Best Reef LED Lighting Review – Top 10 Picks, Guide, FAQs & More

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You’ll agree with us when we say that buying reef LED lighting can be especially challenging due to the unique needs of corals. 

That’s why we decided to test out all the well-received reef lighting products available in the market right now in order to bring you this extensive list. 

Today, we’ll be looking at what makes these products stand out from the rest and what you definitely need in a light meant for a coral reef aquarium.

Top Pick

This premium LED light features a unique blend of LEDs that come together to create a light that illuminates your coral reef aquarium with immense penetration power.

Runner Up

By adjusting the power that’s available to each color, this product uses energy much more efficiently than its competitors. It’s beautifully built and easy to use as well.

Also Great

Coming with a gooseneck and a sturdy clamp, this product is very easy to mount. You’ll find that it blends in beautifully no matter what shape or size your aquarium is.

After months of testing and discussion, we’ve concluded these three to be the best out of all the lights we experimented with. 

Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 10 best reef LED lighting.

Best Reef LED Lighting - Top 10 Reviews

1. Overall Best Reef LED Lighting - OceanRevive® Arctic-T247 LED Aquarium Reef Light Review

This product really was an underdog among all the reef LED lighting products that we tested. We were expecting lights from more veteran companies to come out on top but this product really swept us off our feet. 

It features multi-colored LEDs that can be individually customized to alter their brightness and time. You do these customizations with a remote control that comes with the light. The controls are highly responsive even from a long distance. 

It does a wonderful job of illuminating coral reef aquariums. You’ll be amazed at the amount of detail you’ll be able to see in your corals with this light. 

Features of OceanRevive® Arctic-T247 LED Aquarium Reef Light – Best Reef LED Lighting

  1. Dimensions: 15.8 inches by 10.2 inches by 1.6 inches
  2. Weight: 5 pounds
  3. Comes with a remote control and batteries
  4. Multi-colored LEDs
  5. Comes with support brackets as well as hanging kits
  • Comes with a one-year warranty
  • Easy to install
  • Long-lasting
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Stylish design
  • Timer is hard to program

If you’re looking for reef LED lighting that will help your corals grow as well as show them off beautifully, this product is definitely for you. It’s aesthetically pleasing to look at and highly effective.

2. Best Reef LED Lighting with Wifi Control - Prime HD+ AI Aquarium LED Review

The Prime HD+ AI Aquarium LED is a wonderful little light that is suitable for many different types of coral reef aquariums.

It can be controlled through your smartphone or computer by connecting to it through wifi. Once connected, you can customize it in a number of ways. Depending on the type of fish and corals you have, you can adjust the light spectrum it emits so it’s perfectly suitable for the particular aquatic life inside your coral reef aquarium. 

It even features an acclimation setting which you can utilize so your fish and corals don’t get shocked or stressed by the sudden introduction of a new light to their home. 

Features of Prime HD+ AI Aquarium LED

  1. Dimensions: 5 inches by 5 inches by 5 inches
  2. Weight: 1.4 pounds
  3. Multi-colored LEDs
  4. Can be controlled through smartphone, Mac or PC
  5. Built-in cooling fan
  • Small in size
  • Cooling fan works silently
  • Highly customizable
  • Responsive wifi controls
  • Bright but not overbearing
  • Complicated to set up

If you’re tired of having remote controls of different gadgets in your home, this product is made for you. You can customize it from anywhere in your home without needing an extra controller.

3. Best Small Reef LED Lighting - Kessil Tuna Blue A80 LED Light Review

The Kessil Tuna Blue A80 LED Light is one of the most high-end reef LED lights on our list. It features a premium design that is built to last you a long time. 

It has a built-in setting that allows you to observe and adjust the light spectrum and intensity in order to perfectly simulate the daylight cycle for your fish and coral reefs. 

The light provides a beautiful shimmering effect in your aquarium which makes for a beautiful ocean-like effect. This is very beneficial to the fish in your coral reef aquarium as it makes them feel at home. 

