Lighting washing out fish color?
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:55 AM   #1
Gregoryalln854
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Lighting washing out fish color?


I'm running two 48" t5 HO's on my 75 gallon. The spectrum is 6500k. For some reason my fish aren't as colorful as they are in the pet store, is it possible that the 6500k bulbs are washing out the color? I was considering of going with different bulbs, and suggestions?
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:07 AM   #2
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Are your fish new? The colouration of fish looking washed out could be due to a number of factors (lighting included). These might include feeding, stress, substrate (i.e. light coloured versus dark), amount of plant cover, etc.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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The fish have been in there for around a week. The substrate is tan with a black back.
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:33 PM   #4
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in Bulgaria,pet stores use special bulbs as Philips Aquarelle,Sylvaniq Grolux or Aquastar.They have a peak in red or blue.
Other reason is if you use a bulb with low CRI....index765 or even low
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Old 11-19-2012, 07:57 PM   #5
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I have found that when I add new fish to my aquarium it can take 2-3 weeks at times for the fish to get adjusted to the new surroundings well enough to show their best colors. The more plants I have, the faster it goes. The longer it has been since I set up the tank, the faster it goes. I wouldn't be concerned until 2 weeks go by, then I would really study the fish to be sure they aren't just faded from discomfort, and if so, look for why that would be the case. A school - 6+ of one kind - seems to give me the best shot at contented, colorful fish quickly.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:12 PM   #6
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I'm guessing it's mostly the tan gravel and the intensity + spectrum of light you are using. The colors may not pop as well under 6500k. Fish can and do adjust to their surroundings, if you have light gravel, they will lighten up. Your fish store may have had them under 10K, or maybe even a blue reef bulb, and the more light they put on them, the brighter the fish will appear.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:21 PM   #7
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usually petstore lightning are so dull compare to yours...

sometimes it take a while to color up...from the stress
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:10 AM   #8
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The pet store lighting is pretty dull, they were recommending that I switch bulbs.
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Old 11-20-2012, 12:28 AM   #9
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Maybe it's your fish food? Certain varieties boost your fishes colors.
I think the shrimp flakes in my tetramin are a color booster. And as previously stated, if they're still getting used to the tank, they may be stressed
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Old 11-20-2012, 04:18 AM   #10
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I'm using Tetra color, I'm going to give it a few more weeks and switch bulbs. I'm hoping it's not the sand and gravel, the gravel was a lot lighter than what I thought I ordered it would be a huge pain to switch it out
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Old 11-20-2012, 05:33 AM   #11
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Fish can respond to gravel color within an hours time. The fish store would probably love to sell you a bunch of T5 HO bulbs though, they will probably even try to get you to buy a block of frozen cyclopeeze to boost their coloration. Bottom line you have plenty of light, and 6500k is a good spectrum. Luckily some black blasting sand is really cheap.

I might as well ask... What species of fish did you buy a week ago?
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:03 PM   #12
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some porkchop rasbora's and glow light tetra's. If it is indeed the gravel I'm just going to have to live with it. The gravel is kind of like eco-complete and would be to spendy to remove.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:49 PM   #13
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Schooling fish respond to the brightness of their surroundings.
In a bright area, especially light substrate and bright light they will lighten their own colors. They are trying to match the surroundings so they are less visible to predators.
In dark surroundings, dark substrate, some floating plants, they will make their colors stand out better. They are hidden from predators and want to communicate with their school.

A few things to try:
If you think it is the spectrum of the light you could try some other bulbs, other fixtures. Things like drop lights, bedside lights... whatever will hold other sorts of bulbs. Just to see if a different spectrum may help. Many fish will reflect more of that glowing shininess when there is more blue in the lighting.
You can see if the fish think your current lighting is too bright by shading the bulbs. A piece of window screen or similar. Something that will cut out 25% or so of the light.
You can see if the fish would respond to more plant cover by putting a piece of cardboard under your light.
Try any of these things for several hours and see if the fish respond.

I am not sure how to try darkening the substrate temporarily. Covering it with Black Diamond, or Tahitian Moon Sand will sure make it dark!
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Old 11-20-2012, 06:02 PM   #14
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I'm guessing it's the substrate color. In my 72, I had pool filter sand and my Bolivian rams. They were never very colorful, but they were happy and breeding. A while back I changed out to Black Diamond and within a day of being back in the tank, they were gorgeous.

Here is a pic of a fish that was very tan and bland over tan sand. This was taken about a week after changing to the Black Diamond.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:54 AM   #15
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Thanks, I'm going to try messing with the lighting, The way I set the substrate up is pretty complicated and would have to break the whole tank down to get it out. I'm running tan sand in the front, with a dividing type wall with ADA capped with Activ fFora. The problem is the Activ Flora was way lighter than I thought it would be when I ordered it. I thought it was going to be similar to the sand color. I got quite a bit of money tied into it so I'm hesitant to change it yet.
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