The Best Aquarium LED Lighting (Review) in 2021

Published June 9, 2020

The aquarium is not only the home of your favorite aquatic pets; it can also be the centerpiece in your living room or even office. However, without the correct aquarium lighting, it simply won’t stand out. For people who look at it, it will be nothing more than a big tank of water with aquatic life forms inside. If you have an aquarium then you should always invest in the best aquarium LED lighting to really bring out the life in this adorable piece of pet containment-slash-home décor. And if you’re not sure where to start you’ve definitely landed on the right page.

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The Best Aquarium LED Lighting


These fish tank lights from NICREW offer the best value with its simple yet thoughtful design. It’s perfect for owners of home aquatic systems who really don’t want to spend more than a few tens of dollars just to give their fixtures the kind of deep sea underwater feel. With LED lights that are designed to provide just the right levels of illumination without complicated setups and controls, the NICREW is ideal even for absolute beginners in the world of fish tanks.

There are no remotes that you can misplace nor complex modes and settings to memorize. Just toggle the switch on the side and you already get daytime or nighttime lighting effects for both your fishes and the aquatic plant life that make your fish tank their home. It’s a no-nonsense contraption that is not only friendly to the pocket, it’s definitely friendly to the eyes, too.

2835 energy-saving, high-output SMD LEDs

2 lighting modes: daylight and nighttime

3-position toggle switch

11w 7000K LED light output

Fully extendable mounting legs

  • Brand: NICREW
  • Model: N10372
  • Weight: 1.7 pounds


Face it, fish are a joy to watch, but having the best visuals of what shenanigans your aquatic companion is up to is all dependent on the lighting in his tank. A more than efficient option can be found in the Prime HD+AI Aquarium LED. Not only does it provide a vivid color spectrum, but each channel is not dependent on a fixed amount of power. This well thought out LED light systematically adjusts the power available to each individual light. It even goes as far as to borrow power from inactive lights to power the working ones.

The built-in Wi-Fi control is some of the most advanced LED technology out there – with a smartphone or a laptop, a connection can be established to control these LED. Also, with its 80-degree lenses, it offers up the most suitable balance of power and spread. Though it uses some pretty top-notch technology, it remains one of the most energy efficient options on the market. It only draws about 55 Watts from the wall, what more could anyone ask for?

Available power is adjustable between lights

Has more than 90% optical efficiency

It makes use of the latest LED technology

Utilities a maximum of 55 Watts from the wall

It is fitted with a standard 80-degree lens

Has a built-in Wi-Fi control

  • Brand: Prime HD+
  • Model: HYDPRHDB-US
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds


BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light
BeamsWork DA FSPEC Aquarium LED Lighting

Fish are not very active creatures and though they are the ultimate low maintenance pet, a little excitement here and there never hurt anyone. With the BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light, any given fish tank will be transformed into an exciting space. Its sleek and modern exterior is not all that this new and improved version has to offer up, there are a plethora of cool features. Say goodbye to the usual single tube fluorescent light and hello to a light source that is not only energy efficient but also top shelf material.

A major perk here is that this LED is fitted with long lasting bulbs, as such, there is little to no need to ever replace the bulbs. Also, during the day it operates at full power while at night the moonlight mode is activated. For added convenience, this set up is pre-wired for use with an optional timer module which is available for purchase separately.

Suitable for use in freshwater tanks

No bulb replacement is needed

Makes use of two modes of operation for day and night respectively

The set up is energy efficient

It is timer ready

Comes in a sleek and modern design

  • Brand: BeamsWork
  • Weight: 29 pounds


It may only have 26 LED lights, but you can always rely on the Hydra HD Led fish tank lights to give you a remarkably realistic environment for your aquatic pets. The best part of the Hydra HD is that its controls are made ridiculously easy to manage from your mobile device, be it on Android or iOS. And if you don’t have any of these platforms, you can always manage the various settings of the Hydra HD on any internet-connected device. That being said you can make changes in your aquarium lamp setup even if you’re halfway across the globe. This effectively eliminates the need for controllers that you may have the tendency to misplace. Sadly, with these technologies embedded in the Hydra HD, you can expect to pay a premium for it.

