Compact Fluorescent Lighting General Info
Compact fluorescent (aka power compact) aquarium lighting utilizes fluorescent bulbs that are bent in half. These VHO lamps deliver a higher concentration of light energy in a smaller space than straight tubes do, although the light concentration is less than with metal halides. They are also different from regular fluorescent tubes in that the four pins are at one end while other fluorescent lights have two pins on each end.
Compact Fluorescent Fixtures
If you don't have a canopy, you will probably want a lighting fixture (or lighting hood) that sits on top of your tank, such as the:
To choose the best light for your reef aquarium please visit the
Hood Lighting Chart
- Coralife Lunar Aqualight compact fluorescent aquarium light for freshwater tanks
Compact Fluorescent Retrofits
If your aquarium has a canopy (usually a wood box cover) you probably want a retrofit. The Aqualight comes complete with the bulbs mounted to a reflector--you just need to screw the reflector to the canopy.
To choose the retrofit light for your reef aquarium please visit the Retrofit Lighting Chart
Compact Fluorescent Lamps
There are two different incompatible standards for compact fluorescent lights, the straight pin style (aka European), and the square pin style (aka Japanese or Panasonic). The straight pin connector has the four pins in a straight row while the square pin connector has the pins in a square configuration. Current USA fixtures use square pin lamps and Coralife uses both square and straight pin lamps. Neither standard is superior--you just have to be careful when buying replacement lamps that you get lamps with the correct pin configuration.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp Color Temperature
Reef tanks require half the lighting to be actinic lighting and half the lighting to be full spectrum daylight lighting. For the actinics any bulb listed as an actinic--whether it is a True Actinic, 7,100K Actinic, Actinic or 420nm Actinic--will be adequate. For the daylight bulb the best bulb for corals is the 10K (aka 10,000K) bulb. 6,700K, 8,800K, 12,000K, 14,000K & 20,000K bulbs are also fine. In many situations, because you will only have one row of bulbs, you will to need a 50/50 bulb in order to be able to spread the actinic and full spectrum daylight lighting evenly. The 50/50 bulb has one half of a single power compact bulb actinic and the other side full spectrum daylight. The Current USA 50/50 bulb is called the SmartPaq.
Freshwater planted tanks usually use the 6,700K, 6,500K or 5,500K bulbs. Fish only tanks can use any light that makes the fish look good. The fish really don't need much light to survive--so it is really a matter of aesthetics. Most people will be happy using 6,700K bulbs, which are very close to daylight, for fish only tanks.