If it’s the first time you’ll be shopping for the best aquarium lights, chances are, you’re already overwhelmed. It’s not unusual to be confused given the wide range of choices available out there. On the other hand, if you’ve owned an aquarium for a while, you must have an idea of what you need. Still, you’ll find this a great place to start.
Best Aquarium Lights Review: Key Features, Pros, And Cons
Below is a table that lists down 10 of the best aquarium lights. It summarizes the basic features you need to know about. Make sure to scroll down further to read about product details. See the buying guide to learn more about what to look for when shopping for the best aquarium lights.
1. Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light
- Bright light that can support low to medium plant growth
- Adjustable brackets
- 3 Lighting Modes to simulate natural fish environment
- 5-level adjustable brightness
- Lifespan of 20,000 hours
The Best Overall pick in this list tastefully combines utility, aesthetic, and durability. First, adjustable brackets are available in plastic and aluminum alloy metal. Both are designed to last and fit fish tanks anywhere between 12 and 52 inches in length. Secondly, this product allows you to stay in control without having to check on your aquarium all the time. Thirdly, this unit comes with a timer and a remote control. Finally, it offers three light modes: white LEDs, blue+white+red LEDs, and Red+blue LEDs. In summary, this product is suitable for a wider range of artificial water environments.
- This model is made with aluminum alloy metal which is longer lasting compared to fish tank lights made using stainless steel.
- This product has a built-in timer that automatically adjusts lighting at specific times of the day.
- It comes with two pairs of brackets, that is, one plastic and another made of metal.
- Adjustable brightness and timer help better recreate natural lighting conditions for your aquarium.
- This product is not designed to be submerged in water.
- Continuously keeping the light on will make the unit temperature warm but not hot.
2. VIPARSPECTRA Dimmable 165W 300W LED Aquarium Light
- Full-color spectrum which shifts between blue and white channels
- Adjustable brightness intensity levels
- Built-in timer for scheduled display
- Suited for freshwater and marine micro-ecosystems
- Manual and remote control-assisted settings
This model is among the best of the best aquarium lights. This product is designed to support coral reef fishes and plants. It provides the energy they require to survive under a controlled environment setup. Among its most desirable features is the constant amount and coverage of PAR (Photosynthetically Active Radiation) output. As a result, it can better support the energy production of primary producers, including corals, inside your aquarium.
In addition, it also boasts of an estimated lifespan reaching up to 100,000 hours of operation. Unit purchase includes 1 timer (165W), 1 wireless remote, 1 US power cord (6ft), and 2 hanging kits.
- This model allows you to choose the most ideal lighting mode for your aquarium.
- It comes with a remote control for your added convenience.
- The unit is designed with a 90-degree optic lens which improves lighting efficiency while decreasing wasted lighting.
- This product provides separate controls for blue channels and white channels which improves light switch controls.
- Built-in timer permits automatic switch on or off separately for white and blue channels.
- This unit does not include a function where you can set light to different intensities throughout the day.
- Functionality is specially designed for fishes and corals but is not well suited for growing indoor plants.
- This product is not waterproof and should not be submerged inside the aquarium.
3. MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light
Read Customer Reviews Here >>>
- 3 lighting modes: white only, blue only, and white and blue
- Emits very bright light between 7000 and 7500K
- Waterproof and submersible
- Adjustable brightness intensity levels
- Timer provides 6/10/12H light timing duration throughout the day
This product comes with a 10-level brightness intensity adjustment. Coupled with the availability of three lighting modes, you have more options to adjust your fish tank light. Simultaneously, it is designed to allow you to choose to turn on blue, white, or both colors. Considering these desirable features and price, this product is crowned the Best Value in this review of 10 of the best aquarium lights.
Versatility of use as main light, accent light, or even as a hood light is also what makes this one of the best LED lights for aquarium.
- The submersible design of this product permits more efficient delivery of light,
- Waterproof material guarantees safety and promotes a longer product lifespan.
- Dimmable lights allow for adjustments in LED brightness.
- The inclusion of suction cups helps hide the unit for enhanced display by eliminating obstruction.
- It provides automatic lighting by permitting efficient switch on/off scheduling daily.
- This model may not be suitable for optimal use in larger tanks.
- Some users found the brightness too low and best suited for accent or complementary lighting but not enough as a stand-alone fish tank light.
4. Aquaneat Aquarium Light White and Blue LEDRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
- Adjustable brackets that fit between 18 and 23 inches
- 6500K white LEDs
- 6 pieces actinic blue light
- Unit comes with a splash guard
- Two modes of lighting
In case you require basic lighting for your aquarium, this model is among the best aquarium lights that are qualified for the job. The inexpensive price tag comes with a high intensity bright white lighting effect.
