You’ll agree with us when we say that choosing lighting for your fish tank can be just as difficult if not more than choosing the fish tank itself.
That’s why we decided to put every popular LED aquarium light to the test to bring you this detailed list.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss what makes or breaks a great LED aquarium light and what are some things you should look out for when purchasing one.
After lighting different species of fish with all sorts of different lights, we’ve decided that these three definitely stand out from the crowd as the best ones.
Now, let’s talk about these products in detail in the form of the top 5 best LED aquarium lighting reviews.
LED Aquarium Lights Review - Top 5 Picks
1. Overall Best LED Aquarium Light - NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light Review
The NICREW ClassicLED aquarium light is the perfect choice for all fishkeepers looking for an affordable and high-quality lighting solution for their aquariums.
It’s available in a wide variety of sizes and the adjustable brackets it comes with make sure that you’re able to easily mount them on your aquarium in no time.
The light features Blue and White LEDs that can be utilized through two different modes that are integrated into it.
The cool white LEDs are perfect to illuminate your fish and plants while the Blue LEDs work great as a nightlight.
Features of NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light – LED Aquarium Lights Review
- Available in five different sizes ranging from 12 inches to 52 inches
- Energy-efficient light
- Extendable brackets
- White and Blue LEDs
- Two lighting modes
- Low power consumption
- Safe and sleek design
- Bright and effective LEDs
- Timer has to be bought separately
If you want a light that’s suitable for all kinds of aquariums at a reasonable price, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s extremely well-made, has a sleek design and is highly effective.
2. Best LED Aquarium Light with Adjustable Brackets - Koval Aquarium Lighting Review
Koval Aquarium Lighting is really all about making things as easy for you, the user, as possible. Its whole design is centered around it being extremely easy and simple to mount onto your aquarium.
Not only that, the lights feature modes that can easily be switched between. The LEDs feature a wide spectrum of light including White, Blue, Green, Pink and Red.
The fact that it provides such an amazing spectrum of light at such an affordable price makes it an absolute steal.
We found that it created no heat when it was on. Even LEDs create heat that goes upwards but this product did not even dissipate that.
Features of Koval Aquarium Lighting
- Available in three different sizes ranging from 24 inches to 50 inches
- Modifiable brackets
- Full-spectrum LEDs
- LEDs last up to 50,000 hours
- Aluminum-trim design
- Easy to install
- Two different lighting modes
- Wide spectrum of light
- No sizes available for smaller aquariums
If you’re looking for a full spectrum LED light that’s simple to install, this product is perfect for you. Not only does it have multi-colored LEDs, but it’s also very durable and is guaranteed to last you a long time.
3. Best LED Aquarium Light with Brightness Control - MarsAqua LED Aquarium Light Review
This premium lighting setup is something that will look incredible on your aquarium.
It features the most high-quality LEDs that lit up our aquarium wonderfully. We were blown away by the amount of detail we were able to observe in our fish, plants and coral.
The lights are individually controllable and you can easily control their brightness using a switch. They are highly responsive and the lighting fixture itself is very intuitive to use.
You’ll find its design to be incredibly pleasing to look at as well as it’s designed to blend into your room and give a pleasurable ambience not only to your aquarium but to the entire space it’s in.
Features of MarsAqua LED Aquarium Light
- Available in two sizes: one for a 30-gallon tank and one for a 55-gallon tank
- Dimmable lights
- Higher penetration power than typical LEDs
- Stable frame
- Beautifully designed
- Easy to use
- Highly customizable
- Does not dissipate any heat
- Comes with a 3-year warranty
- Quite expensive
If you’re looking for dimmable LED lighting with high penetration power for deeper aquariums, this product is definitely for you. It features a lovely design with a 3-year warranty and effectively bright LEDs.
4. Best Freshwater LED Aquarium Light - Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light Review
The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED light absolutely blew us away with the number of features it came with.
It only features Blue and White LEDs but the amount of real-world effects it’s able to mimic is astounding. It has innovative evening and morning modes that perfectly capture sunrise and sunsets through 30/60-minute dimming/brightening cycles.
You can also program them to feature lightning strikes and storms which are very pleasing and fascinating to look at.
As for the LEDs themselves, they are bright as ever and can illuminate any freshwater aquarium up brilliantly.
