You’ll agree with us when we say that finding lighting that properly accentuates the beautiful colors of your fish can be quite challenging.
That’s why we decided to put all the popular aquarium lighting we could find to the test in order to bring you this comprehensive list.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss what you should look for in aquarium lighting for fish color and give you suggestions on which lighting product is best for you depending on your needs.
After months of testing and research, we’ve chosen these three as the best ones from the bunch.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 10 best aquarium lighting for fish color.
Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - Best 10 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - WOTERZI LED Aquarium Light Clip-on Fish Tank Light Review
This clip-on light is small in size but the amount of high-quality it can put out is extremely impressive. The LEDs within it are perfectly positioned to emit light in a way that perfectly penetrates the water inside an aquarium and illuminates fish in a way so that their colors are enhanced and you can see all their little details.
It has Blue and White LEDs that work perfectly as daylights as well as nightlights.
It’s purposefully designed to make the best use of electricity so you get enhanced brightness within the light while it’s using a lot less power compared to its competitors.
Features of WOTERZI LED Aquarium Light Clip-on Fish Tank Light – Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color
- Comes in three sizes: 10 – 18 inches, 14 – 22 inches and 21 – 29 inches
- Aluminum alloy body
- 7000-8000K white LEDs with Blue LEDs
- Clamp mount
- 12v low voltage transformer
- Slim and modern appearance
- Effectively bright LEDs
- Easy to mount
- Easy to use
- Low energy consumption
- Not a lot of options for different aquarium sizes
If you’re looking for an effective light that efficiently uses electricity, this product is perfect for you. Not only does it make your aquarium and your fish look beautiful, it has a beautiful and attractive design itself.
2. Best Strip Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - Marineland Hidden LED Strip Light for Aquariums Review
The Marineland Hidden LED strip light is a wonderful piece of equipment that looks to facilitate aquarists in many ways so they can light their aquariums with ease.
It is fully submersible so that makes it a great option for you if you have bottom-dwelling fish whose colors you really want to prioritize and accentuate.
It comes with a number of mounting options such as suction cups and the exclusive in-frame option. This gives you the liberty to choose whatever you want, so it’s convenient as well as effective.
The fact that illuminates your aquarium from within gives it a very cozy glow and brings a very unique ambience to whatever room it’s in.
Features of Marineland Hidden LED Strip Light for Aquariums
- Available in two sizes: 17 inches and 21 inches
- Comes with a 3-way switch
- Directional dial for positioning
- Fully submersible
- Suction cups included
- Multiple mounting options
- Flexible and easy to handle
- Small in size
- Only available in two sizes
If you’re looking for a strip light for your aquarium that’s fully submersible, this product is ideal for you. It lights up an aquarium brilliantly and is very lightweight and flexible.
3. Best Small Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - Hygger Blue White LED Aquarium Light Review
Oftentimes, it’s difficult to find an appropriate light for smaller desktop or tabletop aquariums. These types of aquariums often come with their own lights but these lights are often inadequate or have flimsy construction. This product is absolutely perfect for lighting such aquariums.
It has dual lighting modes, one in which all lights are on and the other in which only the Blue LEDs are on. The Blue LED only mode is a wonderful addition as you can use it as a nightlight and use it to observe your fish as they sleep or to watch the movements of your nocturnal fish.
Features of Hygger Blue White LED Aquarium Light
- Comes in two wattages: 13 watts and 21 watts
- Sleek, contemporary design
- Gooseneck clamp
- Dual lighting modes
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to use
- Incredibly bright
- Only suitable for small aquariums
If you have a small desktop or tabletop aquarium in which you have colorful fish that you really want to show off, this is the product for you. It’s incredibly bright for its size and it does a great job of bringing out your fish’s colors.
4. Best Energy-Efficient Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - DaToo Aquarium Light Small LED Clip Light Review
This nifty little light is astonishingly bright for its size.
It easily mounts onto any aquarium with its clamp mount and it has a flexible neck that can be rotated at any angle so you can easily adjust so your aquarium is perfectly lit.
The energy consumed by it has also proven to be only 60% of what normal LED lights use so this light will be saving you money in the long run when it comes to your electricity bill.
It even comes with a 1-year warranty and a 100% money-back guarantee.
