Updated: November 24, 2020 - By: - Categories: Equipment

As your aquarium tank size increases, lighting demand also increases. You need powerful lights that will penetrate to the bottom of the tank and have enough power to foster the growth of your plants or corals and showcase the vibrant colors of your set up.

For a large tank over 55 gallons, the pool for affordable and quality LED lights reduces significantly. But, you can still find some exceptional options, although these may take you time to find. Through our experience, we have researched an extensive amount of 48-inch LED lights and reviewed some of the best options we found.

Best 48-inch aquarium LED lights

Model Our rating PAR Ideal for Fixture sizes For tanks LEDs Modes Wattage
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus 4.5 star ratingCurrent USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus 35+ @ 12-inch depth fish-only, low light plants 48-60 inches (available 18-72″) 55-90 gallons 96 white + 48 RGB custom colors, weather effects 30 watts
MingDak LED GL multifunction 5 star ratingMingDak LED GL multifunction 66 @ 12-inch depth low-average light plants 48-54 inches (available 12-54″) 55-90 gallons 120 White +20 Blue + 12 Red Day/night with built-in timer 23 watts
NICREW SkyLED 4.5 star ratingNICREW SkyLED 63 @ 12-inch depth low-medium light plants 48-54 inches (available 12-54″) 55-90 gallons White + RGB Day/night 32 watts
NICREW ClassicLED Plus 4.5 star ratingNICREW ClassicLED Plus 72 @ 12-inch depth fish, low-medium light plants 48-54 inches 55-90 gallons White + Blue + Red + Green Day/night, adjustable 36 watts
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC 5 star ratingFinnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC 139 @ 12-inch depth, 88 @ 18-inch the most demanding plants 48 inches (available 24, 36, 48″) 55-90 gallons daylight, 660nm red, green, blue 24/7 timer controller, multi modes watts
Current USA Satellite Plus PRO 5 star ratingCurrent USA Satellite Plus PRO 100+ @ 12-inch depth medium-high light plants 48-60 inches (available 18-60″) 48-60 inches 40 white + 20 RGB 24 hour timer control, multi modes 60 watts
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 5 star ratingFinnex FugeRay Planted+ 121 @ 14-inch depth most high-demanding planted tanks 48 inches (available 12-48″) 55-60 gallons (160) 7000K + (88) 660nm red + (16) blue Day/moonlight 48 watts
BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED 4.5 star ratingBeamsWork DA FSPEC LED 96 @ 12-inch depth (24-inch fixture) medium-high light plants 48 inches (available 12-48″) 55-60 gallons 86x 10000K, 16x Actinic, 9x Red, 9x Green Day/night 120 x 0.5W = 60 watts total
NICREW HyperReef 50 5 star ratingNICREW HyperReef 50 128 @ 24-inch most types of corals maximum spread of 24″ x 24″ 2-3 units for a 48-inch reef tank 24 LEDs from 405 nm (UV) to 660 nm (Deep Red) blue and white channels, adjustable 50 watts
AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED 4.5 star ratingAquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD 100 @ 24-inch depth most types of corals maximum spread of 24 x 24″ 2-3 units for a 48-inch reef tank 17 LEDs, 7 color channel Bluetooth app control for light colors and schedule 60 watts

48-inch aquarium LED light reviews

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light

It is fair to say that this aquarium light has an all-in-one feature. The product has various light colors to mimic the sun, different modes that you can play with, and it comes with the ability to customize the brightness and intensity.

This product comes with white, red, blue, and green LEDs. The white LEDs are the brightest and used to represent the bright period of the day such as noon, the red LEDs are mostly combined with dimmed white light during dusk and dawn, the blue LEDs give your aquarium a moonlight feature, and the green light combined with other lights gives your aquarium a natural look. With this aquarium light, your plants and fish will feel like they in the wild.

Remote controlRemote control

With the remote controller that comes with this product, you can adjust the intensity of any light color of your choice. You can also save your customization with either of the four memory slots (M1-4) that come with the product.

Moreover, the controller is built with awesome features that you can play with. Some examples of these features are a cloudy day that expresses dimmed lights, thunderstorms to flash bright white lights, nighttime to twinkle blue lights. These features are cool to play with.

The product also comes with manual buttons to turn it on/off daily. If you want to automatically control it, you can use it with a timer or timer socket.

MingDak LED GL Multi-function

The MingDak LED GL Multi-function LED light comes with various features that produce powerful lighting and vivid colors that will bring all the colors inside your aquarium to life.

The light relies on multi-chip SMD LED technology to keep up with the intense lighting demands while at the same time remaining efficient, saving you more than 70% of the energy you would consume with fluorescent light of the same power.

The full-spectrum light has white, blue, and red diodes. The addition of blue and red diodes means the light can cater to the needs of live plants inside your aquarium, fostering vibrant and lush growth.

Inline control with built-in timerInline control with built-in timer

You can choose from three modes (two daylight modes and one night mode), but the new and improved multi-controller can do more than that. You can use the controller to adjust the brightness of the light from 100% to 10%, and you can also use it to set the lighting time to 3, 6, or 12 hours depending on your needs.

