Top 8 Best LED Aquarium Lights [Expert’s Choices 2022]

In recent decades, along with the development of technology, LED lights have gradually replaced traditional incandescent light bulbs or fluorescent light bulbs. LED lights have been appearing everywhere from the road to the office, the garden, the house, and especially in the aquarium. 

The LED aquarium light is an indispensable device for indoor aquariums. However, it is challenging for the aquarist to find high-quality and suitable light because of the large number of brands on the market. So, let’s research the Top 8 best LED aquarium lights. 

Product imagesProduct namesEditor's ratingPrice
NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light4.9See Latest Price
NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light4.9See Latest Price
Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light4.8See Latest Price
Aqueon Aquarium Clip-On LED Light4.8See Latest Price
VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Series T300 LED Aquarium Light4.7See Latest Price
Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light4.6See Latest Price
MingDak LED Aquarium Light4.6See Latest Price
MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light4.5See Latest Price

What is an LED Aquarium Light? 

LED aquarium light
LED aquarium light

The aquarium light is a strange concept for those who start to learn about aquarium fish farming. As its name suggests, the aquarium light is an electronic device used to provide light for the aquarium. The fishes and other aquatic species living in the aquarium without the aquarium light may get an illness or even die. Besides, the light is also utilized to decorate the aquarium more sparkling and brilliant.

In the current market, there are numerous aquarium lights including compact fluorescent bulbs, standard fluorescent bulbs, metal halide lights, LED aquarium lights…, in which the LED aquarium light is the newest type. 

LED (Light Emitting Diode) aquarium light contains several LED chips which can emit high-intensity light for the aquarium with low power input and without giving off heat. Thanks to its strength of low power consumption and high efficiency, LED aquarium light is the most popular aquarium light. 

What makes LED Aquarium Lights different from other aquarium lights? 

To explain the reason why LED aquarium lights can alter other traditional options on the world market, we will list 6 differences of the LED aquarium lights from other aquarium lights. If you are confused about whether purchasing LED aquarium lights or choose other options, this part is the key information for you to make the right decision. 

 Differences between LED and other aquarium lights
Differences between LED and other aquarium lights

#1. Long-lasting 

The strongest advantage of a LED aquarium light compared to other traditional aquarium lights such as fluorescent light or incandescent light is its longevity. The average lifespan of a LED aquarium light is approximately 50,000 hours of operation (equivalent to 6-7 years), while the longevity of traditional incandescent bulb, standard fluorescent bulbs, the compact fluorescent bulb is only 2-4 months, 6-18 months, 28 months, respectively. In the long term, LED aquarium light is the most economical option for the fish tank. The long lifespan of LED aquarium light also helps the aquarist save the time and effort to change the permanent new bulb.

#2. Energy efficiency

It is proven that a LED aquarium light takes less energy to operate than other types of aquarium light (including traditional incandescent bulb, standard fluorescent bulb, and compact fluorescent bulb). With the current high technology of LED, a LED aquarium light uses 80% less power than the others. 

Although the price of LED aquarium light is higher than other options, the total cost including fixed initial cost and operation cost will be lower than incandescent bulb and fluorescent bulbs after 12-18 months thanks to its longevity and energy efficiency

#3. Adjustable light intensity

The suitable light intensity for each aquarium is different since it depends on various factors such as the type and the number of aquarium plants, the type and the number of fish, the other light source in the room, the algae appearing in the aquarium… Therefore, it is convenient for the aquarist to use LED aquarium light to raise the new fish, replace the old aquarium plants with the new one, or change the location placing the fish tank because they can adjust the light intensity easily and do not have to buy the new one.  

Some new high-technology LED aquarium light is programmed to automatically adjust their light intensity. The light intensity decreases at sunset and goes up at sunrise. The feature is excellent for the fish to calm down and relax at night. The blue light is regularly employed to simulate moonlight at night. 

The blue light is regularly employed to simulate moonlight at night
The blue light is regularly employed to simulate moonlight at night

The newest technology currently is smart LED aquarium light. The aquarists can change the light intensity remotely by smartphone. 

#4. Cool Running

Different from the incandescent bulb producing light by generating heat, the LED aquarium light illuminates the spectrum through the principle of electroluminescence. So, the LED aquarium light only generates little heat. Thanks to this, the fish, aquarium plants, and other species are not affected by the sudden change in temperature when turning on/off the light.

