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Frequently asked questions about aquarism: light and temperature

Good day, dear readers! We continue to get acquainted with the Frequently Asked Questions section on aquarism and today we have on the agenda a list of popular questions from newcomers on the temperature regime in the aquarium and lighting.

When organizing lighting in an aquarium, you should consider the following factors: the lighting of the underwater garden with natural lighting, the depth of the aquarium, the power of the lamp, the need of the plants and fish used in a certain intensity of illumination (aquarium plants prefer a certain spectral composition of llamas), as well as the length of daylight.

If you put the aquarium near the window, the need for inhabitants of artificial light may be reduced. As a rule, fish do not impose strict requirements on the lighting of the aquarium, but the plants need forced artificial lighting.

Plant life depends on the quality of light and its intensity. As a rule, the duration of the day should be 12 – 14 hours a day.

Question number 2 – What lamps can be used to illuminate the aquarium?

When organizing lighting for your aquarium, it is very important to take into account the power of the lamps. The basic rule of a plant aquarium is that the luminous flux should not be less than 0.5 W per liter of water.

If more is good, less is bad. Depending on the power of the lamps, they are divided into several groups:

Lamps with power from 39 to 58 W

Such lamps are used in banks whose length exceeds 1 meter and a depth of more than 40 centimeters. Lamps of such power provide optimal and uniform illumination of the entire volume of the aquarium.

These light sources emit soft daylight that does not irritate aquarium fish.

Lamps from 25 to 38 W

They are used in aquariums whose length does not exceed 1 meter, as they allow to provide uniform illumination over the entire area of ​​the aquarium. They do not emit a huge amount of heat, so are the best option for lighting plant aquariums.

8 to 24 W lamps

Such light sources are used to illuminate shallow aquariums with a length of up to half a meter. But these lamps have in their spectrum lilac light, which provokes the development of algae.

Light does not diffuse or generate excess heat.

  • The first place, but not the most important, we will focus on incandescent bulbs. Halogen lamps, which are not recommended for use, can also be attributed to this type, since their color spectrum is 2700K – 3000K, and this provokes algal outbreaks in the aquarium. The second reason why incandescent bulbs are not used in aquariums is high heat emission. It is not suitable for an aquarium, but just for setting up a terrarium. And the third reason is that they do not produce actinic light. The only advantage of these lamps compared to the others – low cost and availability. In very rare cases, incandescent bulbs can be used to illuminate an aquarium, but only for a short time.

The second place, and perhaps the most important, is occupied by fluorescent lamps, which are used in modern aquarium lamps. These lamps have a number of advantages:

  1. Wide range of spectral radiation (from 5500K to 10000K);
  2. They produce little heat;
  3. Allow to cover a large surface area;
  4. They have actinic light in their spectral radiation;

On sale there are special aquarium lamps with high luminous efficiency. Marking of such lamps has the following abbreviations: VHO – Very High Output and HO – High Output.

  • HO and VHO aquarium lamps are used to illuminate marine and tropical freshwater aquariums with a high concentration of vegetation. Experienced aquarists recommend using their T5 lamps in their luminaires for their novice comrades, since they have high luminous efficacy and spot light emission with a relatively small diameter.
  • Metal halide lamps are valued in aquariums very highly, as they can create the effect of “sparkling light” in an aquarium that creates the sun in shallow water. The power of such lamps is large enough, so they need special lamps and appropriate ballast. But they have one major drawback – just like incandescent lamps, gas-discharge lamps emit a tremendous amount of heat that needs to be done somewhere. To prevent the water from overheating, in aquariums you have to use special cooling systems and additional cooling fans, and so turn off the lamp for at least an hour a day. Such light sources are often used in reef aquariums with shallow mollusks, corals and sea anemones. The disadvantages of such lamps include the high cost and difficulties with their purchase and installation.

Question number 3 – in my apartment is cold enough, is it possible to run an aquarium without a heater?

