Thursday, April 17, 2014

How to Hang an Aquarium Light with a Suspension Kit

Lighting for your reef aquarium is one of the most studied, discussed and documented topics in hobby. The reason is because proper lighting is crucial to the success of keeping photosynthetic corals, which are the most popular organisms placed in a reef tank. Much of us spend quite a bit of time researching and discussing the lighting for our own reef aquariums before a decision is made.

One factor that plays a big role in the light fixture you choose is the mounting options. Some fixtures will require a suspension mount while others are suitable for mounting directly onto your aquarium. It is important to ensure the mounting options available will work for your tank.

The idea of suspending an aquarium light can raise alarms for many hobbyists. The worry of falling fixtures, suitable anchors and overall aesthetics can quickly steer a concerned hobbyist away from this option. We are going to shed some light on this topic and show you that suspending a light fixture is actually safe, easy to do and looks great over just about any aquarium.


Some of the best looking contemporary aquariums are rimless tanks with a light fixture or light rack suspended from the ceiling. When done properly, this type of mount looks really great but requires some crucial planning to ensure the outcome is desirable.

First, you will need to decide how to anchor the suspension cables into your ceiling. Most suspension kits supply the cables and adjustment hardware but some also include anchoring hardware, so be sure to do your research while shopping.

You may get lucky and be able to anchor the cables directly into a wooden stud. Chances are though the placement of your aquarium will not match the infrastructure of your home perfectly so an alternate anchor-style will be required.

Using toggle bolts are an easy way to safely anchor the suspension cables into a drywall ceiling. Make sure the bolts are long enough to reach through your ceiling completely. Check the weight ratings to ensure they are strong enough to support the weight of your light fixture.

After deciding on an anchor, you will need to take a few measurements and gather a few tools to install the anchors properly and in the right place.  I have found that using a laser level and chalk line to make a few markings on your ceiling will make it quite easy to find the right spots to install your anchors. This is important to ensure the light fixture is perfectly centered over your aquarium and the cables are perpendicular to your tank.



The suspension mount for the EcoTech Marine Radion LED Light Fixtures over our office aquarium (outlined in the video above) was accomplished in about 20 minutes total.

The use of mounting arms is becoming a more popular option these days and is a great for those of you who want the benefits of suspending a light but cannot tap into the ceiling.

Most of the mounting arms I have seen available are designed to directly mount to the back of your aquarium stand. These arms are also fairly simple to build at home using some electrical conduit. Before deciding on this option, be sure you have enough access behind your tank to properly attach the mounting arms.
With many of us switching to LED light, the use of suspension mounting can make it much easier to acclimate your corals as it gives you the ability to easily raise and lower and your light fixture. It also makes maintenance much easier as the light can be quickly raised up out of the way. Keeping an open-top aquarium increases gas exchange and helps dissipate heat much quicker.
With such a plethora of benefits, it is hard to argue against suspending your light fixture—it's one of the best ways to mount your reef aquarium lighting.


The information presented in this article is based upon my personal experience. MarineDepot.com is not responsible for damages that may result from installing your aquarium lights. Each situation is different; please contact our tank tech team directly for one-on-one support if you need assistance.