Lighting is a vital part of the process of assembling a reef tank. In fact, without it, many of your aquarium organisms wouldn’t be able to produce energy or sustain themselves. But not just any type of lighting or intensity will work for every tank, and figuring out which conditions will work best for your build can be a balancing act. Fortunately, this is where PAR and the systems to measure it come into play. Learn the importance of PAR in your coral reef tanks and how it can bring some clarity to the process of regulating your aquarium lighting.
What Is PAR?
Photosynthetically active radiation, otherwise known as PAR, is roughly the number of light particles penetrating the surface of the water and saturating your tank. These particles supply photosynthetic organisms such as corals and plants with the energy they need to break down sugars, produce food, and cycle toxins out of their bodies. As such, they’re key to maintaining the health of your tank inhabitants and keeping the ecosystem in check. However, you must regulate the amount of PAR you allow in your tank to ensure your specimens are neither over- nor undersaturated with light. This is why reef tank owners often use PAR meters during the building process to find the proper light range for their specific aquariums.
PAR meters allow you to measure the intensity of the light in your tank by pinpointing the wavelengths and assigning a numerical value to them. This value gives you an estimation of how many light particles your organisms will receive in the tank and help you adjust your lighting systems accordingly. Typically, ideal PAR readings will fall within a range, as these numbers are rarely exact. Because of this, you’ll only need to regulate the light to fit within a guideline rather than struggle to keep the numbers the same.
Why Is PAR Useful for Maintaining a Reef Tank?
It might seem as though understanding what PAR is and how to measure it would be enough to properly run a reef tank, but there’s a bit more to it than that. In actuality, the importance of PAR in your coral reef tanks directly corresponds to the specimens in your tank. Each type of fish, coral, plant, and invertebrate requires a very specific amount of light to survive. Ensuring that your tank thrives means you need to use the range of light each specimen requires—no more, no less. You’ll need to acquire marine life specimens that need similar amounts of light in order for them to be happy in the same aquarium. Then, use your understanding of PAR to ensure your tank meets those specific preferences.
Helping coral reef aquarium builders with their craft is what we do at World Wide Corals. Between supplying our customers with quality corals to educating them on the more obscure aspects of the hobby, your success is important to us. If you’re looking for a place to buy corals online and gain some in-depth industry information, we’re ready to answer any of your questions.