Over the years, reef tank lighting has progressed from Fluorescent to VHO to Metal Halide to Compact Fluorescent to, (finally) Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Whenever a new product hits the market, they are normally relatively expensive (someone has to pay for the R&D). Prices come down when the product develops a demand and competition kicks in as more companies begin to offer the new product. To begin with, the LED light
s were offered only as lunar lights added to existing fixtures to be used only at night. As their popularity increased, and their cost came down manufacturers began to offer fixtures in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
The first LEDs weren't anywhere near what a saltwater reef tank would require as far as lumens, Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) and/or Color Rendering Index (CRI). LED development has grown at a remarkable rate in the past few years, both in colors available and light intensity. There are now 8000K Daylight and Actinic LEDs being used in aquarium lighting. There will be 14000K LEDs available soon.
Compare Prices on Saltwater Aquarium LED Lights