freshwater tank

How Much Light Is Needed For A Saltwater Reef Aquarium

5 min read

So, you have a saltwater reef aquarium and you’d like to give it the lighting it deserves.

However, you’re not too sure of the amount of lighting that would be adequate for your tank.

You find yourself asking, How Much Light Is Needed For A Saltwater Reef Aquarium?As a rule of thumb, the recommended amount of light for a saltwater reef aquarium is between 1 to 2 watts per gallon.

Aquarium lighting is very important if you have live plants in them. Live plants need light for the process of photosynthesis (converting light to energy, and converting carbon dioxide to oxygen).

However, if your saltwater tank has fish as the only inhabitants, then lighting wouldn’t be so much of a concern, as saltwater fish can thrive without light.

This is not to say you shouldn’t light up your aquarium if you have only fish, since the lights help beautify your aquarium and enhance the color of your fish.

Best LED Lights For Reef Tank

Over the years, LED lighting has become a very popular option for aquarium owners. This is all thanks to their excellent power-saving abilities. They also do not produce excessive heat, not to mention how beautiful they illuminate.

You might be thinking of setting up some LED lighting in your reef tank, but are nit sure which is best. Not to worry, I will list out some of the best LED lighting options for your saltwater reef tank.

Keep reading!

Benefits of LED Lighting for Reef Tanks

Before we go into the best of the best LED lighting for your reef tank, I’d like to list out the major benefits of using LED lights.

It Brightens Up the Aquarium

LED lights are built to give your tank the very best of visual effects, regardless of the type of effects you want.

The lighting intensity can be adjusted to your specific tastes since most of them come with a dim and brightness adjustability function.

Nowadays, many LED lighting systems have remote controls. This means you can sit back on your couch and adjust the brightness or dimness as you please.

They Are Safe To Use

LED lights are among the safest lights you can have in your tank. They are designed without metal filaments and noxious gasses.

Many newer models of LED lights are also water-resistant, so they can last longer and reduce the risk of an electric shock.

They Produce Minimal Heat

This is one of the greatest advantages of LED lights. Their ability to light up the tank brightly without giving off too much heat is a big plus, not just for the fish or plants, but for the aquarium owner as well.

Remember, the more heat your lights produce, the more power it consumes, which will in turn leads to higher power bills.

Better Growth of Plants

As I’ve mentioned before, adequate lighting in your tank will help your live plants grow. Thanks to the process of photosynthesis.

LED lights are perfect for this, being that they produce between 8000k and 10000k of lighting. This is generous enough for proper aquarium plant growth.

They Are Compact

LED lights have a compact design, which means they won’t take up much space in your tank. This also means you can place them just about anywhere in the tank.

What Are The Best LED Aquarium Lighting for Saltwater Reef Tanks

Now that you are aware of the benefits of using LED lights for your aquarium, permit me to recommend to you some of the best out there on the market.

Let’s go!

1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

This LED light is very effective, yet it has a simple design.

Don’t be fooled by its thin looks, it is one of the brightest you can find in the market, and it will give your aquarium the beauty it deserves.

It comes with a remote control so you can adjust the brightness and mood from your couch without getting up.

It also comes with a memory setting that allows you customize your preferred settings and save them. This function helps you access these settings anytime you like, without having to set them again.

For those who like to change the positions of their lights, you will love these LEDs. They come with sliding docking legs that allow you adjust the position within the aquarium easily.

As you would expect, these LEDs consume a lot less energy than incandescent lights, they produce minimal heat too.

Lastly, many LED lights do not work well in saltwater reef tanks, but this one does.

I recommend!

2. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable LED Aquarium Light

This is the second LED light on my list, and it is also a great option for you.

It has a built-in timer that allows you to easily control the lighting system. You don’t have to be a tech-guru to operate these lights, the settings make it easy for you to program the lights to turn on at a chosen time, or change colors at specified intervals.

Amazingly, the manufacturers claim the design of this LED is based on customer feedback. It’s great to know that your preferences and suggestions were taken to heart during the manufacturing process.

The intensity of these lights is ideal for photosynthesis, as they can be easily absorbed by the live plants in your reef aquarium.

For your corals, you can start with low-intensity lights, then increase it gradually, just until you find the right levels.

Other Recommended Brands

There are other great models of LED lighting for your saltwater reef aquarium. These include:


As far as saltwater reef tanks are concerned, LED lighting is probably the best option. They don’t produce heat, they consume less power, they help with photosynthesis, and they make your aquarium look beautiful.

I trust this article has answered your question, how much light is needed for saltwater reef tanks?

Good luck!

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

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