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7 Best Aquarium Lights For Planted & Reef Tanks | New Reviews 2020

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Fed up with the early day-glow fluorescent aquarium and lights? Need to know the best aquarium lights available right now? The freshwater led aquarium lights are the right choice if you want to enhance the optimal colors of freshwater tank fish. You’ll be able to see all the beautiful colors as well as subtle shades which make freshwater tropical fish real beauties.

As for the aquatic plants, they require full spectrum lighting to thrive in your marine aquarium. Without the help of the more harmonious light spectrum, which L.E.D lighting provides, your aquatic plants will lose their color over time, drop leaves and die.

In addition, a well-illuminated aquarium, even if it's a starter fish tank, creates the illusion of depth and highlights your aquascaping. If you grow live aquatic plants, you are probably aware of the fact that light quality will help sustain their growth. Corals, for example, depend on the proper spectrum of light and intensity of light in order to thrive in reef aquariums.

Recently brands have really gone above and beyond to help the quality of most led aquarium light systems. You'll get state of the art lightings with dynamic and safe features.

Below are my recommendations for the highest rated and most reliable aquarium lighting. We'll help you pick by sharing the most up to date led aquarium lights, which ones work well in different size tanks and which ones we feel is the perfect ratio for price and usage.

5 Best aquarium Lights 

best aquarium lights

4.5/5

  • Built-in programmable timer 

  • Great plant growth, especially the low-light and mid-light demanding species

  • A sleek and razor-thin fixture
best aquarium lighting

4.3/5

  • Brings out natural colors in fish and plants

  • Encourages great growth in low light level plants

  • Built to last 40,000+ hours
best aquarium lights

4.2/5

  • Easy to program timer and lighting effect

  • Programmable sunrise and sunset functions

  • An internal battery back-up that saves timer settings in case of power failure
Current USA Satellite Freshwater

4.8/5

  • Built-in programmable timer

  • Advanced LED chip design

  • A sleek design

  • Affordable and Budget Friendly
Current USA Satellite Freshwater

4.9/5

  • It contains the features that simulate storms, cloudy days, and moonlight

  • Brightest light compared to other brands

  • Best Reviews
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What to look for when shopping for LED lighting for freshwater aquarium

LED (short for Light Emitting Diode) aquarium lighting is designed to help freshwater tank with marine aquarium tanks. The different types of lighting are freshwater LED fixtures and are brilliantly engineered to reproduce the spectrum of normal light. The led aquarium light system is the only way of producing a natural-looking white light (using white leds), often with the possibility to adjust the light according to your needs and preferences. 

Here's What To Look For:

  • The Range Of Light
  • The Dimensions
  • LED features And Benefits

Top Rated Aquarium Light | led aquarium light (Scored By reviews)


4.5/5

The Beamswork DA 6500k LED is an excellent choice for all the aquarium enthusiasts a budget. This affordable planted aquarium light can sustain low to mid-level plants while beautifully complementing most aquariums.

The Beamswork DA 6500K is a fantastic LED light for planted tanks and all different types of lighting. Although it’s not as powerful as other best LED lights, it’s an effective one for those of you who keep less demanding plant species.

This led aquarium light is affordable, reliable, and capable of supporting low to mid-level plants. However, it’s probably not the best led aquarium lighting option if you plan to keep ultra-demanding plants. For 90% of aquarium owners, this led aquarium light system is a better option and this goes especially for first timers looking to save a few bucks while getting some valuable experience along the way.

This fixture comes with a built-in programmable timer, which is a huge and unexpected bonus, considering the fact that light timers usually come with for more expensive fixtures. The timer will help set a time for your lights to automatically turn on and off, essentially making this unit highly convenient for a novice aquarium enthusiast.

To sum up, this is a high-quality, low energy efficient led aquarium fixture is a solid starter option if you want to replace the typical single or dual tube fluorescent lights. It features 6500K spectrum LEDs which are commonly used for planted tank setups.

The LEDs are fitted in a sleek and razor-thin fixture which will certainly make your marine aquarium a living-room centerpiece while the long-lasting LEDs require no bulb replacement.

Overall, one of the best aquarium lighting led that are available today to make your colorful fish tank even more beautiful!

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Low energy efficient lights featuring 6500K spectrum

Comes at an affordable price

Product Available in five sizes and length

Built-in programmable timer

Best sleek and razor-thin fixture

The bulbs may dim quite a lot over time








4.3/5

Best Aquarium Lights

The FugeRay from Finnex features red LEDs and blue LEDs which will bring out the beautiful natural color of your fish and aquatic plants. It’s a good choice for those of you who want looking to spruce up your aquarium without breaking the bank.

