Useful Information for the Aquarist
for the novice can be confusing. Aquarium lighting is very important
though, and it is important you purchase the right type of light
fixture for your aquarium for both the best health and the best
pleasure your aquarium can provide you with.
Aquarium lighting for saltwater fish, the main purpose
of your lighting is to provide the correct spectrum and wattage
to assure your animals look their best and stay nutrionally healthy
through what their body absorbs. The correct lighting on a fish
only tank will affect the reproduction cycle of your tanks contents
and will also affect the types and ability for nescessary beneficial
algaes to be produced.
If you have a reef aquarium, the lighting is even more important
because the majority of corals and invertebrates use a process
called photosynthesis to feed themselves and keep nutrionally
healthy. Without the intense lighting from either power compacts,
VHO's or metal halides, a coral or inverts metabolism will slow
down and often times results in a slow death. A general rule
of thumb is to have 3 - 5 watts per gallon for a reef tank. Higher
wattage is nescessary for some advanced corals and invertebrates.
very good for reef tanks because they are VHO (very high output)
bulbs compacted in a small space. Easily installed, power compacts
are so intense that watt for watt they will produce twice as
many lux as a comparable VHO without any increase in heat! The
power compact bulbs should be replaced about every 6 months to
attain efficiency. After long periods of time the lights loose
their intensity, and should be replaced. A ballast unit usually
comes with these lights to handle the high power.
Soft corals are a perfect coral for power compact lighting.
They don't require as much intense lighting and will do fine
wonderful under power compact lighting.
come in two varieties. HQI metal halides and Mogul mount metal halidess.
they are easy to tell apart. HQI bulbs are double ended, and
are quite small. Mogul mount metal halides have a screw in end
like a normal light bulb. Either are very good lights to have
for a reef tank because the lights are very intense and will
reach deeper into the aquarium.
Heat though is a problem with metal halide lighting , they will
get hot, so a fan is necessary to stop the tank from over heating.
Often in warm climates a chiller may even be nescessary.
Aquarium bulbs need to be replaced about every 6 months.
You should generally keep one bulb for every 3 feet of tank length
and you should consider at least 4 watts or more of energy per
keep hard corals such as SPS corals, acroporas, milleporas? If so, you need to have
the intense lighting metal halides provide for maximum color
intensity and best health. . You should generally have 4-10 watts
per gallon for these corals. So if you have a 90 gal. tank you
would need 360 watts or more of energy for the tank.
To sum it all up, lighting is the most important item for
reef aquariums. You can never have too much light. The more
energy available from the lighting, the faster your corals will
photosynthesiz and the healthier your tank will be.