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Lights on or off when cycling?

Mollyrosecoburn

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Hi everyone,

I’ve seen quite a lot of contradictory information around the subject of keeping lights on whilst cycling.

Can anyone shed some light on whether keeping the lights on actually effects the bacteria populations’ growth? Does algae use the same nutrients as the bacteria?

I’d love a bit of science behind it if anyone knows anything?

Thanks!
Molly
 

HB AL

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Going back 30+ years I've always started tanks with live rock so I would experience a short cycle and I would have the lights on for 3 or 4 hours during that time. If you are starting with all dead rocks etc... it wont matter much but I would still run them an hour or so a day slowly increasing the time on as the tank gets cycled.
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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I don't think it makes any difference other than the reduction (or maybe delay is a better word) in nuisance algae. I've done it both ways without any discernible difference.
Thanks! I thought that was the case but I’ve seen people say that the bacteria uses Phosphates etc and that the algae growing starves the bacteria so I just wanted to see whether that was actually true or not?
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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Going back 30+ years I've always started tanks with live rock so I would experience a short cycle and I would have the lights on for 3 or 4 hours during that time. If you are starting with all dead rocks etc... it wont matter much but I would still run them an hour or so a day slowly increasing the time on as the tank gets cycled.
Thanks! I’m using marcorock, I started my last tank with a mix of live and dry rocks and I made a rookie error of not checking it first and ended up with a range of different pests! Aptasia from the get go was a bit of a killer!! I thought I’d start clean this time, I have a few bits of rubble in my sump that were in someone else’s sump but that was relatively dry by the time I got it in my tank. I think I’m nearly at the end of my cycle, just waiting for the nitrites to drop, the ammonia is reading as zero now and has been for the past week.
 

Skynyrd Fish

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This video can help.

 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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This video can help.

Thanks I’ll give it a watch. I thought I’d watched every possible BRS video!! Apparently not.
 

Reefnman2

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Personally I would leave them off that way you keep the nuisance algae at bay then once cycled you'll be getting your CUC and a few fish to help combat this algae, this is what I did anyway.
 

JoshO

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I'm currently 2 months into my cycle, I'm adding an hour onto my lighting schedule each week until I reach 8 hours. I have vibrant on standby should any nuisance algae start to grow. I'm doing weekly 10% water changes to make sure nitrate and phosphate are under control, and I'm feeding by hand to make sure about 80% of the food is consumed, reduces waste and keeps the nitrates in check. So far so good!
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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Personally I would leave them off that way you keep the nuisance algae at bay then once cycled you'll be getting your CUC and a few fish to help combat this algae, this is what I did anyway.
Thanks for the reply! I was mainly looking to see if there was any scientific reason for keeping lights on or off that relates to the bacteria population growth.
 
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Victor_C3

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I started my cycle basically asking for an algae problem.

I had 150 pounds of dry rock that I seeded with 60 pounds of live rock. I started feeding one cube of frozen food per day along with 60 ml of a live plankton mix from day 1. About 5 days into the cycle, I added five varieties of macro algae to my sump. The lights have been on for 12 hours per day since the get-go.

About a month into it, I was reading 0’s on all waste products and I added 4 fish and a few handfuls of snails, crabs, and shrimp.

Nuisance algae has mostly been kept at bay, but if I added a few more algae eating fish, I’m sure it’d disappear in a few days.

Things have been going great for about three months now.
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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I started my cycle basically asking for an algae problem.

I had 150 pounds of dry rock that I seeded with 60 pounds of live rock. I started feeding one cube of frozen food per day along with 60 ml of a live plankton mix from day 1. About 5 days into the cycle, I added five varieties of macro algae to my sump. The lights have been on for 12 hours per day since the get-go.

About a month into it, I was reading 0’s on all waste products and I added 4 fish and a few handfuls of snails, crabs, and shrimp.

Nuisance algae has mostly been kept at bay, but if I added a few more algae eating fish, I’m sure it’d disappear in a few days.

Things have been going great for about three months now.
Thanks for the reply!

I’ve been using Seachem Stability as my bacteria seed and I put a shrimp in for a couple of days at the start to up the ammonia level and then I have done a couple of ghost feeds. The ammonia seemed to drop really quick and has been at 0 ever since including a few days after the feeds so that seems to have stabilised relatively quickly. It’s the Nitrite I’m struggling with, it’s been at about 2-3ppm for nearly two weeks so I just wanted to see whether the lights could be playing a part at all or maybe the bacteria I used didn’t have much of the nitrifying bacteria?

I have Chaeto in my sump that’s lit 24/7 too, could that have any impact?
 

JoshO

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Having some algae build-up before is not necessarily a bad thing. It means you can get the clean up crew going.
You can but at the same time it means the nitrate and phosphate are being taken up by the algae and not by the bacteria, which slows down your cycle
 

HB AL

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As I mentioned earlier I would run the lights for a few hours or so as it's not gonna really prolong your cycle if at all for any noticeable amount of time. Having them on for a little while will help in the sense that what little algae grows say in a 2 to 4 hour time span the lights are on will help reduce phosphates a little and also diatom blooms from potential silicates leaching out from stuff in the tank or whatever else the different types of algae feed on. I'm not a scientist but in all the 38 years of cycling tanks and experiencing all problems that might arise, I have not had a true "case of the uglies" in the last 20 years with any of the tanks I've set up in that time. Only thing I wish for is that the internet and these great message boards existed back in 1982 when i was 12 cuz there is a wealth of knowledge now making it so much easier to start up in this great hobby. And as it evolves I'm still learning things about this hobby. Whatever direction you go with lights on or off while cycling isn't gonna cause you any major issues that you can learn from.
 

Katrina71

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I left mine on.
 

Victor_C3

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Thanks for the reply!

I’ve been using Seachem Stability as my bacteria seed and I put a shrimp in for a couple of days at the start to up the ammonia level and then I have done a couple of ghost feeds. The ammonia seemed to drop really quick and has been at 0 ever since including a few days after the feeds so that seems to have stabilised relatively quickly. It’s the Nitrite I’m struggling with, it’s been at about 2-3ppm for nearly two weeks so I just wanted to see whether the lights could be playing a part at all or maybe the bacteria I used didn’t have much of the nitrifying bacteria?

I have Chaeto in my sump that’s lit 24/7 too, could that have any impact?
From my past experience, chaeto won’t grow well if it is lit 24 hours a day. You’ll likely find you get better growth with a 12-hour photoperiod.
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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From my past experience, chaeto won’t grow well if it is lit 24 hours a day. You’ll likely find you get better growth with a 12-hour photoperiod.
It’s a really cheap light that I’m using at the moment until my grow light comes so I doubt it’ll be getting much useful light! I’ll switch to the 12 hour when it arrives, thanks for the heads up!
 
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Mollyrosecoburn

Mollyrosecoburn

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From my past experience, chaeto won’t grow well if it is lit 24 hours a day. You’ll likely find you get better growth with a 12-hour photoperiod.
It’s a really cheap light that I’m using at the moment until my grow light comes so I doubt it’ll be getting much useful light! I’ll switch to the 12 hour when it arrives, thanks for the heads up!
 
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