What is the Best Lighting for Aquarium Plants?

You usually have a few different types of lighting you can use in your aquarium, such as compact fluorescents, metal halides and the current best solution LED.

I will be focusing on LED lighting as I believe this is the future of aquarium keeping and the other lights will soon be extinct, even though tanks are usually sold with the other types of lighting.

How do I know which LED’s to choose?

So, this is often the first question asked by new tank keepers, as often the LED’s provided in tank starter kits are simply not any good. There isn’t a ‘perfect’ equation we can use to work out exactly what we need, but we can go on a good general rule of thumb that has been used for years and just tweak from there.

The equation is simply Lumens per Litre, typically plants will require at least 10 lumens per litre, but you need to understand what plants you have in your tank as they could required between 20 and 40 lumens per litre.

The reason why you need the correct amount of light is for photosynthesis that allows the plants to grow and product oxygen for your tank.

Image result for photosynthesis fish tank

There are a few other metrics to measure lighting, but Lumens per Litre is enough for our needs.

Doing research, you may find the terms T5 or T8 regarding older bulbs, just keep in mind that good LED’s will give of similar levels of light to a T5 or T8 bulb.

Picking the LED’s

First, take note of the following, the size, depth, number of plants, types of plants and how you want the tank to look.

Thankfully, the internet provides fantastic resources such as the following – Light calculator, this will provide you with the correct amount of lighting you need.

Once you have this worked out check out our reviews of the best LED lighting you can buy for your fish tank.

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