7 Best LED Lighting for Reef Tank of 2020

Best LED Lighting For Reef Tank

Just like in the natural environment, reefs require light to grow. They may look like rocks but they are colorful, living ecosystems that add a lot of character to your marine tank.

While there are many lighting options to consider for reef tanks, LED is the best option because it is energy efficient, produces less heat and emits more light as compared to the others.

As you shop for these lighting units, it is important to understand what their features mean. To help you with that, the review below covers the best-LED lighting for reef tanks so as to help you in the selection process.

You can also read other product reviews of LED light for planted tankLED aquarium lighting, nano reef tank.

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Viparspectra LED Light

1. Viparspectra LED Light (Full Spectrum Reef Tank LED Light)

  • Emits a natural full light spectrum
  • Digital timer with 2 independent channels
  • 165 watts with 12000K color temperature
  • Wireless remote control
Current USA 4103

2. Current USA 4103 (Easy-to-Install Reef Tank LED Light)

  • Long, slim profile with extension brackets
  • Programmable 24-hour lighting cycle
  • Waterproof
  • 4-size options available
Hipargero LED Light

3. Hipargero LED Light (Reef Tank LED Light with Touch Controls)

  • Touch control panel
  • Adjustable bracket
  • 30-watt rating with 7500K color temperature
  • 2 dimmable channels
Kessil A360WE

4. Kessil A360WE (Reef Tank LED Light with Spectral Intelligence)

  • 90-watt LEDs with spectral intelligence
  • Small size with densely packed LEDs
  • Includes UV light
  • 10000K color temperature
Marineland ML90620

5. Marineland ML90620 (Best Budget Reef Tank LED Light)

  • Affordable
  • 14000K color temperature
  • Built-in timer for daytime and nighttime settings
  • 2 size options
Phlizon LED Light

6. Phlizon LED Light (Reef Tank Light with UV Full Spectrum LEDs)

  • UV full-spectrum lights
  • White and blue channels with dimmer knobs
  • Built-in socket
  • 165-watt power rating
Aquatic Life 420386

7. Aquatic Life 420386 (3-Channel Reef Tank LED light)

  • 6 colored LEDs with a 3-channel timer
  • Slim profile (0.5 inches thick)
  • 9000K color temperature
  • 3-size options

PRODUCT

1. Viparspectra LED Light

(Full Spectrum Reef Tank LED Light)

Viparspectra LED Light
  • Emits a natural full light spectrum
  • Digital timer with 2 independent channels
  • 165 watts with 12000K color temperature
  • Wireless remote control

2. Current USA 4103

(Easy-to-Install Reef Tank LED Light)

Current USA 4103
  • Long, slim profile with extension brackets
  • Programmable 24-hour lighting cycle
  • Waterproof
  • 4-size options available

3. Hipargero LED Light

(Reef Tank LED Light with Touch Controls)

Hipargero LED Light
  • Touch control panel
  • Adjustable bracket
  • 30-watt rating with 7500K color temperature
  • 2 dimmable channels

4. Kessil A360WE

(Reef Tank LED Light with Spectral Intelligence)

Kessil A360WE
  • 90-watt LEDs with spectral intelligence
  • Small size with densely packed LEDs
  • Includes UV light
  • 10000K color temperature

5. Marineland ML90620

(Best Budget Reef Tank LED Light)

Marineland ML90620
  • Affordable
  • 14000K color temperature
  • Built-in timer for daytime and nighttime settings
  • 2 size options

6. Phlizon LED Light

(Reef Tank Light with UV Full Spectrum LEDs)

Phlizon LED Light
  • UV full-spectrum lights
  • White and blue channels with dimmer knobs
  • Built-in socket
  • 165-watt power rating

7. Aquatic Life 420386

(3-Channel Reef Tank LED light)

Aquatic Life 420386
  • 6 colored LEDs with a 3-channel timer
  • Slim profile (0.5 inches thick)
  • 9000K color temperature
  • 3-size options

1. Viparspectra LED Light – Full Spectrum Reef Tank LED Light

Viparspectra Timer Control LED Light for reef tank
  • Power: 165 Watts
  • Size: 24 – 30 inches
  • Color Temperature: 12000K

Viparspectra’s LED light is designed to produce the full light spectrum so as to closely mimic the natural light from the sun.

