Last Updated on February 22, 2021 by Anne Thynne
Looking for best LED reef lights? You have come to the right page! Here you’ll find everything you need to know about LED reef lighting.
Getting the perfect LED reef light is imperative for any reef tank. And for corals, it’s equally important.
A perfect reef LED light will not only make your fish tank look good but it is necessary for the development of the corals.
These LEDs will provide your corals enough light so that they can grow and flourish.
However, as the market is filled with a plethora of LED reef lightings, choosing one can be really tough. And that’s why, we have come up with top 10 LED reef lights, among which you can choose any one depending on your requirements.
Plus, along with the review, we have covered all the aspects that you would need to know about reef LED aquarium light.
So with no further ado, let’s get to the actual stuff:
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Best LED Lighting for Reef Aquarium | Side by Side Comparison
- 10 Best LED Reef Light Reviews
- 1. Ecotech Marine Radion g4 Pro Review
- 2. Kessil AP700 Reviews
- 3. Kessil A160WE Tuna Blue
- 4. Viparspectra Timer Control 165w Led Aquarium Light Review
- 5. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium led Light Review
- 6. LED Aquarium Light Dimmable Full Spectrum for Coral Reef Grow
- 7. Phlizon Aquarium LED Light Review
- 8. Lightimetunnel 165W LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Review.
- 9. Hipargero LED Lights 30W Lighting Review
- 10. Led Aquarium Light, Roleadro 165W Dimmable Coral Reef Light Review
- Few Honorable Mentions
- Buyer’s Guide: Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks
- Benefits of Reef LED Lighting
- Features of the Best Reef LED Lights
- What is a Reef System?
- Classification and Lighting Requirement for Different Corals:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
Top 5 Best LED Lighting for Reef Aquarium | Side by Side Comparison
10 Best LED Reef Light Reviews
In order to get your hands on the best reef light, you have to compare a lot of factors which will require a lot of time and expertise. However, there is no need to waste time doing those because we have already done the work for you.
From features to price, we have compared all the factors and picked up 10 best led lighting for reef aquarium that are trending on the market for their capabilities.
Let’s take a look below:
1. Ecotech Marine Radion g4 Pro Review
The Ecotech marine Radion g4 pro is a complete game changer. It is one of the high tech LED reef lighting you would find in the market right now.
Design and performance, it is holding the lead in both. Once you get to use it, you’ll notice you have never used something amazing like this to lit your aquarium.
This Ecotech G4 pro reef light is actually suitable for experienced reefers who have a large tank full of corals.
It comes with a total of 46 LEDs that give great brightness.
The cooling fan works very effectively and makes no noise when in operation.
The LEDs gives full lighting spectrum and makes the entire tank look impressive without giving any disco ball effect.
On the other hand, it provides strong penetration so that every inhabitant can absorb the light.
The manufacturer has given a white and blue lighting combination which helps the corals to grow and prosper. This lighting fixture gives wider coverage and the shimmering effect brings a natural color of the ocean which will satisfy you at the first glance.
Overall, the Ecotech marine radion g4 is a great LED aquarium light. And most importantly, it will help the corals to grow. Though it is expensive, it delivers great value.
- Comes with high-quality LEDs.
- Gives strong penetration.
- No disco ball effect.
- High brightness.
- Wider coverage.
- Blue and white color blend.
- A little bit expensive
Another impressive reef light is the kessil ap700. It comes in a classy design which will suit any type of reef tank.
Kessil ap700 has a flagship LED light fixture and comes with all the features to deliver enough light for growing your corals.
The color combinations are really satisfying. It has multiple functions as well as great coverage which are highly suitable for corals.
This Ap700 delivers a wide color spectrum which is an awesome feature. You can choose any lighting to illuminate your reef tank and the advanced LED arrays allow a seamless blend of various wavelengths constantly in order to light up your aquarium.
Moreover, you can also adjust the color channels in order to get the desired color. Plus, this LED lighting system also offers shimmer which gives your fish tank a natural ocean look.
If you want, you can also set the lighting cycle to get a natural environment and you can enlighten the corals by the precision UV light.
Lighting coverage is an important factor, right? Especially when you have a large reef tank. This AP700 system has hybrid optics with LED arrays which gives a wide coverage of 48 inches.
When the light is hanging 15 to 18 inches above the aquarium base it can nicely cover 48 x 24 inches and 36 x 24 inches when hanging 5 to 7 inches above the water level.
