Best Reef Aquarium Lighting of 2022
With the rapid advancement of LED lighting technology in the reef aquarium world, it's certainly not easy to make this list. Just ask yourself, what makes an outstanding aquarium light in 2022? Is it an easy-to-navigate control app or do you prefer a more plug-and-play approach? Maybe you can't live without a nice-looking tank mount? Do you hate the shimmering and shadows some lights create in your tank? Is it the heavy blue and fluorescing UV spectrum you long for, or do you like it to be a bit more natural-looking in the tank?
The reality is, modern aquarists demand all of these things from a light that is technologically sound, provides the necessary level of performance to keep our tanks healthy, and looks great doing it.
Here are our top 5 reef aquarium lights for 2022 that were chosen based on performance, features, ratings, and customer reviews. We also took into account sales data which really is a direct result of how well the light performs across the board.
EcoTech Marine G6 Radion Pro and Radion Blue
It should be no surprise that EcoTech Marine's iconic Radion has made the list and this 6th generation brings a new array of LED diodes further expanding the fixture's spectral capabilities as well as all-new HEI optics to capture an even wider and more even spread of light than ever before.
These G6 updates span the entire line of Radions including both the XR15 and XR30 models and their respective PRO or BLUE configurations.
Maxspect Jump LED
The entire JUMP lineup of gear from Maxspect has climbed into the spotlight for not only unique design features but also incredible value to tank owners.
The JUMP LEDs bring 65 watts of illuminating power inside a sleek square-shaped flat panel housing. Each fixture includes a mounting arm to secure the light to your aquarium and offers wireless control via the Maxspect Syna-G control app.
For the price, it's hard to find a better value in reef aquarium LED lighting and you also gain the benefit of very easy tuning and setup. Their proprietary LED control technology allows you to adjust the spectrum without a significant loss to the output intensity.
Kessil entered the reef aquarium seen back in 2010 and quickly made a name for themselves by producing compact, controllable LED lights that were optimized for photosynthesis using a very natural-looking spectrum of light. The intense shimmer these lights create is still unmatched even today and the optimized spectrum blending is unique to Kessil's line of LED lights. The A360X is the latest generation of their flagship light and is the best performing A-series light to date as proven by our own BRStv Investigates lighting tests.
Neptune Systems SKY
Learning from the successes and failures of industry-leading lighting manufacturers, Neptune Systems intensively researched and developed the SKY LED to be the most accurate representation of natural sunlight over a reef aquarium. A single 200-watt SKY fixture will cover an area of up to 36" wide and create a very even spread of light, which means fewer fixtures to achieve even better coverage. It won't produce any harsh shadows and even allows the user to control the level of shimmer they wish to see in the tank. Being built by Neptune Systems, the fixture can be integrated with your Apex Aquarium Controller but doesn't have to be, the SKY is built as a stand-alone lighting solution for any reef tank, Apex or not.
Aqua Illumination Prime 16HD and Hydra HD Series
Aqua Illumination is the most widely used brand of reef aquarium LED lights in the world because they are easy to use, effective, and reasonably priced. Between the Prime 16HD and Hydra HD series, Aqua Illumination is the best-selling lighting brand on our website and there really is an option for every tank owner. With the myAI app and wireless connection, the user is in complete control of the spectrum and output and can program custom lighting schedules with ease. Moonlighting, weather effects, and acclimation mode are also available which essentially round out all of the critical advanced control options a hobbyist could want.