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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Lighting the Way

By Patrick Donston

Store Owner, Absolutely Fish


If you carry marine livestock--your reef section should be one of the most impressive areas of your store. "A true feeling of being underwater," that's what I like to tell myself every time I want anyone to know how it should appear.

Lighting is a crucial consideration when displaying your store’s living reefs. I recommend using multiple tanks or systems, showing as many different lighting patterns that you can. Your customers should see there are many different lighting systems they can use for successful coral keeping. A mistaken belief I often hear from hobbyists is that there is only one best lighting system.

To the contrary, I always like to show there is not one best system or type of light. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. It can be price, heat, illumination output or quality of mechanics.

Therefore, it's important for you and your staff to become familiar with as many different lights as possible.

  • Which corals do better under what light?
  • Which lights produce more micro algae or cyano bacteria?
  • Are there heat problems associated with certain bulbs?
  • Are there mechanical or quality issues you would like your customers to know about?

I think it is important for a prospective reef keeper to see all the light choices and be able to compare them. Some may want a "bluer" look (20,000 K) while others, more of a crisper "white" look (10- to 14,000 K). Some like the way the water will reflect under certain bulbs. I find that many experienced hobbyists, employers and managers tend to direct new hobbyists to what they like themselves. We should display the possibilities and let the customer choose how they should spend their money.

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