This AP700 comes with a patented dense matrix LED technology. Besides the hybrid optics, this technology allows a mixture of different LED chips into a single unit. And this allows for great deeper penetration without any coverage loss.
Here comes the most satisfying part of this lighting system: It can be controlled by mobile devices like Android, IOS and tablets. With the app, you’ll be able to control the colors, light cycles, and many more.
And lastly, this ap700 would be a great choice for corals, especially for SPS and LPS corals. The light adjusting function is also necessary for corals as different corals require different lights. So, as you can see, this kessil ap700 offers a lot of helpful features at a reasonable price range.
- Best choice for corals.
- Different colors.
- Wide coverage.
- Controllable by Wi-Fi.
- Features shimmering effects.
- Looks classy.
- The app is buggy.
3. Kessil A160WE Tuna Blue
Although Kessil has entered the market a few years back, they have become very popular for their ‘out of the box’ design. When other manufacturers were losing their hairs after building the same tablet shaped LED fixtures with various colors, Kessil came up with something unique. And that is aquarium LED spotlight.
The Kessil A160we has been a great success for this brand, as people have really loved this LED spotlight, mainly the small aquarium owners.
The LED reef light has amazing build quality and comes with metal housing, silent fan cooled heat-sinks. Plus, Kessil has done a great job by giving two input and output on each light.
Moreover, they have given two potentiometers on every light. But one thing that really sets this light apart from the competitors is its size. It can easily be gooseneck mounted and serves best for small aquariums. However, it can also work great in tall tanks.
Another nice thing about this light is, it can be directed towards one direction and that’s what makes it nice for tall aquariums.
This A160we can be used as a supplemental light in order to lit the area which can’t be lit by other tablet shaped LED fixtures.
With this LED spotlight your tank will look stunning for sure. Wait, did we say anything about its controllability yet? No?
Well, though this LED spotlight can be controlled manually there are some pairs of ports that come with the light through which it can be controlled by external devices.
On the other hand, this LED offers skimmer which brings a natural effect of the ocean. And the patented dense matrix technology allows various chips into the LED array which gives deeper penetration without losing any coverage.
Overall, this Kessil A160we is an out of the box reef LED aquarium light and delivers great value for the money.
- Out of the box design.
- Great color mixture.
- Durable build quality.
- Deeper penetration.
- Best for small & tall tanks.
- Externally controllable.
- Helps to grow corals.
- The manufacturer could have given a better color variation.
4. Viparspectra Timer Control 165w Led Aquarium Light Review
The Viparspectra timer control 165w led aquarium light is one of those items that offers overwhelming features without costing a fortune.
Yes, this amazing LED reef light comes in a great design and delivers the kind of performance that anyone would love to have. It comes with an eye-catching criss-cross design and offers a bunch of highly functional features.
This led fixture gives a full spectrum light and the lights are aligned in a crisscross design around white bulbs.
This Criss-Cross design might seem awkward but the manufacturers have confirmed that it is very helpful for coral and plants growth.
Do you need intense brightness? Don’t worry this LED fixture can offer you that. Actually, this LED fixture is so powerful that we would recommend you to stay safe by not directly looking at the light when it’s ON.
And when you place it on the tank, increase the brightness slowly, it will give the inhabitants enough time to adjust.
This LED fixture comes with a remote via which you can control the led lighting for reef tank sitting on your couch. Plus, this LED panel comes with two different LED lighting channel: blue and white. You can use these two light separately if you want through the remote.
Moreover, if you don’t what anything big attached to your tank, this fixture is what you are looking for. You can place this tablet shaped light on the ceiling right above the tank. And this system has a LED display in the front, which will tell you is everything is okay or not.
It has a total of 55 3-watt LEDs with the 90-degree lens. Thankfully, the manufacturer has installed a built-in timer where you can set the on/off time.
Also, it has a heat sink and a quick fan. The LEDs of this fixture can last up to 100,000 hours and come with two hanging kits as well as a 6ft power cord.
- Gives full light spectrum.
- Comes with a built-in timer.
- Remote controlled.
- Each channel can be operated separately.
- LEDs can last up to 100,000 hours.
- Highly durable build quality.
- Can’t be controlled through Wi-Fi.
- Available in only one size.
This Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED light is one of the most advanced LED aquarium light fixtures for reef tanks. Thanks to the advanced technology, it is suitable for multiple applications.
The fixture comes in a classy design along with a wireless infrared remote controlling system. All you would need to do is point the remote towards the system and press, yes it’s that simple. Unlike others, this system is very easy to install and use.
