Saltwater Aquarium Reef System tank lighting has been a controversial topic for years. Some say you should use actinic lights, others recommend halide. Wouldn't you agree that light is the essential lifeline for all your corals, live rock, plants, and fish. What has to be determined is what type of lighting is best, and how much? One way you can determine this is to learn as much as you can about the corals you have chosen for your aquarium. This way you'll know what you are dealing with and provide the correct lighting. Keep in mind, some corals need a lot of direct light, where others only need a defused portion, or a different spectrum and intensity of lighting.
Installation is just as important as the lighting requirements. The requirements can be as varied as the selection of corals you have in your aquarium. If in doubt when trying to make a decision, consult your local pet shop or supplier for their recommendations.
Let's take a look at the relationship between Metal Halide Lighting and Corals. We are of the opinion that fluorescent lights will not give you what you need. These are fine for your Fish-Only tanks, but not for corals and live rock. With actinic lights alone, this will not do it either. Some suggest a combination of both, providing the appropriate spectrum and intensity lighting for the wide variety of corals you may have in your aquarium, such as a light, a 50/50 Metal Halide & Actinic Combo. Reef Aquarium Coral Propagation Lab, a nonprofit corporation Geothermal Aquaculture Research Foundation has been conducting tests of many reef aquarium products for the past two years. They claim their success in Coral Propagation if from using Blue Moon & Triton light products covered with Triton enhancers, all from Aquarium Products. To locate other fish stores or on-line suppliers that sell lights and lighting accessories, visit our Aquarium Supplies - Lights page.
We hope the information we have provided will help shed some "light" on where to start when considering your Reef System lighting. New Lighting Advances are being made all the time, so we will continue to view informative articles on this topic and add them to our Lighting NetLinks section.