Do I Need A PAR Meter For Reef Tank? (Best Of 2024)

Do I need a PAR meter for reef tank in 2024? Yes, because without the use of a PAR meter, you’re not able to properly adjust the level of your light over your canopy.

If you don’t have the best PAR meter for reef tank, you won’t be able to alter the dimming of your lights.

In the absence of a PAR meter you’re not able to tell the age of your light bulbs or in need of cleaning.

The only way to ensure that you’re lighting your tank properly is to use an instrument to measure what amount of Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) in your tank.

PAR is the method we employ to determine how much light coming into our tanks, and whether it is useful to our corals.

If you own a coral reef tank that is brimming with corals, then you’re probably aware that picking the best PAR meter for reef tanks and maintaining the tank in good condition can be a bit more difficult than you thought.

Reef tanks can be quite difficult to maintain particularly when they are unable to provide your corals with ideal conditions for growth and longevity.

For corals, one of the main aspects they have to be able to perform to live is photosynthesis which is why, without this process, they’ll certainly end up dying.

But, how do you determine whether your corals are receiving the right amount of sunlight to remain healthy and happy?

Here is the point and area where the PAR meter is considered. Let’s look at the meaning of a PAR meter as well as our goal to help you choose the most effective PAR meter for reef tanks (this one is our favorite).

Our in-house expert team has selected the top 5 PAR meters that we’ve personally tested and reviewed in great detail.

Do I Need A PAR Meter For Reef Tank?

Do I Need A PAR Meter For Reef Tank? The PAR levels of your tank are vital to be aware of and track because it will make it simpler to add new corals to your tank and also make it easier to evaluate lighting fixtures to determine the most suitable light fixture for your particular reef.

Find out your light PAR with the Apogee MQ-510 PAR Meter. It’s an MQ-510 quantum meter that was specifically developed for underwater measurements of PAR. It already incorporates the sensor’s corrective for immersion effect to the readings of the meter through the firmware.

Apogee quantum meters have become the industry standard and are the preferred tool for professionals and scientists across the world.

Accurately measuring PPFD over every light source. The MQ510 is an electronic device that can be carried around and equipped with a cable that records and displays the measurements.

for underwater biologists. the Apogee Meter is similar to the MQ-500 However, it is also able to be used in the submersion.

The sensor comes standard and comes with an extension tool that can serve as a connector for the device in addition to the option of the case to protect it (with the foam liner).

The MQ-510 quantum meter was made for measurements of PAR in the water. It already incorporates the sensor’s correction for an immersion effect to the readings of the meter via the firmware.

The meter is able to measure excellently for all sources of light including LEDs. The meter is composed of a quantum sensor, which is waterproof and connects via an inert cable that connects to the handheld meters.

This sensor which is water-proof includes blue-enhanced silicon photodiodes as well as customized optical filters placed on an anodized robust aluminum body with an acrylic diffuser. Quantum sensors underwater are often used in saltwater aquariums, where corals flourish.

The handheld meter doesn’t have waterproofing, however, the sensor and cable are both waterproof.

A Quick Comparison of Our Expert’s 5 Favourite PAR Meters in 2023

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5 Best Par Meter For Reef Tanks

Let’s look at our opinion of the top 5 best par meters for reef tanks available on online platforms today. The opinion is based on the outcome of the tests conducted by our expert team using 5 different PAR meters.

Any of these options could just be the best option for you, the instrument is needed to determine the amount of light that your corals are receiving.

The purpose of this is to optimize the amount of beneficial light radiation that corals receive to ensure their growth.

SENEYE Reef Aquarium Monitor And Par Meter

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When it comes to monitoring capabilities, it is the SENEYE Aquarium Monitor is certainly one of the most effective alternatives, in our opinion.

We do believe that the particular unit has been classified as one of the most precise and complete alternatives.

The Seneye PAR meter is known for being extremely precise and precise in all its measurements. This is crucial in maintaining the condition of your own coral reef.

The fact that it’s so precise when it comes to measuring different water parameters is an important point, absolutely.

