10 Best Refugium Lights Worth Your Money

Every refugium tank needs a special light to help the macroalgae grow and photosynthesize so excessive nutrients can be removed, thereby protecting the plants and fish. These lights help to manage the system that improves the water quality in your aquarium. 

With several types of refugium lights on the market, we will help you decide which is suitable for your refugium tank, and we’ll share why you need such a light and how to install it.

Keep reading to put the shine on your refugium for optimal filtration. 

10 Best Refugium Lights

If you’re in a rush, here is our list of the 10 best refugium lights to consider. But read on for a detailed description of each and guidance to maximize your refugium light. 

1. Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light

Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light    

When choosing a refugium lamp, you want to invest wisely in a product designed specifically for refugium tanks. After extensive research, we’ve concluded that the Innovative Marine ChaetoMax Refugium LED Light is the best refugium light. 

Even though this light’s design fits all types of desktop model Nuvo Fusion aquariums, you can modify it to suit the aquarium or refugium tank you already have. It comes in two sizes and offers a wide variety of handy features. 

Some of the most notable features of this refugium light include the color spectrum range and the simplistic overall design. Since the light isn’t submersible, you must fit it outside the refugium. However, this means there’s more space for plants and fish in the smaller tank.


  • This light comes with a bracket-mounted sump configuration 
  • You can use this refugium light in both sumps and aquariums 
  • You can mount this light horizontally and vertically behind the sump or refugium tank
  • It includes a growth-stimulating set of 60 mA LEDs that build the color spectrum of 420 nm blue, 470 nm violet, 630 nm magenta, and 660 nm red 
  • Product dimensions: 6.7 x 1.85 x 0.39 inches
  • Weight: 8 Ounces


  • What’s even more handy about this light is that it comes in two different sizes and wattages, making it perfect for your unique aquarium size 
  • 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 on a tight budget 


We highly recommend this refugium light to people searching for a light that comes in two different sizes, has a broad color spectrum, and doesn’t overheat.

2. Lominie LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Planted Tank Light

Lominie LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Planted Tank Light    

A refugium tank has the exact lighting needs as a planted tank, and depending on the type of plants in your refugium, you may need to include more blue or red light in the lighting design. The Lominie LED light offers great red light spectrum coverage, ideal for plants and photosynthesis. 

A plus is that the light is adjustable to fit any tank width. The light is also waterproof, so that splashes won’t be a problem. Four light sizes are available from 12-43 inches so that you can choose a size for your refugium tank. 


  • Full light spectrum including 60 white, 16 red, 6 blue, and 2 green lights
  • Ideal light penetration 
  • Four channels distribute the lights, which are customizable according to your plant’s requirements
  • Includes timer to set lighting periods
  • Medium price point 


  • Includes more LED chips than other lights
  • Waterproof, so the light can even fall into the tank
  • Fast heat dissipation technology to keep the light cool
  • Slim design for a minimal visual impact


  • Light is somewhat expensive
  • The remote control isn’t great, and the WiFi functionality only works with the remote controller unit (a separate purchase)


While this light produces exceptional growth, the programming is somewhat tedious. However, simply using the timer and dimmer with the appropriate light channel is easy enough. 

3. Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light    

Next up on our list is the Finnex FugeRay light. This light option falls in the mid-budget range and offers excellent lighting for a planted aquarium. A higher red-spectrum light makes it perfect for a planted aquarium or a refugium tank. It’s available in three different models: the rectangular light, a slender tube light, and a round gooseneck light.

The light provides larger aquariums with 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 larger 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. 
  • LEDs offer a 120° angle of light
  • This product also comes with a flexible gooseneck for easy mounting and positioning. 
  • 59-inch power cord included


  • The refugium light is affordable.  
  • It is ideal for large-scale aquariums that need 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 is not appropriate for small or medium-sized aquariums. 
  • It emits lots of light, which means if you purchase it for your small aquarium, it might upset the ecosystem and balance. 
  • It is not waterproof. 


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

4. JBJ Nano Glo LED Refugium Light for Aquarium

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. This light is more expensive than a few of the other refugium lights mentioned in this list, but it’s worth it, as its features outweigh the price. The light distributes light evenly throughout the aquarium without heating the water and disrupting the temperature balance. 