26 high-output, energy efficient LEDs

Dynamic power adjustment

App-based controls with wireless link to built-in controller

7 controllable colors

80-degree color-blending premium lens

  • Brand: AquaIllumination
  • Model: HYD26HDB-US
  • Weight: 2.09 pounds


What is better than an aquarium with lights? The answer is an aquarium with lights that mimic nature. Thanks to the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light your fish gets to experience the best parts of life out in the wild. First, it has a customizable hands free simulated sunrise and sunset feature. This is not just a series of flashing lights, it’s a whole experience. The added plus here is that users are able to save custom colors as well as different intensities into the sunrise and sunset time slots.

Secondly, this LED is fitted with a remote control which activates day elements like sunny and cloudy days as well as thunderstorms. Additionally, it comes fully equipped with 7000K daylight LED’s to allow any flora and fauna in the tank to thrive.

It has a total of four Customizable color channels

Comes with a sunrise and sunset effect that is truly customizable

Can stimulate plant growth with its multi-color blend

It has an in-built sensor

Comes with different weather modes

The LED lights are dimmable

  • Brand: Finnex
  • Model: KL-C30A
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds


The Kessil A360WE is a great choice especially if you want hassle-free control of the lighting conditions in your aquarium. Its intelligent Kessil Logic technology manages the spectrum requirements of your fish tank. The shimmer, ample coverage, and controllability that this aquarium LED lighting system provides are what motivate aquarium-owners to expand their system. Perhaps what really stands out is the way the Kessil brings out the best in the colors of every coral, fish, and other aquatic life forms in your tank. Get ready to spend a few hundred dollars, though as the state-of-the-art technology embedded in the Kessil is simply out of this world.

Kessil Logic spectral intelligence technology

Designed specifically for reef aquariums

Dense matrix LED technology

Dual knob for spectrum, color, and brightness controls

Fully tunable color spectrum

Expandability with external aquarium controllers

  • Brand: Kessil
  • Model: YH33801
  • Weight: 3.6 pounds


Sometimes, light is just light; however, on other occasions, light has the ability to make a whole ecosystem thrive. The Relassy APP Control LED Aquarium Light is so much more than your usual aquarium light; it provides a professional spectrum. With a selection of 338 high-quality Cree LEDs as well as a pure blue and white light, vitamin D3 is produced. What exactly does this do in an aquatic setting? Well, it helps the coral in the aquarium to take in calcium. It also does wonders for plant and algae growth.

Additionally, this LED is equipped with adjustable lighting intensities. So, whether you are going for the hues of a moonlit waterfront or standard daylight conditions, it’s not impossible. The fact that it does all this and more while running quietly is the proverbial cherry on the top. Since there is no fan present, there’s nothing present to cause a ruckus. In lieu of this, there is an advanced aviation aluminum back panel as well as a little heat sink for dispersion.

It does not have a fan so it is noiseless

Comes with adjustable lighting intensity

Fitted with a timer

It has an isolated energy design

Three channels of adjustable brightness

Its full spectrum mimics natural light

  • Brand: Relassy
  • Weight: 2.3 pounds


Lighting can make all the difference in the world, with the right distribution it could totally transform any given space. The MOONBROOK Submersible Led Lights is both convenient and efficient. It comes fitted with a 24 key infrared remote which works perfectly when it’s within 10m of the LED itself.

An added plus is the fact that it is waterproof and completely submersible. Based on that, the range of ways this LED could be used is practically limitless Whether it is in an aquarium or a fountain, you can rest assured that it’s the water accessory to go for. The visual reward alone is appealing, throw in the fact that it is safe proofed against overheating and you have a near perfect product.

