The issue of lighting in the aquarium is of great relevance. We cannot forget that an aquarium is not only a Biotope designed to be exhibited and enjoyed, lighting is necessary for life inside the aquarium.
Aquarium lighting allows fish and plants to thrive . In this sense, good (correct) lighting in the aquarium is much more than an aesthetic whim. It is a must!
To adequately illuminate an aquarium, it is necessary to know the basic concepts that govern the lighting in the aquarium: amount of light necessary to illuminate the aquarium, types of lights, ways to combine them….
Discover the secrets of aquarium lighting:
How much light does an aquarium need?
This is a core question: not all aquariums are the same, so the amount of light to use in each case depends on their size and the species that live inside.
The variables to take into account to determine the amount of light needed are the following:
- Aquarium with only fish
In a fish tank, it is necessary to reproduce the day / night cycle with the help of artificial light. This is necessary to prevent the fish from becoming stressed and disrupting their normal life cycle. In these cases, it is required to automate the lighting system in the aquarium so that it complies with a certain amount of on and off hours.
- Aquarium fish and plants
There are species of aquarium plants that are more demanding in terms of the amount of light , others less … each type of fish that we are going to introduce into the aquarium, also has its own lighting needs.
The easiest plants to keep in aquariums involve the amount of about 10 or 20 lumens per liter of water.
Other medium-sized plants usually require between 20 and 40 lumens per liter.
Finally, the largest and greenest plants require more than 40 lumens per liter.
- Marine biotope, with corals, snails …
Here we run into a technical challenge, these aquariums need actinic light . What does this mean? Well, this is the type of light that marine ecosystems receive, and therefore, adequate for a marine aquarium .
It is very different from UV light, which is what living beings receive in the air or in fresh water and at shallow depths.
I think it is clear: the lighting in the aquarium depends on many variables . It is not something so easy to execute: it implies knowledge, technical mastery and adapting to a multiplicity of circumstances.
How should I light a fish tank?
Never forget this: the goal of a fish tank is to display the fish. It should not be the main one, since what we are trying to do is reproduce a natural setting within an aquarium, but the ultimate goal of an aquarium is to enjoy the view of its interior.
Therefore, you have to place the light so that the fish and the whole interior stand out. In this sense, the following regulations are taken into account, lighting from above and arranging the light source at the front.
Take into account the different lighting options:
Aquarium lighting during the day
The lighting in the aquarium in daylight hours is quite special. You need lamps that radiate unique wavelengths.
To this is added the species of fish that you have in your aquarium.
For example, fish in wooded areas do not usually receive much lighting. In contrast, fish from tropical areas or island reefs live in abundant lighting underwater.
Aquarium lighting at night
It is necessary to keep the aquarium illuminated both during the day and at night.
For this reason, at night the most usual is to use LED lighting for aquariums.
These lighting systems are very cheap, they get the fish to orient themselves very well. In addition, they allow these animals to maintain their nocturnal habits.
Finally, I recommend that you use a timer for lighting in the aquarium. In this way, the lights turn off and on automatically to simulate the day and night cycle.
Types of lamps for Aquarium
There are different types of aquarium lights. Each of them has specific characteristics.
It is important to know them to be the lighting work in the aquarium well. Therefore, I present a brief description of the most used lighting systems:
Fluorescent tubes for aquariums
It is the most used system. They are inexpensive and do not emit a lot of heat.
Some have simple transformers (ballasts) and others electronic. As you might expect, electronics are more expensive.
Fluorescent lamps come in various diameters, sizes, and light color. In the case of aquariums that are very deep or require a lot of light, there are high-emission fluorescent tubes.
In the case of marine aquariums, fluorescents that emit bluish light are often combined to simulate the depths of the sea.
Metal halide lamps
When it comes to lighting in the aquarium, it happens that the brightest type of light comes from the metal halide. They are the favorites for aquariums with reefs.
To be honest, these lights are not cheap at all, and they are quite delicate. Those who install them, should be careful not to touch the surface that emits light, since the grease of the fingers damages their mechanism.
Led for Aquariums
Finally, we have the case of the aquarium led light. Perhaps, it is the aquarium lighting system with the best aesthetic qualities.
Furthermore, its use can be directed in any direction. Likewise, it has the advantage that they can be used in all types of fish tanks: freshwater or saltwater.
There are other varieties of lamps used for aquariums in general. However, there are fish tank lighting systems that work very well with a combination of the above types of lamps: fluorescent, halide, and LED.
Lighting in the Planted Aquarium
Lighting in an aquarium that only contains fish, you need to pay attention only to the fish. However, when we talk about an aquarium planted in combination with fish, the situation becomes a bit complicated, since the amount and type of lighting has to be used for all species in the aquarium.
In a planted aquarium lighting is very important . If the plants in the aquarium do not receive the light necessary for photosynthesis, they turn dark or wilt . To solve this, there are two lighting options:
- Fluorescent tubes: in their T5 and T8 varieties. It is the most common way of placing light in planted aquariums. To calculate the amount of lighting you have to consider the amount of watts emitted by the tubes.
For example, if all the tubes emit a total of 0.56 watts per liter, it is considered an average intensity.
- LEDs: they have become very popular in the market, especially because they are cheap and last a long time.
In this case, the illumination is measured in lumens. An average illumination range is estimated to be between 15 and 25 lumens per liter.
The aforementioned criteria configure the range of options for lighting in the aquarium. Take them into account and create a wonderful aquarium!