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    Hood lighting

    Hi. I have a question about florescent hood lighting. If it is daytime and there is natural light coming in the room is there any reason to have the light in the hood on as well? Or is natural light perfectly fine? I'm wondering if I should leave my hood light on all day or just use it from dusk until I go to bed. Thanks for any help you can give me. PS- I have plastic plants in my tank.

  • Hmm... in this case, since you only have plastic plants, there is no need for a hooded light at all. I personally prefer it, even before I had plants in my tank. It is more aesthetically pleasing and more natural looking to have light coming from over head the tank. But if you don't want to waste electricity, then that should be fine too. It's all really preference in your case. It's only crucial to have overhead lighting if you have live plants. Be sure that your tank doesn't get too much direct sunlight or even too much indirect sunlight or else you will have green algae problems. One other thing: Fish need a stable day and night cycle. Stability in their environment includes many factors and the day and night cycle is often overlooked by fish keepers. Leaving the light off during the day and only allowing light to come from the sides does not give fish very natural living conditions. Putting the hood on a timer that leaves the light on for 10-12 hours a day is sufficient to provide such stability. Happy fish keeping!

  • So you would recommend keeping the light on all day just to have a stable day and night cycle? This seems to contradict what you said earlier about how you don't even need a hood light if you don't have live plants. I'm confused, which is it? Thanks.

  • Fred their really is nothing wrong with natural light...just not full on direct sunlight...or you will cook your fish...with a little indirect sunlight you should be's just that with straight plastic plants as Iboy mentioned you may get lots of algae in there...however,if your tank is receiving plenty of natural indirect light..and you are happy how things look..then your regular(natural) day and night cycle should take care of you don't really need a hood light...

  • Does florescent light from a hood light help cause algae to form? Or is it only natural light that contributes to algae growth? If you have algae without using a hood light what can you do? Thanks again.

  • Fred where there is light and nutrients ..It will come.. Everyone gets's a natural occurring process in your tank...there are many type and many causes...the key is to balance all things in your tank,like light,nutrients and water conditions to give you what you algae free zone....but everyone battles it in one form or another throughout the tanks life far as what can you do about it...well again you have to look at all those delicately balanced little things that are going on in your tank...sometimes it's easy, sometimes it can be very frustrating...without getting into your tank simply moving it out of the area of high natural light may help....

  • Well, I guess I can see where I was unclear, so let me be more concise. You don't have to leave the light on all day, it is up to you and your aesthetic preferences. But it is recommended you do so, and make it a regular length of 10-12 hours, so that your fish will lead more normal life. You will get algae in your tank no matter what, as Jeff has said. It's just part of the normal aquatic ecosystem. Not having hood lighting and only having ambient light from indirect sun will even cause the growth of brown algae and diatoms. Sorry about the earlier ambiguity, but to finally wrap it up I would encourage you to leave the light on during the day, leaving it on for about 10-12 hours.

  • Okay. Thank you very much for your advice. I'll start leaving the light on more often and for longer. Now I'll have to try to get rid of my algae:-)) Thanks again.

  • Fred, what kind of algae do you have...brown, green, hair, peasoup water? How you rid your tank of algae depends on the type. If it is brown, you want more light, but the right kind. If it is green, you want less. And if you have your tank sitting where direct sunlight hits it, you will have a very hard time getting rid of the green. I think it was mentioned above, but also if in direct sunlight, the temperature of the tank will fluctuate and this is very stressful for the fish. Certain fish like certain algae's and if we know what type of fish you are keeping, we can maybe suggest a species that will help you out with getting rid of it.

  • Hmmmmmmm. Well, I can't really tell what color it is. The stuff on the plants looks brown but I can't really tell what color the stuff on the side of the tank is. It looks like it is greenish-brown. All I got for fish are some tetras. So do you think I need MORE light? It would seem that since it's spring my tank would naturally be getting MORE light than it did when it was first set up (in the winter). I'm 99% sure that my tank receives no direct sunlight. I don't think that is the problem. Thanks.

  • Sounds like you don't have "too" big a problem with the algae, just your everyday run of the mill algae that shows up in a good tank. It is all very normal in the best of water conditions and it doesn't appear too much/too little light is causing major problems for you. On the plants, the easiest way is to just clean them. If the algae is very hard to remove, you can use a very mild solution of bleach water to clean and kill any algae left behind and it will take a little longer for it to grow back. Don't use Soap of any kind. Or another good possibility for your tank with this kind of algae is to find some otto cats. They are very good for cleaning the leaves of the plants because they are small and will remove a good bit of the algae from the glass. They also will get along just fine with your tetras. I looked back but didn't see the size of your tank. If it is big enough, a pleco will work wonders on the glass. They are not much for the brown algae, however, and many varieties grow to be quite large. Some varieties stay on the small side so this may be an option for you. A note of caution: If using the bleachwater method, make sure that it is mild as the bleach will fade your plants. Also make sure that you rinse really well and then dip in a solution of "conditioned" water to remove the rest of the chlorine before putting them back in your tank. Tanks should be kept out of direct sunlight for the various reasons noted above. But the fish do really need the advantages of the light. I usually turn my lights on about 8 a.m. and turn off when I go to bed, and this is no set time. If the green algae looks like it is getting out of hand, I keep the lights off for a couple of days. If the brown algae is becoming a nuisance, I keep the lights on for longer periods. I hope I have not confused you, but if I have not made myself clear, just let me know.

  • Okay. Thank you. It just seems that having to clean my plants every week because of algae is excessive. It takes forever to take out all the plants and scrub them by hand to get off the algae; I have to go leaf by leaf! My tank is only 10 gallons. Would an otto cat be okay for my tank? It would be cool to have a cat of some kind but I don't want it to be/get too big. Thanks again.

  • An otto will do just fine in a 10g. I have one in my 10g and I haven't seen a hint of algae in that tank for many months now. I know it's there cause he has a huge belly. Just remember with a Otto...A fat Otto is a happy Otto. Rose


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