What is the optimum color light for a saltwater aquarium? There’s a reason why the majority of saltwater aquariums you’ll see have a bluish light ranging from frosty white to a very deep blue. The aesthetics of the aquarium and its residents, as well as the growth of photosynthetic corals, anemones, and other marine animals, are all influenced by blue light. But why the color blue? Is it possible to utilize only blue?
Is blue light the same everywhere? Are your eyes, most importantly, telling you the complete story? In a moment, I’ll also provide you with a fantastic reference on all elements of reef lighting.
This is due to the fact that bluish light does the best job of displaying the colors of fish and corals from tropical marine ecosystems. And reminds us of the teal coastal seas that we imagine when we think of such natural environments. However, that blue light serves a purpose other than aesthetics. And in order to properly understand how light color impacts our tanks. We must examine the spectrum of light using a spectrometer. As our eyes are admittedly a poor tool for detecting light.
A chart similar to this can be seen on the packaging and marketing materials for the vast majority of aquarium lights. This diagram depicts the spectrum of light that the fixture will produce. Including the visible spectrum (wavelengths between 400 and 600 nanometers), UV, and infrared. Because visible light has two peaks or points where photosynthesis can occur most efficiently. Most of our aquarium lights will focus on that visual spectrum.
One of those sites is in the blue spectrum, as you might expect. When it comes to saltwater aquariums and corals, we prefer to focus on blue light because many corals. Especially those located further down on the reefs, have adapted to require blue light for photosynthesis. While red light is blocked out pretty rapidly by water.
Our corals, as well as many other marine species, fluoresce or glow a rainbow of magnificent hues under blue and violet light. Which is another excellent way to experience the beauty of our aquariums. While I can roughly predict how a light will appear to our eyes based on a chart like this. If I were looking at a blue light source, I couldn’t tell you or say for sure what that light’s spectral chart would look like. Our eyes can’t see light composition in the same way that a spectrometer can.
What Is the Best Color Light for a Saltwater Aquarium?
I wouldn’t know if a specific wavelength was lacking. Or if that particular blue light source would be adequate for producing the energy required for photosynthesis.
So, just because a light appears blue to our eyes doesn’t mean it’ll be good for our reef tanks. Which is why we need to choose a light with the right spectrum. And why a generic blue floodlight for lighting your lawn won’t work for a reef aquarium. But a wider-looking light designed to grow corals will, even if it doesn’t appear blue to our eyes.
Thankfully, the vast majority of aquarium lights on the market today have undergone extensive study and development. This allows them to deliver the correct spectrum of light for coral development and colour, whether the light is blue or white. So, rather than picking a light that offers a specific color to our eyes. It’s more vital to focus on purchasing a nice light fixture from a recognized manufacturer. That many other aquarium hobbyists have already had a lot of experience with.
That way, you may adjust the amount of blue or white it appears to fit your tastes while still ensuring that your corals, fish, and other creatures get the nutrients they require to survive. When it comes to reef tank lighting, there are only three elements that count. So, lighting doesn’t have to be difficult; just concentrate on those three factors and you’ll be OK.