Best Light Spectrum for Coral Growth

Corals, just like normal land plants, need sunlight to grow. However, due to their unique underwater circumstances, the light conditions in which they thrive are different, and can’t be replicated by simply placing your aquarium near a window.

In fact, it’s rather important to protect corals from the UV rays that come from direct sunlight! Having the right lights is vital for your corals to grow and thrive, and the appropriate light spectrum is necessary to avoid any damage to them.

The most popular form of lighting for corals is LED lights, thanks to their ability to offer a precise light spectrum that optimizes healthy growth. 

When you look at aquariums, lit up in a range of bluish and violet colors, you might think it’s for decoration or ambiance. And in part, it does look great and it does provide a great aesthetic.

But the lights are there to ensure the corals thrive, and so, choosing the right light needs to be done with the utmost of care. There are many options available in the market, with different features and different capabilities regarding the spectrum they can provide.

It can be a bit overwhelming to try and figure out which product is the most suitable to purchase, so we’ve compiled a list with our top picks for the overall best light spectrum for coral growth. 

In a hurry?

If you’re hoping to maintain a reef tank, with many corals growing into a beautiful underwater garden of your own, you’re going to need the right lighting to help create the appropriate conditions in which they can thrive.

Finding the right product that can provide a suitable light spectrum to a high standard of quality can be tricky, as there are many options and many bonus features that they can come with.

If you’re in a hurry to get the best light spectrum for your coral growth, then we recommend you go straight to our number one top pick for the best lighting: the ViparSpectra LED Aquarium Light. 

For all the basic needs of your corals, the ViparSpectra LED Aquarium Light is the ideal choice, as it is effective, budget-friendly, and one of the simplest and easiest to use. It has extremely powerful LED lights, in two separate channels of light with individual and adjustable brightness.

It has an internal timer to be turned on or off automatically, as well as being able to be controlled with remote control. It’s completely silent, with quiet and high-speed fans for heat dissipation.

It is suitable for all photosynthetic corals and can be hung over the tank or suspended from the ceiling. It is recommended you slowly acclimatize your corals to this lighting, as it is very powerful! 

Here are the main features:

  • Scientifically engineered for PAR output and coverage balance
  • Two channels of lighting with adjustable brightness
  • Internal timer for automatic on or off
  • Remote control included adjusting the settings from a distance
  • Quiet high-speed fans for heat dissipation
  • Suitable for all photosynthetic corals

OUR TOP PICK

ViparSpectra is an increasingly popular brand that provides reliable and high quality LED lights, perfect for each product specification.

The LED Aquarium Lights are an excellent choice, with great results and very easy to use. It has been scientifically engineered to provide a good balance of the PAR output and coverage, for the most optimal results for the aquarium.

There are two channels of brightness that can be individually adjusted thanks to a dimmable light feature, as well as an internal timer that lets you set up the lights to be turned on or off automatically.

This light can be hung above your tank or suspended from the ceiling, and it is extremely powerful with a more than capable level of brightness.

In fact, it’s recommended you slowly turn up the brightness to acclimatize your corals to it.

It has quiet and advanced high-speed fans and aluminum heat sinks for heat dissipation, and everything can be adjusted with the remote control that comes included. 

It’s suitable for all photosynthetic corals, and it’s the best option for simple use and basic needs, with a great price to value ratio.

Pros:

  • Scientifically engineered for PAR output and coverage balance
  • Two channels of lighting with adjustable brightness
  • Internal timer
  • Remote control included
  • Quiet high-speed fans for heat dissipation
  • Suitable for all photosynthetic corals

Cons:

  • No advanced settings

EDITORS CHOICE

The Lominie LED Aquarium Light is an excellent choice to adequately light up your aquarium for optimal coral growth, and it does so to a high standard of quality. 

It has four different programmable channels to perfectly customize the light spectrum. It also has a 360-degree adjustable gooseneck, to better adjust the angle from which the light is coming, and it is completely rust-proof for higher durability.

The super-bright LED lights provide an even distribution of light, with strong penetrability into the water, energy efficiency, and a full spectrum range ideal for marine aquariums.

It has aluminum heat sinks and an efficient cooling system, so the temperature is always right for the optimal growth of your corals.

The product includes a remote control with which to adjust the settings and light channels for easier use.  

Pros:

  • 4 different programmable light channels
  • 360-degree adjustable gooseneck 
  • Even distribution, strong penetrability, and energy-efficient
  • Includes remote control
  • Highly efficient light spectrum

Cons:

  • Brightness isn’t as adjustable as other products

BEST VALUE

The Current USA Orbine Marine LED Light is one of the most popular lights for coral growth, and it is favored amongst those with reef tanks.

It’s very budget-friendly, easy to use, and it meets great levels of a high-quality standard.

It’s packed with LED lights, with a dual spectrum color of white and actinic blue that can be programmed individually. This light can replicate natural lighting extremely well, also replicating changes such as sunrise and sunset.