  • It has four LED lights that use one watt each. 
  • 70 lumens brightness
  • This light is great value for money as it lasts for more than 40,000 hours (over four and a half years of service)
  • Product dimensions: 1.75 x 0.75 x 3.25 inches
  • Product weight: 8 ounces


  • This is the ideal product for people searching for a small and compact light to attach to the side of their refugium tank. 
  • You get loads of light without overheating the aquarium. 
  • The light is super easy to install and use. 
  • You can attach the light directly to the outside of the tank wall with the included magnetic attachment holder, just like a tank cleaning magnet.


  • The light has a higher price point for its class. 
  • Some users complain that the light isn’t as long-lasting as claimed. 


This product is for people who want a small light for their small and medium-sized aquariums. If you’d like a light with a focused light field to stimulate growth in your refugium, this product is for you. 

5. Kessil H80 Tuna Flora Refugium LED

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, but it is perfect for growing large amounts of algae. It is adjustable and offers a range of light spectrums. Don’t let the price discourage you, as this is 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 nm to 780 nm and can enhance photosynthesis efficiency. 
  • Depending on the space needed and required output, it can cover an area ranging from 14 to 24 inches. 
  • True UV and infrared spectrums provide natural light to plants for optimal growth.
  • Product dimensions: 4.88 inches diameter by 0.98 inches height


  • You can adjust the intensity of the lighting in the aquarium
  • This refugium light promotes and enhances the growth of macroalgae in the aquarium. 
  • The light is compatible with the Kessil spectral controller, which allows for timed light control. 
  • This light can be installed using an optional gooseneck clamp. 
  • It is ideal for small aquariums or refugium tanks.


  • Some users complained that the light produces too much heat. 
  • The LED lights have a shortened lifespan if you use them 24×7. 
  • The light will be too small for medium to large-sized aquariums, and you must buy at least two more.


This refugium light is the perfect product for investing in a simple but adjustable refugium light. 

6. VARMHUS Aquarium LED Light

VARMHUS Aquarium LED Light    

A versatile refugium light is the Varmhus light, which has a flexible gooseneck fitting to make mounting the light a breeze. Simply clamp the light to the side of your refugium tank. 

Two light capacity sizes are available from 4.8 to 7 watts, and the light can accommodate tanks from 7-44 inches across. A bonus is that the light is rectangular, so while you can adjust the light angle, you don’t lose light quality like you would with a round light. 

The light has customizable settings, but the primary controller is easy to work with. For a planted refugium, the first setting offers white, green, and red light in one channel. Each channel is also dimmable, which makes selecting light intensity a breeze.


  • Clamp fitting for up to 0.7-inch tank walls
  • Extra long electrical cord of 44.5 inches
  • Three basic light channels 
  • Dimmable 
  • The set includes an electric controller (on the main electrical supply), timer, dimmer, and gooseneck mounting


  • Waterproof light with IP67 rating
  • Bright and dimmable light
  • Good light coverage with 24 LED lights
  • Brightness levels adjust in 10% increments 
  • Very affordably priced


  • Light resets when the power is out
  • The clamp is pretty flimsy


While this light is on the cheap end of the refugium spectrum, it offers excellent basic features that will make meeting the light requirements of your refugium tank simple.  

7. Hipargero 2nd Generation A029 Aquarium LED Light

Aquarium Lights –2nd Generation A029 Aquarium LED Light    

We recommend you consider the Hipargero aquarium LED light. This aquarium light is an affordably priced and easy-to-use product. It’s perfect for people with larger aquariums, particularly those with coral in them, and it is also suitable for lighting a refugium if your refugium plants require more blue spectrum light, like spaghetti algae. This light produces good plant growth and is also easy to operate! 


  • This light has a built-in timer that allows you to set 8, 10, 12, 14, and 24-hour light slots throughout the day. 
  • It has a built-in CPU that tests and controls the light’s operation, managing the LED lights and fan. 
  • This product has sunrise and sunset functions. 
  • It has high-quality LED lights in royal blue, red, violet, and white. 
  • It has two dimmable LED channels controlled by touch control. 
  • One-year quality guarantee
  • 30-minute dim and ramp-up feature


  • This light lets you program the lighting program for different settings and times, making it much more efficient.  
  • It is affordable and has great functionality.


