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Aquarium lights

maintenance, care, compatibility

Aquarium lighting and choice of lamps, which is better to choose?

Proper lighting in an aquarium is one of the global issues of aquarism. It is difficult to understand the beginners of the aquarium craft, and experienced aquarists constantly discuss and argue about the power, spectrum and light sources.
In this article I would like to sort everything out, concentrate all the information about aquarium lighting, and the main thing is to try to present it in an accessible way. So that everyone understood it, both beginners and pros.

Duration of aqua illumination and options to facilitate control

Which lamps are better suited for a plant aquarium?

All types of lighting devices have different intensity of illumination, which can affect the well-being of the inhabitants of the reservoir and their life cycle. For fish and plants that come from tropical forest waters, you do not need a lot of daylight.

But there are also such organisms that require strong daylight – these are endemics of shallow tropical rivers with clear water and sea inhabitants.

These days, different types of aquarium lamps are sold. But which is better to choose? The most versatile and affordable are ordinary incandescent bulbs with a tungsten filament and a screw base.

For aquariums with fish and plants, they are not particularly suitable because they can burn the leaves of plants and heat the water very much. For aquaterrarium with turtles, they are more suitable because they imitate sunlight.

For a long time they can not be included, otherwise living organisms will suffer.

Incandescent bulbs are good to use in fish pools. But their color spectrum reaches 2700 Kelvin (K), starting from the red mark of the spectrum and ending with yellow. Such light provokes the reproduction of cyanobacteria that form algae.

They consume a lot of electricity, emit a large amount of heat. For permanent use in the aquarium will not work.

Watch a video about aquarium lighting.

What are the most common lighting fixtures in home aquariums? Fluorescent diodes can produce light over a large surface area, do not emit much heat. However, they are non-compact and do not have intense power.

These types of lamps can be sold in different versions of the spectral range. Lamps of samples T8 and T12 are considered standard for room lamps, sample T5 can be used in special lighting devices.

The advantage of T5 lamps is their intense illumination of a small area of ​​space. To give light to the aquarium with depth, where there are reefs and plants, you should use a fluorescent type of lamp, which have high luminous efficiency.

They are designated as HO (High Output) and VHO (Very High Output).

Metal halide luminaire with integrated blue lamps

Many sources point out that the best option is to use fluorescent lights. They shine well, quite economical.

They are connected via an electronic ballast, as well as a special device – a choke.

Nowadays, most lovers prefer special fluorescent lamps in combination with metal halides. At the same time they are placed on the front wall of the reservoir.

In addition, special fluorescent aquarium lamps of different power with warm or daylight white light are also used. Installation is carried out complete with special reflectors.

With properly tuned lighting, the fish will demonstrate the diversity of all their color, while corals will develop excellently.

Fluorescent lamps are economical, provide excellent lighting, last long enough. As a disadvantage, it can be noted that they must be connected using a special device – electronic ballast or choke.

Fluorescent lamps – the most popular type of lamps used in aquarium today.
These are low-pressure discharge lamps. Inside they are a mixture of inert gas and mercury vapor, which gives off ultraviolet light during electrical discharge.

This glow is transformed into visible radiation, due to the phosphor layer deposited on the inner side of the bulb. It is the various compositions of phosphors that give a different spectral range.

And, for example, a three-layer phosphor and an ultraviolet protection film on a fluorescent lamp do not transmit the ultraviolet spectrum at all (anything that has a wavelength of less than 400 nm).
Fluorescent lamps are durable enough, but they need to be replaced in the biotope with the same exact lamp (so that there are no abrupt changes in the spectrum and power of illumination) before their expiration date. It is recommended to replace such lamps at least once a year.

And the average life of this lamp in the aquarium is 6-7 months. But it is impossible to change all the lamps at once: abrupt changes in the power of lighting can adversely affect hydrophytes.

The power of fluorescent lamps varies from 8 to 56 watts. A certain power of the lamp usually corresponds to a certain power: on average, 20 to 120 cm.
The color of the lamp is indicated by two or three numbers: / 43 or / CW.

How to choose lamp for home aquarium, sooner or later every aquarist thinks. After all, it is adequate lighting that guarantees normal livelihoods and productivity for all residents of both freshwater and marine home aquarium.