This planted aquarium led light is simple and very easy to use. They come fitted with various colours included, white, red leds and blue leds. (white and blue are the most natural colours)

The lack of red and blue bulbs in the previous models from Finnex sometimes didn't help users as the color looked a bit or dull while the new and improved FugeRay helps fish and plant colors “pop” and appear more vivid. This goes for the red tones, especially.

This led aquarium light provides plenty of light for low and medium level plants. To successfully grow heavy vegetation in a bigger tank, you’ll probably need additional lights. The FugeRay offers “true red” 660nm LEDs, however, which are claimed to be excellent for photosynthesis.

In terms of the design, Finnex FugeRay light is an elegant LED fixture. Finnex opted for the silver colored housing rather than the more common black housing. The housing is slim and will sit nicely on the top of your aquarium.

Another great feature is a moisture resistant PC Splash Guard which does help to protect the lights from accidental splashing. The durable high output LED bulbs are built to last more than 40,000 and the FugeRay boasts a LED spread of 120 degrees.

The FugeRay features a more evenly spaced LED alignment, which is better for refugium purposes as well as for medium light needy aquariums. 

In order to extend LED bulb longevity, the circuit boards in FugeRay are built with high-quality aluminum and the fixture itself acts as the heat sync. This ensures ample cooling and good heat dissipation. This will allow your LED light fixture to last a long time.

There is also a flexible gooseneck to allow the appropriate amount of light according to your needs. The power cord included is 59 inches long. Overall, a solid LEDs at an affordable price!

Nevertheless, since each aquarium has unique needs, you should make sure you’re picking the right light for your tank. So, if you’re growing a lot of high light plants and other planted aquariums this may not be the right lighting for you. Be sure to weigh up the pros and cons below for a reliable aquarium led lighting review.

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Brings out natural colors in fish and plants with lighting modes

Encourages great growth in low light level plants 

Product is Built to last 40,000+ hours

Best aquarium lighting led circuit boards built with high quality aluminum

Elegant design with a flexible gooseneck

This fixture may get hot so keep an eye on water temperature








4.3/5

The Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Fixture is available in a freshwater and reef tanks design. The five colors of 0.5 watt LEDs have a 120-degree dispersion which creates full-spectrum light throughout your aquarium.

This led aquarium light is easy to program using the timer included. It comes with an internal battery back-up which saves all your timer settings in case of power failure. It is one of the best led lights available to buy.

The 36“ freshwater aquarium LED fixture contains (21) 6K White (white leds), (21) 9K White, (24) 10K White, (7) Blue, (11) Red, (3) Blue Lunar bright LEDs. The lunar LEDs are used at night to imitate moonlight in your aquarium. Now, how cool is that?

And that’s not all, the programmable sunrise and sunset functions allow for the LEDs to be easily programmed to slowly turn on or off in 10-minute increments over a two-hour period of time.

The Aquatic Life EDGE LED feature a simple 3-Channel timer makes programming the timer and customizing the light output quick and easy.

The sleek fixture is only 0.5 inches wide and 4 inches high and you can choose between the three sizes:

24-Inch light fits aquarium frames between 23.5 Inches and 26.25 Inches

36-Inch light fits aquarium frames between 35.0 Inches and 38.25 Inches

48-Inch light fits aquarium frames between 47.0 Inches and 50.25 Inches

All three sizes were designed to give the absolute maximum light possible while avoiding any heating of the aquatic environment. The adjustable width aquarium frame mounts with extendable brackets to safely support and position the fixture above any tank size.

The Aquatic Life LED Aquarium lighting modes is similar in size to the freshwater version in tank. The extendable brackets does give it an additional better feature above and beyond it's competitors. The LED array is designed to show more blue light, imitating the type of light that naturally penetrates the coral reef.

The ultra-slim product coupled with state of the art LED technology ensures that maximum light output is focused inside the marine aquarium, while five colors of 120-degree dispersion, 0.5W Watt LED’s ensure a full-spectrum of light needed for your fish and planted aquariums over a long period. 

Overall this is a great addition feature with the extendable brackets that most other brands only include at a premium.

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Easy to program timer and lighting effect

Programmable sunrise and sunset functions 

Product has an internal battery back-up that saves timer settings in case of power failure

A dense array of LEDs for even lighting in your aquarium 

Best adjustable width aquarium frame

If your main aquatic inhabitants are corals, you may need stronger lights








4.1/5

aquarium led lighting

The Current USA Satellite Plus Pro Led Light is a favorite choice of LED lighting among enthusiasts because of its intensity, customization options, and unique features. 