The most impressive feature of this particular piece is that it does much more than just measure the PAR.

It also measures the LUX as well as the Kelvin within the tank, or more specifically the Kelvin range the lights in your system are located in and how well the lights are performing or changing in time.

As a side note, although corals are saltwater species, however, they can be used to build freshwater tanks.

Seneye PAR meter can do even more since it tracks the temperature so that you know when you’re drinking water that’s too hot as well as cold. It can also tell if the heater or cooler is breaking down.

It can also monitor ammonia and nitrate levels within the water, in addition to it can also monitor the pH level and the water’s levels.

In essence, it can keep all of one of the water parameters that are essential for the survival and health of your corals.

We like the way this product was designed to last and appears to have a decent shelf life.

What must be noted in this case is Seneye Slide must be replaced each month to allow it to be able for this PAR meter to keep working and that’s no huge deal.

Remember that this gadget works via a USB connection, but does not possess any display of its own.

This means you have to take the data collection with this device, but you must also link it up to your laptop using the supplied USB cable to examine the information. Unless you purchase some additional accessories, you are not able to utilize your smartphone to look at the data, but only your computer.


  • Extremely precise measurements.
  • Durable design.
  • Data is easy to read on your laptop.
  • Measures LUX, Kelvin, & PAR.
  • Analyzes Nitrates, Ammonia pH, Temperature, and Water Level.
  • It is very easy to measure.


  • It requires a computer to make use of.
  • You must connect to a USB.
  • It is necessary to purchase additional accessories to make use of this on smartphones.
  • Doesn’t come with its own displays.

Sun System PAR Meter

Sun System PAR Meter With Remote Sensor Measure Photosynthetically Active Radiation, Gray
  • Brand name:Sun System
  • Assembly not required
  • Made in China
  • Se inside with Sun System grow lights or outside with natural sunlight

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Contrary to the PAR meter we examined it is the Sun System PAR Meter particular is extremely simple.

It doesn’t determine anything other than the PAR level that your corals are receiving. It does not gauge ammonia, pH, temperature, or any other parameters of the water that the model above measures.

However, even though it is a one-trick pony, so to be precise, it can do the job well. It is very precise in its assessments which is an essential aspect of the course.

The Sun System PAR Meter is extremely easy to use. Simply place the probe in the water, and wait for an hour for the readings to be read.

Its nifty part here is that this item comes with its own display and screen.

This PAR meter would only give its results when you connect to the computer through the USB port.

But, it is extremely quick and simple to use due to the fact that it comes with its own display, which is directly connected to the probe.

Make sure you don’t drop the display into the water since it’s not waterproof. The display, though it is functional, it is not the most durable. Additionally, it doesn’t keep track of past and current information, which could be somewhat of a problem.


  • Very easy and simple.
  • Readings that are accurate.
  • It comes with its own display.


  • The display isn’t particularly sturdy or waterproof.
  • Only can be measured PAR.
  • Don’t keep track of your data.

Quantum Apogee MQ-510 PAR Meter

MQ-510: Underwater Full-Spectrum Quantum Meter Bundled with AM-320 Water Submersible Sensor Wand Includes Apogee Instruments Neoprene Case
  • FOR SCIENTISTS & SERIOUS GROWERS - Designed by world-renowned crop...
  • MEASURING PAR IS CRITICAL - An accurate PAR meter is critical for...
  • UNDERWATER ACCURACY - Underwater PAR measurements can read low when a...
  • QUALITY QUANTUM METER - Unlike cheaper LUX or footcandle sensors which...
  • RUGGED & EASY TO USE - Quantum sensor head is machined aluminum and...

Last update on 2024-02-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The Quantum Apogee MQ-510 is a similar PAR meter to go with it and has several good features.

Like the model above it is also available in this Apogee MQ-510 PAR Meter one comes with its own display, which means it is not necessary for an internet connection, or anything similar.

The display isn’t particularly robust or waterproof but there’s a display to be proud of.

It comes with a long cable which means you don’t need to sit directly near the aquarium. The cool thing is the fact that it can be used to measure PAR both inside and outside of the ocean.

