It’s hard not to agree with us when we say that finding LED lights that can effectively light up your aquarium can be a daunting task.
That’s why we decided to test out all the popular aquarium LED lights available in the market to find out which ones are worth your money and which ones aren’t.
In this post, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different aquarium LED lighting and what you should look for when going out to purchase one.
After testing several different lights with many different aquariums, we’ve concluded these three to be the best ones out there.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 10 best aquarium LED lighting.
Best Aquarium LED Lighting - Best 10 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Aquarium LED Lighting - Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light Review
This product was a treat to test out simply because of how many features it comes with. We’d think we were done checking every aspect of it and then we would find out about some other feature that we still hadn’t tested.
It comes with a number of different lighting modes such as all lights on, lights being dim, only particular colored LEDs on, etc. You can customize them in countless ways according to your liking. It even has a feature where it simulates sunrise and sunset by slowly dimming or brightening up the LEDs over a 30 or 60-minute period.
You’ll find your fish to be very excited and giddy once you install these lights since it does a great job of simulating their natural environment.
Features of Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light – Best Aquarium LED Lighting
- Comes in four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Flexible brackets
- Realistic weather effects
- Multiple lighting modes
- Sleek, elegant design
- Very durable
- Highly customizable
- Bright, effective LEDs
- Easy to install
- Quite Expensive
If you’re looking for the complete package that offers a ton of features and lighting modes for your aquarium, this product is perfect for you. Not only does it illuminate your tank brilliantly, it even creates a great atmosphere within your room.
2. Best Freshwater Aquarium LED Lighting - Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light Review
This product is a less expensive version of entry #1. If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but still want a ton of features and customizability within your aquarium LED lighting, this product is a very good choice.
It even features a low voltage transformer that utilizes power very well. This will save you a lot of money in the long run.
The lights themselves are extremely bright and will light up your fish tank brilliantly but at the same time, they are also not overbearing. The combination of white and blue LEDs results in a very cool and calming effect that is relaxing both for you as well as your fish.
Features of Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light
- Comes in four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Sliding docking legs
- Combination of white and blue LEDs
- Up to 50,000 hours of LED usage guaranteed
- Many different control modes
- 30 day money-back guarantee
- Easy to assemble
- Great value for money
- May be too complex to use for beginners
If you’re looking for aquarium LED lighting that has a lot of room for customizability but is also not very expensive, this is the product for you. It’s easy to mount and features a wireless controller for convenient programming.
3. Best Aquarium LED Lighting with Red LEDs - Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Review
Every once in a while, there comes a product that delivers a unique look and aesthetic that is all its own. That’s what the Finnex FugeRay Plant+ LED light has done so well.
The red LEDs installed within it give it a very lovely and one-of-a-kind appearance that you won’t find with any other product. The great thing about it is that it’s not just a gimmick. Red light has proven to encourage photosynthesis in plants so if you have live plants in your aquarium, this light would be perfect for them.
Features of Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light
- Comes in sizes ranging from 12 inches to 48 inches
- Extendable brackets
- Combination of white, red and blue LEDs
- 48 total watts of operating power
- Aluminum-trimmed design
- Great for encouraging plant growth
- Easy to mount
- Easy to use
- Unique aesthetic
- Does not heat up at all
- Construction is slightly flimsy
If you want a unique aesthetic as well as great growth for plants in your aquarium, this product is ideal for you. It’s very easy to assemble and use and you’ll find that it will work perfectly for a very long time.
4. Best Small Aquarium LED Lighting - Lominie LED Aquarium Light Review
Purchasing LED lighting for nano tanks can be quite difficult since most aquarium LED lighting is targeted towards larger aquariums. This product is aimed towards people that want to elegantly light up their nano tanks while also not stressing their fish out with light that’s too intense for them.
This aquarium light features a great flexible neck so you can bend it to point at any area within your aquarium. It also comes with a dimming switch so, even if the light is too bright at 100%, you can adjust from anywhere between 0 and 100% until it’s suitable for you and your fish.
Features of Lominie LED Aquarium Light
- Suitable for tanks up to 5 gallons
- Flexible gooseneck
- Aluminum housing
- Small in size
- Compact, contemporary design
- Low energy consumption
- Very bright for its size
- Not powerful enough for larger aquariums
If you have a nano fish tank on your desk or tabletop and are looking for an elegant solution to light it up, this is the product you’re looking for. It offers great control with its dimmer and uses very little power.
