It’s difficult not to agree with us when we say that buying a planted aquarium light can be a lot more challenging than buying a regular aquarium light.
Observing this, we decided to test out all the different planted aquarium lights with different aquarium plants and aquariums in order to find out which ones really are as great as they claim to be.
Today, we’ll discuss what factors make a great planted aquarium light and how you can make an informed decision on which one would be best for you.
After a lengthy discussion, we’ve chosen these three as the best ones from the bunch.
Now, let’s get into the detailed reviews for the top 5 best planted aquarium lights.
Best Planted Aquarium Lights - Best 5 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Planted Aquarium Light - Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Review
This product is a beautiful piece of equipment that we were incredibly excited to test because we’d been hearing rave reviews about it from fellow aquarists.
Indeed, this product’s reputation exceeds it. It lit up our planted aquarium brilliantly to the point where we could see all the details within our fish as they swim in between our live aquarium plants.
The light is cool and pleasing to the eye and simulates sunlight and moonlight wonderfully so your fish will feel at home and relaxed. It features lights of a 6500K Kelvin rating which is appropriate for a majority of live aquarium plants.
Features of Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Review – Best Planted Aquarium Light
- Available for aquariums between 24 inches and 72 inches
- Low voltage transformer
- Dual modes
- White and Actinic LEDs
- Very sturdy
- Modern, attractive appearance
- Simple mounting process
- Easy to operate
- Timer has to be bought separately
If you’re looking for a long-lasting planted aquarium light that’s easy to use, this product is definitely for you. It comes at a very reasonable price and is extremely effective.
2. Best Planted Aquarium Light with Remote Control - Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light Review
You can’t really go wrong with this product as it’s built to accommodate you as long your aquarium is a freshwater aquarium. It features extendable docking legs which can easily mount onto an aquarium of all kinds of shapes. You’ll have it set up in no time.
The remote control has a very impressive range. We tested it from a different room through a wall and it was still able to function perfectly. All the changes in the lights were instant and nothing went unregistered.
The lights themselves are incredibly bright while also not disturbing or stressful for your fish.
Features of Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light
- Available for aquariums between 18 inches and 60 inches
- Sliding docking mechanism
- Wireless controller
- Several different modes
- White and RGBW LEDs
- Easy to use
- Simple to install
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Highly programmable
- Responsive remote
- Only suitable for freshwater aquariums
If you want the features of a premium planted aquarium light at a modest price, this product is what you’re looking for. It features a high level of customization and an incredibly sturdy body.
3. Best High-Intensity Planted Aquarium Light - Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED Daylight Review
Most of the planted aquarium lights you’ll find on the market are targeted towards beginners and thus, they are meant for plants that require low-medium intensity light in order to grow properly.
Meanwhile, this product fills the void for fishkeepers who are in search of a planted aquarium light that can cater to the needs of plants that require high-intensity light. This LED light is perfect for demanding plants and it provides this bright light at a very efficient rate due to its low power consumption technology.
You don’t have to worry about rising electricity bills with this bright light as it utilizes power extremely well.
Features of Finnex Ray2 Aquarium LED Daylight
- Available for aquariums between 24 inches and 48 inches
- Dual LED strips
- Heat sync for easy cooling
- Splash guard
- Circuit boards built of aluminum
- Optimal heat dissipation
- Low energy consumption
- Great for high-maintenance plants
- Difficult to find
If you want a high-intensity light that doesn’t use up too much energy, this product is ideal for you. It looks beautiful on any aquarium and it’s incredibly bright.
4. Best Planted Aquarium Light with Red-Colored LEDs - Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Review
If you were to search what color of light is best for the photosynthetic process in plants, the color Red would come up as a result. And thus, this light provides you with Red LEDs that can be showered upon your live aquarium plants in order to boost photosynthesis within them.
It’s specifically made for planted aquariums and the LEDs are perfectly designed to be in the color temperature that’s most appropriate for plant growth. You’ll find your plants’ growth rate to increase exponentially once you install this light onto your planted aquarium.
You’ll find it has a patented splash guard that protects the LEDs within from any kind of splashing so they can stay operational for a long period of time.
