Aquarium hobbyists love to decorate their fish tanks as per their aesthetic choice. The lighting can create such a dreamy effect in your aquarium that no other decors can do. Moreover, the light is not only for decorative purposes for all aquariums.
If the fishkeeper wishes to have a planted aquarium, lighting is crucial for plant growth. Expert aquarists who maintain coral reef tanks need to equip their aquariums with special illuminations.
The lighting selection for your aquarium as per your choice and need is a little tricky task. Especially for reef tanks, the lighting should provide PAR for coral growth & coloration. Corals are photosynthetic and depend on light for a portion of their energy.
In this article, I’ll talk about how you should select the proper lighting for your reef aquarium. Simultaneously, to make your search process more comfortable, I include a list of the Best LED Aquarium Lighting For Corals.
Best Led Aquarium Lighting For Corals: What You Need To Consider
Before picking LED lighting for your coral reef tanks, you need to consider the following points.
Quality & Durability
LED lights have an excellent reputation for power and spectrum stability. T5 and halide bulbs lose intensity and color as they age, but LEDs don’t. Still, there are differences among different products of LED lights. Pay special attention to the features:
- Types of LEDs used and their brand reputation.
- The power supply option.
- The cooling system quality.
- Materials used for construction.
- Availability of spare parts.
- Guarantee & warrantee available.
PAR For Coral Growth & Coloration
Corals are photosynthetic and rely on light to produce energy for themselves. The effective photosynthesis of coral depends on light intensity and spectrum. The appropriate photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) is crucial for coral growth and coloration.
Blue light encourages coral growth. So the best LED aquarium lighting for corals to ensure their optimal growth should give a full spectrum of light that includes some reds, oranges, and yellows but heavier toward blues.
Internal Aesthetic Appeal
Internal aesthetics rely on good color blending. I’ve seen coral reef tank keepers follow a trend to make their aquarium dark blue as they believe coral thrives in blue lights. Yes, the blue spectrum promotes coral growth, but other lights do no harm to them.
I prefer full-spectrum lighting with a heavier blue portion for coral tanks. It will enhance fish color and make the aquarium visually more appealing.
External Aesthetic Appeal
External aesthetics depend on how the lighting fixture looks with your tank. The matching of the light & the aquarium is vital, and it’s an eyesore if you pick the wrong light frame.
It will be different for everyone. Do you need a sleek modern design for the light fixture or a bulky one? You must decide which light makes the perfect combination with your aquarium.
Software & Controllability
Nowadays, aquarium LED lights feature many high-tech options. Some of them offer automated day/night cycle modes, different weather effects, and many more color or intensity adjustment options.
You need to focus on these features and the ease of controllability. Some lights come with remote controllers. However, some of those are simple button remotes, and others may support mobile apps where you can use sliders, etc.
So, some LED lights require smartphones or the use of computers. Pick your options considering the mentioned point.
Cost Per LED
It is wise to assess a product by its cost versus available functions. Do not take the lighting fixture cost into account alone, but break it down. Count how many LEDs are available with the lighting unit and get the price per LED.
The cost per LED will give you a better idea to compare it with other products. At the same time, you can look at the number of color options you get.
Usually, LEDs are cost-effective and durable. An LED lasts 50000 hours on average. That means it will last over 11 years if you run it for 12 hours a day!
The 10 Best Aquarium Lights for Marine Coral Reef Tanks
As I said before, Coral reef aquariums need special lighting. Naturally, reef tank keepers are very concerned about creating the appropriate environment in their coral reef aquariums.
Blue and violet light spectrums are suitable for corals’ health and coloration, which theory is scientifically proven. I picked the ten best lights for coral reef tanks.
1) Current USA Orbit Marine LED Light
There are many marine coral reef fish tanks on the market. Still, I choose the Current USA Orbit Marine LED Light at the top of my list for a vast number of the positive feedback it gets from users.
The ultra-bright LEDs with a broader color spectrum can make your corals and fish look even more spectacular. It will provide a loop control for the aquarium pump and light, which will bring your aquarium experience to a whole new level.
This LED light can emit a perfect color combination for fish, inverts live rock, and corals to fluoresce and look fantastic. The lighting unit uses wide-angle dispersion lenses, which ensure uniform spectrum distribution throughout the whole aquarium.
