Regular household LED bulbs?


New member
I am new to the business of lighting. In fact, I am new to reef tanks period. I've got everything purchased and will be cycling my tank as soon as my RO/DI unit comes in. I've saved the lighting research until now as I figure I will have a few weeks before the tank is ready for anything.

I've been looking into lights and it seems LED is the way to go these days. T5s look good but I feel LED lights will be best in the long haul. I've looked into getting the Cree LEDs and going the DIY route. However, before putting the time into that, I am considering other alternatives. My question is, will any of these regular household LED bulbs work for lighting?

The bulbs offered have temperature ratings of either 3000k-3500k or 6000k-6500k. From my understanding, the 6500k is suitable for growing coral as long as it's not too deep. There are "PAR" ratings on some of them but I'm not sure how to make use of them and have a hunch they're just marketing numbers.

My tank is 18" deep but I have no yet decided on which coral I want. I do know I want a xenia and a clownfish (I'm hoping the clown will host the xenia) when the tank is ready.


Premium Member
You can get par 38 bulbs for reef tanks but the home units are not going to work well. I would go the DIY route or one of the many available fixtures.

Welcome to reefcentral!


New member
People use PAR 38 bulbs, but not those. Those will probably not work for a reef tank. How big is your tank?


New member
Those are only 1 watt and would not give off much light in comparison to 3 watt Crees. Although they would probably do just fine on a fuge.


New member
when using PAR bulbs for reefing, pay attention to 1) the angle of the lens and 2) the color temperature of it. 60 degree seems to be the most balanced. the 30-40 degree is too concentrated and coverage is way too small making the balancing act of PAR vs coverage very difficult unless you hang very high. When using ones without optics, the PAR is so low that I thought my meter was broken.

If for display tank, you want 12,000K or higher for mostly viewing pleasure. I always believe if the corals do not look good to your eyes, you will start to neglect them. Making corals look good to our eyes is a very important part.


New member
Thanks for the reply everyone. I'll take your advice and stick with the Cree LEDs. It doesn't look like offers Cree LEDs in the 12,000k range...where does everyone order theirs from?