Knowing the Types of Lighting Used in Freshwater Aquariums
Several different types of lighting are already available for fish tanks. Depending on the need for an artificial lighting and your aquarium specifications, you might need a specific type of lighting for your fish tank.
Incandescent bulbs are generally regarded as too ineffective for freshwater aquarium lighting. They use up energy far too high compared to their luminal output, and produce too much heat to make them suitable lighting for the inside of an aquarium. They can probably have some use for very simple and crude aquariums such as small glass bowls, but otherwise, you have to choose something better than these.
Fluorescent lighting is the standard de facto type of freshwater aquarium lighting that you can use for your fish tanks. It is relatively cheap and easy to find, plus it has a considerably high luminosity despite its lowered energy consumption. There are several types of fluorescent lamps that you can use for your aquarium, including the new generation compact fluorescent lamps that offer intense lighting capabilities of very high output (VHO) fluorescent bulbs without their short life span.
Metal halide lamps are considered to be upgraded incandescent bulbs in terms of their similarity in shape and lighting function, but their lighting capabilities are incomparable to the ole and crude incandescent bulbs. Their luminosity is so intense that they can even simulate the sun’s bright yellow light, and are perfect for replicating actual marine habitat sceneries.
Determining the Right Type of Lighting to Use
Knowing what the right light source to use would require you to answer several questions about the general features and characteristics of marine life in your aquarium, as well as the specifications of the fish tank itself. If your fish tank has a relatively deeper water level than the average aquarium, then you may choose a light source that is brighter and probably more focused, in order to keep the light’s luminosity as it goes deeper into your aquarium.
If your aquarium only has fish inside it, then you may just opt for low watt lighting from any effective light source. Don’t worry: you only need to replace it once in a while. Do note, however, that the wattage should be at around 2-3 watts per tank gallon.
For fish tanks with live plants, it is generally desirable to have lighting with a minimum wattage of 4 watts per tank gallon. It’s generally better if you can intensify the lighting, as marine plant life thrives better this way, but there are some kinds of plants that would need specialized lighting for them to live properly, so it’s still recommended to do your own research.
Ways to install Artificial Lighting Effectively
Hobbyists just usually place the bulb at a general area overhead to scatter the light evenly across the fish tank. However, if you have live plants inside the aquarium, then it’s recommended that you concentrate that light towards these plants, so that they can grow properly. Additionally, you should go further than just putting the light there and turning it on until the light bulb wears off. Hobbyists can create effects that can simulate day and night conditions using artificial lighting.
Marine life can get stressed quickly if they are subjected to light for a time longer than the light of the sun in a day would usually take. Likewise, they also get irritated easily when they receive less light that they should have taken in that day. So, in simulating the effects of day and night on a fish tank, not only are you able to get that realistic feel of natural marine life, but you can also make the fish and plants inside the aquarium feel at home, just as if they were living in their natural habitat.
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