In every aquarium, including freshwater, saltwater, or brackish, it’s essential to use the appropriate heating element and lighting system.  Not only does it allow you to see what’s inside the tank, a light fixture also provides a basic night and day cycle to the organisms.  Some organisms require very specific types of light to thrive.  A heater maintains a constant environmental temperature that simulates the creatures’ natural habitat.  The lighting aspect varies if there are live plants or if it’s in a coral reef environment.  Heating, however, follows a formula that does not vary much from each type of tank.

It is important that a heater is used in any type of fish tank.  Fish stress easily when the water temperature changes quickly, even just several degrees in either direction.  Increased stress levels for a fish can result in a weakened immune system which can lead to an array of diseases, or even parasites.

tropical fish generally prefers temperatures in the range of 76-78 degrees.  Saltwater fish thrive in 74-78 degree temperatures and goldfish do best  in 70-72 degree temperatures.  Even if your home is generally kept around a certain temperature, heating is still essential.  Temperatures fluctuate in the home, which causes a change in temperature in the tank.  A good rule of thumb when determining the wattage of heater to use is 5 watts per gallon of water (20 gallon tank, 100 Watt heater).  Many heaters now have digital thermostats, as well as digital displays to maintain optimal function.

It is also a good idea to regularly check your heater. This is especially important when the seasons change. Only adjusting the heater temperature when the seasons change can sometimes cause it to stress and malfunction. This happens because it may be been used very little use over the summer and overcompensated when the temperature needs to be changed quickly. If your heater does not have a digital display, it is a good idea to have at least one thermometer visible so you can monitor the temperature.

Lighting comes in an array of styles, colors, intensities, and fixture styles.  The type you’ll need depends on the type of environment being simulated.  Many of the fixtures designed for tanks have a Kelvin rating. This appears as a number between 4,500 through 20,000 Kelvin (K).  The Kelvin rating pertains to the color wavelengths and intensity produced by the fixture.  The rating also affects the visible color of the fixture with the lower numbers appearing more orange-yellow and the higher numbers appearing blue. The Kelvin rating is particularly important with live plants or corals. In a freshwater tank, live plants require a 6,500K light for proper growth. In coral reef tanks, the corals tend to require a 10,000K – 20,000K light for proper growth.

One of the newest forms of aquarium lighting is the LED.  It is a long lasting option that uses very low energy but provides high intensity. LEDs carry a higher price tag, but makes up for the cost with efficiency.  LED fixtures come in specific color spectrums based on your aquarium inhabitants.  Many brands offer lighting specific to Freshwater Planted Aquariums and Saltwater Coral Reef Aquariums.  Very high-end LED systems are also available, ensuring all aquarium inhabitants receive the light they need.

In Conclusion:

Proper heating and lighting is crucial for a thriving fish tank. Without the appropriate temperature in the tank, you risk health issues for your fish. The types of fish, organisms and life you plan to keep in your tank will determine the lighting you’ll need. As mentioned, the options vary greatly in size, styles and colors.  Visit PetSolutions to find the right lighting system for your tank!

About The Author Giselle Rodriguez

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>