Saltwater Aquarium Lighting

saltwater aquarium lighting

Saltwater Aquarium Lighting: The Right Lighting Is Essential To Your Success

Saltwater aquarium lighting is one of the most important features in any saltwater aquarium setup. The right lighting is essential to the happiness of corals and other animals. There are three types of lighting:  fluorescent, metal halide, and LED.

Types of Saltwater Aquarium Lighting:


Fluorescent lights are the standard aquarium light and are cheap to purchase and operate. They are good for fish only tanks and starting up reef tanks, however if you want to grow coral you will need to switch to halides or LED’s. Most all aquarium kits come with fluorescent lights. These lights come in a wide variety of bulbs length, so make sure that you get the right size bulb for your light fixture. Mixing fluorescent lights with other types of lights can increase the overall lighting quality.

Metal Halide

Metal halides are the most popular and widely used of the various lights. They mimic sunlight, which helps corals grow and have a “shimmer” effect that is both pleasing to our eye and very beneficial to many corals. These lamps run very high temperatures and because of this should NOT be mounted in the hood of aquariums. They normally come with legs which sit on the sides of the aquarium meaning the light is raised, you can also raise them with metal cables or whatever is your preferred method. Due to their very high running temperature it does mean that water evaporation is greater so you may have to top up the aquarium more often. The benefits of this type of lighting is simply the power  that can be generated. Most corals need to have a metal halide bulb to survive. Halides comes in a wide spectrum for aquariums, however saltwater reef tanks need anywhere between 10,000-20,000 Kelvin.

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

LED lights provide an efficient light source with less heat output to help maintain optimal aquarium temperatures. The lights come in a variety of colors and are best used to simulate dawn and dusk for  a reef tank. Moon lights complete the day/night cycle and can be synced with a timer to stimulate coral spawning and create great nighttime viewing.

Setting Up Saltwater Aquarium Lighting

Any saltwater aquarium needs lighting for your fish to live; this doesn’t matter if it is a saltwater or a freshwater aquarium. There are however, various kinds of lights available for each one. Many fish need different saltwater aquarium lighting conditions. If you are not certain, you can ask us here are Crystal Clear Aquariums contact page.

The best overall aquarium lighting is fluorescent bulbs for vividly colored fish that gives the delight of bold colors and a pleasant effect in the aquarium that makes the fish stand out even more. Most aquarium lights are available in various sizes that suit your tank, as there are different sizes that could go well with your tank, However, some tank do not come with installed lights to the tank hood. You need to buy them separately. This could be costly since you also need to purchase the additional accessories for the lights.

Saltwater aquariums or marine tanks need a different kind of lighting.  The corals and anemones in a marine tank need a lot of intense light. Thus, you need to purchase a different kind of saltwater aquarium lighting. Coral reefs and sea anemones are very sensitive to light, and it’s their sure way to survive the artificial saltwater aquarium lighting environment inside the tank.

Your purpose in lighting your saltwater aquarium setup is to mimic the natural environment of the creatures in the fish tank. The most important thing to consider is the natural cycle in your saltwater aquarium care.  It sounds simple, but most starting aquarium keepers cannot understand the importance of this. You would be satiated and feel ill if you will live under intense lights or no light at all for 24 hours a day, for a long period of time. Extreme levels of saltwater aquarium lighting can cause anxiety to fish and other organisms inside the fish tank. It can also cause certain illnesses, and intervention in the natural process of their living. Since the day/night cycle will occur minimally inside your house, you need to mimic them.

Saltwater Aquarium Lighting not appropriate for fish tanks do not have the required wavelengths of the light spectra normal during daylight, that is very important for the health of your pets. Very high wavelengths, on the other hand, can promote algal bloom or excessive algae growth in the aquarium causing reduction of oxygen inside the tank.  Situating your aquarium under direct sunlight seems a plausible solution, however, it can cause excessive warmth, boosted algal growth and a number of related problems.  Thus, you need to devise saltwater aquarium lighting  just for your fish tank, if you don’t have a hood with lights.

Saltwater aquarium lighting is also important to define and emphasize your fish tank. If your lights are lousy and dull, then do not look ahead to an extremely stunning aquarium, however if you would invest with that high quality and delightful lights then you are sure to have an aquarium that is breathtaking. You can choose from different colors so do not just stick with white bulbs. There are pastel bulbs in shades of pink, blue, green etc. You should use your creativity and preference to decorate your aquarium with some custom saltwater aquarium lighting.

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