Will Aquarium Plants Grow Under LED Lights
By Jecinta Muturi @aquariawise
Aquarium plants are the same as any other plant. They require light for photosynthesis, and LED full spectrum aquarium lighting is perhaps the best in the market for this purpose.
Depending on the plant species and the tank you have, the LED lights you’ll need may vary slightly in make and design, but overall they are ideal and readily available.
The option available in the market today even incorporate unique technologies, like the moonlight shade, which helps your fish sleep at night, accentuate the aesthetics of your tank, and still help your plants grow.
Compared to other aquarium lighting options, such as the T5, T8, and T12, LED lights consume less energy, make low heat, and put out more light that will grow most aquatic plants.
They also last for years without needing bulb change, and the quality of light does not change.
However, LED aquarium lights from different manufacturers come with varying quality chips, so you need to make sure the fixture your get is top quality for best results.
What LED Lights are Good for Growing Aquarium Plants
Most LED chip manufacturers these days have offerings exclusively for growing plants, including indoor decorative species, horticultural, and aquarium plants.
The phosphor blend for these lights is tweaked to produce a light spectrum that increases chlorophyll production and is strong enough to penetrate aquarium water.
I use a Nicrew full-spectrum light with white, red, blue, and green lights, though for an average freshwater fish tank with easy plants, white light with a color temperature anywhere from 6500K to 7000K will work since it best mimics daylight.
I only prefer the Nicrew light because of the full spectrum white and R, G, B options since I do not have to worry about balancing the colors in my tank.
My plants will benefit from all the colors in the fixture at the price of one.
However, with a tank that’s too deep, you may have some challenges with this or any other fixture you get because of light intensity.
A further hurdle is most manufacturers don’t indicate the light intensity (PAR) of aquarium lights, so it’s impossible to tell how deep the rays from a fixture will penetrate your tank.
For this reason, I recommend new planted aquarium owners start with low and medium light plants in a shallow tank and gradually test different fixtures intensity as they gradually move up to high-light plants.
Anubias, Cryptocoryne, and ferns are all easy low light plants you can start with.
One last thing you may need to consider is the light spread. Most aquarium lights have about a foot spread directly below them, so if you have a tank that’s longer or deeper than this, add a combination of different lights for better success.
As well, remember to match the light you get to your aquarium length to ensure your entire tank and all your plants are covered.
What Color Light is Best for Aquarium Plants
The color of your aquarium lights may not be the only determining factor on how well your plants will grow, but it certainly is a factor.
Essetially, any white light temperature (color) will help your plants grow, especially when starting easy, low light plants, albeit for better results, full-spectrum light with a temperature anywhere from 6500K to 7000K will suffice.
White light that is 6500K best mimics daylight.
That said, the red, green, and blue shades in a typical LED light also come with some benefits that they’ll perhaps miss when using a white light full-spectrum fluorescent.
A mix of blue and red lights help in leaf and stem development because they are readily absorbed, and despite green light being the least efficient wavelength in photosynthesis, it’s still necessary and useful.
Moreover, green light is beneficial to your sight in reference to a decorative fish tank.
Can White LED Light Grow Aquarium Plants
Any regular bulb that produces a yellow to blue glow is pretty much white light. And yes, it can be used to grow aquarium plants, but the efficacy will depend a lot on the color temperature.
In the range of white tones, you want a light bulb with a temperature anywhere between 6500K and 7000K (daylight), which best mimics sunlight.
In light bulb lingua, this bulb would be any LED described either as natural light or daylight .
A lamp of 2700K to 3500K is classed as warm white light, and a bulb in the middle of the spectrum will have a color code cool, neutral, or bright white(3500K to 4900K).
Now, if by white LED light you mean a warm white light bulb (2700K to 3500K) or cool neutral light (3500K to 4900K), it’s perhaps not the best for aquarium use.
Any white LED light is also only as good as the lamp’s intensity and range and the type of plants you intend to grow in your fish tank.
Are Grow Lights Good for Aquarium Plants
Grow lights are used to provide a light spectrum similar to sunlight to boost terrestrial plants’ health and development. As such, from a light quality perspective, they are useable in a planted aquarium.
However, you will need to consider a lot more than the light spectrum to use a grow-light in your aquarium.
First, you will need to make sure the lamp is useable with your fish tank with regard to fixtures and accessories. The light needs to fit over your entire aquarium.
You also need to make sure the lamp doesn’t produce too much heat seeing that you don’t want anything raising the temperature in your aquarium water.
Since too much light stimulates algae growth in aquariums, you don’t want a grow light with too much intensity as well, more than your aquatic plants need.
Still, you may find grow lights that are not strong enough to reach the bottom of your tank, in which case, a conventional aquarium light that’s strong enough would be better.
Thats all for this post.
Happy fish keeping🐠🐟🐡.