Lighting Supplies for Freshwater & Plant Tank Aquariums.

Jump to Beamswork DA Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Freshwater Plant ..
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Lighting, just like filtration and heating, is an essential component of aquarium keeping. There are many lights available on the market but only a small percentage are appropriate for photosynthetic reef tank inhabitants or freshwater aquatic plants. Photosynthetic sensitive species use light to create energy for proper health and growth. What the human eye desires and what freshwater plants and reef inhabitants need for photosynthesis presents a dichotomy. After years of hands-on experience, I have concluded there is no magic light that will guarantee a beautiful underwater planted garden or thriving reef tank. Finding the correct lighting is often a process of trial and error.
The Orphek PR72 Freshwater Planted Aquarium LED Lighting is a member of the new PR72 family of LED Pendants.
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Many aquarium plants require more intense light to thrive than typical aquariums provide. The common guideline is to provide at least 4 to 5 watts of lights per gallon of water for a planted freshwater aquarium. Several types of lights are available, and each has pros and cons. For more information on lighting & your Freshwater Aquarium, please view our  & read our articles on  & .
Photo provided by FlickrLighting Supplies for Freshwater & Plant Tank Aquariums - Marine Depot
Photo provided by FlickrFreshwater Aquarium Basics LED Aquarium Lighting ..
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If like me you first tried to regulate the lights time on your own we should be on the same page. Bottom line is it is next to impossible. We are not robots and do not wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Likewise we cannot adjust our light at the right time every day for years. It just isn't possible. So for this guide I will be speaking as if you own an .

First off we must note that aquarium lights should not be on as long as we are awake. 14-20 hours of light is just too much for most tanks. Instead we will be shaving off the times when we view our tank the least.

The best time to turn our aquarium lights on is not when we first wake up. The first thing we do when we get out of bed is often shower, eat or sleep a bit more. None of which we will be looking at the tank. By waiting this hour we have already taken off one of the hours we need to secure a better lighting schedule.

If you work early in the morning you may even choose to have your lights turn on a few hours after you start working. I personally don't recommend leaving the light off until say 2pm but keeping the lights off until 11am means the lights are able to stay lit until 7pm to 11 pm.

This brings us to the next point of planning your freshwater aquarium lighting time. Depending on where the tank is located you may need the lights to be off earlier. For instance my small saltwater tank is located in the bedroom. Keeping this light on until 11pm is nice some days, but when I need to sleep early it is far from ideal. This brings me to my biggest point:

Schedule your light around your average day, not your ideal day!

having the tank off early on my day off may not be as fun as keeping it on until 11, but it sure beats having bad sleep or cutting my corals short on their lighting. For those who are new to the hobby try setting your lights to 10 hours of light a day. Adjust to less light if you have rapid algae growth or add more light if you see low algae growth and wish to grow plants.

If you are constantly seeing algae reduce the lighting time as well as blocking out any natural light produced via windows or reflective floors. With all these elements in play your freshwater aquariums lighting time should quickly be established, reducing algae, saving money on electricity and making all your tank inhabitants happy. Simply put, algae. The green, weedy algae that will plague every new aquarists tank along with brown diatoms that cover sand beds. This stuff loves two things. Nutrient rich waters and excess lighting. Combining the two is just begging for an algae bloom. This is why for nutrient rich tanks or tanks that are often over fed should only receive 8 hours of light. This gives plants and fish enough light to stay happy while limiting the light algae has. This alone will not stop the algae, nothing can do that, but it does slow it down to a manageable rate.

The middle ground, about 10 hours, has several uses. Typically it is used as the safe bet on lighting times when the aquarist does not know enough about their tank to make an informed decision. This is fine as no one comes into the hobby knowing everything. For those who own tropical fish, the most abundant kind of aquarium fish, 10 hours also helps to simulate their natural day times. Combine this with timers that slowly turn the lights on for the best effect.

The longest stretch of the range, 12 hours, is best used by those growing plants or corals. Most plants and corals only need 8 hours of light to stay healthy, but will happily accept more light. In fact many coral dealers never switch off their lights but instead swap to a low strength blue light over night. If you own any fish this is not recommended.

The biggest issue with 12 hour lighting periods is that the algae and plants/corals will be competing for the nutrients in the water. At first this often results in the algae winning out, causing an algae bloom. However as the corals and plants grow, the tide of the battle turns and less and less algae grows. Eventually having the 12 hour lighting period will result in the same or even less algae growth than sticking with 8 hour light periods would.

The last element to consider when choosing your freshwater aquarium lighting time is its location in your house. Many new to the aquarium hobby will often place their tank in front of or across from windows, resulting in large amount of natural light that pours into the tank. This combined with artificial lighting can cause constant algae blooms that are hard to beat. If the tank is small enough I suggest relocating it, however some tanks will never be moved once they are filled with water. Thick curtains are your friend here, as are heavily planted tanks. Bright light over a freshwater has health benefits for the inhabitants. Bright light stimulate plants and algae to take up harmful nutrients and produce oxygen. Ammonium and Nitrate are well know plant fertilizers that are constantly being produced in the aquarium. A bright light over a well planted aquarium will help take up the nutrients as they are being created. The benefit is very little to no Nitrate accumulation in the tank. Since Nitrate will lower the pH as it accumulates in the system, a brightly lit aquarium will normally have a much more stable pH. Excessive amounts of Nitrate are and . Keeping Nitrate under control is very important in maintaining a healthy aquarium eco-system. If you have any Nitrate accumulation in the system over the course of a month or two, your tank is out of balance. Most freshwater hobbyist do a regular water change on their tank (that helps reduce the amount of Nitrate that is accumulating) without . The number one health benefit from water changes is the reduction of Nitrate on a system that is out of balance. Adding a bright light over a tank with fast growing aquatic plants can have a significant impact on reducing Nitrate accumulation in the aquarium.