Features of Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light
- Available for aquariums between 12 inches and 48 inches
- Slim, contemporary design
- White and RED LEDs plus Moonlights
- Superior heat dissipation
- Water guard
- Boosts photosynthesis
- Easy to mount
- Fixture seems slightly flimsy
If you’re looking to boost your plant’s growth with an aesthetically pleasing planted aquarium light, this is the product for you. It’s incredibly easy to install and you’ll find it illuminates your aquarium very nicely.
5. Best Dimmable Planted Aquarium Light - Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Review
We had a lot of fun with this product due to its almost infinite level of customizability. The LEDs within it feature the ability to change brightness, angles, and colors in a way we’ve never seen before.
The light even features a color control mode which allows you to save your color intensities and colors within the light so it can remember what your preferences are even after it’s been turned on and off.
The sunrise and sunset effects are also incredibly realistic which helps your fish be completely relaxed in their environment. The lights themselves are also specially designed to help your aquarium plants grow to their full potential.
Features of Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED
- Available for aquariums between 20 inches and 48 inches
- Modes that simulate sunrise and sunset
- Brightness control
- Remote controller
- Ability to save settings
- Sleek, futuristic design
- Responsive controls
- Very customizable
If you’re looking for an easily controllable planted aquarium light that offers a ton of customizability, this product is definitely for you. It features an incredibly stylish design which enhances the look of any aquarium it’s placed on.
How do I choose the best planted aquarium light for me?
There are a number of factors you can look to and ponder over which can help you reach a decision of which planted aquarium light is most suitable for you. Some of the factors you should be thinking about are:
Aquarium Shape and Size
Obviously, the size and shape of your aquarium matter a lot when you’re buying a light for it. The plants inside your aquarium may be deep down underwater and they may require light that can effectively penetrate the water to get deep down to your plants.
Make sure if your planted aquarium light fits onto aquariums using a clamp then the clamp is able to fit onto whatever thickness your aquarium glass has. Also, think about the length of your aquarium in the case of planted aquarium lights that are mounted onto aquariums using brackets.
The amount of money you’re willing to spend on your planted aquarium lighting plays a huge role in determining what brand or caliber of product you’re going to get for your planted aquarium.
We strongly recommend you invest heavily in your planted aquarium lighting as they can play a huge role in growing your live aquarium plants and you should never take your chances with a subpar aquarium light as this may result in your plants not getting adequate light and them dying or wilting as a result.
If you feel that you’re unable to invest in lighting that’s too high-quality then we suggest investing in planted aquarium lighting with less automated features. You can opt for lights that don’t feature remote controls or multiple lighting modes. Features like these can often drive planted aquarium lights’ prices up.
Type of Plants and Fish You Have
You should definitely decide on what type of fish and plants you’re going to keep in your planted aquarium before you actually go out and buy lights for them. This is because different species have different lighting requirements and you’re going to want a planted aquarium light that will be able to accommodate all of the members of your little aquatic community.
What are some special features that a planted aquarium light should have as opposed to a regular aquarium light?
Most aquarium lights that are specifically catered towards planted aquariums have a unique spectrum of LEDs that are purposefully chosen because they can be brought together to light the aquarium in such a way so that not only will it enhance plant growth, it will relax the fish inside the aquarium as well.
Regular aquarium lights may be okay for your fish but they may not be appropriate for the growth of live aquarium plants inside your tank. Regular aquarium lights are not designed with photosynthesis in mind. Hence, they are often very cool and ineffective on plants and might result in them withering, dying or having stunted growth inside your aquarium.
What are some things to avoid when purchasing a planted aquarium light?
Many premium aquarium lights often come with unnecessary features that aren’t really needed in order to effectively run a planted aquarium. If you’re on a budget, you should definitely avoid gimmicks such as flashy weather effects or Wifi control which you’re never going to use.
Other than that, as there are many aquarium lights out there that are specifically designed for planted aquariums, there are other aquarium lights that are specifically designed for other types of aquariums as well such as coral reef aquarium, freshwater, and saltwater fish-only aquariums, etc. We strongly recommend that you avoid these categories as they will feature LEDs that operate at different intensities which might be detrimental to aquarium plant growth.
What light intensity is suitable for live aquarium plants?