With this current USA orbit marine aquarium LED fixture, you will get full control over the LED lighting for reef tanks. It has a built-in timer called Ramp timer which will give you the full flexibility. You can change the brightness, color whenever you want.
The light spectrum of this system is actually designed for the LPS and SPS corals. It is available in different sizes.
The 8000k and 12,000k actinic blue and white LEDs create the required light spectrum that is suitable for fish, corals, plants, and live rocks.
These LEDs has 123-degree lenses which deliver even light with no disco ball effect or hotspots. It produces an impressive color rendition and natural shimmer effects.
Moreover, this LED fixture also has different modes such as dim mode, evening mode, and storm mode. Honestly speaking, these modes will make your aquarium look so stunning that people will have a hard time taking their eye off your tank.
- Comes with advanced LED chips.
- Delivers proper spectrum.
- Comes with a wireless remote.
- Have different modes.
- Specially designed for corals.
- Easy to use and install.
- Losing the remote will cause you to change the entire fixture.
- Instructions are not clear. (You can check YouTube videos)
6. LED Aquarium Light Dimmable Full Spectrum for Coral Reef Grow
This is one of the cheapest LED reef lights that you will find in the market that delivers more than expected value. This one also looks like the previous one on our review list: tablet-shaped. It is a hanging LED fixture which should be hanged right above your water tank.
Who doesn’t want brightness? Every tank owner does. Even after this light being so cheap, it offers great brightness.
Not only that, it is also dimmable which means you can adjust the brightness from 0 to 100 depending on your need.
It is a 180w LED fixture which is energy efficient too. This LED aquarium light delivers the required light spectrum. They are also very long-lasting.
On the other hand, it gives wider coverage. One light can cover an entire 55-gallon reef tank depending on which height you have hanged the fixture. The WATTSHINE 140W-180W LED Coral Light is specially designed for both soft and hard corals.
This LED lighting system got high-quality construction so you would not need to worry about the light breaking after a while. It is highly durable and gives solid light penetration.
Overall, it can be a great catch for people who are looking for a cheaper reef LED lighting for reef tanks.
- Cheap price.
- Great brightness.
- Wider coverage.
- Adjustable brightness.
- Blue LEDs doesn’t work expectedly.
7. Phlizon Aquarium LED Light Review
This Phlizon LED aquarium Light provides large spectrum options. It comes with different colors of LEDs and you can toggle between Blue, purple, red, green, and white lights. Especially the blue LED light has proved to be great for plant’s defense mechanism. Purple light is suitable for fish growth and the red and white lights are suitable for corals growth.
The best part of this Phlizon LED aquarium Light is you can use it for both freshwater and saltwater tanks, so you would not need to spend more bucks on buying another LED lighting fixture.
On the other hand, this Phlizon is a great system for all the inhabitants in the tank.
Plus, it comes adjustable brightness feature which will allow you to adjust the brightness of the light from 0 to 100.
The dimmer is also helpful for making day and night period for your aquarium. It has two separate channels and the dimmer knob works for both, so you can adjust both channel light equally.
The manufacturer has used the high-quality material in the construction and the LEDs are also long-lasting. The hanger kits and power cord comes with the light.
And with the given instruction, you can easily install and use the system.
- Comes with On/Off switch.
- Gives nice coverage.
- Strong penetration.
- Durable and long-lasting LEDs.
- Full spectrum can be utilized with both freshwater and saltwater setup
- Few users have complained that some purple lights don’t work properly.
8. Lightimetunnel 165W LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Review.
This is one of the top rated LED lighting fixtures for some obvious reasons. It comes with high-quality 45 mil 3w Bridgelux chips which is one of the best-LED chips currently in the market.
These LEDs ensures that your tank has enough brightness. Plus, it delivers great penetration in order to ensure that the tank inhabitants are absorbing the required light. The Lightimetunnel 165W LED Aquarium Light Full spectrum has enough brightness to reach all the plants inside the tank.
It comes with 120-degree dispersion angle which makes sure that the light is going to every corner of the tank.
And the best part of this LED fixture is, it brings a vibrant color all over the tank which looks stunning. You can use it for different aquariums too such as saltwater and freshwater tank.
This LED lighting system delivers an efficient light spectrum which keeps all the inhabitants of the tank healthy and growing. Another amazing feature is the daisy chain. With daisy chain you can connect two or more of this unit to cover a larger tank and control all units centrally.
Plus, it has two dimmable channels which can be used for stimulating daytime and nighttime in the aquarium.
And lastly, it comes at a cheap price, so according to the price, it delivers a lot more value.
