Simplify the process of choosing a reef aquarium LED light with these 9 tips that will not only make it easy but also help you get the most out of your new aquarium lighting. 

1. Lighting is one of the most important and expensive purchases you will make for a new reef tank. With that, it is essential to make a well-informed decision so the light will provide the results you're looking to achieve.

2. Choose a light that is capable of providing the output your coral need. For LPS corals, 50-100 watts of LED lighting will cover a 24" square area. For a mixed reef tank with both LPS and SPS corals, you should graduate into a 100-150 watt light per 24" square area.  For SPS-dominated aquariums, 150 - 200 watts of lighting per 24" square area is ideal.  

3. Not all spectrums are created equal but so long as you choose a light made for reef aquariums from a well-known and trusted brand, you will obtain a spectrum that works. When looking at a spectral graph, you want a wide band of blue light - the widest you can find that peaks in the 390 - 480 nm range.

4. The size of the light matters because the most ideal coverage occurs when light is penetrating the aquarium from multiple angles.  A small profile, single-point source light with a wide angle lens may look to be illuminating the aquarium but this can be deceiving. Smaller profile lights require multiple lights, placed closer together to achieve sufficient coverage. Medium to large panel-style fixtures ultimately provide better coverage per fixture because they blanket the aquarium with light that enters from multiple angles. 

5. Small profile modular lights should be placed every 12" - 18" for the best results. While most LED lights advertise a 24" square coverage area, you're going to achieve the best results by placing the lights closer together in terms of coverage. 

6. Large panel-style LEDs provide better coverage and don't require as many fixtures to cover the same area. 

7. Multiple strip light LEDs can be assembled together to create a single fixture and achieve sufficient coverage. This is one of the best approaches in terms of efficient coverage because you can easily achieve end-to-end coverage. 

8. Hybrid lights is where a small profile single-point source LED is combined with LED strip lights. The strip lights fill in the shadows and create more even coverage across the entire aquarium while the single-point source LED provides the high-output PAR you need to penetrate the aquarium.  This is a popular upgrade route to maturing tanks that already utilize pendant-style LEDs. 

9. The type of shimmer your light creates will drastically affect the appearance of your tank.  There are different types of shimmer and it's a good idea to research various LEDs to find out the type of shimmer you prefer.