Metal Halide Aquarium Lights

Metal halide aquarium lights are a type of high intensity discharge (HID) lamps specifically designed for use with aquariums.

HID bulbs contain tungsten electrodes inside a quartz or alumina enclosure. An inert gas facilitates the current “strike” across the electrodes. The arc of electricity quickly heats metal ions contained within the bulb forming plasma that intensifies the light produced by the arc and lowers the energy threshold required to maintain the arc by lowering the effective resistance. As a result they take several minutes to come up to full brightness and must be allowed to cool at least several minutes after going off before being lit again.

Metal halide aquarium lights are frequently used to promote the growth of aquatic plants, invertebrates, and especially coral by providing plenty of the invisible ultraviolet light they need. The characteristic bright shafts of light also make stunning and distinctive shimmers in the aquarium. They have a higher output per watt than incandescent or fluorescent lights and are a popular type of high end aquarium lighting. (continued below...)


MH 24 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Coral Reef Marine 250W Bulb Lamp LED 346W
MH 24 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Coral Reef Marine 250W Bulb Lamp LED 346W
$165.00
Time Remaining: 23d 17h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $165.00
Buy It Now
MH 48 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light 716W Coral Reef Marine LED 2x 250W Bulbs
MH 48 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light 716W Coral Reef Marine LED 2x 250W Bulbs
$295.00
Time Remaining: 21d 14h 21m
Buy It Now for only: $295.00
Buy It Now
Hamilton Cayman Sun 175w Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting System
Hamilton Cayman Sun 175w Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting System
$120.00
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 1m

Bid now

MH 36 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Reef Marine Coral 406W LED Leg 250W Bulb
MH 36 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Reef Marine Coral 406W LED Leg 250W Bulb
$189.95
Time Remaining: 19d 10h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $189.95
Buy It Now
Aquarium LED Reef Light 20W 20000K White Metal Halide alt Lamp Flood Coral MH
Aquarium LED Reef Light 20W 20000K White Metal Halide alt Lamp Flood Coral MH
$43.95
Time Remaining: 29d 20h 41m
Buy It Now for only: $43.95
Buy It Now
MH 72 Metal Halide T5 LED Aquarium Light Marine Coral Reef 6 ft 3x 250W Bulbs
MH 72 Metal Halide T5 LED Aquarium Light Marine Coral Reef 6 ft 3x 250W Bulbs
$469.95
Time Remaining: 19d 10h 44m
Buy It Now for only: $469.95
Buy It Now
Hamilton Bali Sun 250W Metal Halide Aquarium Light System w 14k E39 250W Bulb
Hamilton Bali Sun 250W Metal Halide Aquarium Light System w 14k E39 250W Bulb
$160.00
Time Remaining: 1d 1h 59m

