How long should i leave my light on in my aquarium, and when?

EmilyClick28

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hI so i've been running this tank for a few months now and all I have for lighting is a small 7 watt bulb that came with an old minibow tank I had. I generally only turn on the light when I'm feeding or looking at the fish, and the rest of the time the light is off. the tank is right next to a window so light is shining in on it all day, so I figured why keep the light on during the day. but then I saw on a forum somebody said you're supposed to keep the light on for like 8 hours a day. my tank is not planted so lighting has never been a problem, but does the light affect the fish's health at all? should I be keeping the light on? and if so, should I keep it on all during the day or all during the night? the bulb is so dI'm you can barely tell its on during the day, what with the sunlight on it all day. and I'm not concerned about algae growth at all because in all the time i've had the tank iv'e never once found algae in it. but so should I start leaving my light on? or would a 7 watt bulb not affect it at all and maybe I should invest in some better lighting? I have been thinking of maybe buying some live plants but most require good lighting and I figure my little old 7 watt buld wouldn't suffice. if I DO need to buy some better lighting, what would you recommend?
 

el337

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I think you're fine to leave the light off during the day since you are getting natural sunlight. And you should definitely keep the lights off at night to give your fish some rest.

Your light may be sufficient to grow some low light plants like java fern and anubias. They really don't need much and are pretty hardy. You can just tie or glue them to decor or wood.
 

Lchi87

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I usually keep my lights on from 8am to 9pm at night but I think it may also depend on what kind of fish you have; some fish prefer dimmer lighting/shorter periods of light so I would tailor your lighting based on that. If you are considering live plants, I would definitely suggest upgrading your lighting. Could you provide us with more information on your tank size as well as what plants you have in mind?
 
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EmilyClick28

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okay thank you so much for the information! ill probably just keep doing that then. and Lchi87, its just a small 5.5gal. I just want to get any plants that require very low lighting and are hardy and easy to grow. iv'e gotten some of the amazon sword plants from petco in those plastic tubes before but they died almost immediately. the only plant iv'e been able to keep alive so far are those "betta bulbs"
 
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EmilyClick28

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okay thank you so much for the information! ill probably just keep doing that then. and Lchi87, its just a small 5.5gal. I just want to get any plants that require very low lighting and are hardy and easy to grow. iv'e gotten some of the amazon sword plants from petco in those plastic tubes before but they died almost immediately. the only plant iv'e been able to keep alive so far are those "betta bulbs". any advice on how to keep plants and actually keep them alive would be greatly appreciated!
 

Lchi87

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EmilyClick28 said:
okay thank you so much for the information! ill probably just keep doing that then. and Lchi87, its just a small 5.5gal. I just want to get any plants that require very low lighting and are hardy and easy to grow. iv'e gotten some of the amazon sword plants from petco in those plastic tubes before but they died almost immediately. the only plant iv'e been able to keep alive so far are those "betta bulbs". any advice on how to keep plants and actually keep them alive would be greatly appreciated!
Java Fern is pretty hard to kill lol.

Here is a link that I found here that gives you a pretty comprehensive list of low light plants:


I'm pretty new to plants as well but I have had pretty good success with Flourish using it twice a week for supplementing. I used root tabs in my substrate for my DHG; not sure if its making a difference but they are sending out roots pretty quickly. I also started with a nutrient rich substrate (Floramax). I figured that between the 3, I should have a pretty solid start so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!
 
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EmilyClick28

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haha okay yeah I heard java fern and moss is good, and anubias. and I heard you have to have kind of small gravel... my gravel is really good quality, like it's not colored or fake rocks like you get at petco but its also pretty big. no bigger than a pea but still fairly big. will this work okay for planting things in? its only 2 inches deep. and for fertilizer, would a liquid supplement be better or some kind of root tabs for anubias and java fern/moss?
 

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EmilyClick28 said:
haha okay yeah I heard java fern and moss is good, and anubias. and I heard you have to have kind of small gravel... my gravel is really good quality, like it's not colored or fake rocks like you get at petco but its also pretty big. no bigger than a pea but still fairly big. will this work okay for planting things in? its only 2 inches deep. and for fertilizer, would a liquid supplement be better or some kind of root tabs for anubias and java fern/moss?
I think your substrate should be okay for the Anubias.

