Whenever you walk into a room with a lighted aquarium, you are immediately drawn to its beauty and you want to stare at it longer. That’s why it is important that you choose the best light for your aquarium.
When you are buying the light, it is not just about choosing one that works great and provides enough light for the plants in the aquarium. This calls for looking for the best LED light for planted tanks.
Having the right light spectrum will help a lot with the photosynthesis process. Let us learn more about these types of lights and how you can choose the right one.
Table of Contents
How to Choose the Best LED Lights for a Planted Tank?
1. Choose the Right Brand
If you are going to end up with the best LED light for your aquarium, you must always consider the brand. Choosing the right brand is important because the models available from different brands vary.
When comparing models, make sure the one you choose comes from a reputable brand, not a generic or economy brand. You can learn more about each model by checking out its product description.
2. Keep in Mind the Light Spectrum
The light spectrum is an important factor for getting you the right type of output necessary for the growth of the plants.
The right spectrum should include as many colors as possible. This ensures that the plant will receive light that will promote the best possible photosynthesis process.
3. Consider the Control Features and Modes
One of the great features in some models is the different modes now available. You can have lights that can simulate sunrise, sunset, and even nighttime.
With these modes, you can always switch between them to get the most out of the aquarium light so that it makes the room look great as well as nurturing your plant life.
As for the control features, you need a model that is easy to control. No need to have a complex model that makes it hard to get the right combination that you want in your planted tank.
4. The Ease of Installation
The installation process is always important to the user. You can have lots of trouble installing the aquarium light if you get one with a complex installation procedure.
You have to make sure to purchase a model with easy steps. It is possible to find a model that comes with an adjustable frame and legs so that fitting it on the tank takes less time.
Check out what other people are saying about the model before you get it for yourself. You can tell from the reviews whether the model is easy to install or not.
5. The Durability of the LEDs
You would not want to end up with a model that doesn’t deliver consistent performance over time. You have to make sure that the model you choose has the best possible durability.
The durability is dependent on the material used to make the unit, and the type of LEDs used. Some LEDs might work great at first, but later on, end up burning out in a short time.
6. Great Ventilation and Splash Guard
The ventilation of the model is another factor that you have to keep in mind. The LEDs generate heat that builds over time of operation, so it is important that such heat is easily dissipated.
The LED lights also need to be prevented from having any contact with water. Your model needs to have a splash guard to keep the water away. Check out several models to find one with such important features.
7. The Kelvin Rating
This is one of the most important features you always have to keep in mind. You need to make sure that the model you are choosing has the right rating in terms of Kelvin or Lumen.
These two units are important in measuring the different outputs of the LED lights in terms of both the color temperature and the total visible light.
For most planted aquariums, having the light operating at around 6500K to 7000K should be ideal to keep the plants growing well. It would also help make the unit work as a natural light source.
The 10 Best LED Lights for Your Planted Aquariums
|Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED Klc Aquarium LED Light||All Planted Aquariums|
|Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium||Freshwater Planted Aquariums|
|COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting Color Changing||All Planted Aquariums|
|Beamworks DA 6500K LED Pent Aquarium Light||Freshwater Planted Aquariums|
|Nicrew LED Aquarium Light with Extendable Brackets||All Planted Aquariums|
|BeamWork DA FSPEC LED Freshwater Aquarium Light||Freshwater Planted Aquariums|
|Koval Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood||All Planted Aquariums|
|Hagen Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light||Freshwater Planted Aquariums|
|NICREW Deluxe LED Aquarium Light||Freshwater Planted Aquariums|
|Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light||All Planted Aquariums|
LED Lighting for Planted Aquarium Reviews
1. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED Klc Aquarium LED Light
With this product, you should be able to easily simulate the sunrise and sunset in the aquarium. This is something many people are always looking for so that the aquarium plants will grow like those exposed to the natural environment.
The sunrise to sunset feature starts with cool lit dawn in the aquarium that would then transit into a warm sunrise morning. There is a time where it offers an intense blazing color to simulate noon and a red sun for sunset. The cycle will easily repeat itself without needing to have someone controlling it.
The manufacturer provides the user with a remote control that should make the selection and setting of features quite easy. You can switch from one mode to another using the remote. The remote comes with four memory card slots you can use to save your configurations and easily load them whenever you want.
This model is built with clear legs that easily slide inward for mounting in a shorter aquarium. Even for rimless aquariums, you can easily screw it into place using the screws provided by the manufacturer. It is made of strong material that keeps it looking great over time.
2. Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium
You always want a model that delivers on the performance that you need so that the plants in your aquarium have a chance of growing just as you want them to. It is possible to achieve all that by getting this model.
It is designed to be among the first freshwater-optimized LED fixtures. The model features super-bright 6500K white LEDs paired with the full-spectrum RGB LEDs. With such a combination, you can have every color under the sun coming from this fixture.
