How long should I keep my lights on?

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Hey guys, I have a relatively new 10 gallon planted tank. I'd say about a month or two old. It has a jungle val, corkscrew val, ruffled sword, 2 tiny swords that nobody can identify, some dwarf hairgrass, water wisteria, and I think that's it. My light is this:

I have no clue how long to keep my light on. It started at 12 hours, where I got rapid growth but then insane die back as algae took over, so I cut it back to 3 hours for the last month. Can someone recommend a time that will keep algae low but growth high?

Thanks everyone!
 

SaltyPhone

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That’s something you will have to figure out. Are you dosing any ferts? The thing is to try adjusting one thing ie lights or ferts. Keep one at a constant and try adjusting the other.
 
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SaltyPhone said:
That’s something you will have to figure out. Are you dosing any ferts? The thing is to try adjusting one thing ie lights or ferts. Keep one at a constant and try adjusting the other.
I am not dosing any ferts. I am only using Flourish root tabs. I was using excel, but that killed my corkscrew so I had to buy a new one.
 

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The way ferts/root tabs work is by supplying a nitrogen based food source. If nitrogen levels are above what the plants uptake then algae will thrive on the leftovers. Therefore if you set your light on a timer; and provided it’s not near a window you at least have control over the lighting. So with lights on a constant you need to be able to test at least the nitrate levels and try to keep those consistent.
 
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SaltyPhone said:
The way ferts/root tabs work is by supplying a nitrogen based food source. If nitrogen levels are above what the plants uptake then algae will thrive on the leftovers. Therefore if you set your light on a timer; and provided it’s not near a window you at least have control over the lighting. So with lights on a constant you need to be able to test at least the nitrate levels and try to keep those consistent.
Ah. That makes sense. Do you think 5 hours for now should be fine? If so, I will use that as a base and watch nitrates following that to see if they stay constant
 

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Yea definitely set the light for; let’s just say 6 hours on a timer. That way you know the lighting is consistent. Test nitrates. Let that go for a week and test nitrates again. Keep that up for a month or so recording results so you have a base line established. With root tabs there no real way to adjust what you put in there so you may have to adjust water change schedules. That being said I still have to spend a bit of time manually removing hair algae and such.
 

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