5. Best Automated Aquarium LED Lighting - Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Review
This fully automated LED light comes with a ton of features and customization options. You can dim it to whatever intensity you feel is appropriate and it even has sunrise and sunset options. It also comes with four different lighting modes namely, cloudy, thunder, sunny and moon.
We can’t say that any of these modes are poorly executed. The light does a great job in creating a beautiful ambience that is very pleasing to both you as well as your fish.
The light also features a very easy docking mechanism with adjustable brackets so you have no trouble mounting it onto your aquarium.
Features of Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED
- Comes in five different sizes ranging from 20 inches to 48 inches
- Four different lighting modes
- Adjustable brackets
- Comes in two versions: with a controller or without a controller
- Simulates natural conditions very well
- Easy to mount
- Easy to program
- The remote control tends to use up a lot of the battery
If you’re looking for a solid aquarium light that does a great job at simulating different weather conditions for your fish, this is the product for you. You can mount it to any aquarium quite easily and it will last you a long time.
6. Best Aquarium LED Lighting with Smartphone App - Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Review
The Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light comes with a unique set of features that are nowhere to be found in most of its competitors. It boasts an arsenal of different colored LEDs that are brought together to provide your aquarium with the full spectrum of light.
It has a number of customization options including timers, dimming options and weather modes. The best part about all this customizability is that it’s controlled through your smartphone. Yes, you read this right. It connects to your phone using Wi-fi and you can easily control it from anywhere in your home.
Features of Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light
- Comes in several sizes ranging from 24 inches to 48 inches
- Combination of white, mixed color and blue LEDs
- Three channel timers for each type of LEDs
- Ensures full spectrum of light for fish
- Can be controlled through Smartphone App
- Easy to program and use
- Simple app interface
- May not be suitable for smaller aquariums
If you’re tired of having remote controls for every little gadget in your home, this product is perfect for you. It eliminates the need for a remote while still having the ability for limitless wireless control.
7. Best Aquarium LED Lighting with Adjustable Height - Pawfly LED Aquarium Light Review
The Pawfly LED Aquarium Light is a solid product with a number of great features. Most aquarium lights come with extendable brackets that let you adjust the length of the aquarium light but this light comes with brackets that can also let you adjust the height. This can come in very handy if you’re living in a tight space or if you want to hang it high above your aquarium since it isn’t waterproof.
It even comes with a small collection rack where you can keep tools related to your aquarium such as a fishnet, etc. This may seem like an unnecessary feature. We thought so too but once we started using it, we found that it was actually very handy.
Features of Pawfly LED Aquarium Light
- Adjustable brackets for length and height
- Dimensions: 18-25 inches by 3.2 inches by ½ – 4 inches
- Combination of 34 white, 4 blue, 4 red and 4 green LEDs
- Adjustable brightness
- Seven different lighting modes
- Sturdy aluminum design
- Very easy to install
- Easy to use
- Does not heat up
- Not waterproof
If you’re looking for aquarium LED lighting with increased adjustable mounting, this product is definitely for you. It features bright LEDs with adequate customizability along with a great design.
8. Best Aquarium LED Lighting Hood - Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums Review
This product features a low-profile minimalist design that can appeal to a number of fish-keepers that want functionality above all else. It doubles as a hood as well as aquarium LED lighting.
You’ll find this to be a great option if you’re building an aquarium from scratch using an empty fish tank.
The lights themselves are securely placed within the hood where they are protected from splashing of any kind. They are bright and effective but also not overwhelming to the point where they could stress out your fish.
Features of Marineland LED Light Hood for Aquariums
- Comes in three sizes: 20 inches by 10 inches, 24 inches by 12 inches, 30 inches by 12 inches
- Low-profile hood with sleek design
- LEDs integrated securely into the hood
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Suitable for aquariums around 20 gallons
- Does the job of a lid as well as lighting
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Low power consumption
- Only suited for aquariums with the exact same dimensions
- No customizability
If you’re looking for a simple aquarium LED lighting option, this is the product for you. It’s something you can install onto your aquarium and then forget about as it does its job on its own very well.
9. Best Bluetooth-Controlled Aquarium LED Lighting - Hagen Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light Review
This beautiful product features a sleek and modern design which you’ll be happy to have hanging over your aquarium. Not only is it beautiful by design, it also illuminates your tank wonderfully to create a lovely glow and ambience within your room.
