LED Aquarium Lighting Review – Top 10 Picks, Guide, FAQs & More

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Lighting is one of the most important aspects of an aquarium setup and you’ll agree with us when we say that finding the appropriate light for your fish tank can be quite a challenge. 

That’s why we tested out all the LED aquarium lighting products we could find in order to gauge how well they perform under different conditions and which ones would be suitable for you. 

In our post today, we’ll discuss different aspects of LED aquarium lighting and look into different products to determine which ones would be best for your specific setup.

Top Pick

With the capability of being compatible with a timer, this product does more than half the job for you. It’s incredibly durable and looks great on all aquariums.

Runner Up

If being super bright and energy-efficient wasn’t enough, this product gives you the added benefit of being easy to mount thanks to its adjustable mounting brackets.

Also Great

Utilizing electricity much better than its competitors, this product will save you a lot of cash down the line. It’s impeccably designed to last you many, many years.

After many painstaking months of rigorous testing, we’ve chosen these three as the best performing LED aquarium lights out there. 

Now, let’s look at these products in detail in the form of the top 10 LED aquarium lighting reviews.

LED Aquarium Lighting Review - Top 10 Picks

1. Overall Best LED Aquarium Lighting - Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light Review

The Beamswork DA LED Pent Aquarium Light really impressed us with its performance. As soon as we plugged it in and turned it on, we knew we had our hands on something special. 

It features high-quality LEDs that are fixed into the lighting body in such a way that they come together to emit a light that has very high penetration power in water compared to its competitors. Not only that, it creates an extremely beautiful shimmer effect on top of the water which is incredibly beautiful to look at and quite calming to your fish. 

Features of Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light – LED Aquarium Lighting Review

  1. Available in five sizes ranging from 24 inches to 72 inches
  2. 6500K spectrum LEDs with Blue LEDs
  3. Timer-ready
  4. Dual lighting modes
  5. Rust-proof
  • Fits a wide variety of aquariums
  • Easy to mount
  • Energy-efficient
  • Effective and bright
  • Sturdy
  • Timer needs to be bought separately

If you’re looking to provide your aquarium with all its lighting needs without any unnecessary gimmicks, this product is for you. It’s very easy to operate and fits onto your aquarium in no time.

2. Extendable LED Aquarium Lighting - NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light Review

The NICREW ClassicLED aquarium light features individual LEDs that are all expertly integrated into the light fixture in such a way that they not only illuminate your aquarium brilliantly but they also do it efficiently. 

This product features an aluminum circuit board onto which all the individual LEDs are mounted. This helps give this aquarium light superior heat dissipation and also helps increase LED longevity. You don’t have to worry about the LEDs heating up your aquarium in the slightest and the company claims the LEDs to have a lifespan of 50,000+ hours.

Features of NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

  1. Available in five different sizes from 12 inches to 52 inches
  2. Modifiable docking legs
  3. Combination of a majority of white LEDs and a minority of Blue LEDs
  4. Recommended for use over glass aquariums
  5. Long-lasting, efficient LEDs
  • Compact
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to use
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Excellent build quality
  • Light may not be as effective for acrylic aquariums

If you’re not entirely sure what size aquarium light will fit onto your aquarium then getting the most closely sized variant of this product would be a good idea. Its adjustable legs make it very convenient to mount onto many sizes of aquariums.

3. LED Low-Energy Aquarium Lighting - Koval Aquarium Lighting Review

A lot of aquarists have a lot of problems with the rising electricity bill in their home when they first set up an aquarium. This product is something that can help you effectively combat that problem. 

It features a smart design that is streamlined to provide you with bright and effective lighting with a reasonable electricity bill. 

The light consists of multi-colored LEDs which make it appropriate for a number of different kinds of aquariums such as freshwater, saltwater and coral reef aquariums. 

You can opt to have all the lights on at once or only the Blue LEDs. The Blue LED only mode works great as a nightlight. 

Features of Koval Aquarium Lighting

  1. Available in three sizes: 24 – 30 inches, 36 – 43 inches and 45 – 50 inches
  2. LEDs with five different colors
  3. Lifespan of at least 50,000 hours
  4. Three different modes
  5. Aluminum alloy shell
  • Wide spectrum of light
  • Affordable
  • Durable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Some reviews say the power adapter tends to burn out

If you’re tired of having to pay ridiculous amounts of money as your electricity bill then this is the product you’re looking for. It makes very efficient use of electricity and is incredibly sturdy and long-lasting.

4. Freshwater LED Aquarium Lighting - Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light Review

The CurrentUSA should be your go-to option if you’re opting for a freshwater aquarium. It features an incredible amount of customization which leaves the user flipping through its different settings for days just exploring everything it has to offer. 

