Best Aquarium LED Lighting: Our Top Picks

Best of LED Lighting

Whether it’s to illuminate your stunning corals, show off your beautiful fish, or just to create a visually appealing aquarium setting, LED lights can bring any aquarium to life. Between their low heat production, controllability options, and electric efficiency, LED’s have become the most popular lighting choice for thousands of hobbyists around the world. Within this article, we will take a look at some of the best aquarium LED lighting options for your unique aquariums. Each of the options will allow you to display an aquarium you can be proud of. 

We will first take a look at the best aquarium LED’s for both nano and budget aquariums. Then, we will examine some ideal options for the SPS Junkies and Shimmer Fanatics. Finally, we will discuss our choice for the best overall aquarium LED light. Keep in mind that we have plenty of amazing LED’s that didn’t make our list. If you have any LED related questions or, you are searching for a specific recommendation, please reach out to our customer care team. We would be happy to assist you with any inquiries.

Preview: 

Best for a Nano: AI Prime 16 HD. “Despite its small profile and very reasonable price, the controllability, power, and spread of this LED have not been compromised”

Ideal on a Budget: AquaMaxx Prism LED. “the fixture will allow for the growth of most corals and the provided controller includes the ability to create a customized light schedule”

Our Choice for SPS: Radion XR30 G5 Blue LED. “the light produced is centered around the proven AB+ spectrum which is known to bring out great color and growth in many varieties of SPS”

For the Shimmer Lover: Kessil AP9X Controllable LED. “Kessil has long been the industry leader when it comes to producing shimmer focused LED’s and their newest model, the AP9X is no exception”

Best Overall: Radion XR15 G5 Pro LED. “The pro model has a more customizable field of spectrums to really hone in on the exact type, color, and intensity of light you are looking to achieve”

Best Aquarium LED Light for a Nano Reef: AI Prime 16 HD

AI Prime 16 HD LED Light Fixture
AI Prime 16 Fixture

The Aquaillumination Prime 16 is the third iteration of AI’s most popular nano light. Despite its small profile and reasonable price, the controllability, power, and spread of this LED are not compromised. The fixture can be paired via bluetooth and is controlled through the MyAI smartphone application. Within this app, adjustments can be made to intensity and color. A fully customizable schedule can also be created through the application. In terms of the spread, a 20” cube is about what can be expected from each fixture. That being said, multiple units can be combined in order to effectively light a larger aquarium. These lights can be used with AI’s hanging kit or flex arm in order to properly position the fixture for maximum coverage. Due to its compact size, detailed controllability, and excellent price-point, the AI Prime 16 HD is one of our choices for the best nano aquarium LED lights.

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Best Aquarium LED Light for a budget tank: AquaMaxx Prism LED

AquaMaxx Prism LED Fixture
AquaMaxx Prism LED Fixture

Want to light your aquarium with controllable LED’s but, you don’t want to break the bank? Look no further than the AquaMaxx Prism LED. This light comes in four different sizes and can fully illuminate aquariums up to six feet long. The power and controllability of the fixture will allow for the growth of most coral species. In addition, the provided controller includes the ability to create a customized light schedule. Each light will also include extension arms which nullifies the need to purchase any other mounting gear. Reefers can also appreciate the lights slim profile that won’t take anything away from the beauty within the tank walls. The AquaMaxx Prism’s power, controllability, appearance, and price point make it our choice for the best budget aquarium LED. 

Best Aquarium LED Light for the SPS Junkie: Radion XR30 G5 Blue LED

Radion XR30 Gen 5 Blue LED Fixture
Radion XR30 Gen 5 Blue LED Fixture

  For those who hold their SPS coral collection near and dear, the new Radion XR30 G5 Blue is an excellent choice to light your reef. Ecotech Marine has long been producing some of the best reefing gear on the market, and the fifth generation Radion LED is their newest and most advanced model. These LED’s can now be fully controlled and customized through the Mobius smartphone application platform. The Blue model has the same programming options as the Pro version but it is centered around the proven AB+ spectrum which is known to bring out great color and growth in many varieties of SPS coral. You can expect a maximum coverage of around 36” x 24” x 30” when paired with Ecotech’s RMS Mount. Multiple fixtures can also be controlled together on one schedule in order to light a much larger aquarium. With all of the premium features packed into this light, The Radion XR30 G5 Blue is our choice for the best aquarium LED lighting choice for the SPS specialists. 

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Best Aquarium LED Light for the Shimmer Fanatics: Kessil AP9X Controllable LED

Kessil AP9X LED Light Fixture
Kessil AP9X LED Light Fixture

We all know that reefer who just can’t get enough shimmer from their lights. Kessil has long been the industry leader when it comes to producing shimmer focused LED’s and their newest model, the AP9X is no exception. The newly redesigned optics give off even light coverage that you would expect from T5 or metal halide fixtures. The light is fully controllable through Kessil’s smartphone application. In addition, each fixture can cover an area of 48” x 24” x 30”. These fixtures can also be daisy-chained and controlled together in order to cover even some of the largest aquariums. The AP9x also features advanced dimming that can take intensity down to .1% in order to mimic sunrise and sunset.  The slim profile, spread, and control options make this fixture a great improvement over the previous AP700 model. The new and versatile mounting options are also a welcomed addition. The Kessil AP9X is our recommendation for the hobbyist looking to maximize the shimmer effect in their aquarium.

Best Overall Aquarium LED Light: Radion XR15 G5 Pro LED 

Radion XR15 Gen 5 Pro LED Fixture
Radion XR15 Gen 5 Pro LED Fixture

Our top choice for the best overall aquarium LED light is Ecotech Marine’s Radion XR15 Gen 5 Pro. Similarly to the XR30 G5 Blue, the controllability, power, and coverage cannot be matched. The pro model is more customizable to really hone in on the type, color, and intensity of light you desire. The XR15 is also more cost effective for the amount of coverage you can expect out of the fixture. This amounts to an area that is a maximum of 24” x 24” x 30” and just like the XR30, this light can be used in tandem with other Radion fixtures. The mobius platform is our favorite interface to program lights on and creating a detailed schedule has never been easier. Pairing each light with an RMS arm will allow hobbyists to mount the fixture on their tanks seamlessly. Due to the features jam packed into this fixture, it tops our list as the overall best aquarium LED lighting option. 

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First Look at Ecotech Radion G5 Fixtures

Final Thoughts:

We hope this article gives you a glimpse into what we consider to be some of the best aquarium LED lighting options on the market. Each of the mentioned fixtures can work in tandem with other units in order to cover larger aquariums. Each option can also be controlled on their individual platforms to allow for full customization of color, spectrum, and intensity. This flexibility has become a great advantage in improving coral health and growth. If you have any additional questions about any of these LED’s or if you are in need of a specific recommendation, please do not hesitate to reach out to our customer care team. We are always happy assist our customers.

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