Understanding The Importance Of Adequate Aquarium Lighting
If you have an aquarium in your home or business, one of the most important purchases you will need to consider is for the Aquariums Lighting. Because of the cost of setting up a new aquarium, there may be a temptation for new aquarists to cut corners and buy cheaper but often inferior Aquarium Lighting products. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest mistakes a new aquarist can make because proper lighting is crucial to keeping fish & coral happy and healthy. Moreover, there are several other reasons for which you should research the appropriate lighting choice for your specific aquarium setup. Corals and freshwater plants in particular, require appropriate lighting to survive and thrive. As of the last few years, many aquarium hobbyists have made the switch from T5, power compact, VHO and metal halide lighting to LED lighting and in this article we will explore why this switch is occurring and why it’s important to choose the best lighting source for your setup.
Making the Choice for Best in Class Lighting
If you check the market, you will find a wide variety of lights options available for aquariums from dozens of manufactures. However, Aquarium LEDs are often the most suitable option because LED diodes consume less energy per lumen than traditional T5 and metal halide bulbs. Additionally, LEDs produce less heat and potentially eliminate the need for an aquarium water chiller which can be costly to purchase and operate. The upfront cost of quality LED fixtures are more expensive than most T5 and metal halide fixtures, but you can be assured that these will last much longer than their T5 and Metal halide counterparts provided that you choose a quality fixture.
Typically, T5 and Metal Halide bulbs will need to be replaced every 9 to 12 months while LED diodes can last for as much as 50,000 hours of use which equates to about 12–13 years of usable life. Consequently, you will see a relatively quick return on your initial investment with reduced energy consumption and the need for bulb replacement costs. Furthermore, LED lights do not contain mercury which is harmful to the environment.
Mimicking The Natural Light
When you want to get suitable lights for your aquarium, it is best to mimic, or closely mimic the natural phases and intensity of the sun while keeping in mind the intensity of light over the aquarium. Too much light can burn or bleach corals and plants and not enough light can also harm corals and plants.
The intensity and duration of the Aquarium Lighting depends more on the type of corals and plants that you will be caring for, more so than the size of the aquarium itself. When using traditional T5 or metal halide lighting it is advisable to place the lighting on timers or use a quality aquarium controller to turn the lights on and off automatically. Few T5 and metal halide fixtures have built in timers while most of the quality LED fixtures already come with built in dimming capabilities, full incremental control and other lighting effects.
Beneficial For Photosynthesis & Symbiotic Zooxanthellae
One of the most important advantages LED lights have over other forms of lighting is that they provide high quality light that is not only adjustable in intensity but also in color spectrum. Most of the well designed LED fixtures come with multiple colors of LED diodes that are available with wireless control. This allows the aquarist to adjust the intensity of each color throughout the day via the provided lighting software. This may sound complicated but in actuality it’s very easy to program an LED light fixture.
Plants typically prefer a lower Kelvin temperature in the ranges of 3500 to 6500 degrees Kelvin while corals prefer a range between 10,000 and 20,000 Kelvin. Also many of the higher quality LED lights are provided with software that can mimic storms, lunar cycles, custom light cycles and additional features right from your computer, smart phone or tablet, making these lights much more versatile and fun to use.
If you are considering making the switch to LED or setting up a new aquarium then there has never been a better time than the present. If you are new to the hobby and you think you need a better understanding of which lights are right for your aquarium, then you might want to consider contacting experts who can guide you on making the right lighting decision for your specific aquarium lighting needs.