Features of Kessil Tuna Blue A80 LED Light

  1. Operating capacity: 15 watts
  2. Comes with a gooseneck and clamp mount
  3. Weight: 3 pounds
  4. Suitable for aquariums up to 20 gallons
  5. Comes with a cooling fan
  • Cooling fan is quiet
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to mount
  • Compact
  • Built-in natural daylight cycle
  • Expensive

If you have a small coral reef aquarium that you’re looking to light beautifully and effectively, this product is ideal for you. It’s impeccably designed with high-quality material which would look great on any aquarium.

4. Best Dimmable Reef LED Lighting - VIPARSPECTRA LED Aquarium Light Review

The VIPARSPECTRA LED Aquarium Light provides you with tremendous value for money when you look at how many features you’re getting for the price you pay. 

It comes with multi-colored LEDs that come together to provide a white channel that’s perfect for growing corals. It also has a blue channel that can be used as a moonlight and it looks absolutely beautiful at night and not only makes your aquarium look great but also brings a calming ambience to the entire room.

The lights themselves are easily dimmable so you can adjust them however you want according to the type of fish, corals and plants you have inside your aquarium.

Features of VIPARSPECTRA LED Aquarium Light

  1. Dimensions: 16 inches by 8.5 inches by 2.4 inches
  2. Weight: 6.8 pounds
  3. Dimmable 
  4. Multi-colored LEDs
  5. Comes with a built-in timer
  • Responsive remote
  • Easily modifiable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Sturdy
  • Budget-friendly
  • Timers tend to go out of sync after a couple of months

If you’re having trouble finding a light with the right intensity for your corals, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s easily customizable and features brightness controls that you can utilize to appropriately illuminate your aquarium.

5. Best Touch-Controlled Reef LED Lighting - HIPARGERO LED Aquarium Light Review

We were highly skeptical of this product mainly due to its touch control. Many in our team thought it was a gimmick and some even said that water splashing onto it from time to time from the aquarium would eventually make the controls unresponsive. 

It’s been months since we’ve been testing this reef LED lighting and we’re happy to report it’s still working perfectly with zero hiccups. The touch controls are responsive and very easy to get the hang of. 

The light features a 90-degree 3-in-1 acrylic lens which enables the light emitted to penetrate your aquarium’s water with high intensity. 

Features of HIPARGERO LED Aquarium Light

  1. Dimensions: 8.7 inches by 4.3 inches by 1.2 inches
  2. Weight: 1.9 pounds
  3. Touch-controlled LED
  4. Versatile and colorful spectrum
  5. Built-in fans for cooling
  • High level of customizability
  • Fans operate silently
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to use
  • Beautiful, contemporary design
  • Expensive for its size

If you’re looking for a sleek and futuristic-looking light that will give your aquarium a unique look, this product is perfect for you. It features highly effective lighting that is appropriate for all kinds of coral reef aquariums.

6. Best Multi-Colored Reef LED Lighting - Phlizon Aquarium LED Light Review

The Phlizon Aquarium LED Light provides you with a wide variety of options when it comes to the color spectrum, ranging from Ultraviolet Blue, Purple, Green to cool White. 

It’s specifically designed with the health of aquatic pets, plants and corals in mind so you’ll find your corals to be growing at a much faster rate once you install this light. 

It also comes with a dimmer which is great not only for creating natural sunset/sunrise cycles but also for acclimating your fish, corals and plants to the light when it’s first introduced to your coral reef aquarium.

Features of Phlizon Aquarium LED Light

  1. Dimensions: 16 inches by 8 inches by 2.4 inches
  2. Weight: 5.6 pounds
  3. Brightness controls
  4. Blue and White channels controlled independently
  5. Lifespan of greater than 50,000 hours
  • Built-in dimmer 
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Well-built
  • Easy to mount
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Programming it can be time-consuming

If you want a versatile LED light that’s able to illuminate your aquarium with a number of different colors, this is the product you’re looking for. It makes your aquarium look incredible and is wonderfully healthy for the growth of your corals.

