How Many Hours Of Light Do You Need For Aquaponics?

How many hours of light do you need for aquaponics?

Aquaponics is an innovative and sustainable system of farming that combines aquaculture (growing fish) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). To ensure a successful aquaponic system, it’s important to provide the correct number of hours of light each day. The amount of light needed is determined by the type of aquaponic system you have, as well as the crops you are growing.

Aquaponics is a great way to produce vegetables and fish in a small space with less maintenance. With some simple guidance on how much light your system needs, you can get up and running quickly and begin to reap the rewards of your new hobby.

In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • the types of aquaponic systems,
  • how much lighting they need,
  • tips for getting started with lighting for your own setup, and
  • other resources that can help you get growing!

Light Requirements for Aquaponics

Growing plants in an aquaponic system requires a good amount of light. There are certain light requirements for different types of plants, and the amount of light needed can vary depending on the type of system you have. Additionally, the intensity of the lights used will also play a role in determining how many hours of light are needed for your aquaponics system.

Let’s delve into the details of what kind of light requirements you should be aware of for optimal growth:

Natural Light

When it comes to light requirements, aquaponics can be a bit tricky as the amount of natural light, artificial light and total hours of both light types needed can vary. While artificial lights will typically be the most reliable and consistent way to provide lighting for your Aquaponic system, natural sunlight is also important.

Natural sunlight contains a balanced spectrum of colors in the visible light range, which can benefit your Aquaponic gardens by providing essential trace elements that regular indoor lighting may not offer. Depending on what type of plants you are growing and where you live, natural lighting may not provide sufficient illumination for plants that need high intensity lighting. In these cases, additional lights will likely be necessary.

When using natural sunlight as your primary source of illumination, twelve hours or more should be provided daily for optimum growth in most dry land-based crops or aquatic grown plants. Just make sure that any additional artificial lights needed to compensate for cloudy days do not interfere with the plants’ needed rest period when the lights are off at night. Also check Aquaponics Equipment.

Artificial Light

When it comes to aquaponic systems, the most important factor when it comes to lighting is making sure the plants are receiving adequate amounts of light. When natural sunlight isn’t plentiful enough, artificial lighting is often used to supplement available light and ensure proper growth.

In general, aquaponics systems should have lamps that emit between 5,000-6,500K white full spectrum light for at least 14 hours a day. Some lights provide a higher ideal range or intensity for certain plant varieties (such as tomatoes), so check with your local grower for recommendations on which type of light works best for you and your system. Fluorescent or LED tubes can be used instead of compact fluorescent bulbs; both types emit very little heat and use very little energy. Contact us here.

Whether you use natural or artificial light, knowing how much light and what kind of intensity is necessary for optimal growth will help ensure that your system produces maximum crops within all seasons and climates. With some initial research into the type of plants you want to start with in your system and how to best support their unique needs, you’ll be able to provide the right amount of lighting (and nutrients!) needed in order to keep your aquaponics system thriving! Learn more about us.

Light Requirements for Different Types of Aquaponics Systems

Setting up an aquaponics system is a great way to grow your own sustainable food source. Depending on the type of aquaponics system you’re using, the amount of light you’ll need can vary. This article will cover the light requirements for different types of aquaponics systems, including:

  1. Deep water culture
  2. NFT
  3. Media-filled beds
  4. Floating rafts

Media Bed Systems

Media Bed Systems are one of the most common and successful aquaponics systems. These systems consist of two components: a fish-rearing tank and grow beds filled with a suitable media, such as clay pebbles or gravel.

Media bed systems are usually illuminated for at least 12 to 14 hours each day and require lights if located indoors.

The amount of light needed by plants in media bed aquaponic systems is typically far less than the amount of light needed for comparable soil-based growing operations. This is due to a number of factors, including an increase in CO2 levels when growing with fish production and the decreased need for intense root stretching in hydroponic/aquaponic systems.

Though light requirements vary between different types of plants, a minimum requirement of 12 to 14 hours per day is recommended when operating media bed aquaponics system indoors – especially if some fruits and vegetables are grown on trellises or hung from overhead supports. Try to avoid interrupting the dark periods as this will potentially disrupt plant growth cycles, flowering, fruiting and overall yields while wasting energy resources with no contribution to better crop production.

Deep Water Culture Systems

How many hours of light do you need for aquaponics?

Deep water culture is a type of aquaponics system that does not require light for the growth or development of the plants. Plants are supported by floating devices, ensuring that their roots are always submerged in the nutrient-rich water supplied by the fish tank. Root vegetables, such as radishes, can be grown in this type of system and they will typically have a harvest time of around 4 weeks.

