UV, fluorescent, or Incandescent lights

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wolfman21

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Hi I was debating on which light to get for my tank, between UV, fluorescent, or incandescent. I have fake plants so don't need to worry about those. Which one is the best for the fish, or would show their colors best, and which one is the most natural looking to the fish. I'm assuming UV, but I don't know which is brighter-fluorescent or incandescent. Please let me know if you know. Thanks.
 

AnnaEA

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Well, I'm no expert. But those mini-bake stoves they sell for kids use incandescent lightbulbs to cook little cakes and stuff -- incandescents get pretty hot, and I don't think you could have them close enough to illuminate your tank well without badly over heating it.

I use a "real sunlight" fluorescent bulb, because I have plants, but my tank hood came with a plain fluorescent tube, and if you don't have live plants that might be a little better --- the plain fluorescent seemed to give a brighter tone to all the colors in the tank, while the "real sunlight" bulb tends to make things a little greener seeming.
 

Terry

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I don't think you want just UV - commonly called "blacklight". Pure UV is not visible to the human eye, although you'll always see a bit of visible light in a common UV bulb. The main use of UV is to make fluorescent substances "glow' in the dark.

Anyway, I prefer the fluorescents as they are much cooler than incandescent lights. As AnnaEA said - regular incandescent bulbs can bake a cake in those little toy ovens. And, if you're concerned about getting some UV energy from the light source, there is typically a little bit of UV energy in most, if not all, fluorescent bulbs (there's no UV energy in an incandescent bulb). It may be hard to believe, but there is actually much more red light energy in an incandescent bulb than any other color.

IMO the fluorescent will make the fish look more natural, and won't possibly cause the tank to overheat.
 

atmmachine816

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Buy a 6700K daylight fluerescent bulb. Incadescent give a yellow sheen, look unatural, don't help plants, and heat up the water. Fluorescent look nice, help plants and fish. Get fluorescent. UV is not a light used for fish tanks.
 

susitna-flower

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  Actually wolfman21, UV lights are used in aquariums, just not for a light source.  They are used in UV sterilizers, to kill free-floating parasites, protozoa, viruses, fungi and bacteria. The bulb produces a high radiation level that is suppose to cause changes in the chemical bonds of the DNA molecules in these harmful microorganisms, resulting in their death. The units are ususally attached in line in conjunction with your canaster filter.   Some companies claim that they help cut down on algae growth. 
    I have seen them built into canaster filters designed to be used with small ponds.   
I have never personally used them, but you can research these and ozone generators, if you are interested in more than the usual aquarium setup.   Usually you don't see folks using these types of things until they get into saltwater, though I believe they have freshwater applications also.  They just significantly add to the cost, and whether they do what they claim, I can't say.

Fish in the Frozen North  8)
 

atmmachine816

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UV sterilizer's are actually sometimes debated to be better in Freshwater than Saltwater because in Saltwater it's argued that they might actually kill off good bacteria, pods, and other things at the same time. While in Freshwater they eliminate disease and other things immensly. I actually am considering buying one in the near future since they aren't all the expensive 80$ or so and for what they do, I think it would be worth it.
 

Terry

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Hi. Good points. I was tempted to mention UV sterilizers but didn't want to confuse the issue. At least one of our manufacturing facilities uses UV sterilization to kill any bacteria, algae, etc. in incoming water to prevent anything in the water from contaminating products with biological growth. And they are indeed sold as anti-algae devices for ponds. A friend of mine has one for his small pond, but got mixed results with it - once the algae has attached itself the UV unit won't do anything to get rid of it - it only kills any algae that's being pumped through the UV sterilizer unit. The little bit of UV energy that's generated by fluorescent lights isn't enough to kill anything though, and they do provide a much broader range of color spectrum energies than incandescent lights. (I have to know a lot of this light energy junk as it's critical in the industry I work in).
 

atmmachine816

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I thought that's why it's good to buy a certain type of UV fixture because it doesn't let algae and other things grow on it faster as the cheaper one's do.
 

susitna-flower

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I almost think ozone sounds like it would work better for the aquarium, but you have to run it through a charcoal filter after using the ozone. Also ozone is harmful to regular plastics so you have to get special ozone resistant tubing to install after the filter. The UV is made more efficient if you can slow down the water as it passes through the UV filter, some are designed just for this purpose.

I agree the reports do seem to be skeptical about use on ponds, but I think if you are using a canaster filter with your aquarium the chances of running all the water through it would be better, making either of the above more efficient.

Land of the Midnight Sun 8)
 
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