It connects to your phone via Bluetooth through which you can customize it in many different ways such as setting up 24-hour cycles, controlling sunrise and sunset. It even comes with pre-set lighting modes such as Tropical, Planted, Lake Malawi, etc.
The bracket connector that comes with it can attach to any glass with a thickness between 3mm and 8 mm.
Features of Hagen Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light
- 15 Watt power usage
- Many different lighting options along with pre-set lighting modes
- Dimensions: 5 inches by 5 inches
- Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Controllable via Bluetooth
- Highly customizable
- Very responsive
- Bright, effective LEDs
- Only suitable for nano and desktop aquariums
- Quite expensive for its size
If you’re looking for an easily controllable small aquarium LED light for your desktop aquarium, this product is perfect for you. It features a very modern design with a myriad of customizability options.
10. Best Budget Aquarium LED Lighting - BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light Review
One thing we really focused on while reviewing all these aquarium LED lights was which lighting was giving us the best value for our money. In that category, the BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light has definitely come out on top.
It features two lighting modes, one where all the LEDs are on and one where only the Blue LEDs are on. The second mode can be used as a great nightlight that can soothe your fish to sleep as you turn in for the night. The LEDs create a lovely shimmering effect on the water which is very pleasing to look at.
Features of BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light
- Extendable brackets
- Dimensions: 29 inches by 5 inches by 1 inch
- Timer ready (sold separately)
- Two lighting modes
- Suitable for many kinds of aquariums such as freshwater, coral reefs, etc.
- Bright LEDs
- Easy to assemble
- Very few customizability options
If you don’t have a lot of money to spend but still want effective aquarium LED lighting, this is the product you’re looking for. Its LEDs are bright, they utilize power very well and the light itself is very easy to mount.
What are some things to look out for when buying aquarium LED lighting?
Some things that you should definitely look for and pay special attention towards while buying aquarium LED lighting are:
Control and Customization Options
LED lighting enables people to customize them in several different ways so it’s a good idea to look into aquarium LED lighting products that give you the option of different lighting modes, etc. Having aquarium LED lighting with dimming options, color control, lighting timers, etc. can come in very handy in producing a favorable environment that can relax your fish and also create a great mood in your room as well.
Even if your aquarium LED lighting doesn’t have a ton of customization options, we recommend that you get one that at least has brightness control as that’s something that is essential for ensuring whether your fish and plants are getting enough light every day or not.
Aquarium Size and Type
Obviously, your aquarium size matters a lot when it comes to what light you get for it. It’s important that you get LED lighting that is able to mount onto your aquarium properly and is also able to illuminate it effectively.
Other than size, aquarium LED lighting is now specifically designed for different kinds of aquariums such as freshwater, coral reefs, saltwater, etc. When you’re getting aquarium LED lighting, look into what kind of aquarium it’s specifically designed for. It’s a good idea to get aquarium LED lighting that specifically caters to your specific type of aquarium.
As with any investment, the amount of cash you’re willing to spend is important. The key is to strike a balance between how much money you spend and how much features you get within your aquarium LED lighting.
LED lighting may seem like a big investment since they are usually more expensive than other types of lighting but the main thing to keep in mind is that in the long run, they will actually be cheaper for you. This is because LEDs are very energy-efficient and long-lasting. They won’t need replacing for an astoundingly long time and they utilize power very effectively so they won’t drive up the electricity bill.
How does aquarium LED lighting work?
LEDs are technically not lights. They stand for Light Emitting Diodes and basically, when electricity passes through them, they emit light. Aquarium lighting usually consists of a panel with many of these LEDs depending on their size. Usually, one panel consists of different colored LEDs that can be turned on and off with different combinations in order to create different colors and lighting effects. Since a panel consists of many individual LEDs that can be controlled independently, this enables them to have a lot of room for customization.
What are some advantages of having aquarium LED lighting?
LED lighting has many advantages and they are currently the most popular form of aquarium lighting. They started gaining popularity over the last few years and it looks like they are definitely here to stay. Some of the benefits of aquarium LED lighting are:
- They are highly customizable. Since they are individually controllable, they offer you unlimited control in how they are lit so you can utilize them to create a unique environment for your fish.
