Sunlight - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Sunlight

I have always been led to believe that one should avoid natural sunlight hitting the tank but I have never really questioned it.

I thought that the reasoning was that there was a likelihood of an an increase in algae.

This confuses me since our artificial lighting is meant to mimic the natural spectrum.

Is the idea just that one loses control over how much light the tank gets or are there other factors?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 03:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mourip View Post
I have always been led to believe that one should avoid natural sunlight hitting the tank but I have never really questioned it.

I thought that the reasoning was that there was a likelihood of an an increase in algae.

This confuses me since our artificial lighting is meant to mimic the natural spectrum.

Is the idea just that one loses control over how much light the tank gets or are there other factors?

Thanks!

Personally, yes it's the random light variations that is the main issue. as well as at times underestimating intensity..
Our lights look bright but normally there is no comparison, even w/ indirect sunlight.


Of course latitude/season/tank orientation all matter.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure"
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 11:59 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffkrol View Post
Personally, yes it's the random light variations that is the main issue. as well as at times underestimating intensity..
Our lights look bright but normally there is no comparison, even w/ indirect sunlight.


Of course latitude/season/tank orientation all matter.
Thanks. I guess that the key is a consistent and controlled environment...
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 12:36 PM
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I have probably uploaded this before, but, the screen shot below is from my Seneye PAR meter sitting outside, around noon, in full sunlight somewhere in Iowa. Not exactly close to the equator but you get the idea


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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 12:57 PM
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Well that certainly puts things in perspective @Immortal1. Around 15-20x what most would consider high-light in an aquarium.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 06:10 PM
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heats up water.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-08-2020, 11:26 PM
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on the other hand bathing the tank in the light from a setting sun of an evening while you have nothing to do but enjoy the iridescence of the fishes colours while draining cold beverage ..priceless
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 08:18 PM
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I have a plastic 10G I use to raise daphnia in and it gets bits of sunlight in the mornings at this time of year here in Northernish Scotland. It is definitely brighter than the light in the tank and the daphnia congregate in the sunlight either because it actually grows algae in the water or they are programmed to assume it. But they respond. Its light through vertical blinds so stripes move across the tank.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-10-2020, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mourip View Post
I have always been led to believe that one should avoid natural sunlight hitting the tank but I have never really questioned it.

I thought that the reasoning was that there was a likelihood of an an increase in algae.

This confuses me since our artificial lighting is meant to mimic the natural spectrum.

Is the idea just that one loses control over how much light the tank gets or are there other factors?

Thanks!
I always believed natural sunlight + aquarium was not a good idea, however at this time of year my open top aquarium gets about 3 hours of full sun, so far without an outbreak of algae . I think if it was for several hours it might cause a big problem. Time will tell I guess !
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 07:22 AM
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My 4 year experiment with keeping and growing semitropical fish in a planted trough outside in cloudy Oregon has come to it's close.

I initially had to grow lots of floating Water Hyacinth, to effectively shade the submerged plants but the bio-load of the fish wasn't sufficient enough to keep the plants growing well. At the end, last years Fall, and this year's Winter and Spring had me using a worn silver tarp over the entire tank with a lot of 2" diameter holes cut into it to mimic light coming through a tree canopy. There was a lot of healthy Salvinia to moderate these little spots of sunlight.

I still had some algae problems, but the tank has been pretty good with low and moderate light plants. My big Java Ferns were pretty vigorous. Since everything in that tank has moved to a smaller 80 gallon trough inside a greenhouse, I have better control over the light.

Years ago I had a 45 gallon and 32 gallon that were my first "planted tanks", that in addition to their Mercury vapor lamps, got about 1~2 hours of indirect sunlight reflected off our linoleum floor every morning when it was partial to full sun. I was growing Chain Swords, E. Hormanii, Starweed, Rotala Rotundifolia and Macrandra, and Poly Hygro in these tanks without issue, The Java Mosses and Ferns also were very vigorous

Starting small, keeping it simple..(?)
250 gallon stock tank, "pond"
20 gallon H CBS Shrimp tank

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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-11-2020, 10:51 AM
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I have several small shrimp Bowls hanged by my west facing windows that get 4 to 5 hour afternoon sunlight. The bowls are heavily covered with floating plants (frogbit, salvia and duckweed) and guppy grass, dwarf hair grass or dwarf saggitaria. It’s a zero tech set up with no heater, filter or aeration, only sunlight to drive plant growth, light feeding of shrimp, and monthly WC top with dirty water from my big fish tank to replenish nutrients. I measured big fluctuation of temperature (65 to 87F diurnal change)and pH (7.2 to 8.7) pre and post sunlight period due to direct sunlight and depletion of CO2. Shrimp can tolerate the fluctuations and are thriving. Floaters grow fast but submerged plants grow slowly due to CO2 limitation, including stem plants that hardly grow at all. With help of snails and cherry shrimp, water and glass are clear and free of algae except spirogyra which I remove with a tweezer every couple week. Spirogyra is easy to remove but hard to eliminate as it always returns and I can’t use Algaefix as it will kill shrimp.
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 05-28-2020, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for these posts. I am debating placement of a new 25 gallon Landen rimless tank setup and the lighting has me in analysis paralysis.

Looking for low to mid light for, at least initially, a low tech tank. I need dim-ability and sunrise and sunset effect. I do not need other bells and whistles like "thunderstorm".

I just want happy plants in a pleasing tank! I have accomplished this previously when there were fewer choices. Jungle look is OK but not big on the stylized look.
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immortal1 View Post
I have probably uploaded this before, but, the screen shot below is from my Seneye PAR meter sitting outside, around noon, in full sunlight somewhere in Iowa. Not exactly close to the equator but you get the idea
Hi Immortal1

The spectrum shown on your Seneye is very odd. Lots of blue, lots of red but very little mid-band. I don't have a midday spectrum that I can easily upload right now. May I suggest you look at the following:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunlight

The above (Wikipedia) spectrum is very similar to the one I obtain from my budget spectrometer. Please scroll down the Wikipedia page until you get to this: Spectral composition of sunlight at Earth's surface

Anon

"When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely, in your thoughts advanced to the stage of science." ― Lord Kelvin
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 07:04 PM
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I'll try to upload a blue sky spectrum that I obtained in August last year mid-morning here in Old Blighty. Bear with me as I'm not on here very often.

Success!

Anon
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 06-04-2020, 08:07 PM
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FYI @Anon - the thick black line is what the Seneye is seeing. The colored graph behind it is just a colored back ground for some sort of reference. From what I can see on my Seneye, the highest level is around the 640 to 650nm. The Seneye does not record specific spikes, but more of an average. With that said, it does mimic your blue sky spectrum to a degree. The Seneye does not seem to "see" the spectrum above 720nm
"The useful range for color vision in humans, for example, is approximately 450–650 nm" from Wikipedia link.



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Last edited by Immortal1; 06-04-2020 at 08:18 PM. Reason: <?>
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