Welcome to Day 30 of the 31 Days to Build a Better Saltwater Aquarium Challenge. It’s Challenge Graduation Eve Day. There’s a holiday that nobody has ever celebrated before today!
Today’s task is to inspect your lights, clean things up, and replace the bulbs (if you have them) if they are too old.
Seeing the light
Reef aquarium lights are one of the biggest expenses we have, in terms of running the aquarium. The lights themselves likely cost hundreds of dollars, and the energy we consume trying to recreate the sun inside of our homes is one of the biggest ongoing expenses.
You’re spending that money and energy trying to provide your corals with high-quality light–but is that light getting through?
Take a look at the surfaces on and between your lights and your coral. Do you have a glass lid over the tank? Is it clean and clear, or is there salt creep or image growth blocking out the light? Inspect the things between your lights and your corals and make sure the path for the light is free and clear, to get the most out of your lighting system.
What type of lights do you have over your tank?
Metal Halide, High Output (HO), Very High Output (VHO), Power Compact (PC) all wear out over time. Over time, light bulbs wear out. As light bulbs tend to get older, the light spectrum shifts from the blue side of the spectrum to the red side of the spectrum.
What you will notice, as a result of this shift in the spectrum, is that the colors your corals show will become less impressive and shift towards a dull brown. You will also be more likely to have problems caused by problem algae.
If you have Metal Halide, T5, VHO or Power Compact fluorescent lights, you have to change your bulbs.
If you haven’t replaced your bulbs in a while, do it today. But before you spend that money on bulbs again, you might want to consider switching to LED lights.
If you buy a moderately priced LED aquarium light, you should be able to recoup your investment in energy and bulb savings fairly quickly. Don’t just take my word for it, check out the calculator on this resources page to help you do the math and see for yourself.