You can set realistic effects that mimic 24 hours natural biorhythmic lighting cycle. You can create cloud cover effects and storms, and storm modes will blow you away with lightning strikes.
If you want to add excitement and intrigue to your aquarium, you will barely get a better option than this lighting unit.
- Easy to install, extendable brackets allow this LED light to fit aquariums up to 6 inches variation in size.
- LEDs with a broad spectrum intensify color and growth.
- High-tech control with a lot of effects combination. Once you set your preference and save it, your job is done.
- Energy-efficient and durable.
- The programming can be a bit complicated for some users.
- The moonlight effect may not satisfy you as per expectation.
2) NICREW Aquarium LED Reef Light
Coral reef aquariums need proper lighting for the growth of coral. This Nicrew LED can provide full-spectrum (popular blue spectrum, red, green, and Violet+UV), promoting optimal coral growth for small and medium reef tanks.
You don’t have to be an expert in lighting and programming. The inherent design of the Nicrew HyperReef LED could meet the essential lighting requirements of corals.
This lighting unit has two channels, blue and white; you can operate both channels together or independently. A touch control will allow you to set the effect and adjust the spectrum and intensity.
Smart fans for extra heat dissipation ensure that overheating does not occur; thus, they increase the lights’ longevity. This light is easy to mount on any type of aquarium, and if you buy a hanging kit, you can suspend it above the aquarium.
- Straightforward to operate, not complicated like programmable controllers.
- The full spectrum is perfect enough to meet the needs of corals.
- It provides multiple types of mountain solutions.
- Dedicated fans for cooling thus ensure a prolonged lifetime.
- This light has compatibility with Nicrew’s 24/7 digital timer.
- Many users have complained about the mounting issue.
- Use is limited to small reef tanks.
3) Relassy Coral Reef LED Aquarium Light
The Relassy Coral Reef LED Aquarium Light produces vitamin D3, making marine tank inhabitants’ calcium absorption capacity better, thus displaying brighter colors and promoting their growth.
Perfect blue and white lights with features to distribute uniformly throughout the whole aquarium with a low light loss promotes plants and coral growth better than most other lights. The lighting effect is as beautiful as it mimics an underwater wonderland with a dreamy upshot.
Lights are dimmable with a three-channel combination, and all three channels are adjustable independently. You can easily adjust the lighting as per the requirement of your corals, reef, fish, and plants.
The advanced aviation aluminum back panel ensures excellent heat dissipation; therefore, no requirement for additional cooling fans. A fan makes sound and takes energy to run, so it is a better design if you can eliminate the fan.
- Provides a larger irradiation area for your reef tank.
- Intrinsically safe and energy-saving.
- Independent control of three channels helps precise adjustment.
- They provide friendly customer support.
- There is no option to save your settings, so you have to start over in case of a power outage.
- There is no timing function.
4) WILLS Newest LED Aquarium Light For Coral Reef Fish Tank
Most of the users are satisfied with WILLS’s Newest LED Aquarium Light For Coral Reef FishTank. The science behind the appropriate lighting that promotes coral growth is about perfect balancing the Lumen output and coverage.
Manufacturers claim to design this Wills light scientifically to meet the purpose of coral reef marine tanks. The complete spectrum can promote photosynthesis for plant growth, thus providing enough oxygen for aquarium creatures, making them healthy.
Each light performs a different role for aquarium inhabitants. Red light promotes the healthy growth of fish, while blue light provides vitamin D3, helping corals absorb calcium and grow healthy, and purple light sterilizes and controls fish growth.
To beautify your aquarium, they provide a 90° crystal lens so that light can penetrate deep into the water and create an optimal lighting environment. There are two lighting channels. You can turn them on together or separately and adjust them independently from 0 to 100% brightness.
- The 90-degree lens is a helpful feature that can penetrate deep inside the water.
- Powerful cooling fans ensure quick heat dissipation.
- Provides the option to connect several lights in series with power cords for a more giant aquarium. (Daisy Chain Function)
- They offer a year warranty and friendly customer service.
- Some users complained that the spectrum is not satisfactory as expected.
