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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I’m on Day 4 of my low-tech planted tank (17 gallons, 14” tall). I have the 24” Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC, and I know it may be a bit strong for my low tech tank. I’m trying to come up with a custom 24/7 color/timing schedule to lower the overall amount of lighting with complete darkness for 6-9 hours at night, but with all my reading and YouTube video watching I’m still confused.

Can anyone suggest a decent custom schedule for lighting using this light on a cycling low tech tank like mine? And how do I obtain desired custom lighting schedule with non-maxed out intensities? For example: I’ve read a lot of recommendations to reduce daily photo periods to 6-8 hours at 50%-60%, for example, but I don’t know how to calculate or obtain that schedule or use color levels correctly for any given time.

Any help is greatly appreciated — thanks!
 

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I'm not familiar with the Finnex stuff, but can you find a colour you like, and then set it for let's say, 50% intensity, on at 2pm off at 8pm?

I personally find the ramp up ramp down cycles are a common theme in low tech algae issue threads (algae can live and grow in very little light while plants are struggling during the ramp up / down periods).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, thanks, if I’m understanding correctly, that’s what I’m trying to do. Not sure how to accomplish it though!
 

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Yes, thanks, if I’m understanding correctly, that’s what I’m trying to do. Not sure how to accomplish it though!
I figured, but wasn't exactly sure.

Like I said, I'm not familiar with the Finnex stuff.

How are the lights controlled? Manually or with an app?
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
There’s a remote control. I have the manual and I think I understand the physical process for lighting customization (though still working through it), but have little idea what colors/intensities to select to match my needs. Example: if I want to run a good strong daylight color combination from 12-3 pm, what percentages of each light color’s maximum intensity (white, red, blue, green) should I be running to get a 60% intensity level for that period? Sorry, I don’t know how to explain it better ...
 

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There’s a remote control. I have the manual and I think I understand the physical process for lighting customization (though still working through it), but have little idea what colors/intensities to select to match my needs. Example: if I want to run a good daylight color combination from 12-3 pm, what percentages of each light color’s maximum intensity (white, red, blue, green) should I be running to get a 60% intensity level for that period? Sorry, I don’t know how to explain it better ...
Set the main whites (I assume is where the majority of the PAR is coming from) to 50% and then fine tune the other colours to your liking.

That should give you a decent base starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you! That’s helpful.
Now let’s say I have white at 50%, and then add blue at 30% of blue’s maximum intensity. Am I already running the light at 80% intensity (I.e., higher than my desired 60% intensity?)
 

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Thank you! That’s helpful.
Now let’s say I have white at 50%, and then add blue at 30% of blue’s maximum intensity. Am I already running the light at 80% intensity (I.e., higher than my desired 60% intensity?)
No. When I recommended running 60% intensity, what I mean is running the main PAR producing LED's at 60%.

If you run the whites at 50% and blues at 30%, you would be running the light closer to 50% still.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh! So for my Luddite brain, is it roughly safe to think of the white light’s intensity percentage as determining the overall light intensity percentage, and just to think about the light intensity/amounts added by other added colors as rounding out the coloring without otherwise greatly affecting the overall light intensity for the tank?
 

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Oh! So for my Luddite brain, is it roughly safe to think of the white light’s intensity percentage as determining the overall light intensity percentage, and just to think about the light intensity/amounts added by other added colors as rounding out the coloring without otherwise greatly affecting the overall light intensity for the tank?
Assuming the main PAR from the light is being driven by the white LED's, yes.

If the blues and reds are contributing a lot to the overall PAR, then we need to consider their intensity on top of the white's.

I'm not familiar with the Finnex models, but assuming they are like most other strip light brands where the whites drive the majority of the PAR and the colours are supplemental light mostly, it's safe to assume you are right in thinking that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can’t thank you enough for your help. Trying to figure this out has been driving me crazy, given my complete lack of knowledge about lighting, PAR, etc and how they work.
Thank you so much for alleviating some of my confusion!
 

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I have the a Finnex planted plus and it's not the most user friendly light to say the least. Due to the way the light ramps up or changes intensity (over a set 3 hour period) it can be easy to give your tank too much light. I would get the color/ intensity set how you like and then use a timer to turn the light on and off when you want the tank lit. The light will hold the previous settings so you don't have to worry about dialing that in every day.

Once you get the tank growing well you MIGHT be able to run in 24/7 mode, but keep an eye out for algae if you do. 24/7 mode gives you a very long photo period even if it's not at full brightness the entire time. Seems to be working well on the low-tech 27 bow front I have up at my gf place.

I'm not a huge fan of the light, but it will grow plants. I picked up a Fluval 3.0 also and prefer the Fluval over the Finnex. The app makes programing the Fluval super easy compared to that remote on the Finnex, and trying to count how many times the light flashes to know the intensity.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you! What you’re saying is what I’m worried about. I’m wondering if I can successfully use the remote to dial in a photoperiod of 6 hours @ 60% intensity (maybe with very low colored lighting for the pre- and post- 6 hr photoperiod?), leaving about 12 hours of darkness. Would that be too much light?
 

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I would go with one 3 hour period of your desired intensity. You will still have light the 3 hours before and after that "max" period. This will give 9 hours of total light. If you wanted more light for getting you could run blue/white at a low percentage for an additional 3 hour period at the end.

Work up the light period as the tank matures and gets established.

I'll take some photos of the tank I have with the finnex light this weekend. It's lowtech running on a sponge filter. It won't win any awards but I enjoy it looking at it and it's low maintenance.



Sent from my SM-G986U using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you! Not sure I’m understanding — Do you mean that if I have the light on at 3 hours at the desired intensity, I will turn it off before and after that period but will still have ambient light? Thank you for assisting.
 

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I'm going from memory, but you would have 8 set points.

12am: 0%
3am: 0%
6am: 0%
9am: 0%
12pm: 60%
3pm: 60%
6pm: 5%
9pm: 0%

So you would ramp up from 9am-12pm. 60% light 12-3pm. Ramp down from 60% to 5% 3-6pm. Ramp down from 5% to 0% 6-9pm to end the day.

The ramp down from 6-9pm would be very dim as a moon light. Yes this can cause algae but it will help extend your viewing time. Of course this is just using the times on the remote to keep it easy.

Hopefully that makes sense haha.
 

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Here are 2 shots of the tank I have running this light. I run this tank with the light in 24/7 mode, but the tank has been established for over a year before I felt comfortable giving it that much light. That guppy grass in the upper left eats a lot of the light and so does the floating moss ball on the right. Also have a bunch of red root floaters and duckweed in there.
 

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Aquarium Co op explaining the Finnex 24/7 / controls :

Summary : The white light has a PAR of 60, which is considered "high" on the spectrum. All of the other colors have a PAR of ~5. PAR is the light intensity through the water column. The light should be brightest at your 3pm setting (60 PAR) by default. The noon setting is 50 PAR, so if you want to run your lights (for growing) around 6 hours, the window would be between 12-6, with '3pm' setting being the highest PAR at 60. Default seems to be warm reds in the morning mixing with whites as the morning turns to noon, then blue light gets mixed in towards the afternoon and into night mode 'moon light' (blue). I would say see how the plants (and algae) grow in default setting, and then you can change around the light intensity from there.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you for your help, HeresJohnny! I think I saw that video a while back, but watching it again now that I’ve struggled a bit more with the programming was more helpful. Right now I’m sticking with a 60% intensity for 6 hours/day — will probably monkey with it a bit after I’m done cycling. Thanks!

And typically — Very nice tank! thanks for the photos. Your help is much appreciated.
 
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