10 Handpicked Reef LED Lighting for Your Saltwater Aquarium

Aquarium LED Lighting
By Pranay Das Updated

Let’s admit it! No matter how nicely you decorate your aquarium, if you haven’t figured out the appropriate lighting for your tank, chances are l that your aquarium won’t be aesthetically pleasing. The necessity of a proper lighting system is felt even more in a saltwater aquarium because it will help enlighten the mesmerizing corals. Besides, light plays a vital role in the growth of the inhabitants of your tank. Therefore, you need to spend a considerable amount of time researching on which light will be suited best for your tank. To help you out in this regard, we are presenting before you a buying guide of the best reef LED lighting products in the market. So, let us dig deep into them.

Why are LEDs Recommended for Your Reef Aquariums?

When it comes to aquarium lights, LEDs are unparallel. Not only do they help create a visual spectacle in your tank, but they also are safe to use when compared to T5 fluorescent lights or old metal halides since they don’t have any noxious gas or metal filaments in them. Most of them are also splash-proof and water-proof.

In addition, their compact size makes them an appropriate candidate for even small tanks. They are easy to control, consume less power and emit lesser heat than other forms of lights. Apart from being suitable for both tough and soft coral, they also are kind towards aquatic plants.

Factors to Consider Before Buying Reef LED Lighting

Now, before you make your final choice, there are a few things that you need to bear in mind before buying LED lights for your saltwater aquariums. They are as follows:

Ease of Installation

Not all of us are technically savvy! So, it is of great help if the manufacturers make it convenient for the consumers to install the lighting system by assembling most of it. This means you should try to go for a product that requires you to just mount it and switch it on. Else, you can always resort to YouTube tutorials for those complicated ones.

Power Utilization

Just because LEDs use less power, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to consider this point. Your goal should be to brighten the tank as much as possible without going over your monthly electricity budget. So, look for the lights that consume less power than the rest while dishing out quality performance.

Shelf Life

You must always check for the shelf life of your LED lights on the product label. The shelf life refers to the durability of your lights, or to put it simply, as to how long they will last.

Usually, these lights last pretty long, some even up to 50,000 hours. This means that you can keep using the same light for more than a decade even if you keep them on for ten hours a day. So, make it a point to always check for the durability of your light before purchasing them.

Ease of Control

Reef LED lights generally feature programming options that allow you to control the lights. The use of high-end software in some of them ensures heavy customization from your end. While some can be controlled with a remote, others can be operated with mobile apps as well.

From selecting the lighting pattern to adjusting its intensity, from scheduling it to changing the color, to even mimic naturalistic ambiance such as sunrise, afternoon, moonlight, etc., the personalization that you can ensure in your aquarium with LED lights is unreal. So, try to go for lights that support most if not all of these features.

Aesthetic Appeal

LEDs come in a wide variety of colors and lighting patterns, thereby giving you the luxury of setting up the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium. Your aim is to find lights that call for a great blending of colors with minimalist disco ball effect and absolutely no visual hotspots.

In addition, you should also pay attention to the framework of your aquarium LED light. This means the fixture that is situated outside your tank that will hold the lights. You don’t want your aquarium to look like a science project gone wrong.  The fixture you choose should line up with the kind of aesthetic you want.

10 Best Reef LED Lights that are Worth Your Money

Now that you know the factors that you need to keep in mind before buying reef LED lighting products, we can now list out the best ones available in the market. Our market analysis has whittled down the pool to the following ten products. Let’s take a look at them:

01

Current USA Orbit Marine LED Aquarium Light

Sleek by design and efficient in its performance, the Current USA Orbit Marine LED Aquarium Light has made a name for itself among aquarists for more reasons than any other on this list. With this in your aquarium, you don’t have to worry about getting up from your couch every time you feel the necessity to change the lights. You can operate it from right where you are with its remote control.

A great stimulator for coral growth, this aquarium light features the ‘Ramp Timer Pro’ which provides a natural cycle to your aquatic pet and plants by mimicking a 24-hour light cycle from sunrise to sunset. This product can be used in any tank measuring 18-60” (45-152 cm) in length. It is available in four different adjustable sizes within the said range.

The white and actinic blue LEDs provide a light spectrum inside the tank. In addition, its 120° lens ensures an even distribution of light throughout the tank without any disco ball effect or visual hotspots. You will also be able to choose between its various dynamic light modes such as Fading Lunar, Cloud Cover, and Lightning Storms.

What We Like?

