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Aquarium Lighting - from Wikipedia

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Aquarium Lighting - from Wikipedia

Aquarium lighting describes any type of light that is used to illuminate an aquarium tank or in
some instances, such as with reef aquariums, support the life contained within.

Freshwater aquarium lighting often comes in two forms; one is a screw-in style incandescent bulb and
 the other is normal output fluorescent lighting. Screw-in compact fluorescent lighting is also used in
freshwater aquaria since it provides brighter light output than traditional screw-in style bulbs.

More demanding freshwater set-ups, such as planted freshwater aquariums, may require stronger
light sources. Compact fluorescent bulbs, high output T5 bulbs or metal halide lamps are often used
over such aquariums to encourage plant growth. While these lights can provide a better spectrum
than traditional ones, they often use more electricity and have a high heat output.

The reef aquarium field is where aquarium lighting varies the greatest. Some reef aquarium keepers
use VHO (Very High Output) fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lighting, and metal halide lighting
since they provide much brighter light than average fluorescent bulbs and come in a variety of
spectrums. Reef keepers often opt for light of varying spectrum. Since many corals require a deep
blue or actinic spectrum of light (7500k) to thrive many aquarists must supplement traditional white
light with light of this color. Also popular with reef keepers is T5 High Output fluorescent bulbs. These
bulbs are thinner than traditional T8 bulbs and provide a much brighter, more powerful light.

Another light source in reef aquariums today is metal halide lighting. These high output lights closely
recreate the shimmering effect of bright tropical sun over a patch of coral reef. These lights can
create the best true spectrum output. Metal halide bulbs come in a variety of spectra from 5000k on
up to true 20,000k and allow for a variety of light hungry corals to survive under them. Many
aquarists will use metal halide bulbs in conjunction with either power compact fluorescents or T5
fluorescents since halide lighting does not have the overall balanced effect of other light types. While
very useful to reef aquarium keepers, halide lighting also uses a lot of electricity (150-400 watts
being common) and produces copious amounts of heat. Most reef keepers mount halide bulbs at
least one foot above their tank and some, due to the lights' heat output have had to add chillers to
keep aquarium water cool.

Many light fixtures come as all-in-one units with light for both daylight hours and nighttime viewing.
LED lamps of 3/4 to 2 watts can be implemented to come on at night, simulating the glow of the moon
 over the tank. All in one fixtures require large fans to cool the bulbs and achieve maximum light
efficiency. LED lighting is also becoming more common for not only lunar lighting but also to
simulate daylight conditions, LEDs have a higher initial cost than other lighting sources but utilize
much less energy. They are also dimmable. LEDs produce a very narrow color spectrum that is
limited to a narrow band of wavelengths. For this reason an array of different colored LEDs is
required to be used in combination to simulate spectral coverage that is suitable for coral growth.
Early adopters of pure LED based systems have reported that the limited color spectrum provided by
LEDs may not produce optimal coral growth.

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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