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Photography Question 
Christie Kleinert

Taking Pictures of a Home Aquarium

I like to take pictures of my goldfish in their 55-gallon aquarium but don't seem to have the best lighting to get a faster shutter speed. I've used flash with some success and no glare, but I still would like to take fish pictures without using the flash. What do some people do to add light besides the aquarium light, outdoor light and room lights? Do you use extra spot lights like in a studio?

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12/1/2008 6:55:07 PM

Alan N. Marcus   Hi Cristie,
As you know, the aquarium is typically illuminated from above by florescent lamps. Additionally most aquariums are hooded. My advice is to remove the hood and lamp assembly and light with pin-up tungsten lamps purchased at the hardware store. First a word to the wise! Aquarium lighting is inherently dangerous so please take some precautions. I am talking about the existing hood and its lighting fixture. These fixtures, their sockets, bulbs, switches, and wiring are always wet and always corroded. So I am advising that you unplug and remove the hood/lamp exercising care to avoid electrical shock.
Purchase a 10 inch aluminum pin-up fixture or two. Buy two PAR 150 watt clear flood bulbs. These are the hard glass outdoor bulbs. You can use them without the aluminum reflector that comes with the pin-up as they have their own built-in reflector. Position them above the aquarium. Pre-set your white balance on tungsten. These lamps will provide all the light you need and you will be able to use a relatively fast shutter speed. Some might advocate that you use an electronic flash in place of the tungsten. Thatís OK if you can afford the lash-up. Otherwise the pin-up will serve you well.
Lots of luck!

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12/1/2008 8:59:02 PM

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