Planted Tank Lighting

How to setup light, lighting period for an aquarium?

How to setup light, lighting period for an aquarium?

In this article, we will explain and show you how to optimize your lighting schedules and periods  in order to prevent algae in the planted aquarium. Thanks to the frequently asked question by our customers and fellow hobbyists, we are motivated to write this article. Frequently asked questions include:

  1. I’m about to start a new plant at Aquarium, how many hours per day should the light be on at the very beginning.
  2. I’m not too sure what time of the day should I turn the aquarium light on.
  3. Is it necessary for me to turn the light on during sunrise and then turn the light off at sunset? And
  4.  is it OK for me to soak all the aquarium light on with an on off lighting schedule in blocks throughout the day?

The management of the lighting schedule should be in accordance to the phases of photosynthesis. This is the first point. The second point is to decide the lighting time according to the actual plant density and the type of plants in the aquarium, and finally the Third Point. Lighting management and calculating optimal timing. That’s the three key lighting point. Pretty straightforward. Although these points sound fairly simple, it’s pretty complex.

  1. First of all, management of the lighting time according to the aquarium phases.

Aquarium plants photosynthesize in period depending on the environmental factors. Having said that, there are three different phases that a planted aquarium goes through in this life cycle.

Stage 1 : Newly established aquariums with a time where the plant roots begin to grow as it acclimates in the new environment. After about two months, the lifecycle shifts to be established. Newly established aquariums that’s developing towards established is a very unstable time. The initial growth speed of the aquarium plants are still acclimating and weight graced quickly. First phase of the Aquarium’s life cycle is a time when the plants acclimate and begin to recover. This phase may take up to three months or more to advance to being established during this time, depending on what you have in the aquarium, you’ll be trimming the plants as required. Trimming plants stimulate further growth and propagation and effect. Your bacteria will continue to develop into its early stages within the aquarium and slowly balance out the water conditions. This makes a very good environment for the aquarium plants maturing to be in a such aquarium.

Stage 2:Phase two is all about their aquarium management. Speaking of which, sometimes it takes a while to achieve phase two. In most cases, it’s relatively short. We can’t say with certainty the reason why, because each of current setup and environments is unique. That’s assured that your aquarium plants are acclimating to a stable state during the first two phases.

Stage 3:The last phase is being fully established. Being a fully established aquarium, the plants aggressive trimming requirements are now reduced. If you sparingly trim the plant bushes then the overall structure should remain as is. Given that the water quality and conditions are in balance and a slight plant trim would be part of your weekly maintenance.

Now that we’ve covered the aquarium’s life cycle, it’s better to think about the lighting requirements separately for each phase. This greatly reduces the risk of an algae outbreak.

Let’s start off by talking about the lighter requirements for a newly established aquarium . It would be good to start your lighting period for about 7 hours. The standard lighting hours for most people is typically 7 hours. Given that you purchase the correct lighting for your aquarium. It depends on your plant density. For example, when you look at an aquarium from directly above, only about 70 to 80%. of the aquarium is planted. In this case, I think it’s a good idea to start your lighting from about 7 hours.

Moving on to the second phase of aquarium life cycle, your plants will have well acclimated to the environment. In the established phase, the aquarium plants are well adjusted. It is a phase with the risk of an algae outbreak is significantly reduced. Perhaps you can think of the established phase as a balanced environmental seesaw once established. The risk of an algae bloom is reduced with the aid of proper maintenance. Because of this, you may safely adjust the lighting time between for about 8 to 10 hours Max depending on the environment. There are professionals in our hub here do 12 hours, but for beginners please play it safe between 8 to 10 hours. Please keep this in mind as phase one and two are critical.

Next is phase three. When your aquarium is fully established. I think  it will be wise to return the lighting hours back to about 8 hours Max. 7 hours is fine, but it’s better to start at 8:00, then go down to seven if required. Please note that the condition of the aquarium water is not the same all the time. The water you put in is never the same as the water you take out of the aquarium. The aquarium water conditions, cycles and highs and lows will start off as low as newly established peak is established, then low again as fully established. Therefore, the lighting needs to be relaxed at phase three.

