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Best LED Aquarium Lights For Your DIY Ecosystem
Modified: February 7, 2023
An LED aquarium light is more than just decorative lighting. It keeps your plants and fishes healthy. Read on to know some of the best options today.
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Are you under a lot of stress lately? If you are, then having an aquarium at home can certainly help a lot. Studies show that staring at an aquarium aids in reducing stress levels due to the calming effect of nature. You’ll feel relaxed and less anxious looking at the fish swimming in the tank. If you decide to buy an aquarium, you shouldn’t only consider the types of fish or plants to breed. You must also take into account the right kind of aquarium lighting.
Importance of Aquarium Lighting
If you are new to all of this, you probably think any kind of light will do as long as you’re able to see the fishes and plants inside the aquarium. But aquarium lighting is more important than you think. Here’s why:
Make Aquariums Look Aesthetic
Aquariums are considered room decor too. As such, you’ll have to choose an aquarium tank that complements your current interior style. But more than that, you have to choose the right lighting to make the aquarium stand out. Lights can also help make the fishes and plants look more vivid.
Keep Plants and Fishes in Good Health
Just like most living things, plants and fishes need light to maintain good health. Plants use light to produce glucose and gain energy. Meanwhile, fishes require light to prevent them from getting sick and losing their color. However, this doesn’t mean you should leave the light on 24/7. Just like humans, your fish won’t get enough sleep with the light on because they respond to natural circadian rhythms.
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Why Choose LED Over Other Types of Aquarium Light?
When it comes to aquarium lighting, there are lots of options: standard fluorescent lights, compact fluorescent lights, metal halide lights, and LED lights.
Although standard fluorescent lights are the most common aquarium lighting because of their affordability and energy efficiency, they are too big. Alternatively, you can use a compact fluorescent light, but this can cause aquariums to overheat.
Metal halide lights are ideal for terrariums (or aquariums with plants) because they release high-intensity light that can help plants to produce more energy. However similar to fluorescent lights, metal halide lights also produce high heat, and can potentially cause an overheated tank.
Among all the aquarium lighting options, LED lights are the best. Aside from having a compact size, LEDs do produce very low heat. Usually, they last longer than other types of aquarium lights. Plus, they are energy-efficient! Hence, even though some LEDs are more expensive than fluorescent lights, they are still worth buying.
Pros and Cons of an LED Aquarium Light
Although an LED aquarium light has a lot of advantages, it also has its downsides. Here are some of the pros and cons of these aquarium lights:
- More color options
- Wide lighting coverage
- Versatile, dimmable aquarium lights
- Energy-efficient and they produce very low heat
- High upfront costs
- Tend to sell out fast
Best LED Aquarium Lights
There may be times when you’re too busy with work, and forget to turn off or dim down the aquarium light at night. Since this situation is common, you consider using an aquarium light with a built-in timer. The Aquarium Light from VIPARSPECTRA for example, ensures that you don’t have to manually keep track of time. It automatically turns on or off the aquarium lights, and has aluminum heat sinks! These features prevent the tank from overheating.
- Built-in timer
- Quiet, high-speed fans
- Full-spectrum aquarium light
- Ideal for a 24 inch x 24 inch aquarium tank
- Overall dimensions are 8.5 inches x 16 inches x 2.4 inches
- Package includes one 165W aquarium light, one wireless remote, one 6 ft. power cord, and two hanging kits
- Dimmable lights
- Imitates natural light
- Comes with a remote control
- No night light
It’s not enough to install an aquarium light. You have to use something that mimics the sunset and moonlight to replicate a natural environment for your plants and fishes. To achieve this lighting setup, use this LED Aquarium Light from MingDak. It is an aquarium background light that can either be mounted above the tank or submerged in the water. This is also a color-changing light, so it can be used to set the right lighting ambiance in the aquarium.
