The best lighting for reef tanks are not just for aesthetic value. They do create an illusion of depth, color, and fantasy for the tank. But more important, they provide the temperature and lighting conditions for the organisms in a tank.
However, it is as important as choosing any part and living entity of the tank to choose the best reef led lighting for aquarium. It affects not only the photosynthesis features but also the health of the tank. Read on to discover the secret.
Things to consider when buying the best lighting for reef tank
Depending on your needs and situation, there are various option of aquarium light for you to choose from. However, there are some fundamental criteria that decide the effect of the lighting system you choose for your reef tank. Here are our suggestions:
How big is your aquarium?
The size of your aquarium decides the size of the lighting you need to buy. A too big or too small one can’t be good for your tank. It also affects the PAR output you will need for your tank. You don’t want your tank ruined by highly intense light.
What aquatic plants are your growing?
The same as any kind of plant on earth, different aquatic plants need specific lighting condition. If you leave them in the wrong environment, they can’t grow, or they will be dead. The plant is a vital part of your tank so you should give them proper care.
What type of aquarium do you want to build?
Some lightings work for all types of tank. However, many of them are for a specific one. It is either best for Freshwater aquarium or Saltwater aquarium or Coral reef tanks; or two of them; or both. Their design provides the best condition for the tank they belong to, but not really good for others.
How much can you spend on the lighting?
Never leave out your budget when you considering a lighting for reef tanks. If you have a tight budget, you should pick the one that has all the essential features, not the fancy one with tons of additional features. Shortening the list based on your budget makes it easier to choose the best lighting for reef aquarium.
Top 10 best LED lighting for reef tanks
1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
The Current USA’s Aquarium LED Light is a lighting for a saltwater aquarium. It is thin and compact. The programmed light allows users to fully control the lighting settings.
The light has Dual Daylight, and Dual Actinic LED spectrums. It is the first aquarium light to have the technology. Combining with the Ramp Timer Pro LED Controller, Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light lets you simulate sunrise, sunset, and moonlight in a natural cycle.
The lighting effects that the Current USA light brings are vibrant, powerful, brilliant, and eye-popping. It highlights the beauty of your marine aquarium organisms. The light comes in 4 sizes: 18 – 24 inches, 24 – 36 inches, 36 – 48 inches, and 48 – 60 inches.
The product carries a 1-year limited warranty. The lamps carry three months limited warranty.
2. Lightimetunnel 165W Aquarium LED Light
The Lightimetunnel 165W Aquarium LED Light is suitable for freshwater, saltwater fish, and coral tanks. The light features 45mil Bridgelux white LEDs and 45mil Epistar blue LEDs. The white light makes the water look clear, and the tank looks photosynthesis. The red light enhances the color in the tank and the growth of fish. The blue light contributes to the water clarity and an ocean-like look.
This Lightimetunnel light comes in one size of 15.8 x 8.4 x 2.4 inches and the recommended tank size is 24x24x24 inches. The light can simulate daytime light and moonlight. The 120-degree LEDs and high-quality acrylic lens increase light absorption and light deficiency.
The product comes with a 12-month warranty.
3. LED Aquarium Light Fixture for Saltwater, Coral Tanks
The LED Aquarium Light Fixture by Euphotica is for saltwater and coral tanks. The 16” light consists of 55 LEDs including for white light and blue light (warm white, neutral white, cool white, royal blue, blue, violet/indigo, green, and red). The complex lighting structure allows the light to create vibrant and lively light for your tank.
You can set your own schedule for sunrise, sunset, and moonlight with the Programmable Lighting Cycle. The control is pretty simple with touch LCD. The highly sensitive LCD allows you to change settings even with wet hands.
4. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control 165W LED Aquarium Light Dimmable
The 165W LED Aquarium Light by VIPARSPECTRA is a good deal in terms of quality and price. The full spectrum light produces natural light that ensures the balance of the corals and fish. It gives you tank and corals a photosynthetic beauty the way they look in the sea.
The light has 2 lighting channels. Channel one consists of violet/indigo(420nm), royal blue(450nm), and blue(470nm) lighting. Channel two combines green(520nm), red(660nm), neutral white(6500k), and cool white(12000k) lighting. The built-in digital timer lets you control the intensity and off time of either channel separately. You can create the depth for the tank with the 90-degree lens of the light.
The product carries 3-year US local warranty. You will also have a 30-day money back guarantee.
5. Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Fixture
The LED Aquarium Light Fixture by Aquatic Life works well with all marine aquariums. The 36” version fits tank of 35 inches – 38.25 inches. The light consists of 6 led colors to provide the full spectrum of light that can enhance the beauty of your reef tank.