Features of DaToo Aquarium Light Small LED Clip Light
- Dimensions: 3.5 inches by 1.6 inches by 0.4 inches
- Weight: 6.4 ounces
- 360-degree angle adjustment
- 18 white LEDs and 6 Blue LEDs
- Appropriate for aquariums between lengths of 8 – 15 inches
- Doesn’t take up too much space
- Bright LEDs
- Easy to set up
- Easy to use
- Construction seems slightly flimsy
If you want a small light that’s astonishingly bright and also cost-efficient, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s very easy to install onto your aquarium and brings out colors in your fish beautifully.
5. Best Programmable Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting Review
The COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting is the perfect option if you want to judge how your aquarium looks from afar or from your couch. That’s because it comes with a remote control that gives you the ability to customize its lights all you want from a distance.
The LEDs themselves are RGB and you can use the remote control to customize them in a number of ways such as adjusting their brightness, color, etc.
You can even set a timer so that the light automatically turns on and off in order to create regular daily sleep cycles for your fish.
Features of COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting
- Comes in five different sizes ranging from 11 inches to 54 inches
- A lifespan of 100,000+ hours
- Beneficial for aquarium plants
- Multiple lighting modes
- Responsive controls
- High level of customizability
- Lightweight for its size
- Wide variety of sizes available
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater environments
- Can be confusing to use at first
If you’re looking for customizable aquarium lighting with a responsive remote control, this product is definitely for you. It does a great job of illuminating your fish so their colors become more pronounced and sharp.
6. Best Extendable Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - Honpal LED Aquarium Light Review
This aquarium lighting was extremely easy to mount and we had it up and running in no time. It features white and Blue LEDs which can easily be utilized to create night and day cycles for your fish.
The light does a great job of darkening the pigments in your fish so their colors become a lot more enhanced, detailed and pronounced.
The extendable brackets that come with it are a blessing because they really make it easy on you when you’re installing it.
The LEDs themselves are also very energy-efficient. We’ve been using this light for months and so far, it has shown zero signs of stopping any time soon.
Features of Honpal LED Aquarium Light
- Comes in three sizes: 11 – 19 inches, 24 – 33 inches and 35 – 45 inches
- White and Blue LEDs
- Adjustable mounting brackets
- Two lighting modes
- Low power consumption
- Easy to install
- Glass protecting the LEDs can scratch easily
If you’re looking for aquarium lighting with extendable brackets that can easily mount onto your aquarium, this is the product for you. It takes zero effort to install and the LEDs come together to illuminate your aquarium in a lovely way.
7. Best Fast-Cooling Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - JackSuper Aquarium Light Review
This sleek-looking comes nestled in an aluminum body which not only prevents it from rusting but also does a great job of insulating heat and cooling the light down quickly. You don’t have to worry about the heat from the light heating up your aquarium or your room.
The white light it emits is perfect for encouraging plant growth inside your aquarium and also for illuminating beautiful fish such as Cichlids, Bettas, etc. The light it emits has great penetration power as we used it to light an aquarium that was 25 inches deep and it lit that aquarium quite effectively. Even the bottom-dwellers were wonderfully lit.
Features of JackSuper Aquarium Light
- Comes in three sizes: 8.5 – 11 inches, 11 – 13 inches and 13 – 15.7 inches
- 7500K Color temperature
- Aluminum alloy body to prevent rusting
- Adjustable brackets
- Great for aquarium plants as well as african fish
- Easy to handle
- Easy to operate
- Bright but not overbearing
- Does not heat up
- Inadequate for larger aquariums
If you’re worried about aquarium lighting heating up your aquarium and harming your fish, this is the product you’re looking for. It features incredible construction and does a great job of isolating and removing heat produced from the LEDs.
8. Best Saltwater Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - JOYHILL LED Aquarium Light Review
This aquarium light impressed our entire team because none of us had ever heard of it before and we were expecting it to not even be in our list at all and yet it blew us all away with its performance.
We weren’t expecting to have the penetration power that it has. It beautifully illuminated our aquarium all the way to the bottom and we could see many details in our fish that none of us had ever seen before.
Due to its small size and intuitive design, it took no time to mount and it started working as soon as we plugged it in without needing any sort of tinkering or programming.
Features of JOYHILL LED Aquarium Light
- Manufactured in sizes ranging from 10 inches up to 72 inches
- Dual light modes
- Lifespan of 50,000+ hours
- Adjustable docking legs
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
- Easy to install
- Easy to use
- Many sizes are often unavailable
If you’re looking for a hassle-free light to beautifully light up your corals and your fish, this product is for you. It’s purposefully designed to bring out the colors of your fish, your plants and your corals in a saltwater environment.
