Lighting Recommendation?

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Aquarium Advice Apprentice
Apr 24, 2017
I put tape over my light to prevent algae. The light burned through the tape. I guess I need a new strategy.

My Nest thermostat has a presence sensing feature. When nobody is home, it goes into eco mode. I presume I could get a smart plug for my aquarium light and add that to the routine in Google Home. The tank light would automatically turn off when nobody was home. Would that help the algae? Would the fish care? Is this a horrible idea?

Or should I get a whole new "smart light" that I could dim and program and change colors?

What other strategies can you suggest for making my tank bright and beautiful without growing algae?

I have a 10 gal tank with 3 brilliant rasboras and a pleco and some java fern lace.


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I would suggest putting as much detail and images as you can here. Tell us all water parameters and what you've done so far.

Are you cycled and type of algae.

Generally algae is controlled by less light (reason for the tape I expect) and what you have in the tank.

My suggestion is to limit the hours you have the light switched on and get floating plants along with manually removing algae and a few extra water changes to remove excess nutrients.

Duckweed grows almost too much and once it's in, you'll never get it out, so much that you'll be manually removing it and probably come here asking how to eradicate it lol. Although, it offers great light reduction, takes a lot of nutrients away from algae and looks great when.

You could try other floating plants but some are harder to grow. For the time being. You could add fake floating plants just to break the light. Although I presume you need to reduce nutrients too

On another note. A plec will not cope in a 10 gal tank as it grows, especially if it's male. Presuming a shop told you they are great for algae control.

Once the tank is settled I would suggest some nerite snails as an alternative to algae control
Also rasporas usually need to be in a bigger shoal.

That size of tank is going to be very hard to keep any real number of fish in. Although, it is perfect for either shrimp or a male Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish)

They are beautiful fish with big personalities.

Anyway. If you can come back with as many details as you possibly can. Have you cycled your tank, what are your water readings and what algae it is (even just images). Someone here will be able to help more.

Don't panic about it all. Keeping fish isn't always easy but it's so rewarding!
Duct tape works great for dimming aquarium lights. Duct tape is water and heat resistant.

That looks like electrical insulation tape which is heat resistant, but not water resistant. It probably just lost adhesion due to being in humid environment rather that got burned through by the light.
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Post pictures of the algae so we can identify it.
Post a picture showing the entire tank too (with the light on) so we can see how bright it is.

As mentioned above, floating plants are a great way to reduce algae. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) is a great one to use, or Duckweed, which I love but most people hate because it gets into power filters.

Turning the lights off during the day will mess up the plants you have and upset the fish's circadian rhythm. You want the light son for a steady and constant 8-16 hours per day (depending on algae growth), but all fish and plants need 8 hours of darkness so a maximum of 16 hours of light per day. Most tanks only need 8-10 hours of light per day.


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 the light unit is programmable, have it on a low setting for the first 30-60 minutes and increase the brightness over time. Do the opposite in the evening and gradually reduce the light for the last 30-60 minutes before lights out.

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.


Most aquarium plants like a bit of light and if you only have the light on for a couple of hours a day, they struggle. If the light doesn't have a high enough wattage they also struggle. Try having the tank lights on for 10-12 hours a day.

If you get lots of green algae then reduce the light by an hour a day and monitor the algae over the next 2 weeks.
If you don't get any green algae on the glass then increase the lighting period by an hour and monitor it.
If you get a small amount of algae then the lighting time is about right.

Some plants will close their leaves up when they have had sufficient light. Ambulia, Hygrophilas and a few others close their top set of leaves first, then the next set and so on down the stem. When you see this happening, wait an hour after the leaves have closed up against the stem and then turn lights off.

Plant lights should have equal amount of red and blue light and a bit less green light.
I have green stuff growing on my rocks and glass and plants look sickly. It did seem better when I put the tape on. I think reducing the light will definitely help. I contacted the manufacturer of my light and they said it was not dimmable. I think something with a dimmer or different options would let me experiment and dial in the right amount if light.


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