Aquarium Ballast Lighting
It is important that you choose the correct lighting for your aquarium as it provides the energy for plants and animals to flourish in your aquarium. You should always check what your aquarium specifies for its lighting systems.
Types of Lighting
The most common type of lighting for aquariums is fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting can be more expensive than incandescent lights. However, fluorescent light bulbs can often last longer and use less energy than incandescent bulbs.
What is Ballast Lighting?
Ballast lighting regulates the current in the bulb. The ballast reduces the voltage in the bulb and regulates the bulb to produce a steady light output. The ballast is important because if a fluorescent bulb is connected to a high voltage output without a ballast it will burn out.
The Difference Between T5 and T8
T5 bulbs are:
- smaller than the T8 bulb
- 5/8 inch in diameter
- more efficient than T8
- better for heavily planted aquariums
- better for saltwater reef environments
T8 bulbs are:
- one inch in diameter
- more suited to freshwater tanks
- more suited to aquariums with fewer plants
It is important to remember that the two bulbs are not interchangeable as they have different pin ends and different ballasts.
The Benefits of T5 Bulbs
T5 are smaller so there is more space, this means you can fit more bulbs into the tank, the higher the light output or a higher level of Photosynthetically Active Radiation which is important for maintaining plant life in aquariums.
- LED light bulbs are often more expensive as an initial outlay for your aquarium, however, may be more economical in the long-term:
- LED does not diminish in light output.
- LED bulbs are recommended to be changed every 10 years whereas it is recommended you change T5 and T8 bulbs every year.
- LED bulbs use less energy than T5 and T8 bulbs which mean running costs for your fish tank can be cheaper.