View Full Version : Best types of Lights??

02-06-2003, 04:55 PM
I was just wondering what are the best types of lights to use for Discus.
I just got my fixtures and am using the T8 size, and havent really seen alot of post on this subject. And how many lights should one use? I have 2 48
inch lights atm and wonder if adding another would be overkill?
THanks in advance
Bob :inquisitive:

02-07-2003, 11:05 AM
Depends on how much space you are lighting! I have a 2x 4' fixture on top of my 33G! Way too much light in one way! I wipe the tank daily for algae.

Really, I would only need 1x 2' but I do like the brightness for watching the discus. Great Breeders, such as Cary, only use room light so I have heard!

O and T8's are fine! I prefer them over T12!

02-08-2003, 02:08 PM
Generally two 48 inch lights are more than adequate for viewing discus in a 55 gallon tank

02-08-2003, 09:29 PM
Thanks for the info!!

02-08-2003, 11:49 PM
If you are only concerned with the appearance the lights give to your fish, and not worrying about plants, I would tend to gt with a bulb in the 6700K and up range. It is all about the appearance you like, the 6700 range is a good compromise and gives a nice blue/white appearance. 2 48" bulbs will be plenty. I would experiment with different types and see what you like, stay away from the plant bulbs unless you like red/yellow type of light.


Don ;D

02-09-2003, 08:18 PM
Hi there,

I thought I'd input something here, I have a 4 ft 55gal and I have a 40W, 10000k single bar 48 inch light which is not enough in my opinion. It gives a good blue mood which is hard to get used to at first, but it's nice once you are used to it, but I think it is too dim for plants. Also it maked reds look purple or maroon colour. If I had reds or orange fish I would look for dailight bulbs (which I am thinking hard about now...)


02-09-2003, 11:14 PM
I decided I'd rather save the $300 and spend it on more fish, so I have 2 4' commercial lights from Home Depot above my 125. They're actually so bright I leave one off most of the time, and if i leave them on overnight...algae overtakes the sides of the tank. I build my own fixture out of wood to hold them and I am quite pleased with the result...all for about $30. I think 1 4' light would more than suffice for a 55.

02-11-2003, 12:02 AM
I have 130watts of power compact flourescent lighting above my plant tank with nine 3-4" discus 55 gallons. the plants control the algae. i wipe the glass with a magnet every other day before water change, my discus seem to thrive in the light, they all beg for food even after a big feeding with full bellies. maybe they just like me???


07-24-2003, 07:26 PM
I have two 4' bulbs from a retail shop (tri-phosphor) which are 36W each. I have a major algae problem and i don't know if it's the lights or a nutrient imbalance (i'm guessing it's the latter) but then it's a 70G tank, which means i have about 1W per gallon, which is REALLY low, which should mean i have no algae problem right?

thanks for any help..!

07-24-2003, 08:11 PM
Hi Luca:
Clean the tank and only turn the lights on when you are home and want to view the fish. See if that clears up the algae.

07-24-2003, 09:18 PM
Luca: Does the tank get irregular amounts of lighting? this can lead to algae problems, also, believe or not..but too little light has also been known to cause algae as well, you could try a SAE to clear up the tank, or you could put in some fast growing plants to absorb the nutrients. Hope this helps!

07-25-2003, 09:52 AM
Algae grows in nearly any condition. Just add light and you will have algae growing. The important thing is to control the nutrients (water changes work well) and wiping the tank every second day. I have my lights on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only algae that I have in my tanks is where I cant get at. ;)

So your question,
i don't know if it's the lights or a nutrient imbalance ? I would say both combined!

07-27-2003, 08:24 PM
I feel really frustrated because i've already got a lot of things suggested here.

-I have a 24hr timer so the lights are on approx 8 hrs / day (will reduce it as per carol's advice and see what happens)

-I have fast growing plants (ambulia) , and i have HEAPS of it, but nothing's changed.

-I have been doing gravel cleans every 2nd or 3rd day to remove the algae build up but it just returns, i would've thought the excess nutrients would have removed now.