This brand is a trusted one and many new aquarium owners who are looking for design benefits choose this brand. This brand comes in different sizes and different types of products for all your fish tank needs. 

Packed with enough power to sustain even the most difficult planted aquariums, the usa Satellite Plus Pro will provide your fish with enjoyable swimming environment as they slowly make their way between colorful plants.

As for the PAR reading and lighting intensity, this LED aquarium light tops the list of quality lighting options for your plant and fish tank. The usa Satellite Plus Pro should be able to sustain 99% of the popular plant varieties with its 6500K.

Where these lights really shine is the customization options. The remote control allows you to adjust light intensity and play around with the color settings. What’s more, this unit comes pre-programmed with several unique settings that simulate different sizes and natural light settings.

The current usa Satellite Plus Pro LED fixture will come with a 24 hour on/off timer light cycle. You will get full control over the start time and end time with the included remote control. This feature allows you to optimize the light periods for your fish, plants and for your tank viewing pleasure. This will a fantastic setting to have over a long time.

In addition, this fixture has moonlight settings, sunrise settings, and storm and cloud effect settings. These settings are pre-programmed as specific buttons on the remote.

The current usa Satellite Plus Pro remote also has four pre-loaded color spectrums which are optimized for certain tanks. You can also program custom colors and save them in one of two memory slots available on the remote.

Another huge benefit of the current usa Satellite Plus Pro is the ramping feature and suitability for your tank. The ramp timer starts out the day with a dim light (simulating sunrise), which gradually increases in intensity throughout the day. 

The ramping feature creates a more natural environment which helps reduce stress in fish and plants in the planted aquariums.

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Great LED lighting option if you want a mixture of power and customization

Customizable and adjustable mounting in almost every way

Best led aquarium lighting for enthusiasts who want to fine-tune light intensity and color

Great PAR outputs – capable of supporting most high-level plants species

Current Usa Product - Popular brand

The remote reception can be finicky if you’re further than a few feet away


Not As bright as competitors




4.0/5

freshwater aquarium lighting

The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED is a feature-rich planted aquarium light which allows fish and plant keepers to fully automated their entire lighting schedule. It comes equipped with a remote control and is very easy use. 

Taking a unique approach, this fixture provides a more enjoyable user experience, than other lights in this price range. The simulation of a complete, natural sunrise and sunset is completely hands-free and programmed into the controller.

The 24/7 feature requires no handling and is completely hands-off. It is the most fully automated LED aquarium light available. This setting begins with a soft dawn which eventually progresses into a warm lit sunrise. After the sunrise, there comes the peak of the light cycle which simulates the noon natural light.

The noon transforms into a soft red sunset, and eventually, you’ll get a night mode. This complete 24/7 feature allows the aquarium owners to experience a full day cycle with practically no upkeep.

In addition to the 24/7 feature, the Planted+ has programmed settings which replicate storms, cloudy days, and starry nights, which is great if your looking for this feature. All of these settings will come with a simple click of a button. While I do appreciate the starry nights, I don’t really see the point of exposing your aquarium dwellers to storms, tough.

The four memory slots are also accessible via the IR control. Using this feature, you can easily customize and save countless color combinations and lighting intensities if you don’t want to use the 24/7 feature.

In addition to the dimmable Red, Green and Blue light, this light comes with 7,000k Daylight LEDs to allow aquariums to thrive. Equipped with a memory chip, the fixture remembers the last saved settings in order to make it compatible with standard timers.

The fixture interacts with the remote via a water-resistant IR sensor. The fixture's clear legs can slide inwards if you need to mount them onto shorter aquariums. The legs feature screws capable of mounting rimless aquariums, as well.

For those of you who have larger-rimmed aquariums, the legs also feature a removable inner portion to accommodate the greater width. You’ll be happy to know that this LED lighting is built out of quality constructed aluminum and features a water-resistant splash guard.

To sum up, the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 is a user-friendly light which is great for aquarium owners that like the finer features in a light. The price is also right so this is a no-brainer and is commonly rated as the best led lights to own.

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Fully hands off and user-friendly

The 24/7 feature is very enjoyable to use

It contains the features that simulate storms, cloudy days, and moonlight

Like all other Finnex lights, the Planted+ is a bright light compared to other brands

Sleek, slim profile will nicely complement any aquarium

The acrylic legs might be hard to position 








4.7/5

Current USA Orbit Marine

You can buy a variety of LED sizes that range from 18 to 60 inches, and they are very easy to handle. 

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Advanced LED chip design

Energy efficient and lower voltage


Affordable and Budget Friendly 

Remote control included with four automatic lighting settings


Poor instructions with how to guide and lighting programming.






