You’ll agree with us when we say that setting up your aquarium and adding fish into it is only half the job, making sure you get good lighting to present your aquarium is just as important.
That’s why we’ve spent an extended period of time testing all the best lights available out there to bring you this comprehensive list.
Today, we’ll be discussing what you should be looking for when buying LED lighting for your aquarium.
After months of fiddling and experimenting with different lights, we can safely say that these three are the best ones out there.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 10 best LED aquarium lighting.
Best LED Aquarium Lighting - Top 10 Reviews
1. All-Around Best LED Aquarium Lighting - Beamworks Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Review
This is a product that we were very excited about before even plugging it in because its build quality and design had such a premium feel to it, it inspired confidence in us that it’s going to perform well.
And indeed, not only did it light up our aquarium brilliantly, it helped us enjoy a much lower electricity bill due to its low energy consumption framework.
It comes in five different sizes so you can get an appropriate one and it comes with clear instructions which you, honestly, won’t even need since its set up is so intuitive and self-explanatory due to its clever design.
Features of Beamworks Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light – Best LED Aquarium Lighting
- Five different sizes ranging from 24 inches to 72 inches
- A total of 176 LEDs in the largest version
- Two modes: All lights on or only 32 lights on
- Pre-wired for use
- Timer-ready (Sold separately)
- Easy to install
- Competitive price
- Highly adjustable to securely fit
- Minimalist design that isn’t distracting
- Low power consumption
- Only two modes of operation
- Not water-resistant
If you’re looking for bright lighting with cheap operational rates, this is the one for you. Its simple design helps it blend into the background so that all the focus is on your beautifully-lit aquarium.
2. Best LED Aquarium Lighting with Timer - BeamsWork EA Timer 6500K 0.50W LED Aquarium Light Review
This product is a cousin of the previous one that we just described. Unlike the previous one, this comes with a built-in timer which you can program so that the LED lighting turns on and off on its own without you ever having to worry.
The types and percentage of LED lights in the fixture are usually about one-sixth blue LED lights and five-sixth cool white LED lights.
The extendable bracket is a very clever design that allows you to easily set this product up securely on top of your aquarium without any worry of it falling.
Features of BeamsWork EA Timer 6500K 0.50W LED Aquarium Light
- Can be used with a power source of 110V to 220V
- Built-in timer
- Two operating modes: Day and Night
- Weight: 2 pounds
- Suitable for freshwater environments
- Easy to set up
- Timer for automated on-off cycle
- Highly durable, long-lasting lights
- Clever, intuitive design
- Limited customizability
If you’re a forgetful person or just simply don’t have time to turn the aquarium lights on and off every time, this is ideal for you. The built-in timer coupled with the adjustable bracket just screams “user-friendly product”.
3. Best LED Aquarium Lighting with Adjustable Fixture - NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light Review
NICREW is a household brand name when it comes to LED Aquarium Lighting and you don’t just become a household name overnight, you do it through years of innovative design and by consistently delivering on performance.
We were dazzled by this bright light fixture that was able to illuminate every nook and cranny of our aquarium with ease.
They advertise these LEDs to be long-lasting and indeed, we’ve been using this product for several months and so far, it has shown zero signs of debilitation. None of the individual LEDs has even dulled in intensity, let alone go out completely.
Features of NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light
- Five different sizes ranging from 12 inches to 52 inches
- Adjustable metal brackets
- Low voltage operation
- Recommended for use over a glass aquarium
- Two lighting modes
- Easy to set up
- Long-last LED lights
- Simple, inconspicuous design
- High intensity lighting that is great for deeper tanks
- No built-in timer
- Tendency to bend slightly when fully extended
If you have a deeper tank and are looking for an affordable lighting option to illuminate it evenly, this is it. These long-lasting lights will make you rest easy while they do their job.
4. Best Multi-Color LED Aquarium Lighting - Koval Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood Review
These lights are a great option for someone who’s energy-conscious and is looking for lights that will not only use energy efficiently but will also run for a long period of time without needing to be replaced.
This LED fixture contains five different colors of LED lights that illuminated our fish and plants in a very brilliant and unique way.
They claim that these lights can run without any fault for at least 50,000 hours. Judging by their quality and how they haven’t disappointed us yet, we’re inclined to believe them.