- They are environmentally friendly. Unlike incandescent bulbs or metal halide lights, LEDs do not emit any form of gas, radiation or any other kind of seepage. They keep the environment completely clean and healthy.
- They are energy-efficient. LEDs use very little energy to produce a dazzling amount of light. As we mentioned earlier, they might seem expensive to buy but they save you a lot of money in the long run since they require a lot less power.
- They have a very long lifespan. Most LEDs are advertised to last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours and a lot of the times, they last even longer than that.
How do I set up aquarium LED lighting?
Depending on the type of LED you have and whatever brand it’s from, your lighting setup experience may be fairly easy or tough. The key is to set up the lights as properly as possible the very first time. We strongly recommend that if you feel you can’t set up aquarium lighting properly by yourself then you should enlist the services of a professional or a veteran fish-keeper.
This is because inadequate or poor setup of aquarium LED lighting could lead to disastrous consequences such as electrocution of the fish inside your tank.
Most brands give you an instruction manual with their lights and even if you happen to not get one with your package or happen to lose it, you can still easily find a copy of it online.
How important is it to have a timer for my aquarium LED lighting?
That depends entirely on you. If you have a busy schedule or feel that you won’t be able to remember turning your aquarium LED lighting on and off every day then we strongly recommend you invest in a timer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are LED lights appropriate for growing live aquarium plants?
Definitely. LED lights mimic sunlight extremely well and are the best form of artificial lights you can get for growing live aquarium plants.
In fact, there are many aquarium LED lighting products that are specifically catered towards planted tanks. You can look to them if you want to have lights that encourage the growth of plants and photosynthesis inside your fish tank.
Can I just leave my aquarium LED lights on indefinitely?
We would strongly advise against doing anything of the sort. Not only will this result in a high electricity bill, it would also be cruel to your fish as it would disrupt their sleeping cycles and even make them prone to stress-related illnesses.
Most tropical fish require about 12 hours of light every day with 12 hours of darkness. This helps them develop regular sleeping patterns, aids them in their growth and helps regulate metabolism.
If you constantly shine a light on them 24 hours a day, this will definitely stress them out and cause a number of problems. Your fish may start refusing to eat any food to the point where they starve themselves.
How high should I hang my aquarium LED lighting above my fish tank?
This depends on a number of factors such as how much room you have above your aquarium, how deep your aquarium is, what types of plants and fish you have inside your aquarium. In general, for a standard-sized 20 gallon aquarium, it’s a good idea to have your aquarium LED lighting about 3-4 inches above the surface of the water.
For bigger aquariums (equal to or larger than 50 gallons), it’s a good idea to have them higher up from the surface of the water such as somewhere between 8 and 15 inches.
Is LED lighting always the best lighting option for aquariums?
In most cases, yes. LED lighting is cost-efficient, effective and easily controllable. That’s why it’s usually opted for by a majority of fish-keepers.
However, there are some special cases in which you may want to look towards some other options.
For example, if you have a very deep fish tank (deeper than 24 inches), it’s possible that LEDs might not be able to penetrate to the bottom of the fish tank well enough. In this case, you may want to go for metal halide lights instead of LED lights.
It’s important to note that metal halide lights are a bit difficult to handle and require a chiller to be installed as well since they create a lot of heat.
My aquarium has a lot of algae growing in it. Could this be due to my aquarium lighting?
Algae breakouts can occur due to a number of reasons and uneven or erratic lighting conditions is definitely one of those reasons.
Your light could definitely have something to do with algae inside your aquarium and a way to find out whether this is the case is to place your aquarium in darkness for a day or two. If this ends up fixing the algae problem inside your aquarium then you will know that it was because of your aquarium LED lighting. Specifically, it could be due to you not giving the tank the same amount of light each day or maybe the lights being of an inappropriate wavelength.
If you keep it in darkness and the algae problems still persist then it must be due to some other reason such as leftover food, a bacterial infection, inadequate water changes, etc.
It’s easy to see why everyone would want decent lighting for their aquarium; A beautiful aquarium really is pointless if you don’t have good lighting that can really show off the beautiful colors of your fish.
After much deliberation, the candidate that stood out on top by far is the Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light. It comes loaded with features and has a compact and great-looking design.
This brings us to the end of our post for the best aquarium LED lighting.
Let us know what lights you’re using for your aquarium.