Taking saltwater fish from the ocean and placing them in your own aquarium robs them of their natural environment. Therefore it is important to try and imitate the ocean environment in the fish tank for the healthy survival of the fish and other aquarium life forms. Aquarium plants need sufficient light to photosynthesis and survive. Aquarium lighting is one important aspect that the saltwater aquarist needs to understand. Natural daylight needs to be mimicked in the saltwater aquarium and it is important to understand the different lighting needs of each fish species. It is important to avoid the common aquarium lighting mistakes highlighted below.
- Lighting duration: Your aquarium needs to experience a mimicked day and night. Many beginner aquarists can make the mistake of forgetting to switch off their aquarium lights. For a fish-only aquarium, lights can be kept on for 6 to 8 hours a day and the lights can be kept on for 12 to 14 hours a day for aquariums that include plants.
- Not relying on automatically light switches: It is advised to have timers and controllers in your aquarium to automatically switch lights on and off. Trying to maintain personal control of lighting can have its pitfalls, such as forgetting to switch the lighting on or off.
- Light Intensity issues: Some aquarists may make the mistake of using light bulbs with too high or too little wattage and light intensity. Fish-only aquariums with saltwater tanks do not require much light intensity, since too much lighting may cause the growth of algae in your aquarium, or result in fish becoming reclusive and hiding most of the time.
- Relying on natural sunlight for your aquarium: Some aquarists think they can do without artificial lighting by positioning their aquariums near a window or open space. However, such light is not always adequate. The problem is that aquariums cannot always be positioned near windows to receive 10-12 hours of direct sunlight on a daily basis. So it is important to supplement natural lighting with fluorescent bulbs.
- Absence of spare light bulbs and lighting equipment: You must keep spare light bulbs for your aquarium to replace bulbs that burn out. Starving your aquarium of light for 24 hours can end in disaster. Any other lighting equipment should also have spares available.