  • Budget-friendly
  • It can be rim-mounted
  • Availability of PAR output
  • Full-spectrum
  • Easy to use
  • Customizable

What We Don’t Like?

  • The power of light could have been a bit strong
02

Hipargero LED Aquarium Light

Delivering a balanced proportion of white and blue lights, the Hipargero LED Aquarium Light uses Cree LEDs that ensure premium quality lights for your tank. This automatically boosts the health of your aquatic pets and plants.

In order to ensure uniformity in its color distribution throughout the tank, it uses a 90° 3-in-1 acrylic lens. The proper intensity of this 30W light is achieved through its dimmable channels. You will be able to adjust the light anywhere between 0-100%.

The best part of this light is that it is well-suited for both SPS (Small Polyp Stony) coral as well as LPS (Large Polyp Stony) corals. In addition, it is extremely easy to install and operate.

What We Like?

  • 3-in-1 acrylic lens
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to operate
  • Suitable for both SPS and LPS

What We Don’t Like?

  • Expensive in its range
03

OceanRevive Arctic-T247 Full Spectrum LED

Coming with a hanging kit and retractable brackets, the OceanRevive Arctic-T247 Full Spectrum LED can be suspended over the tank to give a sleek design to your aquarium. Its bright light is well-suited for most varieties of corals.

For a small reef set-up, this 120W light is a great buy considering the fact that it comes with a built-in timer, two cooling fans, and remote control. The best part of this product is that both white and blue light can be operated independently.

Not only is it suited for SPS, LPS, soft corals, and reef fish, but it is also compatible with freshwater aquariums. Its extensive design ensures maximum coverage throughout the tank’s entire width and depth.

What We Like?

  • Hanging kit
  • Silent cooling fans
  • Highly-bright light
  • Suited for both LPS and SPS
  • Maximum coverage
  • Built-in Timer

What We Don’t Like?

  • It can’t program a natural lighting cycle.
  • The quality of the timer could have been better.
04

Kessil A360WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light

Before you put down the Kessil A360WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light from your list because of its high price, let us get you acquainted with its desirable features. Available in four adjustable sizes to suit your requirements, this product is suited for both LPS and SPS corals.

With its special proprietary technology ‘Kessil Logic’, you will be able to adjust the required intensity of the light by selecting your preferred color and spectrum through a single knob. In addition, the tightly packed LEDs ensure uniform distribution of color throughout your aquarium. Thus, you don’t have to worry about getting any spotlight effect in your tank.

Its natural glow is reminiscent of the ocean. Not to forget, the Ramp Timer Pro calls for a realistic 24-hour light cycle, thus preventing any light shock to your aquatic pet. With a press of a button on its remote, you will have everything under your control. You can even play with the different dynamic effects of its light – Fading Lunar, Lightning Storms, and Cloud Cover.

What We Like?

  • Natural ocean-like lighting
  • Easy to use
  • Able to program a natural lighting cycle
  • Suitable for both LPS and SPS
  • Highly customizable

What We Don’t Like?

  • No section to hide the wires
  • The design could have been better
05

Wills LED Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

The 165W Wills LED Full Spectrum Aquarium Light sports a high PAR output and enables you to daisy chain multiple units together to illuminate a horizontally long tank without leaving any dark spots. The presence of purple, white, blue, red, and blue light creates a full spectrum that helps promote photosynthesis of aquatic plants.

You can adjust both the white and blue light separately from 0-100% to suit the demands of your LPS and SPS. The 90° angle of the crystal lens makes sure the maximum penetration of the light. Besides, it also has multiple vents for better heat dissipation and the fans are way less noisy than most available in the market.

Ideal for a 24” (60 cm) tank, one thing that you should note about this tank is that you need to mount the light by hanging it from the ceiling since it can’t be mounted directly on to the tank.

What We Like?

  • Two dimming channels
  • 90° crystal lens
  • Full-spectrum light
  • Two dimming channels
  • Daisy chain function

What We Don’t Like?

  • Only one mounting option
  • Mode of operation is a bit trickier
06

MicMol LED Aquarium Light

Coming with a smart controller that allows you to choose the preferred lighting for your aquatic pets, plant, and corals, the MicMol LED Aquarium Light is truly a delight for a reef aquarist in every sense. With this product, you can bring the effects of sunrise, sunset, or even lightning storms to your aquarium.

It also provides a number of customization options along with an easy assembly. You can manually program it to meet the requirements of your reefs, but to ease the process, it also features an automatic cycle that can be moved between six distinct stages.

