Why a good lighting system?
A good lighting system duplicates the different
lighting spectrums in the ocean. A good lighting
system allows corals to open more frequently
and to show their natural color. It also
encourages the corals to grow in your tank.We
recommend that you should have your lighting
system powered on for about 10 hours a day.
Why replace your lights?
In any fluorescent light, there is only a
certain amount of Argon gas contained. Burning
the Argon gas inside the light produces a
given spectrum. When the argon gas insides
the light is used-up, a different spectrum
will be produced. In saltwater aquariums,
however, we only want the correct lighting
spectrum to be present. So when the chemials
inside the light are used-up, you must replace
it with a new one; otherwise the incorrect
lighting spectrum is going to give you algae
Temperature and Your Lighting System
Temperature is usually briefly mentioned
in saltwater aquarium books. However, it
is actually quite important to keep a suitable
and stable temperature level in your tank.
In the case of corals, we usually see the
corals to have lost their colors completely
or only left with the white skeleton of the
An abnormally high temperature and a high
UV-radiation are closely correlated with
the coral bleaching. In order to protect the corals from the
excess UV-radiation, there is a certain amount
of the active forms of oxygen molecules in
the water that block the harmful UV-light.
This is really the same idea as having our
atmosphere to protect ourselves from the
excess UV-radiation from the Sun. High temperature
level provides the living conditions for
some types of hormones that can break down
these oxygen molecules. When the hormones
begin to break down the active oxygen molecules,
there are less active oxygen molecules to
protect the corals from the UV-radiation.
The excess UV-light kills off the pigmentation
tissues in the corals and the corals in the
water appear pale. Losing the pigmentation
tissues is the same as to have no protection
against the harmful UV-radiation and this
kills the corals. As a general rule, the
water temperature should be between 23 to
How does the temperature related to the lighting
system? To keep your tank in a suitable temperature
range, you must consider the amount of heat
generated by the lighting system and the
heat loss from the evaporation. The main source of heat in saltwater aquariums
is the lighting system since almost all lighting
system is installed directly above the water
surface. On the other hand, the water molecules
carry a certain amount of heat with them
when they are evaporated from the water surface.
You should keep these two factors in mind
when you are installing a new lighting system
or to readjust the lighting system already
installed. Besides the heat loss issues,
you should also think about whether the current
provides a gradual change of temperature
so that the temperature near the surface
is not much different from the bottom of
On the right is a little electronic thermo-sensor
for you to consider. This inexpenisve and
easy-to-use thermo-sensor is very useful
for you to measure the temperature constantly.
All you need is to submerge the probe into
the water and let the meter sit outside the
tank. The probe can be stuck to the glass
with the suction cup included.
Keyboard Shortcuts for Accessing Information
To activate the Keyboard Shortcuts, hold
alt- first, then press the following letter
After select, press Return / Enter to activate
the jump link.
Unfortunately, the Keyboard Shortcuts feature
is not supported by all computer platforms.
If the shortcuts don't work in your browser,
please click the links below.
Here are the Keyboard Shortcuts ...
PHASE IV System (alt-q)
Power Compact System (alt-w)
Aquastarlight System & Moonlight Option (alt-e)
Installing Your Own Lighting Systems (alt-r)
Here is more information about aquarium lighting
systems. The tank is the same as the bottom
tank shown on the Aquarium Technologies page.
But this time, we have changed the lighting
system to a Phase IV system rather than two
identical sets of Power Compact system. On the right hand side, however, we still
use the same Power Compact system. This makes
the comparsion between the different systems
Phase IV System
These two pictures show the new Phase IV
system. This system includes 4 light bulbs;
two of them are 6700K Osram Day Light and
the other two are 10,000K Actinic Blue. Comparing
with the previous system (on the previous
page using only the Phase II system) which
only has day lights installed, this Phase
IV system gives a result that is much closer
to that of a Metal Halide Light.
But remember the huge difference in prices!
A Metal Halide Light normally costs $1200
CAN or more depending on the types of light.
This Phase IV unit is $800 CAN with all light
bulbs included. The light bulbs for the Phase
IV system should be replaced every 8 months.
