The new art of illuminating aquariums

The new art of illuminating aquariums

The fact that LEDs can be the best solution for aquarium lighting does not come as a surprise. With their compact dimensions, low energy consumption rates and ability to offer the desired lamp colour, LEDs can deliver the right light to meet the needs of any kind of fish and aquarium lover alike.

So, is it possible to relamp an aquarium? The answer is yes, of course, provided that you implement some design solutions that take into account of the main role of the lighting in an aquarium.

The main role of the lighting in an aquarium

  1. Ensure the correct bio-rhythm of fish

  2. Facilitate the growth of plants, corals and seaweed

  3. Allow a better inspection of what happens inside the tank and appreciate such details as the strips along the “skin” of various types of fish

Therefore, the selection of the right aquarium lamps must take into account of a number of biological and aesthetic elements.



Setting the right lighting scene

To begin with, let us consider the installed power (that depends on the type of fixture being used, either LED or other). We need to take into account of the amount of water and the light intensity that we want to obtain. We should also consider the depth of the aquarium, because even the bottom of the tank must be illuminated. To this end, it is recommended to use reflectors that can direct the light beam.

Another problem is the selection of the right light spectrum: in this case we refer to the P.A.R. (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) that can help provide a light output that is similar to sunlight. The colour temperature of lamps on the market varies from 3000 to 10,000 K but it is best to choose lighting sources between 5000 and 6500 K in the case of aquarium for freshwater fish.

In the case of aquariums for saltwater fish, we need to remember that it is necessary to use lighting sources that encourage the growth of corals and invertebrates. Usually these are blue light (also called actinic light) that are combined with white lights to achieve the right balance.


The lighting sources

At present, the most popular lamps on the market are fluorescent tubes, especially T8 and T5. In open or very deep aquariums, mercury vapour lamps (HQL or HQI) are used. Other popular products are energy-saving lamps with 4000 K and up to 6500 K colour temperatures.

Now the market has paved the way for LEDs, thanks to their elevated performances, life, consumption and miniature sizes. The disadvantage is their expensive price, though the costs of a system should be assessed at the end of its life cycle, considering the replacement of lamps and the costs of highly “energy-consuming” lamps.

As for the selection of LEDs, we need to decide whether we want a uniform lighting or not. Then, we need to consider where we want to install the lamps (depending on beam width and depth of the aquarium tank) and how (for example by placing a Plexiglas panel between the LED and the tank). Lastly, we may also consider the installation of LED strips.

Moreover, since it is the overall effect that counts, why not consider the flexibility of LEDs and their very small dimensions for their correct positioning in the tank? To hide the sources and see the fish in their environment, this is exactly what we want. Let the true colours come to light!

  • Posted by Redazione
  • On September 27, 2016
Tags: aquarium, led, news


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