Different Types of Aquarium Lights

Lights on an Aquarium has more than aesthetics. Most commonly people mistake while choosing the right lights for the aquarium.

There are couple of questions you need to address before picking up the right make and model of lights for your Aquarium. Do not go by the advice of the local fish store – Always.. I repeat. The reason why I say so is because the local fish store might not have the stock of all the makes and models, all the time. This is specific to Indian market.

Whats the requirement

  1. Is your tank a Tropical set up? No Live plants. Only Fish and some plastic / Resin decoration?
  2. Is your tank live planted tank?
  3. Is it a Reef tank?
  4. Do you want a expensive brand with a high tech gadget type?

 

With so many options available in the market today, it’s obvious that you may get confused. And at the same time, there is no single light which fits for all Tanks.

We can categorise the tanks in three major type

  1. Fish Only Tank : We call it as Tropical set up. Here its a minimalistic tank. Only fish and a few decorative stuff. You need only a basic light for this kind of set up. Though there is no restriction on using high tech lights. But these kind of fish tanks will work well with even basic lights
  2. Planted tank: This is a bit more complex set up, here you will need to replicate the natural eco system in a small tank and hence the light plays major role. For live plants to grow, light is necessary. Like plants above the ground require light for photosynthesise, Under water plants also require lights and CO2. And these needs to be supplied from an artificial source. We will talk about CO2 in a different topic later. Lets stick to Lights now. We recommend Actinic  white lights for such set up with 7000 – 8000Kelvin out put. Please do note the lights should be on only for maximum of 7 – 8 hours so that the plants get a real feel of sunlight. Should you keep the lights on for longer period of time, there are fair chances of unwanted green algae to grow in your light. Controlling algae growth with medication is a tricky practise because the medication may harm your fish / Shrimps and snails in the tank. Today in the market the availability of lights which can replicate sun rise to sun set is very common. In fact its evolved to the extend that lights can be controlled from a mobile app. Maxspect has pioneered in such light system and is available with http://www.easypets.in

 

  1. Reef Tank: This is even more complex tank set up. Here the light requirement is intense. A combination of right intensity and wavelength is required here and we recommend full spectrum lights for such set up.

 

 

Types of Light

T5 : These are the most conventional lighting system. A combination of White and different color and spectrum lights are available. In India a lot of people make there DIY set up using a combination of Bulbs and Ballasts. With only a 5/8" diameter, thin T-5 HO Fluorescent bulbs produce almost twice the brightness of standard fluorescents. In addition to their brightness, you can also fit more of these slim bulbs into the same amount of space. Ocean free or Aquazonic and Sunsun are pioneers in making T5 Lights.

LED : With the advent of technology, LED lights have now captured the market because of their fancy looks and lower power consumption and better results. But again, with so many options available today, we recommend that customers should always look at the PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) value of the LED before buying. But if you buy LED from any expert Aquatic hobby store or brand, you can just ignore that. LED lights are these days made with so much sophistication that remote control, Controlling using mobile app, Adjustment of timers, Adjustment of light spectrum etc are very much possible. Maxspect and Sunsun LED lights are very popular in Indian Market

While choosing a light, ensure you always evaluate the Initial cost and operating cost of these. Correct light can only give best results.