However, the cheap price also comes with downsides. Perhaps, the most notable is the lack of capability to switch between white lights and blue lights separately. While this unit may be good enough as a freshwater fish tank light, it may be sufficiently lacking in functionality where saltwater aquariums are involved.
- This product emits cool, bright light.
- It has been specifically designed for use in freshwater aquariums
- The LEDs included warm-up but do not get alarmingly hot.
- The slim design makes it practically invisible inside the tank.
- Plug and play feature makes this product easy to install.
- This product is not waterproof and not to be submerged in the tank.
- The switch turns hot when switched on continuously.
- There is no way to select white ones only or blue ones only if that is the effect that you want to achieve.
5. Koval Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood
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- 129 LED lights: 110 white, 2 green, 4 pink, 4 red
- 3 Modes of lighting: all LEDs on / Blue LED on / Close
- Extendable brackets
- Lifespan of up to 50,000 hours of use
- Low-energy dissipation prevents overheating
Aquarium LED lighting made sensible This is the top reason why this product makes it on this list of 10 very best aquarium lights. Full-spectrum LED provides a wide range of lighting that matches a broader range of aquatic environments.
Bright lights provide good display lighting. Moreover, it also supports planted aquarium requirements. However, brightness may not complement the needs of other plant and animal species.
- The LEDs are designed so that if one becomes damaged, the others will remain usable.
- It provides sufficient illumination.
- The lighting intensity supports plant production in a closed fish tank environment.
- Broad-spectrum lighting permits better simulation of natural aquatic habitats.
- This product is encased in aluminum alloy metal which provides optimal protection for the unit.
- The timer is limited to the duration and does not permit scheduling of switch on/switch off times.
- LED lights are not dimmable so that the bright light may not be suitable for some aquatic life forms that require lower light intensity.
- Some users have reported algae outbreaks as a result of the bright light it emits.
6. Beamworks DA 6500K 0.50W Series LEDRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
- 52 pieces of 6500K LED lights
- Includes 8 actinic lights
- 3 Modes of lighting: Dim / Off / Bright
- LED produces bright 3,100 lumens
- Timer ready
If you’re the type of buyer who does not want a load of hullaballoos to come with your purchase, you better check this out. The best aquarium lights that complement your personal preference are straightforward and rid of fancy features, like this model. But, if that doesn’t bother you then this unit wouldn’t seem less desirable for lacking this feature. Although in case you have an existing external timer, you may use it with this unit if you wish to
While this product provides very bright lighting and is best suited for basic fish tank light requirements, some fish and plant species may not prefer a high level of lighting. Unfortunately, this model does not include a dimmable feature. That will allow you to make adjustments to light intensity.
- Actinic lighting enhances light penetration in deeper and darker layers of the tank.
- It has a timer ready feature that permits the installation of a compatible timer.
- Blue light may be selected for nighttime viewing or overnight lighting.
- It provides bright display lighting to showcase the aquatic life in your aquarium.
- Despite LED light generally being less capable of lighting all the way to the bottom, this product can.
- It does not include a built-in timer.
- Bright light left on for too long may cause an outbreak of bacteria and algae.
- Some users have raised concerns over flickering on the first instance which many of them say becomes stable after a while.
- It is not well-suited for coral reef tanks.
7. MingDak LED Aquarium LightRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
- Up to 20% brighter illumination delivered
- IP68 waterproof product material
- Submersible light
- Bright light supports energy production of primary producers
- Slim light hides the unit in the tank
This model, another submersible fish tank light from MingDak, is made up of white LEDs. It is a great way to add a main lighting system to your aquarium in case you require more lighting. Also, it helps light better penetrate the full depth of your tank.
However, it may be too bright for some species of aquatic life forms. One downside is that the light intensity is not dimmable. Another disadvantage is that there is no built-in timer. But, if you prefer to have a timer, it may be connected to a separate unit. Overall, this is among the best aquarium lights with bright light that you can place inside the tank.
- The product runs on low voltage which guarantees safety.
- Mounting suction cups are provided which facilitates ease of installation.
- It can deliver better lighting in the deeper layers of the tank.
- Cool white lighting provides a vivid display of the beautiful colors of aquatic life in your fish tank.
- LED lights do not significantly heat up surrounding water.
- This product may not be suitable for aquariums that hold non-tropical species of fishes and plants.
- The unit does not come with a dimmable function.
8. NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light
Read Customer Reviews Here >>>
- Full spectrum LED with white, blue, red, and green hues
- Emits 6,500K light energy
- Materials made with aluminum alloy shell which improves product life
- Adjustable mounting brackets
- Two lighting modes
Definitely one of the best LED lights for aquariums, this product combines four LED lighting hues. As a result, it more closely resembles sunlight. This way, primary producers are able to create energy more efficiently for this closed ecosystem. In addition, aquatic plants also become more productive and provide more food.