Features of Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light
- Available in four different sizes ranging from 18 inches to 60 inches
- Multiple modes
- White and Blue LEDs
- Can mimic real-world weather effects
- Sliding docking legs
- Easy to install
- High level of customizability
- Extremely beautiful effects
- Very well-built
- Comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee
- Switching between modes takes time to get used to
If you’re looking for a compact aquarium lighting setup that’s packed with a ton of features, this product is perfect for you. It’s highly durable, comes with a money-back guarantee and simulates real-world lighting beautifully.
5. Best Remote-Controlled LED Aquarium Light - COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting Review
You’ll find the COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting to be a wonderful addition to your aquarium. It’s amazingly simple to install onto your aquarium: Just place it on top of your fish tank, secure it, turn it on and you’re good to go.
The remote control that comes with it has great range and you can even change the lighting while there’s a wall between you and the lighting fixture.
It’s customizable but that does not mean it’s complicated to use. Its controls are highly intuitive and you’ll get the hang of it in the very first go.
Features of COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting
- Available in five different sizes ranging from 11 inches to 54 inches
- Dimmable lighting
- Extendable brackets
- RGB LEDs
- Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater
- Highly responsive
- Easy to control
- Easy to install
- Compact in size
- Seems slightly flimsy
If you’re looking for effective lighting that can be controlled through a wireless remote, this product is definitely for you. The lighting itself is bright but not stressful to your fish and the fixture itself also doesn’t take up too much space.
What are some things to look for when buying LED aquarium lights?
Here are some aspects of LED Aquarium Lights you should think about before going out to purchase one:
The quality and durability of your LED lights matter a lot. There’s no point investing a large sum of money in a product that’s going to break down in a few months. It’s a good idea to look into reviews of people who’ve had the product for a long time in order to ensure it will be able to give good performance consistently for a long time.
When you’re in the shop and looking at LED lights, start by observing its outer layer and making sure it’s tough and water-resistant and that it will be able to protect the lights inside from any splashing.
LED lights give you the liberty to customize, control and program them in limitless ways so it’s a good idea to get a lighting fixture that has features that will let you use them to their fullest potential.
There’s no telling what kind of changes you make to your aquarium down the line. For example, there may come a time when you introduce fish to your aquarium which may require a different intensity of light. In that case, having a lighting fixture that is able to control the intensity of light in it will be very convenient for you as you won’t have to go out and purchase different lights for your new fish.
Aquarium Size and Type
Obviously, the size of your aquarium matters and you need to get lighting that will be able to light up every corner of your aquarium adequately. Be sure to get lighting that will be able to effectively penetrate the water all the way to the bottom of your fish tank.
These days, different LED lighting setups are specifically catered to different types of aquariums. You should definitely decide on what type of aquarium you intend on having in your home before you go out and buy lighting for it. Some different types of aquariums are freshwater tanks, saltwater tanks, brackish tanks and coral reef tanks.
Why are LEDs the preferred type of lighting for aquariums?
LEDs have become the number one option for every kind of fishkeeper. This is because they are pretty much better from their competitors in every way.
- They last longer.
- They use less energy.
- They are very customizable.
- They don’t produce heat.
- They are smaller in size.
Is there an instance where I would want some other type of lighting for my aquarium?
Yes. There do exist some unique cases in which you may want to opt for other forms of lighting.
For example, if you have a fish tank that’s deeper than 24 inches or an aquarium that’s generally very large, you may want to invest in metal halide lights to light it up as they have much higher penetration power in water than LEDs. LED lighting may not be able to get to every nook-and-cranny of these larger aquariums the way metal halide lights can. However, it has to be noted that metal halide lights create a lot of heat. If you do intend on getting metal halide lights for your aquarium, you’ll have to invest in a chiller as well as these lights tend to make the tank water hot which could prove fatal for your fish if not addressed properly.
How do I Install LED lights onto my aquarium?
Setting up aquarium lights is not usually a very difficult process since most companies take great pride in boasting that their lights are very easy to set up. That’s why many LED lights feature intuitive designs that help you set them up in no time.
Since there’s such a wide variety of LED lights out there, the individual process of installing them onto your aquarium may differ slightly from product to product.
