maintenance, care, compatibility
Aquarium lighting and choice of lamps, which is better to choose?
Duration of aqua illumination and options to facilitate control
Which lamps are better suited for a plant aquarium?
Aquarium lamps are needed to create a lighting cycle in the aquarium that is close to the natural environment of fish and plants. Lamps should emit waves of the desired length, and not promote the reproduction of algae.
Special aquarium lighting devices create the correct imitation of daylight. The recommended amount of daylight hours is 10-12 hours for many species of fish and plants.
In saltwater aquariums, imitation of light is created using nighttime aquarium lamps.
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).
At the dawn of aquarism, the question of artificial light sources was not acute: aquariums were usually placed near windows. Then people began to use incandescent bulbs, but soon abandoned them because of the large heat transfer.
Fluorescent lamps appeared, which, as it turned out, are perfect for small artificial ponds. Economical, with low heat dissipation, of various shapes and capacities – these lamps instantly gained immense popularity in aquarism, for a long time becoming irreplaceable sources of light.
Currently, in addition to ordinary fluorescent devices, manufacturers of special aquarium equipment produce fixtures of other various types: organic mercury, metal halide, LED, and others. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out which particular lamp is suitable for a particular aquarium, and in this case several factors must be taken into account:
- the volume of the “can” and its depth;
- species of aquatic plants that are planted in a home pond.
If the aquarium is high enough (50–70 cm), then it makes sense to use the mercury-organic light source, the rays of which reach almost the very bottom. This is very important for the development of the plant landscape.
Such lamps have a large light output, but there is also a drawback: a long period of ignition and exit to a stable mode. Manufacturers produce these two types of lamps: with a capacity of 125 W and 80 W.
Metal halide lamps are used when you need to light an aquarium with a depth of 1 meter. They have a higher light output (up to 90 lm) and intensity, excellent color rendition, but they are also more expensive than the previous type of lamps, not to mention conventional fluorescent ones.
Separately, should consider the requirements for lamps, depending on the type of cultivated plants.
Recommendations for choosing lamps for aquarium vegetation
There are aquatic plants that do not like intense, powerful lighting. If, for example, Blass, Griffith cryptocorynes, Javanese moss, cryptocoryne cordata or fernite bolbitis are planted, then the luminaire power of 0.3–0.4 W / l is quite sufficient.
When it is necessary to create a tropical forest landscape, it is enough to install a lamp (or several lamps) with a power of 0.4–0.5 W / l. In this case, the vegetation will be pulled up to natural light.
For most aquarium plants, luminaires with a power of 0.5 W / l to 0.8 W / l are used. It is in this case that they develop normally, acquire a coloring inherent in them from nature.
By the way, there are many species of aquatic flora that change the color of the leaves, depending on the power of the light source.
If the aquarium is planted with dense vegetation (the so-called herbalist), then it is better to use a lighting device with a power higher than 0.8 W / l.
Of course, these are general recommendations, and in each particular case a particular type of luminaire should be chosen. And vice versa: if you purchased an aquarium with an integrated lighting system, then you should pick up such plants that will feel comfortable in it.
Many experts say that the fitolamp (a special lamp for aquarium plants) is the optimal solution for a herbalist. Companies Osram, Sylvania, General Electric, Philips produce a large range of such devices.
Given the specific features, you can choose a great option in which the vegetation will develop normally and live long in your aquarium.
Video: how to make phytolamp yourself:
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.