If you are purchasing a freshwater starter kit, lights are usually included and insert into the strip light accompanying the hood. Saltwater light requirements are much more complicated, but assuming our readers are tropical fish keepers, we will only touch on the basics of aquarium lighting. 2 most popular choices are incandescent or fluorescent.
Fluorescent gives a nicer hue to the water, the strip light evenly distributes the glow throughout the surface. Incandescent requires 2 bulbs – 1 on each end so often a darker hue can occur in the center.
LED lights are a newer style, they offer the same brilliance with better power savings and output less heat.
Several different spectrums are available from daylight enhancing bulbs, colored and plant bulbs that output UV rays, just to name a few. Unless you plan on having live plants in your aquarium, you are free to choose the bulb that appeals most to you.
Keep in mind that brighter the light shines in the fish tank, the more algae you could have. Algae needs light to live, but fish also need light. It’s a balance of algae control that will develop over time.
Fish thrive best on a regular day / night lighting cycle as found in nature so leave the light on for around 8 hours a day, place the lights on a timer to make it easier.