Reef Aquarium Lighting: An Experiment in Color Temperature

Reef Aquarium Lighting–An Introduction to the Experiment

Saltwater Aquarium Lights
Reef aquarium lights come in a range of color temperature–shown here are the four available color temperatures available from ZooMed Laboratories

Over the next several blog posts, I’m going to explore the topic of reef aquarium lighting.  For many reef aquarium hobbyists, lighting will be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in their system.  Lighting is expensive to purchase and to run on a daily basis.  For photosynthetic invertebrates in your tank however, reef aquarium lighting is also one of the most important pieces of equipment because the light provides the life sustaining energy to the tank.

The topic of reef aquarium lighting is often explained from a complex, technical point of view.  Most saltwater aquarium lighting articles read more like textbooks than articles.  And quite frankly speaking, lighting is a complex topic.  However, one aspect of reef aquarium lighting that often gets overlooked is the impact that lighting has on the aesthetic appearance of your tank.

From a technical perspective, the ‘look and feel’ produced by a light bulb is a function of color temperature.  Over the next few posts, I will reveal the effects of lamp color temperature on the appearance of the display tank in my den, and more specifically the effects on the appearance of the vertebrates, invertebrates and algae living in my tank.


The four reef aquarium lights (lamps) used in this experiment are:

  • 10,000K Ocean Sun®
  • 6,500K Ultra Sun®
  • 5,000K Flora Sun®
  • Actinic 420 Coral Sun®

A special thank you to a loyal sponsor of this site, ZooMed Laboratories, for providing the high output T5 fluorescent lamps used in this experiment.

To read the next post in this series, check out: Reef Aquarium Lighting: Color Temperature Experiment Continued






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