- Upgraded LED lights
- Ambient aquarium light
- 16 colors with 4 light modes
- Fits 13-inch to 22-inch aquariums
- Power cable length is 44 to 46 inches
- The package includes 11.5-inch aquarium light
- Adjustable brightness
- Remote-controlled LED light
- Different light colors and patterns
- Suction cups tend to fall off
Most likely, you are going to leave the aquarium light on for a long time, so you have to choose something that has low voltage. This is to prevent accidental fires and explosions in the house. Luckily, this Fully-Submersible RGB Aquarium Light NICREW uses low voltage. Just like the MingDak LED light, this one also has a built-in timer and adjustable light features.
You’ll love how this aquarium light is made from a quartz glass tube. It’s an industrial-grade glass that is durable and resistant to high temperatures. Simply put, it won’t easily break, unlike tempered glass.
- Adjustable LEDs
- Beautiful light effects
- 3 timer modes with 13 color presets
- Aquarium light size is 15 inches long
- Mimics the sunrise and sunset
- Remote control operated
- Hassle-free installation
- Has a protective rubber cup to prevent glass damage
- LED lights are not bright enough
Unlike mammals, fishes do not have insulating properties in their bodies to help them adapt to fluctuating temperatures. If the water in the aquarium gets too warm, this can negatively affect their health. One way you can control the temperature in the aquarium is by using an LED light with a heatsink. This helps prevent the fish tanks from overheating.
What’s great about this LED Reef Tank Light from Lozily is that it also has built-in fans, apart from having a heatsink. What’s more, it also includes a blue and white channel that is used to imitate the moonlight. Turn this feature on during nighttime to allow the fishes to get a good night’s sleep.
- Minimum noise
- Auto-cooling feature
- Blue and white channel
- Fits a 48-gallon fish tank
- 168 LEDs and 24 reflector cups
- Overall dimensions are 12.2 inches x 7.9 inches x 3.0 inches
- Super bright light that reaches as deep as 40 inches
- Simulates a natural environment for fishes and plants
- The product has an 18-month warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee
- No memory function
This Aquarium Bubble LED Light from TOPBRY is not just used to create visual effects and make fish tanks look more aesthetic; it also helps oxygenate your tank. Do mind that just like most living things, fishes need oxygen to produce energy. Another advantage of using bubblers is that it helps promote natural bacterial filtration. In other words, the bubblers lessen waste and bacteria by providing extra oxygen in the water.
- Color-changing LEDs
- Adjustable brightness
- Sealed and submersible
- 16 color-changing effects with 4 lighting modes
- Bubble LED light is 0.78 inches thick with a diameter of 4 inches
- Remote-controlled aquarium light
- Submersible LED light that creates a cool underwater effect
- Short power cable
The best part of having a mini aquarium is that it doesn’t take too much space. You can even put it on a small wall-mounted folding table with no trouble! Plus, a simple clip-on LED light is enough to illuminate such an aquarium. You’ll be able to save a couple of bucks with this kind of aquarium setup!
If you are going to buy a clip-on aquarium light, we recommend this one from WOTERZI. It has three light colors: red, green, and blue. Use the red and green light during the day to simulate a bright, sunny environment. Meanwhile, use the blue light at night to produce artificial moonlight.
- Thin, solid body
- 369-degree adjustable neck
- High-quality, energy-efficient lights
- Fits 12-inch to 18-inch aquarium tanks
- Three lighting modes: red, white, and blue
- Creates a natural aquatic environment
- Adjustable neck
- Made of ultra-thin aluminum alloy shell so it won’t easily overheat
- Has a long screw that blocks the aquarium lid
If you decide to build a planted aquarium, you should choose an aquarium light with a red and blue color spectrum to promote coloration and pigmentation in plants. Fortunately, this LED Aquarium Light from IREENUO has a custom color mode that allows you to change light from red, to blue and green. It also features 4-weather effect modes: Cloudy, Sunny, Stormy, and Moonlight. Use these elements to simulate a natural environment for your plants.