1. First select the one that best suits your needs. aquarium type of lamp.

2. The incandescent lamp is a flask, inside of which a metal spiral with a current flowing through it glows. Such a lamp for home aquarium gives off too much heat and gives too scattered light. In addition, its service life is rather small.

The only thing that still attracts some aquarists in this lamp is its low cost.

3. A good tool for home lighting. aquarium is a halogen lamp. Its appearance is very reminiscent lamp incandescent. But its action is very different from her.

Halogen lamps for aquariums emit very intense light and do not give excessive heat. They are ideal for the rapid growth of aquarium algae.

The main disadvantage of halogen lamps is their fragility.

4. The most popular sources of light for home aquariums are fluorescent lamps, giving a soft diffused light. Objects illuminated by such devices do not cast harsh shadows. Such lamps can illuminate a large enough surface.

In addition, fluorescent lamps are very easy to install and have a sufficiently high durability. The principle of their operation is based on the fact that instead of a metal spiral, an inert gas is injected into the flask.

Minus fluorescent lamps – reducing their brightness as exploited.

5. More recently, discharge lamps have been used in aquarism. They are quite economical, and their brightness exceeds the luminescent two times.

Discharge lamps emit a lot of heat. This is their main drawback.

6. When choosing a lamp for home aquarium pay attention to its power. It should correspond to the volume of the illuminated container (0.5 watts per 1 liter of water).

Remember that excess light can affect residents. aquarium negatively.




❶ How to choose a lamp in the aquarium :: how to make a lamp for the aquarium :: Animals :: Popular

Modern lighting devices can solve the problem of lighting aquarium of any type, regardless of the type of its inhabitants. In addition to performing a decorative function, lamps in an aquarium set the tone for the normal functioning of aquatic plants, animals and microorganisms, ensuring the processing of organic substances accumulated in water.

1. In most cases, fluorescent lamps are used to illuminate aquariums. Incandescent bulbs are currently rarely installed, since most of their energy is converted into heat. Luminescent lamps are economical, they serve for a long time, they give a good stream of light.

The disadvantage is only the need to use to connect them to the network electronic ballast or choke.

2. From the point of view of the aquarium holder, fluorescent lamps have two main indicators: chromaticity and power. The first reflects the color spectrum of the lamp, the latter is expressed in watts. The power of lighting devices are 56, 40, 30, 25, 20 (18), 15 and 8 watts.

Each of the power indices corresponds to a certain lamp length: 120, 105, 90, 75, 60, 45, 20 cm, respectively. Therefore, going to buy a lighting system, measure the length of the aquarium.

3. Calculate the power appropriate for your tank. For a container with a height of water column of 45 cm or less, take a lamp with a power of 0.5 W per liter.

In this case, you get an average illumination, which is suitable for most plants. If the aquarium is above 50 cm, the power of the lamps must be doubled.

4. It should also be noted that not all of the light coming from the lamp comes into the aquarium – some of it goes up and to the side. To minimize the loss of light, give preference to lamps with a special reflector that saves up to 95% of the light.

5. Pay attention to the color of the lamp. Chlorophyll absorbs light unevenly: in the red-orange region of the spectrum (660 nm), in violet-blue (470 nm), and in the first two times more intense. Therefore, plants need both red and blue (smaller) light.

Light with other spectral characteristics may not like plants and stimulate their growth.

6. Nowadays there are various on the power of white and daylight lamps. The white light lamp (LB) in its spectrum coincides with the absorption region of chlorophyll, for which it is commonly used by aquarists.

The fluorescent lamp has a lot of blue-blue area, so it is not suitable for an aquarium.

7. It is worth noting several varieties of specialized lamps for aquariums. Lamps with the Aqua-Glo mark have a spectrum specially selected to maximize consistency with the absorption spectrum of chlorophyll.

Its light stains on fish yellow, orange, red, blue and blue colors.

8. Sun-Glo is similar in spectrum to a white light bulb, but it is more balanced. The Power-Glo light source in its spectrum contains a portion of blue light.

This powerful lighting system can be used in plant-free aquariums or saltwater aquariums. In the presence of plants, this lamp must be combined with Aqua- or Flora-Glo, specially designed for aquariums with plants.

