What is the Best Light for Saltwater Aquariums?

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As you’d expect, there are no general one-item-fits-all-types-of-aquariums and with saltwater ones, it isn’t any different. Selecting the best light configuration for a saltwater aquarium is determined by the different types of tanks we’re dealing with, as well as the species that will inhabit it. There’s so much to consider when choosing a light for your saltwater tank. So let’s go over the details so you can make buy the one that’s right for you!

Best Light for Saltwater Aquarium Comparisons

IMAGE BRAND DETAILS
tnk-table__imageNICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
  • 22.8 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
  • 10 LEDs, 39 Dual Actinic LEDs, 33 Dual Daylight LEDs
  • 18 – 24 inches
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tnk-table__imageKOVAL INC. Aquarium Lighting
  • 24-3/4 x 5 x 1-1/4 inches
  • 78
  • 24 – 30 inches
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tnk-table__imageCurrent USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
  • 22.8 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
  • 10 LEDs, 39 Dual Actinic LEDs, 33 Dual Daylight LEDs
  • 18 – 24 inches
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tnk-table__imageCurrent USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light
  • 22.8 x 2 x 0.4 inches
  • 66 white LEDs, 24 blue LEDs
  • 24 – 36 inches
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tnk-table__imageCOODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting
  • 13.7 x 4.6 x 2.5 inches
  • 36
  • 11 – 19 inches
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tnk-table__imageMarsAqua LED Aquarium Light
  • 31.5 x 2.5 x 7.4 inches
  • 50 blue LEDs, 50 white LEDs
  • 30 x 24 inches
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Types of Saltwater Tanks

Fish only tanks will not require as much light as the other categories coming up next. Truth is that fish require very little light, so choosing a setup for a fish-only aquarium is more of an accessory for you: so that you can enjoy watching the fish swim around. The most basic aquarium lighting kits should suffice in such a case.

Live Rock

The next category feature fish only with live rock. They are a little more demanding as far as light is concerned, compared to the previous category. For instance, if you’re growing microalgae, you will need more light to provide the necessary thriving conditions.  Fluorescent lighting is often most suitable for these tanks, but there are LED lights that will do the trick, while also providing reduced costs in both the initial investment phase, as well as on the long run, since they consume less electricity.

Reef

Reef tanks are the most pretentious saltwater configurations since they integrate corals, anemones, fish and other types of invertebrates. Corals are very picky when it comes to lighting, depending on the type of coral that’s present inside your aquarium. For example, mushrooms don’t require a lot of light, but hard corals do. The higher the light intensity is, the easier it will be for them to grow and reproduce. Back in the day, these aquariums required a lot of fluorescent light, which is known for its power and intensity. Later on, power compact fluorescent lights became a thing and they were known as being the best lights for coral growth. Thankfully, LEDs are now able to replicate the spectrum and intensity of PC fluorescent lights, so they are now a customer favorite.

As an aquarium owner, it is your duty to stay informed on what types of lighting your aquarium needs. It often happens that aquarium owners forget that fish aren’t just a decorative thing that swims around in pretty colored tank: they are pets that need to be fed and looked after, even if they are not as demanding as, let’s say, a dog. It’s very important that you understand what the conditions are required to grow healthy fish, and this means going over every aspect, from the food they need to the light they require to thrive.

Top 5 Best Lights for Saltwater Aquariums Reviews

With all that in mind, let’s check out some of the best-selling saltwater aquarium lights. Always remember that the more you want to replicate the natural environment of your fish and aquarium plants and enhance the tanks with beautiful colors and effects, the more money the light kit is going to cost you.

MARSAQUA FRESHWATER AND SALTWATER AQUARIUM LIGHTS

MARSAQUA FRESHWATER AND SALTWATER AQUARIUM LIGHTS

  • Dimensions: 31.5 x 2.5 x 7.4 inches
  • Weight: 15.43 pounds
  • Tank compatibility: 38 x 24 inches
  • Lights: (for the 300W model) 58 blue, 34 white, 4 red, 4 green
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With both 165W and 300W options available, the MarsAqua LED fixture is a regular Hulk amongst those of its kind. Featuring 2 lighting beam combinations, the fixture is ready to mimic both day and nighttime lighting configurations to make sure that your fish and plants are feeling right at home. Since the lights provide all the required spectrums, plants are bound to thrive. The 2 included switches should make it easy for you to adjust the brightness and get the light intensity you want. In order to completely achieve the day and night lighting effect, the fixture has 2 dimmers, one for the blue lights combination and one for the whites.