In addition, some aquatic plants can also be grown in deep water culture systems due to their low light requirements. These types of plants are able to obtain all their energy from the nitrogen-rich metabolites produced by beneficial bacteria, which allows them to thrive without being exposed to light. In certain cases, supplemental lighting may be required in order to boost yields and ensure healthier plant growth. However, these types of aquaponics systems can grow quite well without any additional light sources.

Nutrient Film Technique Systems

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) systems are an efficient form of aquaponics that incorporates a thin, moving film of water carrying oxygen and nutrients over the plant’s roots. These systems are best suited to relatively small, compact setups such as backyard aquaponics and are best used with fish such as tilapia or trout.

Light requirements for NFT systems depend on the type of plants you’re growing in the system. Generally, most vegetable crops need at least 14-16 hours of light per day when grown in an NFT system. As with traditional hydroponic systems, it is important to provide an even amount of light throughout the day to ensure healthy plant growth. Many commercial kits offer built-in lighting timers and shades that can be customized to your needs. If you’re putting together a DIY system, an LED grow light sold at any gardening store should provide adequate lighting for vegetable plants in an NFT setup.

Tips for Getting the Right Amount of Light

Aquaponics is a great way to produce food in an efficient and sustainable way. However, one of the most essential elements for successful aquaponics is light. The amount of light your aquaponics setup receives will determine how much produce you can get from it.

In this article, we will discuss some tips for getting the right amount of light for your aquaponics:

Place Lights Properly

Placing your lights properly can make a huge difference in how much light your plants get and how fast they grow. The ideal setup for freshwater aquaponics lighting is to have the bulbs suspended around eight to twelve inches above the tanks, with half of them pointing down at the water and half pointing up at the grow bed or surface of the water. This can be accomplished using adjustable hanging cables, which allows you to adjust the height of each bulb easily.

Lighting shouldn’t be located too close to plant life, as this can cause burning. Likewise, too much distance between the lighting and plants can prevent sufficient growth due to inadequate light levels. Therefore, proper positioning of all lights is essential for healthy plant growth. Lastly, it’s important to check that none of your lights are shining directly into very dark corner where they may not be noticed by animals like fish that shouldn’t be exposed to extended periods of bright indirect light.

Choose the Right Type of Light

Choosing the right type and quality of light for aquaponics is an important factor to consider. Most systems will require either a full spectrum LED light or an HPS (high pressure sodium) light.

LED lights and HPS lights both come with pros and cons, so it is important to research which type is best for your setup.

  • LED lights have much lower energy consumption than HPS fixtures and are very efficient, long lasting, eco-friendly, and produce a wide range of colors. However, the light intensity from LED fixtures may not be bright enough for some aquaponic systems. The complexity of some installations may also require additional equipment such as reflectors or hoods in order to evenly disperse the light around the aquaponic system.
  • HPS lights have higher energy consumption compared to LEDs but have been around longer and are more commonly used in aquaponic setups due to their higher intensity output. Additionally, they are cost effective since they are more affordable than some LED models and don’t require additional equipment to disperse the light around the system. A potential downside with HPS lamps is that they generate heat which can affect water temperature within your system if not regulated properly.

Whichever type of lighting you decide is right for your setup, knowing how many hours of sunlight you need as well as what type of plants you intend on growing will help you decide on how much total wattage to choose when selecting a fixture that fits your needs. Additionally, it’s important that any lighting chosen provides sufficient coverage so all areas within an aquaponic system receive adequate exposure from the lamps used in order to ensure optimal growth rates from the plants grown in it.

Use Reflectors

The use of reflectors can help you get the right amount of light for your aquaponics system. Reflectors act as a shield to bounce the light around the tank and can be bought in many different shapes and sizes. Reflectors are designed to be suspended above your growing bed, typically at an angle, so that they will all contribute to the overall brightness of your setup.

Reflectors with a flat surface will help ensure all areas of the tank receive just as much light from one end to another, whereas those with more profiles in their shape will allow for more intense lighting in certain areas. You may also want to consider reflective film, which is easily cut into different shapes and sizes and can withstand even higher levels of light than traditional reflective surfaces. Depending on how much space you have available, you may wish to try combining these methods for an even better result!

When choosing reflectors and reflective material for your system, it’s important that you check their listed UV rating for compatibility; many sources state this information online or on product labels. Additionally, you may wish to consider different surface finishes such as aluminum chrome or semi-gloss black or color shades depending on how you want the lighting to respond within your space. Finally, make sure they are securely fastened into place so they won’t disrupt normal growing practices or the environment around them.

With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble creating perfect lighting conditions within any aquaponics setup!


In conclusion, the amount of light you need for an aquaponics system is highly dependent on the type of plants and fish you are growing. However, as a general guideline, many experts recommend that indoor aquaponics systems should be exposed to about 8-12 hours of light per day for optimal growth and health.

It is important to remember that too much light can also be bad for your system, so it is important to keep a regular lighting schedule and use good aquatic plant lighting solutions.

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