#5. Multiple Colors

The majority of LED aquarium light currently has multiple colors. The most common combinations are: white – blue, white – red – blue, and white – red – green – blue

  • White color: is used to simulate the sunlight
  • Blue color: is used to simulate the moonlight 
  • Red-green-blue color: is beneficial to the growth of aquarium plants

***Refer to more: Best LED Color Change: Top 8 Highly Recommended Choices 2022

#6. Ease of use

It is simple to install the LED aquarium light as the product’s package is full of necessary items. The usage is also easy by using the remote or knob based on the instruction in the package. 

4 Things to consider when buying the best LED aquarium lights

There are many types of LED aquarium lights on the market, which means the aquarists have a lot of alternatives. Even so, the aquarists should consider carefully to discover which type is the most sufficient for their aquarium. So, what should you pay attention to when choosing aquarium lights? Don’t worry, the following content will answer this question for you. 

4 Things to consider when buying LED aquarium lights
4 Things to consider when buying LED aquarium lights

#1. Size of the fish tank 

Definitely, the first thing to be considered must be the size of the fish tank. Based on the volume of the fish tanks, the aquarists can calculate the suitable power rate for their tanks. As experts advised, the aquariums require from 55 to 225 lumens per gallon depending on the density of species. This means each gallon of fish tank needs between 1 and 4 Watts from LED aquarium light. 

Besides the volume of the fish tank, the depth is also a vital indicator. A good LED aquarium light must emit the spectrum from the top to the bottom of the fish tank in order to ensure that all fish and other species can receive similar lighting.

The tank with less than 22-inch depth needs a power rate of about 175 Watts LED aquarium light, the 18-22-inch one requires approximately 250 Watts. For the deeper fish tank, the aquarist must use a much higher power input LED aquarium light (maybe 400 Watts or more). 

#2. Type of aquarium plants

The fish tank is normally decorated by coral or other aquarium plants such as moneywort, hornwort, rotala rotundifolia, pygmy chain sword, hygrophilia polysperma, cryptocoryne wendttii… Each type of plant in each growing phase needs distinctive light intensity. 

Some plants grow better under low light such as: hygrophila, java moss, java fern, anubias, vallisneria, rotala, sagittaria… These plants are only required from 35 to 80 lumens per gallon, equivalent to between 1 to 2 Watts per gallon. 

The medium-light aquarium plants include: cryptocoryne parva, dwarf sagittaria, bacopa monnieri… These plants are suitable to plant under the shade of other high plants. It is suggested to put them from 80 to 160 lumens (2-4 Watts) per gallon.

The aquarium plants required high light consisting of elatine hydropiper, Eriocaulon cinereum, fissidens fontanus, glossostigma elatinoides, glossostigma elatinoides… These plants need at least 160 lumens per gallon, corresponding to more than 4 Watts per gallon. 

***Refer to more: Top 7 Best Cheap Grow Lights 2022 [Top Highly-Recommended]

#3. Spectrum and Brightness

The white full-spectrum LED light is the most common for the aquarium
The white full-spectrum LED light is the most common for the aquarium

Each type of fish and aquarium plant needs a customized spectrum and brightness. The white full-spectrum LED light is the most common for the aquarium. It promotes the photosynthesis of aquarium plants and optimizes the efficacy of LED aquarium light. 

On the other hand, the RGB (red – green – blue) aquarium LED is a good alternative. The RGB is suitable for the growth of aquarium plants. It is recommended that the best RGB light spectrum for aquarium plants should contain:

  • Red light (630-700 nanometers): 50%
  • Greenlight (500-580 nanometers): 35%
  • Blue light (435-495 nanometers): 15%

In addition, the moonlight blue light is soft and good for fish to relax and calm down at night. 

#4. Cost vs Your Budget

It is advised that the aquarists should develop a budget for their aquarium including aquarium LED light. Because there are many types of aquarium LED lights with various prices on the market. Some aquarium LED lights cost a high price with unnecessary characteristics for your fish tank. So, the aquarists must read carefully the specifications to find out their perfect LED aquarium light.

Review of the 8 best LED Aquarium Lights

The LED aquarium light is a vital and indispensable device for the aquarium. Choosing the most suitable LED aquarium light is a prerequisite for the growth of aquarium species. Below are our recommendations of the Top 8 best LED aquarium lights. Please read carefully and select the most ideal one.  

#1. NICREW ClassicLED Plus Planted Aquarium Light

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The NICREW ClassicLED Plus, which has a stylish design with black, aluminum shell, is the best choice for the fish tank placed in a modern room. The docking mount of this LED aquarium light is equipped with two brackets at two ends that are able to adjust the length to fit the aquarium.

