The most popular and common types of aquarium lighting available for your reef aquarium include LED Aquarium Lighting, Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting, T5 High Output (T5HO) fluorescent and Power Compact fluorescent (PC). For a fish only aquarium, you can use any type of aquarium lights you wish. Fluorescent lights, like T5 lighting, are generally the least expensive and will provide enough light for viewing your fish. Realistically, any type of light for aquarium use will suffice from fluorescent fixtures to LED aquarium lights. If you are going to be keeping live plants or live corals (reef tank) in the tank, you will need a lighting system that will provide plenty of light for the plants and symbiotic algae found in corals to photosynthesize.
Reef lighting will generally use aquarium bulbs in the 10,000K spectrum to the 20,000K spectrum. Fish tank lighting (for fish-only systems) can use aquarium light bulbs in the 6,700K to 10,000K spectrum.
There are two different types of fish aquarium light fixtures available: fully assembled and retrofit kits. A fully assembled aquarium light fixture is basically ready to go right out of the box. Most will come with mounting legs or hanging kits. Mounting legs will allow you to set the fixture right on the rim of your aquarium while the hanging kit will allow you to suspend the light over your tank. If you have a canopy over your aquarium, a retrofit kit for your fish tank lights may be your best option. It will mount right inside the canopy with only a few screws.
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