Some of the few exclusive features that this light has to offer are sunrise/sunset settings, a built-in timer, weather effects and built-in brightness control. With all of these features combined, this aquarium light gives you an almost infinite amount of control over the type of light you choose to emit over your aquarium. 

The remote control that comes with it is highly responsive and works with the light over very long distances.

Features of Current USA Satellite Plus PRO LED Light

  1. Available in four sizes from 18 inches to 60 inches 
  2. Adjustable mounting brackets
  3. Wireless controller
  4. Dynamic weather effects
  5. Built-in timer and dimmer
  • Easy to install
  • Intuitive controls
  • Attractive design
  • Highly customizable
  • Highly responsive controls
  • Not appropriate for saltwater aquariums

If you’re looking to effectively light your freshwater aquarium, this product is perfect for you. It’s made from reliable materials and features controls that are very easy to get the hang of.

5. Submersible LED Aquarium Lighting - S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light Review

As you would expect from an LED aquarium light of this type, the S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light features LEDs that have unbelievably high penetration power within the water. Lighting the water from within gives it a cozy glow which adds a very unique ambience to whatever room it’s placed in. 

It has multi-colored LEDs that can be programmed to change colors periodically in different ways such as fading into one another, strobe, etc. You can also choose to have it set to one solid color; the possibilities are endless. 

Features of S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light 

  1. Available in many different sizes from 7.5 inches to 23 inches
  2. Suction-cup mounting
  3. Rust-proof
  4. Fully submersible
  5. Multi-colored lighting effects
  • Suction cups are effective and secure
  • Easy to set up
  • Inexpensive
  • Impact-resistant
  • Doesn’t take up too much space
  • Controls can be slightly confusing
  • No sizes available for larger aquariums

If you’re looking to light your aquarium from within then this product is ideal for you. It’s incredibly light, shock-proof and provides you with a design that makes it very easy to mount to the inside of your aquarium’s wall.

6. LED Aquarium Lighting for Coral Reef Tanks - MarsAqua LED Aquarium Light Review

Finding a decent LED aquarium light for a coral reef aquarium can be quite difficult since you want a light that is able to maintain its intensity all the way down to the bottom of the coral reef tank. The MarsAqua LED aquarium light is one such aquarium lighting product. 

It features multi-colored LEDs and white LEDs which are on the cooler side that are absolutely perfect for growing corals inside aquariums. The light features a dimmer which you can utilize to perfectly adjust the intensity of the light until it’s appropriate for your corals and the fish living in your coral reef aquarium with them.

Features of MarsAqua LED Aquarium Light

  1. Available in two wattages: 165 watts and 300 watts
  2. 25% higher water transmittance than ordinary LEDs
  3. Can be combined with multiple units
  4. Appropriate for aquariums up to 55 gallons
  5. Comes with a 3-year warranty
  • Great build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Highly customizable
  • LEDs have high penetration power in water
  • Low power consumption for such bright lights
  • Quite expensive
  • Quite heavy and bulky

If you’re looking for a light that can easily be controlled to appropriately light a coral reef tank, this product is ideal for you. It’s incredibly simple to use and it will last you a very long time.

7. Customizable LED Aquarium Lighting - Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light Review

Many aquarists are frustrated by the lack of control and customization in most LED aquarium lighting. Oftentimes it happens that you buy an aquarium light for a certain type of species in your aquarium and after some time when you decide to exchange the fish species in your aquarium for something else, you have to buy all-new LED aquarium lighting for it as well. 

Well, this product solves that problem in one fell swoop through its customization features. You can customize these lights in all number of ways so even if you decide to change the aquatic pets you have, you won’t have to get a new light. You can just make changes to this so it becomes appropriate for your new pets.

Features of Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

  1. Available in four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
  2. Multiple lighting modes
  3. Wireless remote control
  4. Realistic weather effects
  5. Extendable brackets
  • High level of customizability
  • Compact, attractive shape
  • Responsive wireless controls
  • Easy operation
  • Easy installation
  • A bit pricey

If you want high customizability and control in your LED aquarium lighting, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s very well-made and is very intuitive to use despite the high number of features.

8. LED Aquarium Lighting for Planted Tanks - Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Review

It can be quite challenging to find a light that’s able to boost plant growth inside an aquarium while providing appropriate light to the fish inside it at the same time. The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light does this without breaking a sweat. 

It took us close to no time at all to get this product mounted onto our planted aquarium and we were blown away at how aesthetically pleasing this light was. We were able to notice so many new details in our fish and the growth rate of our plants went through the roof in the coming months after we’d installed this product in our planted aquarium for testing. 

