Best LED Aquarium Lighting in 2021

One might think that you simply purchase an aquarium and fill it with water and you are set to add coral, plant life, and the fish of your choice. Unfortunately, that is not really the case. Some aquariums come in kits that include lights and filters and such but the truth of the matter is you may need to consider purchasing quality accessories to really get your aquarium set up for success.

One of the important pieces that you will probably need is a top rated LED aquarium lighting option. There are plenty of choices out there for the best LED aquarium lighting and searching the market to find them can easily become overwhelming.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We did all of the searchings for you and we have the market narrowed down to the best LED aquarium lighting reviews to share with you. You don’t have to spend hours trying to search through the options and figure it out, we’ve narrowed it down to the absolute best LED aquarium lighting out there!

Stick with us to find out about our top picks and more.

1. Best Overall: Nicrew Classic LED Gen 2 Aquarium Light

Nicrew Classic LED Gen 2 Aquarium Light

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The very best option and our top pick overall is a simple and affordable solution that comes in a variety of sizes. The Nicrew Classic LED is on the 2nd generation with some updates that have made it even better than their original LED aquarium lighting model. This best Nicrew LED lights aquarium model is high quality and is very easy for beginners to use as well.

There are 4 different size ranges to choose from and this model has white LEDs as well as blue LEDs. It has remote control operation and is designed to provide white and blue light intensity that LED aquarium lights are known for.

The Nicrew Classic LED 2nd Gen aquarium light is 50% brighter than their previous model. It comes with extendable brackets so you can fit your aquarium Nicrew LED lights to your planted aquarium or fish tank however you need. This LED lighting is energy efficient and lets you program with a dual-channel timer as well as sunrise and sunset effects.

Pros:

Cons

Why We Like It

No matter your lighting needs, this LED aquarium lighting systems will deliver. It’s very easy to use and compatible with freshwater fish tanks, reef tanks, and other types of uses without shooting your energy costs through the roof.

Related Review: BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light

2. Budget Choice: Shymery Submersible LED Lights with Remote

Shymery Submersible LED Lights with Remote

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This next aquarium LED light is a budget friendly option that costs less and is really pretty cool overall. The Shymery Submersible LED Lights are neat because you don’t have to worry about a glass canopy or a splash guard getting in the way. They are simple round lights that submerge into the water and you handle the color channels with remote control.

This LED system is IP68 waterproof so the submerging will not harm the lights and you can use them for ALL tank sizes! These offer a full light spectrum with LED technology so you can adjust the color options and even take advantage of a dusk mode moonlight effect, blue lights, or other LED bulbs. And there is no power supply or power cord to tangle with as these are battery operated.

These light bulbs are operated by AAA batteries and they are reusable with the batteries guarded from the water so you can just replace the batteries and not worry at all about energy consumption. Your lighting needs will be covered whether you need daylight LEDs for your aquarium plants or some other need for LED fixtures, these are useful for just about anything and they don’t cost much!

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Why We Like It

Aquarium owners can get a gallery image tank without having to worry about mounting or aquarium frames and covers clashing. These are a simple and affordable solution for fish tank lights that really work nicely and are so simple but still give you tons of user manual options.

 

3. Current USA Orbit Marine LED Light

Current USA Orbit Marine LED Light

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If you’re looking for the best of the best, the premium pick, look no further than this Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED lighting solution. The Current USA Orbit marine aquarium lights are as bright as fluorescent lights without the harsh effects or heavy energy costs. There are so many more options here that can be used in many ways.

This LED strip light is great for saltwater aquariums, coral reef tanks, freshwater aquarium, or light plants solutions. You get blue lights and white lights from the light output that can handle different types of aquariums. You get adjustable mounting capability and the Current USA Orbit Marine aquarium LED light operates on low energy but optimal light output.

If you’ve heard the rumors about the Current USA Satellite freshwater LED, the Current USA Marine aquarium LED light is just as great for aquatic plants, reef aquariums, and plant growth. The Current USA Satellite freshwater LED and the Current USA Orbit Marine aquarium LED light are very similar and have similar functionality but the Marine Orbit is suitable for different types of aquariums overall.

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Why We Like It

The Current USA Orbit Marine LED aquarium lighting system is an upgrade from the Current USA satellite that was only suitable for freshwater aquariums. It’s one of the best LED lights in terms of quality and versatility. We love that it offers 24 hour cycles so you don’t have to manually adjust the LED fixture settings.

4. Finnex Planted 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light

Finnex Planted 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light

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If you want the type of light that offers more than just blue and white, the Finnex Planted 24/7 might just be a great option for you. It’s very easy to install and it gives you not just 12 hours of light but 24/7 light circulation and modes. It provides a means of making sure your reef aquariums and aquatic plants get the type of light that they truly need to thrive.

