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Lighting above the marine aquarium

The right lighting, as well as the right settings, are one of the most important parts of a successful marine aquarium.

Type of lighting (LED, HQI, T5), the setting of your lighting and certainly the intensity of the lighting are all very important how the animals come across in the marine aquarium.

Correctly adjusting your lighting system creates the right habitat.

Depth of the aquarium

The deeper the tank, the more intense the light should be. Water absorbs light very quickly, especially the whiter spectrum. Deeper in the sea, for example, almost only blue light / the blue spectrum remains.

An aquarium of, for example, 40 cm deep (shallow reef), will therefore need less strong lighting than an aquarium of 80 cm deep, or even deeper (deep reef).

Place of corals

Corals that live higher on the reef (especially the SPS corals) need a warmer light color (lower Kelvin).

Corals that live deeper need a higher kelvin (more blue light).

Some corals live at a depth of 50 meters where there is virtually no light and therefore hardly need any light, but they do need food in the form of dust / plankton.

These corals have a fluorescent color that makes it easier for them to live in the deep water through photosynthesis.

These species will not appreciate much light and do better under more blue or lower PAR value lighting.

par value

PAR is an abbreviation for "Photosynthetically Active Radiation". A PAR meter calculates the frequencies within the light spectrum that corals can use for photosynthesis. In other words, it measures the light intensity as your corals see it. They use that light to grow and to grow Zooxanthellae on which they feed.

To measure the PAR value in your aquarium, we offer a very professional PAR meter from Apogee for rent . This way you can map out whether the corals in your aquarium are getting the correct PAR levels of lighting or whether you may need to make adjustments to your lighting.

The best PAR values:

  • Higher elevation corals like SPS do well in 200 400-PAR
  • Lower ago corals such as LPS prefer less light (50-200-PAR).
  • Soft corals usually prefer lower amounts of par (25-125).


Zooxanthellae are small single-celled alga species that live in symbiosis with corals. These Zooxanthellae are photosynthetic and therefore need sufficient light.

Fluorescent color of coral

The use of the amount of blue light mainly determines how the fluorescent colors of the coral come out.

So if you only use white or too much white light, you will not see the fluorescent colors, so you will be less impressed with the coral.

Corals from the deeper waters

Corals from deeper parts of the sea live in the bluer light spectrum (the deeper in the sea, the more blue light) and often have the most beautiful colors. These corals are very popular, very colorful, but often more exclusive and therefore more expensive.

Photos corals from Ocean Store

To show the potential and the fluorescent colors of the coral, we take the photos under blue lighting. For example, we use Ecotech Radion Gen 6 lamps, or Reef Factory Reef Flare Pro lamps.

The lighting values are around -100% Blue, 100% Royal blue and 25%UW. Sometimes a few products up to a maximum of 10% white light.


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