Features of Koval Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood
- Three different sizes ranging from 24 inches to 50 inches
- Five different LED colors
- Weight: 4 pounds
- Suitable for planted tanks
- Water-proof cords
- Shock-resistant and water-proof
- Easily adjustable
- Three different modes of operation
- Very durable
- Slightly heavy
If you want a unique aesthetic when it comes to lighting your aquarium, this is the product you should go for. Its durable design proves that multi-color LEDs are not just a gimmick.
5. Best LED Aquarium Lighting with Wireless Controller - Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light Review
This is a product that our entire team was looking forward to testing out because it is easily the LED lighting product that offers the highest amount of customizability out of all the products on this list.
This LED light fixture is designed for freshwater aquariums and it gives you complete control over the spectrum of light emitted so you are able to make adjustments in order for the light to be the most appropriate and beneficial for your plants and fish.
The wireless controller it comes with makes it very convenient to make all the adjustments while comfortably sitting on a couch.
Features of Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light
- Comes in sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Wireless controller
- Multiple modes of operation
- 6500K White and RGB LEDs
- Suitable for freshwater environments
- Highly customizable
- Additional weather effects
- Easy to install
- 24-hour light cycle
- Prevents algae growth
- Wireless controller may become unresponsive at times
If you’re looking for a high scale of control and customizability when it comes to your LED aquarium lights, this is the product you’re looking for. It lets you adjust the color, intensity and spectrum of the light without even having to get up.
6. Best Submersible LED Aquarium Lighting - S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light Review
This product is unique from all the others on this list as it is completely submersible and operates from within your aquarium.
The LED RGB lights can be programmed to either change color after regular intervals or to stay on one color indefinitely. It produces a beautiful glow in your aquarium that is extremely pleasing to the eye.
All the customization is done using the wireless controller that is provided with it. The controller is responsive and the changes you make are immediately visible in the light.
Features of S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light
- Comes in five sizes ranging from 7.5 inches to 23 inches
- 16 different colors
- 4 modes of operation
- Total number of LEDs ranging from 9 to 33 depending on size
- Wattage ranging from 2-7 Watts depending on size
- Fully submersible and water-proof
- Provides a unique aesthetic
- Comes with suction cups for secure mounting
- Very customizable
- May not be intense enough for certain plants
- Even largest size may be too small for some aquariums
If you want to have a unique aesthetic that will really make your aquarium pop, this product is what you’re looking for. Not only are the lights pleasing to the eye, they are also easily adjustable.
7. Best LED Aquarium Lighting for Freshwater Aquariums - Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light Review
This LED light has made a name for itself due to the high-intensity lighting it offers at its competitive price point.
Its 6500K ultra-bright illumination is something that its counterparts offer at a much higher price. We tested it for months and these lights remained just as bright as they did on day one.
We were also very impressed by how light this aquarium lighting is. We vividly remember the first time we picked up and let out a gasp of wonder as these were, by far, the lightest product we had picked up of that size.
Features of Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light
- Four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Comes with wireless remote
- Adjustable docking mount
- IPC-65 water-resistant
- Plug-and-Play; Doesn’t require programming
- Instructions and set up are slightly confusing
If you want a lightweight option that can brilliantly illuminate your aquarium, go for this product. Its sleek design coupled with how light it is makes it the ultimate choice for the minimalist fish-keeper.
8. Best LED Aquarium Lighting for Plant Growth - Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Review
We’re always looking for products that have innovative features and that push the boundaries of what aquarium equipment can do. Finnex Planted+ is definitely one of those products.
It has the capability to be completely automated. This means that it measures water temperature and actual plant stage growth and adjusts its individual LED lights accordingly to emit the most appropriate amount of light with the most beneficial spectrum.
If you want some control and don’t want it fully automated, that’s an option too. You can have full customizability on the lights using the wireless remote it comes with.
Features of Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED
- Five sizes ranging from 20 to 48 inches
- Adjustable lights
- Built-in sensor
- Comes with wireless remote
- Built-in weather effects
- Suitable for almost all aquarium plants
- Competitive price
- Highly customizable
- Extra weather effects for added value
- Highly adjustable mounting brackets
- Power cord very short
If you have different aquarium plants that require varied lighting, we recommend you go for this product. It’s versatility and customizability is something you’ll be thankful for when growing your aquarium plants.
9. Best LED Aquarium Lighting for Saltwater Aquariums - Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light Review
This pack of vivid LED lights is something that you should keep an eye out for if you have a saltwater aquarium.
