What is the typical application of each of the different types of fluorescent lamps?
In general, fluorescent lamps fall under four basic categories - Color Enhancing, Full Spectrum/Daylight, Actinic, and Plant Lights. Application varies based on lamp characteristics as well as light requirements of the aquarium inhabitants but the following recommendations serve as a basic guide:
Color Enhancing Lights - Emit light from the "warmer" end of the color spectrum to augment and enrich color. Designed to display the colors of your fish to their fullest. Ideal for
fish-only fresh and saltwater aquariums.
Full Spectrum/Daylight - Emits all the wavelengths of visible light and closely approximates the visual effects of natural sunlight. Contains a blend of all the colors of the color spectrum. General-purpose lamp ideal for all types of
Actinic Light - Light emissions from actinic bulbs are predominantly from the blue end of the color spectrum. Produces photochemical reactions and simulate light conditions necessary for proper coral growth. These bulbs are ideal for
reef aquariums and are best when used with a
timer to recreate dawn and dusk lighting conditions.
Plant Lights - Emit light that stimulates plant growth with peak emissions in both the red and blue regions of the color spectrum to maximize photosynthetic activity. Ideal for