Refugium lights are the fastest and safest way for the growth of coral reefs and Chaetomorpha. An optimum level of lighting can double the growth of plants and also the macroalgae.
A high-quality refugium light not only enhances photosynthesis but also assists the filtration process of the tank. In the market hundreds of lights are available that will light up your refugium and make it glow.
Choosing amongst them is not an easy task, that’s why today I’ll take you on a tour to look at the best refugium lights.
Top 9 Best Refugium Lights in 2021
Among versatile old and new brands, it’s a bit complex to filter out the best quality refugium light.
I have explained in detail with the bright and dark sides about the top 9 refugium lights running in the market. So let’s have a look at these lights.
Additional Read: Why you should install a refugium
1. Kessil H160 Tuna Flora Refugium Grow Light
The Kessil Tuna H160 is one of the most amazing lights among its competitors. If you are looking for a light that would boost your algae to a near-perfect level then this LED light would be an optimum choice for your refugium.
It was specially made for the growth of the algae and you will see it as soon as you install it in your tank. Few lights can beat this in Algae production rate.
The projection of red and blue lights from this product will accelerate the Chaetomorpha to continue photosynthesizing at an optimum level.
As a result, your aquatic plants will be able to get adequate amounts of nutrients they require. Also, it comes with outstanding tech support. The quality of this is simply uncompromising.
Plus, you will find the Kessil H160 easy to use and also exceptionally effective. One of the best things about this device is that you can adjust the light according to your own liking and preference.
The distribution is magnificent as it spreads evenly. Moreover, the light coloring is so full of life.
Moreover, the penetration of the light is quite impressive. Though it’s only a 40 watt light it can emit powerful light like a metal halide. It can easily be fitted in both small and large refugium setups.
There are two drawbacks to this product. One is that it’s too powerful for small tanks and the second one is a bit costly. However, this light is a total game-changer and definitely a great buy.
2. Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light
This light is specially made for the yield of marine plants in general and also for green algae of shallow water. The Chaeto Max light will accelerate the macro algae growth to eliminate toxic nutrients like phosphate and nitrate.
It’s specifically designed for SUMPS and AIO aquariums. Also has both hook and loop; bracket mounted feature. You can mount this light both horizontally and vertically behind the AIO.
You can buy two versions of this light. One of them has a total of 45 high-efficiency LEDs in the 9 watt light. And another one comes with 90 LED in the 18 watt light.
Moreover, the ChaetoMax refugium light generates a superior illumination of aquatic plant growth helping spectrum.
Though this is compact in size it has the capability to powerfully light up the macroalgal bed in the corner and awkward place inside your tank setup.
Without any doubt, this light pack would be an excellent addition to your refugium tank. Because of the sleek design, it allows you to fit easily in your tank and maneuverability is high.
Furthermore, the emission of the spectrum from this light range between 420-660nm which is used in photosynthetic tools.
Different color lights like Red, Magenta, Violet, and Blue emitted from the ChaetoMax.
Unlike many other lights in the market, it does not transfer too much heat. It’s built with aluminum which makes it sturdy too. You can easily connect it using the electric cord.
Although it has many good features, it has a negative side too. It’s not waterproof. Apart from that, it’s a damn good deal compared to its price level.
3. AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED
The AquaIllumination LED light can be connected to your smartphone app via Bluetooth.
With this particular app, you can adjust the level of intensity, timer, and LED from your smartphone. It reduces the extra pain of walking to the tank and adjusting them manually.
This amazing light can produce 8 unique colors with its 16 different LEDs. And also you can set it up for the required wavelength.
You will be impressed with the output of the PAR, the mixing of colors and spread are quite high quality.
The overall LED placement and lens positioning mix the light so well that literary color separation is removed efficiently. Using the mounting hardware Prime fixture you can fix it easily without much effort.
When it comes to design it has its own advantage not only for being smaller in size but also for the thin design which makes it less visible in your aquarium.
