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FAQs on Lighting Non-Planted Freshwater Tanks

Related Articles: Lighting Freshwater Planted Aquariums, Light Fixtures, Spectral Quality of Various Fluorescent Lamps by Dana Riddle,

Related FAQs: Electricity and the Aquarium Garden, Light Fixtures and Planted Aquariums,

System Setup - Natural Sunlight, and 30G long vs. 40g cube for reef.      11/21/16
Good morning team,
<Morning Dave. For some reason this email was passed along to me, and while I'm not an expert marine fishkeeper, I have kept (and continue to keep) freshwater tanks on windowsills and the like, so I suppose that experience might be useful here!>
I've been out of the marine hobby for 7yrs, and have had a small freshwater tank for 2yrs that I just can't get into - I don't find it as challenging, fulfilling, and beautiful as a nice reef tank.
<Now that's your first problem! Freshwater fishkeeping is a huge hobby, and while the average jumbled-up community tank might not engage an expert fishkeeper, there are lots of alternatives. Biotope tanks and high-tech planted tanks (easily comparable to reefs in terms of expense and complexity) are two obvious options, but there are also niche groups of fish that are demanding but rewarding, such as dwarf cichlids or killifish.
I've set up what I call "freshwater reef tanks" that feature plants, a few small fishes, shrimps, and unusual snails such as Nerites and Clea helena.
Rift Valley cichlids are another option, frequently done poorly with random Mbuna that end up hybridising or bullying each other to death, but with care, a Tanganyikan community for example can be extremely rewarding as
well as quirky and colourful. So lots of options there.>
We have a problem of location for either the 30g or 40g Innovative Marine systems. Wife has given the 'ok' so long as it can be enjoyed by everyone, yet I want to ensure proper location on our main level. Problem is we have a huge bay window in our living room. This is likely the only room that will keep an awesome tank enjoyable everyday/all day.
<I'm a big fan of putting tanks where they're easily observed. Not only more fun, but problems are easier to spot.>
As you can see my 30G tank receives natural light (I have the right end blacked out with paper to minimize direct sunlight and still have algae issues) and this would likely be one of the best spots for the new reef tank. You can also see the white cabinet with owls on it, and this would be the second choice (next to a gas fireplace that is hardly ever used).
<Either looks an option. While there's some sunlight on the tank, neither is going to be a deal breaker.>
1. Am I doomed to set up a reef tank in either location? Do you have any experience with window tinting? We are thinking if we maybe tint that big window to "provide light, but minimize harmful rays" (going off the company's website, whatever that means - sunglass effect).
<"Minimise harmful rays" almost certainly means UV light, which glass cuts out anyway, so it's kind of like somebody selling their bottled water as being "rehydrating". In any case, direct light isn't a massive problem. The biggest issue is overheating the water rather than algae. But a couple of hours light on a big tank should have a negligible effect. So far as algae goes, direct sunlight can be a trigger if conditions in the tank are unbalanced, but on a good tank, again, the effect will be trivial. Nothing
the appropriate algae-eaters couldn't take care of.>
2. The 30g is 36"x15"x13" long and short in height. The 40g is 24"x20"x19". I would like to have a dwarf angel as a feature fish (flame angel) and I'm thinking perhaps a longer tank is more suitable for swim room vs. more water volume, but more water volume is obviously more stable.
Thoughts on my two concerns?
<Length is usually more important that depth, at least where relatively small fish are concerned. Centropyge are mildly territorial, so swimming space is going to be at a premium. Let me please reiterate something Bob F
has stated about this genus: they need big tanks, despite their size. Even 55 gallons is pushing your luck. Choosing a tank with a sump should get over the water volume problem, so you could up the 30 gallon tank to 40 gallons by sticking a 10 gallon sump in the cabinet, but even then, I'd be much more circumspect about stocking this tank, focusing on species better suited to this relatively small aquarium. Clownfish, the smaller Hawkfish, numerous sleepers and gobies.>
Dave
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: System Setup - Natural Sunlight, and 30G long vs. 40g cube for reef. (RMF, anything re: Centropyge???)      11/21/16

