Aquarium Lights for Happy Fish

Aquarium lighting fixtures are complete lighting units that mount on your tank. There are two reasons to have an aquarium lighting fixture. First, to simulate the natural light your fish would get in the wild, secondly, for you to see the fish and plants, and enjoy the vivid colors.

Light Fixtures for Freshwater Fish-only Tanks

Fish-only freshwater tanks are the most popular first aquariums. Artificial rocks and plastic plants decorate the tank, no living plants. The beauty of this for budding aquarists, is that you don’t have to get a fancy light fixture, as fish don’t photosynthesize! You can hone your lighting choice down to two factors. First, simulate the natural day/night light of your freshwater fish. Second, display your fish to show off their colors.

Popular freshwater tank fish come from tropical parts of the world where they live in shallow waters and get regular sunshine. Popular aquarium fish such as the cichlids, gourami, betta are all great for new aquarium owners. For bulbs, use full color spectrum ‘color enhancing’ bulbs.

Your fish will get stressed and unhealthy under unnatural light cycles. Keep on main day lighting no more than 8 hours a day. The main reason people go wrong with lighting for these systems is they do too much light and get algae problems. Never run actinic lights on your freshwater system – algae will multiply. Running the lights too long will promote algae bloom. It’s best to control the aquarium lights with an automatic timer.

For the best aquarium lighting experience, get an aquarium lighting fixture with lunar lights built in. The moon lights are inexpensive LEDs. Hybrid lighting fixtures keep each light source on separate power circuits. Automatic timers can switch each light to give a natural day/night lighting cycle, including dawn and dusk light.

Light Fixtures For Freshwater Planted Tanks

Freshwater planted systems are the next step up from fish-only tanks. Live plants nicer to look at, and with these primary producers in your tank, you’ve got a complete self sustaining ecology in your tank. Keeping live plants, your aquarium lighting fixture must provide the vital light that plants need to photosynthesize. Plants use chlorophyll to photosynthesize, this absorbs light at certain wavelengths (430nm and 680nm). They require light from both the red and blue parts of the color spectrum.

A dual bulb aquarium light fixture with a red plant growth bulb of 3000K and a full daylight of 6500K for vigorous healthy plants, especially when you are starting seedlings or cuttings. An added bonus of having both lamps is that daylight bulb brings out more of the colors, than using the plant growth bulb alone.

Light Fixtures For Saltwater Fish-only Tanks

Now let’s move on to the saltwater marine tanks. Without corals to think about, lighting choices are simple for saltwater fish-only tanks. Popular saltwater fish like clownfish, angelfish, and gobies don’t need uber-lighting fixtures. The aquarium lighting system you choose is to delight the viewer. After all, no one wants a dark box in their room. A daylight lamp of 5500K up to 10000K is a reasonable choice. Feel free to experiment with different bulbs till you get the fish colors popping just right. Just don’t overdo it with your photoperiod. Keep your day lighting down to less than 10 hours per day, too much lighting will boost algae growth.

One caveat – you may get the hankering to turn your fish-only tank into a mini-reef at some point in the future. Consider getting an aquarium light fixture with space for one or more bulbs than you need right now, in the future you can pop in an actinic bulb to keep your corals happy, and keep the same light fixture.

Light Fixtures for Reef Tanks

Finally, we come to the most challenging of tanks – the reef tank. The choice of aquarium lighting fixture is critical to the health of your corals and their symbiotic zooxanthellae. These are a beneficial algae that give nutrition to the corals. In return for the coral providing a nice safe home, the symbiotic algae repay their host with nutrition from photosynthesis. Coral needs this to stay healthy. Getting the right light to the zooxanthellae is the main lighting issue for  智能燈泡 reek-keepers.

Many people are nervous of taking the next step, and adding live rock to their saltwater tank. Industry marketing is to blame here -reading vendor’s blurb one would think that you need the most powerful and expensive Metal Halide lamps. It’s not true. There are many folks out there with excellent healthy corals, running on T5 HO or Power Compact fluorescent lighting fixtures. It all depends on your tank setup. Shallow tanks under 24″ in depth don’t necessarily require a MH lamp beaming down into the depths. Multiple T5 HO bulbs can provide enough intensity at these depths.

It also depends on your corals. These can be divided into three categories. Hard corals (stony corals) have an exterior skeleton built from calcium. Hard corals are referred to as LPS or Large Polyp Stony, and SPS or Small Polyp Stony. Given that the light must penetrate through the water, and through the hard body of the coral to reach the photosynthesizing algae, these kinds of corals can require advanced aquarium lighting fixtures.

Soft corals don’t use calcium to build a hard skeleton. These ‘softies’ include the leather, and mushroom corals. Generally soft corals need less intense light than the hard corals need to survive, meaning you can get away with High Output fluorescent lamps for the soft corals.

There are many factors which go into running a successful aquarium, and choosing correct aquarium lighting fixtures for your tank environment makes all the difference between success and failure of your aquarium project. Aquarium lighting fixtures must be selected on the basis of your tank’s setup.


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