How to Balance Aquarium Lighting to Grow Healthy Plants (and Avoid Algae)
While a newly planted tank will always look so stunning and perfect, it can quickly become unbalanced and the plants could be sickly looking and overrun with algae. Algae and plants both require the same resources, such as light, nutrients and carbon dioxide. The goal is to ensure that these resources are balanced so that the plants can grow stronger and compete with the algae. For instance, too much
Too little light can result in algae growth. We need to adjust it to ensure optimal plant growth. This article will discuss how to balance lighting to ensure that the right amount of light is available for your tank and plant selection.
Before we begin, remember that plants are living organisms, so it takes time for them to react to lighting changes and show visible signs of improvement. We recommend that you make one adjustment per aquarium, and wait two weeks before making another. If you try to make several changes at once, it is difficult to know what worked and what didn’t.
Avoid placing your aquarium in direct sun to ensure optimal lighting control. You may need more sunlight than you think, especially if your plants are low-light. Additionally, the fickle weather may be sunny one day and cloudy the next, and every season has different amounts of daylight. Although some experts can manage tanks that get sunlight, most hobbyists find it difficult to balance aquariums due to the fluctuations in light.
We recommend purchasing a light that is specifically made for aquaculture. This will ensure you have the right environment for growing your aquarium garden. Aquarium kits come with default lights that are too dim. Shop lights and other DIY lighting options may not be as effective or spread the light well enough to produce a pleasing color temperature. The best tank lights are optimized for 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. Time Limits
Put your light on an electrical outlet timer so it turns on and turns off at the same time every day. Timers are more reliable than humans, so even when you’re sick, on vacation, or forget, your plants will still get the light they require. We recommend that you only light your aquarium for 6-8 hours per day when it is first planted. This will allow the plants to adjust to their surroundings. Once the plants get bigger and need more light to grow, slowly increase the lighting up to 8-12 hours a day. Reduce the time if algae becomes too much. 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.
As a reminder, do not leave the light on all night, not even in blue moonlight mode. The plants need to sleep every night in order to get oxygen and sugars. Even if the light is on constantly, they won’t photosynthesise. This means that algae can take advantage the extra photons and overtake your aquarium.
4. Light Intensity
Nowadays, most planted tank lights are equipped with LED technology. They are strong enough to grow low- and high-light plants. Depending on the plants you have chosen and the height of the tank, a light at 100% brightness may be too strong and cause algae to flourish. Begin with a low light intensity, around 20-40% brightness. If no algae growth occurs, increase the intensity gradually. The brightness should be decreased if an algae bloom is observed. Also, if the light does not have a programmable dimness setting, then consider raising the light above the tank or blocking out some of the LEDs using black electrical tape.
Aquarium lighting with different brightness levels and color modes
Remember that aquariums can be ever-changing ecosystems so you may need to adjust the lighting intensity and duration. Newly planted tanks require less light because the plants are still young and growing. You may need to trim the plants or increase lighting if your mature tank has large plants. To balance planted tanks, it is helpful to keep track of your lighting settings over time in an aquarium journal or spreadsheet so that you can identify the most effective values.
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. The key is to determine which features are most important to you and the type of planted tank you want to set up. Also, you want to pick a good quality brand that will last, rather than buying the cheapest option that has a very short warranty and LEDs that go bad after a few months.
Easy Plant LED
In our search for an affordable yet long-lasting light that makes plants look amazing, we ended up designing our own 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. The Easy Plant LED, in combination with Easy Green and Easy Root Tab fertilizers is the answer to creating an easy-to-manage aquarium.