Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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gooseman5150 05-10-2013 11:27 AM

How long should I run LED's
Hi all, I hope someone can help me. I have a Marineland Double Bright LED system and I was wondering how long to run them. I have a natural planted tank. Not heavily planted. I was told about 6 hours would be fine, but was also told around 10. Big difference. Any help would be most appreciated!

Byron 05-10-2013 12:38 PM

First off, as a new member, welcome to Tropical Fish Keeping forum.:cheers:

To your question--and some of this might be "old news," but I've no idea as to your level of understanding, and the complete picture is essential to understanding it.

With any light, there has to be a balance with the nutrients. Plants grow by photosynthesizing, and they can only photosynthesize if the light is of sufficient intensity to drive photosynthesis, and all 17 nutrients they require are available. As soon as something in this equation is insufficient, photosynthesis slows and may stop altogether, and algae is quick to take advantage. So we work to find the balance, which can be different in every tank.

The first questions are, what is the tank size, and what is the length of the light fixture? Jeff, another member, has had good results with this light, but as with any light there are limits.

Next, what plant species?

Last, what fertilizers are you adding? And what is the GH of your tap water [you can get this from the municipal water supply people, probably on their website]?

When we have the above data, it will be fairly easy to suggest a duration that should work for you.


gooseman5150 05-10-2013 01:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thank you very much Byron!! I have attached a pic of my tank. Not sure of the names of everything, but I know I have Annubias and Frog bit. I have a 60g tank, 48 in lighting strip. The water i use is from my LFS, which is an RO/DI with added minerals specifically for plants. I am in AZ and the water is pretty hard, so I use theirs. The tank has been running for about 3 weeks. The Ph 3 days ago was still around 8. No Ammonia or Nitrites. All levels are good. I haven't added any other fert's. My substrate is the Eco-Complete by Carib-Sea.

Byron 05-10-2013 02:26 PM

That's a very nice aquascape, good work on that.:thumbsup:

It's rather difficult for me to ID the plants from that photo, but never mind, I get the general idea. I would get some surface mention Frogbit which is a floating plant, but I can't see it in the photo. Check our plant profiles, second tab from the left in the blue bar at the top of the page, we have several floating plants with photos.

One thing you will need is a comprehensive liquid fertilizer. Some plant nutrients are taken up from the water via the leaves, and others via the roots. The Eco-complete will put nothing in the water column, so this is essential. I would suggest Seachem's Flourish Comprehensive Supplement for the Planted Aquarium. You use very little; for a 60g tank, 1 teaspoon once a week will likely be sufficient, dosed on the day following the water change. Another near-identical product is Brightwell Aquatics' FlorinMulti. All of the other products seen in stores are less useful because they are not complete (comprehensive), so while they are less expensive, you are not getting what you need.

So, to your initial question on light duration. I would say 8 to 10 hours should be OK. Using a timer is a good idea to have this consistent. The light period can be anytime when you are normally home to view the aquarium, just so long as the tank receives about 8 hours of complete darkness--no daylight through windows, no room lights--every 24-hour period.

The duration can be increased slowly if you want, and as long as algae is not increasing. If algae does begin to increase (and thinking here of the "problem" algae like brush) reducing the duration may be necessary. You need to experiment a bit, but 8-10 should work.


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