Welcome to the Reef Brite Aquarium Lighting Blog. The focus of this blog is to provide a site where aquarist can explore the fascinating science of aquarium lighting. The primary purpose of this forum is to offer hobbyist technical information about the various lighting technologies in our industry. We will discuss how these technologies are manufactured and even more intriguing how they produce light.
While I am best known for my pioneering work with LED’s, my work with metal halide and fluorescent based technologies has resulted in many of the aquarium lighting products you see in our industry today. As a lighting designer I can tell you that there is no single technology or light system that is ideally suited for every lighting application and aquarium lighting is no exception.
While each technology or lighting product has its merits, each can have its own individual draw backs. This is why there are so many different types of aquarium lamps and lighting systems available to hobbyist. Whenever I am designing a luminaire (technical term for light fixture or housing) I have to weigh the advantages and limitations of various lighting technologies in order to select the appropriate light source for the intended application.
During the course of this blog we will examine every criteria and step involved in designing a luminaire for aquarium use utilizing the various lighting technologies available today. While designing lighting for commercial and industrial applications can often have many challenges and obstacles to overcome. The reason why I have always been so passionate about aquarium lighting is that is posses its own unique set of challenges.
Aquarium lighting systems not only have to take into consideration heat, moisture, extremely corrosive environments and serviceability. They also need to address photosynthetic requirements while promoting color and detail in an aquarium. As you gain a better understanding about the science of light, you will discover for yourself why this often easier said than done.
We have a lot of exciting topics to cover. While what you learn during the course of this blog will enable you to design and build your own lighting system. You will also learn why it is often easier and more practical to buy a commercially built unit as long as you select the right one. I encourage readers to let other hobbyist know about this blog so that they too can enjoy the fascinating science of light.
The first topic we will cover in my next post is understanding the difference between the radiometric output of a light source (expressed in watts) and its photometric output which is the visible light that is emitted. We will discuss why it is not a good idea to use wattage to calculate the amount of light needed for a reef or planted aquarium. We will also talk about why you should not use wattage to compare the output of an aquarium lighting systems including LEDs.
Tullio Dell Aquila