  • The light’s fans produce significant noise in a bedroom space. 
  • It isn’t easy to attach this light to a thicker-walled tank. 


We recommend this refugium light to people who want a light with various timed settings. You can control your refugium’s light cycles, making this the ideal product for people with busy schedules and little free time. 

8. SEAOURA LED Aquarium Light for Plants

SEAOURA LED Aquarium Light for Plants    

The Seaoura LED light is an excellent choice for a larger refugium tank. There are six sizes available, from 12 inches to 54 inches. There are three color settings, each with three dimmable intensities, and the timer includes 6, 10, and 12-hour settings.

The light is flicker-free, helping to protect the delicate eye tissues of the refugium tank’s fish. Five columns of lights create a balanced lighting scheme to let you nurture your tank’s plants and animals.

The light resumes normal functioning when the power fails, and as soon as the power returns, the light continues its selected lighting program. 


  • IP 54 rating for wipeable water resistance 
  • Built-in timer with dimmer activation 
  • Multiple light channels, with a red-green-white channel for planted tanks
  • Very affordably priced 


  • Near natural light quality light production 
  • Full spectrum light channel for general growth 
  • A second red-spectrum channel is available for plant growth
  • There is no need to continuously program the timer, which helps if you’re at work
  • Easy mount and expandable brackets are included in the set


  • Light’s brackets don’t lock into place, which can cause light to slip and fall
  • The timer doesn’t always program effectively 


For the price, this LED light is a good option when you set up your first refugium tank. The light channels offer great light coverage to encourage macroalgae growth and help filter your display tank’s water.

9. NICREW ClassicLED Plus LED Aquarium Light with Timer

NICREW ClassicLED Plus LED Aquarium Light with Timer    

Nicrew is a trusted name in aquatic products, especially lighting. The Nicrew ClassicLED Plus is excellent for a refugium tank’s lighting needs. The light is available in six sizes, from 12 to 54 inches. With adjustable mounting brackets, the light will fit most sizes of refugium tanks. 

The light has multiple settings, including a ramp-up and down setting, which is ideal if your refugium tank has crustacean or fish populations, too, as aquatic animals tend to get frightened when a light suddenly goes on and off. 

The on-off timer is helpful if you’re frequently away from home and to switch on light cycles at night while you are sleeping. The light channels offer excellent light spectrums for plant growth, helping macroalgae to grow.


  •  Full light spectrum: white light at 6500K, red light at 660 nm, blue light at 450 nm, and green LEDs for balanced light production
  • Wired controller makes selecting color channels and setting timers easy
  • Lights follow an angle of 120° for optimal refraction angles
  • Different timer for each channel, which allows greater lighting flexibility 
  • Aluminum housing helps with heat dissipation 


  • Light is suitable for saltwater and freshwater aquariums 
  • It is ideal for refugium tanks with adjustable mounting brackets 
  • Ramp-up feature to gradually increase and decrease light intensity over 30 minutes
  • Color rendering rating of CRI 91
  • The slim design has less space impact 
  • Water-resistant housing  


  • The light isn’t suitable for close contact with water, and even splashing can lead to a short
  • Certain functions are only available when using the timer 


The Nicrew light is a perfect addition to most aquariums, whether for your main display tank or the refugium tank. The flexibility of the different settings on the wired controller makes this a highly suitable light for your tank or your refugium. Its growth spectrum lights are ideal for plants that require the true red light spectrum.

10. AHJ Store LED Aquarium Light

AHJ Store LED Aquarium Light    

The AHJ Store LED light is a stunning choice for a more natural lighting approach. The light has a 24-hour cycle, which accurately mimics natural daylight. Plants thrive when they get the best light spectrum at different intensities during the day. 

The lights don’t flicker, which helps maintain a tranquil tank environment, so aquatic creatures and plants can thrive in a natural world that promotes growth. The light clarity is excellent at a CRI 93 rating, so you and your plants can enjoy the most accurate light spectrum frequencies. 

With an IP rating of 67, you don’t have to worry about your light shorting out or electrocuting your fish if it accidentally slips into the water.   