- Perfect for different types of aquariums.
- UL approved great cooling fans.
- Brings vibrant color.
- Nice coverage.
- Proper brightness.
- Dimmable mode.
- Very poor customer service.
9. Hipargero LED Lights 30W Lighting Review
This LED reef light has earned the best-selling tag for its amazing functionalities.
Why would people avoid a product that comes at a very cheap price with impressive features?
The Hipargero Aquarium LED Lights 30W Saltwater LED Lighting system comes at a low price but still delivers great value.
The main strength of this lighting system is the ability to deliver high-quality light.
With this fixture, you are getting high-capacity Cree LED bulbs which give premium lighting.
On the other hand, in order to keep the inhabitants of the tank healthy, the manufacturers have provided a combination of blue and white lights. The blue and white lighting combination works great for the health of fish, plants, and corals.
This system has 90-degree 3 in 1 acrylic lens and the light is completely adjustable from 100 to 0. It means that you can adjust the light according to your need.
Plus, you can also make day and night time for the aquarium with it. In order to ensure higher durability, the manufacturers have used premium quality materials, so you don’t have to worry about the lifespan of the LED. Installing and using this lighting fixture is also very simple.
- Adjustable brightness.
- Cheap price.
- Nice coverage.
- White and blue color blend.
- Long lasting LEDs.
- Few users have faced problem when adjusting the brightness.
10. Led Aquarium Light, Roleadro 165W Dimmable Coral Reef Light Review
And here comes the last LED light in our review: Roleadro 165W Dimmable Coral Reef Light. This entire lighting system is very handy and lightweight.
It consists of a total of 55 LEDs and the brightness of this system is 30 percent higher than the others. That is why we recommend not to look directly at the light when it’s ON.
It comes with real 45mil bright lux and 45 mil epistar blue LED chips which are one of the best LEDs in the market.
This Roleadro 165W delivers high penetration so that all the inhabitants of the tank would be able to absorb the needed light. The brightness gives a delightful look to the aquarium that will catch anyone’s eye.
As the name implies, the light is dimmable which means you can adjust the light intensity from 0 to 100 percent.
On the other hand, this lighting system is suitable for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. It has a cooling fan that doesn’t make any noise while in operation and the light spectrum brings out all naturals colors of the inhabitants which gives the entire tank a stunning look.
- Full lighting spectrum.
- Two separate lighting channel.
- Dimmer mode.
- Silent cooling fan.
- High-quality LEDs.
- Small size.
- Cooling fan doesn’t work effectively.
Few Honorable Mentions
Buyer’s Guide: Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks
In order to get your hands on the best reef LED light, there are a lot of factors that you need to take under considerations. So before you make the final decision, make sure you check all these factors:
When you are about to buy a LED light system, you definitely want that to last long, right? You are not going to be satisfied if that light loses output or show problems over time. That’s why you have to check the quality of the LED light system. The quality includes: active cooling system, types of LED used, power supply, design, material, etc.
Internal aesthetic means good color combination. Check if that LED system gives a nice blend of colors or not. It is always better to choose an LED system that has less to no irritating disco ball effect. You should pick a system that has the color combination you want and the light should enhance the colors of your fish and corals.
Fish tanks are like paintings. It doesn’t matter how impressive your painting is looking if the frame is wrong. The frame is what stays outside of your tank such as a LED lighting system. So it’s important to choose a LED light system that has a sleek design which completely blends with the aquarium. Bulkier LED systems are always an eyesore.
Now, almost all the latest LED reef lighting come with software and programming options which allows you to control the lights. Some advanced systems will require a computer for making the adjustment. However, the best choice would be choosing one with a remote control. You can change the color of the light and make other adjustments with the remote just sitting on the couch.
Brand plays a big role here. Just because of cheap price tags don’t go after unreliable brands. It’s not only about price, you might need warranty or customer service which only a well-known brand will provide. Choosing a product with warranty is a bonus because you can replace that product if any issues arise. On the other hand, good things will be costly and that’s pretty obvious. So just instead of picking cheap ones from unknown brands, it’s better to spend a few more bucks and purchase from a reliable brand.
Benefits of Reef LED Lighting
LED lights are designed in such a way so that they can deliver impressive visual effects in the tank. It doesn’t matter what kind of effect you want in the LED light because the latest LED lights will allow you to adjust them in your preferred way. Even better, nowadays LED light systems offer remote control feature so that you can control the lights sitting on the soft couch. Thanks to the advanced technology, now you can change the lighting effect with just a push of a button.