- Flexible lamp arm
- Low-voltage aquarium light
- Automatic color change feature
- Ideal for 2-t0-30-gallon aquariums
- Fits a fish tank wall that is 0.9 inches thick
- Bright, energy-saving light
- Adjustable light that helps save space
- Has two modes: custom-color mode and weather mode
- Not waterproof
Despite their low voltage, LED lights can still overheat if you leave them on for hours. To avoid such situations, choose an LED aquarium light that is made from aluminum alloy. This Extendable Clip-on LED Light from Woterzi has excellent thermal conductivity to prevent overheating. It also comes complete with two switches. The first switch creates an ambient night light, while the second switch activates both white and blue lights to mimic daylight.
- Low voltage
- Pull-rod design
- Slim, modern style
- Adjustable bracket
- Cable length is 69.29 inches
- Fits 14-inch to 22-inch aquarium tanks
- The package includes 1 LED aquarium light, 1 extendable bracket, and 1 adapter
- Saves energy
- Promotes plant growth
- Thin, aluminum alloy shell reduces heat
- The plastic screw for adjusting the neck is inside the tank
Full-spectrum aquarium lights are the best at resembling natural daylight. However, overusing these lights can also create the ideal environment for algae growth. Thankfully, this Professional Aquarium Light from AMZBD has a DIY mode feature. This feature allows you to dim down the lights, change their color, and activate a gradient mode. Furthermore, this LED light is waterproof and ideal for submersion.
- Waterproof-grade IP68
- Durable aluminum shell
- 53 pieces of LED lights
- Input voltage is AC100-240V
- Fits 24-inch to 30-inch aquarium tanks
- Mounting legs are adjustable
- Has an aluminum shell that dissipates heat
- Releases a full-spectrum light that mimics natural sunshine
- No memory function
With this Aquarium LED Light from Fluval, you won’t have to use a remote control anymore. You can change the light settings using your mobile device! Just install the FluvalSmart App on your phone, turn on your Bluetooth, and pair the LED light with your device. It’s as easy as that! This fish tank light is also waterproof and durable since it is encased in an aluminum shell.
- 24-hour light cycle
- Mountable aquarium light
- Pre-set light configurations: sunny, reef, deep, sea glow, and color burst
- 850 lumens with a color temperature of 2500k
- 7.28 inches x 5.12 inches x 0.87 inches
- Has a deep light coverage
- Can either be mounted above the tank or submerged in water
- Uniformed lighting
- Quite expensive
Things to Consider When Choosing LED Aquarium Lights
Since we laid out a lot of LED aquarium lights in this list, you are probably wondering which one you should choose. To help you make a decision, here are some important things to consider when choosing LED lights –
Type of Marine Life
Plants and fishes have different lighting needs. Fishes need a light that simulates day and night cycles to avoid disrupting their circadian rhythm. Meanwhile, plants require full-spectrum aquarium lights with high intensity for photosynthesis. However, do remember that not all plants are the same. Some require low light levels to ensure proper growth. So, you have to research thoroughly about the right color spectrum and light intensity needs of your chosen fish or plant before purchasing an aquarium light.
The right type of aquarium light will depend on the size of your tank. Fortunately, you can now easily know whether an LED light is suitable for your tank because manufacturers usually include this information in the product specifications. Also consider checking the light coverage to know if an aquarium light has a good light spread.
Quality and Functionality
Of course, you have to consider the quality of the aquarium light. Is the covering or outer shell made of durable, waterproof materials? Does it have special features that prevent it from overheating? Remember, warm water can affect the health of a fish, so your aquarium lights must not produce too much heat.
If you are going to get a fish as a pet, you have to set up a natural environment for them to live long. Getting an aquarium and filling it with water and plants is not enough. You also have to set up a filter, aquarium heater, and air pump. More importantly, you have to choose the right aquarium light to keep the fishes and plants healthy. As for the type of lighting, you should consider choosing an LED light. The options listed above are the kind of decorative lighting that are energy-efficient and most suitable for aquariums and fish tanks.