Bid now

HQI Double Ended 150W watt 10K 14K 20K Aquarium DE Metal Halide Bulb
HQI Double Ended 150W watt 10K 14K 20K Aquarium DE Metal Halide Bulb
$19.00
Time Remaining: 11d 18h 5m
Buy It Now for only: $19.00
Buy It Now
MH Bulb 150W 20000K Metal Halide Aquarium Lamp HQI DE Coral Reef 150 Watts
MH Bulb 150W 20000K Metal Halide Aquarium Lamp HQI DE Coral Reef 150 Watts
$9.95
Time Remaining: 16d 18h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $9.95
Buy It Now
250W watt HQI 22000K Fc2 Aquarium Pure Vivid Blue DE Metal Halide 22K Bulb
250W watt HQI 22000K Fc2 Aquarium Pure Vivid Blue DE Metal Halide 22K Bulb
$15.99
Time Remaining: 8d 20h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $15.99
Buy It Now
250 Watt Metal Halide Vivid Blue Aquarium 20000K 250W 20K Mogul E39 Bulb Lamp
250 Watt Metal Halide Vivid Blue Aquarium 20000K 250W 20K Mogul E39 Bulb Lamp
$18.99
Time Remaining: 26d 15h
Buy It Now for only: $18.99
Buy It Now
MH 150 Aquarium Metal Halide Light Saltwater Marine Reef 150W Ballast Odyssea
MH 150 Aquarium Metal Halide Light Saltwater Marine Reef 150W Ballast Odyssea
$109.00
Time Remaining: 13d 19h 18m
Buy It Now for only: $109.00
Buy It Now
MH 24 150w HQI Metal Halide T5 2x24w Aquarium Light Coral Reef Marine
MH 24 150w HQI Metal Halide T5 2x24w Aquarium Light Coral Reef Marine
$129.95
Time Remaining: 4d 20m
Buy It Now for only: $129.95
Buy It Now
Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting
Metal Halide Aquarium Lighting
$250.00
Time Remaining: 8d 3h 53m
Buy It Now for only: $250.00
Buy It Now
MH 30 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Reef Marine Coral 346W LED Bulb 250W Lamp
MH 30 Metal Halide T5 Aquarium Light Reef Marine Coral 346W LED Bulb 250W Lamp
$175.95
Time Remaining: 7d 15h 43m
Buy It Now for only: $175.95
Buy It Now
Metal Halide Light Socket with Cord for Aquarium Lighting Brand NEW
Metal Halide Light Socket with Cord for Aquarium Lighting Brand NEW
$22.99
Time Remaining: 20d 19h 58m
Buy It Now for only: $22.99
Buy It Now
Current USA 16 SUNPOD HQI Metal Halide  LED Aquarium Lighting
Current USA 16 SUNPOD HQI Metal Halide LED Aquarium Lighting
$179.95
Time Remaining: 12d 23h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $179.95
Buy It Now
250W 14000K Phoenix Replacement DE HQI Metal Halide Aquarium Coral Reef Lamp
250W 14000K Phoenix Replacement DE HQI Metal Halide Aquarium Coral Reef Lamp
$14.39
Time Remaining: 8d 20h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $14.39
Buy It Now
Aquarium Reef LED Lamp 50W 12000K White Metal Halide alternative Light Flood
Aquarium Reef LED Lamp 50W 12000K White Metal Halide alternative Light Flood
$69.95
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 3m
Buy It Now for only: $69.95
Buy It Now
MH 60 Metal Halide T5 LED Aquarium Light Marine Coral Reef 5 ft 3x 250W Bulbs
MH 60 Metal Halide T5 LED Aquarium Light Marine Coral Reef 5 ft 3x 250W Bulbs
$399.00
Time Remaining: 23d 17h 6m
Buy It Now for only: $399.00
Buy It Now
Aquarium LED Reef Light 20W 12000K White Metal Halide alt Lamp Flood Coral MH
Aquarium LED Reef Light 20W 12000K White Metal Halide alt Lamp Flood Coral MH
$43.95
Time Remaining: 1d 16h 1m
Buy It Now for only: $43.95
Buy It Now
BRAND NEW Three Radium 250 Watt Metal Halide bulbs Radium MH 250W Blue 20K
BRAND NEW Three Radium 250 Watt Metal Halide bulbs Radium MH 250W Blue 20K
$206.85
Time Remaining: 26d 23h 25m
Buy It Now for only: $206.85
Buy It Now

Metal halide lights, like fluorescent lights, require a special piece of equipment to drive them called a ballast. The ballast mediates the electrical current between the outlet and the lights. It delivers the high voltage required the start the lights, then regulates the power for optimum operation. There are several types of ballast to choose from, including high end digital models.

Most metal halide aquarium lights come with a ballast situated within the unit instead of as a separate unit. These are easier to set up and use, but tend to run hotter because the ballast will produce some heat in addition to the bulbs. Good fixtures include a heat shield and plenty of clearance to protect the aquarium from heat. The bulbs used need to be compatible in size, type, and wattage with the ballast and fixture specifications. Metal halide aquarium lights are named for the metal halides contained within that are the sources the plasma forming metal ions. A metal halide is an ionic salt of a metal (the cation) and a halide like fluorine, chlorine, bromine or iodine (the anion).

The bulb enclosure of most of these lamps contains a pressurized mix of argon, mercury and several of these metal halides. Since no two metals have the same atomic electron configuration, the spectrum of electromagnetic radiation produced in the ultra high heat and pressure environment of the bulb will be unique. By mixing different metals and their proportions in the bulb, manufacturers produce bulbs that provide a broad spectrum of light, combining the various wavelengths of the sources to make light which appears white, but actually contains all colors, just as one is accustomed to receiving from the sun. This is why a prism produces a rainbow of color – the white light is divided into its component colors by the prism.

Because of this broad spectrum these lamps often have a high color-rendering index (CRI), which is a measure of how well colors are perceived under the light as compared to natural light. The overall tendency of the light to emphasize red-orange colors or blue-green colors is called correlated color temperature. High values like 5000 K look cool or bluish and low values like 2700 K look warm or yellowish. Daylight is about 5000-6000 K but these bulbs will look too cool next to typical indoor lighting. New bulbs usually take about 100 hours of use to stabilize in color and output.