<<Mmm; a thirty gallon is too small for a Flame/Loricula angel... Please see my article on this species on WWM. Bob Fenner>>
Thanks for your note. With respect to my comments on fresh vs. marine... perhaps it's just that I live in Alberta, Canada where I'm a good 12hr drive from the northern west coast Pacific. I love to scuba dive, and enjoying a marine aquarium makes me happier.
<Cool.>
On the 30g long aquarium... problem solved, a few inches here and there and I can get the 60g long for an extra $500 (what a wonderful wife I have).
<Indeed.>
I figured that it would only be a year or two before I'd want to upgrade the 30g... and yet I realize that I don't want to manage the gallons of saltwater I've had in the past. I think the 60g is the best compromise,
and will be better for my fish and corals. Thank you so much for your comments on the sunlight issues/non-issues. I can't wait to dive back into marine!
Dave
<Most welcome and good luck, Neale.>

Re: System Setup - Natural Sunlight, and 30G long vs. 40g cube for reef. (RMF, anything re: Centropyge???)     11/22/16
<<Mmm; a thirty gallon is too small for a Flame/Loricula angel... Please see my article on this species on WWM. Bob Fenner>>
Subject: System Setup - Natural Sunlight, and 30G long vs. 40g cube for reef.     11/22/16

Good morning team,
<Morning Dave. For some reason this email was passed along to me, and while I'm not an expert marine fishkeeper, I have kept (and continue to keep) freshwater tanks on windowsills and the like, so I suppose that experience might be useful here!>
I've been out of the marine hobby for 7yrs, and have had a small freshwater tank for 2yrs that I just can't get into - I don't find it as challenging, fulfilling, and beautiful as a nice reef tank.
<Now that's your first problem! Freshwater fishkeeping is a huge hobby, and while the average jumbled-up community tank might not engage an expert fishkeeper, there are lots of alternatives. Biotope tanks and high-tech planted tanks (easily comparable to reefs in terms of expense and complexity) are two obvious options, but there are also niche groups of fish that are demanding but rewarding, such as dwarf cichlids or killifish.
I've set up what I call "freshwater reef tanks" that feature plants, a few small fishes, shrimps, and unusual snails such as Nerites and Clea helena.
Rift Valley cichlids are another option, frequently done poorly with random Mbuna that end up hybridising or bullying each other to death, but with care, a Tanganyikan community for example can be extremely rewarding as well as quirky and colourful. So lots of options there.>
We have a problem of location for either the 30g or 40g Innovative Marine systems. Wife has given the 'ok' so long as it can be enjoyed by everyone, yet I want to ensure proper location on our main level. Problem is we have a huge bay window in our living room. This is likely the only room that will keep an awesome tank enjoyable everyday/all day.
<I'm a big fan of putting tanks where they're easily observed. Not only more fun, but problems are easier to spot.>
As you can see my 30G tank receives natural light (I have the right end blacked out with paper to minimize direct sunlight and still have algae issues) and this would likely be one of the best spots for the new reef tank. You can also see the white cabinet with owls on it, and this would be the second choice (next to a gas fireplace that is hardly ever used).
<Either looks an option. While there's some sunlight on the tank, neither is going to be a deal breaker.>
1. Am I doomed to set up a reef tank in either location? Do you have any experience with window tinting? We are thinking if we maybe tint that big window to "provide light, but minimize harmful rays" (going off the company's website, whatever that means - sunglass effect).
<"Minimise harmful rays" almost certainly means UV light, which glass cuts out anyway, so it's kind of like somebody selling their bottled water as being "rehydrating". In any case, direct light isn't a massive problem. The biggest issue is overheating the water rather than algae. But a couple of hours light on a big tank should have a negligible effect. So far as algae goes, direct sunlight can be a trigger if conditions in the tank are unbalanced, but on a good tank, again, the effect will be trivial. Nothing the appropriate algae-eaters couldn't take care of.>
2. The 30g is 36"x15"x13" long and short in height. The 40g is 24"x20"x19". I would like to have a dwarf angel as a feature fish (flame angel) and I'm thinking perhaps a longer tank is more suitable for swim room vs. more water volume, but more water volume is obviously more stable.
Thoughts on my two concerns?
<Length is usually more important that depth, at least where relatively small fish are concerned. Centropyge are mildly territorial, so swimming space is going to be at a premium. Let me please reiterate something Bob F has stated about this genus: they need big tanks, despite their size. Even 55 gallons is pushing your luck. Choosing a tank with a sump should get over the water volume problem, so you could up the 30 gallon tank to 40 gallons by sticking a 10 gallon sump in the cabinet, but even then, I'd be much more circumspect about stocking this tank, focusing on species better suited to this relatively small aquarium. Clownfish, the smaller Hawkfish, numerous sleepers and gobies.>
Dave
<Cheers, Neale.>