It makes no sense for a long time to explain the role played by the lighting in the life of ornamental fish and the development of aquarium plants. Under the conditions of a closed home aquatic system, constant sunlight can lead to algae overgrowing the aquarium; he is good at natural conditions. Incandescent bulbs in most cases are also not suitable.

They have too high heat transfer and they shine only in the red spectrum. It is fluorescent lamps (or L-lamps) that successfully cope with the task of lighting aquariums due to their qualities.

Bright light is more necessary for aquatic plants than for ornamental fish. This is understandable, because it plays an important role in photosynthesis.

But for aquarium living lighting is needed mainly to create a daily regime.

Of course, the right lighting is necessary for the owners of the aquarium, and not only to monitor the pets, but also to create a winning light decor. To create an optimal, reasonable and saturated light – this is the task of an aquarist.

What kind of lamps to install in an aquarium, everyone decides on their own, but still there are some general requirements:

  • The lighting device located above the aquarium must have protective cover, so that no water drops fall on the lamp.
  • Light should evenly distributed over the whole illuminated area (which is impossible to achieve with the help of Ilyich lamps).
  • Normal is considered light intensity 0.5 W per 1 liter of water or 0.7 W per 10 dm2 bottom. Of course, there are variations for different conditions. The optimal lamp power is often determined empirically depending on the depth of the aquarium and the type of plants it contains.
  • The light source should have both blue-violet and orange-red increased intensity spectra.

White light fluorescent lamps (LB), inexpensive and reliable, meet these requirements. In addition, according to their luminous characteristics, they are closest to natural sunlight and have good luminous efficacy – from 50 to 80 Lm / W.

Trading networks offer a large selection of such lamps, and the only one needed for your aquarium is quite easy to pick up if you know the meaning of their labeling. The color is indicated on the lamp itself by a digital code after the fraction sign, for example:

  • / 03 – with actinic luminous flux; suitable for saltwater aquariums with light-sensitive corals in their decor;
  • / 05 and / 89 – increased blue spectrum, suitable for the same reefs;
  • / 79 – increased red spectrum;
  • / 77 – aquarium lamp;
  • / 54 – fluorescent lamp (LD);
  • / 35 – white light lamp (LB).

Luminescentres vary in tube diameter. There are three main standard diameters: 16 mm (denoted as T5), 26 mm (T8) and 38 mm (T12).

If T8 and T12 are widely used for domestic purposes (lighting in homes, offices, enterprises, etc.), then more modern T5 fluorescent lamps are most suitable for home aqua systems in terms of their size and parameters.

T5 standard tubes are also different – with high economy (HE) and high light output (HO). It is the last option presented in many pet stores as an aquarium lamp.

So, most owners of ornamental fish use fluorescent lamps of the T5 standard, and their power and length of the tube are selected depending on the length and depth of the aquarium itself.

Technical progress does not stand still, and the speed with which the aquarium equipment is being improved is simply amazing. How long have artificial reservoirs been lit mostly with incandescent bulbs, practically Ilyich bulbs?

And now, fluorescent and even metal halide lamps are considered by some to be yesterday’s day, and LEDs are becoming more and more popular.

What are the requirements for the LEDs in the aquarium?

If you plan to cover only the fish and the underwater landscape, there are no special requirements for lighting, as long as the owner likes it. It is more difficult if there are or are planted live plants in the aquarium.

Then, in contrast to fluorescent lamps, to calculate the required number of LEDs in an aquarium, they operate not with watts – indicators of power, but with lumens – with units of luminous flux.

Unpretentious aquarium plants for well-being requires an illumination of 20-40 lumens per liter, more demanding – 40-60 lumens.

The color temperature of lamps designed to illuminate aquarium plants ranges from 5500 Kelvin (usually 6000-8000 K). Above 6000 K, the light is more saturated with blue hues, below 4000 K – red.

As a rule, white LEDs are used in aquariums (in variations of daylight, warm white or cool white), sometimes with a slight addition of red and blue.

Green light is not used because it is not needed for plants.

The parameters of the power of the light flux and color temperature are indicated in the characteristics of LED lamps, based on them and the selection of the lamp for the aquarium.

Of course, the quality of LEDs is also important. Cheap Chinese are very short-lived and have little penetrating ability, that is, they will not be able to enlighten the water column.

The best are LEDs brands Osram and Cree.

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