The illumination used in saltwater aquarium requires high intensity to be able to support the photosynthetic organisms that inhabit the aquarium. Typically this illumination is composed by LED, fluorescents (T5) or hybrids. Basic setups can include only one or more bulbs of the same type, while more advanced setups can include numerous types of bulbs (some even including bulbs with various colors). Color plays an important role, both from an esthetic point of view, as to allow photosynthetic life. Many corals, for example, need a specific light frequency of blue to prosper. LED illumination systems allow a great number of possibilities within the spectrum of light frequencies, being adjustable.
¾ moonlight illumination (2 watts) can be implemented during the night, to simulate night conditions (natural moon glow).
In a fish only saltwater aquarium, the recommended illumination is usually 1/3 of the intensity of a coral reef aquarium, as the illumination will, in its majority serve for esthetic ends/for the user’s use of the aquarium. The use of a less intense illumination will also limit greatly the algae growth.