- The full spectrum LED design can better resemble natural environments.
- The availability of bright lighting better supports plant life.
- A wide range of lighting capability makes it well-suited for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
- It facilitates a vivid display of the aquatic life inside your aquarium.
- It provides good fish tank light intensity at a fraction of the cost of its competitors.
- Keeping this fish tank light on for too long may easily cause overgrowths of algae and bacteria.
- It does not include built-in dimmer and timer functions.
- There is no option to switch on blue only or white only.
9. COODIA Color Changing Dimmable RGBW LED LightRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
- Multiple lighting and color modes
- Extendable brackets
- Lifespan of up to 10,000 hours
- Dimmable LED lights
- Comes with remote control
While this unit provides basic lighting functionalities, added fancy lighting settings add a jazzy display to your aquarium. Adjustable light brightness helps you choose the setting appropriate for your fish tank.
- The broad spectrum lighting supports a wider range of aquatic plants.
- This product is suitable for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.
- It is easy to install.
- Made of aluminum, this unit dissipates heat more effectively to avoid heating surrounding water.
- Brightness can be adjusted using the remote control.
- This product does not come with a built-in timer.
- Color may only be changed manually.
10. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED LightRead Customer Reviews Here >>>
- Daily light programming settings
- Low voltage and energy-efficient
- Noise-free operation
- Slim design makes the unit practically invisible inside
- Built-in natural sunlight simulation
The best aquarium lights allow you to simulate natural sunlight at different times of the day. Settings let you simulate sunrise, full daylight, sunset, and moonlight. This model increases the ease of management of your fish tank lighting with this built-in feature.
- This product supports a wider range of aquatic plants and fishes.
- It delivers sufficient lighting all the way to the bottom of the tank.
- Natural light simulation provides ease of managing tank lighting.
- It can store your preferred settings on preset.
- The product is designed with a higher than usual ratio of actinic blue light.
- Optimal functionality may only be experienced when installed as part of the brand’s LOOP system.
- Relatively expensive compared to other competitors with similar features.
- Some users with saltwater aquariums find that LED light provides inadequate lighting to keep plants healthy.
How To Find The Best Aquarium Lights: Buying Guide
Shopping for the best aquarium lights cannot get any easier. Unless you deliberately seek the information you need to pick out exactly what suits your requirements, the risk of spending too much or spending for the wrong product is likely. If you’re not new to aquariums then, good for you.
If this is your first attempt to set up a conducive space for your aquatic plants and aquarium fishes to grow and live under good conditions, worry not because help is here. You will need patience to work your way up from asking, “Why do you need a fish tank light?” to “What makes the best LED lights for aquarium better?”
Purpose Of Buying Fish Tank Light
Of course, the top criterion is knowing exactly what you need an aquarium light for. Before you actually go on a shopping expedition to find the best aquarium lights, you need to be clear about what kind of fish tank light you’re looking for.
Aesthetics and display purposes are obvious reasons. Apart from making your aquarium attractive, you should seriously consider that light intensity affects the aquatic animals and plants inside. Lighting is the primary source of energy for this enclosed, man-made environment. In which case, light intensity should be a top consideration when you are shopping for the best aquarium lights.
Pay attention to the specific needs of the living things inside. Aquariums composed of tropical marine species of plants and fishes generally require higher intensity lighting over longer periods of time. Some experts argue that getting even the best LED lights for aquarium may not be able to provide a high level of energy required in this type of artificial environment. On the contrary, LED lights may be the best aquarium lights for freshwater aquariums since it does not cause surrounding water to become warm.
In general, you want your aquarium lighting to be able to simulate the lighting conditions in the natural environment where your aquatic plants and aquatic animals can be found.
Perhaps the most practical criteria you need to keep your eye on when shopping for the best aquarium lights is tank size. Check your aquarium dimensions before shopping for an aquarium lighting unit.
A necessary consideration when shopping for a high-performance fish tank light is aquarium depth. This factor becomes more important if you have a large fish tank. In which case, make sure to check out models of the best LED lights for aquarium that are actinic at the same time.
Actinic lights are capable of penetrating the water more effectively. That’s because actinic lights can reach the deeper parts of your aquarium. Actinic LED lighting is suited for large tanks with species of plants and animals that do not require high-intensity lighting. On the other hand, Actinic White or Blue Lighting is more appropriate for marine and reef aquariums.
Waterproofing Or Water Resistance
Make sure that you are only paying for the best LED lights for the aquarium you own. Additionally, you should think about how you will be using your unit. Take note that most of the aquarium lighting available in the market are water-resistant. What you need is a unit that is waterproof.
In case you are planning to submerge your lighting inside the tank, there are waterproof lighting units made for this specific purpose. So, make sure to buy exactly what you need it for. If you are unsure, ask your supplier for his best recommendation.
