CHARTS TO HELP YOU CHOOSE THE BEST LIGHTING FIXTURE
FLUORESCENT LIGHTING GENERAL INFO
Fluorescent aquarium lights come with T12 lamps (1.5" diameter), T8 lamps (1" diameter) or T5 lamps (5/8" diameter). Compact fluorescents are also, as the name implies, a type of fluorescent light--but we put them all in their own compact fluorescent lighting section. Many of our metal halide lights also come with fluorescent lamps--usually actinics.
T5 Lamp Aquarium Lighting
T5 aquarium lights have become extremely popular in the past couple years. When run with an electronic ballast, which all of our T5 HO lights use, T5s are said to be more energy efficient, longer lasting and cooler running than other types of aquarium lights. Because the lamps are thin, they will penetrate the water better than thicker compact fluorescent and other fluorescent types of bulbs. T5s are a great choice for tanks that are 20 inches and deeper.
All of our fluorescent aquarium lights come with T5 bulbs (though we do sell T12 and T8 replacement lamps). The T5 bulbs are either normal output (NO) or high output (HO).
Normal output T5 fluorescents are low wattage and should only be used for fish only tanks. We carry the following normal output lights:
High output lamps are higher wattage and can be used for lighting reef aquariums and planted tanks. The following lights can be used for reef aquariums:
T8 & T12 Lamp Aquarium Lighting
Fluorescent Lamp Color Temperature
Reef tanks require half the lighting to be actinic lighting and half the lighting to be full spectrum daylight lighting. For the actinics any bulb listed as an actinic--whether it is a True Actinic, 7,100K Actinic, Actinic or 420nm Actinic--will be adequate. For the daylight bulb the best bulb for corals is the 10K (aka 10,000K) bulb. 6,700K, 8,800K, 12,000K, 14,000K & 20,000K bulbs are also fine.
Freshwater planted tanks usually use the 6,700K, 6,500K or 5,500K bulbs. Fish only tanks can use any light that makes the fish look good. The fish really don't need much light to survive--so it is really a matter of aesthetics. Most people will be happy using 6,700K bulbs, which are very close to daylight, for fish only tanks.