4. What light should I use for my aquarium?

•LED aquarium lights run much cooler than standard Fluorescents and metal halides
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Terrific Power Compact lights. Plenty of light (9 watts to 384 watts) in compact fixtures. Bulbs available in Daylight, Actinic or 50/50. The smaller (12") fixtures are perfect for mini reef aquariums.
Aquarium Lighting Systems come in a complex array of options and varieties. Options include:
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Reef lighting will generally use in the 10,000K spectrum to the 20,000K spectrum. Fish tank lighting (for fish-only systems) can use aquarium light bulbs in the 6,700K to 10,000K spectrum. 6. When should I turn off the aquarium light?
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Trust me, I went through the same struggles trying to figure out what the best lighting for my aquarium, and it was a headache, so I want to share my discoveries with you guys.
These are the type of lights that come with most starter tanks and are very affordable. They typically range from 15 to 40 watts and have Kelvin ratings from 3,000° to 10,000°. Kelvin is the scale used to measure the color temperature. They are very cheap to run and replace. These are the often the stock lights that come with aquarium kits.The type of aquarium light you need for your fish tank really depends on what you plan on keeping in your aquarium. This article is a very general introduction into aquarium lighting and below we discuss the various types of lighting needs based on aquarium type.
Are LED aquarium lights what we have in store for the future of aquarium lighting systems? Prices are still very high and they will need to drop significantly in price before more hobbyists will transition to them. The prices are coming down, just not fast enough. They offer many advantages over previously mentioned lights. Some of the advantages of LED lights over convential Fluorescents and metal halides include:
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.
Saltwater reef tanks with corals, clams and other light needing organisms will need the high output, very high output Fluorescent or metal halide lamps. Certain corals, anemones and clams require very intense lighting levels that can only be provided with T5-HO, VHO and metal halide light sources. A general rule of thumb for reef tanks is between 4 and 10 watts per aquarium gallon. Many reefers have lighting systems incorporating metal halides and VHO Fluorescent tubes. Research the species you want to keep because light requirements can vary. Because of the amount of heat these light units can produce, you may need to get an aquarium chiller to keep your tank water temperature in an acceptable range. The expense of lighting a reef tank may be just as high or higher than the cost of the live rock or even the price of all the other equipment combined.Many of the light fixtures being sold now include moon lights which are LEDs. So we're starting to see them more often, but even though these LED aquarium lights are very promising we are probably still a few years away from using them as the primary light source on most home aquariums. Check out the ecotech radion LED lighting fixture which is getting really good reviews from hobbyists. I run these over my 120 gallon reef tank now and reviewed them for the magazine. Check out the for more information.
You may also want to get an aquarium light timer. A light timer can help make running an aquarium that much more enjoyable because it's one less thing you have to mess with. Most higher end fish tank hoods and fixtures have multiple power cords that are tied into the multiple light sockets within the hood. This allows you to setup your timer to turn on the various lights at different times.