How Many Hours Of Light? Question

  1. G

    Gannon Irelan New Member Member

    I have 3 fishtanks that all have live plants and 2 have fish and invertebrates while the other is cycling now, I have been waking them all up (turning on their lights) at 6:45 am and turning off their lights at 9:00 pm is that too much time for them? (I have java ferns, rosette swords, Marimo moss, water Wisteria, and dwarf gourami, ghost shrimp, panda corydora, mystery snail)
     
  2. Rtessy

    Rtessy Well Known Member Member

    It may be an issue for the java fern, since they're sensitive to light, but mine still live even though I leave my lights on from 6AM to around 11PM.... They're not growing, but they're not dying. I had an algae at first, but over the past month it just worked itself out. If you're java fern starts getting wonky you can probably buy a timer for the lights.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    G

    Gannon Irelan New Member Member

    Thank you!! I didn’t know java fern were sensitive to light so it’s good to know :)
     
  4. Rtessy

    Rtessy Well Known Member Member

    Yeah it took me a little while to figure out too, lol. Really the two main issues that might happen are algae, and the java fern might take a hit. If algae starts being a problem, if it's just brown diatoms those will go away in a month or so, but then it turns into green spot algae a lot. I added a bunch of anacharis and a few more snails, and a week later no more algae :)
     
  5. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    What kind of light are we talking about here? Like the lights that come with a kit (which are generally not very bright, in terms of plant needs), or plant-capable lights that put out the power and temperature (color spectrum) required for supporting aquatic plant growth?
    If we're talking about kit lights, you should be okay, since the plants are probably getting as much useful light from your room (eg ambient light) as they are from the kit lights.
    But if we're talking plant lights, you will likely soon run into algae problems. If you're running plant lights for that long, without CO2 and high levels of ferts, you're creating conditions that will favor the algae over the plants.
    Let us know what you can about the lights, yes? :)
     
  6. OP
    OP
    G

    Gannon Irelan New Member Member

    They came with the kits so yea they’re not super bright I wanna replace them with plant lights but I don’t have the money at the moment
     
  7. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    Cool. So algae growth will be your "indicator". If algaes are growing faster than plants, you have too much (too long) light. If not, you're fine.
    But when you get plant lights, make sure you match your light to the type of plants you want to grow. High light for low-light plants will be a problem, unless your light has a dimmer.
    Rule of thumb: your light level should be what limits or constrains plant growth. Think of a system with 3 dials; one for light, one for CO2 and the last for ferts. You can increase or decrease plant growth by playing with any of the 3 dials. CO2 dial will be locked, unless you dose CO2. Or you might get 1-2 add'l notches by using Excel. But still basically fixed. Ferts are relatively easy to add, or dial up (but recognize that I'm greatly simplifying this by describing all ferts as one dial, because in reality there are many dials for many different nutrients). You want your plant growth to increase or decrease as you turn the light dial only. For that to happen, you need to be giving less light than CO2 or fert. Make sense?
     
  8. OP
    OP
    G

    Gannon Irelan New Member Member

    Yeah that kinda makes sense but with the plant lights do you have any cost effective recommendations? And I add co2 and am getting ferts tomorrow
     
  9. bitseriously

    bitseriously Well Known Member Member

    I think the lowest cost to get started will be tubes. T5Ho are reliable. Most folks now are switching to LED, but dollar for dollar, I think T5HO is still good. General wisdom is that you need to replace tubes every 6 months, but I've also read in places (sorry nothing to back this up) that they actually last much longer than that, like up to 2 years. I am running a single T5HO tube and it's too much light for my low-light plants, even though some of them are considered fast or moderately fast growers (sword, val, water sprite, limnophilia). So that's a 39W, 36" tube over a 36" long by 18" water depth tank. But if I were dosing CO2 it would be a different story. Also, I know I'm not yet 'dialed in' for optimal growth, so I don't want to mislead you.
    On the LED side, I've read a lot of positive reviews for the Chihiros A-series. They seem to have nailed the sweet spot between price and performance.