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Q10518 - FAQ: How long do you leave your aquarium light on each day?

Hello and thank you for your inquiry.

The length of time to keep your lights will depend on the type of aquarium you have running.  For a freshwater tank with just fish there really is no set time.  Anywhere from 1-12 hours per day will be fine.  If the tank is in an area where it gets lots of indirect sunlight or simply is a bright room you can keep the lights on for less time.  If it is a very dark room you can keep the lights on longer.  This will also hold true for a fish only saltwater tank.  The longer you keep the lights on, the more algae can grow in the tank.  So if you find you are getting heavy growths of algae you can simply cut back on the amount of time the light is on and/or add algae eaters.

If you have a freshwater planted tank or a reef aquarium most people recommend running your lights for 8-12 hours per day.  This should give your plants or corals plenty of time for photosynthesis. 

No matter what type of tank you have the use of a timer to turn on and off your lights is recommended.  Fish and invertebrates will do much better when they have a regular schedule of when the lights are coming on and going off.

Here is an article about things to know about lighting that might also help out some.

I hope that has helped with your question.  Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.

Keith M.
Marine Depot Customer Service
www.marinedepot.com
www.marinedepot.com/forums/
1-714-385-0080

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Approved Comments...
just what i wanted to know no ifs or buts great. Approved: 6/17/2013
It helped me Approved: 2/25/2013
We were looking for more detail regarding lighting and times and this was perfect Approved: 8/31/2012
i was looking for more detail information regarding reef tanks. moon lights, dawn and dusk and daylight times Approved: 7/11/2012
I want to now how long for coldwater fish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =( EDITORS NOTE: Usually 4-8 hours per day is fine. Approved: 3/18/2012
excellent length and content Approved: 2/22/2012
Very imformative Approved: 11/6/2011
I rated this why because its telling you all the information About what you need to do and how, and what also happens. Approved: 11/4/2011
just what i needed thanks:D Approved: 10/2/2011
Its easy and direct! Approved: 6/3/2011
Awesome info thanks Approved: 2/23/2011
told me directly what i wanted Approved: 8/28/2010
Found it difficult to find answers to such simple answers, all the manuals seem to skip such an easy but important fact Approved: 8/5/2010
Article Details
Created on 1/21/2008.
Last Modified on 1/22/2008.
Last Modified by Keith MacNeil.
Suggested by Darin Chandler
Article has been viewed 31010 times.
Rated 9 out of 10 based on 50 votes.
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