11 Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks [2020 Reviews & Guide]

Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks

Without an LED lighting system in your reef tanks, you are not truly getting the most out of the experience. The visual effects of these lighting systems allow you to showcase the finer details of all that your exciting marine life collection has to offer.

Not only does it offer outstanding visual effects, but these LED lighting systems also help your ecosystem grow and flourish. Natural reefs are predisposed to harvesting energy from the beneficial lighting found in an ocean environment, for example.

Benefits of LED Lighting for Fish Tanks

Compared to a boring option without LED lighting for reef tanks, well-lit LEDs for reef tanks awe any houseguests, captivating passersby. It’s the moving display of the beauty of nature that will be undeniable.

These LED lighting systems also make a fantastic feature for businesses who use LED reef tanks. It sets an elegant ambiance for any restaurant or company waiting room, for example.

Let’s see what else these reef LED features can offer:

The best reef LEDs are changing to suit the pace of a modern world.

Whereas these reef accessories had only one brightness setting a decade ago, modern technology allows for easy adjustment to match any milieu. It also comes in handy for the specific aquatic life that inhabits your household. If an LED light is too bright, it could also harm the delicate occupants in the water.

Depending on the model you choose, you may be able to adjust the brightness of your LED tank from across the room. 

These advancements continue to evolve and amaze hobbyists, allowing you to save money on your energy bill by adjusting the brightness to your tastes. An LED aquarium is now a magnificent home decor feature that blends into the atmosphere you’ve created.

Life in a reef tank can be hard for an organism to adjust to, so if you want it to have the longest life possible, it needs an environment that matches the biological makeup. For many creatures, LED lights are a phenomenal addition to your features. Between fish, coral reefs, and plants, the best reef LED light will help them flourish in their new home.

As technology progresses, advancing LED lights disperse energy more efficiently. It makes LED reef tanks more cost-effective, and cooler overall. Like a tank that is too bright, heat also has negative effects on marine life. These organisms may not be used to fluctuating temperatures due to their evolutionary makeup.

For example, if the water is warm and the marine organism is from the arctic circle, it may not be able to adjust or could perish in the process. It is true for both living creatures and plant life, like a reef.

Cooler LED light poses fewer risks. If you accidentally leave on an old light and it short circuits, or it is directed at the wrong point, it could be a potential fire hazard. Most modern LED lights are cooler now, only providing the light you need without any changes in temperature.

If you need to change the temperature of the water in your tank, there are specific units for these processes designed to regulate the temperature according to your unique set of needs.

The best LED lights can be safer than past counterparts in the sense that it produces less heat, but there are also subtler differences that keep the underwater environment secure.

These safety features mainly stem from electrical components. Old models contain light featuring halide and T5, which have been shown adverse effects within the artificial environment. Modern LED lights have foregone this process, avoiding any sort of toxic ingredients and harmful gasses.

Some of the best LED models featured on our list would be completely safe if it fell into your tank by accident—most are waterproof.

It seems like all our electrical devices are becoming sleeker and more sophisticated, modern LED light systems for reef tanks are no different. 

The clunky and bulky models of the past that you could only store in one place are gone. Instead, you can easily fold, maneuver, and pivot most of these newer models, often not realizing the mobility potential until the product has arrived on your doorstep.

Not only do compact LED models make it easier to set up on your terms, but it also makes the light easier to transport and fit into storage. It allows you to easily style the LED lights to match the overall design of the room. Waterproof attributes can also make cleaning your tank much easier.

Once you’ve considered these questions, it is time to look for the right model to fit your unique set of requirements.

The 11 Best LED Lights for Reef Tank Reviews

1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

The Current USA Orbit Marine LED model also comes in a variety of wattages, between 18 to 48 watts. It allows you to pick the best one for your outlets.