The model is fully controllable using the IR remote and ramp timer. You can easily choose the color you want to display, even from a distance, and this light will also make the room look its best. This model is made with a thin and sleek aluminum housing. This makes it easily portable and still durable for various uses.
It does not need any special type of settings, as you simply “plug and play.” It comes with an internal memory that helps by saving your settings so you can simply load them later. The mounts are easily adjustable so that you can get to fit the model on different types of aquariums. It also runs on low voltage which helps keep your energy bills down.
3. COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting Color Changing
For those who own large aquariums, this could be the light for you. This is because it is longer and can deliver the ideal amount of light for your planted aquarium with ease. Many users prefer this great light thanks to the many colors and multiple lighting modes.
These colors make this model suitable for a wide variety of aquariums. Using this light in your aquarium, your plants will grow better starting right away, today. This light would be beneficial for many of the types of aquarium plants that are available today.
The model allows you to adjust its size, thanks to the extendable bracket. The bracket allows you to adjust the length to fit tanks from 28 inches to 36 inches. The adjustability will make it easier for you to use your light to cover every part of the aquarium.
This light comes with a dedicated and professional power supply design. The aim of this feature is to make the model more energy efficient. There is no doubt it provides the best possible durability for this model. With over 10,000-hours lifespan, it should appeal to many.
It is easy to use. You simply plug it in and get started. It is that easy.
4. Beamworks DA 6500K LED Pent Aquarium Light
You will always end up with the best available lighting in your aquarium if you get the best aquarium light from this brand. This company is known for making high-quality fixtures that last for a long time.
This model is tremendously better than the dual-tube fluorescent lights. It is important to pick the right type of light to benefit and encourage the growth of the plants.
The manufacturer has fitted this model with 6500K spectrum LEDs that will always keep the light shining its best on the plants. The light you get from this model will keep the freshwater plants in the aquarium growing for as long as you want.
The LEDs on this model are fitted using a strong material that should keep it working for longer. Due to its design, it will always fit in different types of aquariums that you might have.
The long-lasting LEDs are a big plus for the user, as you do not have to replace the bulbs. With its capability to work with the optimal timer module, you can easily program it to provide just the look you are after.
5. Nicrew LED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable Brackets
The light you get from an aquarium lamp is important for making sure that the plants in your aquarium have what they need to grow well. The hobbyists would all love to see their plants looking healthy, and there is no better way to do so than by choosing this model.
The model comes with the proper lighting needed to ensure the right photosynthesis process to keep your plants looking great. The lighting is also important for influencing the behavior of the fish in the aquarium.
For this model, it has been designed to produce light that the fish will feel is comfortable and yet will still benefit the plants.
The manufacturer went even further and made the model adjustable so it can fit on multiple different types of aquariums. You can get this model to adjust easily to fit on aquariums from 37 to 45 inches. This makes the model a great choice for people who might want to use it on different aquariums with different sizes.
One interesting feature of daytime mode is important for providing clean and balanced natural color for the lighting. When you switch to the night mode, it is designed to offer the shadowy actinic blue light. It is a great change from the dull night modes offered by other models.
6. BeamWork DA FSPEC LED Freshwater Aquarium Light
The BeamWork DA FSPEC LED Freshwater Aquarium Light comes in a variety of sizes starting at 20 inches and moving up to 72 inches. As such, the lumens (light output) will vary from 2,800 to 8,000 based on the size.
Of course, this also means that the number of LED lights will vary, ranging from 40 to 182, all at 0.50 watts.
This product has an array of lights, with four different colors, including green, red, blue, and yellow. Lighting can come in a variety of options and aren’t designed to create a particular pattern.
However, you might not notice the various color options, as they will, in a sense, mix together in the water.
You’ll find that this light has a timer, which allows you to turn it on and shut it off whenever you need it. Consider turning it on at night while you’re sleeping and having it turn off during the daytime while you’re at work.
You can also use it manually if you are home when the lights have to be on/off.
If you’re like most people, you may have an aquarium in your child’s or your room. This product features two modes (day and night). You’ll be able to dim the lights somewhat while you’re sleeping and illuminate the aquarium more during the day.
Such a light is ideal for any freshwater aquarium that holds plants and cichlid. Plus, the fixture comes pre-wired, so you install it, plug it in, and have illumination.
7. Koval Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood
People who want a bright LED fish tank light will enjoy the Koval Aquarium Fish Tank Light Hood. It has five different colors, and the LEDs are very brightly lit. Plus, it’s a full-spectrum system, which makes the phycophyta more vivid.
This product comes with an extendable bracket, which helps the LED light fit various aquarium sizes. Of course, it’s best to choose the most appropriate size. They come in ranges, such as 24-30 inches, 36-43 inches, and 45-50 inches.