5) NICREW Marine LED Fish Tank Light For Coral Reef Tanks
This one is another Nicrew LED light for the marine tank, which has excellent positive customer feedback. If you have a small coral reef tank, one of these lights will be just perfect.
For larger tanks, you can use more than one. It can create an ideal color combination for the saltwater environment with a full, balanced spectrum. You can simulate a gradual sunrise and fading sunset effect with the dual-channel timer.
This light is available in different sizes. With an extendable bracket, it is useable for aquariums up to 36 inches in length. Like all other Nicrew lights, the structured aluminum housing is beneficial for heat dissipation, making it durable.
- The dual-channel timer can control the white and blue lighting channels independently.
- Lighting effects are perfect for marine fish, live rock, and corals.
- This lighting is intrinsically safe for aquarium use. (20V DC fixture)
- The aluminum alloy is suitable for heat dissipation and is durable.
- The lighting unit is not waterproof. You have to ensure a glass/acrylic canopy prevents moisture intrusion.
6) AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED
This one is an HD prime reef aquarium light with an elegant, stylish look. Better efficiency and better aesthetics make this light an exceptional choice for reef tank keepers.
It can emit a broader spectrum to promote coral growth. Brings more color to your aquarium, and this light is capable of producing an innumerable number of spectral combinations.
You can use the smartphone for lighting adjustment, and no additional controller is needed. A unique feature of AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED is it can dynamically adjust the power available to each color, borrowing power from the colors you’re not utilizing.
That means it is not limited to using a fixed amount of power per channel and can give you the most vivid spectrum you have ever seen.
The manufacturer improved the water resistance feature, making it more durable, whereas most other primes are not waterproof. The cooling system is advantageous to ensure longer component life.
- Fully waterproof, an unusual feature among prime LEDs.
- Control the light with the ‘myAI app,’ which is unrestricted, simple, and quick. You can operate it with your smartphone.
- It can provide a limitless number of spectral combinations.
- With various mounting options available, you can utilize all current prime mounting hardware.
- According to some users’ feedback, this light can be a bit noisy.
- A few users complained about the brightness that it is not as expected.
7. Phlizon Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light for Coral Reef Tanks
Phlizon is a renowned brand for manufacturing many excellent and creative products like planted aquarium lights and marine aquarium lights. They achieved confidence from users for their quality and style. Not unlikely that you can find your match of the best aquarium light in this brand.
Phlizon Full Spectrum Aquarium LED Light can provide a scientific full spectrum, including white and red light, essential for coral growth. With the double dimmer model, you can slowly ramp up/down the light intensity to acclimate your fish and aquatic plants to the new change.
You can adjust two individual channels independently with the dimmer knob and set the day and night function. The manufacturer designed this light aiming for healthy coral growth and increase photosynthesis to increase dissolved oxygen in the water. More oxygen means a healthier aquarium environment.
The lighting unit includes fans for quick heat dissipation, ensuring longer life. Fans function quietly and won’t disturb you with noise. The metal case of the light looks beautiful; at the same time, it is durable.
Thus it will not only make your fish tank healthier but also decorate your tank perfectly. You can link several lights with power cords, as each of them contains a power cord, and a daisy chains cord is no longer necessary.
- Two separate channels are independently controllable.
- It can emit a full spectrum for healthy coral growth and promote photosynthesis.
- Precisely dimmable with a double timer model.
- You can use this light for freshwater use also. (Versatile)
- They have friendly customer service with a 30-days money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty.
- We have got a few user feedback about the light is not working well for coral growth, as the output is hard to control.
8) Kessil A160WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light
Despite the high price, this aquarium light is quite popular with a significant sell volume because it meets the specific purpose of lighting a coral aquarium so nicely.
The Kessil A160WE is a unique example of spectral intelligence created aiming at the proper color blending for optimal coral growth. The manufacturer incorporated a new control system. You can select your desired spectrum with one knob and then adjust the intensity with the other.
This lighting unit can produce wavelengths that mimic the sun and promote photosynthetic absorption. Kessil Logic™ will improve the user experience drastically and boost the light output at both ends of the spectral tuning range by 30%.
