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Light schedule thoughts?

1604 Views 10 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  BBXB
So I have a diy led fixture over my 11.4g Mr. Aqua tank. It's basically a full spectrum build that can produce a lot of par according to hoppy's calculator. I also have a dimmer that controls ramp up/down functions. First time I have ever used lights with dimming.

My question is, what do you guys think is a better practice for the best plant growth and color? A shorter photoperiod with an intense noon burst, lets say 6 hrs with a burst of 1hr. Or a longer photoperiod, with less intense light throughout the whole photoperiod, lets say a lower set intensity but for maybe 4 out of 8 hrs of the photoperiod.
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1,701 Posts
Originally Posted by Steve001
There are many chaotic variables in nature. A tank can easily be controlled.

Then "Do what nature does. That's the best" isn't the best for an aquarium.
My reply is a bit more nuanced than that.

My reply to the op still stands. There's no real need or benefit to breaking up the lighting scheme. A gradual mimicking of sunrise-midday-sunset is what I meant.

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789 Posts
Nature is variable and chaotic, aquariums are controlled systems...or least we control most aspects of it. I break up my photo periods for my own viewing pleasure. As far as a ramp up/down I would say again it mostly be for human pleasure...maybe easier on fish to adjust. Or are there studies showing that plants benefit from it? Most light systems up until the last few years have either been on or off and plants have grown just fine.

The only thing with "bursts" and "ramps" is you might have more tweaking to do if you run into algae. Most of us are stuck with shortening the period but with a ramp you can try just less intense periods. I don't think you can get a real cut and dry answer for this.

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I had two bulbs on twp timers once and found it to be awkward at best as my viewing times(because of work) took me outside the high light zone.
Symanitcs asside, if we control it, as opposed to nature and come what may...then a dual level is in that category. But I know of no study which suggest it's better for plants.
There are some who split the light period to help keep out algae. It needs steady
light to grow well.
Keep in mind that steady consistant light is what grows well. Not talking about higher at the middle this time but not changing the light hrs and intensity around every week
or so "just to see" is what I'm talking about.
Have you put a PAR meter on this DIY light to see ? P.M.Hoppy...he knows of a way to read PAR/w a lux meter and they don't cost much. Knowing what the PAR is can give
you an idea of how long of a light period to start/w.
Your not new to this so you do know those variable factors that go into this light
length part of this. Only you know what those factors are for that tank so I won't
suggest any PAR values for the two light levels but since you have a new toy you
might as well play/w it. But by way of a loose suggestion I'd do half level for the long
period and 1.5 to 2 times that for the high period...not 12 times as much for the high period. And once decided I'd keep it at that setting for at least 60 dys to see how it's working.
BTW for my future references...whee do you get the basic bar/plate that the bulbs go in for a DIY LED ? I am tinkering/w that idea but would like well spaced bulbs in two
light bars so I could place one at the fromt and back of the only pet peeve
on these lights.

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah right now I'm tweaking my photoperiod. Right now i have the light setup for a longer less intense photoperiod. Right now, I am running my lights 6hrs total with 4hrs at 40% intensity. Its a fairly new setup, roughly 3 weeks so there is some tinkering going on with co2 and lights. Just a tad bit of hair algae that was a tagalong from some plants I bought. Its my first time with lights this "controllable". Wish i had a par meter to see what these lights really do. I've been playing with hoppy's calculator a lot to kinda help me in estimating par values.

@raymond...This light is complete diy. I made a heatsink out of aluminum L bar i got at home depot. I used a caliper to figure out spacing for the mounting holes. Wish I had a drill press to get to get things centered but a drill did just fine. Also, with this being a more full spectrum light, I opted to do a couple clusters rather than evenly spaced out led's. Doing it that way lessens the chances of the disco effect and spotlighting. Looked a lot of reef builds and the general consensus was to do it tht way. Also, if you look at a lot of higher end fixtures, they also do clusters rather than rows of led's. If you want some pics, pm your email.

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Here is my thinking though I have no experience at all and just created a thread related to this.

Having a down time in theory will replenish and provide more CO2 for the plants vs just 8 hrs straight where the CO2 may be used up (more pronounced in low tech setup)?

Other benefits could possibly be algae control?

One con may be plants "work" harder? Do plants use any resource from changing back and forth from photosynthetic form?

Anyone have any input on this?
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