Setting Up Lighting For Your Aquarium

These days almost any aquarium sets that you get as a package comes with some form of lighting. But if you do have or buy an aquarium that did not come as a set you would then have to get all the different equipment and accessories separately. In this case, you may be wondering what kind of aquarium lightning to get and how to properly install them.

The real question is whether lighting for a fish tank really is that necessary or is it merely a decorative element that you could do away with.

The first factor that determines the necessity of aquarium lighting is whether you have real plants in your tank or not. If yours is a planted tank, the aquatic plants in the water will require light to perform photosynthesis. Without proper lighting at least for a couple of hours of each day, your live plants will begin to wither and die. If your aquarium is positioned in a place that receives some sunlight daily, even if it is not direct sunlight, then fish tank lights aren’t really that crucial.

Even if you do not have live aquatic plants, having a tank that sits in a dark corner of an ill lighted room is not healthy to your fish. Fish like all living creatures live in a cycle of light and dark. Without a distinct difference between the two, they would eventually have deteriorating health and other issues.

In general there are three types of aquarium lights that you could get: normal fluorescent, compact fluorescent and metal halides.

Normal Fluorescent Lights

These are the common types of lighting you can get for a very cheap price in any pet shop. The normal fluorescent lights do provide the basic function of lighting up your fish tank and they do help with providing your aquatic plants the light it needs. The issue about these lights though is that they can be a little bulky. If you do get shorter tubes, the strength of the light might not be sufficient. The same goes if you have a fairly large tank, where you will need to get a couple of tubes together in order to provide suitable illumination.

Compact Fluorescent Lights

These are just like the normal fluorescent ones with the exception that they are much smaller. But don’t let the size full you, they do provide sufficient illumination as much as a longer normal one would. So the benefit here is that you would be able to have more tubes in a smaller space, giving your plants and fish all the light they need.

Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting

These are the latest addition to the aquarium lighting scene. Metal halide lights are able to provide illumination that is stronger and more concentrated. This allows the light to penetrate far deeper into the tank than Fluorescent lights can, making metal halides perfect for really large tanks. The light spectrum that they provide is also ideal for plants and can be selected based on the type of aquatic plants that you have.

The only drawback here is that it is for advanced aquarium enthusiast because it needs proper installation and maintenance. So if you are a new hobbyist and do not want to go through the hassle, this may not be the one for you.

So your task now is to evaluate the size of your fish tank and see which of the three options you would like to go with. They all have their pros and cons, so it is mainly a matter of preference.

10 Things to Consider When Shopping for Betta Fish Tanks

Bettas are among the most interesting and low-maintenance fish you can keep. And their ability to breathe atmospheric oxygen and live in very small volumes of water allows them to be housed in a variety of small aquaria that can complement any home or office. However, there are some important considerations to bear in mind when shopping around for the perfect tank for your pet betta. Please read on as we discuss these issues and our own opinions on what to look for in a small betta tank.

Characteristics of The Best Betta Fish Tanks

1) Adequate Size

Yes, it’s true that a betta can live in a small bowl, if it had to. But this is not the most fulfilling life for such a regal fish. In addition, very small bowls are prone to heating and cooling extremely rapidly, as well as suffering quickly from pollution that can easily occur from even slight overfeeding. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest a minimum tank size of one gallon to keep one adult betta. Of course, your betta would be happy if you provided a larger aquarium, but a gallon container is generally sufficient so long as it is diligently maintained. Bettas can also be housed in community tanks, but take care not to keep them with fish that tend to nip fins. For example, tiger barbs are notorious for fin nipping, and will shred a betta’s fins very quickly. Shredded fins are not just a cosmetic issue, unfortunately, and a betta with badly torn fins can easily die from stress and/or secondary infections like ick/fungus.

2) A Good, Tight Fitting Cover

Bettas are not what I’d consider big time “jumpers,” but they can and will jump when given half a chance. Sometimes osmotic or other stress will cause them to jump, and sometimes they will leap simply because the can. To minimize any risk of such escape, for whatever reason, do yourself a favor and put a lid on the tank. Be careful though to leave some air space between the surface of the water and the cover as they are air breathers and need to gulp air occasionally.

3) No Strong Currents or Water Movement

This is a consideration that I often see overlooked, especially in some of the smaller betta tanks. Bettas have evolved to thrive in still or stagnant waters where this no little or no current. And, as a consequence of this design, they are unhappy when subjected to currents typically generated by hang on back filters or powerful aeration. Bettas require water that is either still, or very placid. They do not require aeration of any kind, especially when properly maintained and in a tank by themselves. If you do use a filter at all, make sure that the tank is large enough (e.g., 3 gallons or more) or the filter can be dialed down (e.g., an air release valve on an aquarium pump) such that the betta does not need to exert effort to maintain its position in the water column. If your betta is getting pushed around or fighting to stay still, it will put constant stain on the fish that can eventually lead to disease or death.

