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Old 12-26-2004, 06:46 AM   #1
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Strange (and stupid) lighting problem...

Hi all, I'm new here, and I'd like to start things off with my most ridiculous problem...

I have had my tank for about a year and a half now and it has gone very well for me so far... I have a cobalt discus which is my pride and joy, i also have live plants. the weird thing is, ever since i set up my tank, i have never turned off my light, even at night. my fish seem to be doing fine.

In the interest of gaining the optimal photo period, i am thinking of buying a light timer. My problem is, if i try to turn off my light at night (even for a short time) all my fish go completely berserk! they loose all their color and scatter around my tank like chickens with their heads cut off...

Have they adapted to eternal sunshine perhaps? What should I do? Someone at the fish store said that is normal... I don't really believe him because they really look stressed... Please help.
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Old 12-26-2004, 07:05 AM   #2
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At night fish change their colour to 'pyjama'-status. This is normal. I believe your fish look allot darker? The fact that they are going berserk is probably because you haven't turned the lights off for a year and a half. Have you changed your bulbs BTW? You should do that every half year. I would recommend to let them go berserk, they will get used to it. Mine just calmly sink to the bottom when the timer switches the lights off, and they go to sleep.

It's good that you want to buy a timer, your fish will be thankfull for it! You photo period should optimally be 12 hours (i leave mine on for 16 hours, and i have no problems, but optimmaly 12 h).
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:16 AM   #3
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[Try slowly dimming the lights, so that there is a gradual transition into darkness. Sudden changes in light can startle fish, especially wild caught ones, although many tank bred fish get used to the instant on/off. I don't know if you can dim flourescents, so make the room lights bright and turn off the tank. then decreas the room lighting little by little by dimming or turning off one light at a time. I bet you will have them used to night time in no time
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:39 AM   #4
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Welcome to AA, amoaudio!

Your post reminds me of the movie, "Insomnia", where Al Pacino's character had trouble sleeping because he was in Alaska during summer, when the sun never sets.

Having the light on all the time is unnatural and stressful for fish. The fact that they aren't showing signs of stress is a sign of how adaptable they are. Plants also do better with a period of darkness. Photosynthesis has a light cycle, where sugars are built from CO2 and light energy; and a dark cycle, where those sugars are broken down for energy the plant can use.

I would recommend getting the timer and setting the photoperiod for no more than 12 hours. The fish will lose their coloration - this is normal. When the tank light is off, make sure there aren't any bright lights on in the room. I think this is what is spooking your fish - the reflections caused by your room lights in a darkened tank that they just aren't used to. Your fish adapted to total light, and they will adapt to a more normal photoperiod.

I'd be curious to know what your plants do when they finally get a break from light cycle photosynthesis. I'm guessing you'll have an insane spurt of new growth. Please let us know - this sounds like a cool experiment in progress. 8)
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Old 12-26-2004, 05:51 PM   #5
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Will do. I'm headed to big al's boxing day sale right now to get the timer. What you said makes a lot of sense. I noticed when i read the last post that my plants have seemed to be struggling and growing very slowly compared to other tanks. This is probably the reason!

I am also thinking of buying a new fluorescent bulb for my tank because i fear it is far under-powered... I have a 30 gal tank and only one 15 watt bulb (i bought the setup that way).

Is there any problem with putting a higher wattage bulb in my fixture? There is no sticker anywhere saying a max wattage... Also, out of curiosity, why do you need to change your bulb if it is still working fine?
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Old 12-26-2004, 11:34 PM   #6
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Find the ballast for your flourescent bulb. There should be a sticker telling you what bulb(s) you can use. You can only use the bulbs specified on the ballast. Others will not light.

Old bulbs, even though they still light up, only put out a fraction of the light of a new one. Also, the light spectrum may change as the bulb age (I think they get more yellow), which may not be ideal for plants, plus the colour may make your tank/fish look bad.
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Old 01-05-2005, 12:08 PM   #7
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Well everything went well... The fish got spooked at first but adjusted to the darkness after only a few days. It's too early to see if it is affecting my plants, but I'm sure it will be better.

Thanks for the advice!
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