9. Best App-Controlled Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color - Relassy LED Aquarium Light Panel Review
Having aquarium lighting that’s controlled through a remote control can be great but many people don’t like to have remote controls lying around for every little gadget in their home. Some aquarium lights can only be controlled through a remote control so if you lose that, you’re stuck with whatever settings you had. This product solves all these problems while still maintaining the convenience of wireless control by being controlled through a smartphone app.
The controls are highly responsive and you see instant results as soon as you change a parameter from your smartphone.
The hanging kit it comes with is sturdy and easily holds up the weight of the aquarium lighting above your aquarium.
Features of Relassy LED Aquarium Light Panel
- Dimensions: 22.1 inches by 11.8 inches by 0.7 inches
- Weight: 3 pounds
- Comes with a hanging kit
- 5-feet long power cord
- Aluminum heat sink
- Bright and effective
- Highly customizable
- Highly responsive
- Great user interface in the app
- Quite expensive
- App may be difficult to connect for people who aren’t tech-savvy
If you’re looking for an easily controllable light for your aquarium, this product was made for you. The app features an intuitive menu and you’ll find that the light itself is incredibly bright.
10. Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color with Dimmer - MICMOL Smart LED Aquarium Light Review
The MICMOL Smart LED Aquarium light comes with an IMOS 3.0 smart controller which really makes it easy and simple to control and navigate through the different modes that this light offers.
You can program it for many things such as dimness, timings, color, etc. You can even set it to have sunrise and sunset cycles at set times.
It’s incredibly sturdy and features high-quality LEDs that will definitely last you a very long time. The body itself is heat and water-resistant. You’ll find that it gives off little to no heat so there’s no chance of your aquarium getting hot because of it.
Features of MICMOL Smart LED Aquarium Light
- Comes in different sizes ranging from 23 inches to 66 inches
- Adjustable bracket suitable for rimmed or rimless tanks
- IMOS 3.0 smart controller
- Multiple lighting modes
- Multiple mounting options
- Highly durable
- Lightweight for its size
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- Includes all kinds of multi-colored LEDs as well as UV lights
- Ugly, blocky design
If you’re looking for a light whose intensity you can control then this product was made for you. You can easily control many aspects of this light so that you end up with light that is perfectly appropriate for the specific species of fish that you have.
Is lighting absolutely necessary for my aquarium?
It absolutely is. Don’t let the lighting for your aquarium be an afterthought as it is an essential piece of equipment that plays a vital role in the successful running of an aquarium.
Most obviously, you need lighting in order to show off your aquarium. Your fish, aquarium plants and corals have insanely lovely patterns and bright, brilliant colors. It’d be a shame if they were kept in dim lighting where their appearance would not even be noticeable. What’s the point of working so hard to build an aquarium and filling it with beautiful fish if nobody’s going to be able to see them properly?
Secondly, fish need light in order to live a healthy life. Most European fish require about 8 hours of light every day while tropical fish such as Cichlids require up to 12 hours of light a day. This regular cycle of light followed by darkness every day helps them develop natural sleeping cycles and thus, it relaxes them and helps them grow.
What factors should I consider when buying aquarium lighting for fish color?
There are definitely a lot of factors that go into buying aquarium lighting but some important factors you should keep in mind are:
Aquarium Size and Shape
This is quite obvious but you’re going to want a light that is appropriately bright for your aquarium. You can determine how bright a light you should get by looking at how big your aquarium is. Light when talking about aquariums is usually measured in watts per gallon. Most freshwater aquariums require about 2 – 5 watts per gallon of light while most saltwater aquariums require about 4 – 8 watts per gallon.
Secondly, different lighting setups come with different mounting options so you’re going to want to go with a product that comes with a mounting option that’s suitable for the size and shape of the aquarium you have. For example, if a light comes with a clamp, make sure it’s wide enough to clamp onto your aquarium’s wall.
Reliability and Warranty
You’re going to want to get a light that’s going to last you a long time. Nothing’s worse than buying an expensive product that breaks down after a month or two. You can ensure this doesn’t happen to you by buying lighting products from well-known, reputable brands.
It’s also a good idea to get aquarium lighting that comes with a warranty.
Control and Customizability
It’s a good idea to get aquarium lighting which can be customized. Nowadays, you can alter the light coming out from lighting products in a number of ways such as intensity, color, direction, angle, etc.
This is especially important for aquarium lighting for fish color. You may not necessarily find a light that perfectly lights your fish but you can definitely get a customizable one and customize it in such a way that it becomes the perfect light.
What type of lighting is best to show off fish colors?