The NICREW ClassicLED Plus has five types of length consisting of 12-18 inch, 18-24 inch, 30-36 inch, 36-48 inches, and 48-54 inches, that are used for various fish tanks with different volumes. The surface area of this LED aquarium light designed to transfer the heat away from the cover together with the aluminum shell are the two key parts of the heat dissipation system. They help to cool the LED aquarium light more efficiently

The full spectrum of NICREW ClassicLED Plus containing four colors (white, red, green and blue is the ideal spectrum for both fish and aquarium plants. The 6500K white is useful for the activities of fish and photosynthesis of aquarium plants.

The combination of three colors (red, green and blue) creates a valuable spectrum for aquarium plants to grow. Besides, the four colors blending together make the aquarium more beautiful and special. The colors and intensities of NICREW ClassicLED Plus can be adjusted by the controller with three buttons: 

  • W: to adjust 6 levels (1%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%) of white channel in which white, red and green LEDs included
  • M: to adjust 2 lighting modes “only blue LED ON” and “all LED ON”
  • B: to adjust 6 levels of blue channel (only blue LEDs) from 1% to 100% (similar as 6 levels of the above white channel

In addition, if you do not have time to change the intensity and color of LED aquarium light regularly or you have to go on business for a long time, it is recommended to purchase the singer channel timer whose brand is the same as the NICREW ClassicLED Plus in order to ensure that channel timer is compatible with the aquarium light.

The power rate of NICREW ClassicLED Plus is from 10 Watts to 48 Watts based on its size, which means this LED aquarium light consumes from 0.01 kWh to 0.048 kWh per hour. In case the aquarist keeps the LED aquarium light on from 8 to 10 hours per day (as suggested by the manufacturer), NICREW ClassicLED Plus consumes only from 2.4 kWh to 14.4 kWh per month.

If you live in the US (with an average electricity rate is 12.52 cents per kWh, the NICREW ClassicLED Plus may generate from $0.3 to $1.8 per month as power cost.  

#2. NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 Aquarium Light

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The NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 is another best-selling LED aquarium light of NICREW beside NICREW ClassicLED Plus. Similar to the NICREW ClassicLED Plus, NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 has a black shell that is suitable for modern style. The two adjustable brackets at two ends allow this LED aquarium light to fit several sizes of fish tank. There are six types of sizes that are suitable for the fish tanks whose length is from 12 to 60 inches. 

NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 has from 72 to 252 diodes based on its size. The diodes are arranged in three rows, the two outer rows only contain white LEDs, the middle row contains both white and blue LEDs. The colors of diodes are alloted in the ratio of 1 blue – 5 white. The wired control has four buttons to adjust the intensity and spectrum of the LED aquarium light: 

  • “W” button: adjust the intensity of white color
  • “B” button: adjust the intensity of blue color
  • “M” button: adjust three modes (i) all LEDs ON, (ii) only white LEDs ON, and (iii) only blue LEDs ON

In addition, the timer system is integrated into the NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 and controlled by the button “alarm clock” on the control. There are three timer modes: 8 hours, 10 hours and 12 hours. 

The Wattage of NICREW ClassicLED Gen 2 is only from 11 Watts to 40 Watts based on its sizes, which is more power-saving than the fluorescent bulbs. The lifespan may be up to 50,000 hours, equivalent to about 11 years in case lighting 12 hours per day. 

#3. Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

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The Hygger Advanced with the sleek and aluminum shell is the best choice for a modern-style aquarium. The aluminum shell also generates little heat, which helps the light operate more effectively and extends the lifespan. Thanks to the super-slim design and low weight, this LED aquarium light does not cause great pressure on the edge of the fish tank. The two metal legs at both ends of the light are adjustable in length so as to be suitable for the size of the aquarium. The Hygger Advanced has five sizes that fit with the 19-54 inch-length fish tank. 

The Hygger Advanced contains from 98 to 215 diodes depending on its size. A large number of diodes and their density make the spectrum more blazing and brilliant. In addition, water-resistant technology is applied to protect the LED aquarium light from splashed water. 

Hygger Advanced also contains a super-luminous 6500K white color and other six colors including red, orange, cyan, green, blue and violet. The combination of 6500K white color and RGB (red, green, blue) creates various beautiful spectrums suitable for both only-fish tank and planted tank. 

