Home aquariums are some of the best ways to bring the beauty of the aquatic world into your own home. However, certain aspects of the building process can be a bit difficult for beginners to wrap their heads around. Lighting, in particular, can come with a series of challenges, depending on the type of tank you have and the organisms you want to keep. Use these tips for choosing an aquarium lighting system to help you through the process.
Consider the Needs of Your Marine Life
There’s an endless list of marine species you could potentially keep in your tank, each with its own specific lighting needs. Because of this, you’ll need to decide which one species you want before you can effectively pick your aquarium lighting. Doing so will ensure you can meet all your specimens’ lighting needs and sustain the proper ecosystem for them to thrive in. Make sure you carefully research the amount of light that certain organisms need, and start your search for lighting based on that.
Commit to Your Tank Size
It’s also important that you commit to your tank size prior to looking for lighting. The overall capacity of a given tank will greatly influence how much PAR, or photosynthetically active radiation, is present in the water when the system is on. This has to do with the light saturation in your aquarium and controlling exactly how many rays your fish are getting. Larger tanks will require higher PAR levels to maintain the ecosystem, while smaller tanks won’t require as powerful of a lighting source.
Choose Your Light Bulbs
Another vital tip for choosing an aquarium lighting system is to pick your light bulbs before moving forward with the rest of your setup. Just as the saturation of light is important to a healthy tank, so is the color spectrum of that light. As a general rule, cool-colored lighting such as blue or white will penetrate deeper into the water, reaching organisms closer to the tank floor. Warm-colored light, on the other hand, will stay closer to the surface.
Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
When it comes to choosing your actual lighting setup for your aquarium, you must take the time to experiment. There are several different types and styles of tank lighting, and the only way to find the best one for you is to try out a few and see what works. Depending on how much time you have for maintenance, you may want lights that are set to a timer, or you may want something more classic and manual. The choice is entirely yours to make.