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10 Best Saltwater Aquarium Lighting in 2023: Reviews & Top Picks

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By Lindsey Stanton

Tropical-fish-in-an-aerated-aquarium_sebastianpictures_shutterstock

Lighting systems are a popular way to enhance your saltwater aquarium. Artificial lights help to bring attention to the colors and life within the waters of your aquarium. Lights can influence the color of corals and reflect off colorful fish and invertebrates. There is a high demand in the aquarium lighting industry to constantly come up with new and brilliant light ideas. Not only does a quality light help bring out the colors within the tank, but it also helps with plant and coral growth.

Aquarists have reported a huge difference in their coral’s health and growth when kept under appropriate lighting systems. There are so many different lights available to add to your saltwater aquarium and it can be difficult to decide on the best lighting system for your aquarium. This guide will help you narrow down your favorite options so that you can make an informed choice on which lighting system will benefit you and your underwater masterpiece.

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A Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
NICREW (Floval) LED Aquarium Light NICREW (Floval) LED Aquarium Light
  • Durable
  • Energy saving
  • Comes in 3 sizes
  • Premium Choice
    Second place
    Current USA Marine Aquarium light Current USA Marine Aquarium light
  • Attractive
  • Large choice
  • Easy installation
  • Third place
    LUXCARE 18W Full Spectrum LED LUXCARE 18W Full Spectrum LED
  • High-performance RGB LED
  • Energy saving
  • Bright
  • PopBloom S16 Reef Saltwater LED Light PopBloom S16 Reef Saltwater LED Light
  • Cooling system
  • Timer
  • Remote controlled
  • Lominie LED Aquarium Light Lominie LED Aquarium Light
  • Sturdy
  • Bright
  • Suitable for rimmed and rimless tanks
  • The 10 Best Saltwater Aquarium Lighting

    1. NICREW LED Aquarium Light – Top Choice

    NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 73 pounds
    Materials: Plastic, LED, wire
    Items included: Power adaptor, LED aquarium light
    Size: 3 different sizes- small, medium, large
    Lifespan: 50,000 hours

    This light is at the top of our list for a good reason. The NICREW LED light is a high-quality light that produces full-spectrum light to illuminate the inside of your saltwater tank and promotes healthy fish, coral, and aquatic plant growth. Aside from the innovative and attractive design, this light comes with a moonlight setting. This setting is perfect for the evenings where you can enjoy the blue hue illuminating from your aquarium. This light has a variety of color outputs that include white, pink, blue, red, and green LEDs that then result in vibrant light. The NICREW LED aquarium light is unfortunately on the more expensive side and is not within budget for everyone. The LED is protected by an incredibly durable and lightweight aluminum alloy shell.

    This light has three different size options to match the size of your aquarium. The light features durable extendable brackets and is energy savvy. The lighting can last for a whopping 50,000 hours. The light is aimed to sit at the lop of the glass panel and shine into the aquarium. It is not a fully submerged lighting system but is splash and condensation-proof.

    Pros
    • Durable
    • Energy saving
    • Comes in 3 sizes
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • The adaptor is not replaceable

    2. Current USA Marine Aquarium light – Premium Choice

    Current USA Orbit Marine LED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 5 pounds
    Materials: Plastic, metal, LED
    Items included: Remote control, fixture, 12V DC power supply, LOOP IR, sensor, cable, mounting bracket
    Size: 18 to 24 inch
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    This light offers full-spectrum colors with high quality, bright output. The LEDs are superior to many other LED lights on the market. This light comes with a device that provides both pump and light control. This light stands out with its wireless system and remote-control switches with a variety of color options and brightness adjustments. The light also has an amazing stand-out feature of realistic effects. This provides your aquarium with three natural looks: Sunrise, daylight, sunset, and a moonlight effect. The overall quality is worth its hefty price with extendable brackets, aluminum profiles and looks transparent over an aquarium. The USA marine light has multiple modes as a bonus. This includes cloud coverage, lighting strikes, lunar, dusk, and storm modes that add an intriguing touch inside of aquariums. Although it is the best lighting system to date, it is incredibly pricey and therefore not within the budget of many aquarists.

    Pros
    • Attractive
    • Large choice of various modes
    • Easy installation
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Not energy-saving savvy

    3. LUXCARE Full Spectrum LED

    LUXCARE 18W Saltwater Aquarium Light

    Weight: 59 pounds
    Materials: Plastic, metal, LED, wire
    Items included: 18W LED light, switch, controller, extendable brackets
    Size: 1 × 4.3 × 0.7 inches
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    The LUXCARE full spectrum LED offers full spectrum 7-band LEDs that have an optical lens. The brightness is fully adjustable and comes in a variety of colors that include white, green, blue, and violet. This light reduces light loss by 30%. The lumen is improved and has a design of 80pcs full spectrum LEDs. The light has two mode buttons and a blue channel that appears on the switch. This light encourages maximum plant and coral growth. You can focus the lighting option for only coral growth which will be the blue mode. We recommend this light option for aquarists looking to maximize the growth of their corals.

