Hot Tips: Your Favorite Lighting and Why

A selection of useful tidbits of information and tricks for the marine aquarist submitted by Advanced Aquarist’s readership. Readers are encouraged to post them to our Hot Tips sticky in the General Reefkeeping Discussion forum or send their tips to for possible publication. Next month’s Hot Tip theme will be “Shipping Corals, Fish, and Invertebrates“.


Your Favorite Lighting and Why:

Sunlight, because my corals love it even if the microalgae does too.

In my experience, reefs appreciate natural sunlight and it helps the zooxanthellae hosting species stay happy.

I’m just saying if you can position a tank where sunlight can graze the corals, I’ve watched them respond with great vigor. It takes a while before they can handle that if they’re coming from a non-sunlit source, but they really grow towards the sun.

Solar tubes, fiber optics, or just plain old windows (with some shade and obvious temp control)?

I’ll let you know when I have the rest of the system down. I just have strong lighting and my corals love it. My blastos, anemone and acans are very, very happy.

— Mandarinfish


I’ve had the best success with a combination of 10,000-15,000K metal halides and fluorescent actinics. By success, I use growth and pigmentation as my criteria. I’ve kept many tanks successful with fluorscent-only, power compacts, T5s, and MH-only. But my benchmark continues to be a combination of MH with actinics.


— Len


My preference is 10K mh with fluoresent actinics. I like being able to stagger the lighing for my tank. Also, I run my MH for only 6 hours a day so it is nice to be able to see the tank even when the MH lights are off.

— Wazzel


10k mh and uri super actinic vho for supplementation. I love the glitter lines from the metal halides.

— mopecula


12K Metal Halides supplemented with 96watt Power Compact Actinics.

— melas


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