For most aquarists, the light needs to do more than provide accurate and robust lighting. It also needs to have an excellent design with a nice finish. The MingDak LED GL Multi-Function doesn’t disappoint in this aspect as well. The ultra-thin and sturdy design with a black finish doesn’t steal the spotlight from your tank but compliments it.

The light is quick and easy to install. It has extendable metal docking brackets compatible with various tanks and varying installation options.

NiCREW SkyLED freshwater fish tank light

The NiCREW SkyLED light provides an affordable but functional LED light designed to work in planted tanks. It might not have as many features as some of the other lights we are going to look at, but what it lacks in features it makes up for in quality lighting and a modest price.

With 120 white LEDs and 32 RGB diodes, the light is equipped to meet the lighting needs of low-medium light plants.

You can enjoy the shimmer of daylight and the ambient moonlighting of the night through the two modes that the light offers. It comes with an in-line switch with B and W buttons for turning on/off the day and night modes. It’s also worth noting that the in-line switch is moisture-resistant for durability and better protection against water damage.

This light has a sturdy design and features an excellent aluminum shell that is lightweight and helps with rapid heat dissipation. The ultra-thin design plays a critical role in fitting the light in the tightest of spaces. With the extendable legs, you also have unlimited installation options for various tank designs.

For timing, just buy a Nicrew single-channel timer for simply turning the daylight on/off in a timely manner day by day.

It’s best to use this light in an aquarium with a glass or acrylic canopy to prevent water and moisture damage and get more service out of it.

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC Aquarium LED Light

We have come across various planted aquarium lights. In planted aquariums, the light is very important because plants need light for photosynthesis. Some planted aquarium lights do not give plants enough light while others cause an algae bloom because of too much brightness.

Using the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC aquarium LED light can save you lots of trouble in your planted aquarium because, with its 24/7 feature, you do not have to worry about when you need to turn on/off the light and which spectrum colors to use.

24/7 feature24/7 feature

The 24/7 feature increases or decreases the intensity of light as time goes by. It starts with warm white in the morning, then very bright noon, dimmed red afternoon (mimicking sunset), blue moonlight, and completely turn off at 3 AM.

Remote controlRemote control

This aquarium light comes with a remote that you can use to enter or leave the 24/7 mode. With the remote, you can set the time so that the brightness of the aquarium light looks like how the sun would look like at that time. You can also customize the light by increasing or decreasing any color of your choice. What is more? It comes with four memory slots to save your customizations.

With the impressive PAR output, the light is a perfect choice for needle-leaf, red-leaf plants, and high demanding green carpet plants (like Glossostigma) that reside on the substrate deeply underwater.

We would advise that people who are new to keeping a planted aquarium should use this product so that they do not make any mistake related to lighting the aquarium.

Current USA Satellite Plus Pro 48-inch

If you’re the kind of aquarist that saves no cost to give their aquatic pets the most natural-like environment in their new home, you will love what the Current USA Satellite Plus Pro LED light has to offer.

The light uses a mix of bright white and RGB LEDs to cater to both fish only and planted 55-gallon aquariums. For accurate and powerful lighting, the light has a new and improved multi-chip with SMD LED technology giving you everything your plants and fish need to thrive inside the tank.

At first glance, the light looks relatively standard and similar to the other options. But when you look at the modes, that’s when you realize just how much diversity it has to offer. It comes with a touchpad that you can use to adjust the light and choose between the six different modes. If you’re feeling a little lazy, you can use the wireless IR remote.

Using the remote, you can adjust multiple aspects of the lighting. These include:

Regarding modes, you can choose between the cloud cover effects, the fading lunar, and the storm lighting. You can also set the 24-hour timer to when you want the light to go on and off. The timer comes with a 15 minutes ramp up and ramp down to prevent startling the fish and giving the plants a sunrise and sundown-like effect.

Since you can adjust the intensity and spectrum of the light using the remote, there are two memory slots available that you can use to save your favorite customized spectrums, so you don’t have to set them every time the light goes off.

Finally, the fixture has a 120-degree reflector that distributes and blends the light to all the corners of your aquarium. The sleek aluminum housing hides the extendable metallic legs that make the set-up of the tank fast and straightforward.

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 48-inch planted tank light

If you have many high-demanding stem plants in your planted tank, you will need the help of the Finnex FugeRay Planted+. With the impressive PAR output, the light is a perfect choice for needle-leaf, red-leaf plants, and high demanding green carpet plants (like Glossostigma) that reside on the substrate deeply underwater.

The light has a sleek, appealing, and attractive design too. It’s perfect for aquarists that are keen on the appearance of everything they add to their tanks. It has an excellent low profile design in a silver and white finish. The unique and thin design is good for aesthetics and perfect when you have to fit the light into tight spaces.

