Photoperiod To Keep Algae In Check

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by ForceTen, Apr 23, 2019.

  1. ForceTenValued MemberMember

    My tank is 20 gallons. No live plants. Only fake rocks and one fake plant. In the past I have removed the rocks and cleaned them well every so often due to algae. The algae grows on top of the rocks where it is exposed to light for up to 12 hours per day.

    Is 12 hours of bright cool white fluorescent to much? I have seen a few power strips with built in timers and am considering getting one. Or just a simple lamp timer.
    How should I set the timer. It will have more than one set point and can be cycled on and off as required.
    My goal is to keep the algae in check and give the fish a break. I can only imagine being subjected to that bright white light for 12 hours a day.

    Thanks in Advance
  2. FahnFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, cut your hours back to 6. Even with real plants there's no reason for more than 8 hours of light per day.

  3. ETNsilverstarWell Known MemberMember

    If you have an algae problem, yes. I'd cut back to 8 hours and see if that helps after a couple weeks. If it's good and you want more light, you can try increasing it a bit, and just cut it back if the problem returns. I have my aquarium lights on for 12 hours a day and have very minimal algae because the tank inhabitants eat it.

  4. RedLoredAmazonWell Known MemberMember

    Use the lamp timer to help keep the photo period consistent. That way if you are out of the house, you don't have to worry about turning the lights on or off for the tank.

  5. jjohnwmWell Known MemberMember

    I use those power-bar/timer combo units, and they work well. In planted tanks that don't contain algae-eating creatures, I have started to follow a practice that I first read about here on Fishlore (sorry, don't remember whose idea it was...). I have the lights on for a couple of hours in the morning and a few more in the evening. Usually a total of 6 or 7 hours is sufficient for my purposes (low-tech tanks, easy plants). I have no algae problems this way, but the tanks are still illuminated during the periods when I am most likely to be working with them or observing them.
  6. SFGiantsGuyWell Known MemberMember

    Everyone should always use/have a light timer. For nature, safety, saving $ and financial applications, sleeping (no bright lights keeping you or the fish awake when it's bedtime! lol) and as an introduction to it's base fundamental for the future reference etc.
  7. candiedragonWell Known MemberMember

    If you dont have plants then you really dont need the light on for so long, I mean unless you're constantly staring at your tank for 12 hours. Maybe change the schedule to whenever you're home to see the tank, shorten it to maybe 5-8 hours. A timer would be really beneficial here, so if that is convenient for you then theres no harm in going for it.
  8. ForceTenValued MemberMember

    I bought the digital timer. Does 10 on/off actions per 24 hours. I am retired so I see my tank all day long. Timer works great. But determining on/off times are hard. For me.
  9. imbaWell Known MemberMember

    My tanks a quite heavily planted and I keep my lights on only 6 hours per day
  10. ryanrModeratorModerator Member

    Hi, it's really up to you how long you want to run the lights on.
    Without live plants, it doesn't really matter as you're not trying to 'feed' the plants.

    That said, one consideration is natural light. Does the tank get any natural light from windows etc? Even without the lights on, this can contribute to algae issues. The fish don't really need bright lights, so if there's a lot of natural light, consider lowering the lighting times.

    The other thing you may want to do is run two photoperiods in a day. That is, say 4 hours in the morning, 4 hours in the evening (or any combination that works for you).

    If you just want some light/subtle lighting, consider dimmable LEDs, and a blue background, this can really help make the tank 'pop' without a lot of lighting.

    And lastly,if you do have an algae problem, make sure you identify the algae, and what causes it. Not all algaes are the result of excess light. Here's a great resource to help identify algaes, causes and treatments/control  

    And remember, not algae is bad, in fact some algae is the sign of a healthy tank (kind of a necessary evil)
  11. ForceTenValued MemberMember

    You guys have really been helpful. I am still struggling with light off times.
    I am here all day. The tank is in the living room. Where I reside most of the day. I am retired as I have mentioned before.
    I will figure out something. Much thanks to all of you! .......John
  12. RedLoredAmazonWell Known MemberMember

    If it helps at all, here is what I do for my photo period: 9-12 on and then off till 5. I keep the lights on till 10pm. Hope you're able to beat the algae problem so you can enjoy your tank!
  13. SFGiantsGuyWell Known MemberMember

    I just do 8 hours straight now along with an algae eating crew of SAE’s pond snails, Mollies and Nerites. And an occasional H2O2 sweep if it ever gets really bad...
  14. SFGiantsGuyWell Known MemberMember

    You’re very welcome, anytime sir.
  15. ForceTenValued MemberMember

    I should take a picture. The algae is really not a problem. In fact, I had planned to allow it to continue growing on the rocks. The glass stays relatively clean and only needs scraping occasionally. But the algae does grow on the rocks and substrate.
    I scrubbed the rocks off last time, so I will wait until the algae grows back and take a picture of it.