as a balanced color spectrum at driving photosynthesis.
Why do you think shallow-water Acroporas look so ridiculously colorful? Having a warmer-colored light system can reduce the need for more powerful configurations: on a good day, an average 250-watt 20,000K lamp
with blue-white light is putting out about as much PAR
(Photosynthetically Active Radiation) as a good-quality
150-watt, 10,000K halide bulb with a warmer look, and
definitely less than a full-spectrum 150-watt 6,500K
Iwasaki. The latter can deliver healthy, colorful corals
while drawing 40% less electricity.
I used to run an eight-foot SPS (small-polyp stony
coral) system solely with Iwasaki lamps, and the corals looked nothing like what you would expect from
the normal captive-grown fare; Acropora colonies grew
so tight they were hard to frag, colors were as vibrant
as freshly collected specimens and the pink Pocillopora
and Stylophora were just too bright for words. Without a
balanced representation of lighting in the red/yellow/or-ange spectrum, you will be missing these exact colors, as
well as rich red, pink, and purple hues. In falling for the
cool-blue look, we’ve been cheating ourselves by exclud-ing longer wavelengths from a healthier regime of more
balanced light. The best part of it is that you can get away
with less power to the lights simply by using more 6,500-
10,000K full-spectrum warmer-colored light and relatively less 12,000-20,000K actinic and blue-colored light
sources. We now have easy access to new lighting products that can help fine tune and intensify your lighting
color. New, well-designed fixtures combine HQI/metal
halide lights with T5s and moonlight LEDS, all independently switchable.
High-efficiency reflectors are now available for all types of
aquarium lighting and are an excellent investment for saving
money and getting more light down into the tank.
nano reflector from giesemann combines Hqi
and t5 lighting in an energy-sparing design.
t5 reflector for a larger tank, right, can satisfy
the needs of many soft and lps corals at a
fraction of the energy cost of metal halides.
The last few years have seen myriad
innovations in reef aquarium lighting.
One of the first new products that comes
to mind is the TwinArc metal halide
lamp from Reefbrite Lighting. This metal
halide lamp comes in 250 W and 400 W
mogul base bulbs, but instead of having
a single inner envelope, it has two envelopes which take turns firing. You can
either get the TwinArc in a single color
configuration with both envelopes in
10K or 20K or you can get the Twinarc
with one envelope that is 10K and the
other that is 20K. Since the TwinArc is
about the same price as normal metal
halide bulbs, either you get a lamp that can last twice
as long as a regular halide bulb or you can buy a bulb
that offers more PAR-superior 10,000K lighting for part
of the day and more colorful 20,000K lighting for other
portions of the day.
top: Axel Finkel/giesem Ann AquAristic; below: d. knop. Jbl
There once was a time when we were naïve enough to slap
a halide lamp right under a flat piece of painted metal or
eight T5 lamps in a common reflector, but those times
are long gone. Any new lighting product that doesn’t include a good reflector for each bulb is an insult to our
intelligence. Most bulbs emit light in a circle of 360 degrees, meaning that at least half of the light is directed