Aquarium lights

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Jan 27, 2023
Hello. I currently have a 28 gallon tank with an aqueon t8 fluorescent light. It is too bright for my black skirt tetras. Anytime I turn them on they will hide behind my plants but once the light goes out they will come on out and swim. So, in order to see them eat I have to have the aquarium light off with my room light on in order for them to eat while I can still see them some. Well, with this set up I can’t see the food in the tank so I can’t tell if any is left over or not so I am wanting a light that is dimmer for them. I did stack some dvd cases up on the aquarium lid in order to get the light about 6 to 10” higher which helped some but this isn’t a good long term solution. Would the aqueon color max be a better solution or should I get a light that is dimmer than it? Thanks for any help.

Can you grow some floating plants on the surface to reduce the light?
Water Sprite, red root floaters, and duckweed all make good surface plants.

Stress from tank lights coming on when the room is dark can be an issue. Fish don't have eyelids and don't tolerate going from complete dark to bright light (or vice versa) instantly.

In the morning open the curtains or turn the room light on at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the tank light on. This will reduce the stress on the fish and they won't go from a dark tank to a bright tank instantly.

At night turn the room light on and then turn the tank light off. Wait at least 30 minutes (or more) before turning the room light out. This allows the fish to settle down for the night instead of going from a brightly lit tank to complete darkness instantly.

Try to have the lights on at the same time each day. Use a timer if possible.

If you don't have live plants in the tank, you only need the light on for a few hours in the evening. You might turn them on at 4 or 5pm and off at 9pm.

If you do have live plants in the tank, you can have the lights on for 8-16 hours a day but the fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness to rest. Most people with live plants in their aquarium will have the lights on for 8-12 hours a day.
I will try this. I don’t have real plants in tank so I usually just turn tank light on to watch them feed and swim around. The light may be on for a hour a day. I was also looking at the hygger full spectrum light where I can set it at lowest brightness and have a timer on it but mainly like it for the 5 different brightness it has on it.
Get a tiger lilly. Throw the bulb in to the aquarium and in a few months your tank might look like this.



Perfect for reducing the light down.
You can use plastic plants and let them float. You can buy plastic water lily leaves that float around and provide a bit of shade, but virtually all plastic plants float.

A lot of tetras come from black water (tannin stained) with lots of overhanging vegetation and trees. They don't get exposed to bright light and the light they get builds up and decreases gradually as the sun comes up and goes down.

If you want to watch the fish eating, you should have the light on for an hour or so before you feed them. Otherwise leave the lights off and feed them. The fish can see in darker conditions than people can, so room light is usually sufficient for them. But if you want to watch them and see them eating the food, having the tank light on will make it easier for you.
Will look for plastic leaves. They do see the pellets when their light is off. I have 6 of them and I know at least 3 will hit top of the water. Their fins look black too when it is dark. When lights come on they lighten up a lot. I have some neon tetras and noticed one getting food from the top but only one time. They tend to stick close to bottom during feeding and get the food that goes to the back of aquarium. My black skirts tend to like the pellets better than the flakes. I gave them frozen baby brime shrimp the other day and believe the neons went after it more than the black fins. Almost as if the black fins couldn’t see it until they swim right into it. Next time I will get brime shrimp and not the baby brime shrimp.
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