Natural light sounds great, doesn’t it? It’s effortless and ecologically sound. Plus, if fish and coral can thrive in the ocean under natural light, why shouldn’t they thrive in your aquarium?
There’s three reasons why it is ill-advised to rely on natural light to light your aquarium. First, it really isn’t as natural as you think. Unless your tank is in fact outside or under a solarium, the natural light in your home or office is not the same as being in the open waters. Window placement affects the angles of sun and clouds. Not to mention, unless you have fish from your geographical area, the natural light in the north is not the same as the light at the equator.
Secondly, natural light has an adverse effect of promoting algae growth. Using UV lighting and in particular a sterilizer, boosts the cleanliness and health of your tank. UV lighting targets microorganisms limiting their reproduction, without harming your other aquatic inhabitants.
Finally, your aquarium should be the highlight and focal point of your room. If using only natural lighting, it will blend in or even be less intense than the rest of the lighting in the room. By lighting the aquarium with bright and vibrant lighting, it immediately draws the eye to the tank.
This is not to say you shouldn’t try to duplicate the natural lighting effects on your tank. However, you’ll achieve better results using targeted lighting through UV and LED lights than you would through Mother Nature alone.