Comes with a handy infrared remote control

Powered by 3 accessible AAA batteries

Equipped with a total of 4 dynamic color change modes

Brightness and intensity is adjustable

It is completely waterproof

Not solely for use in an aquarium

  • Brand: MOONBROOK
  • Weight: 13.6 ounces


HIPARGERO LED Aquarium Light
HIPARGERO Aquarium LED Lighting

The best aquarium LED lighting should not create a gaping hole in your pocket. It should, at the very least, strike a good combination of affordability, form, and functionality to turn your fish tank into an elegant centerpiece. That’s what the HIPARGERO is. It is specially designed for saltwater aquarium lighting, allowing your corals to stand out while your colorful fishes dance in the foreground. Powerful but energy-efficient CREE LEDs provide the illumination that you’ll need for your tank while its acrylic lens guarantees better uniformity of colors. Do take note that it’s primarily intended for nano tanks since it is only about 11 inches long and 4.7 inches wide.

High-power, energy-efficient 3-watt CREE LEDs

90-degree acrylic lens in 3-in-1 configuration

2 dimmable LED channels

Fully adjustable mounting bracket

Intelligent, noiseless fan cooling mechanism

Touch control system

30-day money-back guarantee

365-day LED warranty

  • Brand: HIPARGERO
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds


New technologies are being developed every day, but there is no doubt that LED’s are revolutionizing the world of Aquarium lighting. Well, at least some of them are; you can bank on the fact that the MarineLand LED Aquarium Light Bar is highly innovative.

With features such as its durable 60 megawatts bulb, users will never have to replace a bulb ever again.

This device has numerous modes, precisely it has 3. Once switched on, it gives off a light that mimics the effect of sunlight underwater. Then there’s the blue light, closely followed by the night light. To top it all off, this is an environmentally friendly option owing to the fact that there is no mercury present in these LED.

The LED light comes with a glass canopy

Fitted with long-lasting light bulbs

It is highly energy efficient

There is no mercury present in the LED

Comes with three different positions/modes

Mimics natural light

  • Brand: MarineLand
  • Model: 32996
  • Weight: 12 ounces


The Reef Edge can easily turn your aquarium into a mini oceanarium, complete with sunrise and sunset effects that gradually brings light into the lives of your aquatic friends while also allowing them better prepare for a good night’s sleep. And if you have aquatic friends that do love to venture outside even at night, the moonlight effects of the Reef Edge will surely be enough to give them the light without disturbing the rest. Available in 3 sizes, the Reef Edge LED fish tank system provides a good alternative to other, more expensive fixtures.

6-color LEDs and white LEDs

3-channel timer with backup battery

Built-in moonlight and sunrise and sunset modes

Extendable arms and adjustable frame mounts

Digital controls and user interface

  • Brand: Aquatic Life
  • Model: 420386
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds


It’s simple enough that newbie aquarium-owners won’t have any issues setting it up. Even the controls are made simple enough that kids can easily change the settings they want on your Barrina-illuminated aquarium. With four lighting modes and 16 different colors, the Barrina aquarium lamp makes for an easy way to create an eye-popping ecosystem for your aquatic friends. It’s as simple as plug-and-play. Best of all, the Barrina LED aquarium lighting system can be used on both saltwater and freshwater aquarium setups.

32-watt 16-color RGB LEDs

24-key remote with dimmer, mode and color selection

Multiple lighting modes and colors

Extendable mounting brackets

12-month satisfaction guarantee

  • Brand: Barrina
  • Model: BLNAL4FTRGB
  • Weight: 4.19 pounds


Current USA LED Light for Aquarium
current usa led light for aquarium

A slightly less expensive rendition of Current USA’s Orbit Marine, the Satellite aquarium LED system is designed specifically for freshwater fish tank setups. And while you may not necessarily put corals in your fish tank, the Satellite still manages to give you a more realistic freshwater environment for your finned friends. The environmental lighting effects are superb. You can go for an overcast mood or one with a stormy setting. The dusk mode is especially romantic, although the lunar modes can truly make for a spectacular nightcap. It’s easy to setup, program, and maintain. There’s really nothing more you could ask for except perhaps for an even friendlier price.