Strangely the ambulia is the one that grows the best, the others dwindle, get covered in algae and die. The thing is, i don't want to increase the lighting wattage if it's only gonna make it worse.

07-27-2003, 11:42 PM
Carol knows nothing about plants and planted tanks. I only know how to get rid of algae in bare tanks. Listen to the folks who have planted tanks. My advice will probably kill your plants :-\

09-11-2003, 03:04 PM
I can only tell you what I read in an aquarium plant book. It stated to put your lights on a timer and have it turn off for at least 2 hours in the middle of the day. It states that your plants won't mind the time without the lights but your algae won't like it. I just read this yesterday...so I haven't had a chance to try it myself yet. Let me know if your try it and h
ow it works. :)


09-14-2003, 03:14 AM

The reason why lighting brake is used is to increase the level of available CO2. Plants turn O2 to CO2 when it's dark. So CO2 levels grow and plants have something to "eat" also after noon. System has basically no efect when additional CO2 is used. I used lighting brake for 6 months or so and it kind of worked. Still it is easier to add CO2 from a bottle than to "cheat" the nature (which we basically try to do by turning 1 day into 2 shorter ones). But I know many people who have experimented and usually this system is not so good.
The first thing to consider is that your room must be really dark during this brake time because with usual amount of light we have in our rooms during daytime plants can not produce CO2. Instead they continue producing O2 but so slow that it gives an advantage to algae. The thing to aim for with lighting brake is to make plants grow faster so they could outcompete algae. Best way would be to add CO2. In most cases it helps but not always since the problem is not always with CO2. All the nutrition must be in balance. When there is too much light, algae will appear. When there is too little light, algae will appear. When you feed too much plants can not use all the available nitrates etc and algae will appear. If you feed too little bacteria has nothing to feed on and as a result plants will not grow but again algae will. Seems like impossible but really isn't. First thing to do - add CO2. Then check article about nutrition in Phil's section and measure your water. When you find something out of order fix it. This is a way to success with a planted tank. And some w/c naturally.

Another thing I found out using lighting brake was that plants need longer time to get used to this system than algae. So for some time there can be a hudge algae problem. For this reason most stop using the system.

In many cases people have got algae problem because they use too much lighting (too long time or too powerful or both). Too strong light will also scear off your fish into hiding. Too long period (over 14 h per day) gives algae also an advantage. We all want to watch our fish in the mourning and also in the evening. For this reason many use too long lighting period. We have to consider that there are so many different types of algae that there is "something for every need" ;) This means that no matter which way conditions change there is a kind of algae that can take advantage of this situation. Even too old bulbs can cause algae problem.
With discus tanks the problem usually is caused by feeding . Bacteria can not process so much and plants can not use so much that is put into the water with food. So w/c are necessary. Then again it will be costly to add special nutrients with every w/c so some kind of optimum must be used. Also discus don't like strong illumination so can not use optimum for plants. So perhaps the best way would be to grow plants that are not so capricious, which do not need much nutrients, much light. Then fish will not be shy, plants can grow OK and algae problem can be kept under control.

Only guidelines can be given without more information. So check your water parameters and then it is possible to find out why algae is "the king" 8).
OK, much talk but not so much useful information.

Best of luck with plants (and algae ;D)

09-14-2003, 03:27 AM
What comes to the heading "Best types of lights" then there are two ways - costly and cheaper. Cheaper one is usually used- luminophore bulbs. In some places work even better than more expensive solutions. There was a nice test done in Finland. Perhaps if there is interest I could persuade the person who did it to publish the results in SD? This test has saved a lot of money for me I can say. It came out that "special" aquarium bulbs are not always the best ones.

09-21-2003, 12:15 PM
My tank is 55gal and i have single 40watt hitachi aquarium lamp tube.As i dont have plants its enough for me and i only use it while cleaning the tank.Other wise i am on room light.

09-22-2003, 11:08 AM
I tried the lighting break for 4-6 months and it actually made the algae growth worse. However, I use C02 injection so following what aix posted, it doesnt make a difference because I already have C02.

Id only worry about lighting levels and duration if I am growing plants. In my bb tanks, I have whatever cheapest light I can find 24/7.