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Lighting Siestas and Dual Siestas


Streetwise
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I wanted to add a bit more about why I like dual siestas, but I thought the topic should be separate from the Fluval 3.0 lighting thread.

My dual siesta reasoning is 90% human, and 10% for a little bonus in organic soil Walstad tanks. I am not trying to promote it as a special formula for fish rooms or all tanks.

I rejoined the hobby in 2018, after running marine tanks for a while until 2011, and under-gravel, plastic plant tanks as a kid. I spent a lot of time researching lighting, especially after I setup my first organic soil tank, and started to understand the balancing act between light, decomposition, algae, and plants. The corner case I was trying to solve involved the following:

Organic soil Walstad tanks, bedroom setup, weekday enjoyment vs weekend enjoyment, and algae vs plants.

I wanted to be able to grow my plants, let plants out-compete algae, and see what was happening when I was in the room, without disrupting anything. I could setup a weekday schedule, which was frustrating for weekends, or the opposite. There was no way to do a consistent 6-8 hour schedule without missing a ton of tank-viewing time.

Before we got Fluval Pro Mode, I watched a few of Bentley Pascoe's videoes about using timers to trick the lights into more control points by resetting to midnight on a power-cycle. I also started reading Diana Walstad's book at the same time, where she discusses soil decomposition, CO2, plants, and algae, as well as siestas.

My understanding is that plants ramp up photosynthesis faster than algae, so every slice of darkness-to-light favors the plants for a certain amount of time. In the meantime, with an organic soil substrate, the darkness allows for more production of CO2 from decomposition. The CO2 from decomposition is much lower than CO2 injection, but it is real.

Once we got Pro Mode, I tried to find a way to slice up the time schedule so that I could get the equivalent of 6-8 hours of sustained light in a broken-up format, so I could wake up with my tanks at 07:00, enjoy them throughout the day, and have one hour of 1-2% blue from 21:00-22:00. I am getting 6-8 hours of normal light in 14-15 hours.

That is what I tried to do with those schedules. I had to use triangle peaks rather than sustained peaks, since we don't have enough set points, but if you were to slide those triangles together, and overlap the middle ramp-ups, and ramp-downs, it would look more like a regular 6-8 hour schedule.

I measured the pH changes with my Apex, along with temperature changes. Cheers

 

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How well would this work with standard cheap on-or-off lights? I have a timer I can schedule. My human waking day runs from 7am to 10pm at least. I don't have time during the workday to enjoy the tanks, so I was thinking a simple split would work, half the light in the morning, half in the evening, a "dim" period in the middle--my apartment gets a fair bit of natural light, most of the tanks benefit from some of that, the fish aren't in a windowless garage or anything, but not enough to grow aquarium plants.

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Hi Brandy,
I bought an Apex when I did because the 2018 smart plug market was frustrating, especially if you wanted to use Apple vs Google or Amazon. Now you can do so much with smart plugs for whatever platform you choose.

I focused on getting the time schedule right (see the other thread), and then dialing in power per peak to let plants win over algae. Timing for me, power for plants vs algae. I do this via the FluvalSmart app for my current setup.

Cheers

Edited by Streetwise
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I totally missed that thread, not having a fluval light. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

I really appreciated @StephenP2003's advice to dial in ferts first and add light slowly, something I worked out the hard way I think. Pity my ferts are not automated like my lights, a robot is always more consistent!

So, without power adjustment, this technique is a bit more limited...I really only have raw hours to work with, and distance to water surface. I have heard of lowering light intensity temporarily by altering the height to be further from the water surface, or blocking some LEDs with tape during the start up, but I have never tried that.

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18 hours ago, Streetwise said:

Apex

I looked this bad boy up, because I'd never heard of it and always gotta have all the gadgets. But holy crap, that's a hefty price tag! Looking at the data you can collect and graph though, this might be a long-term wish list item if I ever go saltwater...seems to be touted as a marine gadget given the salinity and ORP probes.

 

Anyways, I have a pretty long photoperiod on my tanks since I work from home (with or without covid) and want to see them. I started off with lots of various color rampups/downs but settled on simplicity.

 

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  • 2 months later...

@Streetwise What's your experience with running your lights on the Siesta schedule? Have you noticed any reduction in algae, any changes in plant growth? Or, mainly the same as a single photoperiod but you get more time to enjoy your tanks?

Hope it's not poor form on my part to bump up an older thread, but sink you linked to it.. 😉 

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@Jessica. When this forum was created, I made an effort to create some FAQ threads that would be useful and avoid drama. I appreciate your reply.

