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Old 02-18-2012, 01:28 AM   #1 
mathkid
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Light for plants, but dark for fish?

Hmm... I am not sure how to balance my fish's needs against my plants' needs. I currently have a desk lamp - a 13w Ott-light task lamp, which I can't find exact specs for but it supposed to be ~5500-5900K. I have a 5gal filtered, heated aquarium with a few plants - 1 anubias, 6-7 water wisteria, a bunch of watersprite, 6-7 pennywort. They are pretty small, though, and I would like them to grow and multiply!

...But I don't want to disturb my fish in the process...

Lights on:
* Plants need it!

Lights off:
* From what I understand, bettas prefer dark water...
* When the aquarium light is on and I am gone, the room is dark - that means the tank walls are reflective. I am wondering if this is why he's picked up such a pernicious habit of glass surfing... he does it much less when the room/tank is dark :(

I don't get a ton of natural light in my room (sigh, north-facing windows). Any creative solutions?
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:25 AM   #2 
scootshoot
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I give my planted betta tank 12+ hours of light, my bettas are doing just fine. Humans just think Betta's need their 8 hours of sleep, lol
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:20 AM   #3 
purplemuffin
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Here's an easy solution, get some big leafy plants and some floating plants. Break up the light. The plants get all that bright light, the fish gets to be in shadow.

Remember, fish come from the wild--with the sun. Brighter than any lights we can make! They can hide in the shadows of plants and roots and feel safe and secure. :)

Give them places to escape the light if you are worried, but most tend to be fine in the light.

But of course, watch them and all. See if they react differently. If a fish starts freaking out and eating his tail, maybe he is stressed.
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Old 02-18-2012, 07:38 AM   #4 
Draug Isilme
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I know this sounds kind of counter-productive, but maybe you want to up the kelvins of your light bulb? Those kind of plants thrive better in 6500k bulbs- that being said, your plants will grow better and faster with a stronger kelvin bulb. I had a 5500k when I first started- I had wisteria. However, once I got a 6500k bulb, I noticed QUITE a bit of difference xD Those things grow pretty fast once they get in the right conditions... Anyway!
I say that 'cause once your plants grow out more, it will help block out the reflection in the tank, which will in turn give your guy less chance to seeing his relfection as well as give him places to hide if he gets too freaked out..
If his glass surfing seems to stress him out to where it's evident that his health is declining- then you will have to intervine in some other manner. One solution is adding a background- not too light and not too dark; otherwise he'll more than likely still see himself... Another, put him in a less reflective tank temporarily until the plants grow out more and then see how well he does... If that doesn't work... seems like you'll have to do without plants that rely on light hardcore if worse comes to worse... Hopefully it doesn't turn out that way.
My betta loves flaring and surfing at his reflection. I noticed that once the wisteria grew up, though, he's less prone to doing it... but even then, he never declined in health and his appetite never waned in any way whatsoever... If anything, it can provide exercise for your fish so long as it's not hurting him ^.^ So there's an upside!

Edit: Also, have you tried angling your desk lamp? Not sure if it's like one of those snakey-bendable kind of lamps... >.>... but if it is, then you should try that. It's more or less the way the light is bouncing off of the tank walls that enhances reflections, so if you can adjust the light in a way to where it still provides light for your plants, but not so much light to where your betta can see it, then that might help as well.

Last edited by Draug Isilme; 02-18-2012 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:50 AM   #5 
kfryman
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For the desk light does it use regular light bulbs or ones that are tiny and are on their side? Because at Petco they have some light bulbs that would work if they are regular. They are also 6500k. I am agreeing with Draug
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Old 02-18-2012, 03:50 PM   #6 
djembekah
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i think Ott lights have a particular kind of bulb. we sell them at Michael's, and I think they're extra bright for working on small crafts. but that's all i know abuot it
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:43 PM   #7 
mathkid
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Thanks for all the feedback!

I tried raising the light stand (by putting a box under it) and angling it a little, but honestly I have no idea if that makes the surfaces more or less reflective. Any intuition? Is light closer to the water surface or further away better? Better to be parallel to the water surface or a 45* angle? Or something else?

Also, until the plants grow out, I was thinking maybe I could get some large, leafy silk plants to block off the glass... does that sound like it might help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemuffin
Here's an easy solution, get some big leafy plants and some floating plants. Break up the light. The plants get all that bright light, the fish gets to be in shadow.

Remember, fish come from the wild--with the sun. Brighter than any lights we can make! They can hide in the shadows of plants and roots and feel safe and secure. :)
Good point! I guess that's true that they are used to the sun being around =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draug Isilme
I know this sounds kind of counter-productive, but maybe you want to up the kelvins of your light bulb? Those kind of plants thrive better in 6500k bulbs- that being said, your plants will grow better and faster with a stronger kelvin bulb. I had a 5500k when I first started- I had wisteria. However, once I got a 6500k bulb, I noticed QUITE a bit of difference
Thanks for sharing... yeah, I think I'd like to try that! So far the wisteria has been growing slowly - they have been putting out roots and growing a little, just not really noticeably week to week. I'd like them to grow faster! I have to figure out what fixture/bulb to get for a 5gal... since I'm not sure whether my desk-lamp solution will accept other bulbs.

Also, for a medium color background - is paper-bag brown a good medium?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kfryman
For the desk light does it use regular light bulbs or ones that are tiny and are on their side?
Here's what the bulb looks like:
http://www.ottlite.com/p-323-13-watt...ment-tube.aspx

Do you think a Home Depot or Petco bulb will fit in the same fixture? Otherwise, maybe I will move this for use as an *actual* desk lamp and get something else for the aquarium. =)

Quote:
Originally Posted by djembekah
i think Ott lights have a particular kind of bulb. we sell them at Michael's, and I think they're extra bright for working on small crafts.
Yeah - I happened to buy on Amazon, but I have seen it at JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels as a craft light.
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:51 AM   #8 
djembekah
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this makes me want one for my fish now though. well. idk. something better for warmth.
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Old 02-19-2012, 04:04 AM   #9 
Draug Isilme
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I'm the same way as Bombalurina- I've done it before with nail polish, but never felt 100% comfortable... Gloves are definitely a good alternative. If not, make sure you wash your hands thouroughly, ESPECIALLY if you're going to clean it after you're going to use nail polish remover... Main reason why I say that is I've waited a day or so without washing my hands after using nail polish remover... ate some food- it got on my fingers.. I used my mouth and BLEH! >.< That stuff can really cling... I can only imagine how much of that stuff can leak into a tank if it was that way with me... Definitely does better to be safe than sorry!
So yeah, if you do clean the tank without gloves, I'd say leave the nail polish on- Now that I think of it, I remember that you can treat snail shells with nail polish if they have small cracks (you apply it on them out of the water and wait till it dries before putting them back in their aquarium- it's not harmful when it dries and if it is I assume the toxicity level is not noticeable for you tank mates; kinda like low ammonia ppm- won't hurt them in small quantities). It seems like if you cleaned your nails the nail polish remover would definitely leak into the tank and be more harmful to your fish than the nail polish.
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Old 02-19-2012, 05:37 PM   #10 
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I think you may have copied/pasted from a different thread, there, Draug. :p
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