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The Best Aquarium LED Lighting (Review) in 2021

Last Updated June 4, 2021

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.

Related Post: Best Aquarium

The Best Aquarium LED Lighting

1

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

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

2

hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

With a low voltage but high level of power, this aquarium LED uses an aluminum alloy shell to protect itself against general wear and tear. The adjustable brightness is perfect for making the most out of your tank, whether that’s to look good or keep your tank residents happy.

3 light color modes allow you to mix and match with reds, blues and whites to create the best color for your tank’s needs. The high quality LED’s last for up to 20,000 hours, while remaining energy efficient through the entire lifespan.

DC12V/14W

Suitable for fish tanks 18 inch to 24 inch in width

Input: AC100-240V/60HZ

3 Light Color Modes

Adjustable brightness

3 light modes

Specification:
  • Brand: Hygger
  • Weight: 1.44 Pounds

3

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

Specification:
  • Brand: BeamsWork
  • Weight: 29 pounds

4

COVOART LED Aquarium Light

Thin and lightweight, this is another energy efficient option that works well for slimmer tanks. All while remaining powerful enough to provide your tank with the right level of brightness. Speaking of which, the adjustable brightness keeps you and your aquarium happy and healthy.

That’s not to mention the remote, which offers plenty of different colors to choose from. When combined with the changing brightness, means you’ll always feel in control of your tanks lighting system. The remote works up to 75ft away, so it can be altered from almost anywhere in the house.

Low voltage of 12V

75ft barrier-free sensing distance remote

Remembers last-saved settings

Adjustable brightness

Ultra-bright SMD 5050 LEDs

Specification:
  • Brand: Covoart
  • Model: AERLING-34691154
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces

5

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

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

6

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

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

7

MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light

MingDak are great for offering high value LED aquarium lights, with a whole range of added features that help make caring for your aquarium all the easier. For starters, these lights have a built-in timer, so you can be sure to save on your energy efficiency. They’re also fully immersible, so you can place your lights wherever you need them most.

Three color settings keep your aquarium lights basic but easily maintained. These, combined with the adjustable brightness make sure that everything stays as energy efficient as possible, while giving a generous output, means buyers are sure to love the quality and price.

Built-in timer

Adjustable brightness

Fully submersible

Three color settings

12V output

Specification:
  • Brand: MingDak
  • Weight: 9.6 ounces

8

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

Specification:
  • Brand: MOONBROOK
  • Weight: 13.6 ounces

9

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

Specification:
  • Brand: HIPARGERO
  • Weight: 1.9 pounds

10

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.

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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

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

11

COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting

Perfect for sitting on top of most aquariums sizes, the extendable brackets help to keep your LED’s above the tank and adjusted to exactly where your tank will receive the best lighting. It requires a little more wattage than others on our list, but holds all of the basics you’ll need for your tank.

The aluminum housing will protect these LED’s from most wear and tear, while the multiple colors will keep the playful side to you entertained. There are also three lighting modes, between white and blue, to best suit the mood and needs of your aquarium.

Adjustable brightness

Extendable bracket

Multiple colors and modes

20V energy output

Aluminum housing

Specification:
  • Brand: Coodia
  • Model: EKO-3116
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds

12

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light

Another option from MingDak, this aquarium LED light is a little wider and provides natural light which is the most conducive to plant growth. With 700 lumens at it’s maximum, it can be adjusted to becoming extremely bright or just child enough to provide you with a laid-back look.

The extendable brackets allow you to place this option across multiple sizes, and so fits with most sized tanks. Adjustable time settings allow you to save energy when you need it the most, while the lower energy consumption can help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Dedicated white, blue and red diodes

700 lumens

Multiple light modes

Adjustable brightness

Built-in timer

Extendable brackets

Specification:
  • Brand: MingDak
  • Weight: 13.44 Ounces

13

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

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

14

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

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

15

Koval Aquarium Lighting

A simple but effective choice, this tank light uses extendable brackets to help match the width of any aquarium tank. An aluminum alloy casing helps to maintain your aquarium LED’s against general wear and tear, while the LED’s themselves hold an impressive longevity. Most namely, these LED’s can last up to 50,000 hours – which is more than most tanks will need.

Three light modes, offering reds, blues and whites, provides your tank with optimal daytime and nighttime running conditions. At the same time the brightness can be adjusted from 10% to 100%, with timers providing an auto-shutoff function from between 3 to 12 hours.

Extendable brackets

5 colors

50,000 hours of working time

Aluminum alloy shell

Specification:
  • Brand: Koval
  • Weight: 2.75 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.

Related Post: Aquarium Pumps

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.

Related Post: Best Aquarium Substrate

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.

Wendy Young
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.
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