Unlock The Power Of AI Prime 16HD: A Comprehensive Review

Do you want to keep costly corals within your saltwater aquarium?

You’ll require a top-quality, totally adjustable light you can rely on. For many years AI Prime 16HD has one of the most well-known reef LEDs that are available in the market.

This light is an innovator in lighting for reefs and has proven to be a great source of coral growth and coloration for beginners and advanced hobbyists alike. However, this light may not be suitable for all.

Continue reading this AI Prime 16hd review to learn all you must know about AI Prime 16HD and whether this light is suitable for your saltwater tank!

Best Reef Aquarium Light: AI Prime 16HD Review

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A change to an AquaIlluminatio AI Prime 16HD was always on the agenda. Simple and budget-friendly are crucial but equally important is control and using the right tools to do the task at hand.

AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD light is an excellent light! Together with myAI, the myAI application, the intensity as well as color, can be adjusted to almost any desired hue. If you are who are lighting a nano reef tank this is a fantastic lighting option.

This review will look at the pros/cons, specifications, and dimensions. I’ll also provide an outline of software configuration and control, and then show the final advantages and disadvantages of this marine LED light.

This is a brief overview of the pros and cons of this AI Prime 16HD version. If you’re looking for a short review, I suggest this light. The new 16HD is better than the previous versions!


  • A better spectrum because of the inclusion of the spectrum 3 LEDs (16 bulbs instead of. 13 bulbs in HDand).
  • Better output from PAR
  • The same low profile design and style as HD+’s original HD+. It still looks amazing!
  • Screen removable to make cleaning easy


  • Does not connect to WIFI It only connects to Bluetooth. Bluetooth
  • You will need to purchase the mounting kit on your own since it isn’t included with the light.

AI Prime 16HD Dimensions and Specifications

Here are a few characteristics and specifications of the AquaIllumination Premier 16HD Light:

  • It is designed to be used in design for small (nano) fish tanks. Based on my experiences, a single model of this light works for a 16” by 16 inches footprint tank that is approximately 12-14 inches deep. Tanks larger than this may require several fixtures or a larger version like that of the Hydra 32 or two 16HDs.
  • 17 LEDs (you might think it to be 16 given the model’s description): (4) Blue, (4) Royal Blue, (4) Cool White, (1) Violet, (1) UV, (1) Red, (1) Green, (1) Moonlight.
  • Integral cooling fan that can be removed metal mesh filter for air.
  • Bluetooth communication features for connecting to a tablet or smartphone (via the MyAI application) to program and control.
  • Maximum power draw of 59 watts.
  • Three AI mounting options (none included in the light) The rigid arm mount as well as flex arm mount along with a hanger kit.
  • It is offered with the white as well as the Black versions. The tank mount that is rigid comes in two different finishes: natural (silver) and anodized (black).

Dimensions I measured for AI Prime 16HD Marine AI Prime 16HD Marine are as below:

  • Light Fixture: 4.88” (124 mm) x 4.88” (124 mm) x 1.34” (34 mm) tall.
  • The Light Cord (from lighting fixture until transformer) 120 (305 cm) (305 cm)
  • Power Transformer 4.69″ (119 mm) 2.05” (119 mm) 2.05″‘ (52 mm) x 1.26″‘ (32 mm)
  • Electricity Cord (from the transformer and wall outlet) 43 (109 cm) (109 cm)
  • Weight (light only): 10.9 oz [309 grams]

Measurements I took for the tank that is rigid mount of the AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD are as below:

  • Maximum Reach (from the edge of the glass to the centerline in the frame): 11.9” (303 millimeters)
  • Minimum Reach (from the glass edge to the middle line): 5.9” (150 millimeters)
  • The maximum height (from the edge of the glass’s top up to the lower edge): is 8.7” (220 millimeters)
  • Minimal Height (from the glass’s top edge up to the lower edge): 4.7” (120 millimeters)

Check out these selections with a grain of salt. I would not recommend using the highest height of the fixture because it could be very unstable. The height I have listed (above) is a bit short of the capabilities actually available and is the maximum that still has enough contact between brackets to ensure stability.