Light Management Options
Aquarium lighting does not come all packaged with just the basic requirements to keep your fish alive and well. There is a robust market out there and competition is tough.
Expect your choices to range anywhere from below basic to fancy when you shop for the best aquarium lights. If you haven’t been on the market to buy fish tank light for a while, you might be in for a surprise. For instance, you’ll find that there are units that are WiFi-enabled. There are also products that you can program to adjust lighting conditions depending on the time of the day and season.
What kind of light management options do you really need? Go back to your purpose, the needs of plants and fishes in your tank, and add your own wants. More specifically, ask yourself how you want your tank to look like. Taking these factors into consideration, you can’t possibly go wrong when shopping for aquarium lights.
It can be all too easy to lose track of your spending when shopping for the best aquarium lights. This is one of the top reasons why you should do your research well before buying a fish tank light.
Do your research to know the range of budget you need to get a decent aquarium lighting. Additionally, find a product that gives you the functionalities that you require. Or, go a little overboard but only if you have spare cash to spend. So, don’t forget to set a budget.
Remember, you don’t need the most expensive model of the best LED lights for aquarium out there. For as long as a cheaper alternative can provide you with the utility you require you should be okay with that. In any case, buying the more inexpensive option does not necessarily mean sacrificing your aquarium’s appearance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What Are Fish Tank Lights For?
A: A fish tank light may serve a primarily aesthetic purpose for you. However, for the living things inside, it can mean their survival. Moreover, fish tank lights provide the primary sources of energy for your aquarium.
Q: Can You Use Any Fish Tank Light For Either Freshwater Or Salt Water Aquarium?
A: There are many different types of species and natural environments in this artificial ecosystem. You should pick out the lighting option that best simulates the natural environment that your aquarium is patterned after.
Some fish tanks will benefit from the best aquarium LED lights. However, others require the best aquarium lights that emit the highest load of energy. For instance, aquariums that hold tropical marine wildlife will generally require bright light. On the other hand, species from temperate zones will thrive better in dimmer environments.
Fish tank lights are necessary for photosynthesis to take place. This is one area of major concern for aquarium LED lighting. LED, at least for now, is unable to support the greater photosynthetic requirements of larger aquariums.
Q: How Bright Should Aquarium Lights Be?
A: To supply an aquarium with its energy requirements, light must be turned on for 10 to 12 hours daily. However, fish tank light for larger aquariums may have to be kept on for longer and at brighter intensities. That’s because larger tanks have a higher energy requirement. Your personal aesthetic preference will also be a consideration.
In any case, the best aquarium lights with timer will come in handy. It can help you make sure that your aquarium is getting sufficient lighting for half of the day. Additionally, dimmer lighting may be maintained for the rest of the time.
Q: Do Different Colors Of Fish Tank Light Have Functions?
A: Yes. This is why makers of the best aquarium lights often include a full-spectrum light color. Other than providing more lighting options, such units also offer better functionality.
White light replicates the day time environment. Blue light, on the other hand, simulates the moonlight. This color lighting is useful if you are caring for nocturnal fish. Blue light also simulates the natural lighting found in deeper parts of the ocean.
Q: Should You Turn Off Aquarium Lights At Night?
A: No. You can leave your fish tank lights on 24/7. In which case, however, you will need a unit that has a moonlight setting. Most of the best LED lights for aquariums have this setting available.
There is only one condition that you need to meet. That is, you should keep your aquarium lights on for at least 10 up to 12 hours every day. Keeping the white light on for too long encourages the overgrowth of algae and bacteria. So, better make sure to dim it or switch off beyond 12 hours.
Q: Do Fish Prefer Any Specific Light Color?
A: Yes. For this reason, it is not enough that you install just about any of the best LED lights for aquarium sold in the market. It is just as important to take note of the fish and plant species that you have inside your aquarium. Your fish tank light should be able to resemble the lighting conditions in the natural environment where your aquatic plants and fishes belong to.
Q: Are LED Lights The Best Aquarium Lights?
A: Not necessarily. Installing the best aquarium LED lights has its advantages. LED lights are energy-efficient, brighter, and have a longer lifespan. The best LED lights for aquariums will be suitable for freshwater aquariums that contain fish only. However, LED lights may not be suitable for planted aquariums. LED lights may not also be able to provide the energy requirements of marine or seawater aquariums. LED lights are unsuitable for larger tanks.
Contrary to what you might have first thought, scouring the market for the best fish tank light can be a tedious process. That goes most especially when you don’t know what you’re looking for. We just summed up 10 of the best LED lights for aquariums that are worthy of your time and attention to check out. Use what you learned here to find the best aquarium lights that suit your purpose and your budget.
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