03-27-2010, 02:47 PM
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I don't view light intensity as personal preference but more as maintaining the fish in the best state of health. Most planted tanks contain forest fish that come from quite dimly-lit waters, overshadowed by the forest canopy. I have posted videos of habitats from time to time to illustrate this. The fish have evolved to this type of habitat, and their brilliant colours, signal markings, neon lines, etc. are the result. Such fish maintained in brightly-lit tanks will be stressed. And that leads to health problems that would not otherwise occur.
And this is why I always advocate minimal light for the plants. No light other than the light coming through the window would be adequate for the fish, but with plants we know this is inadequate and there has to be overhead tank light. The majority of aquatic plants occur in much the same conditions as the forest fish, and they do not need the intense light some aquarists provide. Adding more light than the minimum means requiring more nutrients to balance. And all of this only means faster growth, not healthier plants or fish. Keeping the fishes' requirements and concerns foremost, then providing adequate but not excessive light for the particular plants, is a sounder approach to having a balanced aquarium of healthy fish and growing plants.
Providing excessive light just to achieve supposedly "better" plant growth--which actually means only faster, not better--when this is detrimental to the fish's well-being makes little sense to me.