We may have saved some of the best options for later on this list, because the LED aquarium system is among the finest on the market. It is incredibly easy to operate, priced fairly, easy to install, and efficient for its slender size. It can be remote operated, allowing you to go about your day and change the settings as you see fit, whether you’re watching TV or taking a bubble bath at the other end of the house.

As if the low wattage options weren’t enough, the Current USA model is carefully curated to use much less power than similar LED lighting systems. Current USA laughs in the face of a 90-degree dispersion angle, for example, offering a whopping 120-degree option to keep the entire area lit.

It is created to work in both saltwater and freshwater tanks, outdoing the competition in its versatility.

Pros

  • Massive 120-degree dispersion ability
  • Low wattage options between 18 and 48 watts
  • Saves energy
  • Promotes growth in saltwater
  • Easy to use and install
  • Compact
  • Remote operated

Cons

  • Risk of losing the remote and not being able to operate it

2. HIPARGERO LED Aquarium Light

The LEDs main incentive is that it provides fantastic light within the tank. It also happens to be made from high-quality materials, but customers primarily love how well it illuminates the tank. It isn’t the same as ordinary LEDs either, the Cree LED aquarium lighting is modified to make sure it helps life flourish as much as possible.

It has been carefully designed with high-powered streams of white and blue lights, creating the right natural conditions to help the ecosystem thrive.

One of the best LED models has three options for light dimming and allows you to adjust it with a dial (as high or low as you want it for your ecosystem. The material has been well-reviewed and shown to be durable, even when dropped.

As for the light itself, it is built to stick around for years to come. The LEDs are also easy to assemble and install, allowing you to plug it in and worry about the more important things in life.

It is an excellent option for your LED reef tanks that isn’t going to empty your wallet in the process. It is great for reef LED models in both homes and businesses, and the design makes it aesthetically stylish, too.

Pros

  • Phenomenal LEDs
  • Tough materials
  • Two full spectrum white and actinic blue lights
  • Cree LED light
  • Adjustable dimness
  • Full spectrum intensity
  • Affordable
  • One-year warranty
  • Covers 90-degrees
  • Promotes aquatic life

Cons

  • Not waterproof

3. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable LED Aquarium Light

Between the price and the performance, the VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control model might be your best LED choice for quality lights in your reef environment.

The VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control model includes a built-in timer that allows you to control your light precisely, offering a simple solution to any inconveniences apparent in other models. All you need to do is click a few buttons and it will be programmed to deliver the exact specifications that you need to keep your marine life happy and healthy.

The VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control design is the result of countless brainstorming sessions with customers. It has put the product in a league of its own as far as efficiency and effectiveness.

Some of the best LED lights have been shown to help plants grow faster than other models, all by delivering the perfect blend of different colored UV lights. It is recommended that new owners start with a low light and progress slowly to see how the ecosystem responds.

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Durable
  • Programs easily
  • Combines full spectrum UV colors
  • Helps plants grow
  • Built-in timer
  • Manufactured with extensive customer input
  • Lasts over 20,000 hours

Cons

  • Programmability may throw some users off

4. Phlizon Dimmable Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Reef Decoration Light

The experts at Phlizon offer a large spectrum of lighting mechanisms to keep your collection prospering. The reef LED light is compact and easy to use.

The blue light alone has proven to give reef organisms the nutrients to continue growing. It also has an amazing selection of purple, green, red, and white lights, which combine to offer something for the whole ecosystem to enjoy.

In addition to being sleek, sophisticated, and professional, these reef LEDs benefit both saltwater and freshwater tanks.

It features a useful dimming mechanism that allows you to easily adjust the LEDs whenever needed. The setup is simple—only a few seconds to plug it in and watch it work its magic. If you owned the unit before purchasing a proper UV LED light, keep it low and increase it incrementally until the inhabitants are accustomed to the change.

The collection will be able to handle any spectrum of light in time, with the optimal level dependent on the unique needs.

It allows you to display night and day settings so that the growth cycle remains as constant as it would in nature. It runs on 165 watts, though, so make sure it matches your electrical needs.

