5 FAQs About Aquarium Lights

Choosing the right aquarium lighting is one of the most important choices you can make for the well-being of your fish. Not sure where to begin? Here are five of the most frequently asked questions about aquarium lights to help you get started.

1. Why is aquarium lighting so important?

Aquarium lighting does more than make your tank look beautiful. It helps your fish enjoy a day-and-night cycle that mimics their natural environment, improving their well-being. And if you're growing live plants in the tank, the lighting helps your plants too.

2. What types of lights are available for my aquarium?

You have a lot of light fixtures to choose from! The most common types include:

LED Lights: These are growing fast in popularity. They're energy-efficient, longer-lasting, and won't heat the water. Aqueon's new OptiBright Smart LED Lights let you customize and program the light's intensity, color, and schedule. Aqueon also has a wide variety of LED fixtures, from clip-ons to full hoods and accent lighting. (Note: Only the OptiBright Smart LED Lights work with the Aqueon BlueIQ app.)

Fluorescent bulbs: Fluorescents are the most common and affordable bulbs, which are available in standard and compact sizes. Fluorescent bulbs contain mercury, so be sure to dispose of these properly once they burn out.

Incandescent bulbs: Incandescent bulbs are the oldest type of aquarium light, have the shortest life, and use the most energy compared to fluorescent or LED lighting.

3. How long should lights stay on?

All fish need day and night cycles. Most tropical fish and plants prefer 12 hours of light a day all year round. Some fish, especially in a tank without live plants or from colder water regions, may only need 8 to 10 hours of daylight to help keep down algae levels.

A simple timer can help ensure a consistent day-night cycle. Aqueon's new OptiBright Smart LED Lights connect easily to the Aqueon BlueIQ app via Wi-Fi. Once connected, they default to a 24-hour schedule that you can customize. If you're looking for something less "techy," Aqueon offers fixtures with built-in controllers and simpler options that require separate timers or manual control.

4. How is aquarium light measured?

Intensity refers to how bright the light is. If you can program your bulb's intensity, try a lower level first (most fish don't need full brightness). Lower intensity can reduce unwanted algae growth, while higher intensity is needed for strong plant growth.

Spectrum, measured in Kelvin or K ratings, refers to color. High Kelvin lights have a bluish-white or cool color, while low Kelvin lights are warm or yellow. Freshwater aquariums tend to need 5,500 to 8,000 Kelvin lighting, which is a cooler light setting.

5. How much light do I need?

Try to mimic your fish's natural environment with warm light reminiscent of life in rivers, clear lakes, or streams. Fish that live in murkier water might prefer dimmer settings. Include plenty of rocks, d├ęcor, or live plants with shade where shy fish can hang out in your aquarium. Experts at your local fish store can advise on the best settings.

Aqueon's New App and Smart LEDs Take Away the Guesswork

If you're looking for an easy lighting solution, try Aqueon's new OptiBright Smart LED Lights and BlueIQ app. These let you easily customize your LED lights with presets or your own choices, including color, intensity, and day-night schedules. You can even set a Cloud Mode and Lightning Mode to give your fish an occasional taste of nature.