CHOOSING THE RIGHT LIGHTING ACCORDING TO TANK SIZE
- Standard Fluorescent – Once the most common type of aquarium lighting, standard fluorescents come in wattages between 15 and 40 with different size and color options. This is the type of lighting that is most often used in aquarium kits that come with a hood light. Standard fluorescents are inexpensive, easy to find, and good for simple tank setups.
- Compact Fluorescent – Another version of the standard fluorescent, this type of bulb is smaller but it produces a higher intensity of light. Compact fluorescent bulbs come in wattages up to 130 and the bulbs can last for as long as 28 months without needing replacement. Like standard fluorescents, compact fluorescents come in different wavelengths including daylight or actinic.
- T-5 High Output – Also known as T-5 HO, this type of fluorescent lighting is a step up from compact fluorescents in terms of intensity. These bulbs come in wattages up to 54 and they can last for about 16 to 24 months at a time. Though these bulbs produce high-intensity light they do not run hot like some lighting systems.
- Very High Output – Available in wattages between 75 and 165, VHO bulbs produce very high-intensity light that can penetrate deep water. These lighting systems are three times as intense as standard fluorescents but they do produce heat, so you might need a chiller or auxiliary fan to go with them.
- Light Emitting Diode – One of the newest types of aquarium lighting, LED lighting is highly efficient and easy to customize. LED lights consist of very small bulbs that can produce high-intensity light with very little energy requirement and no heat output. These lights come in standard daylight wavelengths, individual colors, and even a nighttime option that mimics natural moonlight.
- Metal Halide – This is the most high-powered option in aquarium lighting and bulbs range from as low as 70 watts to 1,000 watts or more. Metal halide bulbs can last for up to 18 months and they produce incredibly bright light that offers deep penetration. One thing to keep in mind is that these systems run very hot so you’ll need a chiller or fan to prevent your tank from overheating.
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