Pros

  • Four kinds of LED lights, including actinic blue
  • Sleek and sophisticated design
  • Easy to transport and compact
  • Full spectrum UV light promotes growth
  • Night and day settings control light intensity

Cons

  • Not as strong as some other options
  • 165 watts

5. Kessil Tuna Blue A80 LED Light w/ Mini Gooseneck

A large tank calls for a large light, but you can’t argue with the portability benefit of a smaller light—the model from Kessil has that in spades.

It is small, while still offering all the full-spectrum lighting of LEDs that your plants and reefs need to thrive. Even if you have a medium-sized tank, this model will be a perfect match. When it comes to cramped spaces, the model gives you everything you could want in a 15-watt LED light.

As a drawback, it does not include a fan for cooling, but its aluminum structure defers some of the heat created by the LEDs. It is also specially made for saltwater tanks that focus on marine life and reefs, so you will need to find other options for any freshwater units.

Despite what its compact size indicates, there are plenty of controls to take advantage of this model, including light intensity dimmers and color changers. It is a perfect match for a tight space and tight budget consumer with a powerful lens in a small package, your ecosystem will thank you later.

Pros

  • 15-watt system saves energy
  • Fits in cramped spaces
  • Full-spectrum light to help saltwater reefs and plants grow

Cons

  • Not as powerful as other LEDs
  • Does not have a fan, so it may overheat

6. WILLS Newest LED Aquarium Light

The WILLS system is one of the easier options to set up on our list.

Despite its affordability, it is one of the best models on the market for helping your ecosystem thrive. It is worth every penny, reflected in its high-powered design and unique blend of blue and white lighting.

Although it requires a small amount of assembly, it is easy to move, and works perfectly for its size. It will not take up much energy, and the light makes it easy to pack up and take with you when you move, too

These types of LEDs have a key selling point: it is slim and fashionable and looks great incorporated into any modern home or business.

As for the lights, it only provides the purest form possible through a multi-band system. So many bands of light illuminate your whole tank, while remaining as healthy as ever. It comes with a one-year warranty and an adjustable bracket so that you can maneuver it however you please without worrying about breakages.

The ability to adjust its dimming between two levels, while controlling it from the dials on the back, is paramount. Its secondary optimal lens also gives a deeper penetration ability than other models.

Overall, it’s an excellent choice with a valuable warranty.

Pros

  • Two dimming channels for the intensity of the lights
  • Portable
  • 1-year warranty guarantee
  • Several colors to promote growth
  • Lasts over 50,000 hours

Cons

  • 165-watt system
  • Heavy (6.6 pounds)

7. Kessil A360WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light

The most expensive option on this list is among the best LEDs on the market. It boasts a massive set of energy-efficient LED light options with staggering output and conservative energy. Those lights project multiple colors, which you can control to your liking, dimming and intensifying as you please while you change shades.

It offers high-degree turning angles, too, so that your tank has the full spectrum of light it needs.

The main difference is the purity of the light. It is beyond HD in its capacity to deliver nutrients for your plants to achieve photosynthesis, for example. Combine that with the range of color and lighting options, and it is a premium LED system to put on your wish list.

A controller is standard for this model but makes it easier to operate.

Pros

  • Optimal coral growth
  • Portable LEDs
  • External controls for the intensity of the lights

Cons

  • Small
  • Made for reef aquariums, not great for other models

8. MarsAqua Dimmable LED Aquarium Coral Reef Light

MarsAqua is a trusted brand in fish tank accessories. Even more so than the last model, this LED lighting system uses an expert combination of blue, white, and red light to facilitate the premium growth of your coral and fish. It is crafted to help water-based plants reach their full potential, promoting stability in the process.

It is also easy to operate with several switches to adjust your dimness. The brightness of the light will be dependent upon your personal specifications, giving you the freedom to control the nutrients your plants receive.