It is true that this device can provide extremely precise measurements, otherwise, we wouldn’t have put it in our top 10 list of top PAR meters. That being said it’s the latest and improved version.

The older version of the Apogee PAR Meter model was not as precise, but this model is. It has amazing optical sensors that work very well.

All you have to do is place the probe over the water and then press the sample button for the reading.

The other thing that is interesting is that the device records information from previous measurements, which allows you to look back at the past and the present to see the impact that the modifications you’ve implemented have had on the tank.


  • High-performance.
  • Accurate.
  • It has a display.
  • Long cord.
  • It’s super easy to make use of.


  • The display is not long-lasting.
  • The display is not waterproof.
  • The cosine function can be difficult to grasp.

SpotOn 400-700nm Quantum PAR Meter

SpotOn Quantum PAR and DLI Meter displays Real-time photosynthetic Light Levels. DLI Mode Shows Average 24 HR PPFD.
  • A true quantum PAR Meter which senses actual photosythetic lights on...
  • DLI mode calculates average light over 24 hours. Allows comparisons to...
  • Standard default mode takes instant PPFD readings with .75" easy to...
  • Extension Wand available to allow readings to be taken further into...
  • Comes with it's own removeable stand which can be used as a soil...

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

SpotOn Quantum PAR meter is an affordable meter that gives highly accurate and scientifically precise Photosynthetic Active Radiation (PAR) readings of light under any light source, including LED.

The SpotOn Quantum PAR Meter is constructed to withstand the conditions of a grow room.

It also features a battery compartment that is sealed to keep out moisture. Even higher-end high-end meters do not have this level of security.

This PAR meter is ideal for greenhouse, outdoor, and indoor applications that require sunrise/sunset control of light.

To calculate DLI simply turn it on, then set it down, and then look at the indicator 24 hours later. Your DLI will be displayed.

You don’t need cables for special purposes, simply install the software and connect to the PC.

The SpotOn Quantum PAR Meter is constructed to withstand conditions in a grow room.

The large, easy-to-read display is perfect for mounting the meter at an established location, and for performing spot checks over time.

Some meters need two hands in order to operate sensors, the meters as well, and the cables that are long and tangly.

It’s compact and pocket-sized with many built-in ways to install your brand-new PAR meter. Make use of the stand that comes with it or anchor the meter inside the canopy of your plant.

It also features an internal magnet and an angled tripod hole that can connect to extension tools.

SpotOn PAR Meter was created to aid farmers in more precisely assessing the amount of sunlight their crops receive.

The SpotOn PAR Meter is an instrument that is handheld and measures the amount of photosynthetically actively radiating radiation (PAR) within a specific space.

It is essential for farmers to be aware of what PAR amounts of the crops they grow since it directly impacts plant growth and yield.

This SpotOn measures 400-700nm typical PAR wavelengths. It doesn’t measure wavelengths above 700nm which comprise part of the infrared spectrum.


  • Display with waterproof case and cap
  • DLI (daily integrated light) Mode Built-In
  • Clear 1/2″ LCD Display, no external cables.
  • Comes With an Integrated Stand


  • The display’s size is washed away under the high-power grow light.
  • The device can freeze a few times. Turn off the power and then turn it on.

400-700nm Quantum PAR Light Meter that comes with built-in DLI with Scan Mode

400-700 nm Quantum PAR Light Meter with Built in DLI and Scan Mode Accurate for All Light Sources, Grow Light meter, Indoor/Outdoor Plants meter, Quantum Separate Waterproof Sensor with Handheld Meter
  • This quantum PAR light meter is mainly used to measure the...
  • The sensor uses a silicon photodetector and passes through a 400-700nm...
  • Support three modes of operation: instant spot-check measurement mode...
  • Accurate and instant response. Easy to read large backlight display;...
  • The sensor of XAR-P10 PAR meter is waterproof and can be used in all...

Last update on 2024-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The quantum PAR light meter is mostly used to measure the photosynthetically active light that is in that ranges from 400-700nm.