The largest size does offer adjustable mounting but these aquarium lights are primarily for fixed measurements. The LED aquarium lights lighting system is water resistant with some of the best LED lights used for bright light in the fixture. You can use different colors for different types of lighting with the Finnex Planted 24/7 model, including red LEDs.

You can use a remote control to moderate your white light or other LED lighting with a full spectrum of LED aquarium light. You can even set lighting modes for sunrise and sunset for your aquarium light intensity. Day and night features are very nice if you make sure you have the settings correct. This light does stimulate plant growth as well.

Pros:

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Why We Like It

This LED lighting aquariums model is made with a slim LED strip lights design and high quality LED aquarium light features. The aluminum alloy shell is water resistant and you get a range of lighting cycle control features with various color mixing. There are several size options so you can get what you need.

5. Vipar Spectra Timer Control LED Aquarium Light

Vipar Spectra Timer Control LED Aquarium Light

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Sometimes it’s hard to use aquarium LED lights systems with brackets or heat sinks mounts because they just aren’t ideal for all tanks. This LED aquarium light from Vipar Spectra is a high quality LED aquarium light that is energy efficient and will work for just about any aquarium size and offers cloud cover, cool white, or even a shimmer effect.

The LED lighting is designed to keep the PAR output and coverage balanced so that the lighting fixture works like it is intended to work. These LED lighting systems are simple to operate and they won’t kill your energy bills. Setting up a power source is very easy and it can work for multiple aquarium sizes or water tanks.

This can be helpful for coral reefs and it is compatible with saltwater fish tanks as well as freshwater tanks. The cloud cover effects are pretty neat. The full spectrum RGB LEDs don’t require docking legs, suction cups, heat sink, or any other crazy bracing tools. You simply mount it and let it do the work.

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Cons

Why We Like It

We love this LED aquarium light because the LED lights offer a full spectrum of options and you have channel control capabilities. You mount the light for permanent use with metal brackets and it makes a quality LED aquarium light solution.

6. Shupat Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

Shupat Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

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If you want a simple solution with extendable brackets, look no further. The Shupat Full Spectrum Aquarium Light certainly isn’t fancy but it is the best solution for LED lights that really does a great job. If you don’t need all of the controls and special functions, these LED lights for aquarium lights are perfect for you!

You can choose from a variety of sizes. Each one ranges within a certain size frame so make sure you pay attention to the measurements. It has white LEDs for white light as well as blue LEDs and other colors to give you different lighting modes. This can be a good solution whether you have aquatic plants in a planted aquarium or other aquatic life. It can even be used for reef tanks and aquarium plants if you use it properly.

This light is in an aluminum alloy shell so it is sturdy and durable. You have a light fixture with daylight LEDs that are bright and a full spectrum of colors. You can change the light modes on the light fixture with your touch for a night light effect according to the user manual instructions.

Pros:

Cons

Why We Like It

We love that this gallery image LED aquarium light gives you white and blue plus the other colors and it doesn’t cost a ton. It isn’t fancy but it does give you plenty of options and can be versatile. It is well made and very simple.

7. Hipargero LED Aquarium Light with Touch Control

Hipargero LED Aquarium Light with Touch Control

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This LED aquarium light from Hipargero gives you another strategic spin on design. We’re sharing the option that has violet and blue LEDs as well as white LEDs but they also have a simple aquarium light that is all white LED lights if that is what you prefer. This aquarium lighting system is energy efficient and operates with touch control.

This LED aquarium light operates on a professional spectrum and gives you two dimmable channels. It’s very simple to operate with touch and the lights offer color combination and heat output that helps to support life forms. These LED light fixtures have simple bulb replacement as needed.

This aquarium lighting work will attach directly to your tank so you don’t have to know your exact tank size to use the features. You do need a rimless tank for these LED systems as the mount will only hold to a certain type so pay attention to those features for this light.

Pros:

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Why We Like It

This aquarium light offers a simple solution with soft colors that are dimmable. It is touch controlled and can be set up with a timer. This offers a solution that attaches to the side wall of a rimless tank, which is a unique identifier.

8. Aqua Illuminatoin AI Prime HD Reef Aquarium LED

Aqua Illuminatoin AI Prime HD Reef Aquarium LED

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When you take a look at this aquarium light, you might be blown away. Aqua Illuminatoin AI Prime HD Reef Aquarium LED looks simple at first glance but it really is pretty cool. You can even choose from a black or white fitting, which is a rare find with LED lights such as this. Who knew a simple little box could really be effective for an aquarium.

This light measures 4.88 x 4.88 x 1.3. It’s super compact and you can attach it to a stand or mount it in a hanging fashion over your tank. This has tons of functionality, including a moonlight LED that is a prime HD design you really can’t argue with. It has bluetooth and wi-fi capability and you don’t need a remote control, just your phone.