I run the light at an elevation of 20.5 centimeters (8.1 12 inches) over the surface of the water which is a great distance for stability, while still achieving an even spread.

The reach of the minimum is slightly variable due to its design I will go into more detail in the next section.

The cost for light fixtures and mount kits are as follows:

Last update on 2024-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The AI Prime 16HD: Is AI Prime 16HD Worth It?

Here’s some background information about the set-up I tested AI Prime on:

Tank Setup

I’m combining the AI Prime with 20-gallon Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion which is an incredible tank that I have really enjoyed having. It’s true that I could have purchased two Primes in order for a better spread. My money was too tight, so I decided to buy just one and modify my tank to fit.

As long as your coral cluster is in the middle of your tank, you shouldn’t face any issues with growing (as long as you’re not trying to maintain any hard coral).

Coral Selection

My tank is mostly dominated by LPS corals with softies thrown in. I do not currently have SPS corals, however, I am planning to get into this in the near future. Consider my coral choices in consideration while deciding whether AI Prime is the right choice for you. AI Prime is right for you.

If you’re operating the SPS large tank you may want to upgrade it to one of the AI Hydra or Kessil A160 fixtures.

AI Prime 16HD – Hardware Description and Setup

The installation of the AI Prime 16HD onto our EVO 13.5 was easy. AquaIllumination has the 10′ (!!) of cord that connects it and its transformer box excellent job AI! There’s a connector inside the cord that connects directly to an AC/DC transformer.

Its AC power cord running from an adapter to the three-prong plug appears like a normal PC power cable.

I tied this transformer to a safe spot at the top of our table. Since this light is controlled via MyAI, the MyAI application, there is no requirement for a separate controller (such as smart plugs) to turn it off or on, as this is determined by the lighting profile.

I love the style of this lighting fixture. It’s a simple but attractive form – it’s a simple square profile, with the corners slightly rounded. The basic shape makes it a great candidate for the creation of a nano tank.

It’s available in two shades: black and white. Most people will prefer black. I asked our tank stylist, and she suggested using the white fixture as well as its natural (silver) mounting. I was shocked however, it turns out, the silver/white combination is really attractive!

The unit is equipped with a cooling system inside. Air is pushed into the top via an intake of stainless mesh. This intake is movable for cleaning. I typically blow it out every now and then by using compressed air. Since it’s stainless, you can clean it by soaking it in water, and then letting it dry in the air.

AquaIllumination comes with a useful tool that can remove the mesh filter. It looks like the iPhone’s SIM card tool to eject it. It will be lost and, when you do, you will be able to pull the filter away by using your fingers.

Air escapes through the perimeter vent, which is sandwiched by an angle to the central line of the fixture.

The mentioned (17) LEDs can be found on the lower part of the tank. The lamps appear protected from water splashes and sprays from the tank. The lamp’s shell is secured with Torx bolts for the head.

AI Prime 16HD – Rigid Tank Mount Setup

AquaIllumination’s tank mount is rigid . . . adequate. Overall, it’s a good design. It makes use of heavy material (thick aluminum, for the largest component) Anodized bolts with hex heads, and nylon components to clamp at the tank.

I am a fan of using nylon near water because it can withstand corrosion from saltwater better than other metals. I’ve had no problems with corrosion of the bolts in more than a year’s use. This mount is meant for tanks that are rimless I’m not sure the way it can perform in an aquarium that has a rim on the top.

By loosening the bolts for the hex head by loosening the bolts, you can move the fixture up and down, alter the reach to be close or far, and also rotate the angle of the head of the fixture.

The mount functions fairly well after being set and adjusted in the event that you’re within a certain distance for height and reach. The reach part can be a problem for certain tanks.

If the arm extends, the mount performs well. If the tank you are using has a lower reach it can become awkward.

