Lighting Up Your Mini Aquarium

Unless your mini aquarium comes in a kit or has a hood with lights built in, you will most likely buy aquarium lighting separately. There was a time when lighting a mini aquarium was just a simple fluorescent bulb. Now, there are different types of fixtures, bulbs, tubes and even combinations of bulb types.

The main purpose of lighting in a mini aquarium is to recreate the natural day and night cycle for your fish as well as plants. Living under extended bright lights or darkness stresses fish which may lead to poor health and interrupt their natural cycles of behavior like spawning.

Plants in your fish tank like all plants, need light to grow making their own food through photosynthesis. Light is an essential part of this process. While some plants naturally love low light levels and thrive in them, other plants are best suited for medium or high light levels and will die without sufficient light.

Your mini aquarium doesn’t really need lighting if it is situated in a bright room or next to a window and you don’t have plants that require photosynthesis. However, lighting has a secondary purpose of livening up the colours of your fish.

Normal sunlight would seem the best, but this can cause large temperature changes in a mini aquarium especially in summer and also promote algae growth. Indirect light complemented by an artificial light is therefore a good choice for those who want some natural light for aquatic plants. So you should plan the proper lighting for your mini aquarium.

Proper day/night cycles provide the best conditions for a thriving aquarium, and you should recreate these conditions as close as possible. There are many types of lighting timer that can help greatly in automating this as well as ensuring the correct timing.

Be careful of the high intensity bulbs that actually create more glare than lighting for your fish tank. Some of these bulbs can also generate a great deal of heat. A good choice for any new beginner would be a daylight fluorescent tube as they are energy efficient and low on heat.

If you keep more exotic fish or plants, like a marine aquarium, your local aquarium shop should be able to help you identify the proper lighting for them.

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