  • Light has 9 color modes
  • Gradual dimming in 10% increments 
  • On-off daylight simulation timer
  • The timer includes specific color frequencies at certain times  


  • The light has many features that help create the best light program for your refugium 
  • Choose between 8 single lights and the different color channels 
  • Use the dimming feature to introduce plants and fish to the different light intensities gradually 
  • The timer is ideal for someone who isn’t home at the times their light should switch on or off
  • Excellent quality LEDs
  • Preprogrammed settings like a 24-hour schedule help simplify life
  • Lower wattage than other lights for energy-saving


  • The price tag is undoubtedly more than the average light’s 
  • The light doesn’t have enough instructions to perform the more complex controller functions  


For a light that won’t upset the natural balance of things, this light is ideal for a tank or your refugium. The light spectrum is as close to natural as possible, which helps plants adjust quickly and grow effectively.

What Is a Refugium Light and Why Do You Need It?

Before we get into the best refugium lights, let’s consider just what a refugium is.

A refugium tank is a smaller, separate 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. Acting as a secondary filter helps maintain a healthy pH balance.

Refugium Light

The macroalgae in the refugium need light to grow. When these organisms grow, they filter the water by removing excessive nutrients that spike algae bloom, helping to keep your water clear and your tank pristine. All of this is possible due to a refugium light.

A refugium contains the macroalgae in an enclosed area, while it also provides a safe space for smaller fish to mature—serving as a nanny tank for microorganisms like shrimp, fish, and crustaceans. 

Large fish can’t swim into the refugium, so smaller fish are protected, while they can easily feast on the rich organic material of macroalgae in the refugium tank. The refugium light helps the plants grow and lets you keep the refugium out of sight if needed without sharing the primary tank lighting system. 

A refugium light also lets you cycle the refugium plants on a reverse lighting schedule so the plants can grow most when the rest of the tank sleeps, helping maintain the pH and avoid a sudden drop.

When the plants grow, they produce oxygen, which raises the water’s pH. In other words, the refugium light helps strengthen the aquatic ecosystem and biodiversity within your aquarium. 

Check out our article on Understanding Biotope Aquascaping Style.

Installing a Refugium Light 

It is important to note that there are different types of refugium lights. You can suspend a few refugium lights outside the aquarium while some lights are submerged in the water. If your aquarium is small, it would be best to use a light mounted outside the tank.

When installing the refugium light, we recommend reading the installation manual and instructions for each specific product, as no two are the same. 

Buyer’s Guide: Best Refugium Light

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and advances in design, refugium lights have various settings, allowing you to control different aspects of your aquarium’s lighting profile. When purchasing a refugium light, there are a few things to consider.

The Size of the Refugium

While this first factor might sound obvious, people tend to overlook it. Before buying a refugium light, consider the size of your aquarium and refugium tanks. Check if you can immerse the light in the tank, suspend it, or hang it above it. Some refugium lights cater to very precisely sized tanks, and you don’t want to spend too much time trying to mount a light for your specific tank.  

The Intensity or Output of the Light

The light intensity your refugium needs determines what output light (or size light) you need. For instance, are you trying to grow more macroalgae or increase pH levels? How deep into the water do you want the light waves to penetrate? Ask yourself these questions and research your fish and plants before buying a light that is either too intense or simply too weak, either of which may not suit your needs. 

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

No, you shouldn’t leave a refugium light on all the time. A refugium light should mimic natural light cycles, so it should only be on for 12 to 14 hours a day. 


Does Refugium Help With Algae? 

Yes, the refugium helps macroalgae photosynthesize, which lets them grow, absorbing more nutrients that would have led to unfavorable algae thriving in your tank. 

What Light Does A Refugium Need? 

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

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. Running the lights at night helps to increase pH, balancing your main tank’s natural pH.


Purchasing a refugium light can often seem daunting or intimidating, especially when you’ve never done it. However, by considering our buying recommendations, you can make the best possible decision. 

Remember that a refugium light is a smaller light with specific light spectrums to boost macroalgae growth so your refugium can thrive. Your choice of light needs only be durable, size-appropriate, and offer the required light intensity and color spectrum to help your refugium plants grow. 

Happy refugium-light-shopping!

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