Best Aquarium Lighting LED
Interior Lighting

Top 5 Best LED Aquarium Lighting

Awesome LED lighting makes all the difference for your aquarium.

It not only creates a pretty display but also mimics the natural habitat of the aquatic plants and fish that you have in your aquarium.

Choosing LED aquarium lights is quite different from choosing an LED light bulb for your living room. You need to pay closer attention to the light intensity, color temperature and how these match with the size and kinds of plants of your aquarium.

Don’t have time to read the full review? Don’t worry! Here are our 3 best LED Aquarium Lighting picks;

OUR #1 PICK
Current USA Orbit Aquarium Lighting

  • Full Spectrum LED Lights
  • Extendable Brakets
  • + Accessories Available
  • On-demand Weather Effects

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CUSTOMIZABLE
Finnex Planted LED Aquarium Lighting

  • Bracket Free Placement
  • 24 Hour Cycle
  • Wireless Remote Control
  • Customizable Saved Settings

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Read our review
ADVANCED MODEL
VIPARSPECTRA V165 LED Aquarium Lighting

  • Dimmable Full Spectrum
  • Hanging Fixture
  • High Tech Option
  • Suitable For All Photosynthetic Corals

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Read our review

Top 5 Best LED Aquarium Lighting

Don’t worry, we are always here to help you out in finding the right LED lighting.

We’ve already selected the top five best LED aquarium lights and included a quick buyers guide for more details.

1. The Best of the Best: Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

Current USA is the star brand in the world of aquarium lights and when you look at all the features of their Orbit Marine LED light model you understand why.

It now has even brighter full spectrum LED lights that mimic the natural stages of the sun and moon over a period of 24 hours.

Light Colors Dark blue, light blue, green, red and 3 temperatures of white light
Total Watts 36
Sizes Available 18 to 24″, 24 to 36″, 36 to 48″, 48 to 60″ + adjustable
Brightness Dimmable

This model has a setting that follows a 24 hour biorhythmic cycle and even has a setting that can incorporate different weather conditions like clouds and lightning. This creates the most natural environment for your aquatic plants and fish in the aquarium.

Current USA also has a special feature called LOOP. This offers you wireless control over the light setting but also the wave pump control.

The color rendering that you get with this LED aquarium light is amazing. This possible due to the advanced LED technology used called Dual Daylight and Dual Actinic LEDs.

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Aside from the cool features it is also a very safe design with low voltage and water resistant rating of IP65. It is even safer for your fish because it slowly increases the light intensity to prevent shocking the fish with light.

This is an aquarium light for true enthusiasts as there are even accessories available like a bluetooth control, extra lights and a wave pump.

2. The Runner Up: Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Automated Aquarium LED

Finnex Planted+ 24 7 Automated Aquarium LED

The Finnex Planted+ has similar features as the Current USA Orbit Marine. The difference lies in the type of placement used and the light colors.

Most aquarium lights are placed on top with brackets but this Finnex Planted+ model actually has mounting legs made of clear material. These are adjustable to the how big the aquarium is.

Light Colors Blue, green, red and white
Total Watts 46
Sizes Available 20″, 24″, 30″, 36″, 46.5 – 48″
Brightness Dimmable

Similar to the previous model, this design also has a 24 hour cycle that mimics the different stages of the sun and moon.

It also has separate settings that include different weather conditions.

You can monitor and control the settings using the wireless remote control that connects through the infrared sensor on the LED aquarium light. Using the remote control you can switch between 4 different personalized and saved settings.

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The LED lights emit 4 different colors, red, green, blue and 7000 kelvin white. Each of these lights is dimmable so you can create your own preferred settings.

3. Best Simplistic Design: NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

Sometimes a simpler model is also your best bet. That is exactly the case with this basic aquarium light bar with brackets by NICREW.

The NICREW ClassicLED has adjustable brackets that fit a wide range of aquarium sizes. Simply pull out the brackets and hang the LED light over the aquarium.

Light Colors White and blue
Total Watts 32 watts
Sizes Available 12-18″, 18-24″, 30-36″, 36-48″, 48-52″
Brightness 7000 lumen

The light bar has two lighting modes using both white LEDs and blue LEDs. The white LEDs combined with the blue LEDs mimic a daylight situation while the blue LEDs alone function as a lunar LED light for nighttime.

The LED lights are extremely bright producing 7000 kelvins and have a luminous flux of 1700 lumen. This is more than enough for you to admire the colors in your aquarium and for your aquatic plants to photosynthesize.

The LEDs are cool to the touch and are more energy-efficient than other lighting types such as fluorescent lights.

The NICREW ClassicLED uses 32 watts to power the daylight setting (150 white LEDs and 30 blue LEDs) and nighttime setting (30 blue LEDs). The manufacturer recommends leaving the light on for 8 – 10 hours per day.

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You need to plug in this model and manually switch it on and off with the simple switch. It comes with a cable of decent length to connect to your home electrical socket.

The NICREW ClassicLED aquarium light is made of aluminum for a longer lifespan. It also has an improved barrel connector which protects the lights from damage through moisture so it is safe to hang over your aquarium.

