What is the best light for aquarium plants?

Aquarium plants need lighting with the right spectrum if they are to be healthy and grow properly. This may be slightly different to the stock lights supplied in your aquarium package so many planted tank owners and aquascapers swap their lights out for those with dedicated plant spectrums.

The colour of light is measured in something called Kelvin, and most plant lights have a Kelvin rating between 6500 and 9000, with 6500K having a yellower hue and 9000K having a whiter hue. Plants actually enjoy the red spectrum of light, right down to about 3000K, but this doesn’t make the aquarium look very aesthetically pleasing so most plant growers use either a single lamp or several lamps with RGB (red, green, blue) in their spectrum to both enhance plant growth and bring out the rich reds of fish and plants to the human eye.

Plant growers tend to use either fluorescent light tubes or LED for plant growth. Fluorescent has been used for decades and if you provide plant spectrum tubes and enough of them for the depth of tank, plant growth should be enhanced. Reflectors can be used for increased light output down into the tank and T5 tubes are the brightest available. If using multiple T5 a combination of plant, natural daylight, cool white and colour enhancing bulbs can be used to achieve the best overall look and colour.



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