Depending on the product size you choose, you will get between 78 and 156 LED lights in the system. Regardless of sizing, these lights can be used for at least 50,000 hours. While it depends on how you use it, you could get more than that.
One of the primary advantages of this system is that the other LED lights work even if one has burned out. A different brand of LED light might not work. It could also cause the others in the panel to stop working.
The goal of any lighting system is to be highly efficient. This product serves that purpose. It can also help you save money and has a low-energy dissipation.
That means you can leave the lights on all the time without it using too much electricity. You can save money by doing this, but you will also extend the lifespan of the LED lights.
8. Hagen Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light
Many lights proclaim to illuminate the darkness of your aquarium. However, the Hagen Fluval Plant Aquarium Light does it with Bluetooth and Nanotechnology. It is programmable and has a 24-hour light cycle.
These cycles are gradual and including settings for sunrise, sunset, nighttime, and midday. There are also pre-set lighting configurations based on habitat. Your options can include planted, tropical, and Lake Malawai.
The light itself is fully adjustable. You can change the position as often as you like. Options can include side-to-side, up/down, and forward/backward.
This light has been around for a while. However, it features a new mounting design that goes over the edge of the aquarium. It also has a secure, repositionable grip.
Color control is independent of the piece. Therefore, you can change them at will using your smartphone app.
You also get deep coverage. Each LED light casts 120 degrees of illumination, and there are 63 lights. This gives you more uniform lighting and no dead spots (places without brightness).
A fully encased aluminum shell is used and provides more effective heat transfer. It also protects the device from humidity and water intrusion. As such, the frame is lighter and smoother than its previous model.
Therefore, the product comes with an IP67 waterproof rating. You can, in a sense, mount the light above the surface to give you greater light penetration.
9. NICREW Deluxe LED Aquarium Light
For those looking for something sleek and out of the way, the NICREW Deluxe Aquarium LED light is ideal. The aluminum housing is high-quality. This helps to cool the lights down and make the bulbs last longer.
These LED lights have a higher output than others. Therefore, it is suitable for freshwater fish. It is also excellent to use for plants with low or high light level needs.
You might not notice it at first, but this system has adjustable mounting legs. That means it is highly flexible. It can be used in aquariums with widths between 20 and 24 inches.
The size of the fixture is 16.4 inches long by 2.5 inches wide. It is less than an inch high, which means it doesn’t take up a lot of room. Plus, the light is designed to fit walls of ½-inch thick or less.
While your plants/pets might need more or less, it is recommended to use the light up to 10 hours a day. This product doesn’t come with a timer, but you might want to purchase one separately. That way, your lights turn off automatically to prevent overheating and burn-out.
These lights are designed to be brighter than a fluorescent tube and use less energy. This means you don’t spend as much money, and one lighting system will be sufficient to give full-depth illumination.
10. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light
For those looking for a slim, yet solidly built product, the Finnex Planted Aquarium LED Light doesn’t disappoint. The aluminum hood is also eye-catching, though the amazing feature is the unique lighting system.
It has a four-bulb cluster, each with daylight, blue, green, and red LEDs. Along with such, this product supports all plant types and growth. Fish in the aquarium are also going to stand out and look more magnificent.
Users get a 24/7 color control, which allows them to save their preferred color combinations. The program continues all day and night, so you can get your preferences with a variety of intensities throughout.
These high-performance LEDs offer a 120-degree optic angle. This gives you more even blending of color, as well as better coverage.
Plus, the LEDs have a high CRI (Color Rendering Index) to help create the best PAR (Parabolic aluminized reflector), suitable for reef and freshwater aquariums.
Of course, the hood is razor-thin, which means it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk. It also has a high surface area to efficiently dissipate heat. That way, your tank, and lights stay cooler.
An infrared remote control is also provided. Therefore, you have full command over memory slots, programing, and weather modes. You won’t have to move to make adjustments.
Many sizes are available. The 20-inch size is ideal for 10-gallon aquariums while the 46.5 – 48-inch version works for tanks up to 90 gallons.
What Size LED Light for Aquarium?
Once you have decided that LED lights are best for your aquarium, it is important to get the right size. LEDs are highly energy-efficient and give off less heat than other bulbs. As such, they tend to last longer.
You can also find many lighting styles. For example, these lights can cover the entire tank’s length. They might also clump together as a spotlight for various areas of the container.
The light needs to make your fish feel comfortable. If there is too much or too little, it can disrupt eating and sleeping cycles.
Wattage (amount of energy used to produce the light) must reflect the depth of the tank. This ensures that the whole aquarium gets even lighting. Tanks that are less than 22 inches deep usually require 175 watts.
This means that tanks about 22-28 inches deep should have a 250-watt LED light. Deeper ones might need up to 400 watts.
Sizing for the Lights
The size of your tank and light matter. Most tanks require between one and three watts per gallon and plants need up to five watts a gallon.