The first dimmer operates 50 of the 100 LEDs, allowing you to set the intensity of 30 blue lights (460 nm) and 20 royal blue ones (450 nm). The other dimmer adjusts the brightness for the other 50 lights, out of which 8 are blue (460 nm), 4 are green (520 nm), 4 are red (660 nm), 10 are warm white (3500k), 10 are neutral white (7500k) and the last 14 are cool white (12000k). With all this power, MarsAqua has decided to use copper in its construction, due to its thermal conductivity properties, to make sure that the fixture doesn’t overheat and cause malfunction.

PROS

  • 100 LEDs.
  • 2 dimmers to individually operate the blue and white lights.
  • Copper integration to avoid overheating.

CONS

  • No timer available.

OCEANREVIVE ARCTIC-T247 LED AQUARIUM LIGHT

OCEANREVIVE ARCTIC-T247 LED AQUARIUM LIGHT

  • Dimensions: 15.8 x 10.2 x 1.6 inches
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Tank compatibility: 32 x 24 inches
  • Lights: Royal Blue 450 nm, Blue 470 nm, Cool White 10000K, 12000K, Red 520 nm, Green 660 nm & UV 420 nm
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Those of you looking to buy a more premium aquarium reef fixture should definitely give the OceanRevive a chance. This light panel is ideal for marine organisms, marine aquatic applications, and aquatic ecosystems. Thanks to the built-in controller, you can shuffle between the two independent channels that feature blue and full spectrum lights. You can adjust the time and intensity for each of them.

As you order your own light fixture, you will receive the panel with the LED lights, a remote controller that’s powered by a battery, the power cord, and the user manual, as well as 4 brackets and 2 adjustable hanging kits. The mounting brackets are 7.5 inches tall. All of these products are covered by a 1-year warranty. The fixture itself is cooled by a set of fans, to make sure the product won’t malfunction due to overheating of the components.

PROS

  • Remote control included.
  • Easy to set up.
  • 1 year warranty included.
  • The two channels can be adjusted individually.
  • You can set up your own channel timers.

CONS

  • Doesn’t feature a daylight and nighttime mode.

CURRENT USA ORBIT MARINE AQUARIUM LED LIGHT

CURRENT USA ORBIT MARINE AQUARIUM LED LIGHT

  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 3.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Number of LEDs: 10 LEDs, 39 Dual Actinic LEDs, 33 Dual Daylight LEDs
  • Compatible with aquarium size: 18 – 24 inches
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If you’re ready to take things up a notch, we introduce the Current USA Orbit LED lighting panel. The wireless infrared remote is one of the first things that stands out when you first discover this product. The second one is the waterproof feature of the product, meeting the IP65 standards. With the Orbit Marine, you get a LED lighting panel that features dual daylight and actinic spectrums to meet your aquarium lighting needs. The thin design measures less than half an inch in thickness. The LEDs are created and distributed in such a way as to provide around-the-clock lighting solutions, thanks to the 24-hour lighting cycle.

The light modes are playful enough to create effects like cloud cover or storm. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, you can additionally purchase the Wave Pump hub and 3 eFlux wave pumps to create a wave-like effect. This takes the aquarium experience to a whole new level of surging water currents and pulsating waves. If you order the Orbit Marine kit, you will receive the LED fixture, alongside the wireless remote control, the power supply, a LOOP light, and wave pump controller, 1 LED light HUB, 2 adjustable docking mounts, and the instructions manual. We have to give kudos to the user manual (first because there actually IS a user manual, unlike cheaper fixtures that leave users clueless on how to work the lights), as it explains everything you can do with the Orbit Marine, to get the best bang for your buck.

PROS

  • 24-hour complete lighting cycle.
  • Includes 1 wireless remote control.
  • Highly comprehensive user manual.
  • Adjustable mounting brackets.

CONS

  • Lights are only white and blue.
  • Lights not as bright as expected.

CURRENT USA SATELLITE FRESHWATER LED LIGHT

CURRENT USA SATELLITE FRESHWATER LED LIGHT

  • Dimensions: 22.8 x 2 x 0.4 inches
  • Number of LEDs: 66 white LEDs, 24 blue LEDs
  • Compatible with aquarium size: 24 – 36 inches
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Next on our list of best LEDs for aquariums is the Current USA Satellite model that features bright LEDs and a sleek fixture. The edges of the fixture are host to sliding docks that allow you to position the lights panel over the aquarium. While the specific model we’re presenting today is suitable for aquarium size of 24 to 36 inches, you also have the possibility choose a fixture for smaller aquarium or upgrade to one of the 2 larger models. The Satellite fixture has been IP65 rated which makes it waterproof and adds peace of mind to users who are constantly worried about their fixtures coming in contact with water.

