Aquarium advice

Planted Tank Lighting - How Long Should You Have Your Aquarium Light On For?

Light for Planted Tank

LED lighting

Aquarium lights have two main functions; they brighten up your tank so you can easily see your fish and are crucial for healthy plant growth. LEDs are the best option for lighting a planted tank, LEDs are powerful, long lasting and use less energy traditional bulbs. Gone are the days of fluorescent tubes, T8 and T5 bulbs are being banned in the UK later this year, in an effort to reduce UK power consumption. High quality LED lighting can take an aquascape to the next level. Most new lights are controllable via an app so you can schedule a sunrise and sunset effect. Having your light ramp up and down slowly is great as it reduces stress on your fish. Ensure your light is rated for freshwater plants, check the Kelvin rating to ensure the light will give off the correct colour temperature, aim for around 6,000 - 8,000 Kelvin. Choose the light model carefully, look at reviews. We always suggest you choose a well known brand which specialises in planted aquariums. High quality lighting is not cheap and is usually the most expensive piece of equipment so be prepared for this when planning for your new tank. High quality lighting can make a big difference to the look of an aquascape and the health of your plants, most lights will produce an even flat light, whereas some single point LED lights will produce a shimmer effect.


How Long Should You Have Your Light On?

Aim to have your planted aquarium lights on for around 8 hours a day. This ensures enough of a light for your plants to photosynthesis and grow but not too much light which can fuel unwanted algae. Intensity also plays a big role in choosing your light duration or ‘photo period’; high intensity lights will not need to be on for as long as lower intensity lights. The intensity of most lights can be altered so some experimentation will be needed. The type of setup you have also plays a role, high tech setups with CO2 and fast growing stem plants will need more intense lighting when compared to a low tech setup with slower growing plants. I’ve seen some hobbyists have their lights on for up to 15 hours a day and as low as 5 hours a day whilst still achieving great results. There is an element of trial and error until you find balance. It is easy to reduce your photo period if you are experiencing an algae bloom.



AQUAnatur was created by an established UK aquarium installation and maintenance company near London which has been running for over 25 years! Our team are very experienced and happy to help offer advice with any aquarium questions. We are always available via phone or email Monday-Friday, feel free to contact us, we would love to help! AQUAnatur supplies a range of high quality planted aquarium lights. If you have a question, please leave a comment or contact us via phone or email.

By Alasdair McPhail

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