7. Best Programmable Reef LED Lighting - Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light Review

Current USA is a brand that has really made a name for itself over the past few years in the aquarium lighting industry and this product really does give you an insight into how they did it. 

The Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light comes absolutely packed with features which you’ll be exploring for days and even weeks after you first get it. It has built-in sunrise/sunset cycles, weather effects, brightness control and much more. 

It features full-spectrum LEDs that can be fully utilized to provide your coral reef aquarium with exactly the right spectrum of light which it needs. 

Features of Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

  1. Available in four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
  2. Comes with extendable brackets
  3. Built-in weather effects
  4. Remote-controlled
  5. Multiple modes
  • Durable
  • Easy to operate
  • Rim-mounting capabilities
  • Highly customizable
  • Affordable
  • Light intensity is a bit underwhelming

If you’re looking for reef LED lighting which you can have complete control over, this product is ideal for you. It features an almost infinite level of customizability and it has very intuitive controls.

8. Best Reef LED Lighting with Timer - Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Review

This beautiful-looking reef LED lighting comes with a three-channel timer and a battery backup. 

It features an array of white LEDs, mixed color LEDs and blue LED moonlights which come together to bring a very versatile spectrum of light to your coral reef aquarium. 

You can choose to have all the LEDs on or only some or only the blue LED moonlights. The moonlights do a wonderful job of simulating nighttime and have proven to be very calming for the fish we’ve tested this light with.

It features superior heat dissipation which ensures the lighting fixture does not get hot or make the aquarium water hot in any way.

Features of Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light

  1. Appropriate for aquariums ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches
  2. Three-channel timer with backup controls
  3. Built-in moonlights
  4. LEDs of six different colors
  5. LEDs can be programmed
  • Slim and sleek appearance
  • Lightweight
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Not waterproof

If you want reef LED lighting with a timer that’s easy to operate, this product is the one you’re looking for. It features an inconspicuous design that would look great on any aquarium and it illuminates your aquarium brilliantly.

9. Best Stylish Reef LED Lighting - MICMOL Smart LED Aquarium Light Review

Coming with an innovative design and a smart controller, this reef LED lighting is definitely an interesting entry in our list which we were very excited to test. 

The controller gives you a lot of liberty when it comes to customizing the LEDs in the light. You can use it to program sunrise, sunsets and even thunderstorms. 

The instruction manual is very easy-to-follow but honestly, you won’t even need it most of the time because the design is so intuitive that you get the hang of it within a few minutes of using it. 

It’s incredibly stylish and adds a whole new aesthetic look to your coral reef aquarium once it’s mounted onto it.

Features of MICMOL Smart LED Aquarium Light

  1. Weight: 2.65 pounds
  2. IMOS 3.0 smart controller for easy customization
  3. 2-meter connect cable
  4. Mounting bracket
  5. Aluminum-trimmed body
  • Aesthetically pleasing design
  • Lightweight
  • Effective, bright LEDs
  • Easily controllable
  • Inexpensive
  • Bracket seems slightly flimsy

If you’re looking to enhance the look and appearance of your coral reef aquarium, this product was made for you. Not only does it make the inside of your aquarium look great, but its own unique design also adds a whole other layer to appreciate in terms of appearance.

10. Best Budget Reef LED Lighting - MarineLand Reef LED Strip Light Review

The MarineLand Reef LED Strip Light is the perfect budget-friendly reef LED lighting as it gives you a lot of features for a very modest price. Many cheap reef LED lighting tends to burn out or dim very quickly but we’ve been using this light for months now and it’s shown no signs of decreased performance. 

The built-in timer is very easy to use so you can simply program in sunrise and sunset cycles to calm your fish whenever the lights come on or go off. 

The Lunar LEDs are specifically installed into the light in order to promote healthy coral growth. 

