Aquarium Lighting

Aquarium Lighting is also important for aquarium plants.


Saltwater Aquariums

In a fish only or fish and live rock tank lighting is not really an issue.  In such a case, lighting is intended only for illumination. Lighting is chosen primarily with aesthetic considerations for optimal viewing of the fish. The lighting is generally of much lower intensity than is used in reef aquariums to limit algae growth.


Reef Aquariums

In a reef tank, however, it is critical. This is because light is needed for most corals and anemones to grow. Light is also essential in saltwater aquarium for the enhancement of the colour of the aquarium and especially the fish’s survival. Special lights are needed for a marine tank so use one of the following:


Power Compact Fluorescent (PC)

Very High Output Fluorescent (VHO)

Metal Halide (MH)


The lighting used for reef aquariums is the highest intensity of all aquarium types. Typical light sources types include LED, fluorescent, metal halide, and sometimes plasma lamps. Simple lighting setups use a single lamp or multiple lamps of a single type. More advanced setups can include several lamp types and can also include lamps of different colours. Lamp colour plays an important role in reef aquarium lighting for both aesthetic preference and to optimally sustain the photosynthetic life within the aquarium. Many corals require a deep blue or actinic spectrum of light to thrive.


Many light fixtures come as all-in-one units with light for both daylight hours and night-time viewing.


Freshwater Aquariums

Freshwater planted aquariums require more specialized light sources. High-intensity compact fluorescent bulbs, high output fluorescent bulbs or metal halide lamps are often used over such aquariums to encourage plant growth. In addition to providing a much stronger light source, these light sources also offer a better spectrum for plant and algae growth than standard lighting. However, this metal halide lighting often uses more electricity and can produce excessive heat.


The decision of lighting depends greatly on whether you intend to successfully grow plants or not. Lack of light causes colourful fish to fade and clanch-reds to pink, green to white. The two main methods of lighting aquarium are by the INCADESCENT and FLOURESCENT.


Incandescent lighting is becoming less popular because it uses much more energy and produces more heat than the other lighting types.


The total amount of light required is a matter of trial and error. Too much light will turn the water green; too little will stunt plant growth.


The lighting can be natural or artificial or a combination of both. The best position is near a north facing window. This should provide the ideal amount of indirect lights which can be supplemented by artificial light.


The lighting should be housed in wood constructed stylishly with the furniture and placed above the tank. if there is no natural day light, the lights should be left on for approximately eight hours per day.


If the water turns green, you cut down on the light.


The best light for showing off an aquarium comes from behind.