4) Bare Floor or Fine Substrates

Bettas don’t need or want any substrate in their tanks. In fact, bare bottom tanks are best for you and the betta since they facilitate easy clean up. If you do want to add some colorful gravel, however, keep it sparse and opt for relatively small grained types, rather than the large, marble-sized gravel that is often sold for small decorative bowls/tanks. Very course gravel makes a great trap for uneaten food, which then decays and causes potentially lethal ammonia spikes. Finer gravel (pea-sized or smaller) allows the fish to get at food that lands on the bottom, and still allows you to see when food is left uneaten and needs removal – both of which is better for your fish.

5) Regular Light Cycles

Fish, like most vertebrates, react profoundly to light cycles. As a species that lives close to the equator, your betta will expect a photoperiod of roughly 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. If you don’t use artificial lighting, you don’t need to provide any, but avoid turning the lights on late at night when your fish is preparing to “sleep.” Also, try to purchase a tank that uses LED lighting. LED lights are by far the most efficient and long-lasting type you can buy, and also generate the least amount of unwanted heat.

6) Warm Temperatures

Unlike goldfish, for example, which can thrive in very cold water, betta are a very tropical fish. In their native waters of Southeast Asia, they rarely experience temperatures below 76 F. Consequently, you should always aim to keep your bettas at a minimum temperature of 72F, with a temperature of 78F being ideal. Bettas can certainly withstand cooler temps for short durations, but extended exposure to water temperatures below 72F make them lethargic and highly vulnerable to infections and diseases, particularly fin rot, ick, and fungus.

7) Individual Housing

Although female bettas can be kept together, males cannot be kept with other males or females. The only exception to this rule is if you are attempting to breed bettas, in which case the male will tolerate the female (grudgingly) only until the eggs are laid, after which time he will attack and kill her if the tank is not large enough for her to escape his line of sight.

8) Good Water Quality

Whatever you do, you must keep a betta’s water clean. This means that periodic water changes should be conducted, which involve removing any debris from the bottom of the tank. A good rule of thumb is to change between 30-50% of the water per week. This keeps the water fresh without changing things too drastically. Make sure to use dechlorinated water and try to match the temperature of the new water to the old water.

9) Placement in a Calm Area, Away From Direct Light

You wouldn’t want to live next to a 6-lane highway, and neither would your betta, so keep the tank somewhere away from heavy foot traffic. It’s difficult enough living your life in a small transparent container, don’t make matters more stressful by locating the tank where your betta will be subject to constant movement and/or vibrations. Also, locate the tank away from direct sunlight, which can cause rapid temperature spikes and encourage algae growth.

10) Simplicity!

If you’ve chosen a tank of sufficient size, keep the betta by itself, maintain proper temperatures and keep up with regular water changes, there’s not much else you need. Be wary of vendors that try to sell lots of accessories for beta-only tanks, like sophisticated filters, lighting, etc. These things are usually unnecessary.

What Size Fish Tank Should You Get?

What size tank?

Choosing the right size tank is the first decision you will come up against in this hobby; what tank you choose is all down to personal preference. The tank you choose will be the foundation of your very own Marine Aquarium. It’s good to get this right the first time. If you do, it will save you a lot of time and money. The reason I say this is because people buy a tank and then later on realize that they want a bigger one, so if you know what type of setup you want before you buy your tank you have more of a chance of making the right decision on the size. In a previous article we spoke about the different types of Marine setups, now you know what setup you are going to have you need to decide what size aquarium you want, now comes the part where you have to ask yourself questions, Where is it going to go? How much space do I have? Of course you are limited to what size house you have, and by space, also how much do you want to spend? Fish tanks can range from £100 to over £1000, how much you spend is down to you. Before you start it’s good for you to know owning your own Marine Aquarium is no cheap hobby.

Hopefully After reading this article you will come to the conclusion on what size marine tank you want.

What shape?
Depending on what type of setup you are having different shaped tanks will have their own effects.

Tall tanks
Tall tanks have the effect of height; this is nice on a reef tank because it allows you to create different shelf levels to place corals with different lighting needs. The Lighting needs to penetrate through to the bottom, so strong lighting is recommended.

Bow fronted tanks
These tanks give a lovely magnifying effect and the illusion that the tank is bigger than what it is.

Cube tanks
Cube tanks are great for compact spaces; they also provide a 360 degree view of everything in the tank, not great for big fish as swimming space is limited.

Standard Rectangle tanks
These tanks are the best choice for reef aquariums as they have space for everything, you can have big reef fish and there is plenty of room to aqua scape the tank the way you want it.

Corner tanks
These tanks are great space savers. They have a very modern feel and make great show tanks due to their shape because they have a custom made look to them. These tanks are surprisingly spacious.