Planted Aquarium Lighting, Must Needed Tips

Planted Aquarium Lighting Guide by Aquarium Tales

When growing aquarium plants, the most critical factor to consider is light after planting. It will dictate the outcome of your aquarium, irrespective of if you are there or not. Lighting plays an extensive role when it comes to the aquarium.

Three crucial considerations for growing aquarium plants are light, CO2, and nutrients. There are several factors that you need to consider when setting the amount of light. They are:

  1. The kind of plants that you are growing 
  2. The time you aspire to be maintaining your aquarium 
  3. If you are injecting C02
  4. Your availability at the aquarium
  5. The sort of plant that you are longing to grow

This article is a planted aquarium lighting guide to give you a prior understanding of the topic. 

Benefits Of Having Proper Light

When you consider all the points stated above, you will have an excellent aquarium with an adequate and favorable light supply. Some of the aquarium plants need a vast amount of light, while some need minimal.

If in one way or another, have more lights than required in an aquarium, the plant will have difficulties growing and can quickly wear out.

You should ensure that you have proper light and neither too high nor too low. Inadequate light will stagnate the plant’s growth, and high light is hard to maintain and will always demand much attention.

When the light is higher than adequate, there will be increased algae, which makes many hobbyists develop a problem for a couple of years. If you want something comfortably manageable, get low light-demanding plants and provide less light.

Also, there is less CO2 intake with lowlights, which may be a good idea, more so if it is not much available in your area. It also helps to prevent the outbreak of algae.

Intense lighting can heat the aquarium water, and you may feel the need for water to be a bit high since the water dries up.

So, wisely assess your plant’s need and ensure just proper lighting.

Types Of Light Available

There are different types of light available for aquarium use like incandescent, fluorescent, metal halide, LED, etc. I will discuss the most effective two types among them.

T8 And T5

T8 and T5 fluorescent bulbs are the primary sources of light and used in aquariums for a long time. They can always make your plant grow without too much demand for water (as standard fluorescent produces less heat to evaporate water).

T5 is still recommendable as they are compelling and superb to use, whereby the aquarium plant is densely populated.

Basically, the difference between T5 & T8 is nothing but their length and diameter. If you decide to purchase T8/T5 bulb for your aquarium, be sure that it will be enough to grow your plants.

For highly demanding plants, you can consider using more than one bulb to get adequate light.

LED Light

This is the lighting that is being introduced in the aquarium market nowadays. It has been associated with offering adequate and fantastic lighting that is more effective. This type of light requires very minimal running cost thus is used by most aquariums.

LED lighting can last for a couple of years; hence, one of the aquarium investments to consider only during installation. LED lights are also easy to control the amount of light required in running the aquarium.

What Are Lighting Intensity Levels Required

In an aquarium, the light that the plants require to survive depends on the kind of plants. Some will always require little light for them to grow faster. 

This allows the aquarium beginner to practice with too small maintenance costs. Here are some of the levels necessary for the plants:

Using The T5 Bulbs

Planted aquarium lighting guide T5

When using the T5 bulbs, lighting is based on either medium, low or high. This depends on the type of plants that you have in your aquarium. 

It would help if you considered the distance raised from the plants as the distance matters. The following are the set maximum light required:

0.30 watts per liter = low

0.60 watts per liter = medium

0.90 watts per liter = high

You need to ensure that you are aware of what your plant level is. If it is low, ensure you use the maximum required watt to avoid causing difficulties to your plant. 

If it requires high, you need to ensure that you use high to ensure that the plant grows faster and with the necessary light.

Using The LED Light

Planted aquarium lighting guide LED

Led light is another deliberation for the plant growers in the aquarium. Here it would help if you chose the level of choice depending on the plants. Here the groups are classified as either easy, medium, or advanced. The following are the levels:

15- 20 lumen per liter- easy

25-50 lumen per liter water- medium 

50-100 lumen per liter water- advanced

Ensure that you determine your plant’s needs. Please do not use the high-lighting where it is not required, as it will significantly affect your plant. 

Also, when you use very high light, you will need too much fertilizer and CO2, which will be much more expensive on your side.

Also, having much light without much fertilizer will lead to low plant growth affected by algae.

If you wish to reduce the amount of light to your plants, consider raising your lighting above the water’s surface. You can also cover one of the bulbs to reduce the amount of light.

Lighting Duration

aquarium Lighting Duration

Lighting duration is something that everyone needs to put into consideration. It would help if you gave your plants adequate lighting daily that is controlled. 

Ensure that you have lighting periods that are perfect for proper plant growth, and at the same time, preventing algae from forming.

What you need to ponder in your aquarium when setting the lighting duration:

1)  You need to avoid putting a period of longer than 10 hours. They are extreme and may lead to plants losing their quality as the extended period will increase their need for CO2. 

Most of the plants do not need too much light daily. Excess light causes additional problems like algae growth and poor fish health.

2) Setting a short period during the day will make plants take long before adapting the mechanism, making them of low quality. 

Plants need light for the photosynthesis process, and by this process, they produce the necessary energy for their living. So inadequate light will cause their poor health.  

3)  A setting period longer than 6 hours per day is perfect when you have a new aquarium. The new aquarium requires relatively little light duration. 

Because in the early period, the nitrogen cycle is not fully established in an aquarium. So ammonia or nitrite levels in the water remain higher, leading to algae bloom in more prolonged light exposure.

Setting The Color Of Your Light And Temperature

The color of the light is something that also needs to be considered. An aquarist will need to pick an appealing color. 

The color (more specifically, the spectrum) is measured to determine if it’s great for the plant and determine if it can impact the plant. 

In the hot daylight, the color spectrum is rated to be 6500k, while the cool color is rated about 5000k.

The main reason for picking the right color spectrum for your plants is to give them sufficient energy, as well as natural looks. 

If you wish to make your plant look appealing, you need to ensure that the color you choose is rated between 6000k and 10000k. This range of color spectrum will be suitable for most aquarium plants in terms of appearance and need.

Bottom Line

Choosing the best light for your plant is one of the things that should never bother you. With this guide, I am sure that you will find it appealing as I have marked all the main points that you need for your plant to survive.

Light is an excellent determinant of the kind of outcome that you long to get from your plant. Ensure that the light required to improve and make your plant grow fast does not become a hindrance to getting quality plants.

Know that you can have an excellent plant that will not cost you too much money as you have controlled your lighting. 

Pick the best type of light that you believe your plants need and make use of proper levels. This will give you one of the best experiences.

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