Filter and Hood Interference? 4/12/14
Hello crew. I have a cheap LED aquarium hood and I just installed a Fluval U1 internal filter. When I unplug the filter, the LED lights momentarily dim off, then go back on. ?? They are both plugged into the same outlet.
I tried using a floor lamp plugged in with the hood and unplugging the floor lamp did not affect the hood lights. I contacted the filter manufacturer and they said the filter is only 5W and should not interfere with the hood, and that I should have an electrician check out the outlet.
Well I haven't gone that far yet. Instead I plugged an extension cord into a different outlet and plugged the hood and filter into that, and the same thing happens, the LED lights dim off when I unplug the filter. Anyone else experience something like this? Any suggestions? I appreciate any advice; I'm concerned about the safety aspects. Thank you for your time, Lorie
<In all likelihood this is "just one of those things" about your aquarium.
You have done exactly what I would have done: used an extension lead to connect the tank to another wall socket on the other side of the room. If the flickering doesn't happen, then yes, it's the wall socket by the aquarium that's faulty. But if the flickering does happen, then it's the aquarium that's malfunctioning. So with that said, the problem is with the manufacturer. If you can, take the tank bank and get a new one. Depending on where you live in the world there will be specific laws pertaining to the fitness of items for the purpose they're being sold for, but usually it's 12 months. Your aquarium should also have a warranty of some sort between you and the manufacturer, irrespective of what the retailer does to
help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: Filter and Hood Interference? 4/
12/14
Ok, thanks Neale for your time and advice. -Lorie
<Most welcome.>

Freshwater angelfish and black lights UVA 438nm f15t8     5/18/12
Hi gang. Just wondering if anyone knows pros vs. cons with freshwater angelfish and using black lights at night. I have read many articles and have seen many mixed reviews. My angels are beginning to pair off and some are starting to spawn and I didn't want to disturb their breeding process or be detrimental to their health at all. Please help with any suggestions or knowledge available. Thank you!
Heather
<Not sure there's any compelling arguments either way. Fish can see slightly into the UV range, so what seems invisible to us might not be to them. Personally, I wouldn't use them. On the other hand, there are plenty of "moonlight" tubes and LEDs available that don't disturb nocturnal fish but provide enough light for us to see what's going on. Dim red tubes and
LEDs work great, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Light that brings color out the best?    4/10/12
Hello,
I have balloon mollies that have beautiful color, well at the store they did, as soon as I brought them home and put them in my tank the color changed.
<Mmm, might be a difference in lighting... perhaps stress...>

Obviously when they get to the top of the water where the light is they shimmer but it's just not the same as at the stores.
It's the same for every fish I buy and I noticed at the stores their lighting is totally different and brings out the color in the fish. I really wish I could get the same effect.
<Ask the shops what lighting they're employing... It's available to all>
I even put a black background on the back side and it helped but not enough. So I was wondering if there's a light I can get that will bring out the color.
<Mmm, yes>
I've been looking around and different places say different things about colors. So I would love to have a straight up answer: red, purple, blue, or pink?
<For the lamps themselves? None of the above>
I've also seen that the light should be in the front but my hood doesn't allow it. I wanted to see if it was true so I did take the light off and hold it in the front.
<I like the lighting, lamps to be placed about middle of the tank>
It made the world of a difference but I can't do that. What else can I do for the lighting to have the best effect?
<Mmm, read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/lgtfixtags.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
The mollies are orange, orange cream, yellow cream, silver cream, and black. So pretty and healthy, I want it to show :) 
Thank you!
Danielle

