When it comes to lighting for planted aquariums, it’s about much more than aesthetics, and it’s about more than the fish. It’s true the warm glow can add a certain sense of serenity in the aquarium, and lighting is necessary to maintain a healthy environment for the animals.
But don’t overlook the effect that lights have on natural plant life in the tank. Lighting gives plants the nutrients they need to thrive, and that in turn creates a healthier habitat for the livestock.
Choosing the ideal lighting for planted aquariums can be a bit challenging, as it is one of the more technical aspects of aquarium ownership. It depends on the size and depth of your tank, the water clarity, and the nearby light fixtures in your home.
For fish-only tanks, the lighting is more about aesthetics, but the right type of lighting and light intensity is important for reef tanks and planted aquariums. In fact, plants might not even survive without adequate lighting needed for photosynthesis.
Following is a basic overview that may help you identify the best lights for your fish tank.
1. Beautifying the Aquarium with Colorful Lighting
The right color spectrum intensifies the hues in your fish and plants. Essentially, the colors bring out the beauty in your livestock. Common color hues used in lighting for planted aquariums include:
- Neutral white
- Cool white
- Magenta, red, or pink
- Soft blue or deep blue
Many skilled hobbyists combine different colors and hues to achieve their preferred appearance.
2. The Ideal Strength
As you are trying to choose the ideal lighting for planted aquariums, you will likely come across words like “hues,” “Kelvin,” “wavelength,” “K rating,” and other technical terms. It is complex, which is why we are here to help design the most beautiful lighted aquarium for you.
But here are some of the basics about what all that means. Light intensity determines how bright a light is, and spectrum is about the mixture of colors (wavelengths) that a light produces. Light spectrum is given a Kelvin rating, sometimes called a “K rating.” For a yellowish, warm appearance, look for a low Kelvin rating. For a cool blue or white light, look for a high Kelvin rating.
3. Aquarium Lighting Styles
Common choices of lighting for aquariums include LED, fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and metal halide lights.
LED lights are popular today due to their affordability and longevity, as well as the ability to use bulbs of various colors. They also don’t produce as much heat as other types of lights, but the initial investment might be more expensive than other options.
Standard Fluorescent Lights
Standard fluorescent lights are more ideal for fish-only tanks. They don’t last as long and therefore may end up costing more in the long run.
Compact Fluorescent Lights
Offering a higher intensity, compact fluorescent lights are ideal for nano tanks and other small tanks. The downfall is that they do generate a moderate level of heat.
Metal Halide Lights
Metal halide lights are a common choice for reef aquariums, as they offer a range of color temperatures with high intensity. These lights are not ideal for energy efficiency, and they produce high heat.
Costs run the gamut as well. Depending on the style, size, and functionality, the cost of lights for aquariums range from $20 to a couple thousand dollars.If you are unsure which kind of lighting you should get for your freshwater aquarium or saltwater aquarium, contact us at Seatech. We can help you identify the color and strength of lighting for planted aquariums that is most suitable for your particular habitat.