What Light Should I Get For A 20 Gallon Tank?

Logan.t.Foster

Well Known Member
Messages
656
Reaction score
271
Points
93
Experience
1 year
I am trying to decide on a light to get for a 20 gallon tank I will buy. I plan to have corals I. The tank and I need some advice.
Would 2 of work?
If not, could I have some other suggestions?
Thanks!
 

Coradee

Moderator
Messages
16,325
Reaction score
4,053
Points
508
Experience
More than 10 years
Giving this a bump up for you hope our salty members can help you today
 

Culprit

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,814
Reaction score
4,150
Points
308
Experience
4 years
They might... but not very well. I'd look around your local aquarium club, a lot of time you can find them on facebook, or they'll have their own little forum. Check BTSF forums too for used lights. Lights to look for: AI Prime - the best of the options imo. You should be able to get a good used one for about $100-125. THis is an excellent light and you will be able to keep any coral you want. Its adjustable, and has an app for easy programming. Next up is an Arctic revive T247. Its usually a bit cheaper then the prime, but not as adjustable, no app, but it has a good spectrum, and is strong, and will cover more tank then the Prime.
 

ValerieAdams

Fishlore VIP
Messages
4,534
Reaction score
3,665
Points
198
Experience
1 year
They might... but not very well. I'd look around your local aquarium club, a lot of time you can find them on facebook, or they'll have their own little forum. Check BTSF forums too for used lights. Lights to look for: AI Prime - the best of the options imo. You should be able to get a good used one for about $100-125. THis is an excellent light and you will be able to keep any coral you want. Its adjustable, and has an app for easy programming. Next up is an Arctic revive T247. Its usually a bit cheaper then the prime, but not as adjustable, no app, but it has a good spectrum, and is strong, and will cover more tank then the Prime.
Fyi, you can get the AI Primes on MarineDepot.com and do monthly payments on them
 

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,908
Reaction score
1,103
Points
198
Experience
1 year
I only recommend the Nicrews for folks doing FOWLR (Fish Only With Live Rock) who are looking for a light to get by, they simply don't have the spectrum or lighting intensity required to make a variety of corals happy in the long run. I had an Aqueon modular LED when I had my 36 gallon bowfront that provided more power than the nicrew do and it did okay with a couple of Euphyllia frags, but couldn't keep a soft leather mushroom or any Zoanthids alive (I lost about $100 worth of coral frags from that stupid light as a result). I concur with Culprit that if you really want a nice light for your tank, you will be hard pressed to get a light better than the AI Prime HD for the money. At $199 new plus the cost of a $22 mount arm they deliver a high end LED light for a relatively low price. If you can find a used one, all the better. The AI is fully programmable via a mobile app and via the myai website. I strongly recommend the website via either desktop or laptop as it is much easier and more stable. The customization is about as creative as it can be. Timer with ramp up and ramp down (simulates sunrise, sunset), you can borrow power from what you aren't using and add it to what you are using (ie turn down a given color and crank up another) and you can even simulate lightning flashes and overcast days if you want (although I don't recommend the lightning, it freaks out the fish). I have a pair of the Prime HD's bigger brothers, the AI Hydra 26HDs over my 90 gallon and love them. If money is super tight and you can't find a new one, you could go with a Chinese Black Box, but you will be lucky to even get basic timer functions with the light (They run around $90-$130 new). If it were me though, I would go with a Prime HD (used or new) for that size tank. When it comes to corals you have to understand that is the expensive and more demanding side of the hobby. They are much more demanding for lighting and water parameters than fish and the corals themselves are spendy. You can easily spend well over $100 on just a few coral fragments and the lighting is definitely more expensive (as just about any LED light bar will keep fish happy).
 
Last edited:

stella1979

Moderator
Messages
7,492
Reaction score
9,614
Points
608
Experience
5 to 10 years
Hi May I be frank? My best advice regarding lighting is to not skimp on it if your goal is for the tank to contain thriving photosynthetic creatures like corals and anemones. I have a long story illustrating how I view my first choice on lighting to be the biggest mistake with my reef build. Suffice to say, I made the wrong choice on the first light... that wasn't all that cheap. When I needed to replace that light, I ended up spending more than twice what the first purchase cost.:banghead:

With that in mind, I'd like to know if your 20g tank is a tall or a long? I also would ask if you have any particular corals you'd like to keep in mind? Here's the thing, if you want to be able to pick and choose whatever corals you'd like, and never have to worry if your light will support them, then you'll want a very good light indeed. In that case, you should go with Kessil, Radion, Aqua Illumination... but all of these are pendant style lights, so for full coverage, you'd need two of them.ops: There are very good options for long LED lights in the Maxspect Razor X R5 100W and the light I have over my own 20g long, an SB Reef Lights Ultra 22". Any of these excellent lighting options will mean you can keep even the most light-demanding corals, which in general, are the branchy types that a lot of people want.

