7 Best Refugium Lights Worth Your Money

7 Best Refugium Lights Worth Your Money

Every refugium tank needs a special light to help the macroalgae grow while protecting the plants and fish. These lights help improve the water quality in your aquarium.

Since there are many different kinds of refugium lights, we’re going to review and walk you through a list of some of the best refugium lights in the market. Our guide aims to help you decide which light suits your needs and aquarium the most. This guide will also explain why you need a refugium light and how to install it. In the end, we’ll go through a brief buying guide and answer a few FAQs!

Keep reading to find out which refugium light will work best for you. 

What is a Refugium Light?

A refugium tank is a smaller and different tank in an aquarium that helps filter waste and protect the nutrition-providing plants. It also helps provide food and reduce the presence of phosphate and nitrate in the aquarium.

A refugium light comes into the picture to help the macroalgae that live in an aquarium grow. Since macroalgae play a considerable role in controlling nutrients in the aquarium, the refugium light helps the macroalgae grow. In turn, it also works to help improve water quality and the overall living environment of the fish and plants in your aquarium.

If you’re confused about how a refugium tank works, think of the ocean for a second. Small fish and delicate plants often shelter themselves in certain parts of the sea to remain protected and safe from being eaten. In the same way, a refugium tank serves as a protective environment to keep fish and plants safe. When the refugium protects the plants, it helps nutrients and macroalgae grow in the aquarium. This is possible because the refugium and aquarium tanks share water but do not allow the fish to swim into the refugium.

Why Do You Need a Refugium Light?

You need a refugium light to help with the growth of macroalgae and the regulation of pH levels in the aquarium. When you let the light run for several hours at a time, the macroalgae grow more rapidly, which produces more significant amounts of oxygen. The oxygen is then released into the aquarium water and helps raise pH levels.

In other words, the refugium light helps strengthen the aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity within your aquarium.

Installing a Refugium Light

It is important to note that there are different types of refugium lights. You can suspend a few types of refugium lights outside the aquarium, while you can submerge a few types of lights in the water. If your aquarium is in a cramped space, it would be best to fit the light inside the tank.

When it comes to installing the refugium light, we would recommend reading the installation manual and instructions.

7 Best Refugium Lights

1.    Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light

When choosing a refugium lamp, you want to ensure that you are wisely investing in a product designed specifically for aquariums. After conducting extensive research, we’ve concluded that the best refugium light is the Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light. Even though this light was designed and fits all types of desktop model Nuvo Fusion aquariums, you can modify it to suit the aquarium you already have. It is available in two sizes and offers you a wide variety of features. One of the most notable features of this refugium light is that it isn’t waterproof. This means that if you lack space inside your aquarium for additional hardware, you don’t need to worry about trying to fit the light inside.


  • This light comes with a bracket-mounted sump configuration.
  • You can use this refugium light in both sumps and aquariums.
  • You can buy either a nine-watt or 18 watts light.
  • You can mount this light horizontally and vertically.
  • It includes a blend of 60 mA LEDs, 420nm blue, 470 nm violet, 630 nm magenta, and 660 nm red.


  • One of the best features of this light is that it comes in two different sizes and wattages, making it perfect for people with different-sized aquariums.
  • The mounting bracket is easy to install.
  • It does not overheat.


  • This light is quite expensive, so it might be out of your price range if you’re sticking to a budget.


We would highly recommend this refugium light to people searching for a product that comes in two different sizes and doesn’t overheat.

2.    ACKE LED Grow Lights Full Spectrum, Plant Lights

Our next pick and the second-best refugium light that we could find is the LED Grow Lights. We’ve listed this full-spectrum refugium light as number two for various reasons. First, it is reasonably priced, making it affordable and convenient for people on a budget. Second, this light comes with LED grow lights. It is waterproof, which means that you can submerge it in your aquarium or suspend it about the tank as well, but it would be best to hang and not immerse this light. We’d recommend that you keep a close eye on this light when using it because previous users noticed that it tends to give off excess heat at times.