6500K white LEDs with full-spectrum RGB LEDs

Dimmable and programmable with choice of colors and environment effects

IP65 water-resistant casing

Super-safe, low-voltage LEDs requiring 12v DC

32-key customizable remote

Fully-adjustable mounting brackets

30-day money-back guarantee

  • Brand: Current USA
  • Model: 4008
  • Weight: 3.86 pounds


An aquarium could be a prison, it could be a display piece or it could be an entire habitat. The lights they use largely determine which option it is. With the Fluval Aquasky LED Strip Light, you can rest assured that you are getting a home.

It provides an infinite number of color blends, tapping from a light output of red, green, blue and white LED’s. Additionally, it mimics natural light through its 24-hour light cycle setting and can also be used in both fresh and saltwater settings. The fact that it is energy efficient is another hard plus, the lights have the ability to last up to 50,000 hours normally. Users should note that it is solely operated via the use of the FluvalSmart mobile App.

It has an adjustable color spectrum

Equipped with a 24 hour light cycle setting

It can mimic multiple weather effects

Gives off uniform lighting

Solely operated via the FluvalSmart mobile app

Longlasting light source

  • Brand: Fluval
  • Model: XA14532
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds


All in all, the right kind of light goes a long way in determining the overall health of aquatic flora and fauna. It also helps that a well-lit aquarium is a sight for sore eyes. Nevertheless, only a device like the NICREW SkyLED Aquarium Light can deliver on both these fronts. The overall design is a testament to its overall efficiency, it comes in a lightweight yet sturdy aluminum alloy shell. It is also available in four different sizes in order to meet the needs of different tanks.

The attached extendable brackets put this device in a league of its own, thanks to that it can be used with an even wider range of tank sizes. Though this is not designed for submersion, it makes up for it on a number of fronts. For instance, it has an unmatchable color spectrum; whether it is in day or night mode, the light helps the aquatic beings within to thrive. The fact that it highlights the beautiful colors of the flora and fauna is an added plus.

It has a total of two lighting modes

Great for low to medium light level plants

Comes with adjustable aluminum brackets

It is not designed to be waterproof

Fitted with an improved in-line switch

Fully equipped with independent white and RGB LED control

  • Brand: NICREW
  • Model: N9221A
  • Weight: 1 pounds

Best Aquarium LED Lighting Buying Guide

Aquarium lights are not just for the looks, there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Based on this, finding the right fit is not a straightforward process. To help streamline the search for the best aquarium LED lighting, here are some useful pointers.

How to Choose Led Lights for Aquarium

  • Consider the Size

Everything pivots on the size of the aquarium in question. If the light intensity is on the minimal side, it may not be evenly distributed. On the other hand, more light could mean too much exposure to light. There is no scenario where either of these things ends well for the aquatic life within the aquarium. Thankfully, most LED manufacturers put out ratings for their products. This helps to properly determine the capacity they can be used altogether. Study this closely and choose wisely for the general wellbeing of your given aquatic pets.

  • The Inhabitants of the Aquarium

The flora and fauna present in the tank equally go a long way in determining what type of LED light will be most suitable. This is because there are so many species and most of them require different needs in the lighting department. Since lighting does affect the flora a tad bit more, the stage of their growth is a strong determinant. In the case that you have young coral present then it is obvious that they will need a whole lot of light. Just to be in the right, take a look at the recommendations left by manufacturers concerning lighting. Most of them include information about the suitability of their lights for the different phases/types of aquatic flora and fauna.

  • The durability of the lights

One of the greatest perks of LED lighting is that it lasts a whole lot longer than a standard bulb. Nevertheless, how long they last vary from one make to another. Thankfully, this information is offered up front, because some of them have a lot better lifespans than the rest. Some still make use of batteries, some have a specified number of hours assigned to them while others hardly ever run out. The best way to get ahead of the game is to compare and contrast between different brands and makes.