However, there are plenty of corals and critters that don't need very strong lighting and in that case, you might be very happy with a budget light. If placed very high, that is, near to the light, some easier branchy corals, along with lower light species, might do okay under a Current USA Orbit Marine, but branching SPS corals, along with anything else you'd like... even corals that are said to be low-light, will most certainly do better, (and grow faster), under an Ocean Revive like Culprit mentioned.

I know, lighting can be a tough pill to swallow, but the best thing you can do is buy the best light your budget will allow. Having to buy a 2nd light just before the tank turned 1 year old was a much tougher pill to swallow in my case.

If good lighting is just not in the budget now, please consider starting a salty tank anyway. Lots of reef tanks started out as FOWLR's. This allows the tank to get establish, find balance, and mature a little, which will be very good for your eventual corals. In the meantime, you'll have some salty fish to enjoy while you save for reef light that will be perfect for you.
 

Nart

Well Known Member
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
4,385
Points
298
Experience
5 to 10 years
Ocean Revive T247B lights. Best bang for your buck, very similar to the black boxes sold on ebay and amazon.
Hang the lights 17" over your water surface. Run the whites at 70% for 4 hours during the day, switch it off. Then have the blues to run 65% for another 4 hours, and off. Repeat next day.
This will get you about 280 PAR towards the top of you tank, 160 PAR mid tank, and 80-100 PAR'ish bottom of your tank.

Boom done!
 

Nart

Well Known Member
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
4,385
Points
298
Experience
5 to 10 years
@Jesterrace
If we're comparing new to new, AI Prime + Mount will run you about $240'ish. I got the Ocean Revive T247B brand new on ebay for $170 (comes with mount and hanging kit).
Also, factor in the coverage. 1 AI Prime, from my experience has a max of about 18"x18" true coverage. The T247B covers 24"x24" true coverage.

So it also depends on your scape and usage. In a 10G tank, I can recommend a AI Prime, maybe in a 20g high too. But in a 20g long, my vote is on the OR T247B. Unless you only plan to scape and lay out corals planned to your AI Prime coverage.
 

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,908
Reaction score
1,103
Points
198
Experience
1 year
Actually the AI Prime HD now runs $199 shipped new

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/prime-hd-led-module-black-body-aqua-illumination.html

The Mount arms run $25

https://www.bulkreefsupply.com/prime-flex-arm-12-inch-aqua-illumination.html


The light you mentioned is $189 shipped from Amazon

I know that the older Prime model wasn't as good for coverage as the newer HD model. I agree if we are talking about a longer tank then things change a bit with the costs. Either way, to me the cost and performance is too close, so I would opt with the Prime between the two, given the extreme customization/programming that the other light just can't match. Just me though.
 
Last edited:

Nart

Well Known Member
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
4,385
Points
298
Experience
5 to 10 years
IMG_8010.jpg

$173.98 shipped new on eBay in the first search hit. Offers OBO as well.

The difference between AI Prime and AI Prime HD is just the over drive or, otherwise known as "Hyper Drive". I had/have both. The HD version allows you to go past the 100% channel and borrowing unused watts from the other channels. The HD still has the same coverage as the older model.

$54 difference in my opinion is quite a bit to me. As far as performance goes, the OR T247-B out performs the AI Prime in terms of PAR. I've tested the PAR for the AI Prime HD and the T247-B. Even though I personally like the AI Prime HD I couldn't argue the solid PAR numbers by the T247-B. I was getting easily 600+ PAR with the T247-B hanging above my water surface by 17" from end to end. With the AI Prime HD, hanging 13" above my water surface and all channels bumped to 100% I was getting 500 PAR.
As far as coral growth, both lights will grow corals.
With the OR T247B the blue is actually a lot deeper if you like the pop. The AI Prime has a better blend and softer blue to it.
 
Last edited:

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,908
Reaction score
1,103
Points
198
Experience
1 year
Fair enough, although IMHO ordering from ebay (many shady sellers and buyer beware) is not an Apples to Apples comparison. Return policy from Amazon and trust to deliver the product is far more dependable IMHO.
 

Nart

Well Known Member
Messages
3,135
Reaction score
4,385
Points
298
Experience
5 to 10 years
I’ll disagree with you there. Buying off eBay is very reputable. Especially when you buy off a buyer who has an online store front.

Returns accepted which I’ve done.
IMG_8059.jpg

eBay money back guarantee as well.
IMG_8058.jpg


IMHO
 

Jesterrace

Well Known Member
Messages
2,908
Reaction score
1,103
Points
198
Experience
1 year
I guess we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. Plenty of "Buyer Beware" horror stories from supposedly reputable ebay sellers out there.
 
Toggle Sidebar

Aquarium Calculator

Follow FishLore!





Top Bottom