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Aquarium Lights for Freshwater

Fish aren't plants; they rely on food rather than photosynthesis. Still, every aquarium requires some kind of lighting system in order to keep the inhabitants happy and healthy. Fish alone only require a relatively small amount of light, but once you add plants, anemones or coral the requirements jump significantly. Choosing the right aquarium lights is an important step to setting up a healthy aquarium.

Types of Lighting

There are several different types of lighting available, including fluorescent, incandescent, halide and LED aquarium lights. In most cases, incandescent lights are only suited for small aquariums and beginners. They produce a lot of heat relative to light. Fluorescent lighting is very common for aquariums less than 60 cm deep. You can get a variety of lights and most are relatively cool and efficient. LED lights offer the best power efficiency and are becoming more popular with time.

Lighting and Plants

Marine plants require light for photosynthesis just like terrestrial ones. When setting up an aquarium always check how much light your plants need. If your plants need a lot of light, consider raising your light installation above the surface and adding a cooling fan. For LED installations, check the Photosynthesis Active Radiation or PAR value. This indicates how well your light stimulates photosynthesis.

Lighting and Fish

Fish alone don't require as much light as plants, although many species do benefit from a diurnal cycle. Almost any lighting system will do so long as you manage the heat levels. Do avoid regular home light bulbs as these can foster the growth of certain species of algae.

Installing Lighting

Always determine your requirements before installing lighting. You need enough light for your inhabitants but not so much that the water becomes too hot for your fish. Adding cooling to your lighting system not only protects the aquarium, it also extends the life of your lights.

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