night light?    2/22/12
Hi Neale, how are you?
<Well, thanks!>
I bought a 50W moonlight lamp from Exo-terra, its for desert and tropical terrariums, I was planning to put it in a lamp and turn it on sometimes for night-watching so I get to see my Catfish more, but if its for reptiles can it harm my fish?
<Nope. So long as it doesn't produce UV or heat, it's fine.>
I've read that getting a moonlight fixture is a good idea,
<Can be. Moonlight tubes were all the rage in the 80s when I started keeping fish seriously. Not all catfish fall for this ruse, which is why they largely fell out of fashion. But they're fun toys if you use them for an hour or two after normal daytime lighting, and might possibly encourage your catfish to swim a bit when you can see them.>
can you please elaborate a bit on having night lights or not for my aquarium, quick reminder I have:
- 4 Angelfish
- 2 Striped Raphael Catfish
<These are among the most completely nocturnal fish sold. They're almost never seen by their owners. Do suspect one problem is they're social fish, so when we keep one or two, they become very shy. But even so, this family of catfish is extremely nocturnal and favours deep, murky rivers where very little light penetrates.
That said, you can train them to come out during the day (at least in very shady aquaria) if you tempt them with appropriate foods dropped near to their favoured cave. For this trick to work all overhead light needs to be filtered out with floating plants or leaves, because they simply won't come out into brightly lit spots.>
thanks!
Lorena
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: night light? 2/23/12

Hi Neale, thanks as always for your great help!
<Pleasure.>
I will keep asking, ha ha!
<Go ahead.>
so when I grow my aquarium would you recommend to get 2 more Catfish so they are happier, given that they are social? I would love to, since I like them a lot.
Question about the Striped Raphael Catfish, I got them Pleco algae food, algae wafers that go to the bottom, is this ok, or they would prefer carnivorous food?
<Either. They will eat algae wafers as readily as anything else. My catfish (including Corydoras and Synodontis species) feed almost entirely on algae wafers, with occasional meaty treats like bloodworms and mussel used once or twice a week.>
Then, I returned the Chinese algae eater, but now my aquarium has tiny dots of algae all over the plants and rocks, I guess the algae eater was doing a good job, you had suggested a Bristlenose Pleco, will this fish clean the algae as much as the algae eater did?
<Much much better. For best results, allow one Ancistrus per 20 gallons on so.>
Is it a good addition for my 2 Catfish?
<Yes.>
thanks!!
Lorena.
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Using a shop light for aquarium lighting? 2/20/11
Hello,
I have a 75G freshwater tank that I've had for 15 years and the light fixture that came with the set-up finally gave out. I didn't have the funds to buy a new one so I purchased a 48"shop light with bulbs included for $10 and am using that for lighting my aquarium. I am having a horrible time with this brownish-orange looking algae on the glass, ornaments, overflow box and tubing. (pictures attached are of overflow box ) Is the light bulbs causing this? I have my tank light on at least 14 hours a day.
Is there any light bulb I can use versus these expensive $20 pet store aquarium bulbs, maybe from a hardware store? If not, will an aquarium bulb fit in a shop light fixture? I have Convicts, Dempsey's and Blood Red Parrots, no live plants and use play sand for substrate.
Thank you for your help in this matter,
Tricia
<Yes, you can use a generic fixture, but you will have to make sure the caps that go on the fluorescent tubes are at least moisture-proof, and preferably waterproof, otherwise you run a severe risk of electric shock or worse. I don't need to tell you how dangerous mixing water with electricity can be, not just to you, but also in terms of being a fire hazard. So if you cannot confirm the caps are moisture-proof, then the economy would be a foolish one. Brown slimy algae of the type I think I'm seeing in your photos is diatoms. These flourish in tanks with poor lighting and variable water quality. They're common in new tanks and in tanks without enough light. If you provide at least 2 watts of light per gallon of water, you should be able to grow some fast-growing floating Indian Fern that your fish can't uproot. Such floating plants remove nitrate and phosphate from the water, and in doing so, dramatically reduce algae problems. Tanks with poor lighting are, perhaps surprisingly, the ones that have the worst algae problems. Cheers, Neale.><< These lamps are useless for aquariums. RMF>>

