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The Best Aquarium Lights To Enhance Fish's Color?

Jackiee

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The light that I currently have on my tank just isn't cutting it anymore.
I don't like it. :no: It's just a normal flourescent light that came with the tank, and to be honest, it seems like it gives my tank a 'yellow' look to it, IMO.

My Turquoise Severum has brilliant colors but they never pop out unless hes right up at the top of the tank, directly under the bulb.
And when I purchased him from his previous owner, he looked brilliant in his tank. Royal blue with greens, reds, flourescent flecks of blue, and I don't know what kind of lights he had.

Now that he's been in my tank for a while now, I see no where near as brilliant of colors from my light.
It also doesnt do much for my Blood Parrot, and she is a brilliant deep orange.

I'd like to change my bulb and put something in that will greatly enhance the coloring of my fish. But I'm also planning on adding some hardy live plants such as Anubias, Java Ferns, some mosses/hair grass into my tank sometime soon, so I need something safe for them too that will also make their colors show well.

I tried looking at the bulb that I have now, but nothing is printed on it at all, for me to list the information, wattage, kelvin level, etc. :huh:

I've heard 10,000K's is a good light (right? maybe not)..
But there are different colors like the Actinic, Natural daylight, Coral Sun, High Intensity Purified Super Daylight, 50/50 bulbs, T-5's, T-8's, etc...
that I have no clue about.. I don't even know what all those mean.

By the way, my light strip only holds one bulb, so I can't mix and match two different types of bulbs like some people do.
Also, the back of my light strip says it's 120 volts, 40 watts, 60 hz.
Don't know if that makes a difference.

What bulbs would be recommended?


Thanks :good:
 
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Plants aren't fussed when it comes to light as long as it's not vastly outside of the acceptable range of about 1000-16000 Kelvin
Go with what looks good on your eye, buy a few different tubes from Lampspecs if you're in the UK or from a hard ware store if you're in the states, there is no need to buy aquarium specific ones, as the standard tubes are a lot cheaper and can be just as good. I'd advise 10,000 Kelvin it gives a good crisp white daylight colour, although true daylight is less than this. Bulbs with a pink hue give good colours for fish and plants. What are the diameter of your tubes? 1 inch, 5/8's of an inch? or are they U shaped?
Looking at the tube, its info should be printed on there somewhere.
 

ian

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I shall also echo the above^^

It's all about what your eye prefers...here's the Kelvin scale (K rating)



I personally prefer the whiter light, my bulbs are both 9000k, this gives a very crisp look, it also makes my Cardinals colour stand out. Some people like to mix and match.
 

KittyKat

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I prefer cool daylight, to echo the above. Colour "865", to be more precise.

To "enhance" the fishs' colour, you would probably want bulbs of the same colour as the fish (orange fish is orange because it reflects orange light, etc), but those bulbs always give the whole tank a tinge.
 
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Jackiee

Jackiee

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My bulbs are the 48" long, and 1" in diameter bulbs. and there is absolutely no black printing/ or writing of any sort on my bulb. It puzzled me.

And I have all sorts of colors in there, but I'd prefer a crisper more natural 'white' light, rather than the yellowish tinge that this one gives off. majority of my fish have the blue colorations in them, the only one that doesn't is my BP, but her color stands out no matter what usually.
 

weezawoo

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Check out http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/ under on the cheap then t5. Gives good ideas of diff in kelvin rating!
 

TwoTankAmin

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Your fixture holds a T-12 bulb. the normal fluor. Tube diameters are sized in 1/12 inches. t-12 is 12/12 or 1 inch. T-8 at 8/12 is 3/4 inch etc.

For true colors look for bulbs with a CRI (Color rendering index) of 90 or above. A CRI of 100 (the max) means the bulb makes things appear 100% as they look in the sun.

For your fixture and to get colors that pop I suggest you look for a tri-phosphor (or trichromatic), full spectrum daylight bulb.
Coralife
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Here is an article written so us not scientist can understand it which explains lighting for Aquariums as well as any I have seen:
ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING A Summary of Artificial Illumination as it Pertains to the Culture of Varous Plants and Animals Commonly Kept in Indoor Aquaria by Richard J. Sexton
 
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Jackiee

Jackiee

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Check out http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/ under on the cheap then t5. Gives good ideas of diff in kelvin rating!
Great examples, thanks! I was trying to actually look for some picture comparisons on the internet like this but couldn't find any. I like the Osram Lumilux 880 Skywhite, or perhaps the Philips de Luxe Pro 965 lighting pictures.

Your fixture holds a T-12 bulb. the normal fluor. Tube diameters are sized in 1/12 inches. t-12 is 12/12 or 1 inch. T-8 at 8/12 is 3/4 inch etc.

For true colors look for bulbs with a CRI (Color rendering index) of 90 or above. A CRI of 100 (the max) means the bulb makes things appear 100% as they look in the sun.

For your fixture and to get colors that pop I suggest you look for a tri-phosphor (or trichromatic), full spectrum daylight bulb.
Coralife
ZooMed

Here is an article written so us not scientist can understand it which explains lighting for Aquariums as well as any I have seen:
ARTIFICIAL LIGHTING A Summary of Artificial Illumination as it Pertains to the Culture of Varous Plants and Animals Commonly Kept in Indoor Aquaria by Richard J. Sexton
Thanks :good: I had no idea what CRI stood for, or meant.. and what's even better, both those coralife and zoo med bulbs are in my LFS. Great article too, explains alot.
 

KittyKat

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Check out http://www.theplantedtank.co.uk/ under on the cheap then t5. Gives good ideas of diff in kelvin rating!
Great examples, thanks! I was trying to actually look for some picture comparisons on the internet like this but couldn't find any. I like the Osram Lumilux 880 Skywhite, or perhaps the Philips de Luxe Pro 965 lighting pictures.
Osram and Philips use the same colour codes, so for those, it is 880 and 965, the manufacturer doesn't matter out of the two (and probably doesn't matter if it's someone else either).. after all, they probably come from the same factory :)
 

matt_storey

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i had the same issue, my oscars before looked a dull orange/brown, now after buying a 16,000k interpet daylight bulb they glow bright orange/red! The tiger oscar looks especially amazing :) did cost me £16 but defo worth it :)
 
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Jackiee

Jackiee

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I know this topic has been dead for a while, but on one side, you can buy bulbs that have a high CRI rating, but they tend to have lower Kelvin readings.. Or you can get high 10,000 Kelvin bulbs, but do they have lower CRI? .. I'm confused on which would still be better.
 

raptorrex

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this question always amuses me.

baring in mind that the brain re balances any image to the equivalent of a 5500k. it does not matter what colour your light is (within reason). your eyes will make it look like the light is 5500k. now it will alter the contrast of some colours. this will be something you notice. but as for one colour of light looking different to another. after seconds, that is not the case. though i agree we may think id does.

I assume we have all walked into an artificially lit room (after being outside) and noticed how red/orange the light look. and also noticed within seconds, the light no longer looks red/orange. well the same thing happens when you look at your tank.
 
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Jackiee

Jackiee

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Well, yesterday I went and bought a coralife 10,000K daylight bulb and it was waaay too blue.
So, I returned it and bought a Zoomed 6,700K ultra sun super daylight bulb and it's still too blue.. I guess I'm going to take it back and go try a 5,000K bulb. Thats the only lower one they have.
 
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