Reef Aquarium Lighting: Color Temperature Experiment Continued


Reef Aquarium Lighting: Color Temperature Experiment Continued



A continuation of the reef aquarium lighting experiment detailed in the last thread:

The color temperature of aquarium lighting is sometimes described in relative terms of ‘warm’ vs. ‘cool’.  Lamps that appear to be subjectively more red or orange are considered to be warmer color temperatures, while lamps that produce light in the blue side of the range are considered to be cooler. The differences in color temperature of the four bulbs from the ZooMed line demonstrate a distinct range from warmer to cooler.



High Output Fluorescent lights for saltwater reef aquarium lighting experiment

Note color temperature range: warm to cool


Note in the picture that the appearance of the light output ranges from the red/violet  hue of the FLORA SUN (far left) to the deep blue actinic of the CORAL SUN lamp(far right).  In the middle, it is apparent that not all ‘white’ bulbs are the same.  Take a look at the difference between the stark white ULTRA SUN lamp (left middle) compared with the bluish/white OCEAN SUN lamp (right middle).


The light fixture over the display tank is four foot long and runs 4×46 inch T-5 High Output (HO) lamps.  The lamps are wired in pairs with each pair connected to an independent switch.


The four lamps, connected in pairs, created six possible combinations.


Pair combinations for the Reef Aquarium Lighting Experiment



Lamp 1

Lamp 2

Set-up 1


Set-up 2


Set-up 3


Set-up 4


Set-up 5


Set-up 6




The lamp combinations were toggled back and forth leveraging the two independent switches in the following fashion:


Saltwater Reef Lighting First Combination

Note: First and third T-5 lamp are wired together


Reef Aquarium Expermiment in Lighting Color Temperature

Note: Second and fourth lamps are wired together

The lamps in the first and third positions were wired together as teh first combination and the lamps in the second and fourth positions were wired together as the second combination.  Appearance of the tank was judged qualitatively according to relative warmth of the light and a general color and appearance description. Photographs were taken of the reef tank with the various color combinations to capture the possible differences


More pictures and results to come….

Check out the next post in this series to view the reef aquarium color temperature experiment results












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