Planted Aquarium Lighting


lights for the professional planted fish tank

Aquarium lighting is important for plant growth and fish health in the aquarium. It is especially important in planted and aquascaped tanks when caring for demanding plant species with high light requirements. In nature the sun is the sole source of lighting for freshwater plants and replicating this requires very bright light fixtures.

Recently LED lights have become widespread, available and affordable. LED lights utilize the latest technology allowing for lower wattage with the same output. They are highly customizable and many commercial products exist in a wide variety of spectrums. Click here to read about the best planted LED light fixtures. They release less heat and use less power, an excellent choice for the modern aquarist. 1w+ per gallon of LED lighting is sufficient for a planted aquascape.

With T5 or metal halide fixtures 2-3+ watts of lighting per gallon of aquarium water is sufficient. A deeper tank may require more lighting while a shallower tank may require less. Light bulb temperature should be kept between 6700k and 10,000k. These temperatures will more closely match sunlight and give the plants the required light spectrum needed to grow.

Metal Halides

T5 –Fluorescents

lighting for the aquarium with plants and aquascape

LED Fixture

Choosing the Bulb

Choosing the right type of bulb is important to give both the best aesthetic look and the growth needed. The sun is around 6500k (kelvins which is a color temperature). Below 6000k will be very yellow in colour and give the tank an unpleasant look. 10,000k is a crisp white and should be the upper spectrum of planted aquarium lighting. T5 and LED fixtures are most effective with a mix between 6700k and 10000k. When using metal halides 10,000k is a safe choice for both color and growth. Avoid blue/actinic lighting this will have no effect on plant health and growth.