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Light reduction methods

880 Views 12 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Ankit
This summer I made a bunch of mistakes on a 40gal I started. Well, I am planning to redo the tank in the near future. One mistake I think I made was too much lighting which lead to algae heaven. I have 192watts over 40gal which is nearly 5 watts per gallon. I cannot go out and buy another lighting system so I was trying to find other ways to reduce my lighting. Anyone know any effective methods? The only thing I can think of is to use duckweed... will that be enough? Another think I could do is use one side of the light until noon then use both for a few hours and then switch back... but I don't know if the whole tank will get enough light coverage with just one light. The front might not get enough or vice versa with only one side of the light. Also I could reduce the photo period... but will that help against algae? Thanks for the help.
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How many bulbs are there? maybe you could just take one out
I assume you have 2x96w, which is exactly what I have.

Do you have CO2?

If you're not planning to use CO2, you can have the front bank running from 8:00am until 2:00pm, the back bank running from 12:00pm until 6:00pm, and then only one bank running for only a few hours until it's sleep time. Or you can push the timing back: 11:00am until 4:00pm, 3:00pm until 9:00pm, then sleepy time.
I do have pressurized Co2. Do you have that much light over 40gal with success? And yes I have 2x96w.

The problem with the tank was I slowly got everything I needed. I started with my plants under that much light. I started dosing about a week and a half later. Then tried DIY Co2 for a few weeks which didn't give me enough Co2. So then I got a pressurized system. Because I didn't start out balanced... I initially got a huge outbreak of algae. I tried battling it for weeks... to no avail. Once I got rid of one type of algae... I'd get another type. The tank right now is in ruins... I gave up fighting. So now I want to redo the whole thing, with everything I need balanced right off the bat. Stupid mistake that cost me a lot of plants :(

Thanks for the help.
Starting with one bulb would be a wise approach.

ONCE everything is stable, but you feel growth isn't as fast as you want it to be, you can slowly add the second bulb, maybe a couple of hours first, then slowly extend the full blast period.

I'd always recommend to start out with a reduced light level until plant biomass has build up somewhat. In a brand new tank algae have a greater chance of taking over than in an established planted tank. Getting to that "established" stage is much easier at slightly lower light levels.
I have that much light with success. Pressurized CO2.

I learned the hard way to plant heavily with my two 10 gallons. With all the plants I started out with, my first planting covered 75-80% of the tank.
If you are starting over start with lower light and more CO2. As Tom Barr said...

You can get away with less CO2 if you have less light, but good CO2 at low light gives excellent robust results with minimal algae.
High light will show the trends better/faster/more responsive.........but from a practical and management perspective, lower 2w/gal works super and will grow any plant you are interested in.

If you want some top plants, I throw out every two weeks enough Phyllanthus fluitans to cover your whole tank. Here a link of my original offer with pictures of these plants.
Thanks guys. So, I'll start off with a rotation with one bulb on at one time... Front bulb from 9-2 then back bulb from 2-7 so that both parts of the tank get ample light.
Should I also use duckweed or no?
No, it's the plant pest from hell. =P

Use water lettuce if you want a floating plant.
Maybe go with a noon burst lighting period? or not just use one bulb till your tank establishes itself.

I have the 2x96w over my 30g and for the first week I ran only one bulb but now am running both with the noon burst photo period which consist 8hrs of 96w and at 11am to 2pm both are on for a total of 192w over my 30g.

So like what the others have stated, lower the light/photo period and load the tank with plants.

If you plan to keep it that way then what I would do is plant heavily and split photo period or split the lighting. I have my light fixture elevated on the coralife legs so that's about 4" from the water as well.
Thanks guys. So, I'll start off with a rotation with one bulb on at one time... Front bulb from 9-2 then back bulb from 2-7 so that both parts of the tank get ample light.
Should I also use duckweed or no?
I've got some Limnobium laevigatum and Phyllanthus fluitans I can give you, if you want floaters. LMK
Asian fish dealers use water hyacinth (Eichhornia) to protect their fish from too much light. - this is a rephrase of a line from the book titled Aquarium Plants, published in 1977.
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