Unlike old halide and T5 bulbs, LED lights are completely safe to use. These lights don’t contain any kind of noxious gasses or filaments. Moreover, nowadays some LED lights are even water resistant.
LED lights do produce heat but that’s in a very negligible amount. Unlike halide or T5 bulbs, LED light doesn’t generate that much heat which is harmful to aquarium inhabitants.
Plants and Marine Animals’ Growth
As we said earlier, no one can deny the importance of lights in a reef tank. LED strip lights are very helpful for the development of corals. Most of the LED systems generate light around 8000k to 10000k which is enough to enhance the growth of the plants and other organisms in the tank.
Now LED lights are more compact which allows you to place them anywhere in the tank you want. Some LED lights can be mounted within the tank so you would be able to clean them easily. Plus, manufacturers are producing water-resistant LED lights which are designed to be at the base of the aquarium.
Features of the Best Reef LED Lights
There are some features which make LED lights perfect for reef tanks. You’ll only find these features on the latest LED light systems. Have a look:
Most people dream about having a light that will impressively brighten up their reef tank but won’t consume much power. LED lights are a great catch for them because they consume less power compared to other lights.
Everyone wants something that is easy to set up as most hobbyists are not good at technical stuff. Thankfully, now manufacturers are producing LED lights where the installation process is very simple. All you would need to do is, just attach the LED system to a mount and connect it with a power outlet. Moreover, in most cases, the manufacturer offers a guide with the light, where they provide all the instructions in a simple way.
Complicated LED function is probably the last thing you would want. A perfect LED lighting system will be very simple and easy to use.
People love to have different lights on their reef tanks. There are some LED lighting systems which have different lighting channels that can show different colors of light. Plus, some systems will allow you to change the light by a remote.
The manufacturer often gives the expected durability on the label of the lighting system. You’ll find some LED lights that can last up to 30,000 hours and some even more. It means these lights will serve you for a very long time without any replacement. Durability also depends on the materials used in the making process. Better material will make a much more durable product.
What is a Reef System?
Well, reefs are a bar of sand, rocks, corals or something similar which stays beneath the water surface. Most reefs grow from the sand deposition, wave erosion, and some other natural processes. The most popular reefs are coral reefs which develop via biotic process.
Classification and Lighting Requirement for Different Corals:
Although corals look like plants, they are in fact animals. Actually, they are a set of animals and classified into the Phylum Cnidarian, also known as Phylum Coelenterate. Mainly corals are classified into three classes which are:
- Jellyfish (Scyphozoa)
- Hydrozoans (Hydrozoa)
- Sea anemones (Anthozoa)
Corals are ancient and have a simple radially symmetrical body along with one opening that works as both mouth and anus.
Most coral requires the same kind of light. However, there are three basic lighting systems which are used widely for different corals:
- Fluorescent Light.
- Metal Halide Light.
- LED light.
Fluorescent lights are enough to help most corals grow. These lights are long-lasting. Acropora corals and some other small polyp stony corals are less capable of adapting changes in light. Which means, they require the same kind of light. However, most professionals keep LPS corals under regular Fluorescent lights and SPS corals under Halide lights. After the LEDs have made an entry, most people are now using LEDs to grow SPS corals.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long is the lifespan of LED lights?
It depends on the quality of the light. But if you use 10 hours each day, high-quality LEDs will last for more than 14 years or I should say 50,000 hours. However they will degrade and deem a bit over time.
Should I keep the light ON in the tank whole night?
No. Like human’s, fishes, plants, and corals need both light and darkness. So it would be better to make a schedule on when you will turn off/on the light. Follow that schedule every day.
How Much LED Light is Required For A Reef Tank
In case of LED, the traditional watts per gallon approach is not gonna work. You need to measure the PAR (photosynthetically active radiation) of your LED fixture. Different corals have different requirements in the PAR scale. Usually for softies (soft coral) 50 to 100 PAR, for LPS 50 to 150 PAR and for SPS 250 to 350 PAR of LED lighting would be required for the corals to thrive. Check this article for a detailed guide.
Please note that reef lights are quite different from freshwater planted tank lights. Please read our article about the best light for aquarium plants to know more.
We have come to the end of our guide on best reef light. Hope after reading this article, it will be easier for you to get the right LED light for your reef tank. All the reviewed lights in this article are worthy of investment. You just need to choose one according to your requirement and preference. Also here is our recommendation for best nano reef lighting.
That’s all for this article. If you have any question, do not hesitate to ask in the comment section below. We’ll get to you as soon as possible.
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