Plant aquariums are characterized by strong lighting. Most people choose this beautiful branch of modern aquaristics precisely because of the strong lighting: the sight of plants glistening in bright, vibrant light and fish floating in clear water make the planted aquarium a real decoration of your home or office. This is what sets it apart from the visual world of traditional aquariums at first sight.
However, we can’t illuminate our aquarium “with impunity” with any bright light, as our plants will photosynthesize more intensely in bright light, and this will require a lot of CO2. Strong lighting is therefore only recommended for those who also operate a high-pressure CO2 system in the aquarium (CO2 dissolution is described in detail here). Without the presence of the right amount of carbon, the plants will suffer and the aquarium will start to algae when exposed to strong light. Keep in mind that the dual effect of strong light and ammonia is what triggers algae growth. If we increase the brightness, we need to know that our range of motion will also decrease in the fight against algae growth. This is why we recommend even advanced aquarists to reduce the brightness at the start of the aquarium and after it, and only after the biological equilibrium has been reached (it takes about a month and a half for the filter to have enough bacteria to break down ammonia). full brightness of the system.
Lamp selection is a less cardinal issue when building an aquarium, as unlike a filter, it does not affect the stability and “health” of the system to the same extent as filtration. Experience has shown that it is easier to change the lamp later than the filter, and poor lighting does less damage than poor filtration – in fact, poor lighting often helps to avoid algae – although a poorly lit aquarium is not as beautiful a sight .
How do I choose the right lamp for my aquarium?
First, we need to decide what kind of brightness we want. In the world of lamps with T5 fluorescent lamps and halogen lamps, a simple rule has been developed to determine the brightness. The brightness of the lamp shall be 1 Watt/liter for CO2 injection and a maximum of 0.5 Watt/liter for aquariums without CO2. So over a 150-180 liter aquarium – for CO2 injection – use an approximately 150-180 W lamp