    Pros
    • High-performance RGB LED
    • Energy saving
    • Bright
    Cons
    • On the smaller side
    • Light color limited

    4. PopBloom Reef Saltwater LED Light

    PopBloom S16 Reef Saltwater LED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 42 pounds
    Materials: Aluminum, plastic, wire
    Items included: AC adaptor, remote, LEDs, heat dissipation panel, cooling fans
    Size: 16cm × 12cm × 3.6cm
    Lifespan: Prolonged

    PopBloom S16 lighting system offers a four-channel light with a timer. This means you do not have to worry about putting the light on and off. Instead, you can set the amount of time you want the light to be on for. This light offers natural stimulation via a sunrise, sunset, and moonset. We highly recommend this light to aquarists who are too busy to manually switch the light on and off. The light has an innovative management system for enhanced lighting efficiency. There are built-in fans to prolong the usage of this light. The four channels allow you to easily adjust the intensity of the light from 1% to 100%. The outer contents of the light are all aluminum-based to ensure correct heat dissipation is utilized. The high PAR of the LEDs helps to mimic natural light that your coral will use to balance out its growth.

    Pros
    • Cooling system
    • Timer
    • Remote controlled
    Cons
    • For nano reefs and small tanks
    • Lifespan is shorter than others in the trade

    5. Lominie LED Aquarium Light

    Lominie LED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 5kg
    Materials: Aluminum, plastic, wire
    Items included: Power adaptor, LED, bracket
    Size: 1 × 4.1 × 1.2 inches
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    This light produced by Lominie is a full spectrum multicolored lighting system with a 24pc COB LED. This light has the potential to illuminate your aquarium with six colors. This includes blue, royal blue, white, UV, red, and green. This light also features a fanless design with an innovative cooling system that has no noise output. Quality aluminum is used to transfer the heat and keep the light operating effectively. The remote control allows you to customize the brightness of the light with four channels. The one downside to this product is that the tall design is not suited for hooded aquariums and stands a few inches above the waterline. The overall quality of this light is sturdy, and the power adaptor is completely waterproof.

    Pros
    • Sturdy
    • Bright
    • Suitable for rimmed and rimless tanks
    Cons
    • Wi-Fi controller must be purchased separately
    • Poor low light setting

    6. NICREW Reef LED Aquarium Light

    NICREW 30W Reef LED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 64 pounds
    Materials: Plastic, LED, wire
    Items included: Mount, hanging kit
    Size: 12 × 10.3 × 4.7 inches
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    The NICREW Reef LED light offers a full-color spectrum with five colors. These colors are blue, red, green, violet, and UV. These colors maximize coral growth and enhance the colors throughout the aquarium. The light has adjustable intensities and 6 different levels. This allows you to create a tranquil environment for your saltwater inhabitants. This light has a unique design and closely resembles a desk lamp. The tall design and cylindrical shell look attractive on small reef tanks. The light can be easily mounted to both a rimmed and rimless tank. There is also an inclusion of a hanging kit so the light can hang above the aquarium. This light is compatible with the NICREW dual channel timer that is sold separately.

    Pros
    • Attractive
    • Includes hanging kit
    • Compatible with dual-channel timer
    Cons
    • For small reef tanks only
    • The timer is sold separately

    7. Hygger Multi-Color Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

    hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

    Weight: 91 pounds
    Materials: Metal, plastic, wire
    Items included: Timer, LED, mounting legs
    Size: 36 to 42 inches
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    The Hygger light has bright 6500K white LEDs that are paired with full-spectrum RGB LEDs. This light is suited for tanks that contain plants and fish. The light replicates the natural living conditions your inhabitants will experience in the wild. The light has a 24/7 light cycle that starts with a sunrise set that is displayed by a warm orange light. It then processes to a bright white spectrum LED that replicates a daytime setting. The light then changes to a moonlight setting with a default setting on and off from 6 am to 22:30. This timer can make it easier for aquarists who are looking for a light that needs minimal manual intervention. This light has a range of colors from red, blue, green, orange, purple, and cyan with five different levels of light intensities. The Hygger light produces an amazing atmosphere that illuminates both the aquarium and the room it is set up in.

    Pros
    • Customizable
    • Different effects
    • Easy to use
    Cons
    • Does not last as long as other lights
    • No cooling system
    • The timer function can be faulty

    8. Bozily Fish Tank Light

    LED Aquarium Light, Bozily Fish Tank Light

    Weight: 4 pounds
    Materials: Metal, plastic
    Items included:
    Size: 37 × 12.09 × 4.61 inches
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    The Bozily fish tank light has 4 main color option modes. This light features a blue, white, sunset, and sunrise channel. The brightness can be adjusted to meet the light requirements of your corals. This light is suitable for reefs, corals, and fish. The light features of a bonus of being able to keep both the blue and white light on at the same time. This light promotes the growth of LPS and SPS that will flourish under the colors. The Bozily light has a perfect sunlight effect. The professional LED lens has a 30% higher light transmittance than other lights in this category. The lens has a 90 degree and three-layer reflector. This helps to produce more concentrated light for your saltwater plants, reef, or corals. It also helps to increase the PAR value by 50% for your marine fish. The light features an intelligent cooling system that comes with noise control. This helps with heat dissipation with hardly any noise.

