Why is proper aquarium lighting important?

Proper aquarium lighting plays a vital role in the well-being of your fish. While it may be easy to overlook, lighting does more than make your aquarium look pretty. It creates a soothing, natural environment for your fish, helping them stay healthy and vibrant.

Lighting Provides a Day-Night Schedule for Your Fish

Aquarium lighting gives your fish a reliable day-night schedule that mimics their natural environment and helps their circadian rhythm. For most tropical fish, a simple 12-hour day and 12-hour night cycle is sufficient all year long. If you want to simulate seasons or reduce unwanted algae growth, 6 to 8 hours of daylight may be more preferable.

"Smart" aquarium lights allow you to schedule an automatic day-night cycle, so you don't have to turn the lights on and off yourself. For example, you can customize a schedule by connecting the Aqueon BlueIQ app with the new Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light. It defaults to a recommended 24-hour schedule, but you can create your own schedule if you prefer to enjoy your aquarium at a different time of the day.

One word of caution: don't try to use natural sunlight as your day-night cycle instead of aquarium lighting. Not only is this method less reliable on cloudy days, but a day that is extra sunny and hot might inadvertently heat your aquarium water to unsafe levels.

Aquarium Lighting Can Mimic a Natural Environment

Aquarium lighting can help mimic your fish's natural environment through brightness (measured in intensity) and color spectrum (measured in Kelvins). Most fish don't need full brightness, so it's good to start at a lower intensity level. The Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light lets you adjust intensity in increments of 1%.

Freshwater fish also tend to prefer a cooler light closer to natural light, around 5,500 Kelvins. They tend to like the bright, naturally sunny environments found at clear lakes and rivers. However, you might also have some fish whose natural environments lean toward murkier, darker waters. If you have fish from a variety of backgrounds, make sure you have plenty of rocks, decor, or live plants that provide shade and hiding places so everyone can have the lighting they prefer.

The Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light connects to the BlueIQ app to help you provide an environment that replicates nature much better than many artificial lights, including preset sunrises and sunsets that take advantage of the color spectrum. You can even program in lightning and cloud modes for variety.

Live Plants in Aquariums Need Good Lighting Too

Good aquarium lighting isn't just for fish —┬áit's also vital for any live plants growing in your aquarium. Plants need light for photosynthesis to synthesize food from carbon dioxide and water. Tropical plants, for example, need 12 hours of light a day, while colder water plants need the light to vary with the seasons.

It's a good idea to choose plants that have similar lighting needs to those of your fish. For example, if your fish need dimmer light, avoid plants with red in their leaves, as they tend to need higher-intensity light. If you have tropical fish, look for tropical plants.

Aqueon's Smart LED Can Help You Customize Your Aquarium's Lighting

Smart LEDs are a great way to light your aquarium because they are long-lasting, come in a variety of intensities and colors, and give off little to no heat.

The Aqueon OptiBright Smart LED Light pairs with the Aqueon BlueIQ app to give you numerous lighting options for your fish. You can choose the exact intensity and color spectrum you prefer, the ideal day-night schedule for your fish, and even build in weather events that simulate a more realistic environment.

With the right lighting, you can create a beautiful aquarium environment and help your tank feel like a healthier, more welcoming environment for your beautiful fish.

*The Aqueon BlueIQ app is available in the Apple App and Google Play stores.