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If you are putting together a new tank or upgrading your old one, you might be wondering which lights are best and how you are supposed to choose them in the first place. This guide will tell you everything you need to know to choose the best LED lighting for reef tanks.
Before we look at the best LED lighting for reef tanks on the market right now, we first need to explore the different things you should consider when choosing lights.
LED lights can be quite expensive, so it’s important to find high-quality options that will last a long time. The reason that LED bulbs are so good in the first place is that they last a considerable amount of time.
Look at the separate components and consider things like the type or brand of the actual LEDs, the power supply, the cooling systems, and the overall quality of the materials used. In most cases, the quality of the cheapest options will be worse, and it will cost you more money in the future because you will need to keep replacing them.
It’s important that your LED lights make your tank look amazing on the inside and outside. So, even though functionality is important, you need to consider aesthetics when trying to find the best LED lights for reef tanks.
Internal aesthetics means clear, distinct colors and no disco-ball effect. Think about which colours you like the most and whether you are trying to accent the colors of the fish or corals. It’s a good idea to look at other people’s tanks for a bit of inspiration if you are unsure.
Think about what you want it to look like from the outside too. A bulky LED frame can look quite obvious, so you might decide to look for a slim option. On the other hand, some people like the bulky design and it fits well with the decor.
LEDs are great because they allow you to carefully adjust your lights and change between lots of different colors, which is why it’s important to consider the control system. Some will come with a basic remote control while others might have an app with more advanced controls.
The top-end LED setups may even connect with your computer and use complex software to manage the lighting. This includes things like timing, light intensity, and custom color displays.
Think about what kind of functionality you want from your LEDs. If you only want something simple, a basic control system is fine. However, if you have specific needs, you will need to invest in something with a more advanced control system.
When comparing prices for different units, don’t just think about the overall cost because that doesn’t necessarily give you an idea of the true cost. Instead, divide the cost by the number of LEDs that are included, so you can compare prices based on the cost per LED instead.
This gives you a better sense of how the prices differ and how many LED options you get. You should also consider how much the lighting rig will cost to run.
Remember, you’re going to be running it for 12 hours a day, so low running costs are important. The good news is, most LEDs are incredibly cheap to run.
Finally, you should check the warranty and the available parts. LEDs are brilliant because they last a long time, but even the best LED lighting for reef tanks could break.
In that case, you want a good warranty so you don’t end up out of pocket. After the warranty is up, you want to be able to fix your LEDs if something goes wrong, so check whether there are replacement parts readily available too.
If you take all of those factors into account, you can find the right lighting for your tank. These are some of the best options on the market right now.
This is a great LED lighting system that is specifically designed for corals, and it illuminates them beautifully. It’s available in a number of different sizes and the 8000/12,000k white and actinic blue LEDs create the perfect environment for saltwater fish, corals and plants. The lenses produce very even lighting without any visual hotspots or disco ball effect.
The timer on this lighting set is brilliant too because it mimics a standard 24-hour day. It slowly ramps up and down so fish can acclimate and avoid lighting shock.
Image courtesy of Marine Depot.com
The VIPAR-SPECTRA is a good option that is very simple to use, even if you are not particularly good with technology. The criss-cross pattern with the white and colored lights is quite unique but it’s designed this way on purpose to improve the health of plants.
It doesn’t have the ramp-up timer to emulate the 24-hour cycle but it’s easy to change the intensity of the lights and set the timer. You can also change the white and blue lights separately if needs be.
Image courtesy of Ebay.co.uk
If you are looking for a high-end option, the Kessil Controllable LED Aquarium Light is perfect. It’s expensive, but it’s worth the high price tag. It has an intuitive knob that you can use to control the lighting spectrum and intensity.
It offers great customization without a complicated control system. The tightly packed LEDs create a glow throughout the tank instead of the spotlight effect that you often find with these kinds of lights.
Although they’re not the cheapest, they are one of the best LED lighting options for marine tanks.
Image courtesy of Ebay.co.uk
If you are in the market for LED lights, these options should cover all your needs. However, if you want to make sure that your light is perfect for your specific tank and its inhabitants, take a moment to read through some of our other posts about aquarium lighting before making a purchase!
You may find that there's an option out there perhaps that will give better results than one of the options listed above. We hope this page has helped guide you towards the best led reef tanks on today’s marketplace.