The lights have been shown to be considerably brighter than other LED models, which hints at the premium price. One light is great for a tank of up to 55 gallons, with expansion light options if you have a bigger model.

The strength of the lights penetrates deeper into the area than other models, making it perfect for larger tanks that hold many organisms. It has a tough exterior frame for durability and copper on the inside that builds heat better than similar brands.

The venting system counteracts the heating feature and cools the exterior for balance.

Pros

  • Light penetrates deep into water
  • Fits large tanks
  • Lighting system promotes growth
  • Fanning system

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Noisy fan

9. Lominie LED Aquarium Nano Fish Tank Lights

Another affordable option for the fish tank aficionado, it makes the most of its 30-watt power while saving you money in comparison. Its 90-degree lens provides enhanced lighting from six colors, including two types of blue, red, green, white, and UV lights.

Not to be ignored, many customers say the company has fantastic customer service, too.

The fan-free design still manages to keep cool under pressure, while 4-setting dimming allows you to adjust the lighting to your ecosystem’s needs. The unique aluminum heat-sink has a cooling effect, which keeps it manageable.

The fan-free design is also completely silent, promoting sleep and calm in the environment.

It has a remote to increase your lighting all the way up to full, customizing the perfect shade for your aquatic friends. A smaller wattage and lack of a fan also mean less to go wrong, and for the price, it is certainly a bargain.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Silent, fan-free design
  • Dimming LED lights option
  • Great customer service

Cons

  • Less durable than more expensive options

10. Fluval Sea Marine Nano Bluetooth LED Light

The reasonably priced model offers just about everything you would need in LED lights options, plus perks that make it stand out from the crowd.

It is perfect for keeping saltwater reef tanks functioning. It is also a smaller light that runs on 20 watts of power, which is easy on the electric bill. It even has Bluetooth capabilities, where you can login to an app and control its settings.

The unique design allows you to choose from several programmable light settings at different times of day. For example, it can run on a 24-hour cycle, including light options for morning, afternoon, and night with artificial sunlight.

The light system knows it will need to use those light settings than when it is midday, for example. It saves considerably on the efficiency of the system.

It is only five inches across, so it can go anywhere. The power of the light is not diminished by its compact size, either. The frame is significantly lighter than other models, so with a waterproof design, this LED lighting system has it all.

Choose from seven different band waves of light, customizing to what will make your tank prosper. The light is considered extremely efficient for its size and remains quite stylish. Setup is easy, as a bracket can be installed to the tank in seconds. You can use the app to control the light as you go.

Pros

  • Mimics times of the day with its lighting
  • 20 watts but still powerful
  • Cheap but durable
  • Bluetooth capabilities

Cons

  • Smaller than other options
  • Lightweight (if you’re looking for something stronger)

11. Current USA Orbit IC LED

The model is available from 21 to 63 watts, which is still energy-saving at the highest wattage. You can choose between 18 to 72 inches wide to match your tank’s size, giving you the freedom to display this high-tech option with peace of mind.

It is the premium LED lighting system on the list, as the price tag reflects, but the light is superb with pure white and blue options that illuminate the area beautifully. Your ecosystem will thrive.

The lens rotates ninety degrees, bathing the entire tank in light. The light is secondary to the gadgets, though. It has top-of-the-line innovations, including settings that can ripple waves in the tank, create clouds, and conjure currents—your marine life will feel right at home.

It is also easy to install for tanks that are 18” and 24” wide.

Pros

  • Impressive light rotation
  • Adjustable wide frame light
  • Varieties of wattage
  • Two types of ripples, waves, and high-tech perks
  • Phenomenal full spectrum lighting

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavier than other options

Extra

We recently wrote a review of a popular AquaIllumination model a lot of reef tank hobbyists use.

Read our AI Hydra 26 HD review!