Re: Using a shop light for aquarium lighting? 2/22/11
Neale,
Thanks for answering me back so quickly
<Happy to help.>
After reading your reply, I spoke to someone at a pet store and they told me that too much light is what can cause that brown/orange algae and that I leave my lights on too long.
<Hmm'¦ if you have too much light, the usual algae you see is green algae. Diatoms, the slimy brown stuff that coats the front glass of the tank, tolerates much lower light intensity, so it tends to be most obvious in tanks with poor lighting.>
Is there such a thing as too long? I turn on the tank lights around 9am and turn them off around 11pm.
<Here's the thing: extending the period of lighting doesn't make low light level work light a shorter period of bright light intensity. Lots of people get confused with this. Anything between 10-14 hours is fine for most tanks, but extending the lighting period will only cause problems proportional to the light intensity. If your lighting is poor, say, 1-1.5 watts per gallon, then diatoms and perhaps red algae (hair/brush algae; and they are not red, but blue-green to black in colour when alive) are the most common problems. In bright light, green algae is the problem, most commonly the "pea soup" green water, but otherwise bright leafy green threads on plants and rocks. Blue-green "algae" -- Cyanobacteria -- can occur in both situations, but is so obviously different from real algae because of its slimy, smelly nature, it shouldn't be difficult to identify.>
Okay...this is an off the wall question'¦.
I live in Houston and in January in got really cold around 20 degrees and my electricity went off one night around 11 pm...I didn't know how long it would be off so I covered my 75G tank with a heavy blanket in hopes of keeping some of the heat in from the submersible heater. After about 30 minutes the electricity came back on and I uncovered the tank. To my surprise...all 10 on my Convicts had lost all there stripes and were all hovering at the bottom of the tank. The Blood Parrot was laying on it's side like it was dying and as it started moving it was swimming sideways. I watched the Convicts for an hour and they just weren't moving at all and were still pale. The Dempsey's weren't acting normal either. I went to be around midnight and when I woke the next morning they seemed to be almost back to normal. I'm glad I uncovered them when I did. What happened?
Do fish freak in total darkness?
<No, they don't freak out in darkness, and most actually prefer tanks without lights and just a bit of dim lighting from the room. But when the lights go out many fish *do* change their colours -- Pencilfish and Neons are famous for this -- and it may take them time to readjust to normal lighting if they've been kept dark for a while. Do also note that fish orient themselves by balancing gravity against light -- in the wild the light comes from above, gravity pulls from below, and that helps them know which way is up. If the light comes from the side of the tank, they sometimes lean over a bit. One last issue is water temperature. When the power goes out, the tank cools down. Cichlids are usually very sensitive to this, and below 18 C/64 F most will behave in a very weird manner, almost "screwy", unable to swim properly. Prolonged exposure to cooler water usually kills most cichlids within days. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Best lighting for a fish-only tank with Green Terror, Silver Dollars and Clown Loaches 8/24/10
Hello Crew!
<Hello,>
Rather than wasting money and getting suboptimal results through trial and error, I was wondering what you would recommend as the best lighting for a fish-only tank
<No plants?>
with a Green Terror, 6 Silver Dollars and 3 Clown Loaches.
<Tubes tending towards the warm, such as Grolux, will make the reds on the Clown Loaches more intense. But generally other factors are more important in terms of colour. Namely diet (algae and crustaceans each provide the precursors to certain pigments); stress (fish may mute their colours when stressed); social behaviour (fish "switch on" certain colours when communicating with their own kind); and upwelling light (fish tend to mute their colours if the substrate reflects light).>
I am looking for something that brings out the fish colours and at the same time them feeling secure and comfortable.
<Any combination of lights, floating plants, and a dark or natural substrate should work fine.>
I have the ability to use up to 3 x 30W T8 tubes.
<Lots of options here.>
Recommendations on Kelvin rating or particular products would be appreciated.
<5,500 to 6,500 K tends to be preferred for freshwater aquaria, the lower temperatures being comparatively "warm".>
Cheers
Tim
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Your opinion? Now red light/ing... 2/9/10
I'm thinking about a dim red light that would hopefully trick the fish into thinking that I'm not around and that it is truly night.
<I see. Well, there is a "moonlight" tube on the market, and this can work well. Alternatively, having bright lights during the night for the plants, and then a single dim Grolux or even some red LED lights during the day, will switch the fish into a different night/day cycle from reality. This is what they do in zoos for the nocturnal mammals. Works quite well with catfish and the like.>
I have a number of nocturnal fish that I really enjoy watching with my 5 am coffee. My butterfly fish for example are great fun at that hour.
<Ah! Sounds fun.>
Rob
<Cheers, Neale.>