The longer arm is a result of it jutting out from the back. If you’re using an old-fashioned layout (aka not a peninsula like EVO 13.5), EVO 13.5) you may encounter issues with clearance between the rear wall (of your house – which the tank is located to the side) as well as the arm.

If I were in this scenario I’d think about cutting off the excess material and then trying to smooth or file the edge of the cut. That’s a lot more work and a lot of fabrication for the majority of people.

The instructions are fairly simple regarding the construction of the fixture. A word of caution: Certain users have complained that while performing adjustments to the mounting system if the socket or ball slips while the entire fixture shifts downwards, sharp edges on the fixture could be cut by the power cable. As you can see in this image the power cord is inserted into the fixture to its sharp edges on the mounting.

Damage to this area of the cord may be terminal (that the light is not working anymore). I’m not sure if AI will provide a warranty when this happens (I believe they won’t).

In relation to cords, a further issue with this mount is its cord management (or the absence of it). It’s not clear the way that cords should be arranged. There’s a hole at the cord’s end however, up to this point the cord dangles.

I tried to secure it to the lower part of the mount using hot glue. It was pretty however it didn’t last long.

The solution came down to zip tie. The look isn’t great. I would have liked AquaIllumination to provide beautiful clips to the underside as well as down the middle to help secure the power cord.

I’m not able to speak for other mounts because I’ve not tried them. I preferred this mount over the Flexi because of its design. For me, I feel that the Flex mount resembles an old-school Desk lamp (not in an ideal way). This is just my personal opinion.

The mounting is stylish, but I’m guessing AI didn’t allow for cord routing using this option.

What We Like About the AI Prime 16HD

Here are some of our most loved things about this unit:

Great Coral Growth

As I mentioned I’ve only used AI Prime for about six months or about. In the short period, however, my corals increased in size than they had ever done in my T5 fixture.

Since I keep only LPS in addition to Soft Corals I can’t have my primary running at full capacity. I would think that if I wanted to boost it up to 100 percent, I would be able to transform it into one of the SPS tanks.

In truth, I was a bit anxious about switching between T5 and LED. I’ve always used T5 and it has worked great with me. However, I decided that it was time to upgrade. I am amazed at how my corals enjoy AI Prime. AI Prime, though.

Particularly the way I’m using specifically, my Hammer Coral and Frogspawn seem to be the ones benefiting most. They’ve kind of reached the “plateau” with the T5s and have been able to grow many new heads after changing. My Zoas appear to be expanding quite rapidly too!

Vibrant Colors

The loss of color on my corals particularly my Zoanthids was among my primary issues. T5s are famous for bringing out the most stunning colors and that’s something I didn’t wish to lose. I was, however, pleasantly amazed by how beautiful my corals looked when using AI Prime.

I believe that a major reason that I was able to have good coloration on my corals was due to AI Prime’s customizable options. I was able to play using the settings and tweak each color according to my preference.

This is an enormous leap from my previous lighting, which essentially had one power source for all hours of the day. It’s nice to experiment to adjust the brightness until content!

Customization Options

This is a huge purchase for me. I’ve never owned anything so advanced like the AI Prime and it’s certainly a good switch. In particular, the capability to customize the power of each class of light allowed me to adjust my Prime to precisely the setting I wanted. This is a frequent question from those who are new Prime owners, and I will share my settings below:

  • CW 50%, DB 65%, DR 15%, G 15%, B 65%, UV 65%, V 65%
  • Sunrise time: 9 am. Sunset: 4:00 pm with an hour-long ramp to both sunset and sunrise
  • It is about 9 inches from the surface of the water.

The configuration for the mobile app is simple and easy. If I am able to get it right it can be done by anyone else.

I am a huge fan of the lunar mode, which mimics the lunar phases of the moment to recreate a natural setting.

If you intend to keep your aquarium in your bedroom The lunar phase may not be the best option for you. Personally, I don’t find the blue light to cause me any issues.

In the final part, I’d like to speak about the feature called Storm that has been pre-programmed in AI Prime. Although it is awe-inspiring I’m not certain what is the best application for this feature.

