"Siesta" a.k.a 2 photoperiods
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Old 01-15-2013, 07:46 PM   #1
bikinibottom
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"Siesta" a.k.a 2 photoperiods


I've seen many of the threads arguing the usefulness of the siesta approach (4 hours on, 4 hours off, 4 hours on) and the impacts on fish bio-rhythms. The thing that interests me about the technique is the evidence that there is more CO2 available to the plants after the "siesta". In a low-tech tank, this would seem to be a boon.

What I'm unsure about is the siesta itself and how much light the tank receives. My tank is in a finished room in my basement, and the room has only 2 windows at either end of the room at the ceiling, so the room and tank receive very little natural light in the middle of the day. In fact, on a rainy day like today it's more dark than light. Will this dark-ish siesta period negatively affect the plants or fish? Does the tank need to be near a bright window?
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by bikinibottom View Post
I've seen many of the threads arguing the usefulness of the siesta approach (4 hours on, 4 hours off, 4 hours on) and the impacts on fish bio-rhythms. The thing that interests me about the technique is the evidence that there is more CO2 available to the plants after the "siesta". In a low-tech tank, this would seem to be a boon.


What I'm unsure about is the siesta itself and how much light the tank receives. My tank is in a finished room in my basement, and the room has only 2 windows at either end of the room at the ceiling, so the room and tank receive very little natural light in the middle of the day. In fact, on a rainy day like today it's more dark than light. Will this dark-ish siesta period negatively affect the plants or fish? Does the tank need to be near a bright window?
This is a thoughtful question to ask.
There are no hard and fast rules.
A siesta isn't a complete secession of photosynthesis, just a reduction.
Intuition suggests 4 hours off would be to long. That would make for a very long total photosynthetic period of time and a long day for the fish.
My tank runs via natural light and with supplemented artificial light. With all these variations in light intensity I've not had any problems.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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It has been pretty well documented that a split photoperiod does little to nothing in terms of fighting algae or promoting plant growth. Your best bet is to figured out how long you want your lights to run and adjust fertilizers and CO2 levels accordingly.
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Old 01-16-2013, 01:52 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bikinibottom View Post
I've seen many of the threads arguing the usefulness of the siesta approach (4 hours on, 4 hours off, 4 hours on) and the impacts on fish bio-rhythms. The thing that interests me about the technique is the evidence that there is more CO2 available to the plants after the "siesta". In a low-tech tank, this would seem to be a boon.

What I'm unsure about is the siesta itself and how much light the tank receives. My tank is in a finished room in my basement, and the room has only 2 windows at either end of the room at the ceiling, so the room and tank receive very little natural light in the middle of the day. In fact, on a rainy day like today it's more dark than light. Will this dark-ish siesta period negatively affect the plants or fish? Does the tank need to be near a bright window?
Hi bikinibottom,

I run a split period on all of my tanks; that way the light is on in the morning when I feed before I leave and in the evening when I feed, do maintenance, and sit and enjoy my tanks. My plants grow great with no issues whatsoever and my fish breed regularly (Apistogramma, Rainbowfish, Angelfish, and Corydoras sp). The typical period the lights are on during the day is 8 hours.

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:50 PM   #5
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It has been pretty well documented that a split photoperiod does little to nothing in terms of fighting algae or promoting plant growth. Your best bet is to figured out how long you want your lights to run and adjust fertilizers and CO2 levels accordingly.
I'm unconcerned with the technique as a means to control algae growth. So plant growth is the primary goal. With a low-tech tank I'm not expecting a high growth rate, but just fuller, greener, lusher, healthier plants in general. Since aquatic plants are limited by CO2, Walstad's measurements with a siesta regimen, which show that CO2 levels rebound with a 4-hour siesta) are a good argument for trying this technique.

But you're right, a higher CO2 level in the tank does not necessarily mean that the plants are going to grow better/stronger/faster/healthier. I'd be interested in seeing the documentation you're talking about that shows that the siesta regimen doesn't promote plant growth.
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Old 01-16-2013, 05:52 PM   #6
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Beautiful tank, Seattle!!

