As more people begin to care about being green and having energy-friendly households, the energy consumption of aquariums has taken on more importance with aquarium enthusiasts.
Aquariums are usually not major energy consumers, but this is, of course, a matter of scale. Small aquariums might not impact your energy bill at all, while large, 50+ gallon aquariums will tend to register more strongly on your monthly bill.
So where does all this energy go? Here are the main aquarium components that consume energy:
Lighting — usually the largest energy consumer, accounting for close to half of total aquarium energy use.
Heaters — next in line, taking up about a third of the total energy.
Filters & Air Pumps — account for the remainder of energy consumption (i.e. not a lot).
Now, obviously, all these components are necessary—they’re par for the course when you own an aquarium. If you’re concerned about making your aquarium energy friendly, it’s best to get started in the aquarium planning phase, taking aquarium size into consideration and choosing the right components to keep your energy bill manageable.
Obviously, the sky’s the limit when it comes to aquarium system complexity. If you have a large saltwater reef aquarium, you’ll likely need a variety of extra gadgets in addition to the ones listed above (for example, a wavemaker).
The good thing is that technology is on your side. Every year, companies are coming with more and more efficient aquarium equipment to satisfy the needs of enthusiasts. For example, aquarium owners now have more options than ever in the lighting department, and LED lights, while they cost more up front, can significantly lower the energy required to light your aquarium.
The same thing is happening with the other devices—timers and more efficient technologies, namely the increase in low voltage, energy efficient pumps are finding more environmentally-friendly ways to operate, without skimping on performance.