I suppose it contributes to the natural environment, but I don’t think it’s really beneficial. However, I have to say it’s pretty convincing. If you turn the radio off in the dark space you’ll feel it’s raining outside.

Sleek Design and Quiet

I like I like the “minimalist” look of my aquariums. Therefore, large lighting fixtures can turn me off. That’s why I was reluctant to change to a T5 light fixture. As soon as I saw the style and the size of AI Prime, I knew I needed it.

The size of the light is 4.88 x 4.88 x 1.35 and weighs less than 1 pound. You’ll be unable to find a light fixture smaller than this. It is a great way to preserve the slim appearance of my reef tank and does not create any additional bulk.

Additionally to that, AI Prime is also quiet. AI Prime is extremely quiet. If you are keeping your tank in your bedroom like I do it’s a major benefit. The fans can barely be heard even from only a few feet away.

What We Don’t Like About the AI Prime 16HD

Of course, it’s true that this AI device isn’t perfect. Here are a few issues we didn’t like in our tests:

The Tank Mount

There aren’t a lot of choices in the case of setting up AI Prime. AI creates only two models but neither is very effective.

Prior to purchasing, I was reading some really negative things about the mount, such as pieces breaking, hinges falling off, etc.

In all honesty, I expected something a bit better, due to my reading of reviews on the internet. The experience I received was average, not excellent, but certainly not inaccessible.

One of the most common criticisms about this mount is it’s difficult to use with tanks that have the drum. I own the Nuvo Fusion, which is unrimmed, and I haven’t had this issue.

According to the reviews, there isn’t a method to tighten the screw that connects it to your tank enough, in the event that your tank has an the rim.

If you encounter this issue, I’d suggest you look at a wall light or a hanging mount. There are plenty of DIY projects that won’t be too hard.

Doesn’t Have The Best Spread

I’m pleased to announce that this issue is fixed with the most recent version of AI Prime 16HD (AI Prime 16HD and it’s not HD+).

The spread has significantly improved with the addition of 3 LEDs, so I don’t need to be concerned about this issue as significantly now.

I was unsure whether to place this in my “what we don’t like” section of the review. However, using just one Aqua Illumination Prime on a 24” tank cast a little shadow.

The spread didn’t cause me any concern however I could see how this could be a concern for certain reefers. I have relatively simple corals, and everything is located close to the center of the tank, which means the spread was adequate for me.

If you have a larger tank and want to protect corals that are difficult towards the edges, you may require two Primes.

Based on my experience, I’d say that so long as you don’t intend to keep SPS corals near the outer edge of the tank, one prime will be enough for tanks that are up to 24” long. Anything more than that The PAR values might be to levels that are too low. Try to keep SPS along with LPS corals toward the center and softies at the edges.

In the end, I think that this spread offered plenty of light to my tank and corals, however, it could cause issues based on what you intend to keep.

Operating Experience of the AI Prime 16HD

This light from the LED is extremely great. It is unquestionably superior to the normal light supplied with the Fluval EVO. The brightness and colors can be changed to suit the needs and preferences of any user.

The main issue with this light is understanding how to use it in the most efficient way for your tank. This is made easier by the many effective reefers’ light profile profiles.

There are some software benefits worth mentioning: one of them is “Acclimation Mode”. It is accessible in the tab called ‘Lighting’ by clicking on the Moon icon located in the upper right-hand corner.

The acclimation mode lets you create a plan of reduced intensity for a newly formed coral. There are two parameters to set: length (in days) and intensity (as percentage of reduction).

The new corals usually require acclimatization to the light and the intensity of your tank. By decreasing the intensity and then increasing it gradually each day, coral will be able to adjust to less stress.

The noise of the fan emanating from AI Prime HD16’s fan noise AI Prime HD16 is more frequent than I had expected. It appears to be cycling automatically using the internal temperature sensors.

More intense light intensity creates more internal heat. This is the time when you are most likely to hear the fan increase. The update to the software that enabled the previously mentioned reduced maximum fan speed setting can help however, be aware that the light source will cause your tank to be heard across the room when it’s blowing.