The intensity and color of the Hygger Advanced can be adjusted by the wired control. On the control, the second button is used to turn on/off the light (pressing at least three seconds) and change its color. The aquarist can press the second button quickly and continuously to change the color in order: white, orange, blue, red, violet, green, cyan. The third button is used to adjust the intensity of LED aquarium light. There are five levels of intensity: 10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. The order of intensity level from 10% to 100%, then 100% to 10%. 

The timer system is integrated in the aquarium light. The aquarium can press the first button on the control for the timer. There are three modes of timer: 6 hours, 10 hours, and 12 hours. If you turn on the “6 hours” mode, the LED aquarium light will be turned off 6 hours after; the “10 hours” and “12 hours” modes are similar.

The most special feature of Hygger Advanced is its 24/7 modes. The mode is easily turned on by pressing the first button on the control. The 24/7 mode simulates a daylight cycle. The light is programmed to turn on at 6 a.m. and turn off at 10:50 p.m automatically. In the early morning, the warm orange light appears, which is similar to the sunrise light. Then, the full spectrum is emitted after about 2 hours. Finally, the moonlight blue illuminates at the last 30 minutes before the light turns off.  

#4. Aqueon Aquarium Clip-On LED Light

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The Aqueon Clip-On is ultra-thin, elegant, and suitable for an open-top aquarium. The LED aquarium light is 7 inches long and 4.75 inches therefore it is ideal for small fish tanks (up to 20 gallons). The installation is easy for both framed and frameless fish tanks. The aquarists can use a versatile mounting screw that comes with this LED aquarium light to attach the light to the edge of the aquarium. 

The Aqueon Clip-On has 60 white and blue diodes with three modes of light: all light ON, blue light ON, and all light OFF. The sleek-surface shell is a soft-touch switch that allows the aquarist to select the light mode. The “all light ON” mode is ideal for the growth of aquarium plants, the “blue light ON” mode simulating the nightlight is suitable for the fish to relax. 

#5. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Series T300 LED Aquarium Light

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The VIPARSPECTRA T300 is designed based on a modern and steady style. Its shell is grey and made of aluminum. The combination of materials as aluminum, multiple vent holes around the shell, and the numerous high-quality fans has created a perfect heat dissipation system without annoying noise.

The product package contains two hanging kits which can easily adjust its length to find out the most suitable height, the maximum height is 23 inches. As the manufacturer suggested, the best height is 12 inches and the ideal coverage is 32×24 inches. 

The full spectrum stimulates natural light based on two channels. The first channel called the “blue channel” contains three colors: blue, royal blue and purple. The second channel called the “white channel” includes four colors: cool white, neutral white, red, and green. The mix between “blue channel” and “white channel” at a reasonable rate of time contributes to creating the ideal environment for the growth of both fish and aquarium plants. 

The wireless remote is an important part of the VIPARSPECTRA T300’s package. The aquarists can use the remote control to adjust the intensity (from 0% to 100%) and the channel of light (blue and white). The screen is integrated on the shell of this LED aquarium light to display the time, the selected channels or brightness.

On the wireless remote, the “blue channel” and “white channel” are denoted by CH1 and CH2, respectively. Besides the wireless remote, another way to change the brightness of light is by turning the control knob on the VIPARSPECTRA T300.

The timer system helps the aquarist to program the operation of VIPARSPECTRA T300 by using the control knob or wireless remote. The most special characteristic of the timer system is the “24 effect” which makes the LED aquarium light emit colors throughout the day. 

#6. Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light

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Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light is one of the most popular LED aquarium lights of Hygger. The most typical upgrade of Hygger 24/7 compared to other Hygger LED aquarium lights is a waterproof material that protects the LED aquarium light when falling into the water or being splashed with water.

Besides, the easy-to-wipe shell made of aluminum saves a lot of time for aquarists to clean (using a dry towel is all right). The adapter is separated so that the aquarists do not have to replace the whole LED aquarium light in case it is broken. 

The high-quality diodes create pure and transparent light. The spectrum is 85% similar to the natural light which does not hurt the eyes of both fish and humans. The lifespan of Hygger 24/7 is long (at least 50,000 hours). 

The color, brightness, and dimmable system of the spectrum is the same as the Hygger Advanced with seven colors (white, red, blue, green, purple, orange and cyan) and 5 intensity levels (10%, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%). The timer is also similar to the Hygger Advanced with three-time modes (6 hours, 10 hours, and 12 hours). 

The 24/7 mode is programmed to emit various spectrums based on daytime and nighttime from 6 am to 10.50 pm.