Furthermore, you will also be able to witness seven bands of lights that can be changed depending upon the requirements of your aquarium. So, a full HD spectrum is ensured with this lighting.

What We Like?

  • Budget-friendly
  • Full HD spectrum light
  • Able to program a natural lighting cycle
  • Highly customizable

What We Don’t Like?

  • Not suited for SPS
  • Highly expensive
07

Prime HD+ AI Aquarium LED

The Wi-Fi controlled Prime HD+ AI Aquarium LED is a great pick for small reef tanks. You will be able to control it with your computer or smartphone, whatever is convenient for you. In fact, it even has its own app that allows you to set it up more easily.

Depending upon what type of coral or sea creature you have in your tank, you can adjust the light spectrum of this product. To avoid a shock to the system of your aquatic pets, it features an acclimation setting that gradually turns up the light. Added benefits include its silent cooling fans and bright light. Its HD power makes it shine above its contemporaries.

Besides, it also sports an intuitive dashboard that makes it very easy to operate. You can customize the light as per the requirements of your corals, aquatic pets and plants.

What We Like?

  • Wi-Fi control
  • Compact light
  • Customizable
  • Silent cooling fans

What We Don’t Like?

  • No Shimmering effect
  • Difficult to set up
08

Nicrew Classic LED Aquarium Light

When it comes to energy-efficiency, hardly anyone can beat the Nicrew Classic LED Aquarium Light. However, don’t think that it compromises with its brightness and shimmering effect. Available in a bunch of different sizes to suit tanks ranging from 12-52” (30-132 cm), this product sports two light modes – white and blue LEDs to mimic daylight and night respectively.

In order to fit in your tank perfectly, it comes with a bracket system as well. Although you can’t program a personalized cycle in it, switching between its different modes is as simple as flicking a switch. Of course, you can buy a single-channel separately.

It is also worth mentioning that it is quite easy in your pocket as well since it is a budget-friendly product. The visual spectacle it creates inside a tank is truly worth watching.

What We Like?

  • Available in various sizes
  • Energy efficient
  • Budget-friendly

What We Don’t Like?

  • It can’t follow a personalized cycle.
  • The mode of operation could have been a bit better.
09

Phlizon 165W Dimmable Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light

Providing you a wide spectrum of color options ranging from UV blue to white, green to purple, and others, the Phlizon 165W Dimmable Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light has been designed keeping in mind the health of your aquatic pets and plants.

While the UV blue light helps promote the defense mechanism of your plant, the purple light encourages the growth of your fish and the sterilizing of habitat. The red and white lights are responsible for the healthy growth of your corals. So, as you can see, your entire reef aquarium needs will be taken care of by this light.

An added bonus of this product is that it can be used in both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. You will also be given a dimmer with this light which ensures a gradual increase and decrease of the light’s intensity to help the inhabitants of your tank acclimatize better with the changing lights.

What We Like?

  • Presence of a dimmer
  • Full-spectrum
  • 1 Year Warranty
  • 30 days money-back guarantee
  • Compatible with both saltwater and freshwater aquariums

What We Don’t Like?

  • Not applicable for tanks larger than 57 gallons.
  • Set up can be time-consuming
10

Kessil A160WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light

One of the most high-end aquarium lights on our list, the Kessil A160WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light is available in two variants – ‘Tuna Blue’ and ‘Tuna Sun’. When it comes to reef lighting, ‘Tuna Blue’ is the one you should look for.

This light allows you to monitor and adjust the intensity and spectrum both with a controller and manually in order to mimic the daylight cycle. In addition, it also gives a shimmering effect to the tank water, thereby creating an ocean-like ambiance for your tankmates.

Don’t let its compact size fool you because it can produce a light spread that can reach up to 24” (61 cm) in your tank. Operating it is also pretty convenient despite its many functionalities. Besides, its silent fans keep the annoying noise away. Its simple design is sturdy and promises an efficient performance.

What We Like?

  • Shimmering effect
  • Natural daylight cycle
  • Silent cooling fan

What We Don’t Like?

  • Highly expensive
  • A narrow range when it comes to its size

Final Verdict

As you have just realized, aquarium lights are not just for decorative and viewing purposes. They play a significant role in contributing to the health of your tankmates. When it comes to saltwater aquariums, LED lights help promote the growth of not only fish but also the plants and corals.

Therefore, keep the aforementioned buying guide in mind before making your final purchase. Remember, your choice of reef LED lighting should not only be economical but also efficient since it is one of the most essential elements of your aquarium.  

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