AI Prime 16HD – Light Spread Characteristics

A lot of old-time reefers reminisce about the successes they’ve had (or have had) using the older T5-type lighting fixtures. I believe this to be an accurate observation in that older fluorescent fixtures possess some advantages over the new LED fixtures such as those created by AquaIllumination.

The issue isn’t so much the intensity or color, but I believe it has to do with have to do with diffusion and spread. LED lighting, such as Prime 16HD, for instance, Prime 16HD, produces high-intensity light in a small space.

In the Prime’s case Light source, the entire light is sourced from the 1.8 millimeters [4.5 cm large array. The resultant light quality is a bit harsh and may create large areas of intense light as well as sudden shadows.

T5 fixtures spread their light evenly across a bar. The resultant lighting quality is more uniform and soft.

AquaIllumination isn’t able to provide the solution for its lighting products that diffuse the light emitted by its LED lamps. In addition to the harsh lighting quality, some customers complain of a “disco ball effect’. This occurs when the different channels of color are visible on the surface of the water as well as inside the tank.

In combination with a bit of moving water, the illumination resembles the nighttime in Studio 54.

The colors sparkle and change creating an effect that is exhausting and I cannot think of a better method to light up the tank in terms of the health of corals and their growth.

It was a problem I knew about prior to buying the Prime 16HD and knew of an alternative solution. . .

3DReefing Prime Diffuser

Since the moment I installed the 3DReefing Prime Diffuser on AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD, I was convinced that it was an essential accessory.

The Prime Diffuser is a 3D-printed shroud that clips to the lower part of the AI Prime light and extends around 1.6 millimeters [4 centimeters below the fixture.

It is a separate, transparent plastic panel that is placed in the shroud’s bottom.

3DReefing’s solution solves two issues. It first acts as a shroud that helps keep light from spilling out of the tank. Installing the diffuser panel eliminates the disco-ball effect and makes the light feel more comfortable and diffused.

Prime Diffuser Prime Diffuser is available in White and Black (to match AI’s fixture colors). It’s easy to take it off and replace it.

3DReefing’s Prim Diffuser is priced at approximately $30. It’s an absolute must-have as I’m able to recommend.

The only thing I didn’t love about the diffuser was the 3DReefing brand logo that was on the side. It would have been nice if they designed a logo with a professional logo design tool to ensure its professional appeal.

Optimizing Your AI Prime 16HD

AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD takes the labor out of forming gorgeous well-nourished corals. There are several steps to ensure you get the most development and color from your corals.

There are several things to think about in terms of setting marine lighting settings and their installation.

It is important to note it is the AI Prime 16HD includes an adjustment mode that allows the shift from one light to the next or to add sensitive corals a breeze.

This method gradually increases the intensity of light throughout the weeks or days to guarantee the most secure installation for animals.

AI Prime 16HD Photoperiod

All aspects are crucial in the world of lighting in aquariums, and the photoperiod is among the most crucial aspects to be able to do right.

Each aquarium has its own ideal photoperiod. In general, this period is between 8 and 10 hours of light, with the possibility of 30-minute or 1-hour up and down times.

The greatest benefit of using a programmable light is that the hours of operation don’t have to be synchronized with the sun’s hours! If you’re not home during the day, you can set your aquarium to get direct sunlight during the time you’re in your home, and you can take advantage of it.

For achieving an even and vivid spectrum with an AI Prime 16HD throughout the day, there are a variety of ways to program your lights. Concentrate primarily on the blue lighting spectrum because red, green, and white could lead to an increase in algae growth.

How Far Above Your Tank Should You Keep Your AI Prime 16HD?

This is a vital issue that LED light users must ask prior to installing their lighting.

Answering this query depends on the kind of coral you are planning to keep. Many hobbyists put the AI Prime 16HD between 7 to 12 inches (17.8-30.5 cm) over their tank.