Alas, you cannot do without a heater, because the water temperature in an aquarium without a heater is approximately equal to room or a degree lower. The bulk of the inhabitants of the aquarium live in tropical regions of the planet with a water temperature of 24 – 26 degrees.

Therefore, the heater for the aquarium is a must.

A few decades ago aquarists made primitive heaters in the form of an incandescent lamp, located outside the aquarium near the side wall just below the surface of the water. This lamp was covered with a metal casing-reflector.

The power of this lamp should be less than 40 W, since in the process of its work a lot of heat is released and the glass can break at one point.

The disadvantage of such a heater is that it is not efficient, since quite a lot of heat is wasted. You so have to shut it off at night. In addition to the inconvenience of use and its work, there are a number of disadvantages of such a heater.

The fact is that the plants will begin to stretch towards the burning lamp and their stems will start to curl, and all the side glass will eventually grow over with algae.

In order not to bother with such home-made products, you can buy a heater in a pet shop, its price is not high, and its efficiency is many times better than that of all notorious home-made products from economists. Believe me, if you run an aquarium, you have found money for the jar itself, a cabinet and inventory, you will find a few hundred rubles for a normal heater with a thermostat.

Question number 4 – Is it possible to transport fish by air?

If you need to transport the fish by plane, you will need a spacious tank: 100-150 grams of the weight of all the fish should be per liter of water. The maximum allowable time spent fish in the shipping container, as a rule, depends on water temperature, light and density of landing.

If the tank with the fish will be in the dark, they are easier to tolerate stress due to reduced activity.

In the warm season, bags of thermoses or cannes for transporting fishes have performed well. It is also very convenient to transport aquarium fish in double plastic bags.

The amount of water in the package should be no more than a third of the volume, and the rest of the space is filled with air or oxygen. If you are transporting small fish, tighten the corners of the packages with rubber rings so that the fish do not swim in them.

Next, you need to tightly tighten the bag with an elastic band and insulating tape, and the package itself is put in a box or foam box.

If the fish are transported by air in bags, they cannot be pumped heavily with oxygen or air. The surface of the package should be pressed a little, because when it hits a large height the volume of air in the package will increase.

In winter, it is necessary to provide heating of the shipping container, overlaying it with warmers with warm water and other useful warm things.

Best of all, long journeys endure young fish, but not fry. The larger the fish, the more space they should have in the shipping container.

Before transportation, the fish must be starved for a day. In the package with oxygen fish can be up to 70 hours, with air – much less.

If from the store to get home no more than two hours, then the fish can be placed either in a jar or in a plastic container. Water should be 2/3 of the total. If you move, you need to stop feeding the fish a day before the move.

When transporting fish over long distances, when the road takes a day or more, only polyethylene bags filled with oxygen will guarantee that the fish will arrive safely.

If there is no oxygen, you can use a portable battery-powered compressor or a simple homemade device to flush water with air. It consists of a hose, a spray gun, a rubber bulb from a spray bottle and a ball chamber.

If you go to the train, the packages with fish should be placed so that they are less rocked.

Question number 6 – How to transport aquarium plants over long distances and receive them by mail?

The problems of small towns are that aquarists face the problem of acquiring normal hydrophytes for their aquariums. My native Slavyansk, without exception, since there are only two pet shops with aquarium goods in the city in which there are no plants at all, or the choice is very scarce, and they are plastered with algae.

Accordingly, the option remains by mail order.

When transporting plants by mail, they are packed in plastic bags, where a small amount of water is poured. This is done so that during pitching the water does not damage the plant.

After the plant is placed in a bag, it is tightly tied and placed in another bag. The second pack, which is worn on top, inflated with air and also tied.

Air cushion protects hydrophytes from stalk breakage.

But, be careful, because when sending plants by mail it is likely that plants can die without light. The maximum duration of the existence of plants in this state is 2 – 3 days maximum.

Therefore, the option of delivery by mail is extremely limited.

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