Will low light plants suffer from high light - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Will low light plants suffer from high light

I know high light plants will melt in low light setting. Will low light plants suffer in high light? If I have an established set up with low light epiphytes such as Anubia, Buce, Java fern and bolbitis. If I install additional light to grow red plants, will sudden increase in light intensity kill or hurt low light plants?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 12:18 PM
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I know high light plants will melt in low light setting. Will low light plants suffer in high light? If I have an established set up with low light epiphytes such as Anubia, Buce, Java fern and bolbitis. If I install additional light to grow red plants, will sudden increase in light intensity kill or hurt low light plants?
I'm still amazed at how many times this question pops up. I guess the term "low light" is taken literally in every way. The term should really be "Low Light Capable" as these plants can live in low light, but like any other plant will grow faster and fuller under high light, ferts and co2. What's surprising about it, is that many times these plants are placed higher up in the water column attached to hardscape so they are getting more light than one thinks.

The only way they won't do well in high light is if ferts/co2 haven't been adjusted just like any other plant.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 02:51 PM
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The only way they won't do well in high light is if ferts/co2 haven't been adjusted just like any other plant.
I'm not sure I completely agree. If you move a plant from a low to high light environment you WILL shock it. You might not kill it, but you are likely to loose a lot if not all of the tissue that was developed under the low lighting conditions.

A plant that has been growing in low light is acclimatized to low light. The leaves have built a photosynthetic structure, nutrients and mix of photosynthetic complexes (chlorophyll and zeaxanthin etc.) to optimize light under a given circumstance. Plants CAN make some adjustments to modulate those systems (chloraplast movement within the cell to avoid light, etc.), but a dramatic change is likely to burnout those systems and cause significant die back, at least initially.

Bump: I would recommend to go ahead and install the light, but start it for a short period every day and gradually ramp up the time that it is on.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 03:12 PM
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I'm not sure I completely agree. If you move a plant from a low to high light environment you WILL shock it. ....

Bump: I would recommend to go ahead and install the light, but start it for a short period every day and gradually ramp up the time that it is on.
Your making way too many assumptions and being too specific. I personally never run peak light for a full light duration. If I run peak lighting for 2-3 hrs is my tank "high light." Where is it written that you have to run peak lighting for 8+ hrs for it to be defined as high light. The OP question was "will sudden increase in light intensity kill or hurt low light plants" and the answer is absolutely not. Whether that sudden increase in light was to be 3 or 8 hrs was not discussed.

With that being said, I have never, ever had an issue with "low-light plants" transitioning to higher light even with longer photo periods of high light. How do you even quantify that? How do you determine if the plant will suffer? Will one leaf die, two leaves. What increases in light are Ok and which aren't? Please clarify?
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 07:40 PM
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I've had Java Ferns, Java Moss and Anubias all in what was probably ridiculously high light. Other than the overall issues with too much light, the "low light" plants did just as well as any of the others. The Anubias in particular got pretty impressive. It eventually took over an entire quadrant of my 75g. I eventually broke it all apart and replanted it everywhere else and gave away untold amounts of Anubias plantlings.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-16-2020, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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I've had Java Ferns, Java Moss and Anubias all in what was probably ridiculously high light. Other than the overall issues with too much light, the "low light" plants did just as well as any of the others. The Anubias in particular got pretty impressive. It eventually took over an entire quadrant of my 75g. I eventually broke it all apart and replanted it everywhere else and gave away untold amounts of Anubias plantlings.
What do you mean but ridiculously high light. What is your estimated PAR at substrate level.

Why is it that most Dutch Garden setups have no low light plants. You wonít see Annubias, fern or Bolbitis in those setups where PAR at substrate can be 200 to 300+. Is it by choice or they wonít survive.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 12:05 AM
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What do you mean but ridiculously high light. What is your estimated PAR at substrate level.

Why is it that most Dutch Garden setups have no low light plants. You wonít see Annubias, fern or Bolbitis in those setups where PAR at substrate can be 200 to 300+. Is it by choice or they wonít survive.
Still not convinced? It's got nothing to do with PAR, no such thing within the light ranges we use anyway. This is my java fern on the top of an old tank directly under 260 watts of T5HO.



This is Bolbitis in my current tank 5-6" from my Finnex 24/7, so about 200 PAR



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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-17-2020, 01:31 AM
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What do you mean but ridiculously high light. What is your estimated PAR at substrate level.

Why is it that most Dutch Garden setups have no low light plants. You wonít see Annubias, fern or Bolbitis in those setups where PAR at substrate can be 200 to 300+. Is it by choice or they wonít survive.

I can't tell you exactly what output I had at this point. I can tell you I had 2 x 55w 10000k bulbs and reflectors from AH supply on a 29g and then when I moved to the 75, I moved those two bulbs and added a second set. What can I say, I was younger and still in the "MOOOORRRRREEEE" stage of everything. I could almost watch my plants growing. Between the algae issues and having to spend at least a couple hours every weekend trimming plants, all that light just added up to too much. Once I cut them back to just one pair, life became so much simpler. Plus I didn't have to buy another set of lights for the 29g any more.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-20-2020, 06:39 PM
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-21-2020, 01:46 AM
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What IAPLC ranking are you?
Thanks, I guess unranked LOL, haven't entered.
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