Putting marine lights on a fresh water tank: Not a problem. 8/28/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi Rochelle>
Everything is fine in my fish world!
<Always a good thing.>
I just have a question... I have replaced my T5 VHO fluorescents on my marine tank with
Metal Halides. Yay me!
<Congratulations.>
However, now I have 9 fluorescent bulbs that were only used for 6 weeks taking up space, over the years I have researched lighting and marine vs. freshwater requirements. Nowhere does it tell me if I can use one or 2 of those bulbs on my freshwater tank, or what will happen if I do.
<Nothing.>
I know marine fish like a blue spectrum and fresh likes pink,
<Actually the fish could care less. For a Marine or Fresh water fish only
system, just use bulbs that look good to you. Photosynthetic marine organisms need blue spectrum light (10000K or above) because blue light is what penetrates the deepest, while red is filtered out in the first few
feet. Fresh water has very few photosynthetic organisms aside from plants, which need lighting closer to the red end of the spectrum.>
but in the wild aren't they all under the same sun light?
<Yes they are, but since we can't replicate the sun in our homes, we use bulbs of the color spectrum our tanks need.>
Can I put 2 of the 54W VHO's over the freshwater? If not why?
<Sure, If you have real plants, they may not do as well, but otherwise, it is fine.>
Thanks much,
<My pleasure.>
Rochelle
<Mike>

Lighting Questions: Generic T-12 8/13/2009
Hello Crew,
<Hi James>
Hope all is going well. I have a lighting question, please. Ever since I have used bulbs in the fixture that came with my aquarium I have used T-12.
I assume that is the diameter of the bulb?
<Yes - the T number indicates the diameter of the bulb in eighths of an inch, so a T-5 is 5\8", a T-8 is 1", and a T-12 is 1.5" in diameter>
Anyway, can I use anything other than a T-12 in the same socket?
<Not likely. There is more to a fixture than just if the bulb will fit, different bulbs have different ballast needs, etc.>
And as far as diameters what is the difference in the light output?
<Diameters have little to do with output, T-5s, are smaller than T-8s, but are much brighter, VO and VHO bulbs are much brighter than a non VO or VHO bulb of the same or larger size. >
As always thanks for your time.
<Do have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/lighting/fixtures.htm >
James
<MikeV>

Lighting for Fish Only Aquariums, FW 6/25/09
Hello Crew, hope you are all doing well and not working hard. I need your help and/or opinions about my aquarium lighting, please. I am satisfied with my setup, but after doing some reading on so-called proper lighting there are seeing so many opinions and types of bulbs out there I am starting to doubt what I have as being right. I have a 75 gallon fw fish only (angels, cories and a Pleco) with a couple of java ferns. I have
always used a full spectrum 40 watt 5000K bulb in conjunction with a Colormax 40 watt color color enhancing bulb. Please tell me if you know of anything wrong with this set-up or another set-up that might be more beneficial and/or more vivid.
<Nothing at all wrong. It's not really enough light for plants, but for fish, it's fine. So provided you aren't having algae problems -- which usually requires more light for faster plant growth as part of the solution
-- feel free to stick with what you have.>
Also, please tell me the MINIMUM amount of hours I can leave the lights on without causing problems.
<Zero hours. Your fish couldn't care less; Angels come from shady habitats and Corydoras and Plecs would both be nocturnal in the wild. There's a good argument for having the lights on for at least 8 hours per day simply to keep the fish in a proper diurnal rhythm, but beyond that, it doesn't matter.>
I truly appreciate all you do and the time you have taken with me to help me be better at keeping fish while having more fun doing it.
James
<You're welcome, Neale.>

Re: Lighting for Fish Only Aquariums 6/25/09
Thank you Neale,
So on the algae topic, you are saying that more light prevents algae more than less?
<Tanks with strong lighting have fewer algae problems, because fast-growing plants somehow (this science isn't clear) suppress the growth of algae.
Hair algae, diatoms, and blue-green algae are all characteristic of tanks with few/no plants, and these tend to be tanks with low levels of lighting.>
And do you feel my java ferns will do OK with the current amount I have even thought they won't grow as fast?
<Java ferns do well under almost any conditions, once established. Likewise Anubias. I find Java moss much the most fiddly of the three low-light plants often recommended.>
Thanks again.
James
<Cheers, Neale.>