Marine life requires a very specific spectrum of light that this product is able to provide with ease. The vivid colors are adjustable in terms of color and intensity to give you full control.
It’s case is made from aluminum and the lighting fixture is only ½ an inch thick which gives it an almost translucent look as it hangs over your aquarium.
Features of Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
- Four sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Suitable for saltwater aquariums
- Multiple modes of operation
- 24-hour rhythmic cycle
- Weight: 2.85 pounds
- Doesn’t take up too much space
- Low power consumption
- Easy to mount
- Not controllable without remote
If you have a saltwater aquarium with a specific set of needs, this product could work very well for you. Its inconspicuous design packs a very powerful punch when it comes to illumination.
10. Best LED Aquarium Lighting with Red Tint - Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights Review
The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light features an innovative lighting design that Finnex pioneered that is quickly gaining traction and being copied in the LED aquarium lighting landscape due to its ease of use and light weight.
It’s one long, narrow bar with lights spanning an angle of 120 degrees which are able to illuminate your aquarium across a wide spectrum of light. The LED lights have intense lighting effects which are specifically incorporated into the product to promote plant growth.
Features of Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights
- Seven different sizes ranging from 12 inches to 48 inches
- Red LEDs
- Weight: 3.2 pounds
- Splash-resistant material
- Night Mode
- Suitable for high light intensity demanding plants
- Gives a pinkish tint to the aquarium that is aesthetically unique
- Power cord is rather short
- Plastic bracket seems flimsy
If you have high-demand plants in terms of light, this is the product for you. It leans on the red wavelength of light which is ideal for these kinds of aquarium plants.
How do I choose LED lights for my aquarium?
The LED lighting business for aquariums is huge and when you first go out to get one, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed by all the options out there. It’s a good idea to take a step back and think about what exactly you’re getting the LED lighting for. Observing some key factors can help you in your search for the perfect lights. These factors are:
Size of your Aquarium
This is a key factor in determining your LED Aquarium light mainly because of two reasons:
The first reason is that the size of your aquarium will determine how the LED lighting will be mounted onto it. If you get a light that’s too big or too small for your aquarium, you won’t be able to install it onto your fish tank without making heavy modifications that, you will eventually find, are not really worth it.
Secondly, this should go without saying that when you have a larger aquarium, you will need more light. Don’t just think about your aquarium size in terms of length and width but also in terms of depth. You should always remember that light gets duller as it passes through a body of water. So you need a light intense enough that it’s able to penetrate to the bottom of your aquarium with the same intensity that it has at the top.
What do you have in your aquarium?
This is arguably the most important factor when it comes to buying LED lighting. You need to do your research into what kinds of plants and fish you have and what are their needs in terms of lighting.
Some animals and plants don’t need light that’s too intense. Others require a very high intensity of light. Be sure to know what your pets’ and plants’ needs are and get a light accordingly.
If you get LED lighting that isn’t able to provide the intensity of light needed by your plants and fish, this can lead to a number of consequences such as wilting of leaves and stunted growth.
How does LED aquarium lighting work?
LED Aquarium lighting is usually a cluster of small LED lights that work together in order to produce one bright light for your aquarium.
As you can probably guess, in good LED Aquarium lighting products, these small LED lights are highly customizable so you have full control over the intensity and spectrum of these small LED lights so you can adjust them in order to have an appropriate type of light be emitted into your aquarium that is the most beneficial for your plants and fish.
What are the benefits of LED aquarium lighting?
You might be wondering why everyone’s pushing for LED lights these days. It’s because these lights have a very high number of benefits and close to zero disadvantages. Some of these benefits are:
- LED lighting is very cost-efficient and uses much less energy than other forms of lighting. A lot of people are turned off by the fact that LEDs cost more than fluorescent lights but you have to understand that LEDs cost a lot less to in terms of electricity in the long run.
- LED lights have a very long lifespan. It’s much longer than its counterparts such as incandescent and fluorescent lighting. If you get LED lights, it’ll be a long time before you have to replace them.
- They are highly customizable. LED lights are made of diodes whose properties can easily be altered so this gives you complete control over its intensity and the spectrum of light that they put out.
- Not only are LED lights user-friendly, they are also environment-friendly. LED lights produce no toxic gases and keep the general environment clean and healthy.
How do I Set up LED aquarium lights?
Depending on the LED lighting product you get, your setup process can range from extremely easy to slightly inconvenient.
