Saltwater Aquarium Lighting and Heating
There are various kinds of tank lights available, but the type you need depends on what tank system you are running. For instance, fish only tanks can use a basic fluorescent light. When choosing a lamp make note of the "spectrum" of the lamp, which is the range of distribution of light. The rule of thumb for lighting is around 0.14W (1 Watt per gal) is a sufficient level to use.
What Type of Heating Equipment Do I Use?
Heating systems are a very important element in any tank system. Because they rely on external resources to help regulate their body temperature, ectothermic or cold-blooded animals, such as fish and invertebrates need an adequate source of heat to help maintain water temperature at sufficient levels. Even slight variations in temperature can adversely affect some of the more fragile tank inhabitants.
While not really a filtration system, saltwater aquarists occasionally have the need to lower the temperature of their aquarium water. The high light levels needed in reef systems cause a build up of excess heat. Use of a hood fan and removal of the ballast from the vicinity of the tank can help regulate water temperatures. However, additional cooling is often required, especially in warm climates. This can be achieved through the use of "freon" style cooler units (chillers) similar to home refrigerators. Maintaining an optimal tank temperature in the summer months can be a challenge. An aquarium chiller (also referred to as a cooler) is necessary for maintaining the temperature of the water in the tank. Although aquarium chillers can be quite expensive, they are quite economical for a couple of reasons:
You can purchase an inexpensive thermostat from your local pet store. The easiest to use is one that attaches to the side of the fish tank with suction cups.A tank thermometer is something you will not want to be without. This is the only way you will know what temperature the water is. As stated before, some organisms are extremely sensitive to even slight variations in water temperature so being aware of water temperature is crucial. There are a number of models to choose from and they range from digital to floating thermometers. There are also multifunction remote digital sensor thermometers available that will allow you the ease of operation and convenience that other types of thermometers don't offer. For instance, with these types of thermometers the plastic probe is suspended in the water with the display located away from the water surface for easy reading.
There are no set standards for tank temperature however, some aquarium owners say that a temperature range of 75-77 F works well whereas others feel that a range of 75-80F is better. Some even favor tank temperatures of around 80-85 F. Ideally, you need to know of what type of climate your tank inhabitants originated from because different types of fish enjoy different temperatures. For instance, sea temperature typically varies between 72-92 F. so that may be the range to set your sights on. But it is better to have a pet store employee help you determine the right temperature based on the type of fish who will inhabit your aquarium.
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