Lighting enhancement? 6/25/09
Hi, kind and generous aquatics folk. Thanks in advance for any help you can lend with this short inquiry and thanks as well for all the fantastic advice and information you have provided in the past, present and future. I
have a small planted aquarium that is a standard 10 gallon aquarium. It is slightly under lit in my humble estimation, for a moderately lit planted aquarium with only 20 power compact watts.
<The proof is in the pudding: if plants that need moderate to bright light are growing slowly or showing signs of etiolation (long stems, small leaves) then you don't have enough light. In small tanks with limited
potential for lighting, there are low light plant species that do just fine: Java fern, Java moss, Anubias and some of the hardy Crypts such as Cryptocoryne wendtii.>
I am constantly considering enhancements to this lighting, but will probably end up just getting a new fixture at some point. However, there is a new product that has just come out that is geared towards refugiums,
specifically for a type of nanocube aquarium, but I had wondered if it might be a legitimate enhancement to my planted aquarium as well, or if it is too limited to actually lend any real support to the existing lights.
Here is the link to the light and as you can see, it would have to be mounted from the side, which may also affect how much, if at all it will improve my current lighting situation:
http://www.marinedepot.com/ps_ViewItem~category~JBJ_Nano_Glo_4_LED_Magnetic_
Refugium_Light_Refugium_Sump_Lighting~vendor~JBJ_Lighting~idProduct~JB9315~i
dCategory~FIRFRL.html
What do you think? Worth a try or not applicable to my situation? Thanks so much once again and I wish you all the best. Peace and Love-Nick Sadaka
<Can't answer this definitively because it's such a new product and I don't know anyone who's used it. But given it is tailored for algae rather than corals, but gut feeling is that it would work rather well for growing
plants. It's inexpensive enough that it might be worth a flutter. That said, I've seen numerous 10 gallon tanks with beautiful plants in them using two clip-on compact lighting units, and you may indeed find that by
choosing the right plants, your 20 watt compact light will do just fine.
Cheers, Neale.>

FW Sys\Lighting 3/14/2009
Hello WWM friends! I hope you are well.
<Fine, thank you. Enjoying a quiet weekend at home.>
I just have a quick question. From what I have read, I think I am fine, but I just wanted to double check.
The light bulbs in my tank recently went out, and the store I went to only had blue and red lights. I got some of each, and I am wondering if it is okay to use the colored lights all the time or if the fish need the normal white lighting. I have two Platy and two Guppies in a ten gallon tank, no live plants.
<They may act differently; more of a night time\evening behavior due to the dimmer light, but otherwise they should be fine.>
Thank you kindly,
<My Pleasure>
Marion
<Mike>

Proper Lighting 1/15/08
Hi Crew!! Hope things are going well.
<It is here, thank you.>
I have a lighting question, please. I am setting up a 75 gallon fw aquarium. It will have no live plants. My light fixture holds 2 fluorescent bulbs. I wanted to know your opinion as to which type of bulbs would be best to bring out the best of my fishes colors (and hopefully the aquascaping as well.) I have read in several places that many people like to go with 10,000 k with both bulbs for overall brightness and clarity, and I have also read that using a blue actinic as one of the bulbs is best, but only for deeper than 20" aquariums.
<Depth has nothing to do with it here. It really depends on the fish.
Lower K bulbs will bring out the reds, while higher K bulbs will bring out the blues. One of each is a place to start, then go from there based on what you like.>
Please tell me what you think, and as usual thanks for all you do. James
<Welcome, Scott V>

Re: Lighting, FW... 1/20/08 Thank you Scott. <Welcome James.> As of now I plan of having some pearl gouramis and a school of either banded or boesemanni rainbow fish, a pair of kribs and about 6 Corys, but not sure what kind yet. Do you have a recommendation as to what you would use in this situation. I definitely want good aesthetics, but as little algae as possible. Also, should any choice I make be in the high 90s regarding CRI? <Yes, but most aquarium bulbs will be. The whole CRI issue is just mainly that a office and kitchen fluorescent bulb can be ugly in a tank.> And with 2 lights should a regular bulb be used in conjunction with a "color enhancing" bulb? I am sorry about all the questions, but am really confused the more I hear and read. Thank you for your patience. <I would start with 10000K bulbs (or what ever bulbs come with the fixture) and go from there. Many freshwater aquarists like to add a bit warmer bulb too, the 6500K mentioned (I don't care for it, but good for plants). For a "color enhancing bulb", this is a general term that can mean many things. Do look at the spectrum listed on the bulb and use that to guide you.> James <Welcome, Scott V.>

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