Features of Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light

  1. Available in seven sizes from 12 inches to 48 inches
  2. Cool-white, blue and red LEDs
  3. Extendable mounting brackets
  4. Ultra-slim streamlined body
  5. Aluminum splash guard for protection and superior heat dissipation
  • Lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Easy to operate
  • Sleek, attractive design
  • Larger-sized versions tend to bow in the middle

If you’re looking to effectively grow live plants inside your aquarium, this product is ideal for you. The combination of white, blue and red LEDs is perfect for boosting plant growth in an aquarium setting.

9. Controllable LED Aquarium Lighting - Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Review

As the name of this product implies, it is mainly aimed towards planted aquariums but we tested it with fish-only aquariums as well and with the amount of customization it offers, we were able to set it appropriately so it would light our fish-only aquarium brilliantly as well. 

The fact that it comes with dimmable lights makes it a very versatile piece of equipment that can be used to light a wide variety of aquariums. 

The remote control that comes with the controllable variant is incredibly intuitive to use and get the hang of and it’s incredibly responsive.

Features of Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED

  1. Available in sizes from 20 inches to 48 inches
  2. Two variants: one with a remote control and one without it
  3. Dimmable
  4. Four different customizable channels
  5. Comes with a timer
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Easy to handle
  • High level of customization
  • Responsive controls
  • Bright but does not disturb fish
  • Relatively expensive

If you’re looking for an LED aquarium light that offers instant results as soon as you make any customization to it then this product is definitely for you. It’s incredibly easy to mount and you’ll find it’s appropriate for a wide variety of aquariums.

10. LED Aquarium Lighting Hood - Marineland LED Light Hood Review

This product is a unique entry in this list in that it does two jobs at once: it illuminates your aquarium up effectively and it also acts as a hood for it. 

You may find this design to be a gimmick but we tested this product over many months and found its performance to be incredibly effective and consistent. Not even a single one of the LEDs showed even the slightest signs of dimming. They are all still as bright as when we first started testing them. 

Features of Marineland LED Light Hood 

  1. Available in three dimensions: 20 by 10 inches, 24 by 12 inches and 30 by 12 inches
  2. Creates a natural-looking shimmer effect
  3. Daylight and Nightlight modes
  4. Hinged hood for easy cleaning and maintenance
  5. Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums
  • Fits almost every standard aquarium available on the market
  • Sleek, contemporary design
  • Bright LEDs for detailed viewing
  • Easy to install
  • Added benefit of being a lid as well as a light
  • Does not take up extra space
  • LEDs have no form of protection from water

If you don’t have a lot of space for an external LED aquarium lighting setup, this product is the perfect solution for you. It’s well-built and the LEDs are appropriate for most standard fish species.

led aquarium lighting review

Buyers’ Guide

Are LED lights suitable for aquariums?

Yes. LED lights are perfectly suitable for aquariums. Over the past few years, they have quickly risen to popularity to become the number one lighting option among aquarists and for good reason. 

They are easily customizable so you can tinker with them as much as you want until you have a light that is perfectly suitable for the specific aquatic pets you have. 

Not to mention they are compact as compared to most of their competitors which makes them very easy to install and use. 

All of these benefits combined make LED lights a perfectly suitable option for lighting aquariums.

What are some factors to consider when purchasing LED aquarium lighting?

Buying LED aquarium lighting is a challenging task but it doesn’t have to be. You can make it a lot easier for yourself if you think about certain factors related to the LED aquarium lighting you’re going to buy. Making some decisions beforehand can help you demystify the shopping process and make a decision as to what LED aquarium lighting to purchase. Some factors you should consider when buying LED aquarium lighting are: 

  • Durability 

There are a lot of cheap LED aquarium lighting options out there but we have to warn you, if it seems too good to be true, that may very well be the case. Often times, cheap LED aquarium lighting is made from sub-par materials that don’t last a very long time. 

That’s why it’s very important that whenever you decide to purchase LED aquarium lighting for yourself, you look at online reviews to ensure that the product you’re getting doesn’t have a history of breaking down too early after purchase. 

If you’re not ordering online and are buying LED aquarium lighting from a shop then we recommend you observe the body and the LEDs to ensure they are made from high-quality materials that will last. 

  • Aquarium Size 

This goes without saying but you want to buy LED aquarium lighting that is appropriately sized for your aquarium. You don’t want lighting that is too inadequate or too bright for your aquarium. Either extreme can be quite harmful to the fish and aquarium plants inside your aquarium so you’re going to want to make a decision on what LED aquarium lighting to get based on the size of your fish tank. It’s very important that you decide on what aquarium you’re getting before you decide on what lights you’re going to get for it.

How do I properly set up LED lights on my aquarium?

LED lights are quite easy to set up and most LED aquarium lighting products come with a clear set of instructions about how they can be mounted onto your aquarium. 

It all depends on the type of mounting option that is provided with the LED aquarium lighting; Some come with adjustable brackets, others come with a clamp mount, some come with hanging kits and others are submersible and stick to the inside of your aquarium walls using suction cups. 

