Archive | Aquarium Lighting

Aquarium Lighting Guide: The Basics of Light Selection

There are tons of aquarium lighting options out there, from bulbs, fixtures and hoods to light strips and tubes. The right lighting is an essential aspect not only to the aesthetics of the tank, but to the health and happiness of the fish as well. This basic aquarium lighting guide will give you some useful and unique ideas to help get you started on choosing the right lights.

aquarium lighting

Aquarium Lighting Selection

  • Incandescent Lights

Incandescent light fixtures have the cheapest initial cost, but you should avoid them for several reasons. They burn out faster than other types, so you will need to replace them more often. They use more electricity than other types and will unnecessarily drive up your power bill. Finally, they produce a lot of heat which interferes with the tank’s water temperature regulation. If you purchase a smaller starter aquarium kit it will likely come with an incandescent fixture. You can easily replace this fixture with a more efficient one that will cost you less in the long run.

  • Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent fixtures are most commonly used for aquarium light settings. The fixtures and the bulbs are more expensive than incandescent ones, but you will not have to replace them as often and they cost less to run. Standard fluorescent lighting will get the job done for most any aquarium, but there are other types that are better suited for certain environments. Very high output (V.H.O.) fluorescent lights are great for large/tall tanks, reef aquarium lighting, or those with densely packed plant life. They produce as much as three times the amount of light as a standard fluorescent bulb. Power compact fluorescent lights are another option for plant and reef fanatics. They give off a little more light than V.H.O.s and some can fit into regular incandescent fixtures, just be careful not to exceed the fixture’s max wattage allowance.

  • Led Aquarium Lighting Guide

Using LED lighting to simulate moonlight is a captivating way to illuminate a tank at night without disrupting the routine of the fish. When done properly it can even stimulate more healthy growth and activity during the night time hours. Blue LED lighting with a spectrum of 470 nm to 480 nm is optimal for moonlight simulation. They create a soft blue glow that makes the tank look fantastic and you should see an improvement in vegetation growth with no difference in the energy level of the fish. Try having them come on about an hour before your day time lighting goes off and shut off around three or four in the morning.

For more on moon lighting have a look at our post: DIY Aquarium Moon Lighting To See The Fishes At Night

Fish alone do not need a particularly well-lit tank. In fact, most generally prefer just enough light to be able to tell the difference between day time and night time (and for you, enough to be able to adequately see the fish). Putting the lighting on a timer is the easiest way to provide them with the recommended 10 to 12 hours of light each day. Tanks with live anemones, corals, and/or plants crave more intense lighting and should receive around 12 to 14 hours of light per day.

image credits: Pete Brown


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LED Aquarium Lighting – The Perfect Lighting For All Aquatic Animals

LED aquarium lighting is designed specifically for fish aquariums. Fish aquariums require lighting that is efficient, while still being affordable. LED lights burn cooler than fluorescent lights and they are manufactured to enhance aquariums of any size.

LED aquarium lighting fixtures are easily purchased on the internet. These fixtures are pre-assembled. Although this type of lighting fixture is sold at a higher fee, many individuals realize the value of purchasing pre-assembled products. LED lights burn more vividly than fluorescent tubes, while not burning as hot. Longevity is another plus. LED light bulbs are manufactured to last anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 hours of use. Compared to a fluorescent bulb that is designed to last only 8,000 to 20,000 hours.

An LED aquarium lighting system is perfectly suited for fish aquariums. Especially, when used for a reef aquarium. Reef aquariums require certain lighting conditions, to help maintain the health of both fish and coral. It is very important to maintain optimal temperature, in all reef aquariums. This has never been easier than with LED lights. An LED light makes it possible to achieve to a specific color spectrum. This is highly desired for enhancing the colors of corals, invertebrates, and fish. Aquatic fish, corals and invertebrates are costly to purchase. To help ensure your investment is protected, you should take every precaution to maintain the correct water temperature and light values.

These systems are capable of imitating the natural phases of light, just like the sun and the moon. This allows aquatic animals to respond more naturally, both in color, and in routine. Soft corals are well suited to fluorescent light, as they do not require strong light to grow well. On the other hand, hard corals have required metal halides to perform their best. LEDs will outperform metal halides, as being more economical, while supplying the same, if not better light output.

photo: calwhiz LED aquarium lighting fixtures may contain LED lights only or, in some cases, a mixture of lights. Metal halide, compact fluorescent, and T5 lights are commonly combined with LED light. In some cases, these lights will support fish only, or coral. Moon LED lights are designed to resemble moonlight and also provide beautiful accent lighting, as well.

With a little research, anyone can learn how to build, and install LED lights. A lighted aquarium is very beautiful, and a DIY aquarium moon lighting system can be made quite easily. These systems are very economical as LED lights are designed to last through many years of use. From the simplest of devices, requiring only LED Christmas tree lights, and a piece of foam; to designs that are more intricate, many different plans can be found easily when searching online. With a piece of scrap foam cut roughly to the size of your fish tank, you can design your very own lighting system. Drill holes in two rows, spaced evenly, and then, push an LED Christmas light through each hole. Although rudimentary, it does get the job done.

Prices are moderate, with many light fixtures selling for under $400. One such example; is the Acan, LED Aquarium Light. This standard light consumes only 40 watts of power, making it very efficient. This system has an advanced design that does not require a cooling fan; this makes it very desirable among aquarium enthusiasts. The icing on the cake is the ability to program, individually, the white, blue and moon phases of light, for a completely, customized lighting system.

Aquariums are more popular than ever; especially, in the last decade. Hobbyists and avid fish collectors realize the value of having efficient and effective lighting. The added benefit of stabilizing water temperature and encouraging growth is also a plus. Luckily for consumers today, there have never been more selections available; especially, when shopping online. In only a matter of a few minutes time, literally hundreds of selections can be seen easily.

LED aquarium lighting will likely be the most important feature of any tank. Choosing the fish, coral or invertebrates to place inside your tank will be an important decision, as well. By supplying adequate light, during the day, and during the night, your aquatic animals will have a longer, healthier life span.