Moonlight vibe wavelength is also embedded in this latest LED. It’s appropriate for your refugium for both the cultivation of coral reefs and microalgae.
Moreover, it is tailored in a way that makes it water-resistant which prevents any kind of damage if it gets wet accidentally.
One of the outstanding features is that it has a fan that reduces any kind of heat from the light.
Plus you can use it from large and small size tanks. One thing of this light that might be a little disappointing for you is the absence of WiFi options.
However, most of the features are so on point that it’s a good choice for your refugium.
4. Kessil H80 Tuna Flora Refugium LED
Kessil H80 is one of the top-notch productions from the Kessil company that will help the growth of your Chaeto plants. It can generate 4 unique colors in its spectrum which include blue, red, bloom, and growth.
You can choose your required and preferable wavelength for your refugium using this LED light. You have the dimmable choice in it helps you to control the light intensity.
One of the most outstanding features is that unlike many LEDs it runs without noise. The ultra-modern innovative design LED has a heat-dissipating system that makes it fanless and requires low maintenance.
Even the blending of the light is high-quality and penetrates quite well in the refugium tank.
Moreover, this light unit is only 15 watts but illuminates an adequate amount of light in your refugium which is optimum for marine plant growth.
It increases the growth of microalgae. Also, it does the job of eliminating unnecessary toxic substances like phosphate and nitrate. The light coverage of this LED light can vary from 14″ – 24″.
Having said all the good features it also has two negative sides. It does not cover a much larger area and another one is you need to buy a spectral controller. Apart from that, it’s a wonderful LED light that you can buy for your refugium tank.
5. JBJ Nano Glo LED Refugium Light for Aquarium
JBJ LED light is one of the most unique LED refugium lights available today. This refugium light is a small and compact light that is made for smaller size tanks. You can also use it for small aquariums without any problem.
It has premium quality 4 high-intensity LED light that generates and provides lights evenly for the growth of microalgae.
Each light consists of 6500K white lights that use and consume a little capacity of only 4 watts. So it will save you a lot of electric bills.
You will be more surprised to know that these lights are capable of producing 70 lumens so you can guess the level of brightness.
Also assists to get the tank to get rid of the excess nitrates and phosphates. While the main display lights are off you can keep them on to keep the PH level at a constant level. It weighs only .6 pounds and can be used on glass tanks and acrylic tanks.
You can easily attach this light set to the tank with the help of a magnet or suction cup. The high-quality output design makes it last around 40,000 hours.
The heating system is amazing and generates a little amount of heat.
Now let me tell you the shortcomings of this light.
It does not have any on/off switch system in it. Looking at the good side this is an excellent addition to your refugium.
6. CFGrow 200 W Waterproof Led Grow Light
The CF Grow light is designed in a way that you can use it both indoors in a humid climate and outdoors too. As it is waterproof so you can expect a long life of this light.
You will get a steel hanger rope, a single water-resistant power cable, and a COB LED grow light.
This LED light can generate and illuminate so much power that it can easily beat most of the 300 Watt grow LEDs.
It’s an optimum choice for users who are looking for a budget-friendly and powerful light. It provides a full spectrum light which ranges between 380-730nm.
The spread of the light is quite good and even. When it comes to the rapid growth of the plants in your refugium it simply works as a booster.
Despite not having a fan it has a heat controlling system. The Intelligent Control keeps the temperature of the light at 65 degrees Celsius. As there is no fan so no noise.
The PAR of this light is around 300 at 18inches so if you want to take maximum benefit it would be best if you keep this 5 inches away.
Another thing about this lamp is its longevity which can last for around 50,000 hours. Only two problems that may be a little painful for you. One is the heat of the surface and the second one is it’s not dimmable which poses danger for your eyes.
However, if you look at the plus and minus I have to say it’s something you can definitely buy for your refugium.
7. ACKE LED Grow Light
ACKE light is an efficient light at a reasonable price. This LED light will produce enough power to support your refugium.
