When it comes to growing coral (or hosting any living specimen in your tank), you need a light that will sustain life. These days, most made-for-aquarium LED lights will have way more light output than you’ll need.
Enough light, but not too much
You’ll want to be careful that you don’t provide too much light as you get used to your LED setup. Coral can adapt to periods of low light and could survive for weeks even if they were being underlit. Too much light will roast them–it can kill them in just a few days.
Make sure you check the PAR output on the LED lights. Most of the LED lights you’ll come across will feature a dimming option, letting you adjust PAR intensity in your tank.
Programmability, customizability, and spectrum options
Another feature to consider is the programming options that come with the LED kit. Not all lights will feature programmable cycles or the day/night cycle we talked about earlier. Make sure you read the features and the reviews before purchasing so you know what you’re getting. Some LEDs can be programmed from the fixture itself, others require computer connectivity but allow for super precise adjustments (so check for that, too!).
Along with programming options, you’ll want to make sure the LED fixture offers the color spectrum you’re looking for. The LED product reviews can be good for determining the light spectrum and quality, as customers will be quick to post about the lights not looking the way they expected (or looking exactly the way they expected).
Is it built to last?
And finally, you’ll want to make sure ye olde LED will last for years to come! One of the best features of LEDs is low maintenance, low upkeep costs. The “10-year” life expectancy makes up for the high initial price point. Make sure you pick a model that will last (or at least has good customer service–reviews can help with this, too).