The ideal spot to place your AI Prime will be contingent on the kind of coral that is kept. small polyp stone (SPS) corals will require brighter and more intense light profiles than large polyp (LPS) corals as well as soft corals.

The result is that SPS-dominated systems tend to have extremely close lighting and corals placed on top of the rockwork.


Is AI Prime 16HD good for coral?

AI Prime 16HD spectrum AI Prime 16HD spectrum has infinite frequency combinations that provide the ideal color blend that will aid in the growth and color of coral. Moonlight Setting. The tank will not shut off after the lights have gone out. AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD programs to the moonlight setting, which is based on the lunar intensity and the color.

Why is my AI Prime 16hd light blinking blue and green?

It will appear when it’s new or after the factory reset. It will host an accessibility point.

How long do AI prime lights last?

If you assume a 10-hour-per-day photoperiod that is, the AI System will last well over seven years. (According to Cree’s calculations when you have a 10-hour photoperiod, each LED can last for thirteen years!)

How many AI Prime 16HDs do I need?

It is generally accepted that an AI Prime light will cover roughly sixteen inches (40.7 cm) in width and length and twelve inches (30.5 inches) in depth. If your aquarium is bigger than these dimensions or is within the upper limits of these dimensions, then you’ll likely require a different AI Prime 16HD or a larger, more powerful model.

Who makes AI Prime 16HD?

The latest technology within the Prime series from AquaIllumination the Prime 16 HD Series provides more power and brightness wherever you’d like it, and the ability to utilize your smartphone as a controller.

Can you grow SPS with an AI Prime?

They can reach levels of PAR for flourishing SPS tanks.

What is the spread of AI Prime 16HD?

The latest AI Prime 16HD has a spread of 24″” x 24″.

What is the PAR output of AI Prime 16HD?

AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD has a PAR of 100uMol and is approximately 24 inches.

How much power does AI Prime 16HD light use?

The 16HD can draw up to 55 watts, which is very efficient.

Does the AI Prime 16HD light come with a mounting kit?

The 16HD is not equipped with any kind of mounting kit. You’ll need to buy either the tank mount, hanging kit, or flex arm.

How much noise does AI Prime 16HD light make?

AI Prime isn’t silent, however, it’s certainly quiet. If you are only a few feet away, you shouldn’t be able to hear the sound.

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Conclusion: AI Prime 16HD Review

I am in love with this lighting fixture. I’m not sure if I’m required to upgrade or replace it from the AI Prime HD to anything other than this one. I’m not aware of any competitors for this type of high-performance LED Reef fixtures, which are suitable for nano tanks.

The complete set of lights, the rigid mount, and a 3DReefing diffuser, which is an aftermarket product, work together to fulfill the lighting requirements for our corals.

With the assurance that I would recommend the light.

The only major negative I could think of in relation to the Primordial is its mount. It is just an object.

If you’re handy, or have a friend who is that difficult to create the mount that works. With a bit of tinkering, you’ll be ready to go.

All in all, I’d strongly suggest AI Prime 16HD AI Prime 16HD to any reef tank owner. The advantages far surpass any disadvantages associated with using this light.

The slim, low-profile design really elevated the appearance of the tank to a whole new level. I had no idea how big my previous light was until I got this one!

The most impressive aspect of AI Prime was the increase it facilitated for my corals. I’ve always been a lover of coral. Actually, I frequently contemplate converting my tank to an all-coral setup.

The differences in color and growth with AI Prime can make the price appear naive. If I had the option to go back to the beginning, I would have gotten rid of my T5 fixture and moved to the Prime method sooner.

Do yourself a favor and give AI Prime a try, you won’t be disappointed!

Honest AI Prime 16hd review, however, let me reiterate the fact that this light is fantastic and I’d definitely buy it in the future if I needed to (I hope not to).

AquaIllumination is an American company, and they are involved in other “big-boy fixtures like the Hydra 32HD and 64HD. I’m happy to own one of their fixtures and am looking forward to the advancements and improvements to come in the next generation of their lights and software.

Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of FishCampRehab.com, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.