It was designed to best serve smaller size tanks. Also, it’s a great choice for a sump tank. Compared to its 12 Watt it will generate enough intensity and spectrum.
Moreover, this light unit can deliver red light with a range of 630-660 nm and blue light with a wavelength of 460 nm.
Plus, you can hang the light by fastening it to a bar, fix it to the wall with or keep it on a flat surface.
One of the best features is that it’s waterproof and it will give you a bit of relief from getting damage from water.
Even the installation of this refugium LED light is quite easy and you just have to plug in the long cable and it will start working.
An on/off switch is given with it for your convenience. It is also good for the growth of the macroalgae in your refugium.
This LED light is perfect for seedling growth and has a total of 40 lights which illuminate enough light to cover a 30-gallon tank. Though it’s small in size the built quality is sturdy as it’s made of aluminum. Due to the aluminum built it will not have excess heat issues.
Along with all the good features, it has two minor issues. One is the shortage of versatile color and wavelength. Another is that you can’t control the light intensity.
8. Kingbo aquarium light with full spectrum LED
This full spectrum led light guarantees growth for fish, reef, and coral. For any kind of reef tank or aquarium owners, this Kingbo product can be an excellent refugium light. This light is 18 watts and comes with a full 6 band spectrum.
Moreover, there are 18 small LED lights inside every unit with a 90-degree lens which is optical. The lens prevents light loss and improves lumen output, as a result, the growth will be maximum.
You can use this refugium light for almost any kind of small aquarium or reef tank, saltwater aquarium as well. An aluminum heat sink is attached to the product for cooling. Even after continuous use of 24 hours or more, the light stays cool to make sure the growth of fishes, corals, or reefs is uninterrupted.
What’s even better, the bulb will surely be bigger and brighter than your expectation if you are planning on installing it on a small aquarium. It will uplift the overall aesthetics of your aquarium while making sure optimal growth.
9. Growstart full spectrum led light ufo style
This cob light is popular for its unique design and full spectrum lighting as well. Along with being bright, this product lights up more space compared to other led lights. You can use this amazing refugium light for growth of flowers, corals, reefs etc.
The innovative build in cooling system using aluminum case helps this grow light to provide bright light continuously without getting too hot. The 90-120 degree angle in every product ensures proper growth by increasing brightness and light spreading area.
It is especially designed for indoor use and hence a very light weight is maintained even though the light consists of 28 different colorful LED lights of 5 watt. This gives you the opportunity to relocate the grow light to a different place easily if you want to.
When you order this product, you will get a 150 watt plant light first of all. Along with the light, you will get hanging accessories and a 6 feet long power cord. You will also have an instruction manual so you understand what you need to do.
Additional Read: Best Reef Sump with Refugium
How do you install a refugium light?
As each light has different features, so do the parts and accessories are unique too.
The basic thing of installing the light is to hang up over the tank or mount over the tank by maintaining such a distance that will have an appropriate distance from your plants.
Now comes the second part and that is to create the connection with your electric supply. Some light sets have long cords while some have short so try to set up near an area where you can easily connect your cord.
And in case if you face any difficulties during installation then just try to have a look at the manual one more time if you don’t understand you can also search for the solution in the refugium forum and the manufacturer’s website.
Best Wavelengths for Growth and Water Penetration
Even if you are not from a science background you need to know about the wavelength. Depending on the plants and the water depth of the tank you can choose your preferable color for a refugium.
Water Penetration Level
Here in the below, I will show you which color can penetrate how far and the wavelength range.
|Light Color||Wavelength||Penetration Level|
|Red||650-780 nm||3-5 meter|
|Orange||585-650 nm||13-16 meter|
|Yellow||575-585 nm||27-32 meter|
|Green||490-575 nm||43-50 meter|
|Blue||380-490 nm||57-61 meter|
Here you can see that red light has less ability to penetrate in the water while blue light can go most deep. If your refugium tank is a deeper one with a good marine plant population then you need the light that can go deeper.
