As important as aquarium lighting is to the appearance, health of livestock and cost of planted aquarium keeping, it is not surprising that it is an oft-discussed topic. What is stunning to Pine Tree State is what quantity content and dissonance surrounds lighting. There extremely could be a large distinction between what appearance smart to humans and what’s practical in marine systems with or while not chemical action organisms. For looks; “beauty is indeed, in the eye of the beholder”, but the same buyer ought to be aware and beware.
The close quantity and quality of sunshine energy that reaches varied depths has been accurately measured and technology exists to duplicate, even higher, these conditions in captivity. So why the proliferation of lighting fixturization, lamp types, wattages, temporal order devices, and contention concerning what’s best? And wherefore the dearth of success given all the money, burned hands and large energy bills? Perhaps it’s our content concerning correct light-weight and lighting.
Arguably a chief input to keeping aquatic garden systems, tho’ not the sole important one, is light. This form of energy is less understood and manipulated by most of aquarists. Fixtures and lamps (we will use the common term for all artificial light sources; bulbs, tubes, etc.) generally provided in the market are inadequate for planted aquariums. Lighting is much too usually of the incorrect spectral combine and too low in luminance. But don’t despair. Light/lighting isn’t troublesome to know, and fixtures and lamps that provide optimum lighting are to be had at modest cost.
For the Conscientious Aquarist light and lighting provide two functions; 1) aesthetic and 2) functional, or put another way; 1) Lighting and 2) health benefits including possible photosynthesis. The former could be a matter of taste; what you, the aquarist considers lovely. The latter could be a matter of science and economics: given the depth and given conditions of a system, providing the standard, amount and period of sunshine is “simply” a selection of what your organisms need and what you are willing to pay.
It is imminently important that you understand the above (please re-read it until you can explain to anyone) along with some basic theory of what light is and how it “works” in water so as to reach success with marine aquaria, and to keep from going unwell. As you’ll see, the best available, most appropriate lighting technology for Conscientious Aquarist straight-forward, is simple, relatively cheap to purchase, operate and replace, and has been with us quite a long time.
What is Light, Science/Facts:
As with all communication, it is necessary for us to share general symbolism for us to set certain abstract terms. Bear with Pine Tree State, Dear Reader, for a brief review of what’s germinal to understanding our subject of light here.
Light is usually thought of to be the visible (what we are able to see) portion of the electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) spectrum. Do you recall the presentation of light, EMR as “waves”, or wave functions? Wavelengths ar the space between the crests (or troughs) of those waves. The wavelengths of visible light extend from about 4,000 to 7,000 angstroms (one angstrom equals 10-8 , or 0.000 000 01 meter, a billionth of a meter). You may have encountered another unit of measurement, the nanometer (abbreviated as Nm), defined as 10-9 or 0.000 000 001 meter.
Visible light as measured by this unit of length is four hundred to 700 nanometers. EMR smaller in wavelength than visible light (@380 Nm) includes Ultraviolet Radiation (UV ) (and x-rays, gamma rays, cosmic rays) is diagrammatically placed on a chart to the left of to the visible spectra (wavelengths). On the other (right) side of the scale is electro-magnetic radiation wavelengths greater than visible light (@780+ Nm). This is the realm of Infrared, microwave (radar), television, FM, Short Wave, AM and other radiation.
There is a connected live of EMR waves we want to worry with, frequency. Simply put, this is often what percentage waves of a wavelength propagate past a given purpose each second. This ‘cycles per second’ is that the units we tend to decision Hertz (Hz). The necessary relationship between wavelength and frequency i need you to recollect is logical. You know the speed of sunshine could be a constant; thus the smaller the wavelength, the bigger the frequency. Conversely with an increase in the wavelength, what happens to the frequency? Right, it gets smaller.
By Robert Fenner
Reprinted with permission, from Bob’s website in San Diego: www.wetwebmedia.com