All of this depends on what type of plants you have in your aquarium. Low-intensity plants usually require a light intensity of anywhere between 10 – 20 lumens. Medium-intensity plants require 20 – 40 lumens while high-intensity plants require anything above 40 lumens.
What color of light is suitable for live aquarium plants?
Most planted aquarium lights are sold as a combination of cool-white LEDs, Blue LEDs and Red LEDs and this is, by far, the best approach when it comes to growing live aquarium plants as it covers all bases.
Most aquarium plants have been proven to grow most effectively underneath Blue and Violet light while it has also been proven that Red light is best for photosynthesis in plants.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I just leave my aquarium lights on indefinitely to stimulate plant growth?
This is an extremely bad idea.
Firstly, leaving your lights on indefinitely will cause your fish to become incredibly stressed. They won’t be able to sleep properly and they might develop stress-related diseases. In extreme cases, they might start refusing to eat to the point where they starve themselves.
Secondly, that much light can easily cause an algae breakout inside your aquarium. Algae would hinder light from reaching your live aquarium plants which would cause them to wither and eventually die.
Why is incandescent lighting not recommended for planted tanks?
You wouldn’t want incandescent lighting for any kind of aquarium and there are a number of reasons for that:
- They produce a high amount of heat which could heat up your tank water and cause harm to your fish and plants.
- They are extremely inefficient at using electricity.
- They have a very short lifespan.
- They aren’t effective at growing plants or enhancing photosynthesis.
Is fluorescent lighting better than LEDs for lighting planted tanks?
No. LEDs are better at lighting planted aquariums in all aspects when compared with fluorescent lighting. They have a longer lifespan, more customizability, they are smaller in size, they use a lot less electricity and they mimic sunlight far better than fluorescent lighting ever could.
How do I easily install planted aquarium lights?
Most planted aquarium lights are fairly intuitive to install and you can set most of them up in no time using the instruction manual that’s usually provided with them.
Some small aquarium lights come with a clamp that you can tighten around your aquarium wall in order to mount it to your aquarium.
Other lights come with brackets that can be extended to a certain length in order to fit on top of your aquarium.
Submersible aquarium lighting comes with suction cups that stick to the walls of your aquarium.
Other than that, you may have lights that need to be hung over your aquarium. These type of lights come with hinges which you can utilize to hang them over your planted aquarium.
What is a lighting calculator and how can I utilize it to estimate the amount of light needed by my plants?
A lighting calculator is an easy to use tool that can be found online which helps you estimate how much light you need to properly light a certain area depending on how much light you need in that area.
You can get an estimate on the light intensity you need (in lumens) by multiplying the area in square feet by the footcandles. You can then utilize the result you get to look for a planted aquarium light that can provide you with that intensity.
How close should my aquarium plants be to my planted aquarium light?
It’s usually a good idea to have your planted aquarium light around 24 inches above the water surface of your planted aquarium if you have plants that are big enough to reach all the way to the top of the water surface.
Can too much light kill aquarium plants?
Yes. Too much light exposure can definitely hinder the photosynthetic process and cause bleaching in plants. That’s why it’s recommended that you turn your planted aquarium light on for about 12 hours each day and not more than that.
Do LED planted aquarium lights get brighter the longer they’re left on?
No. LEDs are often described as “instant on” which means that they start operating at their full capacity as soon as you switch them on. You don’t need to wait for them to “completely turn on” as in the case of incandescent lights.
Do LED lights get dimmer over time?
Yes, it’s possible. While most incandescent and fluorescent lights tend to burn out, LED lights tend to get dimmer as time goes on. Most lighting fixtures for planted aquariums have easily replaceable LEDs for when that happens.
Can LED lights melt the fixture that holds them in place?
No. LED lights produce little to no heat. They produce up to 95% less heat than fluorescent lights so it’s almost impossible that they would produce enough heat to melt their lighting fixture which is usually made out of a sturdy metal such as aluminum.
With so many dizzying options out there, it’s fairly challenging to find a light that’s able to provide your planted aquarium with everything it needs.
In the end, we had to go with the Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light as the best of the bunch. Its incredibly dazzling appearance coupled with its consistent and effective performance make it the clear winner.
And with that, we’ve concluded our post for the best planted aquarium lights.
Give us feedback and let us know what light you’re using for your planted aquarium.