  • This light comes with full-spectrum LED grow lights. These are Red 630nm and 660nm, Blue 460nm, and White 2700K.
  • It is waterproof.
  • It comes with an adjustable bracket so that you can fit it on an angle that works best for you.
  • It also comes with a US plug, switch, and a long cable.


  • This light lasts for more than 50,000 hours. Depending on your needs and the amount of time you need to keep the light on, this refugium light could last you for more than five years.
  • It is highly affordable, thanks to its mid-range pricing.
  • This refugium light is compact and easy to install in cramped areas in terms of design.


  • This light tends to overheat, which could result in an imbalanced aquarium.
  • The adjustable bracket is space-consuming.


We would recommend this refugium light to people searching for an affordable product that serves its purpose.

3.    Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, Cliplight

Next up on our list is the Finnex FugeRay light. This light comes under the mid to high range in terms of price. It is perfect for people with larger aquariums in need of bright light. We wouldn’t recommend buying this light if you have a small aquarium or fish and plants that don’t need many hours per day. If you have an industrial or bigger than an average-sized fish tank, then this light is for you. We love this product because it’s lightweight and easy to install.


  • This refugium light comes with 660 nm red LEDs designed to help promote chlorophyll photosynthesis.
  • It comes with a moisture-resistant splash guard.
  • The LED bulbs last more than 40,000 hours, over four and a half years.
  • This product also comes with a flexible gooseneck.


  • This refugium light is affordable.
  • It is ideal for more enormous aquariums in need of bright lighting.
  • The LED lights are incredibly long-lasting.
  • The flexible gooseneck allows you to control the amount of heat and light in the aquarium.
  • It does not overheat.


  • This light won’t work for you if you have a small or medium-sized aquarium.
  • It emits lots of light, which means that if you purchase it for your small aquarium, it might upset the ecosystem and balance inside it.
  • It is not waterproof.


Overall, we would recommend this product to aquarium owners searching for a refugium light that doesn’t overheat and can emit bright light into a more giant-sized aquarium.

4.    JBJ Nano Glo LED Refugium Light for Aquarium

The JBJ Nano Glo refugium light is a beautiful option for users searching for a product that fits comfortably in small aquariums. We admit that this light is more expensive than a few of the other refugium lights mentioned in this list. Still, the features it offers outweigh the amount you will spend on it! This product distributes light evenly throughout the aquarium without overheating the water and disrupting the balance.


  • It has four LED lights that use one watt each.
  • This light lasts for more than 40,000 hours, over four and half years.


  • This is the ideal product for people searching for a small and compact light that they can attach to the side of their aquarium.
  • It provides an adequate amount of light without overheating the aquarium.
  • It is easy to install and use.
  • You can stick it directly onto the aquarium wall without spending too much time setting up wiring.


  • It is quite an expensive refugium light for such a small product.
  • Many users complain that the light does not last as long as it claims it does.


We would highly recommend this product to people who want a small light for small and medium-sized aquariums. If you’ve been looking to invest in a light that does not project very far, then this product is for you.

5.    Kessil H80 Tuna Flora Refugium LED

The Kessil H80 is our next pick. This lightweight and small refugium light is one of the most expensive versions of the product we’ve found and is perfect for growing large amounts of algae. It is adjustable and easy to control. We can assure you that you’re paying for a high-quality product. Overall, we can’t recommend it enough!


  • This light comes with four different light spectrum settings. They are: blue, grow, bloom, and red.
  • The refugium light ranges from 360 to 780 nm and can enhance photosynthetic efficiency.
  • It can cover an area ranging from 14 to 24 inches, depending on the space needed and situation.


  • You can adjust the intensity of the lighting in the aquarium.
  • This refugium light promotes and enhances the growth of macroalgae in the aquarium.
  • You can also control the light through the day and night without worrying about your plants getting too much or too little light.
  • This light is straightforward to use and install.
  • It is ideal for small aquariums.


  • Several users complained about this light, stating that it gives too much heat.
  • The LED lights don’t last very long, mainly if you run them 24×7.
  • This light won’t work on its own with medium and large-sized aquariums, and you will need to buy at least two more.


This refugium light is the perfect product for people looking to invest in a simple and easily controllable light.