LED lighting is definitely the best option when it comes to aquarium lighting for fish color. We discussed above briefly how customization can play an important role in making a light that’s absolutely perfect for the fish inside your aquarium.
Well, the only type of lighting that offers that level of customizability is LED lighting.
There are two options you can consider when lighting bottom-dwelling fish: Get lighting that has a high penetration power so it can easily brighten up the bottom of your aquarium or get a fully submersible light that lights your aquarium from the bottom.
For the first approach, metal halide lighting is a good option. Metal halide lights are known for their high penetration power and they can easily light up deep or large aquariums. Their only setback is that they generate a lot of heat and you’re going to have to invest in a chiller if you decide to get it.
For the second approach, LEDs are the best. There does exist aquarium LED lighting that is fully submersible. You can buy one of these and use them to light your aquarium from the ground up.
What is actinic lighting and is it good for showing off fish colors?
Actinic lighting is light that emits mostly from the blue portion of the light spectrum. It’s most popular among coral reef aquariums as it encourages photosynthesis and thus, coral growth. Fish do enjoy actinic lighting as it makes them calm and yes, it’s good for showing off their colors as well.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Are LED lights harmful to my fish’s eyes?
Fish’s eyes are pretty much the same as human eyes when it comes to being harmed by light: they’re not very harmful unless your lights are overly bright. As long as your light intensity is appropriate, you don’t need to worry about harming your fish’s eyes.
Do fish enjoy colored lights?
It makes no difference to them. Fish are unaffected by the color of lights although they do become more relaxed and feel more at home with white light as this best imitates sunlight and it turns your aquarium into a familiar environment for your fish.
What’s the difference between lights being water-resistant and water-proof?
Water-resistant lights are able to resist the penetration and harmful effects of water to some extent but not entirely. These lights can be hung or mounted to the exterior of the aquarium. It’s okay to get a few splashes on them from time to time but you should still be careful not to spill too much water on them.
Waterproof lights are impervious to water and are pretty much what fully submersible lights are. You can put them completely underwater and they will still work.
Can I leave my aquarium lights on overnight?
This would be very harmful to your fish. Fish require sleep as well and having a light constantly shining on them would cause a lot of fatigue. Your fish could develop stress disorders and may start refusing to eat. If you have live aquarium plants inside your aquarium, they would start bleaching as well.
What color temperature is appropriate for lighting a fish tank to best show off fish colors?
In general, a combination of 10,000K white light and blue actinic light is the best for lighting a fish tank to show off your fish’s colors. That’s why most aquarium lighting products usually contain these two types of LEDs.
Do LED lights cause more algae?
LED lights are not the culprit. Any type of light can cause algae in an aquarium if it is shone on the aquarium erratically or irregularly or with inappropriate intensity. If algae does grow inside your aquarium due to lighting issues, you can solve this problem by placing it in darkness for a couple of days.
Can I leave actinic lighting on during night?
Yes. If your actinic lighting is not too overbearing, you can choose to leave this on overnight as this doesn’t bother the fish too much and lets them sleep. It also allows you to observe the movements of nocturnal fish.
Does blue light bother fish?
No. As we’ve mentioned before, the color of your light doesn’t really matter to your fish. In fact, most aquarium lighting comes equipped with moonlights which are blue in color which you can use a nightlight. Fish are disturbed by light only when the intensity of it is too high or if it’s kept on for too long of a time.
Can fish see in the dark when I turn off my aquarium lighting?
Fish can’t necessarily see in the dark but their bodies have evolved and adapted so that they are now used to moving around in dark waters. You don’t need to worry about your fish bumping into each other or objects inside your aquarium when you turn off your aquarium lighting.
Can fish get electrocuted if my aquarium lighting accidentally falls into my aquarium?
Obviously, if this happens you need to go and shut off the power source immediately. Most aquarium lighting that comes from reputable brands are well-built and have safety measures for these kinds of mishaps. There is a chance, however, that your fish may get electrocuted and die if you bought your aquarium lighting from a cheaper brand or if your aquarium lighting is old and worn out.
Buying the appropriate lighting for your aquarium can be tough, especially when you’re lighting it while having your fish’s color and appearance in mind.
After months of discussion and testing, we’ve concluded that the WOTERZI LED Aquarium Light Clip-on Fish Tank Light is the best. Not only does it light your aquarium up wonderfully, but it also saves you money by better utilizing electricity.
And with that, we’re at the end of our post for the best aquarium lighting for fish color.
Let us know in the comments what lights you’re using to bring out the colors of your fish.