What Should I Consider When Buying a Fish Tank Light?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
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  • Last Modified Date: 13 March 2020
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When buying a fish tank light, your first consideration should be for your fish. Some fish are happier living in a darker environment than others. Of course you want to watch your fish swimming and enjoying themselves, but if the fish is not made for a high level of exposure to light, a bright light can actually be damaging.

The next factor you should consider when determining what size light works best for your fish tank is the size of the tank. A small bulb over a large tank will not cast much light, while a large bulb over a small tank can not only provide too much light, but heat up the water as well. The proper sized bulb should allow you to see the fish without interfering with their lifestyle.

If you have a fish tank with several varieties of fish in it, it can be difficult to determine what type of fish tank light will work best for your tank. One way to solve this problem is through careful planning. There is no rule that says you have to use one fish tank light over the center of the tank.


Be creative when you set up your aquarium. If you have several different types of fish, you probably have a medium to large aquarium. Set up informal living areas that appeal to different types of fish. Place the light so it shines primarily on one area of the aquarium. At the far end from the light, place a cave or stack some coral so that fish that prefer to seek the dark have a place to do that.

If you set up your aquarium in this way, it can take some time to perfect your arrangement. If you have live plants in your aquarium, their lighting needs need to be taken into consideration. You may find it necessary to add some fake plants to the side of your aquarium that has low light.

When choosing a fish tank light, it is important to remember that the light is primarily for your enjoyment. It makes it easier to watch your fish and check the condition of the tank. The ambient room light is perfectly fine with most fish. If you are adding a fish tank light to their environment, take their needs into consideration. Don’t expose them to too much light or a bulb so large that it makes their water too hot.


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Post 2

I have a few very large fish tanks in my home and I have fish tank light fixtures that run the entire length of the tank. That way the light is distributed evenly through the water and you can see everything at any time.

Post 1

It is worth it to spend a little money of a fish tank light. I have heard of a few instances (rare, but still real) when people have been using super cheap fish tank lights and they have ended up shorting out in the fish tank and killing all the fish.

Now, like I say, this is rare? But why take the chance? Any time you mix water and electricity you want to be careful. If there was ever something worth investing in I think that's it.

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