Knowing how much light is needed for your planted aquarium is key to your success.
Deciding how much light you need over your aquarium depends on the plants you want to grow. Some plants have high light demands, others have low demands. Often, the more light demanded, the harder the plant is to grow. Higher light often requires more maintenance too, as your plants will be growing faster leading to more pruning, fertilization, and water changes.
Types of light
The most common form of aquarium lighting is T8 and T5 florescent bulbs. Both are capable of growing plants, however T5’s are recommended. T5 bulbs are more powerful, and better suited to growing aquarium plants.
LED lighting is an up and coming form of aquarium lighting, offering fantastic lighting effects and low running costs. A LED light can last over 5 years, making them a great investment for your aquarium.
Aquarium plants require differing amounts of light to survive. The lower light demanding plants are generally the easier to grow, making them the perfect choice for beginners, or for ‘low tech/maintenance’ aquariums.
Below we have indicated what we consider to be low, medium and high lighting (assuming you are using T5 bulbs):
0.25 Watts per Liter = Low Lighting
0.50 Watts per Liter = Medium Lighting
0.80 – 1.0> Watts per Liter = High Lighting
You will find all our plants have a difficulty rating (Easy, Medium and Hard). Generally speaking, Easy plants require 0.25 Watts per liter, medium difficulty require 0.50 Watts per liter and Hard requires 0.8 – 1.0 Watts per liter.
Getting the lighting period correct is important in preventaion of algae. If your lighting period is too long then you could be asking for algae! It’s worth putting your lights on a timer to ensure your plants are getting the same amount of light each day.
– Setting your lighting period for longer than 8 hours. Most planted aquariums do not need more than 8 hours of light.
– Setting your lighting period for longer than 6 hours in NEW planted aquarium set-ups. During the first month your lighting period should be shorter to keep away algae while your plants grow in.
Color temperature is measured using the Kelvin rating. It tells you the color of the light. Daylight is 6500K, which is whats recommend for the planted aquarium. Plants are not overly fussed about the color of your light in order to grow, they will grow under any light. It is more a case of choosing a color that shows off the natural color of your plants., and often comes down to personal taste. 6000K to 8000K provides a pleasant color output.