It offers precise PAR lighting readings from the full sunlight to complete shade outdoors or indoors and artificial lighting sources (LED, High-PressureSodium, and Metal Halide as well as Fluorescent and Halogen). The device is extensively employed in the field of agricultural meteorology and research on crop growth.

The sensor is based on the silicon photodetector, which goes through a 400-700nm optical filter. PAR light measurement ranges between 0 and 4000 mg/m2/s

Three modes of operation support Instant spot-check measurement mode to display PAR lights PPFD and scan mode to quickly average PAR across a large area; DLI mode displays the Daily Light Integral

Fast and precise response. Easy to see the large backlight display

The sensor in the XAR-P10 PAR meter is waterproof and suitable for use under any weather conditions. (But the body of the meter isn’t waterproof.). There are only two buttons and it is easy to use. The four figures of AA Alkaline Batteries are required.


  • This meter is watertight
  • It is able to provide exact PAR light readings
  • The sensor is based on the silicon photodetector
  • large backlight display
  • It can support 3 modes of operation including instant spot-check measurement mode scan mode and DLI mode.


  • The display isn’t particularly robust.

What Does A PAR Meter Do?

Before we get into the details of the function of a par meter and the meaning behind it that it does, let us know the meaning of par, particularly in relation to your reef tank and your corals. PAR is a short form for Photosynthetically Active Radiation.

In simple terms in the context of tank reefs, PAR represents the light intensity that enters the water column, and it is accessible to corals to produce photosynthesis.

As you may have guessed, the majority of the food that corals make or consume is created by photosynthesis. If there’s not sufficient PAR or excessive amounts corals are not doing very well.

A PAR meter is a device that measures the amount of light radiation, or PAR that is available to corals to make use of for photosynthesis. In terms of maintaining the coral’s health, this is crucial.

Many have started making use of these devices to boost coral growth and boost the overall condition of the reef tank.

For your information for optimal growth, some corals require only 40 PAR for basic survival While others may require up to 600 PAR.


What is a Good PAR for a Reef Tank?

As the general rule corals require these PAR levels Soft Corals (zoanthids palythoa, zoanthids, mushrooms as well as leathers): 50-150 PAR. LPS Corals: 50-150 PAR. The Hard Corals (stony corals Small polyps): 200-500 PAR.

How Much PAR is Too Much Reef Tank?

A lot of light can hinder or harm corals. There’s no definitive guideline for the best PAR for all corals, however, an ideal starting place would be 150 to 250 PAR.

How Much PAR Do I Need for Torch Coral?

A proper hammer coral maintenance program is dependent on complying with a PAR rating that is generalized to a low level of light. This is between 50 to 150 PAR and you will be able to identify this by purchasing a PAR meter.

Is LUX the Same as PAR?

LUX, as well as PAR, are different. LUX meters determine the amount of light that is usable for humans, whereas PAR meters determine a spectral range that includes the number of photons that hit the plants in a single second within the spectrum.

Can I Use a LUX Meter to Measure PAR?

At the top of each chart is the amount to be applied to each Luxmeter to translate the readout of lux to PAR in units of umols/m2/sec.
For example, if using a UNI-T lux meter and you have a red and white LED grow light, you will multiply your LUX measurement by 0.017 to calculate an equivalent PAR. PAR equivalent.

How Many LUX is a PAR?

It appears to me that the LUX conversion to PAR conversion process is more difficult in the case of LED light bulbs. Simply multiply the LUX measurement by 3.05 to calculate PARS.

Do I Need A PAR Meter For Reef Tank? (Summary)

In addition, the amount of sunlight your corals receive in your reef tank is vital and directly connected to their existence. If they don’t have enough light, they’ll not be able to produce their own food or develop, however, too much of it, and they’ll become overwhelmed.

A best PAR Meter for reef tanks will be able to determine precisely the amount of light your corals receive and allow you to make the necessary adjustments to encourage the healthy growth and development of your coral. Personally, we would suggest using one of these PAR meters that we have reviewed since they seem to be among the top ones.

Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, 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.