At Aquatic Connection Live, we offer some
of the best selection & best prices on aquarium Metal Halide
Lighting for you marine, reef, and saltwater aquarium. There
is no other practical lighting source for the reef aquarium that
will provide as much light intensity in a small space as metal
halide aquarium lighting. This is why they are the most popular
for reef aquarists. The need for light intensity provided by
metal halides becomes important as tanks become deeper. Generally,
metal halides are practical for lighting reef tanks that are
16 or more inches deep and becomes a necessity for tanks deeper
than 18 inches. Even shallow tank with more demanding stony corals,
such as most Acropora species require metal halides for success.
Do I need an Aquarium Lighting Fixture
or a retrofit light?
If you don't have a canopy, you will probably want a lighting
fixture that is complete with a hood that can either sit on top
of your tank or is hung over your tank. If you have a canopy
over your aquarium then you need what is called a retrofit kit.
The lighting system and any optional fans are mounted in the
perfect spots of the hood for best illumination.
The Glitter Effect
Many people find metal halide aquarium lighting more attractive
than fluorescent lighting types such as VHO or power compacts.
Why is metal halide more attractive? In natural reef environments
surface waves act as a lens that focuses light and create "glitter
lines." These glitter lines, familiar to divers, appear
as flashes of light of high intensity and short duration and
are very attractive to the eye. In reef aquariums these glitter
lines, or flashes, can be created through the use of point source
lights, such as metal halide lights, and surface agitation of
the water. Fluorescent lighting is more diffuse and does not
create these effects. Whether this flashing light is advantageous
to the corals is not known.
The intensity of light decreases by the square of the distance
that area is from the lighting source. In other words, if you
double the distance between the light and the organism, you will
quarter the amount of light reaching the organism.
Metal Halides For Smaller Tanks
Metal halides usually put out more than 150 watts (though we
do have a 70W metal halide), so they may be too much for smaller
aquariums. However, if you use a Pendant, the fixture can be
placed some distance from the water, thus reducing the intensity,
and spreading the light out better over the entire aquarium.
Check Your Water Temperature
Whenever installing metal halides, be sure to make frequent water
temperature checks. Overheating is a potential threat when metal
halides are used. However, with good air circulation provided
by fans, ( included with all the metal halide aquarium hoods
we sell), and a cool air-conditioned house, significant increases
in water temperatures may not occur. Chillers can be used to
offset any temperature gains if the problem still exists. If
you are purchasing a retrofit metal halide system to install
in your canopy, make sure you also purchase canopy fans to install.
This is nescessary to get the hot air out of the aquarium hood.