Current USA Satellite Freshwater

4.8/5

The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED plus light is a beautifully designed and powerful aquarium light which allows all fish and plant owners looking to automate their lighting schedule a easy to use product. It also comes with a remote which is user friendly.

The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED plus light is  a very simple designed and almost anyone can get started right away. It doesn't take much programming skills and once you've selected your unique settings it's ready to go. 

It has adjustable mounting and adjustable docks that allow you to easily assemble and attach the fixture. All you need to do is adjust the mounts fo to fit the size of your aquarium. It is also low energy efficient and has lower voltage when operational.

The light comes fully IP65 water-resistant and the lighting has modes that you can select for different times of the day. This includes lunar modes, dusk mode, a fade mode, and even storm modes.

The current usa satellite freshwater LED is a very handy tool and most aquarium owners prefer it

Things We Liked

Things We Didn't Like

Fully hands off and user-friendly

The 24/7 feature is very enjoyable to use

It contains the features that simulate storms, cloudy days, and moonlight

Like all other Finnex lights, the Planted+ is a bright light compared to other brands

Sleek, slim profile will nicely complement any aquarium

The acrylic legs might be hard to position








led aquarium lighting: Important Factors (Things You Need To Consider Before Buying) 

1. The Overall range of light Options (Important Factors)

Best Aquarium Light

Let’s compare different aquarium led light and the full spectrum of natural light options. Natural daylight, on cloudy to sunny days, ranges from 5500K to 7000K (K stands for Kelvin, a unit of measurement used to describe the hue of a specific light source).

This is why you should look for LED aquarium lights that can provide this range of light quality and it's not too much light. LED lights can be controlled by a timer that plugs into the wall. LED lights can be mounted above the aquarium either on “legs” that rest on top of the aquarium or hang from your ceiling.

The more advanced LED aquarium lights system allow you to create light that mimics dawn, dusk, moonlight and more different types of light.

2.The LED Correct dimensions Options (You Need To Know)

Many people forget to check how wide their aquarium is When you are buying LEDs. Fortunately, the LED light fixture comes in a wide variety of lengths that match the length of different aquariums and different sizes.

This versatility comes into play when you are aiming for a perfect LED light that sits on top of the aquarium frame.

3. LED aquarium lights features and Options (things to consider)

As we said, many LED freshwater aquariums feature 5500-7000 K light output. Some have simple and some have a more advanced programmable timer.

Best Aquarium Lighting

The aquarium led light will allow you to explore different color combinations because most LED aquarium lights systems are now available in a color spectrum and color combination that varies widely.

Apart from experimenting with light spectrums, you can also use dimmers, which are good for adjusting brightness and can also be used for blending colors. Sometimes LED lights can be too much of a bright light.

However, If you are using multiple LED aquarium light color spectrums, you can dim one color and increase the brightness of the other. Remember, many people forget that by dimming your led lights, you will also extend the lamp life and save on energy. So although it won't be as bright it's more cost effective.

Another benefit of led lights is that they don't transfer heat into the aquarium. Nevertheless, they still generate a fair amount of heat upward and excessive heat can dramatically degrade the lifespan of the LED chip. Because of this, you should always be looking to keep them cool.

To fully benefit from the this aquarium lighting and extend their, life you need to remember

 to provide adequate air circulation around the LED aquarium light strip. This will allow heat to dissipate vertically and around the heat sink.

Yet another benefit of LED lights is that they grow coral so that your aquarium will become a true beauty, should you decide to tackle the wonderful world of coral growing.

In order to really bring out the optimal effect in your coral, you should select units with light outputs in the actinic royal blue range. This will really make the colors in your coral stand out. For soft polyp corals and zoanthids, you can mix a little magenta to pump up the purple, green and orange.

Apart from growing coral and bringing out their beautiful glows, Blue LEDs will also bring out different colors in your fish and make them even more beautiful as they swim happily around the corals. Many new tank owners forget this simple but smart fact.

Powerful LED lights compared to other lighting options (What We Recommend)

Reef fish tank with LED lighting

In the early days of aquarium keeping the only lighting available were stainless steel fixtures that contained incandescent light bulbs. These light bulbs produced a lot of heat and raised the aquarium water temperature. As the incandescent bulbs could reach a temperature of over 175° F, the metal light fixture could easily turn into a dangerous skin-searing surface. With the most robust lighting, this can never happen.

The next type of lighting was cooler fluorescent light tube housed in plastic fixtures which were built into the aquarium cover. The fluorescent lighting worked fine for shallow aquariums that did not require intense light.

