Aquarium Lighting: Fluorescent Bulb Selection Guide

•LED aquarium lights run much cooler than standard Fluorescents and metal halides
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It is noteworthy that Fluorescent and even more so incandescent lights produce a lot of yellow & green nanometer light, which research indicates is mostly wasted energy in terms of the needs or freshwater plants & SPS Corals. This is where an LED Aquarium Light or Metal Halide excel as there is often less of the less efficient yellow/green light.
Fluorescent lights are the easiest way to illuminate an aquarium
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Fish rely on a regular day/night cycle for optimum health, however brightness is less important and too much light can cause algae growth. Live plants, on the other hand, need strong light (which is different than brightness level) and a broader spectrum for photosynthesis. Certain fluorescent lamps and LED bars can enhance the colors in fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium. Aqueon® T8 Full Spectrum Daylight Fluorescent Aquarium Lamp.
Photo provided by FlickrFluorescent Aquarium Lighting Basics at
Photo provided by FlickrFluorescent Aquarium Lighting: Marineland Fluorescent Lights
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Many small, beginner aquarium kits (for ten or fifteen gallon (about 39-60 liter) fish tanks) come with incandescent light fixtures tokeep the initial cost down. However, most aquarium owners quicklyreplace this type of light fixture with a fluorescent fixture. (So,you'll actually save money in electricity and equipment cost by buyingthe more expensive fluorescent light strip to begin with.)However, metal halide aquarium lights, if properly installed, canmake an immense difference in the health of live plants or corals aswell as the brightness of the tank. M.H. aquarium lighting is also thesource of the shimmering or rippling effect seen on the bottom of fishtanks in large aquariums or in movies. Because of the fluctuation inthe light emitted by metal halide lights over the course of the day,they should always be used in conjunction with a fluorescent light ofsome sort. To simplify this, many manufacturers make fixtures thathave sockets for M.H. and V.H.O. or M.H. and power compact bulbs.The most common type of aquarium lighting isfluorescent. Fluorescent aquarium light fixtures are more expensivethan incandescent fixtures, as are the bulbs. However, the bulbs useless power than incandescent bulbs, and last longer. In the long run,fluorescent lighting is actually cheaper than incandescentlighting.Incandescent lights are available in a variety of colors to accentyour aquarium, however there is no particular advantage to one varietyover another. Even the incandescent lights designed to encourage plantgrowth do not provide as much benefit as even a regularN.O. fluorescent light.You may be surprised to know that a household aquarium's lighting is not purely decorative. The fluorescent lighting in a tank illuminates the aquarium for viewing purposes as well as helping to promote helpful algae blooms. Over time, the aquarium bulb may dim or need complete replacement. Changing this small track-style bulb is a simple task that all aquarium owners should learn. With appropriate instructions, anyone can change aquarium lighting.
VHO Fluorescent lights typically range from 75-160 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 10,000° to 20,000°. These lights are very expensive and produce a lot of heat. They require a ballast and/or special fixture especially for VHO lights. They have fans incorporated into the aquarium lighting unit to help keep the lights and aquarium cool. Even though they come with fans you may need to equip your tank with an to prevent your tank water from overheating. These are not as common as many of the other forms of aquarium lighting.