How Long Should I Leave My Aquarium Light On? 

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Written By Fun Fish Tanks

I Love my Fishes 

When one buys an aquarium, a multitude of pieces of equipment is also mandatory with it. They are filters, heaters, light, and many more. Here we will be specifically talking about light. Light comes along as important equipment in an aquarium. Without it an aquarium is incomplete. Without light, you will not be able to take full enjoyment of the aesthetics of the aquarium. As it is with an aquarium every piece of equipment is essential.  

But buying the light and turning it on is not enough. You must provide your aquarium with the correct amount of light. The light should be neither less nor excessive, it must be around the sweet spot. Follow this article to find out the correct amount of light you should provide to your aquarium.  

Why is light necessary in an aquarium?  

Light comes across as an important element in an aquarium.  

First off if you have an aquarium with live plants, light is a must. Without it, the plants will not be able to thrive as they won’t be able to make their nutrients. Plants rely on light to make their nutrients through the process of photosynthesis.

If you are thinking of keeping it near a window to provide light for the plants all the time, then you are wrong. The sunlight will catalyze the growth of algae by excess amounts and your aquarium will be full of algae in no time.  

Without light how can you take pleasure in the ambiance of your aquarium? If you have not installed light then you will not be able to see the true colors of the fish. Under the influence of light, you will be able to observe the vibrant colors of the fish. Not just the fishes, you can take in the pleasing spectacle of the whole aquarium.  

How long should you turn on the aquarium light?  

The amount of time that you have to turn on the light is crucial in an aquarium. If you are doing it correctly then something or the other is going wrong in your aquarium. How long to turn the light also depends on whether you have live plants or not.  

If you have an aquarium with plastic or artificial plants then giving too much light is never a good thing. In such an aquarium you should turn on the light for about 4 to 5 hours.

If you turn it on excessively then algae will build up very quickly. As there is zero presence of a live plant so there is nothing that can absorb nutrients and the algae will take up everything.  

In a planted aquarium you should turn on the light a little longer compared to a tank with artificial plants. As plants need light for survival, you should turn on the light for about 8 to 10 hours. This amount of light is enough for planted tanks. 

Remember to stick to the mentioned amount. Don’t turn it on during the night as your fishes require times of darkness as well. The plants also require the absence of light. So it is not wise to always keep the light on.  

When should you turn on the light?  

Now that you know how long to turn on the light, you might be wondering when shall I turn on the light for my fishes? Well, we got your back on that as well.  

You should set your aquarium light on a timer. A timer is exceptionally essential as it cuts off a lot of work for you and stress as well. With a timer, you don’t need to worry about how long will your aquarium light stay on. You are only required to set the timer and that’s enough, the rest will do it for you.  

If you don’t have a timer, then you will have to do the math in your head. You can turn it on after you come home from your daily routine.

Don’t be a fool and turn the light on when you are away from your home. You can come home to a green aquarium. Turn it on after you get home and anytime you want to watch your finned friends swim around.  

The placement of your aquarium tells the amount of time that you should turn on your aquarium light. If you have placed your aquarium in a well-lit room or area, then you might want to cut it off a little. Although don’t place your aquarium near windows where they will receive direct sunlight. You can just turn on the light in the evening and turn it off when you are going to sleep.  

If you have placed your aquarium in a dark area, then just stick to the usual amount which is 8 to 10 hours of light. For if you do not then your aquarium won’t receive the correct amount of light. 

How much light does your fish need?  

The amount of light that your fishes require depends on the species.  

If you have tropical fishes in your tank then it is recommended that you provide them with 8 to 10 hours of light. Tropical fishes favor light. But if you have bottom dwellers and fishes that come from a cold environment, they don’t require too much light. So cut off with the time of lighting.  

If you have a mixture of those in an aquarium, don’t worry, that’s when decors, caves, and plants come in. Make sure that you have kept caves for your fishes. The fishes that don’t favor light too much can get into these to avoid light. They can use plants as cover as well. 

What happens if you give the excess amount of light? 

Well, an excess amount of light is what you want to avoid at all costs. If you turn on the light for too long, it will induce the growth of algae in your aquarium. If you are constantly providing long hours of light or more than the required amount then sooner or later your aquarium will be full of algae.

If you have an aquarium with artificial plants then it happens more rapidly. If your tank is filled with algae then your fish will have trouble with oxygen as the algae will take in most of the oxygen. 

Everything sums up to making light an absolute necessity in an aquarium. But you must handle the light with utmost care.

The amount of time you turn on the light affects the ecosystem of the aquarium. Make it too low then your plants won’t thrive and make it a lot the algae will take over your aquarium. Set the light on the timer to make it easy for you.

You can also do everything manually but pay attention to the time. Follow the amount of time mentioned here and you won’t face many problems. Try to keep everything in balance and you will have a perfect aquarium. 

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