Optimal photoperiod? - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Optimal photoperiod?

So I use to have my tank lights on for 10-12 hrs per day, mainly to simulate growth as I have many high-light demanding plants. But algae is beginning to become a problem so I am backing down on the hours/day of lights on. My question is - what do you find seems to be the optimal number of hours per day in order to maximize plant growth while also minimizing algae?
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-11-2012, 02:21 PM
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There's really not one because every lighting, CO2, fert and plant situation is different.

The trick is finding balance between all of those things.

I don't have any light periods shorter than six hours, though, and none longer than 12. That's just for viewing purposes. Everything else is about balance.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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Yeah I was afraid of an answer like this....
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-12-2012, 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Option View Post
Yeah I was afraid of an answer like this....
Afraid of what? The algae your getting is just not the photoperiod, like somewhatshocked said its all about the balance co2, ferts, and the amount of light. If the lights too high you will have algae no matter the photoperiod, if the co2 is going without sufficient ferts then you will only get algae.

How about giving more details about your exact light, fert regimen and co2?

Me personally, I only do 8 hours a day. If I do 9 I start getting algae. You kind of have to mess around with it for a while.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-13-2012, 05:36 PM
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Most people will say 8 to 10. The higher the light, the harder it is to keep a long photoperiod, at least for myself. I know some people like to use extremely high light but only do 5-6 hours per day. That's not enjoyable to me.

In my experience, in high light, the shorter the better, within reason. I would say 6-8. However, that isn't very enjoyable to me.

If you want a long viewing period, but want to maintain high light, there is two ways to deal with it. First is noon burst. You basically have a low/medium light tank for most of the day. Then you have more bulbs come on for anywhere from 2-4 hours a day, longer if you can get that to work. I even had 3 stages of lights for awhile which sounds cooler than it was so I end up going to 2 stages to get rid of a timer and have more outlets.

The other way of extending your viewing time is running a split photoperiod. Kind of opposite of the noon day, you have your lights go out for 3-4 hours in the middle of the day. It really doesn't extend your viewing time, it just is off when you aren't home, or are busy. I like this way as even though I work at home most of the time, I really only want to see my tank in the morning, and in the late afternoon/evening till bedtime.

Anyway, both of those are more for getting the most viewable time of your tank more than anything else. Noon burst is more popular than split photoperiod. If you just want to reduce algae and don't care, I would shorten your photoperiod significantly, like 6 hours at first, then work your way back up to where you are not getting algae. I usually cut mine off when my stems start to close up as that is when they are "done for the day", without getting to deep into explanation.
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