How to Balance Aquarium Lighting to Grow Healthy Plants (and Avoid Algae)
Although a new tank looks beautiful and clean, if it is not balanced, the same plants can become unhealthy and overrun by algae in a matter of weeks. Both plants and algae use the same resources – light, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Therefore, the goal is for the tank to be balanced so that plants grow stronger and can outcompete the algae. For instance, too much
Too little light can result in algae growth. We need to adjust it to ensure optimal plant growth. In this article, let’s talk about how to balance the lighting so that it’s the right amount for your specific tank and plant selection.
Be aware that plants are living organisms. It takes time for them react to changes in light and to show improvement. We recommend that you make one adjustment per aquarium, and wait two weeks before making another. Otherwise, if you make multiple changes all at once, you have no idea what worked and what did not.
Avoid placing your aquarium in direct sun to ensure optimal lighting control. The sun may be more powerful than you need, especially if you are growing low light plants. The unpredictable weather can make it cloudy one day, then sunny the next. Every season also has its own amount of sunlight. Yes, some experienced hobbyists can manage planted tanks that get sunlight, but for most of us, the fluctuating changes make it difficult to balance the aquarium because the plants are getting widely varying amounts of light every day.
We recommend purchasing a light that is specifically made for aquaculture. This will ensure you have the right environment for growing your aquarium garden. Many aquarium kits come with too dim lights. Cheaper shop lights, or other DIY solutions, may not distribute the light correctly or produce a good color temperature. A planted tank light makes it easier to grow aquarium plants. The best lights have the right brightness, good spread that won’t shine into your eyes, and a natural color spectrum that makes fish and plants look their finest.
To set a schedule for when the light will turn on and off each morning, use a timer.
3. Light Duration
You can set your light to turn on and off at the exact same time each day by connecting it to an outlet timer. Timers are much more reliable than people, so even if you get sick, go on vacation, or just plain forget, your plants will get the light they need. In a newly planted aquarium, we recommend starting with only 6-8 hours a day because the plants will need time to get used to their new surroundings. Once the plants get bigger and need more light to grow, slowly increase the lighting up to 8-12 hours a day. If algae starts getting out of control, then decrease the duration again. Many hobbyists prefer to divide the time between the photo periods with an “afternoon sita”. It turns on when you eat breakfast, shuts off while you go to work, school or home, and then turns back on at night.
Remember to keep the light on throughout the night. The plants need to sleep every night in order to get oxygen and sugars. Even if the lights are on continuously, the plants will not photosynthesise during the respiration cycle. Algae will then take advantage of the extra photons to take over your aquarium.
4. Light Intensity
Most planted tank lights nowadays are made with LED technology and are powerful enough to grow both low and high light plants. A light intensity of 100% may cause algae growth depending on the plant you choose and the tank height. Start with a lower light intensity around 20-40% brightness and gradually increase the intensity if there is no algae growth. If a significant algae bloom occurs, then lower the brightness again. You can also raise the brightness of the light by covering it with black electrical tape.
Aquarium lighting available in various brightness levels and colors
Even after you have balanced the intensity and light duration, keep in mind that aquariums are constantly changing ecosystems. Therefore, adjustments may be needed in the future. Because the plants are still growing and small, a newly planted tank requires less light. However, mature tanks might have large plants that shade everything. In these cases, you may need to reduce the light or increase it. You can balance your planted tanks by keeping track of the light settings in an aquarium journal, spreadsheet or other document. This will help you to see which values work best.
What is the Best Lighting for Plantted Aquariums?
There are many options available on the market for aquarium lights, with prices ranging from very affordable to extremely expensive. It is important to decide which features you are most interested in and what type of tank you wish to install. You want to choose a high-quality brand that lasts, not the cheapest that comes with a short warranty or LEDs that fail after only a few months.
Easy LED Plant
Our search for a light source that is both affordable and long-lasting to make plants look stunning led us to create our Easy Plant LED. It features all of our favourite features like:
– The 3-year warranty and lights rated for 50,000 hours of operation – The high-quality, energy-efficient LEDs that bring out the stunning colors of fish and plants while reducing power usage by 10-50% – The highly water-resistant IP67 rating so it won’t fail from accidentally dropping in water or getting splashed by an air stone – The easy-to-use controller for changing between white Daylight and blue Moonlight modes – The dimmable light settings that allow you to adjust the brightness from 10-100% to grow both high and low light plants – The extra-long, 12-foot power cord so you reach even the furthest outlet in the room – The extendable sliding brackets to make sure you get a snug fit and prevent light from bleeding out – The thick aluminum frame to dissipate heat from the LEDs and prevent bowing in longer models
Our goal is to make the fishkeeping and planted tank hobby as easy as possible, which is why we created the Easy Plant LED as a dependable, all-purpose solution that produces excellent plant growth. This light, paired with our Easy Green and Easy Root Tab fertilizers, is our answer to making the ultimate Easy Planted Aquarium.