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A unique combination of best aquarium light for Coral plants and water creatures should offer the perfect light spectrum that will match the photosynthetic needs of aquatic animals in an artificial environment.
Good lighting promote photosynthesis. When the ecosystem is favorable for photosynthesis, there is plenty of food for those little water creatures in your aquarium.
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These animals have something in commons with humans, they breath they eat and they respond to the state of their external environment. There is a word of the wise that says “you are what you eat“, the same applies to the fish in your aquarium.
If your pets are well fed, have the best lighting alongside all other conditions being optimal, they surely would flourish.
If you read to the end of this post, You will learn
- The types of aquarium light technology
- Benefits of led aquarium lighting
- Recommended light for your aquarium
- Things to consider when choosing a light to buy
- Important aspects of lighting in a coral tank|aquarium|fish pond
- Light planning for aquariums
- Aquarium light handling and safe practices
- How to maintain aquarium and lighting systems
Types of Lighting Used in Aquariums
In recent years, there has been a serious shift in the preference of lighting systems. Companies who want to still remain in business have a philosophy of producing what customers want.
It is as simple to manufacture what will sell or get crushed by the competition. Its no longer news that LED products are preferred for their efficiency and long service life.
Below we will see the types of lighting systems most aquarium lighting used and why they are not the best choice in 2020.
A fluorescent in simple English is a low-pressure vapor of mercury that is held in a glass tube.
The advantage of this type of light is that it is relatively energy efficient. It uses about 70-100lm/W and does not consume too much amount of power(usually 18-80w).
However, with the fluorescent lighting system, the light gets thrown in all directions. This means that a reflector will have to be introduced into the system in order to achieve a target beam of light in the aquarium.
In the majority of cases, the reflector will not only beam light but will also send heat into the aquarium.
Experts proved that fluorescent does not provide the best quality of light for aquarium because the light produced has a broken spectrum.
Metal Halide Bulbs
Just like the fluorescent, metal halide technology is based on the pressurized vapor of mercury. The high-pressure mixture of gases contains metal halide, which is aimed at improving the efficiency and color of the light beamed into an aquarium.
This lighting system also has its own level of energy-efficient as it has a light source of around 75-100lm/w.
Before the LED lights became popular, this was the best way of getting a large amount of pointed light into aquariums.
LED Light(Light Emitting Diode)
We all love bright and colorful light, right? As a lighting hobbyist, I just love anything that is LED!!!!!.wait a minute, what is even exciting me?
This new technology is built around semiconductors that emit visible light when current passes through them. LEDs are extremely power efficient. with about 120lm/w, it only keeps getting better.
Just as it applies to almost everything, LEDs will have to be used correctly and with a regulated amount of current; they become less efficient when continuously being used with high current.
I am sometimes tempted to Compare LED light with other types of light. But when I give it a good thought, I see it as comparing apples to oranges. It is just a baseless thing to do.
In the aquarium lightings of today, the lumen that an LED produces is used more effectively. What I am saying here is that the brightness of the lights is better targeted in aquariums, their light does not spill out through or from the top of the tank.
Advantages of using LED aquarium lighting
- Most modern LED Lights are manufactured with a control system that enables you to choose the type of effect you want to simulate in the aquarium. This is to say that lights can easily be used to imitate the visual effect of natural day or night time within the aquarium. This makes your fish and corals feel as if they are in their natural habitat.
- Aquarium lights are built in a way that they don’t take up much space in or around your aquarium set up. They usually come with an adjustable mounting. This makes the light to be a one size fits all device. All you need to do is to determine the size of your tank then choose the right angle from where sufficient light can be beamed into the aquarium and that is settled.
- Corals need about 10,000k of lights to survive in an aquarium. This might be a huge demand for some other lighting system, or even be more expensive to run. For an incandescent or fluorescent bulb to produce that amount of light, a tremendous amount of heat will be generated and sent into the aquarium. The good thing is that LED light produces this amount of light in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
- The metal halide and fluorescent lights were known for raising temperatures within the aquarium. This is something you just don’t have to worry about with LED light for Coral, plant or fish pond. The lights are designed with a heat sink that has absorption and heat dissipation ability.
- You save more with LED lights. They are highly energy-efficient and save a lot of power when compared to other lighting technologies. This also saves you from paying huge monthly light bills.
- The initial cost of LED is no doubt on the high side if you compare it to incandescent bulbs, Metal Halide or fluorescent lighting system, LED are way-way cheaper in the long run.
LEDs have been said to have a life expectancy of about 50,000 hrs. This is to say, If you use your lights for an average of 10 hours a day, an LED bulb should serve for 13.7 years.[that is crazy] If this is correct, then LEDs are definitely an investment and will definitely save you a lot money on money over time.
Recommended light for aquariums
NICREW Classic LED aquarium light
Aquarium Lighting Buying Guide
As it is in every purchasing decision, there are things you should place into considerations when choosing to buy a lighting unit for your aquarium. Let us check them out.
The basic unit of light is called lumen(lm). it is the measure of the power of light[brightness] as it is perceived by the human eye. The greater the lumen, the brighter the light. A high luminous light does not necessarily guaranty that your aquarium will be bright. This is because lumens does not take into consideration the direction of the light. So to achieve a bright and colorful aquarium, a targeted lighting system is the best.
