Boosting Iridescent Fish Color - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:24 PM Thread Starter
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I have altum angels with an iridescent blue coloration. The blue is only visible when the light hits the fish just right. Is there a method of lighting that will produce this effect more consistently over more of the tank? Right now I have 2 rows of light with fluval 2.0 in the front and finnex 24/7 in the back. Would t5 increase or reduce this effect?


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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:35 PM
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I have altum angels with an iridescent blue coloration. The blue is only visible when the light hits the fish just right. Is there a method of lighting that will produce this effect more consistently over more of the tank? Right now I have 2 rows of light with fluval 2.0 in the front and finnex 24/7 in the back.
I dont have a suggestion, but I would love to see a picture of your Altums if possible.
I have 4 myself, they are sub-adults and still actively growing.


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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Here is the tank. The middle fish shows the blue color a bit. These are a little under 2 yo. I just measured last week and the largest is about 12" tall and 7" from the mouth to the back center of the tail, not including streamers. Tank is a 180 with a 75 sump.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:46 PM
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Here is the tank. The middle fish shows the blue color a bit. These are a little under 2 yo. I just measured last week and the largest is about 12" tall and 7" from the mouth to the back center of the tail, not including streamers. Tank is a 180 with a 75 sump.
Oh wow! Arent they gorgeous! They have really filled out nice and have beautiful markings. Looks like 7 in there?

I have mine in a 180 as well, I would like to get about 3 more to complete the group.

Did you raise yours from juveniles, sub-adults or buy as adults?

Where did you get them?
Sorry all the questions. I just dont often find others that have them.


The tank is set up very nicely. Really like the background and plant choices.


@jeffkrol may be able to help you with lighting.


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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:53 PM Thread Starter
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Did you raise yours from juveniles, sub-adults or buy as adults?

Where did you get them?
@jeffkrol may be able to help you with lighting.
Thanks. I raised them from around quarter size. Initially bought 8 and one was a runt and after 6 months of not growing died. They were Simon Forkel F1 whatever "O" river is, orinoco or something. They were bought from AngelfishUSA. They are a little shy of 2yo now.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 08:57 PM
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Thanks. I raised them from around quarter size. Initially bought 8 and one was a runt and after 6 months of not growing died. They were Simon Forkel F1 whatever "O" river is, orinoco or something. They were bought from AngelfishUSA. They are a little shy of 2yo now.
Oh, okay!
You have done an excellent job of growing them out
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-24-2019, 11:48 PM
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Is there a method of lighting that will produce this effect more consistently over more of the tank?
50/50 lighting really makes iridescent blues glow. The 50/50 refers to 50% white usually a 10,000K, and 50% actinic blue usually 420nm. Coralife made good power compact fluorescents back when I was in the African cichlid game looking for the glow. The downside for me, with planted tanks, is this spectrum looks weird on plants. I prefer "warmer" light now.

Can you up the blue on your 2.0? That should help, or adding a blue strip to what you have should bring out the iridescent glow without making the entire tank look too "cold".

T5 Actinic would def increase effect. It's like a blacklight for fish
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 06:25 AM
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This isnít an answer to your question but i just wanted to say those fish are beautiful and the aquascape you have designed for them seems perfect, which means you are the caretaker now for this beautiful world you created. I say this with great respect all the best, john

PS: please consider posting more images of this tank in the future.
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sarlindescent View Post
I have altum angels with an iridescent blue coloration. The blue is only visible when the light hits the fish just right. Is there a method of lighting that will produce this effect more consistently over more of the tank? Right now I have 2 rows of light with fluval 2.0 in the front and finnex 24/7 in the back. Would t5 increase or reduce this effect?

hmm. Blue pop is usually somewhat a forte of LED's

One thing to keep in mind is overwhelming the tank w/ light isn't going to make things better..
You have plenty of control to change tone..


Marble Angel isn't "technically" blueish to that extent..but a sort of example..


also noticed it seems like a lot of your light is being "filtered" through the plants on the surface.
that will filter a lot of blue/red out..
The Angel in the "sun" looks quite blue in that photo..
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Last edited by jeffkrol; 11-25-2019 at 06:12 PM. Reason: edit
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 08:26 PM
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Those Altum's are magnificent fish.

And they are very well presented in that aquarium.

Well done!!


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post #11 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 09:18 PM
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I don't have anything to add for lighting, but the tank is simply wonderful!

Fantastic work!



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post #12 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 09:44 PM
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Only thing that could help is a light box/canopy over tank, inside painted white. Basically takes all that light you see reflecting off water and lighting ceiling above and around tank and redirects it back into tank as kind of a soft fill flash. Think of it way photographers use a a soft reflector to fill in shadows.

You can just go by some white foam core and prototype a canopy, tape it together and see if it helps. Itís a very subtle light. Where it will help most is out along outer edges, especially along front where fish will now be getting a soft light hitting them from front/above where led lights are currently are only hitting fish from rear.
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post #13 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 10:21 PM
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Only thing that could help is a light box/canopy over tank, inside painted white. Basically takes all that light you see reflecting off water and lighting ceiling above and around tank and redirects it back into tank as kind of a soft fill flash. Think of it way photographers use a a soft reflector to fill in shadows.

You can just go by some white foam core and prototype a canopy, tape it together and see if it helps. Itís a very subtle light. Where it will help most is out along outer edges, especially along front where fish will now be getting a soft light hitting them from front/above where led lights are currently are only hitting fish from rear.

That may help.. but technically the fish are lite from the front by the reflections off the glass..
If the LED is properly placed and if all diodes are the usual 120 degrees.. little light really spills out of the column..
Glass is similar if not at the critical angle to "escape"..
https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/critical-angle


Tanks sort of "trap" light. You'd probably have to put an external light (like the flashlight below) to push more light into the front..
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post #14 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-25-2019, 10:39 PM
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That may help.. but technically the fish are lite from the front by the reflections off the glass..
If the LED is properly placed and if all diodes are the usual 120 degrees.. little light really spills out of the column..
Glass is similar if not at the critical angle to "escape"..
https://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/critical-angle


Tanks sort of "trap" light. You'd probably have to put an external light (like the flashlight below) to push more light into the front..
Light box is more about capturing light reflecting off surface of water and directing it back into tank. When you walk up to tank you see reflection of lights coming off surface of water, the white box directs that light back down into tank from all angles. Might be minimal advantage to him because good portion of his tank already has surface growth.

The light reflecting off glass is true, but only at certain angle, at top portion of tank glass most the light just goes through the glass. I studied that effect back in 90ís using a inspection mirror.
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post #15 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-27-2019, 06:12 PM
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The cold ADA lighting spectrum makes iridescence pop. As does really strong point source lighting (like kessil).

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