4. Most Advanced Model: VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control V165 LED Aquarium Light

VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control V165 LED Aquarium Light

The VIPARSPECTRA V165 has the most tech features on this list. It features full spectrum lights that you can set on a timer with the different LEDs turning on and off at different times.

This LED aquarium light has 6 display channels for you to control the timer of different lights. It also has a display for a regular digital clock and one for you to monitor and adjust the brightness.

Light Colors Violet, royal blue, blue, cool white, neutral white, red, green
Wattage Options 165 watts or 300 watts
Sizes Available 16×8″ or 31×8.5″
Brightness Not specified

Using the provided remote you can adjust the brightness from 0% – 100% and control all other settings, too. This is important for the plants inside your aquarium because you need to let them adjust to the new light source by slowly raising the brightness over time.

The LED lighting technology used in the VIPARSPECTRA is fully compatible with all photosynthesizing coral and plants.

Unlike most aquarium lights, this model by VIPARSPECTRA is not fitted with brackets but hangs above an aquarium using the provided hanging kits. The provided ropes have a maximum length of 23 inches with an additional 4.1 inches for the brackets.

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The raised design further helps the heat dissipation though this is already taken care of in the mechanics. It has aluminium heat sinks and it also fitted with 2 high speed fans.

5. The Most Versatile Model: Koval Colorful Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

Koval Colorful Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

Koval has come with a new and improved model with full spectrum LED lights in 5 different colors: white, blue, green, pink and red. This aquarium light bar comes with a total of 156 individual light emitting diodes.

These lights are also very bright with a daylight light of 8000 kelvin. For comparison, cool white light is rated at 6000 kelvin.

Light Colors White, blue, green, pink and red
Total Watts 20 watts
Number of LEDs 156
Brightness adjustable

This is another bracket light bar model so installation is very simple. Use the extendable brackets to hang it over the aquarium and plug it in with the provided electrical cable.

This is a very durable LED aquarium light model. The LEDs alone already have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours but the rest of the aquarium is made of durable aluminium material.

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Another benefit of the Koval model is that the LED lights are suitable for both saltwater and freshwater plants. This is something to look out for when choosing the right LED aquarium light.

LED Aquarium Buying Guide

When shopping around for the right LED aquarium light there are a few things you need to know beforehand. These are what kinds of plants and fish you will keep inside the aquarium, at what growing stage they are and the dimensions of the aquarium.

Below is an overview of what you need to know to make sure that you get the right LED aquarium light.

Match the Light to the Plants

The type of plants inside your aquarium are the key factor in deciding what kind of lighting is most suitable. There is a difference in lighting requirements between saltwater plants and freshwater plants but also the stage of maturity that they are in.

First, check the product details for whether the light is suitable for freshwater and or saltwater aquarium plants. This is usually related to the color spectrum.

Different Color Temperatures for LED Aquarium Lighting

It is best to choose an LED aquarium light that has a wide spectrum. This way, the same LED lights can cater to different sorts of plants that photosynthesize under different color temperatures and have different natural habitats.

Blue and red zones of the color spectrum are the most important for aquatic plants. These are what they use to photosynthesize.

It is also better to have an LED aquarium light with a control for the light intensity. Especially for growing aquatic plants, the light intensity needs to increase slowly over time so that the plant has time to adjust.

Buy the Right Size

This one is also very important and a common mistake that you can easily make if you are not paying attention. Measure the dimensions of your aquarium before you place an order.

Aquarium LED Lighting Sizes

Most aquarium lights are placed on top the aquarium using brackets. So, you need to know how long your aquarium is so that you can order the right size LED aquarium light.

There are also other design types where the light is not directly connected to the aquarium. Even in this case, you need to know the dimensions of the tank.

Get the Right Brightness for the Tank Size

Other than the size of the LED aquarium light, you also need to check the brightness. Depending on the size of your aquarium, you may need an aquarium light that is brighter with a greater light intensity.

It is not just about the specific brightness value but also about how the light spreads through the aquarium. Perhaps the LEDs have a specific angle so that some parts of the aquarium are less lit.

Larger tanks need larger LED aquarium lights. However, make sure that the brightness is still dimmable so that your plants and fish are not shocked by a sudden intense light.

Do You Need Extra Lighting Features?

Some aquarium lights offer extra features like a 24 hour cycle, a memory for preferred settings or weather condition features. Though these are not essential, they do add to the experience of owning an aquarium.

Advanced Aquarium Light Settings

Extra features like this are not only beautiful to see but it are also pleasant for the fish and plants inside the aquarium because it mimics their natural habitat. However, these extra features do come with a greater price tag so it is up to you whether you want to accommodate for this in your budget.

Simple On/Off Switch or Cycles?

A commonly asked question is how long the aquarium lights should be left on. The exact times are flexible but it is important, especially for the fish, that there are a few hours of darkness or night time lighting.

This also relates to how much electricity you want to use. Of course, a 24 hour cycle requires more electricity than a simple LED aquarium light that you switch off for a few hours at night. But with the cost of running LED lights being extremely cheap, you probably won’t even notice the few extra dollars on your bill each month

Just consider what kinds of plants are in the aquarium and adjusting the lighting times to their specific needs. Each plant and fish is different.

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