A Spot of Light Reading
If you’re looking to get into aquarium keeping, specifically focussing on tropical plants and wildlife (and let’s face it, who buys an aquarium to look like the bottom of a Manchester canal?), getting your aquarium lighting right is of the utmost importance. That’s why we’ve put together the following short guide for newcomers, showcasing a few tips to get the most out of their aquarium lighting set up.
Light intensity is a great place to start, as it will by-and-large affect how your plants grow, and whether or not your aquarium is prone to bouts of nuisance algae. There are certain blatant indicators that will quickly surface if your aquarium lighting levels aren’t quite right; sparse or stifled growth indicates that your plants aren’t receiving enough light, whereas dense or particularly overpopulated algae clearly suggests that your existing aquarium lighting is much too intense. It’s always important to remember that certain plants require specific levels of light (this should be easy to find in any vendor’s catalogue), which means that your aquarium lighting should be directly suited to the plants that you’re looking to keep, or vice versa.
Timing is also key; bear in mind that there isn’t a natural ecosystem in the world that constantly receives sunlight for 24 hours a day. Even in the tropics, plants are only subject to bouts of light that stretch for a few hours at a time, once you take into account things like cloud coverage. Common advice suggests that you shouldn’t be lighting a new aquarium for more than seven hours a day, but overall, it’s best just to try and replicate the exact conditions of your plants’ natural habitats as closely as possible – this will help to encourage healthy growth and diversification.
Now it comes to the hard bit, actually choosing the bulbs and aquarium lighting systems you’re going to incorporate into your tank. Unfortunately, there’s no “one-size fits all answer”, and your choices should reflect the size and positioning of your tank, as well as the plants and wildlife you’re looking to keep. Ideally, you need a versatile solution that won’t break the bank in energy bills; perhaps start with a unit that can house two T5 tubes, before gradually up-scaling in line with the development of your aquarium.
Of course, your friendly neighbourhood (if you’re Staffordshire-based) aquarium maintenance specialists are always on hand to impart advice and deliver recommendations! Browse our full range of highly popular aquarium lighting products online today, or contact us for more advice.