGUAY

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Lancashire
By no means an expert on this but it seems to be around 6 hours to start and increase as planys grow to around 8 But this is no means set in stone l think l am right in saying experts @Christel and @Darrell (dw) use a longer photoperiod as you would find in the wild. Interesting to a answer to a algae question by Ceg another expert it wont solve problems like algae and plant deficiencys etc by a shorter photo period if the light is too powerful or not powerful enough in the first place. A reduced photoperiod wont help. Floating plants will help with a too powerful light OC. Hope making sense here🙂
 

John q

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6 Jan 2021
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Hi, I think the answers above of 6-8 hrs are about right especially at start up.

The reason for posting was regards algae.

From personal experience, and doing lots of reading I think light intensity seems to be the major player in most set ups, as opposed to duration, that end up with algae outbreaks, fluctuating co2 levels/low co2 levels and insufficient nutrient levels all seem to be repeatedly mentioned. Getting a good plant mass from the get go certainly seems helpful as well.

I don't know if you have the ability to reduce you're light intensity but if you have it might be worth doing, especially if you see any signs of algae appearing.
 

Kingyfish1

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Thread starter
Joined
30 Jan 2021
Messages
36
Location
Chelmsford essex
Thanks for all you help and time every
Hi @Kingyfish1. I'm by no means an expert, but I'd say 8 hours is about typical.

If you have the option to adjust the lighting intensity it may help to start slightly weak and increase the intensity over time. If you see a bloom, reduce it back.

Other factors to take into consideration when it comes to algae are the amount of nutrients in the water column. If there is an absolute abundance, again, algae may thrive. Plants can limit this by soaking up said nutrients, and floating plants may be a good way to also suck these up along with affecting light penetration so could be a way of adjusting intensity if your light is not dimmable. Regular water changes also help dilute these nutrients.

Best way though is to set it all up and let it run, then combat the situational issues you face and learn from them.

This place is also a great resource for input and feedback based on what you experience with your aquarium. Perhaps not the most prompt but a good resource nonetheless.
Thanks for the tips and replie, 🙂 think your right in running the tank and working out what works best, thanks again
 

Kingyfish1

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Thread starter
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30 Jan 2021
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Chelmsford essex
By no means an expert on this but it seems to be around 6 hours to start and increase as planys grow to around 8 But this is no means set in stone l think l am right in saying experts @Christel and @Darrell (dw) use a longer photoperiod as you would find in the wild. Interesting to a answer to a algae question by Ceg another expert it wont solve problems like algae and plant deficiencys etc by a shorter photo period if the light is too powerful or not powerful enough in the first place. A reduced photoperiod wont help. Floating plants will help with a too powerful light OC. Hope making sense here🙂
Thanks for your advice 👍
 

Kingyfish1

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Thread starter
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30 Jan 2021
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36
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Chelmsford essex
Hi, I think the answers above of 6-8 hrs are about right especially at start up.

The reason for posting was regards algae.

From personal experience, and doing lots of reading I think light intensity seems to be the major player in most set ups, as opposed to duration, that end up with algae outbreaks, fluctuating co2 levels/low co2 levels and insufficient nutrient levels all seem to be repeatedly mentioned. Getting a good plant mass from the get go certainly seems helpful as well.

I don't know if you have the ability to reduce you're light intensity but if you have it might be worth doing, especially if you see any signs of algae appearing.
Think my co2 was low and I had low nutritants, I plarnted fast growing stem plants and some have black spots on the leaves, which I think is from low nutritants, but not sure about this, just trying to figure it all out and dial the tank in, don't help being a beginner.
 

jaypeecee

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21 Jan 2015
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I think light intensity seems to be the major player in most set ups, as opposed to duration...
Hi @John q

It would definitely be worth looking at posts made by @Christel regarding this topic. Unless I'm mistaken, I seem to recall that she was advocating a longer photoperiod than the ones we've been used to. There seems to be little doubt that lighting calls the shots!

JPC
 

jaypeecee

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Hi @John q

Here ya go...


JPC
 

Franks

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26 Aug 2015
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236
I would start off with 6 hours on medium intensity if possible. Flood the water column with plenty of macro/micro ferts and do two big water changes per week and assess after two weeks.

At two weeks, you should have new growth and be able to check on old growth. You can then start to think about your photoperiod, but it's not critical to be running high power lighting.
 

John q

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Mmm I'll have to ponder over that one @jaypeecee

I'm currently trying to extend my lighting duration and can't seem to get past the 8½ mark without stagshorn/bba algae appearing. Clearly I'm reaching the tank nutrient limits at this point and have to dial the duration back.
My next plan of attack is to reduce the intensity of light and see if that helps in extending light duration.
 

Tropicaltanklover

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2 Feb 2021
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Dunstable
How long do most people run there lights for without having problems with alge, I have 27 Watts led light over an (LxWxH): 77.5 x 36 x 53cm (Volume 118 Litres) tank. I was thinking 8-9 hours but don't know for sure.
I have found 6 hours of lighting works well for me and my tanks. I say "me" because (1) I schedule the photoperiod around the time I am most likely to enjoy an hour or 2 viewing the tank from my sofa 1530-2130
(2) stem plants are healthy and growing but not too fast so I trim approx once every 4 weeks or longer.
 

