Aquarium lighting is a fundamental feature to consider when building your saltwater environment. Remember that you are attempting to recreate the habitat of the corals and invertebrates that will be living there. These creatures rely on photosynthesis to meet their nutritional needs; consequently, proper lighting is essential to the health of your reef. Before you choose your lighting, you must take into account the ocean depth where your selected marine life naturally thrives. This information will help you determine the light spectrum and intensity that is needed for your aquarium.
The depth and volume of your tank will also be important factors to keep in mind when choosing lighting. A more intense light will be needed to effectively illuminate a deeper tank. Depending on the type of lighting you select, this intensity could create excess heat that would negatively affect your ecosystem.
Other concerns when purchasing a lighting system are the initial cost of your system and the ongoing operating costs from both energy consumption and bulb replacement.