Features of MarineLand Reef LED Strip Light

  1. Available in three sizes: 18 inches, 24 inches and 36 inches
  2. Daylight LEDs and Lunar LEDs
  3. Adjustable mounting legs
  4. Lifespan of up to 10 years
  5. Integrated timer
  • Lightweight
  • Highly durable
  • Easy to install
  • Affordable
  • Low energy consumption
  • Does not come with a remote control

If you’re running a coral reef aquarium on a budget, this light is definitely the one for you. It comes with incredible features considering its price and the materials it’s made from are long-lasting as well.

best reef led lighting

Buyers’ Guide 

How can I tell which reef LED lighting would be most suitable for me? 

Depending on the type of aquarium you have, you can definitely decide on what specific type of light is best for you. To do this, you need to look towards some specific aspects of the light you’re intending on getting. Some of these aspects are: 

  • Energy Consumption 

LEDs are famous for consuming a lot less power than its competitors but even so, you need to be wary of how much power your light is consuming. It’s wise to look at online reviews in order to find out if a certain product consumes an overwhelming amount of power. 

Some LED lights are notorious for consuming a lot more energy than they claim to use. Be careful not to fall for such a product.

  • Ease of Use and Installation 

Lighting is an essential part of your aquarium and it’s very important that they be easy to install as well as easy to use, customize and program. You don’t want overly complicated instructions because not only will this be time-consuming and frustrating, it may also result in you not being able to set up the lights properly. This would be detrimental to the aquatic life within your coral reef aquarium. Hence, always go for reef lighting that is easy to mount onto your aquarium and comes with an intuitive design that ensures you’ll be able to use it easily. 

  • Durability 

Lights are very essential to the active and effective growth of plants and corals inside your aquarium so it’s very important you get lights that won’t give up on you within a few months of getting them.

Be sure to look at online reviews to ensure the product you’re thinking of getting doesn’t have a history of breaking down or of having flimsy construction, etc. 

What are some advantages of LED lighting in a reef tank?

Some great benefits of having reef LED lighting are: 

  • LEDs brighten up coral reef aquariums brilliantly. There are LED lighting variants that are specifically designed for coral reef aquariums. They contain LEDs that can come together to illuminate aquariums in a way that effectively brings out the colors of your corals and really makes them pop.
  • LEDs are very safe to use. You’re going to be working with lighting that runs on electricity near a big body of water, you’re going to want lighting that has some safety measures built into it. LED lighting is well-made with features that prevent you from getting electrocuted while handling it near your aquarium. 
  • LEDs produce a lot less heat than most of its competitors. If you get any other form of lighting for your coral reef aquarium, you’re going to have to invest in a chiller to keep the temperature stable. 
  • LEDs mimic sunlight and moonlight beautifully which is very beneficial to your fish, aquarium plants and corals. It causes them to grow more quickly and be more relaxed as it lulls them with a sense of familiarity. 

How do I program my LED lights for my reef tank?

Most LED lights that are programmable come with easy-to-follow instructions that you can read in order to properly set up the lights for your coral reef aquarium. 

In general, you should start by mounting it securely onto your aquarium and turning it on. Once they’re on, lighting products tend to light up according to their default settings. For most reef LED lighting, this means that all the lights are on at once. From there, you can do all sorts of customizations according to what your coral reef aquarium needs such as dimming or brightening the intensity of the light, setting a timer for when the light turns off and on, and in some, you can even adjust the color of the individual LEDs.

What’s an easy way to install LED lights onto my reef tank?

Most LED lights are extremely easy to install in the first place. Most small lights come with a clamp or a mount which you can screw onto the wall of your coral reef aquarium in order to securely install your reef LED lighting. Other variants include lighting that comes with brackets that can extend to accommodate the length of your aquarium. 

If your LED lighting is the kind that needs to be hung above the aquarium, we recommend hanging them at least 24 inches above the surface of the water in your coral reef aquarium. Be sure to completely assemble your light before you start mounting it onto your aquarium.

Why are some LED lights so expensive? What extra features do they have? 