Finding the Precise Wavelength for Your Plants
The very first thing you need to do is to make a list of what types of plants and coral are present in your refugium. Then you need to find out where these plants usually settle down in their natural environment.
Aquarists use mostly green macroalgae like Chaetomorpha in their refugium so if you own that too then take note that they live close to the surface water and need direct light.
From the chart, you can see that red wavelengths have the lowest penetration level which means Chaeto plants are exposed to red hue back in the forest or natural water bodies. Whenever you are searching for a LED light set you need to ensure it has a red wavelength to provide support to the Chaeto plant’s growth.
No matter which plant you own you need to do the same process to make sure what wavelength they require to survive and grow in their natural climate.
Before buying your refugium light you must consider and look out for some factors. In the following section, these will be discussed in short.
Adequate light is crucial for the growth of aquatic plants and macroalgae. Light intensity is interlinked with three things.
These are the watt level of light, the deepness of the tank, and the light source distance from the top water level.
A deeper tank with low light intensity will not help your macros to grow.
Different colors have different wavelengths. The light spectrum is three different wavelengths generated by the light that can penetrate into your refugium water.
For example, you should try to buy those which have blue light color because that can penetrate to the deepest level and boost your marine plant’s growth.
No matter how large or small your refugium is you have to make sure you are using a light that can spread the light evenly on your tank.
Because an uneven spread will hamper the growth of macros thus increase the level of toxic like phosphate and nitrate.
Heat Management System
If the light you are going to install in your refugium does not have a proper heat management system then there remains a chance of shortage of its total lifespan.
So light with a cooling system like a fan would be a great feature. Try to buy those but not at the cost of other good features. Take your decision wisely.
Another great feature of a high-quality refugium light. Any water-resistant light has less probability of getting damaged from touch or contact with water.
On the contrary, if your light is not waterproof then any accident might make it dysfunctional.
Refugium light should have a timer system. Because for your specific refugium setup you need a specific duration of light.
For the growth of coral reefs and algae, if you need 12-14 hours and you don’t have a timer in your light then it will hinder the growth by harming the reefs and macros.
In addition to that, a timer will be able to resemble the sunrise and sunset pattern by controlling the light. You can not compromise this feature at all.
Proper Mounting Options
An excellent light that can not be mounted or attached properly on the right spot is not worth the money.
Because you need to place your light at a specific distance or your whole refugium system will collapse.
Wifi or Other Connection System
A high-tech light unit will help you to control and adjust different things like color, timing, and intensity by not physically going close to the tank. You will be able to control it using Apps installed on your smartphone.
Easily to Use And Install
Anything complex to use and install is extra pain. The same applies to refugium light. A device that has a long power cable that can be connected easily with the plug should be on your priority list.
1. When should I run my refugium lights?
You should run your refugium lights whenever the main tank has its lights off. And the opposite also applies. This will prevent the pH from fluctuating too much and causing any sort of trouble.
2. Should I leave the Refugium light on?
A refugium tank that has enough plantation can require 12-14 hours of high-intensity light on a day. But some aquarists keep their light constantly on 24/7.
3. Can you grow Chaeto with white light?
Yes, the white light will help in the growth of Chaeto. Because it has a versatile color like red, orange, blue, green, etc in it.
4. Does refugium help with algae?
A refugium fights algae but generates an environment outside the show tank to home for more powerful and manageable algae.
5. What light does a refugium need?
For growing chaeto, you need a minimum of 50% red light, 30% green light and 10-15% blue light. The wavelength ranges are 630-700 nm, 500-580 nm, 435-495 nm respectively.
Read Next: Best LED Reef Light
By this time, you might have an idea which light would be most suitable for your refugium.
As I have talked about the best refugium light in the current market.
I expect the above information will help you buy the best one for the growth of your Chaeto, coral reef, and macroalgae.