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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have heard 10-12 hours of light a day is good for a planted aquarium.
Is it better to have 10-12 consecutive hours, or should one break them up for example 5 on 5 off etc.

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I have heard 10-12 hours of light a day is good for a planted aquarium.
Is it better to have 10-12 consecutive hours, or should one break them up for example 5 on 5 off etc.

Thanks
Why would it be better ?
As you know plants have evolved to photosynthesis while the sun shines. Depending on the species of plant that can be as long as 15 hours. Plants have the ability to handle cloudy days and days where sunlight fluctuates do to variable cloudiness. but nowhere on this planet do plants have 5 hours on followed by a break followed by 5 more hours. Always take your cues from your natural surroundings.
 

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on a partially sunny day they could have 2 5 hours with a break- in nature. The thinking behind 5+ 5 being better than 10, is that the plants max out pretty quickly under high light, can't store any more energy-think of them kind of like a battery, they have a capacity. Yes they are constantly growing and increasing that capacity, but they grow whether the lights are on or off, because they store that light in the form of carbs. so lets say you had 5 hours, then a 2 hour break then a 5 hour light, their night time is only 12 hours long, where as with a 10 hour light chunk would have a 14 hour long night, where the plants might tap out all of their energy supplies, thus slowing down growth relative to the 5+ 5. In the 5+5 as long as the plants don't "empty their reserves" during the 2 hour break, they should in theory grow as quickly as a 12 hour photoperiod. So why not just do the 12? well the algae is not as good at storing energy as the plants, so the 5+ 5 would give you fewer algae problems than the 12.

granted, as with almost everything in this hobby-this is all just speculation at this point...But anyone with hard evidence feel free to chime in.
 

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Tank Lighting

I have heard 10-12 hours of light a day is good for a planted aquarium.
Is it better to have 10-12 consecutive hours, or should one break them up for example 5 on 5 off etc.

Thanks
Hello Two...

Aquarium plants are tropical and used to long hours of steady daylight. I have my tank lights on timers and set for 12 hours on and 12 off. This works well for my plants. For most plants 10 to 14 hours per day is good.

I've never heard of breaks in the lighting cycle, don't think the plants would do as well, but this is just one reporter's opinion. You're the tank keeper.

B
 

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Plants have the ability to handle cloudy days and days where sunlight fluctuates do to variable cloudiness. but nowhere on this planet do plants have 5 hours on followed by a break followed by 5 more hours. Always take your cues from your natural surroundings.
Nowhere?

A tree can easily provide deep shade, regularly in the middle of the photoperiod, as the sun moves in the sky. So can other obstacles, both natural and unnatural.

Don't take nature too literally. The sun doesn't go on and off instantaneously with the flick of a switch each day, yet our aquatic plants in glass cages subjected to this and many other unnatural occurrences grow fine anyway.

I've tried breaks and found neither improvement nor harm. Some say it helps with algae problems. Others use it to better fit a limited photoperiod around their personal schedules, to increase viewing time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The reason I was asking was because I was running my lights intermittently for the sole purpose of when I am at home the lights are on for viewing. I must be honest, I am probably going to kick myself for saying this, but I haven't had and algae problem in that tank. Touch wood.

I did however buy a used 50 gallon that was fully stocked with everything, and the guy told me he did have an algae problem at one point and he ran his lights for a straight 10 hrs everyday.
 

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Nowhere?

A tree can easily provide deep shade, regularly in the middle of the photoperiod, as the sun moves in the sky. So can other obstacles, both natural and unnatural.

Don't take nature too literally. The sun doesn't go on and off instantaneously with the flick of a switch each day, yet our aquatic plants in glass cages subjected to this and many other unnatural occurrences grow fine anyway.

I've tried breaks and found neither improvement nor harm. Some say it helps with algae problems. Others use it to better fit a limited photoperiod around their personal schedules, to increase viewing time.
My reply was literal. Remember I said observe nature and learn. Implying everything you wrote in the first papragraph. However his question is: Which is better ? Not, Will this be necessary ? As to your second paragraph, frankly none of us know what affects short intermittent photo periods have.
 

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The reason I was asking was because I was running my lights intermittently for the sole purpose of when I am at home the lights are on for viewing. I must be honest, I am probably going to kick myself for saying this, but I haven't had and algae problem in that tank. Touch wood.
Start your tank's day later in the day. But make sure the total photo period isn't more than 12 hours. That includes not allowing any natural light into the room.
 
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