How intense should LED lights be for an aquarium? 

The amount of intensity when it comes to LED aquarium lighting really depends on the type of aquarium you have. The intensity of light when it comes to aquariums is usually measured using watts per gallon. For fish-only aquariums, you can have a light that operates at 1 – 2 watts per gallon. If you have a freshwater planted aquarium, you’re going to need LED aquarium lighting that operates at anywhere between 2 – 5 watts per gallon. Coral reef aquariums require the most intense light out of all of them. If you have a coral reef aquarium, you’ll require anywhere between 4 – 8 watts per gallon of light. 

How long should lights be left on for an aquarium?

That really depends on the type of fish you have inside your aquarium. Most European coldwater fish require about 8 hours of light every day whereas Tropical or African fish such as Cichlids require up to 12 hours of light each day.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of lighting is best for me if I have a tropical aquarium?

A high-quality LED light that is a bit on the warmer side will be quite beneficial for a tropical aquarium as it will bring out the bright colors of your tropical fish quite nicely. An example of this is that certain warmer white LED aquarium lights tend to accentuate the reds and pinks within an aquarium while also reflecting natural blues and greens. This makes for a pleasurable viewing experience where you can observe your fish and their brilliant colors in all their glory.

Can LED lights be the cause of increased algae in an aquarium?

If we make a comparison between fluorescent and LED lighting, LED lighting actually produces a lot less algae. If you’re still having algae problems in your aquarium even though you have LED aquarium lighting, this might be because you’re not using the appropriate wavelength of light or you may be exposing your aquarium to more hours of light every day than is needed. 

If an algae breakout does occur in your aquarium because of LED lighting, the appropriate procedure to fix it is to keep your aquarium in darkness for a couple of days and do some research into how much light and what wavelength your aquarium needs and making adjustments accordingly.

Should I turn off my LED aquarium lights at night? 

Yes, you should definitely turn off your LED aquarium lights off at night. Having your lights on 24/7 can lead to many unwanted consequences such as bleaching of your aquarium plants, algae breakouts and the development of stress-related diseases in your fish. 

Do fish require blue light?

Fish aren’t too concerned with the color of LED aquarium lighting which you have to light your aquarium. They are only concerned with how bright the light is and how long you keep it on for. 

However, if you have corals or aquarium plants inside your aquarium, they can heavily benefit from blue light as blue light has the highest absorption rate and helps in photosynthesis.

Can I leave blue light on at night in my aquarium?

If the blue light is not too overbearing, you can opt to leave it on at night to use as a nightlight. It will add a moody ambience to your room and will allow you to observe the movements of nocturnal fish inside your aquarium without disturbing them. 

Do Neon Tetras require light at night? 

If we’re talking about full-blown bright LED aquarium lighting, then no. Like most tropical fish, Neon Tetras require about 12 hours of light each day. You can definitely opt to light them at night using subdued blue-colored LED aquarium lighting. This can be beneficial to them as blue light mimics moonlight quite well and helps make your Neon Tetras feel at home.

Are white LEDs good for live aquarium plants?

Yes. White LEDs that lean a bit towards the cooler side (color temperature of anywhere between 6500K – 10,000K) are very beneficial for live aquarium plants. That’s why most LED aquarium lighting that’s aimed towards planted aquariums comes with white LEDs that have a colder temperature rating. 

Are LEDs or fluorescent lighting better for live aquarium plants?

LEDs and fluorescent lighting produce about the same results when it comes to growing live aquarium plants. However, LEDs produce these results by utilizing electricity a lot more efficiently than fluorescent lights ever could. Not to mention LEDs produce a lot less heat and have a much higher level of customizability. 

Taking all these factors into account, we feel it’s safe to say that LEDs are a better option when it comes to providing light for live aquarium plants. 

What color of light is best for live aquarium plant growth?

As we mentioned before, blue and violet light is perfect for growing live aquarium plants as they have the highest absorption rate. These colors of light are most efficiently utilized by plants in the process of photosynthesis. If you combine a little bit of red light with these blue and violet lights, you can help your aquarium plants flower.

How close should I keep my LED grow light to my live aquarium plants?

That entirely depends on the intensity of your light and the amount of intensity that your specific live aquarium plant needs. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to have the light somewhere between 24 inches away from the live aquarium plant.

Final Verdict

Lighting is a very important part of the aquarium and fish-keeping experience so it’s essential you invest in a product that is able to show off the amazing colors of your aquarium to their full potential. 

After much deliberation, we had to give it to the Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light. It’s incredibly well-designed and can be used to light all kinds of aquariums. 

And with that, we’ve come to the end of our post for the best LED aquarium lighting reviews. 

Give us feedback and let us know what LED aquarium lighting you’re using to illuminate your aquarium.

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