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Old 04-19-2013, 01:07 PM   #1 
Esahc
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Nocturnal lighting and algae

So here's the problem. I'm still pretty new to the live plant thing, but so far the tank's been doing well and I've got just a litle problem with lighting and algae. The lamp for the tank is also the main source of light in my room, so it stays on as long as I'm awake and working, unless I manage to notice that Altair looks like he's trying to sleep, or I remember that normal organisms don't kep the same hours I do. I keep weird hours. Really weird hours. And as a result, The light for my tank stays on anywhere from 9-17 hours a day, and now I've got an algae problem.

So I'm interested in looking at maybe some dimmer lights, or some light in a spectrum that algae can't take advantage of, for night time lighting, and putting both lights on a timer. I see people talking about moonlights, but when I look that up I mostly get reef stuff, and my LFS says that blue lights will encourage algae growth. will black lights work?
I just need to be able to see my keyboard and my paper, without disturbing the rest of the house with the overhead light.
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Old 04-19-2013, 04:32 PM   #2 
Draug Isilme
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May I ask what kind of light fixture it is you use?
I think the best thing you could do is just get a completely different light source. Say if you get one of those snake-like desk lamps you can angle it in different directions and you can avoid the tank entirely.
I've known people to grow plants with a black light xD (don't ask) and from what I remember moonlights are in the blue spectrum- which is what plants use to grow. Even if you used a dimmer, it'd still be a consecutive light source shinning on your tank and it sounds like it would defeat the purpose of even using it as your primary light source.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:38 PM   #3 
Esahc
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my current lighting is a snake-neck desk lamp with a 13w 6500k CFL bulb, but the neck doens't like to twist.
What if I added a minilamp? something with like a night light sized bulb, or something with a red light instead of a blue one? Before I got the tank I had a long CFL fixture that stayed on 24/7, but a recent furniture change got rid of it, and the minilamp I bought to replace it died in a rather spectacular display of sparks and burn-plastic-smell(don't ask) I really just need to be able to make out my keyboard, and I have rather good night vision, so long as there's a little light to see by, so a dimmer light wouldn't be much of a problem. The CFL light I've got for the tank right now is actually a little too bright to have on 24/7, even for me
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Old 04-22-2013, 05:20 PM   #4 
MoneyMitch
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light isn't the only cause of the algae... there can also be many other factors. but a long photo period probably is to blame here. before I can give any better help I need to know a few things

tank size
w/c frequency
gravel vac when you w/c?
nitrate levels?
phot period is random between 7-17hrs per day?
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Old 04-22-2013, 07:24 PM   #5 
Esahc
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I miscounted, m/w it gets about 19 hours of continuous light unless I go to sleep early. t/r and weekends it's erratic, and anywhere from 9-17 hours depending on my schedules.

I've been admittedly bad about tank maintenance these past few weeks, got caught up in finals, so the w/c he got on Friday was the first in about two weeks. I haven't been vacuuming the gravel, because there's really probably less than 4-5 sq in of exposed gravel to vacuum. Most of the tank floor is covered by a piece of driftwood and the plants, and it's awkward to vacuum without uprooting the plants, which are a royal pain to replant. I did try and vacuum as much if the obvious debris as I could when I did the water change.

Tank is a 5gal, haven't tested the water in a while, I'll get those numbers in a bit.

Edit:
I've partially fixed my lighting problem with a second lamp, dimmer bulb, green, and two cheap timers set to a day/night cycle with two 4-hour periods with the daylight bulb and one 13-hour overnight period with the green light
Logic behind this is that the interrupted daylight cycle will inhibit the algae and the green bulb will reduce the amount if night light absorbed, since green plants reflect green light. Opinions?

Editx2: my test kit seems to have gone missing in the latest frenzy of final projects. Can't test the water right now, but I will as soon as I can.

Last edited by Esahc; 04-22-2013 at 07:44 PM.
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