Top 5 LED Lights for Nano Reef Aquariums
If you are looking for the BEST nano reef aquarium LED lights, look no further. We have compiled a list of our favorite controllable LED lights that are perfectly suited for small aquariums under 40 gallons. Each of these lights is specifically tailored for use over saltwater reef aquariums and you will be pleasantly surprised to find both budget-friendly and high-end choices included on the list.
You might be wondering what it takes to make it into a BRS Top 5 list? Well, the answer is pretty straightforward because we start with the products that all of you use the most... but being popular isn't everything. We also identify those products that provide the best value to hobbyists or do something uniquely well. With LED lights specifically, we consider the price, available control options, light spread, and mounting options to finally arrive at the Top 5 BEST LED lights for nano reef aquariums.
AquaIllumination Prime 16 HDThe Prime 16 HD offers an incredible value to reef aquarists because you really get all of the best features at an excellent price point.
- Modern aesthetic & slim profile
- Successful spectrum
- Wireless control
- Easy setup via an intuitive app
- Flexible mounting options
- Well-blended output without severe shimmer or color zone
Consuming a maximum of 59 watts the Prime 16 HD can effectively cover up to a 20" square area of your reef and provide sufficient light for Soft corals and LPS. They are Wifi capable right out of the box and can quickly be set up using the intuitive myAI app.
Fun Fact: The AI Prime is the best-selling aquarium LED light of all time and AquaIllumination is the most widely used brand of aquarium LEDs across the world.
EcoTech Marine Radion XR15 G6
The most powerful LED light on our list, the XR15 has become increasingly popular for SPS-dominated reef aquariums because of the efficient coverage.
- Incredible color pop and fluorescence
- HEI2 optics provide a 126.3° spread of light
- Flexible wireless control via Mobius app
- Optional diffuser to reduce shimmer
- Compatible with the robust RMS mounting systems
Pulling a maximum of 100 watts, the XR15 is the most capable LED light in its class in terms of coverage and power. You can easily average PAR levels suitable for SPS corals over a 24" square area and the new HEI2 optics create the most even spread of light we have ever seen. It is Mobius-ready right out of the box which gives you complete control over the performance of the fixture using a smartphone.
The Radion XR15 is available in two models, each with a different spread of LED diodes:
- XR15 Blue - Easy setup and provides a heavy blue spectrum for maximum coloration and fluorescence.
- XR15 Pro - Offers a wider range of spectrum controls for those who wish to achieve a more natural daylight color.
Reef Breeders Reef Nano LED
The best value pendant style LED on our list, Reef Breeders built a nano light that gives you everything you need, including a flexible gooseneck mount, for under $160.
- Blue-violet dominated spectrum to achieve fluorescence
- Intuitive onboard touch controls
- Includes gooseneck mount
- Small profile
- 120° angle lens
- Quiet cooling fan and efficient heatsink
Pushing a maximum of 30 watts, the Reef Nano LED is great for tanks up to 20" wide and will provide suitable output for soft corals and LPS. While it lacks any wireless control, the onboard digital controller is incredibly easy and allows you to set up a time schedule and make adjustments to the spectrum.
Although it's not the most powerful of LEDs, it is fully capable of supporting a small reef and doesn't lack any of the critical functions a modern reef tank owner would demand. We love the fact that it includes a gooseneck mount too because what good is an aquarium light without a way to mount it.
Kessil A80 & A160WE Tuna Blue
Kessil LEDs are most valued for the incredible shimmer and easy onboard spectrum tuning. They take a unique approach with their Dense Matrix LEDs and specially designed lenses that produces a very uniform spread of light and a maximum shimmer effect as the light reflects off the water's surface.
- Kessil Logic - tunable spectrum and intensity
- Exceptional shimmer
- Quiet operation
- Compatible with 0-10v controllers
- Integrated UV spectrum for maximum fluorescence
- Compact design
- Flexible mounting options
The A80 is the smallest fixture consuming only 15 watts of power but is capable of supporting soft corals and LPS in tanks up to 15" wide. The A160WE is quite a bit more powerful consuming no more than 40 watts of power and capable of covering tanks up to 24" wide.
Each light has manual adjustment knobs to adjust spectrum and intensity but there is no built-in timer. A classic timer will work just fine to set up a daily photoperiod but you can get more advanced controls by connecting to an aquarium controller via the 0-10v control port or utilizing the proprietary Kessil Spectral Controller.
AquaMaxx Prism II
Panel style LEDs like the PRISM II allow you to mount the fixture closer to the water's surface and achieve a very even spread of light across the entire reef. They have an extremely thin profile, run cool and quiet, are lightweight, and create a clean aesthetic over top of your tank.
This is the second generation of the Aquamaxx Prism LED with 25% more power than its predecessor and a brand new smart controller for easy operation. They are also among the most affordable ways to effectively light a rectangular reef aquarium with soft corals and LPS.
The Prism II fixtures comes in 4 different sizes and should be chosen based on the total width of your aquarium. The included mounting legs rest right on the edge of your aquarium and no additional hardware is required for mounting. The integrated controller allows you to adjust the intensity, create a daily schedule, and control multiple fixtures together using a single master controller.
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