Nocturnal Lights Simulate Moonlight


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Nocturnal Lights Simulate Moonlight

The time a reef spends under moonlight is believed to be as significant as the time spent in full daylight. Moonlight triggers various internal and external biological activities among the many thousands of reef organisms. Many corals continue to grow under moonlight conditions and some begin the reproductive process. Predators come out and cruise, while prey goes into hiding.

Until recently, the only way to view your aquarium during the evening was under white daytime lighting, but new lights that simulate the moon have since added another dimension to aquarium keeping.

Reef aquarium under a lunar light.

Moon Lights Simulate Nature

Nocturnal life in your aquarium can also be fascinating. In the past, some aquarists used flashlights to observe nocturnal activity in their aquariums. This often scared the fish, plus the observers could never really get a totally accurate view of nightlife. Now, LED fixtures that simulate the light of the moon are available. This means aquarists can observe aquarium inhabitants when the sun goes down and other lights are off.

LED moonlights can encourage your reef creatures to behave naturally, letting you observe without disturbance. Some corals actually fluoresce under moon lights, creating a dazzling effect. LED moonlights last a long time, draw little energy, and generate virtually no heat, making them an economic way to watch nocturnal sea life in your own home.

Recommendations For Use

Understanding the response of various organisms to changing light conditions is the subject of ongoing study. Many aquarium experts claim success simply with twelve hours of daylight and twelve hours of simulated moon light. You can easily automate this cycle using a Zoo Med Aquasun Timer or, a Coralife Power Center, which combines 24-hour timer(s) and 8-outlet indoor power strip for seamless transition from dawn to dusk lighting conditions. Because some corals and organisms appear to need a period of total darkness before moon light appears, you might delay turning on the moonlight for an hour or more after turning off daytime lighting.

Recent Developments

New scientific knowledge and innovations in technology allow hobbyists to experience amazing ways to illuminate their aquariums at night. Advanced LED light fixtures such as those from EcoTech Marine feature a computer interface to integrate with a Cloud based platform for expanded control. You can automate aquarium photoperiod and synchronize it with your local lunar calendar to simulate real time light conditions.

Hi-tech controllers such as those from Neptune Systems feature a lunar simulator capable of varying the intensity of Apex compatible LED light fixtures. The intensity variations are controlled by the Apex, which is preprogrammed with correct intensity values for each day of the moon cycle. The Apex automatically updates the intensity value depending upon the current setting of the Apex's clock. With this artificial moon cycle, it is possible to induce corals and fish to spawn!