Christel

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Germany
I am just reading these posts about the length of the lighting. Just take a look at nature. Where is the length of the day only 6 hours? Do many plants grow there? No wonder algae take over this niche in your aquarium. Of course, I have also done experiments on the length of the day: with only 10 hours of lighting, some species do not grow at all in the long term; they die off after a few weeks/months. It is good to know where the individual plant species are distributed. North American species can grow with just 10 hours of lighting for some months, but tropical species often can't, subtropical ones have a day length of about 10-14 hours. Some aquarists simply save in the wrong place! spend money not only for your plants but don't save money for the electricity. Perhaps this thought is helpful: many nurseries additionally light their plants in winter to increase the day length.

If you have problems with algae and the day lenth of your aquarium is too short, I recommend slowly increasing the day length to 12 hours (minimum, because you are cultivating many species from different countries) and reducing the light intensity first. A higher light intensity does not replace a longer day length! Another thought: when do the plants in our gardens start to grow and flower again? But in spring, when the day length (and warmth) increases. :)
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
........and @Darrell (dw) use a longer photoperiod
I do and for the same reason as @Christel, in nature many of our plants get <"approx. 12 hours of incredibly bright tropical sunlight">.

There are proviso's I've never kept a tank with added CO2, and I always have a <"very large plant mass">, meaning that Anubias & Bolbitis etc. aren't <"being fried in very bright light">.

solar_insolation_time.png


Having a longer photoperiod, and a reasonably bright light, just takes light intensity out of the equation when you have poor plant growth in a floating (non-CO2 limited) plant.

I use my floating plants as <"a net curtain"> and I think I'm probably fairly good at judging when I need to <"add or subtract light">.

cheers Darrel
 

X3NiTH

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13 Apr 2014
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I’m 10 hours here for growing Buce, half hour ramp each side of the photoperiod which is fairly dim as being occluded by stuff sitting on top of the aquarium (even more Buce).

FEB70E97-6CDB-4670-9F8F-4DF4B6E012A3.jpeg


The Buce could do with more light as they’re stretching for it!

F6FDAABD-0AFC-4637-B496-E3710440CAA5.jpeg


Obviously my tank runs like a shady wee corner of the Borneo rainforest, tucked away somewhere under a waterfall!

:)
 

Wookii

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13 Nov 2019
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Nottingham
6-8 hours photo period appears to be largely the de facto standard advice for a high tech/CO2 injected tank on this forum, particularly on a tank start-up - the reason quoted to avoid algae outbreaks

From @Tim Harrison's excellent soil substrate guide:

The Soil Substrate Planted Tank - a How to Guide...

Lighting


Lighting duration depends largely on which source and intensity of aquarium lighting you chose. There are no hard and fast rules and a bit of experimentation is needed to get the optimum combination. This is important since in a soil substrate tank, without CO2 injection and nutrient dosing, lighting is usually the only parameter that you can vary to achieve a balanced system; but around 6 - 8 hours is the often quoted standard. In a newly set up tank it’s best to start with a photoperiod of just 6 hours to avoid algal outbreaks. Once the plants are grown in, and the tank becomes biologically stable, the photoperiod can be gradually increased if necessary.

I 'm not sure on the origin of the 6-8 hours photo period - I've read numerous comments from Tom Barr (@plantbrain) recommending 6-10 hours. However as we now have two forum experts advocating 12 hours photo periods, it would be useful to understand where the original 6-8 hour advice comes from, and recheck its validity on a high tech tank?

I have always run my tanks with a 6-7 hour photo period, purely for the reason of avoiding algae. Even though, anecdotally, I've never had any significant issues with plants growing sufficiently in that period, I'd definitely prefer to have the lights on for 12 hours instead, providing that doesn't lead to additional algae.
 

Franks

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26 Aug 2015
Messages
236
The tank is new so burning it with 12 hours of light when the plants need to convert fully to submersible form and are also incapable of using all the nutrition/Co2 from the water column means the tank will be more prone to various algae. Limiting the photoperiod gives you a buffer to reduce algae problems at the cost of optimal daily plant growth. Once the tank is fully adapted and growing like mad then by all means, ramping up to 10-12 hours is achievable as long as you retain the balance of increased Co2/ferts for the additional plant energy. You'll also need to change the water much more often too.

As a side question to this, would a ramped lighting intensity and a difference in spectrum at certain points of the day be preferable to the plants like they get in nature? I don't know, but I love that my light can do this. I've not had any trouble yet and it's peaks in the midday to 70% much like the illustration shown. Perhaps once fully grown in, that threshold could be increased for a longer duration, higher intensity etc but to make for socially acceptable viewing, it's nice to have the light decline into the evening. This mimics nature anyway so as long as balance can found, surely this is the best approach?
 

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