    Pros
    • Comes with a daisy chain
    • 4 color modes
    Cons
    • Not detachable to some tanks
    • Produces a faint sound
    • Cannot connect more than 4pcs LED lights

    9. Wattshine LED Coral Light

    Wattshine 180W LED Coral Light

    Weight: 94 pounds
    Materials: Metal, plastic
    Items included: LEDs, cooling system
    Size: 16 × 8.5 × 2.4 inches
    Lifespan: 100,000 hours

    The Wattshine light is incredibly bright and features a 180W LED aquarium light to produce a balanced color ratio across your saltwater aquarium. The LED is energy-saving and fully adjustable. The light is energy efficient and has a prolonged lifespan of 100,000 running hours. You have the option to dim the light and adjust the overall intensity from 0% to 100%. The light comes with two dimmers and is quite flexible with its lighting options. The design is of high quality and has a 31% higher PAR value than many other lights. The only downside to this lighting system is the noise level and weight. It is quite a bulky light with a constant buzzing sound from the cooling system. However, it is great for strong coral and plant growth in your saltwater aquarium.

    Pros
    • Grows plants and corals rapidly
    • Hanging option
    Cons
    • Noisy
    • Bulky
    • Expensive

    10. Relassy Dimmable LED Light

    Aquarium Led Light Relassy Dimmable Reef Light

    Weight: 58 pounds
    Materials: Metal, plastic
    Items included: Cooling system, a daisy chain function
    Size: 2 × 7.9 × 9.3
    Lifespan: Long-lasting

    This light is last on our list for a few reasons. The Relassy light is both extremely bulky and expensive. The light only has two dimmable channels and two switches to adjust to luminosity. The two dimming modes help to stimulate the underwater lighting environment throughout the day and night. This can help promote the growth of reefs and corals. This light also has a daisy chain function where more than two LED aquarium lights can be connected. This can help to fully illuminate larger saltwater tanks. The light has a cooling system, and the light produces noise to cool down the light once it reaches over 113°F. The light consists of 168 LEDs inside of the light beam, as well as 24 reflector cups.

    Pros
    • Long-lasting
    • Illuminates large aquariums
    Cons
    • Noisy
    • Gets hot quickly
    • Bulky

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    Buyer’s Guide – How to Choose the Best Saltwater Aquarium Lighting

    Finding the Right Light for Your Saltwater Aquarium

    It is important to determine the right type of light for your saltwater aquarium so you can get the best out of the lighting system you choose to purchase. If you have a planted saltwater aquarium or a coral and reef set-up, a light that stimulates plant and coral growth is the best option. If you are looking for a standard light to enhance the inside of your aquarium, the lights with daylight replicating effects are the best option. If you do not have much time throughout the day to manually turn the lights on and off, the lights that come with an automatic timer are the best option for your saltwater aquarium.

    If you do not fancy the noise most of the lights cooling systems produce, you may want to look for completely silent lights in our above list and find ones that do not use fans to cool down the light.

    Light Options and Sizing

    If you have a smaller aquarium, the nano reef aquarium lights are the best option for you. The large and bulky lights are noisy and quite heavy. This makes them suitable for tanks over 180 gallons in size.

    Nano saltwater aquarium lighting systems are great for tanks that are below 100 gallons. The weight and size of large lights may be too much for a smaller aquarium. The weight also has the potential to crack a smaller aquarium’s glass panel.

    Cons
    • The size of your aquarium
    • The type of plants and coral growing inside of the aquarium
    • The type of inhabitants
    • The weight of the aquarium
    • Rimmed or rimless tanks
    • Timer needs
    • Noise output
    • Attractiveness

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    Conclusion

    There is a suitable aquarium light for all aquarists needs. There are a large variety of lights on the market to meet the financial status, design and setting need many aquarist’s desire. This guide has highlighted the best lights in the saltwater aquarium light in the industry. Following the factors of our buyer’s guide can help you to pinpoint the light that best suits your needs. Our reviews on each light outline both the good and bad of each lighting system and what they have to offer their customers.

    We have three top products within this category that reap the best benefits of a quality lighting system. Below is a listing of our top choice, premium choice, and coral-specific lights.

    Top choiceNICREW LED aquarium light

    Premium choiceUSA marine aquarium light

    Coral specificLUXCARE LED aquarium light

    We hope this guide has helped you to make a satisfactory purchase for your saltwater aquarium.

    See also:


    Featured Image Credit: sebastianpictures, Shutterstock

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