Just because the light is easy on the eye doesn’t mean it’s not a good light. It packs high quality white, blue, and red LEDs with a rating of 40,000 hours. True 660nm red LEDs ensure lush growth in the tank while the blue and white LEDs bring a shimmer to the tank.

Unlike the Current USA Satellite, this one doesn’t have lots of modes to choose from. There are two main modes, day/night. The first mode is the daylight mode, with all the three LED colors switched on while the night mode uses the blue LEDs only. The light has a switch on an end that switches between the modes or off.

The Finnex FugeRay relies on a 120-degree reflector to send the light to all directions in the tank.

In addition to the lighting features and the impressive design, you get a moisture-resistant cover with a splash guard to increase protection from moisture and prevent corrosion.

Finally, to install the light on your tank, it has clear, extendable docking legs that make installation easy and provide you with various installation options.

BeamsWork DA FSPEC 48-inch LED aquarium light

The BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED is among the brightest lights in its class. With 10000K white LEDs, it will prove to be an effective addition to your 55-gallon tank. But that’s not all.

The light also features 460nm blue, 620nm red, and 520nm green lights to cater to all the lighting needs of your plants and ensure proper growth by facilitating photosynthesis. The light has two modes (day and night) to provide both flora and fauna with that natural wild feel. You can activate the day mode by switching on all the LEDs and the night mode by only switching the blue LEDs on.

It is also worth noting that the light comes wired and ready for an optional timer (buy separately) to give you more control over when the light goes on and off.

All these magnificent features are tucked inside a sleek and contemporary design with an aluminum shell that gives the light a sturdy feel and helps in quick heat dissipation to protect the LEDs against heat damage.

The clear, extendable docking legs are all you need to install the light and have it running in just a few minutes.

NiCREW HyperReef 50 – for 55-gallon reef

So far, we’ve had a look at freshwater aquarium tanks that are perfect for fish only and planted tanks. For a marine set-up, you need a different kind of light built to meet the needs of your growing coral and add shine and shimmer into your tank.

HyperReef 50 spectrumHyperReef 50 spectrum

The HyperReef 50 is built to provide a full-color spectrum bringing out all the details of your tank. The light is fitted with blue, green, red, and violet LEDs to provide the right spectrum and even has a UV channel to promote coral growth and add some drama to your tank.

The PAR output of this product is so impressive compared to its very affordable price. With this PAR you can grow most types of corals (soft, LPS, mushroom, Zoanthids) under the light. You can have about three units with a spread of 24 inches by 24 inches each for your 55-gallon reef tank.

For Acropora corals that need PAR over 200, we would recommend a higher rated version of the light – the HyperReef 150 with an impressive PAR of 305 at 28 inches.

Marine LED lights are known to produce high temperatures, which can compromise their longevity. The HyperReef 50 uses smart fans to dissipate the heat and ensure optimal working conditions for the LEDs.

Three touch buttons - W, M, BThree touch buttons - W, M, B

You also get lots of control with this light with the independent operation of white and blue channels using a touchpad located at the front of the light. With this feature, you can adjust the light spectrum and intensity for the tank, depending on the current needs.

With every purchase, you get a tank mount with the light that works on rimmed or rimless tanks. The light is also designed with provisions for a hanging kit if you prefer to hang the light, but you have to buy the hanging kit separately.

Although the NiCREW HyperReef has plenty of excellent features, it’s most outstanding one has to be the price. It’s a complete steal for a marine reef light given its range of features and quality.

The AI Prime 16 HD for 48-inch reef tanks

The AI Prime 16HD is a small unit that has cluster LEDs, an efficient heatsink, and a fan, all encased seamlessly in an outer shell. Measuring 4.88 X 4.88 X 1.3 inches, the unit is easily scalable and very easily controlled in unison.

The unit features a total of 17 LEDs including 4 cool white, 4 blue, 4 royal blue, 1 photo red, 1 green, 1 violet, 1 UV, and 1 moonlight. The AI Prime 16 HD has the improved design of closer packed LED placements effectively improving the blending and balance of the light.

The AI Prime 16 HD also boasts a high PAR value output of 100 at 24 inches making it an ideal choice for most types of corals.

Using a ‘myAI’ app from the manufacturer, which is available for both iOS and Android, users can control all aspects of the unit through their intuitive and user-friendly interface.

The app uses fast Bluetooth which is virtually lag-free. The app enables users to control individual color intensities either through the schedule page or via a manual page that uses a Kelvin wheel.

The main page, aptly called ‘dashboard’ gives users an easy view of all available devices in the system, enabling the user to either turn on or off selected devices at a glance. The ‘schedule’ page enables users to set a photoperiod that dims in unison according to the period set. There are also automatic presets if you are unsure of what to use.

Find other reef tank LED lights here: https://portlandaquarium.net/led-light-for-reef-tank/

Final Thoughts

Finding the right lighting for your tank is a time-consuming task. Instead of trying to find the right light, you should actually be enjoying your new tank. With these reviews, we hope you can quickly find the perfect light for your tank and needs and get around to finally admiring your hard work as you enjoy your tank and your fish enjoy their new surroundings.

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