I have been running my dual siesta schedule for about a year. I have achieved stability. I don't think siestas or dual siestas provide amazing gains, but they don't have any down-sides.

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11 hours ago, Jessica. said:

@Streetwise What's your experience with running your lights on the Siesta schedule? Have you noticed any reduction in algae, any changes in plant growth? Or, mainly the same as a single photoperiod but you get more time to enjoy your tanks?

Hope it's not poor form on my part to bump up an older thread, but sink you linked to it.. 😉 

I love it when these previous threads come back to life. A lot has happened since @Streetwise first posted his work on lighting schedules.

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Let me try to follow up with a little more information. I think my schedules have helped with algae balance, but I was tweaking power levels at the same time that I was working on the timing. I did most of this when I had just one tank, so all the subsequent tanks have run the same same schedule from day zero, with power scaled up or down, and they have avoided algae issues that I had to work thru on my first tank. The one exception is the tank in my kitchen/dining room which gets way too much window light, even with blinds and drapes.

Most of my tanks are in my bedroom, and during the months of working at home, it was really nice to be able to wake up with my tanks, and get to enjoy them at night. The nice side-effect is seeing more of my loaches and Otos during the siestas.

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25 minutes ago, Streetwise said:

Yup. Nighttime is the biggest reset. You know more about biochemistry than I do, so drop some science. I think you mentioned that photosynthesis runs in reverse at night.

As you can see from @Streetwise 's graph above the pH is lowest in the early morning every day. This is because during the nighttime photosynthesis runs in reverse and plants take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide with the peak build up of CO2 being in the early morning thereby lowering the pH. Once the lights are on the plants begin to photosynthesize and thus begin to consume carbon dioxide and release O2 again.

It is one thing to read about it in books, but to measure it in your own aquarium and see that it not only works in general, but also to confirm that even the triple peaks of the lighting match the triple peaks of the pH is really educational. That alone just about justifies getting the Apex.

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  • 1 month later...

Is there an optimal hour gap to aim for? I currently run lights on my two main tanks on a single timer from 11 am to 11 pm. Both have bearable amounts of algae and good plants growth, both have inert substrate (pool filter sand and black diamond blasting sand). Any marginal benefits beyond adjusting viewing hours? Worth a shot anyway if I report back? 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

I keep getting more out of Diana Walstad's book. Unfortunately, I cannot quote Figure XI-2, but it looks like a slice of my Apex graphs. She writes:

“I measured CO2 levels in a tank (using a LaMotte test kit and the titrimetric method for free CO2) on 2 separate days.

One day, the tank got continuous light from 7 AM (starting Time Point on graph) to 9 PM (the ‘14 hr’ Time Point). I made my last CO2 measurement at 8 PM, one hr before I turned off the tank lights.

The next day, I monitored the tank again, except that I gave it a 4 hr afternoon siesta (turned off overhead lights from noon to 4 PM).

I obtained a similar pattern with other tanks.

With the Siesta Regimen, though, CO2 is regenerated when the lights are off. Indeed, Fig XI-2 shows that CO2 rebounds almost to pre-dawn levels. My explanation for the rapid CO2 rebound is that rampant plant photosynthesis precedes the 4 hr siesta. Morning photosynthesis oxygenates the water, and in turn, stimulates bacterial metabolism. Bacteria quickly (within minutes) respond favorably to oxygenation. Nothing else explains such rapid CO2 regeneration.

The Siesta Regimen gives plants the long daylength they need and saves electricity. It provides light when plants have enough CO2 so that they can actually use the light. Finally, it reduces algae’s “afternoon advantage” over plants.”

Excerpt From: Diana Louise Walstad. “Ecology of the Planted Aquarium.” Apple Books. https://books.apple.com/us/book/ecology-of-the-planted-aquarium/id661029773

Edited by Streetwise
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  • 7 months later...

I’m real interested in this method mostly for viewing/ feeding schedule but now I’m hearing of better algae control and much better plant growth. I will not be able to understand things like O2, PH dips, light intensity  I don’t know all that science jazz. I try and will continue to try to but it’s like Charlie browns teacher talking to me. I think in terms like algae/ plant growth good/ bad adjust. 
ive set 2 different set ups 1st one is with a Fluval plant 3.0 24” on a 29G I have light hanging 4” off top glass. Trying for a darkwater set up. 1A41634D-C0B4-4355-A036-DAAB076B8BA0.png.62a125a083014702be735b8ac50fbe18.png

2nd set up is for 7 other planted tanks, all different sizes, light types, amount of plants, ect… figured start the same adjust each as needed.75B2239E-88ED-49F8-A130-08D3999ED594.png.7faa01fb6ee5db05ef6fcd344207ef5b.png

Im gonna give it a couple weeks and see what happens unless a major algae breakout or something happens.