Some of these terms require a bunch of technical jargon to explain. but I am trying my best to put it in plain English.
Lux is measured in Lumen(lm) and is said to be the amount of useable light. let me illustrate with this example. 1000lm spread over an area of the 1meter square gives you 1000lux. however, the same light (1000lm) spread over an area of 10-meter square gives you 100lux. I hope this helps.
This has to do with the reflection and coverage area of your light. The type of reflector a lighting unit uses is the key determinant of it spread within your aquarium.
Colour of the Light Relayed
Your choice of color is very important because of these impacts on the overall aesthetics of your aquarium. typically, red will dissipate under blue light, while blue will not look very attractive under red-colored light. It is therefore important that you select colors that will bring out the style you want to show off.
Also, you should have it in mind that it is the combination of light colors that produce the various simulated effect in an aquarium.
Even though having an even spread is important, light and dark can be combined to a large extent to enhance the beauty of your aquarium. Here I am talking about you incorporating varying brightness levels throughout your aquascape. We suggest using a spotlight to highlight your favorite aquatic specimen.
IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF LIGHTING
One of the most essential aspects of any lighting system you want to talk about is its intensity. In aquaculture, this is defined by how useful light is for biological applications like feeding and photosynthesis.
A light’s spectrum is the key determinant factor if a certain type of light will help in Photosynthesis and provide good visibility as well. The German scientist at blv-licht simply referred to the spectrum as the quality of light.
Colour Temperature, expressed in ‘Kelvin’, is a measurement unit for the color of light that is illuminating an object. There are basically three primary types of color temperature that lights fall into Soft White (2700K – 3000K), Bright White/Cool White (3500K – 4100K), and Daylight (5000K – 6500K). The higher the Degrees Kelvin, the whiter the color temperature. Light quality defines color temperature. This is used to simulate the natural atmosphere; it is made to resemble full sunlight in an aquarium.
In an artificial environment, adding the right amount of deep blue light can activate a kind of coral reef colorful glow that visitors expect to see when visiting an aquarium.
LIGHT PLANNING FOR AQUARIUMS
We should have discussed this earlier than now. Nevertheless, the information here will still be handy. Today, most aquariums are more than just a biological collection of aquatic life.
They are a place to come, see and appreciate nature and the beauty of deep-sea life. A well-managed aquarium is a place to behold under-water beauty and is usually an exciting experience for visitors.
In order to meet up with all essential aspect of aquarium planning and lighting, proper and careful planning must be implemented, depending on the size of your project, the services of specialized engineers, biologist, and aquaculturist should be employed.
AQUARIUM LIGHT HANDLING AND SAFE PRACTICES
- Ensure that lighting products to be used are certified fit for use by the authorities in your state. Light equipment must meet the minimum standard designated by your state or national electricity code.
- Before installing luminaries, ensure to read all the warnings, instructions, and notices that accompany the product.
- Ensure that the aquarium lighting circuit has a fault circuit interrupter for line voltage wiring as well as a well-rated circuit breaker.
- Never attempt to repair lighting equipment yourself, always consider returning the affected item to an authorized service facility.
- Carefully observe and examine installations before you plug it into the GFCI wall outlet.
- Children should be closely monitored if the equipment is within their reach.
- Do not expose LED bulbs to high temperatures because this affects their efficiency.
- Turn off all control or switches and unplug from the power supply before performing any service, repair or maintenance.
HOW TO MAINTAIN AQUARIUMS AND LIGHTING SYSTEMS
Most Aquarium lighting units have sealed LED bulbs and are maintenance-free. The LED bulb cannot be replaced. For longer service life, the light should be used under optimal conditions and as recommended by the manufactures.
Also, LED lights should not be exposed to continuous heat to avoid flickering and subsequent burnout.
Having said that, let us dive a little deeper into other areas of maintaining an aquarium.
- Aquarium water change: Quality of water in an aquarium is one important thing to pay attention to. We recommend a 15-20% water change every 2 weeks.
- Nitrate level check: This needs to be kept low at 10ppm in freshwater and 5ppm. While it should even lower than that in saltwater and coral reef aquariums.
- Nitrites: This should not even be detectable in an aquarium water test. This type of salt is harmful to aquatic animals. if nitrite is detected in the water, then there is usually a high possibility of ammonia contamination in the aquarium.
- PH Level: This must be kept constant. Maintaining a PH level between 6.5 and 7.5 is recommended
- Carbon Hardness: This is the measure of PH stability. if you notice a carbon hardness drop close to 4.5° hardness, it is advisable you closely monitor your aquarium; this is because a further drop in carbon hardness below 4.5° could kill all the pets in your aquarium.
- Filter servicing: The aquarium filter is simply a receptacle for waste. A densely populated aquarium will require frequent cleaning and changing of filters. The filter should be serviced monthly depending on the aquarium density(as earlier stated). Only use clean water in washing filters and other aquarium equipment. The use of bleach or soap could kill the useful bacterias in the water so don’t use it.