This design was achieved after considering customer input, which makes the unit a product for the people and consequently, the top rated led lighting for reef tanks because it provides the users with what they asked for.

The full spectrum has one major benefit, which is that it is suitable for all the photosynthetic functions of the corals.

To give you more control over the lighting, this product has a built-in digital timer that allows you to control two light channels separately.

The first channel produces violet, royal blue, and blue colors while the second channel produces green, red, neutral white at 6500K and cool white at 12000K.

Although this light does not have sunrise, sunset or moonlight settings, the brightness in each channel can be controlled from 0 – 100% separately, enabling you to come up with different color properties that might also improve the appearance of the tank.    

Other features include a wireless remote control, cooling fans and a heat sink for heat dissipation, two hanging kits for suspending the unit above the reef tank and a 100,000-hour lifespan.

Pros:

  • Produces a full light spectrum
  • Built-in digital timer
  • Two independently controlled light channels
  • Wireless remote control
  • 100,000-hour lifespan

Cons:

  • Consumes a lot of power
  • No programmable sunrise, sunset or moonlight settings

2. Current USA 4103 – Easy-to-Install Reef Tank LED Light

Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
  • Power: 60 Watts
  • Size: 48 – 60 inches
  • Color Temperature: 10000K

Current USA’s 4103 is characterized by a long slim profile that is coupled with extension brackets. These make it easy to install because it fits easily over most tanks and in case the tank full to the brim, the LEDs will not be affected because the light is waterproof.

Also included are realistic effects, which include programmable sunrise, daylight, sunset and moonlight settings that enable you to create a full 24-hour cycle.

The bulb produces a higher ratio of actinic blue light from some LEDs, which balances with the full-spectrum light to create a good light source for the live coral and fish. This makes it one of the best-LED lights for coral reef aquariums.

Additionally, it has storm mode effects that include lightning strikes, cloud cover and lunar plus dusk effects to create evening modes. All these settings can be made using its convenient wireless remote control.

You also get 4 size options, with the 48 – 60 inches being the longest one. The rest includes a 36 – 48-inch, 24 – 36-inch and an 18 – 24-inch fixture.

Pros:

  • Easy to install
  • Realistic daylight, moonlight, sunrise, sunset, lightning, cloud cover and storm effects
  • Wireless remote control
  • Waterproof
  • Available in 4 size options

Cons:

  • Quite difficult to operate without the remote control
  • Does not have a variety of single colored LEDs for customized lighting

3. Hipargero LED Light – Reef Tank LED Light with Touch Controls

Hipargero LED Aquarium Light with Touch Control
  • Power: 30 Watts
  • Size: 10 – 18 inches
  • Color Temperature: 7500K

This LED fixture incorporates the use of a touch control panel to adjust the light intensity and powering on/off, which is easy and convenient to use.

Other than that, the unit has an adjustable bracket to suspend the unit high above the tank for better lighting.

Lighting is provided using Epileds violet, Cree royal blue, Cree blue and Cree white LEDs that can be controlled through 2 dimmable LED channels to produce either a proper blue or white light.

Other features include a cooling fan and cooling fins and a compact design with few LEDs, which makes it ideal for small 10-18-inch tanks.

On the bright side, this small size with few LEDs makes the fixture very energy efficient, with a rating of only 30 watts.