It comes with mounting hardware, including the mount, flex arm, and a hanging kit so you don’t have to spend even more money to get it set up. It also offers all of the colors from cool white and blue light to photo red and everything in between. Amazing is the best description we have for you.

Pros:

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Why We Like It

This fixture is a high end option and it offers a lot of features that most LEDs light simply doesn’t have. The lights are bright and strong and reliable and you get all of the necessary brackets and mounting fixtures as well as color features that you could possibly need.

9. Relassy Updated Aquarium Light with Remote Control

Relassy Updated Aquarium Light with Remote Control

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If you want a professional quality coral reef light, this is it for you. Professional aquariums often use this style because it has all of the colors and covers a large area.  With Relassy, you get total control and settings with all of the features in a simple fixture. It does a lot for meeting light needs within aquariums.

This type of light has a slim build for the fixture and also offers timer functions as well. It can be set for 6, 12, or 18 hours. It’s perfect for coral reefs, saltwater, freshwater, or any other water and plants setup. It has a very modern feel and is efficient and effective as well.

The color and light are dimmable (including blue LEDs) and it comes with a remote to help you adjust as needed for your tank. It comes with suspension and is designed for hanging. There are no brackets needs. The best part about this one is there is NO fan, which means there is no noise on these models.

Pros:

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Why We Like It

This is a gorgeous, modern set of aquarium LEDs. It’s slim and stylish and it covers a very large area so your high gallon tank will be taken care of. It almost looks like circuit boards but so much more stylish and the price tag certainly isn’t awful for the design and quality.

Buyer’s Guide

Chong coral growth in fish

Now that you have seen our favorite LED aquarium lights on the market, it’s time to take you through a journey of choosing the right one for you. An aquarium light can come in all different shapes and sizes and they can have a ton of different feature provisions.

Before you spend your hard earned money, you should know all of the prevalent information. Our hope is that this will help you make an educated decision but also that it will provide you with useful information for utilizing led light when it comes to aquarium lights.

LED Lights Vs. Fluorescent Lights

Maybe you are wondering just why you should make the switch to LED or simply trying to decide which one is better. Fluorescent lighting tends to be more harsh. It is not really designed to enhance or promote the life within your aquarium. It is made to generate light and that is the sole purpose – at least when it comes to the aquarium.

Fluorescents are made with metal halides and they are not as safe. In fact, they are becoming harder to find and harder to maintain because most lighting options are changing to LED lights. You see it on vehicles and homes and many other things as well.

The fluorescent can also get really hot during operation and put out too much heat, which might be harmful to your aquarium light needs.

LED lights are by far the most popular aquarium lights out there. They are affordable, they don’t generate excessive heat and they are easy to maintain and care for. They tend to be bright without being harsh, which gives them a step up from their counterparts. There are so many options out there. These have become the new normal for light.

There are really 4 main types of aquarium lights. Those include the following:

  • LED Lights
  • Normal fluorescents
  • Compact fluorescents
  • Metal halide lights

Take note that LED lights are the most common now. Some people prefer metal halide when it comes to reefs because there are heat and light to stimulate health and growth. LED lights can also do this and do it more efficiently now. If you want safety and quality for pretty much any use, LED is the way to go.

Size

One of the first things to consider if you want the aquarium lighting that will work the best is the size. You will need to consider various aspects in order to figure out the size you need so let’s look at the big picture here.

First, you need to know your tank size. This seems obvious but you would be surprised at how challenging it can be to ensure you get a size of light that will actually light your tank space. Even though there are expandable options and varying sizes, you have to be careful because some of them simply won’t light your space entirely.

You have to consider the length of your tank but you also need to consider the depth. If you have a deep tank, you need powerful lights so that they don’t only hit the top elements. The power of the light needs to reach down into the depths and it can be hard for light to penetrate that depth effectively so consider the depth as part of the size when you make a decision.

From here, you can determine the size and power of light you are going to need and work from there. What is in your tank might also impact the size of light you need. This is because there are some species that need heavy and direct light while other items like corals and tropical plants might not. The lighting needs can vary a lot and whether or not you want to stimulate growth also matters.

Light Power

Next, we slightly touched on this topic but want to talk a bit more about aquarium contents and the intensity that they need to thrive. Remember that your tank will be unique. You can set up your aquarium however you want to and it will be different from most other people’s aquarium designs. What works best for you might not work best for another aquarium.

The majority of plants don’t need intense light to survive, although there are also many that do. For example, a vast number of plants are happy with approximately 10 lumens per liter but you will need to know and understand the lighting needs of what you place in the aquarium as some might need as much as 40 lumens per liter.

