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


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

A brand-new planted tank always looks so beautiful and pristine, but if the tank is unbalanced, those same plants may become sickly-looking and overrun with algae within a couple of months. Plants and algae both use the same resources- such as light, nutrients, and carbon dioxide – so the goal is to balance these resources so that the plants grow stronger and outcompete the algae. For instance, too much


Too much light can lead to algae growth so it is important that we fine-tune the lighting for optimal plant growth. Let’s now discuss how to adjust the lighting for the tank and plants you choose.

Remember that plants are living organisms and will take time to adjust to changes in lighting. For low tech aquariums without CO2 gas injection, we recommend making one adjustment at a time and waiting two weeks before making the next change. Otherwise, if you make multiple changes all at once, you have no idea what worked and what did not.

1. Lage

You can control the lighting by not putting your aquarium in direct sunlight. The sun may be more powerful than you need, especially if you are growing low light plants. The unpredictable weather can make it cloudy one day, then sunny the next. Every season also has its own amount of sunlight. Yes, some experienced hobbyists can manage planted tanks that get sunlight, but for most of us, the fluctuating changes make it difficult to balance the aquarium because the plants are getting widely varying amounts of light every day.


2. Equipment

To create the ideal environment for growing an underwater garden, we recommend getting a light specifically designed for aquarium plants. Aquarium kits come with default lights that are too dim. Shop lights and other DIY lighting options may not be as effective or spread the light well enough to produce a pleasing color temperature. A planted tank light is optimized for growing aquarium plants, making your job easier. 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 more reliable than humans, so even when you’re sick, on vacation, or forget, your plants will still get the light they require. 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. As the plants grow larger and require more light, increase the amount of lighting to 8-12 hours per day. Reduce the time if algae becomes too much. Hobbyists may split the time of the photo period by having an “afternoon napa”. This allows the camera to turn on while they eat breakfast, then shut down while they are at work or school. Then it will come on again when they get back.

As a reminder, do not leave the light on all night, not even in blue moonlight mode. Every night, the plants must rest by entering the respiration cycle to consume 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. Depending on the plants you have chosen and the height of the tank, a light at 100% brightness may be too strong and cause algae to flourish. Begin with a low light intensity, around 20-40% brightness. If no algae growth occurs, increase the intensity gradually. If a significant algae bloom occurs, then lower the brightness again. You can also raise the brightness of the light by covering it with black electrical tape.

Aquarium lighting with different brightness levels and color modes

5. Fine-Tuning

Even after you have balanced the intensity and light duration, keep in mind that aquariums are constantly changing ecosystems. Therefore, adjustments may be needed in the future. Newly planted tanks require less light because the plants are still young and growing. In contrast, mature tanks may have huge plants that shade out everything, so you may need to prune back the leaves or increase the lighting. 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 light for planted aquariums?

There are many choices when it comes to aquarium lights. They can be very expensive or extremely high priced. The key is to determine which features are most important to you and the type of planted tank you want to set up. 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 LED Plant

We created our Easy Plant LED in our quest for a long-lasting, affordable light that would make plants look great. 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.