Why is a light schedule important for my aquarium?

When you're setting up a new aquarium, you may look closer at the aquarium hood and wonder if the light fixture should be illuminated 24/7 or if your fish and plants need a light schedule.

The quick answer is yes, you should schedule the lighting for your fish and plants.

Your finned friends and flora need a daily break from bright lights. Here's what you need to know about aquarium lighting, why it matters, and how to set up a proper light schedule for your aquarium.

About Aquarium Fish, Aquarium Plants, and External Lighting

Your fish and live aquatic plants need an overhead light fixture to illuminate their tank. This lighting makes the watery world easier for you to see and enjoy, and also keeps the fish and plants healthy.

The best fixture for an aquarium offers full spectrum RGB (red, green, blue) light as well as white light. The red and blue wavelengths trigger photosynthesis for plant growth, and the green light makes your foliage more vibrant. White light brightens the aquarium for optimal viewing and provides a day cycle for your fish. When the light is off, they can rest in a night cycle.

Check out our Care Guide for Aquatic Plants to learn more about plant lighting, nutrients, substrates, and water requirements.

Why (and How to) Set Up a Lighting Schedule for Your Tank

Aquarium fish require a regulated cycle of day and night to mimic their native environments. Since most aquarium fish originate from tropical environments that receive 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness, you want to emulate that cycle with your lighting. If you don't have live plants in your tank, a period of 6 to 8 hours of light is a better choice for reducing unwanted algae growth.

Of course, not all fish and plants require the same living environment. You can use a simple timer with your light fixtures to control the light manually. But if you have the Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light, you can use the Aqueon BlueIQ app to set a schedule for lights without having to manually turn them on and off.

After you input your aquarium size, types of fish, and additional details about your setup, you can easily schedule your aquarium lighting to turn off and on at certain times each day to optimize the health of your tank. Best of all, you'll no longer need to remember to manually manage this task.

The app can help with other scheduled tasks, too. In-app reminders can help you stay on top of feeding times and routine aquarium maintenance tasks, such as filter and water changes.

The Aqueon BlueIQ app seamlessly integrates with the Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light system via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This lighting offers both the nurturing RGB light spectrum and illuminating white light to maintain the wellness of your fish tank.

With the app and smart LED combo, you can adjust white, red, green, and blue color channels to perfectly enhance your aquarium. You can also select the Cloud Mode or Lightning Mode to give the aquatic environment a realistic outdoor weather simulation that's both exciting for you and your finned friends.

Enhance Your Aquarium with Smart Technology

Automating your daily aquarium lighting ensures changes happen on schedule, whether you sleep in late on the weekends or are traveling away from home for a few days. Simply check in on the app from wherever you are to update as needed. With the Aqueon BlueIQ app and Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light combo in place, you can rest assured your fish and plants are getting the best care possible each day.

*The Aqueon BlueIQ app is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.