Saltwater Aquarium Lighting vs Algae


Are you sick of algae in your aquarium? Your saltwater aquarium lighting may be your problem…

Algae is inevitable in any saltwater aquarium and will always be present as part of the natural ecosystem, however, there are steps you can take as part of your ongoing saltwater aquarium maintenance schedule to decrease the rate and density of growth. There are several types of algae however the most common found in a saltwater aquarium is brown algae otherwise known as golden diatom algae.

When I first started my saltwater aquarium I had a regular build-up of brown algae, which was unsightly and annoying. I tried many different things to reduce the rate of algae growth and today I am proud to say I have very little algae growth between my regular cleans. There are many other aspects of your aquarium that may be causing the algae such as water quality, overfeeding, etc however many people do not realize that their saltwater aquarium lighting could be the culprit.

The duration, strength, and quality of your saltwater aquarium lighting play a huge part in not only the health of your livestock but also the number of algae that is produced. Saltwater aquarium lighting is designed to provide the correct spectrum of light for optimum growth of livestock whilst minimizing the growth of unsightly algae. There are several factors relating to your saltwater aquarium lighting that may be contributing to an increased level of algae growth, these include:

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✅ Best Marine LED Aquarium Light Adjustable Color Spectrum and Flow Mode

You won’t be disappointed – The remote control can also be used to override separate color intensities by single percentage increments, and easily resume normal programming when done. The remote can also do something that is novel that can’t be done with traditional light fixtures. There are four settings at the bottom of the remote for dynamic effects. These are partial cloud cover, partial sunlight, moonlight and thunderstorm. These settings continuously change the light intensity which allows the viewer to observe the inhabitants under shifting light conditions. It’s very cool to see the corals under a variety of lighting changes. The unit has two pre-programmed timers for light duration and the ability to create two more programs of your own design. They also feature a ramping on and off of lights so that the change is gradual rather than instant

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✅ Best WILLS Dimmable Full Spectrum Planted Aquarium Led Lights

Powerful Light – These are powerful entry level lights. Absolutely no bells and whistles. Can’t individually run whites and blues with a timer like the via spectra. Need to mount them a minimum 14” off the water to have the spectrum mix enough to get good coverage. Watch the BRS black box light showdown before buying to help make your decision.

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✅ Best RGB Color Changing Remote Control Underwater Submersible LED Lights Strip

It’s great that you can dim the light during the night … – They are great light tube. The plug and receiver have a bit of a cheap feel to it but it seems fine. It’s basically an LED strip inside a glass tube capped off with rubber. It’s design is very similar to a submersible heater. The instructions are pretty easy and submersible part of the power cord is pretty lengthy. The lights themselves are bright and has nice colors.

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✅ Best Submersible LED Aquarium Crystal Glass LED Lights Bar

Works great! Well made – Excellent piece of equipment. This Light has many different colors and easily done what was intended to do. This light works perfectly, and is a fantastic addition to any tank, the light colours all look fantastic and depending on the colours of your fish some even glow!

Old tubes

Ideally, you should replace your saltwater aquarium lighting tubes every 6-12 months. This can be an expensive exercise however the level of light given diminishes rather quickly. As the lighting tubes age, they begin to produce a quality of light outside the ideal spectrum which fuels algae growth. There are many LED options on the market today that can overcome this problem

Too much natural light

If your aquarium is situated in a location that receives too much natural light, this may also be a problem. Natural sunlight sits within the red spectrum and differs greatly from artificial saltwater aquarium lighting. if your aquarium receives too much natural light then this may be resulting in abnormal levels of algae. It is highly important that you factor this in when choosing the location for your saltwater aquarium as moving a full tank is almost impossible.

I placed mine in the entrance of my home and my front door has long windows on either side so I temporarily placed black plastic against them to see if there was a difference in algae growth, which there was so I purchased some nice block out blinds. They look great on the windows and protect my prized possession.

Correct strength and mix of tubes

There are several types of lighting tubes available that provide light within different spectrum’s and they are usually mixed to provide the optimum level of lighting and the look you are after. It will change depending on your aquarium, livestock, and personal preference. It is best to consult your local fish store expert to assist or see the manual of your aquarium.

I personally have a red sea max 250 saltwater aquarium which has 6 T5 fluorescent tubes. I have found a good mix using 4 ATI Blue Plus in combination with 2 Actinic White. I find this gives me the blue tones that I prefer whilst still keeping my corals happy. Remember if you are changing your saltwater aquarium lighting configuration, it may upset your livestock for a short time.

Duration of saltwater aquarium lighting

Your saltwater aquarium does not need any more than around 10 hours of artificial light per day to keep your livestock healthy. If you are experiencing increased levels of algae growth try adjusting the timer of your saltwater aquarium lighting down an hour or two. It might not seem like long however it can make a difference.

I hope you can learn from my experiences with saltwater aquarium lighting… that reminds me I need to replace my tubes!

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