LEDs (light emitting diodes) are becoming the standard type of lighting for all aquariums including reefs. The benefits include very low electric usage, very low heat generation, extremely long bulb life, and exceptional coral coloration especially zoanthids, Acans, and many other corals look amazing with LEDs.
Virtually every day new LED strips or fixtures are being introduced so you will need to do some searching online to find out what is currently available. We have used LED lighting and love it and feel this type of lighting has and will continue to revolutionize how we light our tanks. Some fixtures offer unlimited control features from remote locations via your phone. These fixtures can be very expensive. More basic fixtures that have built-in timers and no other programming options are very affordable. As with any lighting option, ask around and look at actual results before making your decision as to what lighting will be best for your tank. Generally speaking, LEDs are the best all around lights for most reef aquariums.
There are many types of lamps you can use for your reef aquarium. Because the lighting is so important to the health of the animals in your care and because of the expense of most lighting equipment, it is advisable to seek as much information and advice as possible before deciding upon the best lighting for your tank. SPS corals require the most lighting while soft and LPS corals can do well even with lower intensity fluorescent lighting. Actinic or more blue lighting should be used even with metal halide lighting to achieve the best possible coral coloration. When using MH lighting some means to temperature regulation of the tank water will be needed so as to not overheat the water. Stability of a constant temperature is critical to the long-term health of your corals and other reef aquarium inhabitants.
LED lighting is a relatively new type of lighting used for reef aquariums with the best overall possibilities.
All lamps need to be kept clean and replaced on a set schedule to prevent adverse reactions and to maximize coloration.