Aquarium lights are vital for fish, plants, coral, and bacteria. But do aquarium lights heat water?
LED aquarium lights don’t heat the water as they generate less heat. However, incandescent and fluorescent aquarium lights do heat the water as they convert less than 22% electric energy into visible light and the rest into heat. You can use light timers and aquarium chillers to dissipate the heat.
Let’s now understand how each type of aquarium light heats the water.
Which Aquarium Lights Heat The Water?
Aquarium lights provide oxygen and energy for the fish to grow. They also help in the photosynthesis process.
Moreover, they illuminate the aquarium helping you showcase the stunning display of your underwater world.
However, the unutilized energy from the aquarium lights gets converted into heat.
Given below is the performance of different types of aquarium lights to understand how they heat the aquarium water.
Do Incandescent Aquarium Lights Heat Water?
Incandescent lights contain a wire filament that glows and emits visible light after it heats up.
This filament is encased in a glass bulb with a vacuum or inert gas to protect it from oxidation.
In the past, most aquariums used incandescent bulbs for lighting.
However, these days there is less dependency on incandescent lights. Now, they are usually used only in small tanks for decoration.
Compared to other lights, incandescent bulbs are less efficient as they convert less than 5% of the electric energy into visible light.
The remaining unutilized energy gets converted into heat.
Let’s look at an example. For a 120 V operation, an incandescent lightbulb has a luminous efficacy of 16 lm/W.
It’s way less compared to the 60 lm/W of a fluorescent bulb or 150 lm/W of a white LED lamp.
Moreover, incandescent bulbs have a short lifespan than other types of lights.
The incandescent bulbs last for approximately 1000 hours, compared to 10000 hours of fluorescent bulbs and 20000 to 30000 hours of LED lights.
Although they are cheap, they are less efficient than other types of lights.
So incandescent lights are usually not the best option for an aquarium.
Do Fluorescent Aquarium Lights Heat Water?
A fluorescent lamp, also known as a fluorescent tube, is a low-pressure mercury-vapor gas-discharge lamp that produces visible light using fluorescence.
Fluorescent lamps convert electrical energy into usable light far more effectively than traditional incandescent bulbs.
But they are less efficient compared to LED lights.
Fluorescent lights can convert about 22% of the electrical energy into visible light.
So they’re way more than incandescent bulbs but still less efficient as a very high percentage of the energy gets converted into heat.
Fluorescent lights typically emit between 50 lm/W to 100 lm/W.
So it’s several times better than incandescent lamps with a luminous efficacy of 16 lm/W.
Fluorescent bulbs also have a better lifespan than incandescent bulbs.
Typically, fluorescent bulbs last for 10000 hours, which is better than incandescent bulbs but falls short of LED lights.
Fluorescent lights are more expensive to operate than incandescent lights.
However, the low operating cost usually offsets the high initial cost.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Why Does An Aquarium Have Blue Light? [Does It Benefit The Fish?]
- Aquarium Light Vs. Grow Light [4 Differences You Should Know]
- Can Aquarium Lights Be Used To Grow Plants? (Light Intensity Chart)
Do LED Aquarium Lights Heat Water?
LED aquarium lights don’t heat the water as they generate less heat. However, overusing LED lights can heat the water. So you can install a timer to avoid their overuse. Moreover, proper air circulation will ensure that the LED chip doesn’t degrade due to the excess heat surrounding the aquarium.
LED lights use light-emitting diodes to produce light.
They are significantly more efficient than incandescent and fluorescent lights.
LED lights emit approximately 100 lm/W to 175 lm/W, which is significantly more than an incandescent bulb at 16 lm/W and a fluorescent bulb at 50 lm/W to 100 lm/W.
These lights need only 10% of the energy to produce the same light as incandescent lights.
They are also significantly efficient than fluorescent lights.
Moreover, LED lights are highly efficient at converting electrical energy into visible light, which means they don’t generate too much heat like other lights.
LED lights have a long lifespan of 20000 to 30000 hours. So they can easily last for 8 to10 years.
They also last much longer compared to incandescent and fluorescent lights.
You can use a full-spectrum LED light to grow aquarium plants.
They provide light in specific colors, including red and blue, in conjunction with white light.
How Can You Reduce The Heat In Your Aquarium?
Heat can become a problem for your aquatic pets.
Unfortunately, most people fail to understand that aquarium water can heat up due to aquarium lights and other factors surrounding the tank.
Maintaining an ideal temperature is essential to ensure your tank inhabitants don’t get stressed.
Given below are some ways to reduce the heat inside the aquarium.
1. Install a timer to control the aquarium lights.
Aquatic pets and plants need 10 to 12 hours of light every day.
So keeping the lights on for a long time will increase your energy cost and affect the aquarium’s health.
Installing a timer is the best way to ensure that the aquarium lights switch off on time.
It will also reduce the energy bill and maintain the required water temperature.
2. Avoid direct sunlight.
Water absorbs heat quicker than air.
If you have a window facing directly on the top of the tank, it will absorb more light energy than an area with no direct sunlight.
So if possible, either move the tank to an area where it doesn’t face direct sunlight or cover the window with curtains to avoid heating the tank.
Related Further Reading:
- Can LED Lights Get Wet In An Aquarium? [What To Do About It?]
- Do Aquariums Need Light? [Why And Which One]
- Can Aquarium Lights Cause Algae? [LED And Blue Lights Too?]
3. Reduce the room temperature.
Another way to reduce the heat inside an aquarium is by reducing the ambient temperature.
An air-conditioner can be an excellent option to reduce the room temperature.
A lower room temperature will contribute directly toward lowering the aquarium temperature.
4. Increase aeration.
If the aquarium is located in a room that lacks proper ventilation, the heat emitted from the aquarium light can get trapped and absorbed back into the aquarium.
Ensure that the ventilators are open all the time to drive out the warm air.
The best way to ensure good ventilation is by using a fan that circulates the air around the aquarium and prevents heat build-up.
5. Install aquarium chillers.
Aquarium chillers help lower the water temperature.
They facilitate heat exchange from the water, and the waste heat is expelled from the rear end of the unit and released into the air.
It’s the best way to reduce and maintain the required water temperature.
However, the location of the chiller must enable the unit to dissipate the heat in the air; else, the released heat can get trapped and absorbed back in the aquarium water.
6. Place a fan above the aquarium.
Some aquarists install a fan just above the aquarium. The objective is to blow cold air on the tank’s water surface.
The air released from the fan stirs the water surface and moves it, resulting in heat dissipation.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Do Aquarium Fish Need Light? (Why + What Kind Of Lighting?)
- How To Dim Aquarium Lights? (And For How Long)
- Can Aquarium Lights Be Too Bright? (How Bright Should They Be?)
7. Use frozen water bottles.
Using frozen water bottles can help reduce your fish tank’s water temperature.
However, it’s not the best way to lower the aquarium’s temperature.
There are a couple of things you must ensure while using this method.
Firstly, ensure the bottle cap is secured so that the untreated water doesn’t mix with the tank water.
You must also ensure that the cold water near the bottle is circulated rapidly.
Otherwise, it can stress the aquatic pets if there’s temperature variation in the tank due to poor water circulation.