Most come with brackets, hinges or fittings that can attach to the walls or lid of your aquarium. Others can be hung on top of your aquarium.
For most standard-level LED lights, they are good to go as soon as you mount them onto your aquarium, all you have to do is turn them on.
For other more expensive models with more features, you may have to set up and program them digitally. This may include setting up a timer for them, setting their mode and any other small features which you may want to tinker with.
When should I turn off my LED aquarium lights?
You should never leave your LED aquarium lights on indefinitely. It’s a good idea to turn them off at night as you’re going to sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do I really need LED aquarium lights?
Yes. Investing in good LED aquarium lighting is a very good idea because not only do you need decent lighting to show off the brilliant colors of your fish and aquarium plants, you also need it to simulate a natural environment for your fish and also for proper nourishment of your living aquarium plants.
Can’t I just use regular LED strips to light my aquarium rather than investing in expensive lighting?
Yes. You can definitely use regular LED strips to light your aquarium but you can imagine how arduous the process would be. You’ll have to adhere them to your aquarium and make many adjustments in order to ensure that every corner of your aquarium is lit properly.
Not only that, you won’t get any customization options with LED strips as you would in a proper LED lighting fixture such as brightness control, pre-set modes, sunset/sunrise simulation options, timers, color changes, etc.
How long does LED lighting normally last?
LED lighting has a very long lifespan. Normally LED lights can last from anywhere between 50,000 to 100,000 hours.
Are LED lights submersible?
No. In most cases, LED lights are not meant to be submerged underwater. Most aquarium LED lighting available in the market is meant to be hung above the aquarium away from the water.
That being said, submersible LED lighting does exist. There do exist brands that have made a name for themselves by selling LED lights that can be completely placed underwater. As you can probably imagine, these lights have an aesthetic that’s all their own.
We strongly advise you don’t submerge any of your LED lights unless they have explicitly stated that they are submersible.
Can I use LED lights to grow aquarium plants?
Yes. LED lights can definitely be used as a grow light for aquarium plants. There are even LED lights available that are specifically made for the growth of live aquarium plants.
Does the color of LED lights affect aquatic life in any way?
Yes. It’s been scientifically proven that fish in aquarium settings respond the best to a combination of cool white light and blue actinic light. This combination is not only pleasing for humans to look at, but it’s also very relaxing for fish.
If you have a coral reef tank, this combination of light is very beneficial for them as well as it has been proven to promote coral growth.
As for live aquarium plants, the colors of blue and violet in lighting have been proven to be the most beneficial for them.
Do blue LED lights cause algae?
Yes, blue lighting can cause excessive algae and low kelvin lighting that’s peaking in the red area can cause algae in marine environments. This is usually caused because bulbs tend to degrade over time which causes the color temperature of the lights to change slightly.
You can fix this by first putting your aquarium in complete darkness for a day or two and by replacing your LEDs to prevent this from happening in the future.
Is it dangerous to leave my LED lights on overnight?
LED lights tend not to get hot like its competitors such as metal halide lights or fluorescent lights. That being said, it’s still a good idea to turn them off at night so the transformer has time to cool down so you can still avoid any potential risk of overheating.
Furthermore, constant lighting on your aquarium is not beneficial for the aquatic life inside it either. Your fish definitely need some downtime so they can rest and develop a natural circadian rhythm.
How much light does a freshwater aquarium need?
Light intensity in aquariums is usually measured in watts per gallon. Generally, most freshwater aquariums require about 3 – 5 watts per gallon of light for 8 hours every day.
How much light does a coral reef aquarium need?
Coral reef aquariums generally require a higher amount of light than a freshwater aquarium. In most cases, you will need somewhere between 4 – 8 watts per gallon of light for 12 hours every day in order to successfully run a coral reef aquarium.
Your fish, plants and corals are all beautiful creatures that have brilliant, bright colors and patterns to display; It’s only fair that you invest in a decent lighting setup so their beautiful appearance can be displayed properly.
After testing tons of lights under several different conditions, we’ve come to the conclusion that the NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light is definitely the best one out there. It does not confuse the user with unnecessary gimmicks and gives them exactly what they need in the form of an effective, stylish lighting setup.
This brings us to the end of our post for LED aquarium lights reviews.
Give us feedback and let us know what lights you’re using to illuminate your aquariums.