Each bulb costs $70 CAN and it is the same
price for either Day Lights or Actinic Blue
bulbs. Using this system, corals are much
more active (i.e. they open more often) than
using the Phase II system as shown on the
Aquarium Technologies page.
Power Compact System with only Day Lights
This picture is to contrast with the above
sample pictures. Here we only have Day Lights
installed. Compared with the top one, you
can see that the Day Lights give a yellowish
tone. On the other hand, the top system is
more natural looking. However, Day Lights are necessary for tanks
with live rocks.
Why do you need live rocks? Live rocks, in
fact, serve the same purpose as your biological
filter. It is the "biological filter"
from the ocean. Compared with the biological
filters available in the market, live rocks,
however, is much faster in establishing the
suitable living conditions for your fish
and corals in the tank than your biological
Back to Shortcut Keys
Aquastarlight Metal Halide Light System with
If you have visited our customers' gallery,
you will probably recognize this picture.
This is a picture taken from our customer
Doug Einarson's home. This Aquastarlight Metal Halide System is
made in Germany and it is one of the best
lighting products in the market right now. This system is a 48 inches long unit. It
has two 13000K light bulbs.
Features of this Metal Halide Light System:
True Ultra Violet Lens
The UV Lens filters any unwanted UV light
from the source. It also adjusts the intensity
of the light so that your eyes do not get
hurt even if you look at the source directly.
Compared to the Phase IV system shown above,
the tank is more comfortable to look at.
Long Lasting Light Bulbs and Low Heat Consumption
The light bulbs last a lot longer than those
manufactured in North America. An average
light bulb manufactured in North America
should be replaced every 8 to 12 months.
The aqualine 10000 bulb lasts 14 - 18 months.
The suggested numbers may change slightly
depending on the number of hours that the
lights are powered on each day. Compared to the Phase IV system (manufactured
in US) above, you can see that the Phase
IV system does not give a realistic looking
aquarium. Doug's tank is 24 inches deep,
whereas the one with the Phase IV system
installed is only 16 inches deep. But you
can still see the bottom corals clearly!
The Aquastarlight unit is also low in heat
consumption. It produces only one-third of the amount of heat generated from an
equivalent North America Metal Halide Light
The Moonlight is a 15 Watt incandescent light.
Although the option of using the Aqua Medic
Light Computer to optimize the natural
cycle is available, you can achieve the
result by simply connecting the moonlight
system to a timer. Why moonlight? The moonlight system is designed for the
nocturnal corals and inhibitants. It provides the suitable lighting intensity
for these nocturnal corals and inhibitants
at the time when they are naturally active
in the ocean.
After you switch off your lights, organism
such as zooplankton, become much more active than in the "day
" time. Invertebrates like shrimps
crabs, or corals like sun polyps will be
actively looking for these zooplankton
the lights are gone. (Plankton is a family
of organisms that float in the aquarium
simply follow the stream of the current
the tank. Brime Shrimp is also a member
the Plankton family.) If you are feeding
Brime Shrimp to your fish or to your corals,
the moonlight system is an important equipment
for your tank. If you already have a lighting system for
your aquarium, you can always add a small
stand-alone unit (4.6" * 3.4"
2.8") of the Aquamoonlight to obtain
the moonlight effect.
For the other non-nocturnal corals, the moonlight
reduces the stress and shock that may occur
during the hours of darkness. So next time when you are purchasing a lighting
system, don't forget to ask about the moonlight
The above 48 inches unit is capable of covering
4 - 6 feet long tanks. The next level option
is a 72 inches unit that is capable of
6 - 8 feet long tanks. Each 72 inches unit
has 3 Metal Halide Light bulbs installed.
However, the moonlight system is only optional. Right now, we only have the 48 inches units,
with or without the moonlight option, in
stock. By the middle of August, we will
the 72 inches in stock also.
Back to Shortcut Keys
If you are interested in installing your
own system, here is a piece of equipment
very handy for you. This set of electronic
ballast is from Coralife and it is a very
popular item for poeple who like to do their
own work. If you are interested in getting
a Moonlight system also, you can also purchase
Aquamoonlight unit and a timer to make a
wonderful and inexpensive system.
Back to Shortcut Keys
© Wai's Aquarium Ltd, 2000, 2001. All rights