Saltwater Tank Lights

light fixturesChoosing saltwater tank lights can be difficult at best if you’re not familiar with what is available. The goal of this article is to shed some light, pun intended, on the options for sale. Many people suffer from analysis paralysis. Choices of aquarium lighting for saltwater tanks depends on whether the fish tank in question has corals in it. If it is a fish only aquarium, then the spectrum required needs only to help bring out the natural, beautiful colors of the fish. If the tank lighting required is for an aquarium with corals then there are more options available for sale.

Standard fish only aquariums can use power compact fluorescents bulbs, T5 fluorescent bulbs or even LED lights if you don’ mind over paying for aquarium lighting. Fish, for the most part, aren’t bothered by lighting. Unlike coral reef tanks which need specific spectrums, fish don’t require specific lights to survive.

Reef lights are designed to produce spectrums of light that promote the growth of corals and calcareous algae. The available options for reef aquarium lighting also includes power compact fluorescents, T5 fluorescents, LED lights as well as Metal Halides. Power compacts can do the job but other option are probably better and more cost effective.

Metal Halides

Metal Halide lighting is still a very popular option. They provide spectrums that encourage growth in corals and a shimmering through the water that can’t be obtained with fluorescents. They use more energy than any of the other options and produce a lot of heat. Because of the heat created, a chiller might be required to provide a stable water temperature. These lights are expensive and should be replace every six to twelve months.

t5 bulbsT5 lighting has recently become the top choice for most saltwater reef enthusiasts. T5’s are intense lights that use much less energy than Metal Halides. They produce very little heat and the bulbs retain their spectrum longer than others. Bulb replacement is suggested every twelve months. Also, because T5 units have multiple bulbs, the overall spectrums and colors can be changed to add more white or blue to the aura of the tank.

LED lighting has come along way in a short period of time. The spectrums are getting better and prices are coming down, but for this author they just aren’t quite to the same level as fluorescents or Halides. It should also be mentioned that as of March 2013, a major manufacturer of LED lighting units admitted that in testing on corals, the growth was stagnant using LED versus notable growth using fluorescents. By 2014 or 2015 this will be corrected, but corals just don’t seem to be thriving under LED lighting, yet.led lights

Hopefully this article was beneficial in helping you decide which saltwater tank lights are best for your system. Not every aspect of aquarium lighting was delved into during this article but the major concerns were addressed. Many local pet stores and in particular fish stores should have most of the lighting systems on display so that customers can compare and decide. Enjoy your aquarium!

Article Name
Saltwater Tank Lights
The types of lights available for saltwater aquariums are important when choosing what is right for your tank. So many to choose from......

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