One of the biggest debates in the saltwater tank world is how often light bulbs should be replaced.
Some people say every year, some say not until it burns out, some say every 6 months.
Here is the answer broken down by tank personality:
Tank Dabblers: since you are running fish only tanks (better known as FOWLR): every year
Reef Enthusiasts: Every 6 months
Reef Junkies: Every 6 months
As bulbs age, they loose their ability to penetrate the water down to our corals (called PAR). Bulbs also experience spectrum shifts as they age and since our corals need certain spectrums to grow, if that spectrum isn’t there then your corals don’t grow, they turn brown, or bleach and eventually die. (Spectrum shifts can also lead to nuisance algae issues)
Could you just wait until your corals tell you that your bulbs are shot? You could, but that’s like saying that you’ll change the oil in your car once it starts running poorly.
And unlike your car, corals take a long time to recover, so you’ll get to enjoy a nice brown tank until their recovery is complete. (Oh, and by then, it will probably time for another bulb change…)
By changing your bulbs every 6 months, you’ll be staying a head of a problem which can take months to recover from.
NOTE: there is one BIG secret that goes along with changing your bulbs every 6 months, and I’ll talk about that tomorrow.Browse the Store! Questions?