Good photo period for planted Fluval Spec?
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Old 01-31-2013, 01:45 PM   #1
defender.TX
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Good photo period for planted Fluval Spec?


I have a Fluval Spec II 2.6 gallon planted with java moss, java fern, and dwarf hairgrass. It's got about 1.5 - 2 inches of Fluval Stratum substrate. I have an outbreak of black beard algae that rode in on the java moss from the fish store. The tank has been fully cycled with a beta who eventually jumped out while I was asleep. Since there is currently no livestock in the tank, I was using that to my advantage and purposefully overdosing Flourish Excel which is killing the black beard algae (and the plants are actually doing great).

My real question though: what is a good photo period for the stock light on the Fluval Spec? I don't want to encourage algae growth and since I don't have CO2 I'm worried about giving the tank too much light.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:12 PM   #2
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Those LEDs are quite low light intensity, maybe your algae was brought on by low nutrients. You might want to consider dosing NPK and micro ferts once a week or so, especially since you have no livestock to add PO4 and NO3.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:18 PM   #3
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I'm definitely open to dosing nutrients, is there a brand that you recommend? This is my first planted tank. The overall idea is to keep it without livestock until the black beard algae is gone and then stock it with Cherry Shrimp. I want to dose anything I need now since I've heard inverts are sensitive to that.

Also, since the stock light is a low light source, is it okay to keep it on for 12-14 hours a day? I like the look of a lighted tank so I want to keep it on for as long as possible without encouraging algae growth.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:23 PM   #4
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12-14 hours is too long.

Try cycling the light for short periods. Algae have very poor photosynthesis efficiency when compared to more developed plants.

So 30mins on and 30mins off during the day when you are not around will keep the plants happy, but not give the algae enough time to start growing, and then when you come home and want to enjoy the tank in the evenings you can leave the lights on for longer.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:41 PM   #5
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+1 on reducing your photoperiod. 12-14 hours is too long even for low lighting. Also, since the lighting is low you won't need a ton of ferts.
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:46 PM   #6
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Okay, thanks for the advice. I think I'll just keep it off until noon or so since I'm at work anyway, then it can be on for longer when I'm actually home.

Also, I've got a nice slick of biofilm on the top of the tank even though I have the pump at max and a ton of surface agitation. Do you guys think having too long of a photo period could have caused this? I was surprised to see it since I have no livestock and am not adding anything to the tank but Flourish Excel.
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Old 01-31-2013, 05:26 PM   #7
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The film is caused by organic matter most likely from your stratum. I have the same issue with aquasoil. This may also contribute to your algae problem if you have elevated levels of silicates.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:32 PM   #8
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Interesting. I might look into doing my next water change with RO water to get rid of some. I usually just try to siphon it off the top when I do my weekly water change.
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