How to Choose the Lighting for a Freshwater Aquarium
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The light the plants are using for photosynthesis must help you answer the question how to choose the lighting for a freshwater aquarium. Usual household lights are not recommended for lighting the tank because they are producing too much heat and they are not efficient.
Fluorescent tubes are good for small aquariums because they are efficient and cheap. However, it is recommended to have more light than less.
When choosing the lighting for a freshwater aquarium, any aquarist must take into account the following features: efficiency, intensity, costs, and the light spectrum it offers.
• Fluorescent tubes are the most common in lighting aquariums, being efficient and affordable for everyone. Fluorescent lighting can have specific roles, emitting lights as red-yellow, and red-violet-blue, ideal for the plants’ growth. The problem when using a fluorescent tube is that once time passes, the light diminishes and that’s why it must be changed in about a year.
• Metal-halide lamps are recommended for deep aquariums, and they are available in two versions: 150 watt and 250 watt. These laps are a little expensive but they are offering the best light for the aquarium plants.
• Mercury vapor lamps are recommended for their intense light and for being rather cheap. So, they are cheaper than metal –halide lamps but they provide similar lighting, and they are better than fluorescent tubes.
• Sodium lamps and is an alternative for lighting the aquarium, but it lacks providing blue light and that’s why it must be combined with another source of light.
• Blended spot lamps is another suitable alternative for lighting your aquarium, combining mercury and tungsten, at a good price.
• The household bulb is not recommended for aquariums’ lighting because it provides red wavelengths but is deficient in the blue specter.
• Natural sunlight is for free and it provides all the colors in the spectrum. Although, it might cause some problems if the aquarium is directly exposed to the sunlight, causing overheating.
If you intend to change the lighting for your freshwater aquarium pay attention to the difference of intensity and specter. Sudden changes might cause damages, even lethal transformations to the plants.
For example, if a floating plant is removed from an aquarium less lighted to an aquarium that is provided with high intensity lamps, it is going to suffer transformations because it doesn’t have enough time to adapt to the new medium’s conditions. The same could happen to all your plants in the aquarium if you suddenly change the lighting to a different intensity and spectrum.
Therefore, you can choose the proper lighting for a freshwater aquarium depending on the dimensions of the tank, the species of fish, the species of natural plants, and the money you can afford are to spend on it.