How to Balance Aquarium Lighting to Grow Healthy Plants (And Avoid Algae)

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How to Balance Aquarium Lighting to Grow Healthy Plants (and Avoid Algae)

Although a new tank looks beautiful and clean, if it is not balanced, the same plants can become unhealthy and overrun by algae in a matter of weeks. Both plants and algae use the same resources – light, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Therefore, the goal is for the tank to be balanced so that plants grow stronger and can outcompete the algae. For instance, too much


Too little light can result in algae growth. We need to adjust it to ensure optimal plant growth. In this article, let’s talk about how to balance the lighting so that it’s the right amount for your specific tank and plant selection.

Before we begin, remember that plants are living organisms, so it takes time for them to react to lighting changes and show visible signs of improvement. We recommend that you make one adjustment per aquarium, and wait two weeks before making another. Otherwise, if you make multiple changes all at once, you have no idea what worked and what did not.

1. Location

Avoid placing your aquarium in direct sun to ensure optimal lighting control. If you have low-light plants, the sun might be stronger than you need. The unpredictable weather can make it cloudy one day, then sunny the next. Every season also has its own amount of sunlight. Although some experts can manage tanks that get sunlight, most hobbyists find it difficult to balance aquariums due to the fluctuations in light.

2. Equipment

A light specially designed for aquarium plants will create the perfect environment for your underwater garden. The default lights that come with aquarium kits are often too dim, while cheap shop lights or other DIY solutions may not spread the light properly or have a color temperature that looks good. The best tank lights are optimized for aquarium plants. The best lights have the right brightness, good spread that won’t shine into your eyes, and a natural color spectrum that makes fish and plants look their finest.

You can use a timer for a set schedule to control when the light turns on and off every day.

3. The duration of light

You can set your light to turn on and off at the exact same time each day by connecting it to an outlet timer. Timers are far more reliable than people so your plants will receive the light they need, even if you go on vacation or get sick. For a new aquarium, we suggest that the lighting be limited to 6-8 hours per day. The plants need to adjust to their new environment. Once the plants get bigger and need more light to grow, slowly increase the lighting up to 8-12 hours a day. If the algae grows out of control, reduce the lighting duration. Some hobbyists like to split up the timing of the photo period with an “afternoon siesta” so it turns on in the morning while you’re eating breakfast, turns off while you’re at work or school, and turns on again at night when you’re back.

Remember to keep the light on throughout the night. The plants need to sleep every night in order to get oxygen and sugars. Even if the light is on constantly, they won’t photosynthesise. This means that algae can take advantage the extra photons and overtake your aquarium.

4. Light Intensity

Modern planted tank lights use LED technology. These lights can grow both low and strong light plants. The light intensity at 100% can be too bright for some plants and may encourage algae growth. Start with a lower light intensity around 20-40% brightness and gradually increase the intensity if there is no algae growth. The brightness should be decreased if an algae bloom is observed. You can also raise the brightness of the light by covering it with black electrical tape.

Aquarium lighting available in various brightness levels and colors

5. Fine-Tuning

Even after you balance the light duration and intensity, remember that aquariums are ever-changing ecosystems and therefore may need further adjustments in the future. Newly planted tanks require less light because the plants are still young and growing. You may need to trim the plants or increase lighting if your mature tank has large plants. Jotting down your light settings in an aquarium journal or spreadsheet over time can help with balancing planted tanks so you can see which values work the best.

What is the Best Lighting for Plantted Aquariums?

There are many choices when it comes to aquarium lights. They can be very expensive or extremely high priced. It is important to decide which features you are most interested in and what type of tank you wish to install. You want to choose a high-quality brand that lasts, not the cheapest that comes with a short warranty or LEDs that fail after only a few months.

Easy-Plant LED

Our search for a light source that is both affordable and long-lasting to make plants look stunning led us to create our Easy Plant LED. It features all of our favourite features like:

– The 3-year warranty and lights rated for 50,000 hours of operation – The high-quality, energy-efficient LEDs that bring out the stunning colors of fish and plants while reducing power usage by 10-50% – The highly water-resistant IP67 rating so it won’t fail from accidentally dropping in water or getting splashed by an air stone – The easy-to-use controller for changing between white Daylight and blue Moonlight modes – The dimmable light settings that allow you to adjust the brightness from 10-100% to grow both high and low light plants – The extra-long, 12-foot power cord so you reach even the furthest outlet in the room – The extendable sliding brackets to make sure you get a snug fit and prevent light from bleeding out – The thick aluminum frame to dissipate heat from the LEDs and prevent bowing in longer models

Our goal is to make the fishkeeping and planted tank hobby as easy as possible, which is why we created the Easy Plant LED as a dependable, all-purpose solution that produces excellent plant growth. Our Easy Green and Easy Root Tab fertilizers are the perfect combination to create an Easy Planted Aquarium.