For growing live plants or corals, fluorescent light tubes couldn’t provide enough light. The quality of light was not the best either. Most fluorescent lights simply highlighted the neon different varieties of aquarium gravel, plastic plants, and other ornaments.

Live plants and corals did not thrive until more natural fluorescent lights were developed for aquarium use. Fluorescent bulbs, however, start degrading in light quality as soon as they are switched on. After six to nine months, the quality of light gets very low and won’t meet the light needs of freshwater aquatic plants and saltwater invertebrates in a saltwater aquarium.

Finally, LED aquarium light systems do use up to 80% less electricity than other aquarium lights. They do not generate as much heat compared to fluorescent light bulbs. Another huge plus is the fact that the best led aquarium lighting lasts far longer than standard fluorescent bulbs. But note some people do think they generate tooo high amount of light.

The Drawbacks (What we think is important to consider)

The LED aquarium light system tends to be a bit more costly to purchase upfront, but you'll more than make up for it over time in energy savings as well as bulb replacement costs.

Anther drawback of LED lights and a freshwater led light is in the area of aquariums because most LED light fixtures are only suited for low to medium lighting needs. They will do well for virtually all fish and for a number of plants.

However, for plants that have high light needs, there are no L.E.D lighting options at present. Hopefully, since the LEDs are being extensively researched and greatly improved, we might expect that their application for high light needs will also improve in the future.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Be sure to choose wisely

Be certain you choose an adequate LED light for its size / length and it's from a reputable brand or company that has the best user experience at heart. They are safety requirements that need to be met and a faulty LED light in your fish tank can be the difference between life or death. Make sure you Keep your fish tank light efficient.

Keep it compact 

The compact design of most LED lights is perfect for all types of owners and fish tanks, new and old. Aquarium lights of the past were clunky, inefficient and expensive. Now, however, you can get a compact "made-for-purpose" aquarium light at a fraction of the cost. This means that it's easy to install and you can even choose exactly where it goes instead of being limited to 1 side or 1 corner. This is the best option for new aquarium buyers.

Go for the adjustable L.E.D lighting system.

Many newer models are adjustable and can change into a various of positions. As your aquarium life grows so will the lighting they need to support them and an interchangeable LED light can be all that more important. It's even possible to control some of the more recent models with a few flicks of your finger on your own app (via a smartphone).

Experiment with various colours 

L.E.D lighting and lighting system as they are change colour are very easy to purchase and are appealing on the eye. Make sure you research which colours are neutral and go well with your tank, (like blues and greens) These will work best with your reef tank.

Get one with a dimmer switch.

The dimmer switch is the best and most safest way to turn up and down the colours and contrast of different LED lights in your aquarium. This has the added bonus of allowing you to set the mood and give your fish a few clues that relaxation time has started. This will make it easy to install.

Fit with PLENTY of ventilation.

Although LED lights don't cause the water in your tank to heat up it can still generate some heat. If let in left unventilated it could heat up more significantly and cause battery damage. You can prevent this from happening by keeping the LED strip colour and ventilated when possible.

Be careful to not get them wet.

All aquarium lights can stand some water but not all are 100% water-resistant. Be cautious about the difference as too much water can cause circuit board damage.

Clean regularly and don't allow minerals to build up.

If you don't regularly clean your LED lights then they can get dirty with lime, salt and minerals. This will, in turn, cause long term damage to the lights and cause light projection issues. Remember to check the labels for any chemicals you use that has direct contact with the aquarium and if in doubt just use vinegar as it is fish friendly.

Give Metal halide lights a try!

Metal halide lights are lights that mirror the intensity and atmosphere of the sun. These are particularly aimed at nature enthusiasts who want to keep their aquarium as close to nature as possible. These are suitable for bigger and smaller aquariums and can be used interchangeably with LEDs.

Don't use Incandescent aquarium lights as they are not cost-effective and give off too much heat. On top of that, they are only suitable for small aquariums and most big stores will advise against it.

Conclusion (Overall thoughts and why you must do your research)

It's important that you research and find the top rated aquarium light for you. It's as simple as checking the right size and output size to make sure the features are correct for your tank. Lighting is an important part of a healthy and vibrant aquarium and the right type of lighting will keep your fish happy and healthier for longer.

LED lights are one of the safer and easy to use tank lights and they are relatively easy to purchase. On top of that, you are able to mix and match LED lights and colours which is always a bonus.

The new technology in lighting has made the designs safer and more user-friendly with more appreciate size and length measurements. This means you won't be spending a fortune to keep your fishy friends happy. Whether you go with a simple design or a more advanced setup it's safe to say that you'll have a fit for purpose aquarium essential.


Take a look how the lighting improves your aquarium looks:

 
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