It’s important to understand that LEDs work differently than conventional lighting because of energy-efficiency. Many times, LEDs output up to three watts per bulb. Therefore, the more LEDs you have, the higher the wattage for the product.
Most manufacturers list a variety of sizes, usually in tank size. However, they might also contain the wattage or the lumens.
As an example, 18 watts in LED equals about 175 watts for traditional lights. That means 24 LEDs give you about 250 watts, and so on. However, this is for smaller fixtures, such as those 12 inches long.
This means that you’d need about 36 LEDs on a light bar 18-inches long to give you the same 250 watts.
Because the tank should mimic nature, you need downtime. Most kits illuminate the tank at night using blue shades. It’s also possible to find lights with timers to automatically change illumination to copy natural environments.
How Much LED Lighting for a Planted Tank?
Before you can buy the LED lighting for your planted tank, you have to understand the needs of the plants in your aquarium. Without this consideration, you just might end up with a lighting unit that does not deliver on the needs of the plant.
Low-light plants need an average of 60 lumens per gallon.
Average-light plants need about 110 lumens per gallon.
The high-light plants need more, about 150 lumens per gallon
As you can see, some aquarium plants demand more light, based on their type. Learn more about the type of plants you plan to have in the aquarium before you buy the aquarium plants and light.
Most manufacturers provide the rating of the lumens so that you know where best you can use such a model.
There is no doubt that you have seen some changes when it comes to aquarium lights. The technology has changed over the years and is now something that people want to use in their aquariums. As a user, you always have to keep in mind, when choosing the type of light you are going to get, that not all of them providing the best light for your particular plants and fish.
The models we have discussed above are all designed to be high-quality, to make sure that they deliver the best performance. You can do further research on your own to understand more about the brands before buying the product. You always want to spend your money right, as some tank lights can be costly.
Related Buyer’s Guides and Aquarium Adviser Lists:
The Best Substrate for Your Planted Tanks
Best Aquarium Plant Fertilizer for Plant Growth & Safe for Fish
Robert Berkowitz says
NICREW LED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable Brackets, White and Blue LEDs. I am using the above with my 65 gallon planted tank.My water is not green but with this light on it looks dark and very green
Thank you for the reviews, but there is no mention/taking into account the depth of the aquariums when factoring in these light reviews. I have a 30″ deep, 220 gallon aquarium. What light would be best to penetrate deep enough to enable any type of growth? Low light to high light.
30 inches is pretty far for light to travel. Because of the inverse square law, which states the light loses its power at an exponential rate you are going to need a much more powerful light. Fortunately most fish tank plants do not need a high DLI or daily light integral, so unless you are doing coral or a very heavy planted tank you can get away without buying a high powered HID light designed for coral and get a stronger LED, around 75-100 watts. If you are not using real plants even a mid range led 45-75 watts would work.
You can buy those clamp type lights and 6500K lights from Sunlight. 100W.
I have (4) under my hood on my 30 Gallon planted and does awesome. Cost me less than $40 in total. Clamp lights from Walmart, and Sunlight standard socket bulb 6500K. Easy to replace if one goes bad or gets wet. I bought the Fugeray and it died after 1 year. I like this look WAY better.
You can adjust bulb wattage and Kelvin to get the best growth versus algae. 5000K does seem to produce less algae than 6500K but less plant growth as well. Easy to adjust LPG with multiple fixtures and wattage bulbs available. CHEAP!
Rennie Ramnanan says
Hello I bought these 6 LEDs at 6500L see the link below.
Do you think I should use all 6 for a 120 gallon 6 ft. tank for growing floating water sprites.
Hello Dave if you can please provide pictures
There is no ramp on the satellite plus. Your review states there is.
Here is the Ramp Timer for Current USA LED.
Finnex lights are TRASH! Sorry but I have gone through three of them and they wont last more than a year and a half. Worst lights I have ever purchased.
Do they grow plants – yep pretty good too, until they either dim to half bright or just start flickering like a damn strobe light. Dont waste the money. Buy something better in the first place!
I had the same experience.
For plant growth lumens really has no play in it. No point blasting light at the wrong spectrum!
If your really after a plant growth lamp you want to be looking for a full spectrum lamp and looking at the PAR spec not lumens.
I can tell you from personal experience that the Finnex lights are crap. I had two of them for my tanks that I purchased at the same time and both of them crapped out after only 14 months. I’ll never purchase that brand again.
A long list of best lights and best qualities with no mention of Photosynthetic Active Radiation is just too light to take seriously.
Michael Stephenson says
I have to question the quality of your reviews. Going out to Amazon and reading what people who actually own these things have to say give me reason for pause. These are pretty expensive lights that don’t seem to last very long. Maybe you guys are made of money but for me if I am paying premium prices I want premium quality.