Java Fern and Java moss don't get buried in the substrate though. Java fern does best when tied to something like driftwood and eventually the roots will attach itself. Java moss can be attached or left free floating from what I've heard.

Root tabs will only benefit plants that grow roots in the substrate but like I said, I highly recommend getting the Flourish! It's kind of like a liquid multi-vitamin for them.
 

el337

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The rhizomes of anubias and java ferns need to be above the substrate so they are usually tied or glued to rocks, driftwood or decor.
 
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EmilyClick28

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oh okay I think I'll definitely try anubias, java moss and ferns. I also read that amazon swords, african water ferns, and water wisterias are fairly low-light low maintenance plants. do you know if any of those would work for a 7 watt bulb in a 5gal tank? and if those are rooted plants so I would need root tabs for them? also, I was thinking of maybe getting some kind of grasslike plants, like dwarf hairgrass or liliapolis. do you know if those are low light and if they would work maybe?
I will definitely get flourish

Lchi87 said:
I think your substrate should be okay for the Anubias.

Java Fern and Java moss don't get buried in the substrate though. Java fern does best when tied to something like driftwood and eventually the roots will attach itself. Java moss can be attached or left free floating from what I've heard.

Root tabs will only benefit plants that grow roots in the substrate but like I said, I highly recommend getting the Flourish! It's kind of like a liquid multi-vitamin for them.
 
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EmilyClick28

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ah okay thank you. speaking of driftwood, it seems pretty expensive from the store and we live next to a river. would it be okay to just go pick up some driftwood off the shore? and would I like boil it to clean it?

el337 said:
The rhizomes of anubias and java ferns need to be above the substrate so they are usually tied or glued to rocks, driftwood or decor.
 

Lchi87

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I'd use the root tabs for the rooted plants for sure. The 7 watt bulb should be okay if the tank longer vs. taller. Dwarf hair grass definitely needs more light if you'd like for it to carpet your substrate. I'm pretty new to plants as well so I can't advise too much on the other plants but someone else here will hopefully chime in !
 

el337

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I personally wouldn't put in an amazon sword in a 5 gallon tank. They get pretty big and will easily crowd your tank, other plants and decrease swimming space. The water fern is another rhizome plant and the wisteria doesn't need root tab. It's a stem plant that can be either planted or left floating.

With your tank size, I'd probably stick to plants that stay small like anubias and java ferns. Wisteria would be fine too as long as you keep trimming it. It can grow pretty quickly under the right conditions.
 

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el337 said:
the wisteria doesn't need root tab. It's a stem plant that can be either planted or left floating.

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Really? I didnt realize that! I learned something new today, thanks!! Right now I have been using root tabs for mine....I do still need root tabs for my other plants, but I won't worry about keeping any near the wisteria if that's the case!!

And I agree with everything else you said. The amazon swords are way too big for a 5 gallon. And the water wisteria does grow like weeds!! So if that is chosen, it would have to be trimmed often in a 5 gallon! :)

A good choice for a 5 gallon might be one of my personal faves, the Staurogyne repens. It is a smaller plant that grows slower and doesn't get huge or require much, if any, trimming.
 

el337

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bizaliz3 said:
Really? I did realize that! I learned something new today, thanks!! Right now I have been using root tabs for mine....I do still need root tabs for my other plants, but I won't worry about keeping any near the wisteria if that's the case!!

And I agree with everything else you said. The amazon swords are way too big for a 5 gallon. And the water wisteria does grow like weeds!! So if that is chosen, it would have to be trimmed often in a 5 gallon! :)

A good choice for a 5 gallon might be one of my personal faves, the Staurogyne repens. It is a smaller plant that grows slower and doesn't get huge or require much, if any, trimming.
Oh yes, the lovely s. repens. Great suggestion!
 
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EmilyClick28

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wow okay thank you everyone all very helpful! okay I think i've narrowed it down to java ferns, moss, adubias, possibly a water wysteria, and maybe one of those Staurogyne repens. one question though, are all of these plants stem/rhizome plants so I won't need to buy root tabs, and just buy liquid supplement fertilizers? because I would like to just do that. and there seem to be a lot of kinds of flourish fertilizers.... what specific ones do I need to grow these plants?
 

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