  • 6 am to 8 am: orange light
  • 8 am to 6 pm: white light
  • 6 pm to 10.50 pm: blue light
  • Other time period: light OFF

The extraordinary feature is the default setting of 24/7 mode can be reset to be delayed or advanced by using the local time setting system. This means the 24/7 mode will start at any time you want and finish after 16 hours 50 minutes. 

#7. MingDak LED Aquarium Light 

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MingDak is a good-quality LED aquarium light that is trusted by several aquarists. This LED aquarium light has a long and thin structure and is produced by plastic and acrylic. In the product package, there are two suckers attached with two objects which are adopted to fix the two ends of the light firmly.

As the manufacturer suggested, the aquarists install MingDak LED aquarium light by fastening the two suckers to the wall of the fish tank. Due to the three-layout waterproofing, the MingDak LED aquarium light can submerge completely into the water. This LED aquarium light can be installed behind the aquarium as background light so as to emphasize the beauty of caves, aquarium plants and corals in the aquarium.

On the other hand, if the aquarists need light for the activities of fish and the growth of aquarium plants, it is suggested to mount the light on the top or the bottom of the fish tank.

The function of each button on the wireless remote is easy to understand thanks to its reasonable color and word. There are 16 buttons with several colors, equivalent to 16 colors of lights. MingDak LED Aquarium Light has four modes of light speed: flash, strobe, fade, smooth. It is simple to change the light speed by pressing the button with the name of mode on it.

Besides, the aquarists also can turn on/turn off the light and adjust the brightness by using the wireless remote. 

Thanks to its specification, MingDak LED Aquarium Light is the best choice for aquarists who have small fish tanks and have an interest in changing the visualization of the aquarium regularly. 

#8. MingDak Submersible LED Aquarium Light

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The structure of MingDak Submersible LED aquarium light is quite similar to the MingDak LED aquarium light mentioned above. The long and slim light is suitable to mount onto the wall, the top or the bottom of the fish tank. The three-layout and high-quality water resident protect the MingDak Submersible when submerging wholly into the water. 

MingDak Submersible has 18 super blazing diodes that are placed neatly in a 7.5-inch row. Owing to its length, this LED aquarium light is regularly utilized for small aquariums (maximum 20 gallons). There are two colors of diodes (white and blue), equivalent to three modes of lighting: white light ON (9 diodes), blue light ON (9 diodes) and all light ON (18 diodes). 

The modes of light are controlled by pressing the third button on a wired remote coming with the package. The wired remote is also used to change the brightness of white light and blue light. The brightness is from 10% to 100% (increasing 10% brightness for each press). 

With the MingDak Submersible, the aquarists do not need to concern about purchasing the compatible timer thanks to its built-in timer. There are three options: 6 hours, 10 hours and 12 hours. By simply pressing the timer button on the wired remote, the aquarists have finished the timer programming for the LED aquarium light. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are LED lights good for aquarium?

The LED aquarium LED is fine and necessary for both fish and aquarium plants. The LED light is regularly at least 85% similar to the sunlight, which is safe for all aquarium species. 

What color LED light is best for fish?

The mix of white spectrum and blue spectrum is the most ideal for fish. The white spectrum mimics the natural sunlight providing the light for fish activities. The blue spectrum helps to calm the fish to relax at night. 

The other colors (red, green, orange, purple…) make the fish more beautiful and blazing. 

How do I choose an LED light for my aquarium?

There are four criteria that the aquarists should consider when purchasing the LED aquarium light: the size of the fish tank, aquarium plants, the brightness and spectrum, and the cost of light and your budget. 

Please read our “4 Things to consider when buying the best LED aquarium lights” carefully for more information.

How long should LED lights be on in an aquarium?

As experts suggested, the aquarists should turn on the light from 8 to 12 hours per day. In which, the white spectrum should be on from 6 to 10 hours, the blue spectrum should be on 2 or 3 hours. 

Please turn off the light during the remaining time to save power and give the darkness for fish to relax. 

Do fish like aquarium lights?

The fish needs light to survive. Therefore, the LED aquarium light is essential for an indoor aquarium. The fish may determine the day and the night based on the LED aquarium lights. Currently, the high-technology LED aquarium lights are safe for fish and do not hurt their eyes. 

Conclusion

Please read the whole article carefully to find out the most suitable LED aquarium lights for your fish tank. We are here 24/7 to answer your questions, therefore, please do not hesitate to contact us for more instructions.