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I wanted to share for low tech folks not using fertz to know they can improve plant growth too. I use hygger lights on most of my tanks non programmable. I only use the dim feature because I feel it’s rude to startle my fish awake or abruptly shut the light off.  5-bare bottom 2-less than an inch of gravel. All my plants are tied to something glued to something or suction cupped to walls. I do not use fertz….yet.  My plants are always healthy but grow painfully slow. Very little algae. I started using the siesta method a bit over 2 weeks ago and what an impact it has had. 7-12 on 12-5 off 5-8 on. This is 8 hours. Prior to this I was using 10 full power one dim 30m wake up 30 min wind down.  During off time I flip my light up and prop with a sponge to shine on my pothos instead of the tank. My plants are doing phenomenal growing fast for the first time in my life turning vibrant red and I even had hornwort pearl. 😁 I have never seen this in person. I added a few new plants and they usually melt completely and restart themselves. They started melting and sending out new leaves at the same time. 😳
 

other benefits I have found in this method- My fish seem much happier not under the spotlight all day my guppy boys in the boy grow out are not constantly picking at one another and are much more relaxed. -my nitrates on heavily stock high waste producers tanks are plummeting- my pothos is growing like crazy- my enjoyment with it getting darker sooner. I have been relaxing in the fish room in the evenings just watching and enjoying my fish. I’ve been sleeping better. I have more pictures and more detail on the last few entries in my journal if you would like to see more of the progression I will keep the plant aspect updated. 

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On 10/22/2020 at 1:47 PM, Ikantspell4 said:

I'm doing the dual siestas and for me it's because i want to see into the tank. I'm having problems with algae but really want this to work because I like the idea of being able to see my plants and critters. I don't have fancy lights but I've heard others have successfully done this with normal lights.

Until this past July/August I have been using Costco shop lights (5000 lumens) to light almost all my tanks, because I can't afford much and I am on disability. 

A big box store had a sale on the fluval aquasky at the same time my Walstad tank was starting to exhibit symptoms of insufficient light (it was getting an ambient siesta schedule from my rack, the Walstad is on my dresser).

I could have done water changes to bring the tannins down, but that would have defeated my purpose in doing a Walstad.... so... I bought my first high tech piece of aquarium equipment for 60% off😬

The light is not as strong as the shoplights, so I have to keep it on a little longer. 

I love being able to slowly ramp it up in the morning with bluer light to convince my pineal gland it's time to wake up, and at night I ramp down with lots of red, to tell my pineal gland it's time to go to sleep. 

I am a single siesta in the middle of the day, for the same time period as the "quiet hall" time the heart hospital mandated for improved healing when I was at the heart hospital for a stroke in February. 

Benefits are more than @Streetwise lets on:

@Guppysnail and I have both noticed actual red plants. There's pearling, not at the scale of a CO2 injected tank, but pearling all the same.

Plants grow better, and fish are happier, whether using a shoplight or a fancy programmable light. 20200507_231051.jpg.4be6489c156113469c4e91288faff698.jpg

Pearling, and O2 bubbles rising. This is a 2.5 gallon tank with UGF, 4 hours of light, 4 hours off, 4 hours of light, 2 hours off, 4 hours of light, 6 hours off in the living room. 

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Walstad tank slowly ramping up, before the lights come on for the rack system. Screenshot_20210928-221034_Messages.jpg.0ef71cf1a3a9c22893788c6b2f0330ca.jpg

Program for my Walstad. 

All of the rest of my lights are on old fashioned timers with pins you push down or lift up, lol.

Including the turtle, Karma.

Has greatly reduced the stress levels of **all** creatures in the house....including service dogs and bipeds.

We all enjoy siesta time.

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I just started using a siesta on my light about a week or so ago.

I was having constant green hair algae growth on my Amazon swords. I tried manually removing it with a toothbrush for a couple of weeks. That worked but it came right back in just a few days. I finally decided it was time to try the siesta deal.

It only took a couple days before I noticed a difference. Now after a week or so the algae on my Swords on only a small amount and the algae on my filter is going away. Time will tell but at the moment it seems to be doing the trick.

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Something I just learned is that during the siesta time with lights out I did massive pennywort untangling and plant maintenance since siestas are making my plants grow faster😁My fish were not stressed or hiding the way some (Corys, plecos, CPD) do when lights are on. Guppies of course are never phased and always think it’s feeding time 🤪

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