6.    AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED (Black)

We’re nearing the end of our list of recommendations, but you can be sure that we’re saving the best refugium lights for last. The AquaIllumination light is the most expensive item on our list so far, and here’s why. This refugium light offers you outstanding brightness while increasing the growth of macroalgae. It comes with a long cord that helps ease the installation process, and more than 400 people all over the US have agreed that this product deserved a 4.5-star review. Let’s take a closer look at the specifics.


  • This light comes with a moonlight channel that simulates the moon’s color light.
  • It also comes with an adjustable tank mount that you can fit onto the side of your aquarium.
  • The Prime version of these products also comes with a hanging kit to help you suspend the light directly above the tank.
  • This light comes with 16 LED HD lights in Cool White, Blue, Royal Blue, Photo Red, Green, Violet, and Moonlight.
  • To set up your refugium light equipment, you need to download the AquaIllumination app on your iOS or Android device. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you can use your smartphone to control the lighting.


  • This refugium light is one of the more high-tech versions of the product out there, so it is perfect for people interested in functionality and well-designed products.
  • Thanks to the intuitive app design and simple user interface, it is easy to control the lighting from wherever you are.


  • This light is quite expensive, so it isn’t ideal for people on a budget.


We would highly recommend this light to people searching for a product that is easy to set up, control, and use throughout the day.

7.    Hipargero 2nd Generation A029 Aquarium LED Light.

Our final recommendation is the Hipgero aquarium LED light. This refugium light is an affordably priced and easy-to-use product. It’s perfect for people with larger aquariums, particularly those with coral in them. This light is aesthetically pleasing and is also easy to operate!


  • This light comes with a built-in timer that allows you to set eight, ten, 12, 14, and 24-hour working slots throughout the day.
  • It has a CPU plug that test controls the circuit, the LED lights, and the fan.
  • This product has sunrise and sunset functions.
  • It has high-quality LED lights in royal blue, red, and white.
  • It has two dimmable LED channels that have touch control.


  • It offers you the chance to exercise control over the lighting at all times, especially when you don’t have time to go back and check on the refugium light constantly.
  • This product is both affordable and a worthy investment simultaneously.


  • The fans in this light tend to make a lot of noise.
  • It is difficult to attach this light to a plastic tank.


We would highly recommend this refugium light to people who want a light with a range of timers. You can control the amount of time that your aquarium gets light, making this the ideal product for people with busy schedules and little free time.

Buyer’s Guide: Best Refugium Light

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and advancements in design, refugium lights come with a wide variety of settings allowing you to control various aspects of your aquarium. When purchasing a refugium light, here’s a few things to consider:

1.    The size of the refugium.

While this first factor might sound obvious, we’ve learned that it is something people tend to overlook. Before buying a refugium light, take the size of your aquarium and refugium tanks into consideration. Make sure to check if you can immerse the light in the tank, suspend it, or hang it above the tank. Some refugium lights cater to very specifically-sized tanks, and you don’t want to spend too much time trying to fix your light to the tank.

2.    The intensity of the light.

The light intensity depends on what the aquarium’s requirements are. For instance, are you trying to grow more macroalgae or increase pH levels? How deep into the water do you want the light to travel? Ask yourself these questions and research your fish and plants before buying a light that is either too intense or weak and doesn’t suit your needs.

Is It Okay to Leave a Refugium Light On 24*7?

No, you shouldn’t leave a refugium light on 24×7. You should keep it on for only 12 to 14 hours a day.


Does Refugium Help With Algae?

Yes, the refugium helps produce macroalgae to grow extra nutrients and prevent bad microalgae from growing.

What Light Does A Refugium Need?

A refugium needs LED lighting in red, white, and blue.

When Should I Run My Refugium Lights?

You should run your refugium lights based on the requirements of your fish and plants, usually for 12 hours a day.


In this article, we walked you through a list of the top seven refugium lights. We made sure to recommend a wide range of refugium lights catering to different budgets and tank requirements. Purchasing a refugium light can often seem daunting or intimidating, especially when you’ve never done it before. However, we hope that our guide showed you that the process of purchasing a necessary product like this one is easier than you thought it would be!

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