The shimmering effect can give the look of natural sunlight on a coral reef, creating a small piece of your ocean. They provide an externally controllable feature with a pair of ports and are controllable by an external controller. In a daisy chain series connection, a single external controller is enough.
- It provides precise external controllability.
- Capable of producing a spectacular shimmer.
- Provide an efficient heat management system, thus ensuring better longevity.
- The light is quiet.
- Some users complained about the control system is not as standard as expected.
9) Luxbird Aquarium Light 168W LED Coral Light
Luxbird is a relatively new brand for aquarium light. Still, this LED coral light has become very popular within a short period. I have researched the users’ feedback and enlisted it as one of the best aquarium lights based on so many positive reviews.
Uniformly distributed full-spectrum light can bloom your coral and create a fantastic marine landscape. You can independently control the blue and white channel with a double dimmer and imitate the natural light’s change.
The cooling system is sound, and it is quiet; still, the vendor does not recommend keeping it in your bedroom if you are sensitive to noise.
The stylish-looking light with the classical black box outlook design will decorate your aquarium nicely. It can meet the requirement of a coral reef tank perfectly.
- Every two LED works independently under the protection of the parallel circuit, thus improving reliability.
- An efficient cooling system ensures longer life of lights.
- Provide sufficient output of full-spectrum to promote coral growth.
- For accessible operation features, this light is perfect for beginners.
- They provide friendly customer service.
- You cannot use it in your bedroom, it could be a little noisy if you are sensitive to sound.
- This light is not waterproof.
10) Hipargero 78W Coral Reef LED Fish Tank Light
Whatever the brand is, while choosing the best aquarium light for your aquarium, you will have to check some common and essential things. Among them, the most important thing is the light spectrum characteristics. At the same time, you will check the brand’s reputation for quality and durability.
This LED aquarium light comes with a unique design of a super slim body with aluminum housing. Hipargero uses top-rated LEDs, much brighter and more robust, and can provide an optimal full-spectrum for the coral reef.
You can program for four different effects, including sunrise and sunset, with a 6-channels lighting system. With proper adjustment, you can create some stunning outcomes of lighting.
They use the customized three-in-one lens with 97% transmittance with an intelligent working indicator lamp. The combination altogether can provide something special for you.
The adjustable aluminum stand makes it easy for installation, and with the adjustable bracket, it is usable for 16-24” aquariums. The high-speed silent cooling fan can control the temperature, thus ensuring a long lifetime of lights.
- They provide a touch control feature that is easy to operate.
- The cooling fan is silent and efficient.
- The adjustable bracket helps easy installation.
- Quality LEDs can offer an optimal full spectrum for coral and fish.
- They provide a 1-year warranty, 30 days money-back guarantee!
- A few complaints we recorded about the metal that became corroded in the touch of saltwater.
Are LED lights good for coral?
Yes, corals grow excellently in LED lights with appropriate PAR. So, LED lights replaced old T5/T8 or halide bulbs. The full spectrum LEDs produce extraordinary results in reef tanks.
Blue and violate lights, especially, encourage coral growth & coloration. You need to provide a full spectrum, including heavier blue lights.
How many watts of LED lighting do I need for a reef tank?
The direct relation between the wattage of LED lights to coral growth is hard to establish. Because electricity (watt) does not grow coral, but PAR does.
The PAR efficiency in terms of PAR/watts varies a lot for many reasons in reef tanks.
So it is better to measure the PAR available in your reef tank. You can measure it by a PAR meter. The below video will show how to measure PAR in a reef tank.
The guideline for the perfect intensity range of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) is as follows:
What is the recommended lighting schedule for reef tanks?
Initially, you should start with an 8/10 hours lighting period per day. I would recommend adjusting the timing when you get a feel for it. Sometimes, the intensity adjustment might require instead of a timing change. You can utilize a ramp-up/down option if available.
I hope this article will help you decide what LED lighting would be best for your corals. A review article always helps, no matter you are a newcomer or an old pro.
Nowadays, LED lighting replaced all other conventional technologies. Reef keepers look for no other options than LED lights.
LEDs suitable for corals are relatively expensive, and renowned brands are costlier. But major brands’ lights are high quality, durable, and have the perfect spectrum to grow corals.