Typically, lighting is often overlooked and not factored in for aquariums at any phases, and often left at Max intensity. Well, if you do that, you’ll experience many issues. Lighting therefore needs to be adjusted to the plants requirements. It is important to match the lighting in the water conditions to the phases.

Next, the second part is to find  a lighting time according to the growing plant density. Each planted aquarium and its environment is different and unique . It is therefore virtually impossible to give a one size fits all solution as there are so many variations. The general lighting time should be 8 hours Max.

On the other hand, in the case of slow  growing plants such as anubias, microsorum or crypts, and buce these are plants,that don’t require much lighting. Therefore, the hours of lighting is all dependent on what you have in the aquarium. You can therefore get away with little lighting hours with these kind of plants. If you are unsure, just stick to seven hours and you’ll be fine. This also applies to Moss. You should be able to keep your tank in good condition this way.

  • The key factors on .2 is continually check the conditions of the aquarium that make fine adjustments accordingly. Onto .3. This is the follow point on lighting management and optimal timing.

What do you think happens to the plants if you turn on the aquarium lights without any management? As you may know, all plants have resting periods just like humans and animals. The aquarium plants resting and photosynthetic period must be consistent Just like us, they’ll also sleep and wake in a cycle. You might even see the plants still close when the lights were on. This indicates insufficient lighting. If this is the case, then you need to have a regulated timing schedule for your planted aquarium. This is extremely important if you want longer lighting throughout the day.

I guess you can divide up the lighting periods into blocks a few hours each block. That is 1-2 or three lighting blocks a few hours each block where you can run the wires continuously for seven hours. Following consistent lighting hours, proper controls and lighting coupled with good maintenance or prevent algae outbreaks. Please note that you need a timer to control aquarium equipment such as lighting automatically.

  • We have been told that the aquarium lighting period needs to match the actual Daylight Time, but it doesn’t. You can time the light to start a few hours before you come home. That way you can enjoy your aquarium when you are actually home. If you have it on in the morning, then off in the evening you come home to see the aquarium not lit up. It’s a sad feeling, isn’t it? It’s your best home and all you see is this dark aquarium in the corner. Message you probably work during business hours or weekdays. I strongly recommend that you turn on your prime light at 4:00 PM for seven hours. That means that the light will turn off at 11:00 PM If it’s set correctly. That way you can enjoy your aquarium when you’ve come home. If you want 8 hours of lighting, then no problems, just set it to 8. For example, if you’re a late sleeper for whatever reason, simply set your timer to turn on at 3:00 PM and offer 11:00 PM. There should be no major issues for your aquarium if you shift it back and forth between 7:00 and 8:00 hours a day, as it’s only 8 hours difference..

By the way, the most important thing to pay attention to in the planted aquarium is the appropriate lighting intensity required for the types of plants you have. For  aquariums facing a window, especially uncovered windows with exposure to direct sunlight that illuminates part,  if not, the entire aquarium. In this case, please change your location of the aquarium. Aquariums facing windows with direct sunlight typically is impacted by algae blooms, even if it’s weakly lit by sunlight. On the contrary, if you move throughout the room and realize there is sunlight to the entire room, please use curtains or blinds. A lace curtain should help carve most of the direct sunlight. It allows sunlight to sparingly illuminate the room. Otherwise, please use curtains or blinds to completely block the sunlight. It is very important to correct this early on as direct sunlight actually contains extreme UV in comparison to the artificial lighting, like your aquarium LED. The sunlight is considered strong if it is illuminating your entire room from sunrise to sunset. It sounds like overkill, but trust me, the worst thing in the aquarium are endless algae problems. When an aquarium is placed in direct sunlight, you can even get green water, not to mention other things like cyanobacteria or blue-green algae as well. So if you really have to put an aquarium in a sunlight room, I strongly recommend that you use curtains. I strongly recommend blackout curtains or blinds.

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