Features You Need to Consider for Your Reef Tank’s LED Lighting System

The full spectrum benefits LED lighting is essential for the ecosystem of a reef tank. It also complements your unique needs at home. The best LED system is different for everyone, but there are some common factors, including assessing the following features:

Unless you are retired, you probably don’t have all day to worry about your LED reef tank. An overly complicated LED lighting system makes it difficult to operate, though.

The easier your LED lighting system is to use, the better your overall experience. Even if the lighting works, confusing installation and functions are not worth the trouble.

Typically, there is a balance to keep in mind. You want a full spectrum lighting system that has multiple settings, but the more gadgets and gizmos, the more challenging it can be to operate. The more steps it takes to make it operational, the higher the chance of error, as well. The last thing you want is to flip the wrong switch before you go on vacation and have your ecosystem ruined.

Keep it simple, convenient, and effective. It is also where reliable software comes into play, the better the design, the better the habitat you’ll build.

If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is, but sometimes a model that costs $50 is just as good as a model that costs $500—research is the key.

Prices are often higher because of a better material, but you can spot a scam. If it has the same type of light bulbs, electrical wattage, and outside framing material, it is as good as a higher-priced model with the same specifications. Sometimes a name brand alone boosts price.

If you plan on having a reef tank for years, it might not be a bad idea to shell out a few extra dollars to make sure your LED system lasts. A busy schedule means that you don’t have time to test new models every few months. Look for something that will be resistant to your type of water, shatter-proof, and easy to transport.

Brands can be a double-edged sword. Typically, a brand will not only be an indicator that the product is of good quality, but that it is a company to trust. You want a brand that will work with you to find a replacement if their product is defective, which is why warranty plans are invaluable.

Dubious companies without websites and reviews are sometimes in the industry to make a quick buck. The poor quality of the LED light will reflect that inattention to care. A brand might also produce excellent washing machines, but terrible LED lights—consumer reviews and product specifications sort through the chaos quickly.

Ease of installation is a huge factor. Some people are more tech-savvy, so follow your gut on this one. There are countless light options on the market that will be ready to use right out of the packaging—plug it in, check it works, test it, and carry on with your day.

If there is anything about the installation process that confuses you, the package should contain instructions. Otherwise, the internet is an endless source of useful information and tutorials.

You want an LED light that uses power as efficiently as possible. The less money you need to spend on taking care of your reef tank, the better.

Many products will tell you–either on Amazon or the company website where it is sold–how much power it uses. Make sure you’re looking for a lower power usage because your ecosystem doesn’t need much to thrive.

More visual options are not always better. Who needs ten shades of the same light when three is suitable? Don’t hang onto unnecessary bells and whistles to brighten the inside of your aquarium.

You want your LED reef tanks to look as lovely on the outside as on the inside. You should be on the lookout for an LED lighting system that sustains growth, sets the tone of the room, matches your home, and can be dimmed if necessary.

It is good to preserve the option to keep some light on the inside of your tank, rather than having to completely shut it off when you need to turn the brightness down.

Once all the internal areas of your aquarium are organized, you can turn to the external visuals and how your lighting system helps bolster the overall experience. The best LED lighting system should cover a lot of ground with its lights, so look for models with higher angles for your tanks, such as 80 or 90 degrees.

Our Top Pick

Between the variety of wattages, lighting capabilities, price, remote operation, and angles of dispersion, the LED Current USA lighting system is one of the best LED reef models on the market.

You would be hard-pressed to find a better option, especially considering its portability and slender frame. Whether your tank is salt or freshwater, this Current USA Orbit model is a brilliant option for your LEDs.

No matter what model you choose, there is something here to meet your needs. Do a quick search on what your plants, reefs, and aquatic animals need, and match an LED lighting system to fit the style, needs, and price range for your reef tanks.

Happy hunting!

Related:

Best Nano Reef Tank Reviews

Best Saltwater Fish Food Reviews

The Ultimate Aquarium Lighting Guide

LED Lighting for Reef Tank

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