Even the worst of LED lights come with some sort of instruction manual that you can follow in order to set up your lights. Most lights have adjustable fixtures that you can easily manipulate in order to fit onto your aquarium securely. Lighting fixtures that hang on top of your aquarium are also in the same vein that they are of adjustable height so you can hang your aquarium light at a height that is appropriate for the life in your aquarium.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that you need to check several times and be sure that you have properly and securely set up your aquarium lights. Improper installation of LED lights can lead to catastrophic consequences such as the electrocution of fish in your aquarium.
How much electricity do LED aquarium lights use?
Like we discussed in the first question, this entirely depends on how powerful your LED lighting is and that depends on how big your aquarium is. If you have a bigger aquarium, you’ll need stronger lights and thus, these stronger lights will use more energy.
Generally, the golden rule when it comes to LED aquarium lighting is 2-5 Watts per gallon.
Whatever it is, LED lights are always lower in power consumption when compared to fluorescent or incandescent lights.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I keep my LED lights on?
LED lights play a crucial part in making your aquarium presentable and it’s obviously important that you have your lights on during the times when you want to observe your aquarium.
However, you must remember that the main purpose of these lights is to mimic the natural environment of your plants and fish. Keeping this in mind, you need to balance out the amount of light and darkness that your plants and fish get. Most LED lights come with automatic timers that can be programmed once so you don’t have to worry about turning the light off and on constantly.
In general, European fish and plants require about 8 hours of light each day whereas wilder African fish and tropical plants require about 12 hours of light each day.
Can I just use regular LED strips as my aquarium lights?
This can be a smart and cheap option if you have a smaller aquarium (less than 5 gallons). Though, we must warn you that strip lights aren’t as energy-efficient as LED aquarium lights.
You can get away with using blue and cool white LED light strips in small aquariums but if you have a larger tank, we recommend not bothering with LED light strips as they are not nearly intense enough for deeper tanks.
Does the spectrum of my LED lights affect plant growth?
Yes. LED aquarium lights are specifically designed to help plants grow. They mimic natural sunlight and encourage photosynthesis in plants. The spectrum of light that is beneficial to your plants that LEDs emit is both visible and non-visible to the human eye.
It’s much better than fluorescent lighting as it emits a much broader spectrum of light that is beneficial for your plants.
Furthermore, since LED lights are customizable, you can even program them to change intensities in order to mimic the change of light throughout the day in a natural environment.
How high should I hang my LED aquarium lights?
There’s no requirement here. There are precautions that you should take in terms of height, such as making sure that it’s not so low that it comes into contact with the water in your aquarium as this could lead to electrocution.
Generally, you should hang your aquarium lights about 3-4 inches above your aquarium. This is a good height for both clip-ons as well as hanging LED light fixtures.
How much light do I need for a saltwater aquarium?
For saltwater aquariums that don’t have plants and only have marine fish inside them, you can get away with having less powerful lighting. A general rule of thumb for lighting saltwater aquariums is about 1-2 watts per gallon.
The color and spectrum of the LED lights doesn’t hold as much significance when lighting an aquarium that has no plants in it but we do recommend that you program your LEDs to mimic sunlight as closely as possible as this will relax your fish and prevent any stress-related problems.
It’s very important when lighting saltwater aquariums that you don’t use general lighting from the hardware store and only use LED lights that are specifically made for aquariums as regular LED lights can promote algae growth in your fish tank.
How much light do I need for a coral reef aquarium?
Coral reef aquariums require a lot of light because corals contain a symbiotic algae that utilizes light in order to make food for the coral. In the wild, coral grows in shallow waters and is exposed to a high amount of sunlight. Thus, you should aim to recreate this in your aquarium.
We recommend a high intensity lighting setup that works at an operating capacity of somewhere between 4-8 watts per gallon.
Aquarium lighting is an essential piece of the puzzle that is a good home aquarium setup. It’s a factor that affects both the growth of your fish and plants as well as their presentation in your aquarium. Hence, it’s of paramount importance that you get lighting that does justice to the beauty of your fish.
In the end, we have to go with Beamworks Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light. Their sleek, contemporary design coupled with their focus on low energy consumption makes them the most cost-efficient light for the amount of light intensity they offer.
With this, we’ve reached the end of our post for the best LED Aquarium Lighting.
Let us know in the comments what lights you’re using to illuminate your aquarium.