Some reef LED lighting can get ridiculously expensive and often, it can be due to features that you don’t necessarily need. Be sure to look into why a certain LED light is so expensive, if it’s because of a feature you don’t feel you need, don’t go for it. 

Some extravagant features that reef LED lighting can have are things like weather effects, smartphone control, strobe effects, flashing effects, etc. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many hours of light is normally required by a reef tank?

Coral reef tanks are known to require more light than freshwater aquariums. On average, a coral reef tank requires about 10 hours of light every day. 

What is the best light spectrum for corals?

After years of research, it has been conclusively found that the Blue and Violet light spectrum is the most beneficial for coral growth. 

How many watts of light is generally required by a reef tank?

Coral reef tanks generally require lighting that operates at a higher capacity as compared to that meant for freshwater aquariums. We recommend you get LED lighting that operates at somewhere between 4 – 8 watts per gallon. So for example, if you have a 20-gallon coral reef aquarium, you would get LED lighting that has an operating capacity of anywhere between 80 and 160 watts. 

What are some other alternatives to LEDs for lighting a reef tank? are they worth it?

Other alternatives include incandescent lights, fluorescent lights and metal halide lights. We highly suggest that you stay away from incandescent and fluorescent lights because they have a lot more disadvantages than advantages. Incandescent lights produce noxious gases and are very inefficient while fluorescent lights have a very short lifespan and use up a lot of electricity. 

You can definitely opt for metal halide lights if you have a tank that’s deeper than 24 inches or just a large coral reef aquarium in general. In fact, metal halide lights are often preferred by aquarists that have deeper tanks. 

However, you should keep in mind that metal halide lights generate a lot of heat. So, you’ll have to get a chiller for your aquarium and maybe even an air conditioner for the room that your aquarium is placed in. Do not skimp out on a chiller if you get a metal halide light. This is very important because the metal halide lights can heat up the tank water to a point where it could be fatal to the aquatic life inside. 

What are kelvin ratings and what do they mean?

Kelvin ratings are used to refer to the color temperature of lighting. By color temperature, we are referring to the color of the light. A lower color temperature indicates light that is warmer/reddish, while a higher color temperature indicates light that is more on the cooler side (blue, violet, etc.). 

What’s an appropriate kelvin rating for coral reef aquariums? 

Most corals prefer light that lies anywhere between 6500 – 7000 K. 

How long does reef LED lighting normally last? 

We’ve been working with LED lights for years and we’re here to tell you that they can last you for years. Most reef LED lighting comes with a guarantee that they will last for a minimum of 50,000 hours. If you use your lights 10 hours a day (the recommended daily time for coral reef aquariums), this amounts to almost 14 years. 

Do corals need ultraviolet light? 

Yes. Corals can definitely benefit from UV light when it’s emitted at safe levels. If you’re going to have reef LED lighting that emits UV light, ensure it’s emitting it at a safe rate because there’s a chance your corals may not be able to adapt to it quickly enough and this would cause bleaching. 

Do corals benefit from red light? 

Light colors other than Blue, UV and Violet do not do much to improve the growth rate of corals. Red light is an exception although the corals that benefit from red light are usually found at water levels deeper than 400 inches. Safe to say that if you have an aquarium in your home, it’s not going to be that deep. 

Does blue light disturb fish? 

Fishkeepers are often worried that blue light that’s beneficial to corals in their aquarium may be stressful for the fish inside the aquarium. This, however, is not true. Fish remain unaffected by blue light so you don’t have to worry about disturbing them while cultivating your corals. 

Final Verdict

Not only is it difficult to shop for a light that caters to all the unique needs of coral reef aquariums, but it’s also difficult to manufacture such a light. 

In the end, we had to give the crown to the OceanRevive® Arctic-T247 LED Aquarium Reef Light. It’s well-made and purposefully built to provide your corals with the proper wavelength of light that will help them grow and thrive. 

This brings us to the end of our post for the best reef LED lighting. 

Let us know in the comments what lights you’re using for your coral reef aquarium.

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