  • Controls

This is very important because the whole operation of the LED light depends on how it’s controlled. The controls greatly influence the capacity to which you will be able to use the lights. Most contemporary options make use of remote controls. This makes it a whole lot easier to fiddle with it without having to move around too often. There’s also a few that can be controlled over a Wi-Fi connection or even by using a mobile app. Picking one that makes life easier for you is the endgame here, so take into consideration how complicated each of these is.

fish tank light

Benefits of LED Aquarium Lighting

Aquarium LED lighting systems can provide a host of benefits. Here are some of them.

  • Consumes less energy

Unlike conventional fish tank illumination mechanisms, LED technology requires only minimal energy to produce the same level of illumination. An 8.5-watt LED bulb is actually the equivalent of a 60-watt incandescent bulb or 14 watts on a CFL bulb. This can easily translate into better energy savings while giving your aquarium the kind of lighting that its inhabitants deserve and giving your room the aesthetics that it needs.

  • Mimics natural lighting conditions in the real world

The good thing about LED lighting systems is that you can have differently-colored bulbs in the same housing. Using an integrated control mechanism, these fixtures can mix different colored bulbs to create a more realistic underwater environment. For instance, instead of turning the aquarium into pitch black at night the fixture can mimic the light of the moon shining through the surface of the water, providing a deep blue environment for aquatic life forms.

  • Better control of lighting conditions

While natural lighting effects can provide your fishes and aquatic plants the natural ecosystem that they thrive in, sometimes you’d want to experiment with the effects. LED lighting systems in aquariums give you the opportunity to make customizations in the lighting conditions for your aquatic friends.

  • Lower heat output

Managing the temperature of your water can be very challenging especially for newbies. Because LEDs have lower heat outputs, making sure your fish tank’s water is at its right temperature is relatively easy.

Best Aquarium LED Lighting FAQ:

Q:  How does LED aquarium lighting work?

A:  LED fish tank lights work like any other lighting system for the aquarium. You have a lighting fixture in the form of light emitting diodes that are arranged in a certain configuration so that their luminance is optimized. These LED lights are connected to a microchip that controls a variety of the LEDs’ properties such as brightness levels, color spectrum, and the like. The same microchip also runs a variety of algorithms to help determine the right mixture of LEDs, luminance levels, and color spectrum to bring out the much-desired scene in the aquarium. The idea of using aquarium LED systems is to mimic the natural light conditions upon which the fish- and plant- residents of the aquarium can grow to their fullest. It’s like recreating their natural environment using artificial light sources.

Q:  Are LED lights good for growing aquarium plants?

A:  Horticulturists have slowly moved away from the use of fluorescent lamps and high-intensity discharge lamps in facilitating the growth of plants in favor of using LEDs. Studies show that LEDs provide the highest efficiency ratings when it comes to photosynthetically active radiation or PAR. This is what scientists use to measure the amount of light that is readily available for photosynthesis. Scientific literature shows that LEDs can actually provide 80 to 100 percent PAR, whereas HIDs can only produce about 40% tops. What this literally means is that LED systems provide a much better light environment upon which plants can grow. That being said, aquarium LED lights are also great for growing aquatic plants in your fish tank.

Q:  How does the color of light affect the growth of plants?

A:  Elementary botany teaches us that plants are very efficient food factories. Like all factories, they require an energy source. Plants use light to manufacture food in a process called photosynthesis. And here’s the thing. The color of light has been shown to exert an effect on the amount of energy that plant species can absorb. And since light is energy, the color of light that produces the highest amount of energy will be more beneficial for plants.

The color spectrum typically comes in different wavelengths with each one corresponding to different energy levels. Shorter wavelengths like purple and violet have higher energy while colors with longer wavelengths like red have lower energy. Green, which is somewhere in the middle of the color spectrum doesn’t really have any effect on plants since it is essentially the same with the pigment produced by plants themselves, chlorophyll.