Pros:

  • Convenient touch control panel
  • 2-dimmable ​channels
  • Cooling fan and fins
  • ​Adjustable bracket for variable height suspension

Cons:

  • ​No remote control
  • Covers a small area

4. Kessil A360WE – Reef Tank LED Light with Spectral Intelligence

Kessil A360WE Controllable LED Light
  • Power: 90 Watts
  • Size: 24 inches
  • Color Temperature: 10000K

Kessil's A360WE incorporates simplicity in its design using spectral intelligence for easy and precise color blending, which leads to optimal coral growth.

Instead of having multiple channels, this system allows you to adjust the color spectrum and light intensity using 2 knobs. This boosts the spectral range output and gives a better user experience.

You also get a densely packed matrix of LEDs that spread the light over a wide area, despite being small in size.

However, no matter which spectral point that you settle on, the LEDs produce a penetrative light with a proprietary blend of UV light included for enhancing the coral growth and coloration. 

On the downside, this product is very costly and no programmable daylight or moonlight settings are included.

Pros:

  • Spectral intelligence for precise color blending.
  • Small in size
  • Densely packed LED design
  • UV light for coral growth and coloration

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • No programmable daylight, moonlight, sunset, etc. settings

5. Marineland ML90620 – Best Budget Reef Tank LED Light

Marineland Reef LED Strip Light
  • Power: 32.3 Watts
  • Size: 18 – 24 inches
  • Color Temperature: 14000K

Marineland's LED reef strip is the most affordable led lighting for reef tanks and despite this, it has a very impressive set of features.

For starters, the unit has daylight LEDs that provide the required spectral output for reef growth. This daylight is achieved by 14000K temperature bulbs in an impressive 2040 lumen output. The result is a very bright white light that replicates the actual sunlight.

Additionally, the product also has nighttime LEDs that output a lunar 460 nm output. These mimic the moonlight underwater while also providing that deep underwater blue light required for proper coral growth.

To control the day and nighttime lights, this unit features a built-in timer that enables the lights to switch automatically from one mode to the other, creating a real 24-hour day effect for the fish and corals.  

The best part is that it is very energy efficient, with its whole LED set being rated at only 32.3 Watts. There is also a larger 24-inch option for a bigger tank, but is slightly more expensive.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • High color temperature provides the required spectral output for reef growth
  • Built-in timer to control daytime and nighttime lights
  • Energy efficient
  • Available in 2 size options

Cons:

  • Does not have a remote control
  • Covers a small area

6. Phlizon LED Light – Reef Tank Light with UV Full Spectrum LEDs

Phlizon Dimmable Full Spectrum LED Light for Reef Tank
  • Power: 165 Watts
  • Size: 24 – 36 inches
  • Color Temperature: 12000K

Phlizon’s dimmable LED light has its biggest strength in a full spectrum lighting system, which consists of blue UV light. This strengthens the defense mechanisms in corals while also making them healthier.

On the other hand, white and red lights boost fish and coral growth, purple sterilizes and protects the fish as they grow while green to suppress the quick growth of grass in freshwater tanks.

These lights are split into two main channels: a blue and a white one, and are controlled manually through dimmer knobs that increase or decrease the intensity of the light separately on each channel.  

In terms of size, the unit is available in a single size but it features a built-in socket, which enables you to connect them in a series quite easily after hanging them from the top.

Pros:

  • Full spectrum with UV lights
  • 2 separate light-intensity controlled channels
  • Built-in socket for easy connection in a series set up

Cons:

  • Lacks a built-in timer
  • No remote control feature

7. Aquatic Life 420386 – 3-Channel Reef Tank LED light

Aquatic Life Fixture LED Light
  • Power: 71 Watts
  • Size: 47 – 50 inches
  • Color Temperature: 9000K

This LED lighting fixture contains 6 differently colored LEDs,which include include 9K white, red, violet (400nm and 420nm) and blue (454nm and 440nm).

These are divided into three independently controlled channels by a 3-channel timer as bright white, mixed color and moonlight LEDs. With this setup, your reef gets a full light spectrum for healthy development.

