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8.5 hours is not a very long time. The plants are closing their leaves in antipication of the light going off in about an hour and a half. If you lengthen your light period, you will find that the plants, after a week or so of adjusting to the new off time, will still begin the leaf closing process about an hour and a half before the lights are due to go off. In my tanks I still see lots of bubbling (indicating photosynthesis) right up to the time the light goes off. Just because the stem plants are closing their leaves doesn't mean that they stop photosynthesizing.

I keep my lights on for 16 hours a day. That is so I can feed my fish before I go to work and after I get back.
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