Not only does the color of light have an effect on the growth of plants, it also plays a role in which part of the plant will grow more efficiently. For example, blue light is generally used for encouraging growth and development of leaves while the combination of red and blue will help stimulate plants to bloom or to produce flowers.

Because different colors of light can bring about a variety of effects on plants, horticulturists now use a variety of LED light technologies to bring about the best possible results for their plants.

Q:  When should I turn off the aquarium light?

A:  This is like asking if fishes sleep. Of course, fishes do sleep even though their eyes are wide open. The thing is that all living organisms need to rest for several hours in a day to help recharge their bodies. The question as to when you should turn off your aquarium lights is actually dependent on the type of fish that you have in your tank. Some aquatic species require light to retain their remarkable colors. There are also some species of fish that are known to become lethargic or will stop eating without light. So it is best to check the light requirements of the fishes in your tank.

Generally, however, aquatic life forms require 12 hours of light every day. As such, you can use this guideline to determine when you should turn off your aquarium lights. Or better yet, use an aquarium lamp with the built-in timer so that it automatically shuts off. The important thing to understand is you cannot leave the aquarium light on 24 hours straight as this can invite excessive growth of algae.

Q:  How and where to place aquarium LED lights?

A:  Most owners of planted aquarium lighting systems place their aquarium LED lights flat above the aquarium. This can result in the spotlight as well as the presence of dark spots. Unfortunately, there is no single positioning or orientation of aquarium lighting systems that work best across a multitude of scenarios.

If you want to reduce spotlighting, mounting the lights higher above the waterline helps while at the same time allowing for greater access to the tank for maintenance purposes. Alternatively, you can mount the lights high up from the tank and at an angle to help minimize the amount of light that reaches the glass.

You can also position the LED lights lengthwise or perpendicular to the tank. It is best to create a plan first so that you will have a better idea of the kind of illumination that your lighting fixtures will provide. As much as possible space them closer so that their light overlaps, eliminating dark spots.

Q:  How do I dim LED aquarium lights?

A:  Most LED fish tank systems today already come with dimmers built into them. If you want to dim your aquarium LED lights you simply turn a knob or slide a switch to get the desired level of brightness in your fish tank. There are also those that can be controlled by a dedicated app on your smartphone. For those systems without built-in dimmers, there’s still hope. External dimmers can be bought and connected to your LED system so you get the dimming effect you’re looking for. But, there’s a catch. You have to call your aquarium lighting manufacturer and ask if an external dimmer can be connected to the system. Most do, but there are a few that won’t.

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Q:  How do I program LED aquarium light?

A:  Advanced aquarium LED systems have built-in programmable features that can provide your fish tank and the various life forms inside it the kind of environment that they need. Some actually come with pre-programmed effects such that you only need to select the ‘environmental lighting’ that you want for your tank. More advanced systems come with graphics controllers complete with sliders for each of the LEDs in the system. This is definitely for those who have in-depth knowledge of the kind of lighting conditions their fish and coral species truly need.

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Our Top Pick

It may not have very complicated programming or different lighting modes to brag about, but the NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light won our hearts basically for its unpretentious design, very simple setup, powerfully-efficient LED system and a price that is the friendliest of the lot. It provides just the right levels of illumination to watch your aquatic plants to grow while letting your fishes stand out in the foreground. For its modest design yet superlative functionality in illuminating the various life forms in one’s aquarium plus a definite price advantage, it is no wonder that the NICREW has earned the respect and admiration of even avid aquarium owners.

Choosing the right lighting fixture for your aquarium should not really give you a headache. LED lighting systems provide exceptional control of light settings, ease of setup, the realism of simulated aquatic environments, and their ability to promote the growth of aquatic plants. They are simply the best when it comes to lighting your fish tank.

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