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How to choose a lamp for the aquarium – useful tips

Hello, friends! Today I would like to touch on such an important topic as a lamp for an aquarium.

In today’s post we will look at what types of fixtures are available, consider in detail the design features and other important nuances that every aquarist should consider.

Lamps are of two types:

  • open type that hang over the aquarium;
  • closed type, made in the form of a cover.

The second type is much more common than the first in view of its simplicity. The lamp has the form of a box in which aquarium lamps are installed. It is made mainly of plastic, which is decorated on the outside depending on the design of the aquarium table.

To make the lid design tough, it is made of durable materials. If necessary, additional stiffening ribs can be added to the structure. Plastic for the cover must have the following properties:

  • should not deform at high temperatures;
  • must be low-burning or non-flammable at all;
  • when heated, it must not release harmful substances into the air and water;
  • should be easy to weld and stick.

Similar plastic in the market is now in abundance.

The aquarium cover should be installed on the aquas so that it rests on the ribs or on the edge of the glass. On top of the cover should be removable panels, thanks to which the aquarist will be able to easily maintain their offspring. To feed your pets, you can additionally install a special hatch.

In addition, lamps must be installed in the luminaire. We have already talked to you about the color spectrum of lamps, so now I’ll not dwell on this separately.

Of course, the data in the table are approximate, but in practice they showed that they have the right to exist. The table shows the fluorescent lamps, which are used to illuminate the aquarium, the height of which does not exceed 50 centimeters.

The width of such tanks may be equal to their depth. Accordingly, the wider the bottom area, the more lamps will need to be installed to illuminate the entire surface of the aquarium bottom.

If you follow the recommendations from the table, the illumination of the aquarium will be in the range of 13 000 – 18 000 lux. The amount of light will depend on the luminosity of the lamps used and the reflecting capabilities of the reflector.

But such lighting is quite suitable for growing aquarium plants.

As the light penetrates deep into the reservoir, the lighting gradually diminishes. In the first 10 centimeters, the luminous flux is halved, and if the depth of the aquarium is 50 centimeters, about 25% of the light will reach the bottom.

But to accurately determine the level of illumination in an aquarium is almost impossible, because it affects a huge number of important factors. Therefore, buy or make a bright lamp.

Better you take a couple of lamps off of it, than you will think how to add them there.

It is recommended to install the most powerful lamps in the cover, since the efficiency of one lamp is much higher than that of two or three weak lamps installed in one cover. When selecting light sources for small aquariums, you will be limited to the length of the lamp.

For example, you will not be able to use lamps with a power of 20 W in an aquarium with a length of 50-60 centimeters, because their length will be equal to 61 centimeters. The length of the most powerful lamps can reach a half meter length.

If the length of the aquarium is more than 150 centimeters, then its ends with such lamps will not be lit. Alternatively, you can use short lamps installed in a staggered manner.

All devices of a cover surely well fix by means of tight limit switches. If this is not done, the electrical contacts will soon oxidize. The lid will prevent the evaporation of water, so when using lamps of the closed type it is not at all necessary to use cover glasses.

For maximum illumination of the reservoir, the inner surface should reflect the maximum light. White plastic is quite suitable. In addition, each lamp you can install in the reflector.

With professional reflectors, the section has a parabolic shape. Self-made reflectors are made and a piece of white plastic pipe of the desired diameter, which must be cut into two parts.

I would like to casually touch the weak points of fluorescent lamps. The fact is that as the air temperature rises, the lamps lose about half of their luminous flux. For example, the temperature of the environment is 50 degrees, the lamp at this temperature gives out half of the luminous flux, which it would give out at a temperature of 20 degrees.

But under the lid with a well-heated aquarium, the temperature can increase significantly.

To prevent this, a quiet fan, such as a computer cooler, is additionally inserted into the cover. Naturally, the ballast that emits heat, it is necessary to take out of the cover in a secluded place, such as in the aquarium stand. Very often, instead of conventional ballasts use electronic.

Of course, they are more expensive, but much more efficient when turning on the lamps and more economical during operation.

On the Internet, you can find a lot of different comments about fluorescent lamps, in particular, about their low efficiency. In fact, this light source remains the most convenient and efficient in modern aquarism.

This proves the vast experience of operating fluorescent lamps in the process of care for the aquarium. Of course, there are enough shortcomings, but there are many of them and other sources of light.

Let’s list them!

Galogenki are very hot and very quickly become useless. This applies to lamps operating at 220 V. In order to use low-voltage halogens, you will have to install an additional transformer. Halogen lamps are placed at a greater distance from water than fluorescent lamps.

Despite the high brightness of halogenok, in your tank there may be poor lighting. Moreover, complex designs of reflectors will greatly influence the height of the cover as a whole. Over time, metal-halide lamps lose some of the brightness, but in addition, they change the radiation spectrum, which does not occur in fluorescent lamps.

Therefore, this light source should be changed once a year.

Incandescent bulbs heat up the lid strongly and emit a lot of heat. At night, due to the use of incandescent lamps, condensate is collected in the lid, which destroys the sockets and lamp sockets. Another disadvantage of this light source is the precision of the radiation.

In order to properly illuminate the entire aquarium, you have to put a huge amount of them. As a result, you will constantly spend money on the replacement of lamps during the operation of the lamp.

Discharge lamps need special ballast, which emits a huge amount of thermal energy. In addition, these lamps are very large, which requires a high cap from the aquarist.

The light intensity of the arresters also decreases with time.

Not so long ago it became fashionable to use open lamps. If the lamps of the closed type are almost not noticeable in the background of the interior of the room, then the suspended light sources immediately catch the eye and serve as an addition to the design of the room. If the closed covers can be ordered under your aquarium, then the pendant lamp is sold already ready.

There are many manufacturers in the aquarium lamp market that offer various solutions for placing lamps on the aquarium. Basically, pendant lamps are made cylindrical, and a powerful halogen is installed in it with a special reflector that creates a directional beam of light falling on the aquarium.

Suspended luminaires with fluorescent lamps that evenly illuminate the entire aquarium are on sale.

When aquarists use open lights? Basically, when he needs to show the water surface of a home underwater garden.

With an open aquarium, you can cultivate aquatic plants that have a surface part. Therefore, using open light sources you can create interesting compositions.

Moreover, all the heat emitted by the lamps will dissipate on the way to the aquarium and will not harm the plants.

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