The subject of lighting for marine aquariums can get a little confusing, as there are quite a variety of saltwater animals and quite a variety of lighting options for them.
Generally, for most marine fish you can get by with just the basic lighting that comes with an aquarium hood or strip light. Most fish won’t need special lighting. However, if you have clown fish with an anemone, such as a carpet or a long tentacle anemone, then you will need special lighting. Anemones and corals have algaes that grow with them and are necessary for their survival. For an anemone or coral to do well you need to have the proper light spectrum and intensity for them.
Some anemones and corals can get by with just the minimum lighting, and this might include a 10,000K to 20,000K bulb in combination with an actinic bulb. This may keep a soft coral alive. It may keep an anemone that doesn’t need intense lighting. This is the most basic of the lights used for marine tanks.
The next step up will be the HO, or high output, T-5 fixtures. These can include two, four and six bulb fixtures. These fixtures can be all 10,000K bulbs, or be combinations of 10,000K and actinic. For most corals and anemones, a four or six bulb fixture would be best.
In the same range are the power compact fixtures. These will have a higher wattage output and will tend to be a bit brighter. Again, it is best to go with a four or six bulb fixture, as you will get more intensity and your corals and anemones will do better. Generally speaking, corals and anemones will do better with the more intense lighting. Unless you have a coral that needs just low light, go with the higher output lights.
Probably the brightest, and most intense lighting will be the fixtures with metal halide bulbs. Most of these fixtures will have a combination of metal halide and either T-5 high output or the power compacts. They usually will include actinic bulbs too. The actinic spectrum will not be as bright, but it is good to have for corals and anemones.
Here are some of the mentioned marine light fixtures and bulbs:
Tags: Fish & Ponds