The ability to slowly change the lighting will allow you to observe how your corals and fish would act normally, and it prevents shocking them with any drastic changes.

The Current USA also has some bonus features such as a thunderstorm setting for some fancy lighting!

You can set the aquarium to different lights to suit the time of the day and the mood, getting a great and realistic environment for the corals which will boost their growth.

The LED light can fit most aquarium tanks thanks to the extendable brackets for easy installation. It includes a remote control for setting up the adjustments! 

Pros:

  • A budget-friendly and highly popular choice
  • Dual spectrum color: white and actinic blue
  • Replicates natural lighting and gradual changes such as sunrise and sunset
  • Different lighting modes, such as thunderstorm lighting
  • Creates a natural and realistic biorhythm to boost growth

Cons:

  • Not as powerful or bright as other lights

RUNNER UP

The Kingbo LED Light Aquarium Light is one of the cheapest and simplest options in the market that still manages to upkeep the lighting environment of the aquarium to a high and efficient standard.

It has a full and professional range of colors to provide the ideal light spectrum for optimal coral growth. It also concentrates its power and brightness with a 90-degree optical lens for a higher level of efficiency.

It comes with upgraded aluminum cooling heat sinks for heat dissipation, and it is able to provide a continuous and optimal temperature even during prolonged use.

It is extremely easy to install, as it just needs to be inserted into a light socket and aimed at the aquarium.

It is not the most advanced product on our list, but it is extremely accessible, easy to use, and offers great growth results within your reef tank.

As it is quite basic, there are no settings to worry about, you just set it up over the aquarium and let it do its job!

Pros:

  • Simple and cheap option
  • A professional range of colors for adequate light spectrum
  • Optical lens for enhanced power and efficiency
  • Continuous and stable temperature during prolonged use
  • Extremely easy to install and use

Cons:

  • No advanced settings
  • Very simple and basic - not adjustable 

RUNNER UP

The Kessil A160WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light is one of the most expensive options available in the market, but it is also considered one of the best LED lights for optimal coral growth and reef tanks, so it’s worth the investment.

The light spectrum and the brightness intensity can be adjusted and customized to the levels better suited to your corals, either manually or using the remote control the product includes.

What’s great about this LED Light is that the light produces a shimmer, replicating the natural effect and feel of sunlight, which creates a more realistic environment for the corals to grow in.

It features a completely silent fan for heat dissipation, keeping an optimal temperature for the coral to thrive in. it’s sturdy and highly durable, with a very easy setup and use. 

The quality of the lighting environment it produces is one of the best, and well worth the more expensive price!

Pros:

  • Extremely high-quality LED lighting
  • Adjustable light spectrum and brightness
  • Shimmer feature, for a natural effect
  • Silent fan for heat dissipation
  • Highly durable

Cons:

  • Very expensive compared to other LED light options

Best Light Spectrum for Coral Growth Buying Guide

Lighting plays a very important role in the growth of corals and reefs, so it is highly important to provide them with the right lighting spectrum and conditions if you want your tank to flourish fast and healthy.

There are many options available in the market, so it can be overwhelming to try and figure out which LED light can provide the most optimal environment for your corals to grow.

There are different factors to consider, and different bonus features to look out for to get the best product possible for a budget-friendly price. To help you understand the basics we’ve compiled this small buyer’s guide. 

Light Spectrum and Brightness:

It is important that the LED light you choose for your reef tank is capable of providing the necessary light spectrum for your corals to grow.

It also needs to be powerful enough to penetrate the water and reach the corals properly, but being careful not to be too bright.

This is why it’s good to look for products that have adjustable or dimmable brightness, so you can set it up to the right levels for your corals. 

Adjustability Options:

The more you can adjust and personalize the LED light, the better the results will be to your specific type of corals and aquarium set up. It’s really helpful if the LED light can be angels at different degrees so that the light reaches the entirety of the tank without struggling.

It’s also extremely useful if the LED light has different modes of lighting or the possibility of gradual changes, such as sunrise or sunset modes to better replicate a natural biorhythm for the corals.

This will help the corals grow healthier, and it will also allow you to observe natural behavior in both corals and fish as if they were in their own natural habitat. 

Realism and Natural Effects:

The aim of LED lights is to provide the most realistic and optimal lighting environment possible for the corals to grow.

If you can recreate the different light changes in regards to the time of day or weather, the environment will be a lot more realistic and the corals will thrive better.

Some LED lights have an advanced shimmer effect that replicates the effect and feel of natural sunlight, so that’s something you can look out for once all the basics have been covered. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours of light do corals need?

As a general rule, corals need an average of 10 hours to grow as natural.

Most reef tanks should be left under the lighting conditions for an average of 10 to 12 hours a day.

You should be aiming to recreate a natural light cycle, so make sure to turn off the lights at night, as that is when the sun would go away.