Other than that, this reef tank light also has a slim profile, giving it a strip-like appearance because it is 0.5 inch thick and 48 inches long.

However, the unit is available in 24 and 36-inch sizes as well so as to fit on different aquarium sizes when mounted using its extendable arms.

An important thing to note is that the lights are not waterproof so you should take care not to overfill the tank to the level where the water gets very close to the LEDs.

Pros:

  • 3-channel timer
  • ​6 colored LEDs produce a full light spectrum
  • Slim profile design
  • Available in 3 size options

Cons:

  • Lacks a remote control
  • Not waterproof

How to Buy the Best LED Lighting for Reef Tank

How to Buy the Best LED Lighting for Reef Tank

1. Compatibility

Compatibility is always something worth considering and in this case, it is in the tank size and support for the marine life inside the tank.

Of course, an LED bulb should be a perfect fit for your tank. Therefore, you should have your tank width measurement in mind beforehand and check the unit’s compatible tank size.

For instance, if your tank has a width of 36 inches, a 24 – 36-inch LED light like Phlizon's LED Light will do.

However, if your tank is too big, you might consider buying 2 or more so as to provide adequate lighting. If it’s small, buy the correct size so that you don’t spend more on power for unnecessary lighting.

The other compatibility aspect that you need to consider is the support for marine life. These bulbs might have multiple colored LEDs to provide different light nutrients to the living organisms inside the tank.

While full spectrum lights are the best, it is important to check how the individually colored lights affect the coral and fish inside so as to get the best one for growing your reef.

Aquatic Life's 420386 for example, has 6 colored LEDs that promote healthy reef growth. 

2. Power Consumption

As much as LED lighting technology is energy efficient as compared to other lighting technologies, each LED bulb is made is a different way and consumes power in different doses.

For instance, there is the Kessil 90-Watt bulb and the Marineland 32.3-Watt bulb above. Both are ideal for a 24-inch tank width but one consumes more power than the other.

Such big differences make it important to consider the power consumption because a lowly rated unit can save you a lot in power bills.

3. Color Temperature

Generally, cool white colors (6000K and above) are found in all reef tank LEDs. However, there might other directly colored LEDs within the bulb that enable you to get a full light color spectrum.

White color temperatures usually mimic the sunlight and have a wide spectrum of colors in it.

With the addition of red, violet, blue, UV and other colors like in Phlizon's LED Light, the bulb’s white light is boosted to provide an all-around beneficial light, which promotes the fast and healthy growth of both the fish and coral.

Therefore, as much as high color temperatures seem like the best option, it is important to buy a bulb that balances the colors so that you get a beneficial full light spectrum.

4. Lifespan

LEDs have a longer lifespan than other lighting technologies and this usually ranges in the tens of thousands of hours. However, this does not mean that all of them are designed to operate for the same number of hours.

The longer the hour rating, the better the product. ​For instance, Viparspectra's LED Light​ stands out due to its 100,000-hour lifespan rating. 

5. Easy to Install

Fish tank LEDs can be installed in one of two ways. First is by suspending it above the reef tank using hanging kits and the other is by using extension arms so as to place it on the top tank edges.

Using extension arms like with Current USA's 4103 is much easier because you only need to place the unit above the glass/ acrylic.

However, the unit must have the exact measurements as the tank so that it can sit squarely on the edges. 

Hanging kits such as in Hipargero's LED Light are a bit difficult to install because they must be supported at the top.

However, they need not be an exact size as the tank and thus, enable you to have a bigger tank size than the bulb itself.

Conclusion

Even though some reef tanks come with their own LED lighting systems, these additional units are designed with reef colony growth in mind.

​That said, we recommend Current USA's 4103 as the best-LED light for reef tanks because it produces a full spectrum light with actinic blue for healthy coral growth. It is also energy-efficient, easy to install, waterproof and you get 4 sizes for different tank sizes.


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