Every precaution must be taken to avoid creating an electrical hazard. We all know water and electricity don't mix! I'll have more to say in general about electrical safety and aquariums in the next chapter. For lighting equipment, specifically, look for units that are made of water repellent materials, that is, plastic, laminates, or properly finished wood. If the design incorporates a protective panel between the water and the lamps, check to see how easy it will be to remove this panel for cleaning. Water spots can significantly reduce the amount of light reaching the plants. No electrical connections should be exposed. When no protective panel is used, the end caps for mounting fluorescent lamps should be waterproof. Metal halide systems should always have a protective panel. The best advice regarding safety is to choose equipment made specifically for aquarium use.
Other than keeping dirt and water spots from blocking the light, maintenance of lighting equipment is minimal. Replace fluorescent lamps annually. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations on metal halide lamp replacement. Periodically inspect for damage that might admit water, and take corrective action.
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