The fixture comes with a lot of functionalities considering its average price. There are 3 fading modes that create cloud cover effects, as well as 2 lunar modes. The dusk mode is suitable for evening use, thanks to the 6500K white LEDs and the 445nm blue LEDs. Upon ordering the Satellite kit, you will receive the LED fixture, the 2 adjustable docking mounts, the power adaptor, and the wired LED remote control.

PROS

  • Generous number of functions.
  • Highly affordable.
  • Waterproof fixture.

CONS

  •  Poorly made on/off switch.
  •  Many units delivered without the power adapter.

COODIA AQUARIUM HOOD LIGHTING

COODIA AQUARIUM HOOD LIGHTING

  • Dimensions: 13.7 x 4.6 x 2.5 inches
  • Number of LEDs: 36
  • Compatible with aquarium size: 11 – 19 inches
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Moving on to a more affordable unit, we have the COODIA model that promises to deliver good LED lighting to your aquarium. You can opt for fixtures that cover 11 to 19-inch aquariums (this is the fixture we will refer to in this subsection), but there are also larger models, compatible with sizes of 19 to 28 inches, 28 to 36 inches, and 37 to 45 inches. A quick glance at the remote control informs us that there are 16 different colors to choose from. Last year, COODIA updated its remote control and you are no longer required to point it directly at the receiver for it to work.

The expandable brackets allow for multiple aquarium fitting possibilities, while the 7500K white mode color temperature should be more than enough for growing plants inside the tank. With dimmable brightness and quality RGB LEDs, the COODIA will make your water tank look clean and prosperous.

PROS

  • Multiple colors available.
  • Remote control included, work without having to point it at the receiver.
  • 7500K white mode color temperature.
  • Dimmable brightness.
  • Expandable brackets.

CONS

  • You can only set the fixture to one color at a time.
  • No timer function.

MARSAQUA LED AQUARIUM LIGHT

MARSAQUA LED AQUARIUM LIGHT

  • Dimensions: 31.5 x 2.5 x 7.4 inches
  • Number of LEDs: 50 blue LEDs, 50 white LEDs
  • Compatible with aquarium size: 30 x 24 inches
CHECK THE PRICE

To end today’s series of reviews in style, we’ve chosen a more premium lighting fixture, capable of proving day and night light configurations for your aquarium. The specific item we’re referring to now is the 300W LED one. There a lot of features that contribute to the high price tag of this lighting panel. The first one is the thermal conductivity of the unit which stands out because it’s made of copper. Suitable for coral tanks for 38 x 24 inches, the MarsAqua light panel comes with 2 dimmers, so you can control the white and the blue lights separately. This allows for greater light customization. The first dimmer is used to control the 50 blue LED lights, while the second dimmer controls the 50 different white lights.

Since the system was conceived to work in a parallel circuit, the entire panel won’t be affected in case of one light not working.

PROS

  • Great for corals and reefs.
  • 2 dimmers to control the white and blue lights individually.
  • Generous types of white light: 14 Cool White, 10 Neutral White, 10 Warm White, 4 Red, 4 Green, 8 Blue.
  • Blue and white LEDs have separate on/off switches.
  • Parallel circuit connections allow the panel to function even if one light is off.

CONS

  • Bigger water tanks will require additional fixtures.

 

The Bottom Line

Just so you know, this is the section we most dislike about our review articles. That’s because it’s often hard to choose a favorite product amongst others that are very similar as far as functionality is concerned. Most products are subjective purchases and a fixture that works for you, might not work for someone else. But, since we do have to pick a winner, the MarsAqua would have to be it. Since this is a pricier unit, some of our readers may not be thrilled with spending this amount of money it.

But if they do, they will receive a powerful and sturdy LED light fixture, with white and blue lights that are easily customizable thanks to the 2 separate dimmers and the separate on/off switches. We also love the parallel circuit board choice, as it would be rather annoying to have all the lights turn off if a single bulb is damaged. Since there aren’t so many size options for the MarsAqua, it’s only suitable for aquarium owners of large tanks.

However, you are looking for something more affordable, COODIA Aquarium LED lighting might be more suitable for you. The update made to the remote will make it easier for you to control the fixture even at a distance, without having to point the device straight to the unit. There are a lot of size options available, even for tanks that measure up to 45 inches. Even if there are 16 different color options to choose from (each one with a separate button on the remote control), you can only set one color at a time, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. Even so, the COODIA offers a lot of features considering the affordable price of the kit. We have to give special kudos to the Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light system, as it is well tied to the COODIA in terms of how awesome it is.

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