Planted Aquarium Lighting, Must Needed Tips

When growing aquarium plants, the most critical factor to consider is light. 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. 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 aquaria need a vast amount of light, while some have minimal.

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

You should ensure that you have low light as high light is hard to maintain and will always demand much attention. When the light is also higher, you expect the need for water to be a bit high since the water dries up. It would be best if you controlled the water and light intake.

When the light is high, there will be increased algae, which makes many hobbyists develop a problem for a couple of years. If you want something that you can control, get little light for your plant.

It will take much more time than the other one, but no risk is accompanied by low light like high light.

Also, there is less c02 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.

Types of light available

T8 and T5

T8 and T5 fluorescent bulbs are the primary sources of light. They can always make your plant grow without too much demand for water. T5 is still recommendable as they are compelling and are great to be used, whereby the aquarium plant is densely populated.

If you decide to purchase one T5 bulb for your aquarium, be sure that it will be enough to grow your plants. If the plants are in high demand and are always urgently required, you can consider using two T5 bulbs to get adequate light.

LED light

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

Led lighting can last for a couple of years; hence, one of the aquarium investments is considering installation. It is 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 required levels for the plants:

Using the T5 bulbs

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 litter = low 

0.60 watts per litter = medium

0.90 watts per litter = 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

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

 15- 20 lumen per litter- easy

25-50 lumen per liter water- medium 

50-100 lumen per liter water- advanced

Ensure that you determine your plant’s need. 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 the C02, 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.

planted aquarium lighting guide

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 preventing algae from forming.

What you need to avoid in your aquarium when setting the duration

  1. You need to avoid setting a period of longer than 8 hours. They are extreme and may lead to plants losing their quality. Most of the plants do not need too much light daily.
  2. Setting a short period during the day of about an hour. This will make plants take long before adapting the mechanism, which may make them of low quality.
  3.  A setting period longer than 6 hours per day when you have a new aquarium. The new aquarium requires too little light duration. This is done to keep away algae in the aquarium.

Setting the color of your light and temperature

The color of the light is something that needs to be considered. An aquarist will need to pick an appealing color. The color is measured to determine if it’s great for the plant and determine if it can impact the plant. In the daylight, the color is always rated to be 6500K, while cool color is rated about 5000k.

The main reason for picking the right color for your plants is to give it one of the most 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 10000 k. that is a great color and will be good for your 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 highlighted all the main points that you need for your plant to survive.

Light is a great determinant of the kind of outcome that you long to get from your plant. Ensure that the light that is required to improve and make your plant grow fast becomes the 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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Sujit Modak Aquarium Tales Owner
Sujit Modak

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my aquarium blog. Fishkeeping is my passion, and I started this fascinating hobby back in 2006. Besides my engineering profession, I deeply studied many fishkeeping topics since I started building my home aquarium. I researched effective aquarium filtration and lighting of planted aquariums. I am keeping 20+ species of freshwater and saltwater fish as my aquatic pet collection. I successfully experimented with a complex ecosystem inside the aquarium, biotope aquariums, aquaponics, etc. I would love to share some learnings from my hands-on experience of the last 14 years. Hopefully, my sharing will be somewhat helpful to make your aquarium journey awesome! 

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