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Aquarium Lighting: Is It Needed Or Can You Go Without?
For some, aquarium lighting seems a bit like adding a neon sign to a lemonade stand. It looks like overkill and a waste of money. Yet, there are veritable reasons to use the correct lighting in an aquarium. Is it important to keep your fish healthy and in the best possible conditions as possible. The fact is that there are numerous reasons that almost every serious owner understands about aquarium lighting.
Of course, there is the aesthetic element. It makes the fish, corals and other livestock look good. You simply cannot see the beauty of many aquarium inhabitants in the dark. Their color revealed is only visible when light bounces off their reflective scales. If you are going to pay money for nice fish, corals and other livestock in an aquarium, you need to make sure that you can see it. Aquarium lighting is what is what transforms an aquarium into a work of art and conversation starter.
Yet there is an important aspect to most aquarium lighting requirements. Most fish require some type of lighting simply for health reasons. Different aquarium lighting can affect the fish's bodily systems, such as eating habits, breeding patterns and reproductive organs. Aquarium lighting can affect a fish, coral and other habitants stress levels as well.
Fish need about 12 hours of light per day to ensure that conditions in the tank are as close to their natural conditions as possible. To make sure that the lighting is also similar to natural light as possible is; fluorescent lights should be used. Flames and household bulbs are not good; you need fluorescent lights, which should be replaced every six to eight month. The aquarium lighting must be similar the natural light or it can cause stress in fish and lead to serious health related issues. Timers that you can purchase at your local hardware store can be used to maintain a constant duration each day; they can also be adjusted as need depending on the time of year. Remember that the fish cannot turn a blind eye and so the twelve hours per day of lighting should be during the day when they are awake. At night, turn the lighting off to enable them to sleep. Yes, fish sleep too.
A general rule is that your tank needs 2.5 watts per gallon of water volume; now this is different for corals and reef systems. If you plan to maintain living coral or rocks then the aquarium lighting requirements are much higher and it may be necessary to maintain up to 8 watts per gallon.
Many corals and marine plants require "spectrum" fluorescent light. It is quite a bit more complex and another topic all together but research of the fish, plants and corals you plan purchase can ensure that you have the right aquarium lighting. You do not have to know how it works to do so.
However, if you do not have coral or other livestock then you can consider using "color enhancing" florescent bulbs. These can be used in tanks with fresh or salt water and with a tint of pink or yellow in order to make the colors in your fish come out.
Some of the pitfalls of a poorly lit aquarium are undesirable algal growth that can take over. It will also indirectly, have an impact on CO2 and nutrients in your tank and it is therefore is certainly a vital aspect of your aquarium to take seriously.
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