Lumens per liter is a good way to understand the power and intensity of the light and determine whether it will be sufficient for your aquarium. Keep in mind that the light may not spread evenly because of the depth of your tank so you may need additional intensity for your plant to really receive that intensity.

Available Features

Each LED light has unique features that you can choose from. Some of the features may be irrelevant to you but some of them might really stick out to you as useful for your aquarium. These can often be selected based on your wants and needs and some of them you might be able to do without.

Here’s the thing to know – you usually have to pay for the features. Thinks of things like wi-fi capabilities, touch controls, remotes, and more. Then, you have to consider the dimmable specialties and whether or not you can get sunrise or sunset lighting. The features can be amazing but also complicated.

Some of these products offer timers while others offer special channel programming. Check out each product to know just what features it has. Before you look, start thinking about which ones you are most interested in and which ones you might not need to make a way to a decision.

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles you can probably save yourself some money. You can also find yourself in the mid range for cost if you want some simple features and some cool features. Figure out where you fall and go from there.

Cost & Budget

If you haven’t noticed, the prices can range quite a bit. You can find $10 and $20 solutions but you can also find solutions that are more like $200 – $500. Remember that you often pay for some of those extra features and capabilities but sometimes you also pay for product quality.

You may not want the cheapest, although there are some really great budget finds that might serve you better than the premium options ever could. Before you start your wish list, consider your budget and then make an effort to stay within your budget when you make a decision.

It’s ok if you can’t spend $200 or more on light and setup requirements. Everything we shared here, even the budget solutions, are high quality and you won’t be disappointed, even if you can’t use a remote for every little action.

The point we’re trying to make is to buy within your budget and know that you can get quality even if you have to spend less. Don’t pay extra for features you don’t need or want and that could save you some money as needed.

Colors

Finally, aquarium lights come with a full range of colors and what you need could differ. You might be able to work with a simple white light or you may need another type. This could depend on the fish or the plants within so know what light you require from your fixture. Here is some information about each color.

White

This is the most popular and used type of color for any fixture. White LEDs will be the prominent ones and for some, that is all they will have. White is warm and really makes some colors pop. If you have reds, oranges, greens, golds, and yellows, white is awesome.

White can be great for fish like guppies, goldfish, tetra, bettas, and more. Having dimmable solutions might also make a difference.

Blue

Blue is great for dimming the light and making it softer and warm while still enhancing the color. You can often turn up or turn down blue and this is where you will find a sunset setting or a daytime setting. Blues are meant to be warmer but still offer plenty of light. They enhance without overpowering the contents.

There is both pale blue and deep blue. The deep blue really makes things pop and enhances blues and reds with a natural glow. This color is common for tetra and cichlids.

Magenta

Magenta is a shade of red or purple that is popular. It is absolutely beautiful with pinks, red, blues, and greens and makes them look especially brilliant in the water. It’s a soft color so it isn’t harsh. These bring out reds to make them stunning. If you have blue, white, and red, you can make magenta with your settings.

Green

Green can be really awesome for corals in an aquarium. Not only does it make their colors more brilliant but this can help to stimulate growth and color health for your coral. It promotes photosynthesis by providing proteins that really brighten the natural color effect of a reef.

If you have a reef aquarium, you definitely want some green involved. The effects are amazing.

Frequently Asked Questions

small fishes within a simple aquarium

How Do I Choose LED Aquarium Lights?

Choose your lights carefully based on the size and the contents of your tank. You need to create a personalized solution for YOUR environment. Take note of the tips we have shared here in the buyer’s guide and that should go a long way to help you make a good decision in the end!

Are LED Lights Good For Aquariums?

LEDs are actually one of the best solutions. For so long, it was believed that metal halide and fluorescents were the answer but we have come to know that LEDs can replace either of these and probably outdo them in the end.

An LED is much safer and also far less harsh overall. It doesn’t tend to put out excessive heat, which can make a significant difference. This is the perfect answer to your aquarium needs. They are simple, safe, and effective and they often require very little maintenance or upkeep.

You have solutions and you have the versatility that other types of lighting simply cannot offer you and actually work well.

What Color Light is Best for Fish?

For the majority of fish, blue and white are the go to color. There are some fish that benefit from red or purple so that you can create a magenta effect. Be sure to research so you know which light is best for YOUR fish.

Conclusion

Lighting an aquarium is an important part of having one and there are so many ways to do it. The goal is to make your aquarium look nice but also to effectively function for the contents so you don’t have to worry about whether they will thrive or grow further.

Expert Tip

If you have a deep aquarium, use a light that sits close to the water and was more power so that the light can do what it is intended to do.

Did You Know?

Green lights actually stimulate the proteins in corals and reefs that make them grow but it also makes their colors more natural and bright for a visual appeal.

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