How long do you leave your lights on in the morning and evening? And I did I read that right -- you leave them OFF for 8 hours?

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Hi bikinibottom,

I run a split period on all of my tanks; that way the light is on in the morning when I feed before I leave and in the evening when I feed, do maintenance, and sit and enjoy my tanks. My plants grow great with no issues whatsoever and my fish breed regularly (Apistogramma, Rainbowfish, Angelfish, and Corydoras sp). The typical period the lights are off during the day is 8 hours.

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Old 01-16-2013, 06:09 PM   #7
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Beautiful tank, Seattle!!

How long do you leave your lights on in the morning and evening? And I did I read that right -- you leave them OFF for 8 hours?
Hi bikinibottom,

My lights are on for about 2.5-3.0 hours in the morning and 3.0-3.5 hours in the evening; I have them on timers. Yes, the siesta period is approximately 8 hours from about 10:00 AM until about 6:00 PM. I have done this for about 4 years now.

30 gallon split period
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by bikinibottom View Post
I'm unconcerned with the technique as a means to control algae growth. So plant growth is the primary goal. With a low-tech tank I'm not expecting a high growth rate, but just fuller, greener, lusher, healthier plants in general. Since aquatic plants are limited by CO2, Walstad's measurements with a siesta regimen, which show that CO2 levels rebound with a 4-hour siesta) are a good argument for trying this technique.

But you're right, a higher CO2 level in the tank does not necessarily mean that the plants are going to grow better/stronger/faster/healthier. I'd be interested in seeing the documentation you're talking about that shows that the siesta regimen doesn't promote plant growth.
My documentation is "Tom Barr said so" - Don't have a link, but it was either here or on his website.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:24 PM   #9
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I find it necessary to voice an opinion here. That opinion is; it seems some folks, since I've joined this forum, treat their tanks as if they are simply ornamentation's rather than living systems that deserve a greater degree of respect. Such perceptions of attitudes makes me wonder if this is the right hobby for certain people and what reasons they got into this hobby. It reminds me of rich folks that buy dogs simply as accessories.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:27 PM   #10
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I find it necessary to voice an opinion here. That opinion is; it seems some folks, since I've joined this forum, treat their tanks as if they are simply ornamentation's rather than living systems that deserve a greater degree of respect. Such perceptions of attitudes makes me wonder if this is the right hobby for certain people and what reasons they got into this hobby. It reminds me of rich folks that buy dogs simply as accessories.
All sorts of enthusiasts. Some people just want to grow plants in farm tanks and sell them. Some people want to have the nicest looking hardscape. Some want a jungle. Fauna, in all cases, may simply be optional beyond cleaner critters. Some may be only interested in adding a particular aesthetic to a room. I don't think anyone has the right to stand up and proclaim that the way they approach the hobby is any better than how someone else chooses to do so.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
I find it necessary to voice an opinion here. That opinion is; it seems some folks, since I've joined this forum, treat their tanks as if they are simply ornamentation's rather than living systems that deserve a greater degree of respect. Such perceptions of attitudes makes me wonder if this is the right hobby for certain people and what reasons they got into this hobby. It reminds me of rich folks that buy dogs simply as accessories.
This seems like a harsh accusation of fish abuse and maybe I'm completely misinterpreting it. I had the same question on a split-lighting schedule. Asking the question is a testament that there is concern for doing the right thing. I want to optimally enjoy and view my tank when I'm in the room. But I would like to know if there is any detriment to either flora or fauna with a split-lighting system. If there is any detriment, then I wouldn't want to do it.

There is a dimmer system that turns the lights on/off gradually so there is no shock to the fish. This is the reason I'm responding to this thread.
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Old 01-16-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
I find it necessary to voice an opinion here. That opinion is; it seems some folks, since I've joined this forum, treat their tanks as if they are simply ornamentation's rather than living systems that deserve a greater degree of respect. Such perceptions of attitudes makes me wonder if this is the right hobby for certain people and what reasons they got into this hobby. It reminds me of rich folks that buy dogs simply as accessories.
I do think this is an opinion that should be voiced, and a valid concern within the hobby, however I'm not convinced that this thread fits the bill for that concern...

