With aquarium lighting the best plan is to let the type of fish that will be living in the aquarium decide what type of lighting is best for the tank. To keep this simple I am going to mention the 2 most common forms of lighting, incandescent and fluorescent.
Incandescent lights are usually smaller and less expensive but generate a high amount of heat. These lights are better suited for planted tanks as they can stimulate plant growth. They shouldn't be used if the tank is going to have fish that live near the surface of the water, such as Gouramis. The intense heat given off by incandescent lights may destroy any bubble nest built by a Gourami.
Fluorescent lighting is efficient, cool and generally inexpensive. Since it does not produce the heat that an incandescent bulb produces, it is ideal for surface dwelling fish. The down side is fluorescent lights are not suited for planted aquariums.