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Freshwater Aquarium Lighting – Should I Use Incandescent Or Fluorescent For My Aquarium


When you obtain a freshwater aquarium for your home or office, you are going to need some lighting. Two of the choices you have are incandescent and florescent. So which of the two should you choose?

Why Is Lighting Necessary For Freshwater Aquariums

One of the main items in your aquarium that needs lighting are the plants you have. They will need lighting just like any other plant you grow.

Even if you do not have plants you will still need the lighting for your fish. Turning the lights on for at least 12-hours a day will simulate the rising and setting of the sun found in your fishes natural environment. Without this light your fish could become stressed, have less energy and could become sick.

Two of your choices are incandescent and fluorescent. Here are the differences between the two, and my recommendation for which one to buy.

Incandescent Lighting

This lighting is the type you see in your home and usually comes with most small aquariums, ten-gallons or less. These are the cheapest lighting you can buy for your aquarium, but the cost is quickly overtaken by the cost to run them.

These are not very effective; though they are inexpensive, they will produce more heat and consume more power.

The biggest draw back is that they have a limited light spectrum. The Kelvin (K) rating, a measure of the color spectrum, is about 2700 K. The proper Kelvin rating you need for a freshwater aquarium is 5500 – 7500 K. An incandescent light does not give the proper light spectrum for you aquarium.

The other thing I do not like about this type of lighting is they do not look professional. They will make your aquarium look cheap.

Fluorescent Lighting

Most Aquarist will use fluorescent lights to light up their aquarium. These lights will help your plants grow and also keep your fish happy. Fluorescent lights will not heat up the water in your aquarium like incandescent lights do.

Placing the lights on your cover or inserting it in your canopy will make you aquarium look more professional, not cheap like incandescent lighting.

They also come in the proper Kelvin range that you will need for your aquarium, 5500 to 7500 K.


Besides adding heat to your aquarium, incandescent lighting does not give the correct Kelvin rating for your aquarium. Fluorescent lighting provides the correct Kelvin rating for your fish and plants and makes you aquarium look more professional.

Freshwater Aquarium Lighting – Should I Use Incandescent Or Fluorescent For My Aquarium

One Response to Freshwater Aquarium Lighting – Should I Use Incandescent Or Fluorescent For My Aquarium

  1. cristian says:

    q cantidad de luz para un acuario de 100 lts como medimos esto gracias por su ayuda

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