The Light Fixture is ultra-slim. However, its LED design and 120-gree lens allow you to see all the aspect of life inside your tank. The light offers 3 lighting channels for you to choose from bright white, mixed color, and moonlight. It mimics the light effects of daytime sunlight, sunrise/sunset effect, and moonlight underwater.
The fixture comes in 3 sizes: 24 inches, 36 inches, and 48 inches. The multiple sizes make it possible for the light fixture to fit more tank dimensions. You can control the fixture with a built-in battery timer.
6. MAGIOVE® Led Aquarium Lighting 165W Dimmable Full Spectrum
The first excellent feature of this LED aquarium lighting from MAGIOVE is its plug-and-play build. That means you only need to put it in its place, plug it into the power supply and enjoy the beauty it gives to your tank.
The dimmable feature lets you change the brightness of the light with a button. There are two dimmers to control two series circuit separately. The full spectrum light creates a vivid image and suitable living conditions for your aquarium. You can simulate various natural lighting to best suit your intentions.
This lighting system is low on power consumption and high at energy efficiency. The two cooling fans ensure the capacity of heat dissipation that maintains the normal operating temperature of the system. The recommended depth of the tank for this lighting hood is 24 – 32”.
The product carries one year warranty with full refund possibility.
7. Ledgle Led Aquarium Light Dimmable 300W Reef Aquarium
The highlights of this Aquarium Light by Ledgle are the dimmable feature and Crystal Lens. Two sets of dimmable include dimmer blue (30 LEDs) of and dimmer white (30 LEDs). They produce the stable and best quality light and environment for the tank. The upgraded crystal lens provides a 25% higher PAR value and transmittance than the acrylic lens.
With a full spectrum of light, this Ledgle Led Aquarium Light Dimmable 300W Reef Aquarium is able to simulate different lightings like sunrise and sunset. Therefore, it can provide lighting for the different growing stage of your aquarium.
The panel can cover a tank of 24x24x24. The temperature stays cool thanks to 3 quite cooling fans inside. The light can work up to 50.000 hours.
The product comes with a 1-year warranty.
8. Galaxyhydro LED 55x3W Dimmable 165w Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light
The next best light for reef tank in the list is from Galaxyhydro. It has 2 channels with 55 LEDs. Channel 1 consists of 28 LEDs of cool white, warm white, red 660nm, green 520nm. Channel 2 if the combination of 27 LEDs of blue 460nm, purple 410nm, royal blue lighting.
The Red LEDs help the fish grow and look beautiful at the same time. The while LEDs sterilize, disinfect, and promote the growth of plants. The blue LEDs enhance the clarity of the water and the nutrient absorption of the reef.
Two dimmers control blue and white channel separately. You can mimic the natural light of sunset, sunrise, day, and night, etc. The lens is made of top quality acrylic which gives it higher PAR values than others. The lifespan of the light is 30.000 hours.
The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty.
9. AROCCOM LED 165w Dimmable Full Color Saltwater LED Aquarium
This AROCCOM Light is for saltwater aquarium and coral reef tanks. It is a power efficient and energy saving aquarium light. It is suitable for freshwater fish, plant, saltwater fish, and coral organisms.
The light hood can simulate natural underwater sunrise and sunset glow to give the tank the look of the ocean and the habitats an environment to grow. The LED light by AROCCOM provides full light spectrum in 2 channels of white and blue with 55 LEDs.
This best reef aquarium lighting makes the tank look realistic and captivating with shimmer, lighting, and shade effects. It can work in 50.000 – 80.000 hours at the temperature from -20 – 40°C.
There is a warranty of 1 year to go with the product.
10. OceanRevive Arctic-T247 Full Spectrum Dimmable Aquarium Reef Light
The last one in the list of best reef aquarium lighting is not the least. It is a product from OceamRevive Arctic. The light is suitable for both freshwater and marine environment. It provides the light setting for marine organisms, corals and reef fish to live and grow.
The light has two channels: blue and full spectrum. You can control each channel timer and intensity separately with a built-in controller. The light comes to the desired depth of water with the 90-degree lens.
The light comes with supporting brackets and hanging kits. That makes it fit almost any kind of tank. The operating temperature remains at 32,2°C – 43,3°C with dual cooling fans.
The product carries a 1-year warranty, provided that you don’t open the case of the light.
What to look for when choosing a LED light for a reef aquarium?
There are several criteria that you should look through when selecting the best lighting for reef tanks. They include the efficiency, capacity, features, installation, warranty, energy consumption, and cooling fans, etc. Below are some most important things you should consider.
