How many lights do I need to grow plants successfully in my aquarium & how long should I leave them on?
As aquarists, we are lucky in that never before has such a wide selection of aquatic plants been available from all corners of the world. There are ferns from shady forest streams and tiny carpeting plants from sun-drenched flood plains. With such varied habitats, it is possible to find suitable plants for any aquarium. To duplicate the lush underwater gardens admired by many fish keepers, it is advisable to have at least two lamps above your aquarium fitted with reflectors to have a greater chance of growing most aquarium plants. Bright green foreground plants and many red plants have the greatest light requirement and are often grown under light intensities more commonly seen in marine aquaria containing corals.
As a general rule of thumb most plants will prosper in the 12 hour photoperiods seen in the tropics, although this may not be linked to outside conditions. For instance, if you are at work during the day it is perfectly acceptable to have your aquarium lights on from 11 am until 11 pm.