This person was merely looking to find out if a break in the lighting period is beneficial, detrimental, or has no effect.

Now in some threads, where people speak of their tanks, and the inhabitants as a decoration, rather than as pets, and just want to know how to make it a prettier decoration, no matter how it could harm the living creatures inside, that's where I think this opinion should be brought to light.

Just my $0.02
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:08 PM   #13
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It has been pretty well documented that a split photoperiod does little to nothing in terms of fighting algae or promoting plant growth. Your best bet is to figured out how long you want your lights to run and adjust fertilizers and CO2 levels accordingly.
Wow! whoa there horsie! hahaha! my favorite TB statement was this one:
"Never a one trick pony". I've noticed not everyone tanks with an adjustable CO2 system.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bikinibottom View Post
I'm unconcerned with the technique as a means to control algae growth. So plant growth is the primary goal. With a low-tech tank I'm not expecting a high growth rate, but just fuller, greener, lusher, healthier plants in general. Since aquatic plants are limited by CO2, Walstad's measurements with a siesta regimen, which show that CO2 levels rebound with a 4-hour siesta) are a good argument for trying this technique.

But you're right, a higher CO2 level in the tank does not necessarily mean that the plants are going to grow better/stronger/faster/healthier. I'd be interested in seeing the documentation you're talking about that shows that the siesta regimen doesn't promote plant growth.
Well worded reply
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My documentation is "Tom Barr said so" - Don't have a link, but it was either here or on his website.


It's always best to remember,,, never say never,,,, never say always.

Those that are devoted to the MTS enriched soil method state organic content is to be avoided and causes problems. NPT depends on the soil organics as part of that method, polar oposites of opinion with the same goal.

Different tanking conditions would modify the results and or possible benefits. Having a lot of surface disturbance or running air pumps to drive air stones the CO2 rebound would be nullified. Comparing NPT to injected CO2 methods is mixing into a debate like which is better,, apples or oranges? It's a personal choice of method not a race.

I run split photo periods on a number of tanking systems and have for about 3 years. The average is about 8-10 hrs. between photoperiods. Whether my fish think they are twice as old as they are in reality because they 'see the sun' twice a day I don't know . But things appear good.
Plants growing, shrimp and fish spawning and producing young. As long as the system has a rest period and consistent schedule I think all parties adapt to the environment.

(note) I did start splitting the photoperiod on low light tanks to help with thread algae and think it helped along with other adjustments. Ignoring the rest of the thread topics LOL
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Old 01-16-2013, 09:05 PM   #14
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My tank's lights start at noon. Both rooms with tanks are lighted with sunlight so this could be seen as a "burst" if you will. They stay on for 3 hours and then are off for 1 hour. Mind that the sun is still shining bright into the rooms. Then it will come on again for another 4. I tack the extra hour on there so I can get home in time for feeding. Does it make any difference in algae? I can't say for a fact, but when I'm running 60-80 par on the substrate I think it may help the plants to "take a break", if you will, from the lights.
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Old 01-16-2013, 11:01 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Steve001 View Post
I find it necessary to voice an opinion here. That opinion is; it seems some folks, since I've joined this forum, treat their tanks as if they are simply ornamentation's rather than living systems that deserve a greater degree of respect. Such perceptions of attitudes makes me wonder if this is the right hobby for certain people and what reasons they got into this hobby. It reminds me of rich folks that buy dogs simply as accessories.
I always appreciate hearing the opinions of others, although I can't say I understand what yours is in this particular case. Is it your opinion that splitting photo periods is detrimental to fish health? If so, I'd be interested to know on what you base your opinion. I've seen a plethora of anecdotal evidence that it does not harm the fish. In fact, I've seen some of that evidence in this very thread (fish on split photo periods are healthy, eating, spawning, etc.)

I didn't get into the hobby to torture fish. I got into the hobby because I like fish, and invertebrates, and plants, and water, and soil, and light... you know, all the things that make up "the system". Fish AND plant health are among my goals. If I didn't care about that then I wouldn't have even asked the question as to whether anyone is aware if splitting photo periods was detrimental.
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