You will properly have your aquarium light on all day. That means it uses the power the whole day. It can add up a significant number of kWhs to your electricity bill. You may not be able to stay as relaxed and happy when you see it as when you look at your tank.
Our advice is to look for the one that consumes energy the least. Some manufacturers produce a light hood with energy saving feature. That would be a great choice as well.
Do some research on how easy it is to install the aquarium lighting by yourself. Most of the online shopping websites provide manual on their product page. Imagine if you have the product at home, will you be able to assemble it yourself?
The height of your tank, or the space from the ceiling to the tank, the bracket or hanging kits also affect how the installation go. If there is any difficulty during the process, ask for help and support.
You don’t want to purchase a lighting system that only works for a couple of months. The lifespan of an aquarium light should be at least 30.000 hours. If you don’t expect to end up changing the light so often, check this figure carefully.
The longer lifespan may create the difference in price. Therefore, I would suggest you put everything into consideration as a whole, not one by one.
A lighting system should have at least one year warranty. You shouldn’t accept lesser. Also, the warranty policies vary depending on the company. There can be some terms in there that make your purchase invalid for warranty.
Read the policy thoroughly. You should note down anytime, DOs and DON’Ts, and contact information. In most cases, a receipt is necessary to get a refund, return, exchange, or repair so keep it somewhere safe and easy to find.
The benefits of the best lighting for reef tank – LED lighting
There are several options for aquarium lighting. Among all of them, LED lighting is proving its benefits that outstand it from others. They are mostly about LEDs’ size, energy consumption, flexibility, safety, and lifespan.
- LEDs are more energy efficient and able to save more electricity than other lighting sources
- The lifespan of a LED lighting system is much longer than other systems
- LEDs are highly customizable and bright so it offers various settings and variations for an aquarium lighting system
- LEDs are safer than metal halide and fluorescent lights because it needs no metal filaments or gasses to operate. LEDs are also easier to make water resistant.
- LEDs generate less heat than others. Heat can severely affect the ecosystems and your tank, and damage it. LEDs lighting system is the optimal choice in term of heat generation.
- LEDs produce light between 8000K and 10000K. That wide difference allows LEDs lighting system to meet more light requirements of the marine organisms in your tank. Each plant or fish need specific light condition. At each stage of one’s life, it needs different light requirements. LEDs can satisfy those flexible changes.
- LEDs is compact. The small and thin size allows LED lighting system to fit more tank sizes and more places. It is also easier to remove for maintenance and such.
How to use a best reef aquarium lighting
Install it right
The first thing to do when you get your set of aquarium lighting is to make sure you install it correctly. Read the manual carefully. Check all the parts for installation. If there is any defect, ask for a replacement from the manufacturer.
If you install it the wrong way, it may not work. In worst cases, it may fall and hurt your family, you, and your pets. Assemble it with focus and patience. Make sure you have everything is in its right place.
Give it the recommended power input
Check the input current of the lighting system. If you provide it a lower voltage source than it needs, it can’t work its best. If you give it a higher voltage input then the recommended one, the input may damage the lighting and the whole electricity system in your house.
The wrong input power also shortens the lifespan of the product. A fluctuate current is bad for your lighting. So, you’d better find a stable input for your system.
Clean it properly
Dust can make the cooling fans work less effectively. The result is your system work in high temperature for a long time, so it breaks or lasts lesser. The dirt on the LEDs affects the lighting quality of the lighting hood and is bad for your aquarium.
Try to get rid of such small trouble makers. However, you should be gentle not to break any part. You should remove it from the power supply before cleaning. For the inner part, go to the manufacturer for help.
Notice any weird sign
Odd signs include the stability, color, quality of the light; unusual sound; or the heat up of the system. After a while of using, those problems can start to appear. You should call the customer support for help.
If you notice something strange from the very early stage of buying, contact the manufacturer for an exchange of a new product,
Do not open its part yourself
Most of us are not a technician. If we open the case or any part of the system on our own, we may be damaging our investment. In most warranty policies, opening the case yourself makes your product invalid for warranty. If there is a problem, ask for the technical support from the supplier. Let the pros do their job.
An aquarium lighting system is an essential part of any reef tank. Without its help, your aquarium will look boring. It brings life and depth to the ecosystem you build on that tank. The best lighting for reef tank provides suitable lighting conditions for the marine organisms to grow in a human-made environment.
The only problem between you and your dream aquarium is to choose the lighting that is the best for your reef tank. It will help nurture your little underwater world. It highlights the beauty of the aquarium. You will be able to look at what you create, relax and enjoy the calmness of the ocean.
We hope our guides and reviews are useful to you in selecting the lighting system for your aquarium. Leave us a comment if you have any question or want to discuss more.