Adding an aquarium to your home is a delightful way to enhance its ambience, but it’s essential to provide proper lighting to ensure the health and happiness of the aquatic creatures living inside. However, selecting the ideal aquarium light can be an overwhelming task, as there are numerous options to choose from in the market.
In this article, we’ll present a detailed guide on the best aquarium lights, covering various types, factors to consider, and suggestions for different aquarium sizes.
Types of Aquarium Lights
There are four main types of aquarium lights available in the market:
Fluorescent lights are the most commonly used lights in aquariums, mainly because they are affordable and easy to find. They come in a range of sizes and colours, making them suitable for different types of aquariums. However, they are not very energy-efficient and need to be replaced frequently.
LED lights are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and longevity. They produce less heat, making them suitable for delicate aquatic life such as corals.
LED lights are available in a variety of colours and can be programmed to simulate natural lighting, making them ideal for planted aquariums.
Metal Halide Lights
Metal Halide lights are the most powerful and brightest lights available in the market, making them suitable for large aquariums with deep water. They are also ideal for aquariums with corals as they simulate natural sunlight, promoting coral growth.
However, they are expensive and produce a lot of heat, which can be harmful to delicate aquatic life.
Incandescent lights are the least energy-efficient and the least popular among the four types. They produce a lot of heat and emit a yellowish light that can distort the colours of the aquatic life within the aquarium.
Which type of light is the best for an aquarium?
The best type of aquarium lights will be LED lights. They are bright, energy-efficient and last for a long time. That’s the reason why we see a lot of new fish aquarium light products to be LED lights.
We foresee that LED lights will dominate the market for a very long time and it makes every sense to use LED lights for your aquarium tank.
Factors to Consider
When it comes to selecting the optimal aquarium light, there are several important factors that need to be taken into consideration. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can ensure that you make an informed decision and provide the best lighting conditions for your aquatic environment. Let’s explore these factors in detail.
Type of Aquarium
The type of aquarium you have plays a crucial role in determining the kind of lighting it requires. Different types of aquariums, such as planted aquariums and coral reef aquariums, have specific lighting needs. Planted aquariums thrive under lights that provide a specific spectrum, promoting healthy plant growth. On the other hand, coral reef aquariums require lights that closely replicate natural sunlight to support the growth and vitality of the corals.
Size of Aquarium
The size of your aquarium is another essential factor to consider. The dimensions of the tank directly impact the type and number of lights needed. A smaller aquarium may only require a single light source to provide adequate illumination, while larger aquariums necessitate multiple lights to achieve an even distribution of light throughout the tank. Properly lighting the entire tank ensures that all areas receive the necessary light for the well-being of your aquatic life.
Type of Aquatic Life
The specific type of aquatic life you have in your aquarium also influences the lighting requirements. Different organisms have varying light needs. For instance, corals typically demand high-intensity lighting to thrive and display their vibrant colours. On the other hand, fish and plants may have different preferences when it comes to the spectrum and intensity of light. It’s important to choose a light that caters to the specific needs of the organisms in your aquarium to promote their health and overall well-being.
Establishing a budget is an essential step before embarking on your search for the ideal aquarium light. The cost of lights can vary significantly depending on their type and brand. By determining a budget, you can narrow down your options and focus on lights that are within your price range. However, it’s crucial to strike a balance between your budget and the quality of the light. Opting for a reliable and durable light may be a wise long-term investment, as it can save you from frequent replacements or potential issues down the line.
Considering the energy efficiency of the aquarium light is not only environmentally responsible but also helps save on electricity bills. LED lights are widely regarded as the most energy-efficient option available for aquariums. They consume less power while providing ample light output. Following LED lights, fluorescent lights are considered relatively energy-efficient. By choosing an energy-efficient light, you can reduce your environmental footprint and enjoy long-term cost savings.
Aquarium Lights for Different Aquarium Sizes
Different aquarium sizes will need different aquarium lights. Let’s look at the 3 main sizes and what will be the recommended products.
Small Aquariums (10-20 gallons)
For small aquariums, LED lights are the best option as they are energy-efficient and provide ample lighting. We recommend the Nicrew ClassicLED Aquarium Light as it is affordable, provides a good spectrum of light, and has adjustable brackets to fit different aquarium sizes.
Medium-Sized Aquariums (20-50 gallons)
For medium-sized aquariums, we recommend the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Aquarium LED Light. This light has a customizable 24/7 mode, allowing for a sunrise and sunset effect, as well as a variety of color spectrums to promote plant growth.
Large Aquariums (50+ gallons)
For large aquariums, metal halide lights are the best option as they provide the necessary intensity of light for deep water and coral growth. We recommend the CURRENT USA Satellite Freshwater LED. This model could cater for tanks as wide as 60 inches.
Choosing the best aquarium light can be a daunting task, but it is an important decision for the health and well-being of aquatic life within the aquarium. Consider the type of aquarium, size, type of aquatic life, budget, and energy efficiency when choosing the best aquarium light.
LED lights are the most energy-efficient and versatile, while metal halide lights are the best for large aquariums with corals.
5 Recommended Aquarium Lights
There are many aquarium lights that can be found online. It’s a challenge to understand which will be the best aquarium light for your tank. Here are some of the recommended aquarium lights that you can consider.
The NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light is a popular lighting option for aquariums of all sizes due to its affordability and reliability. Its LED bulb is energy-efficient and provides high-quality lighting for aquatic plants and fish.
This light has a modern and sleek design that can be easily installed in most aquariums. It’s adjustable mounting brackets allow you to position the light at the perfect height for your tank. Furthermore, it has a low-profile design that does not take up too much space above your aquarium.
The NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light is customizable and lets you adjust the intensity and colour of the light to fit your aquarium’s needs. Its blue and white LEDs provide natural and vibrant lighting that enhances the colours of your fish and plants.
One of the best things about this light is its energy efficiency. It consumes only 11 watts of power, making it an eco-friendly and cost-effective solution for your aquarium. Additionally, its LED bulbs can last up to 20,000 hours, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
In summary, the NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light is a reliable and affordable lighting solution for aquarium enthusiasts. Its customizable colour spectrum, energy efficiency, and easy installation make it a great choice for both novice and experienced aquarists alike.
2. Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED Aquarium Lighting – Best aquarium lights for planted tanks
For those seeking top-quality lighting for planted aquariums, the Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting is the best LED aquarium lighting for plants. Its cutting-edge technology and customizable features are designed to facilitate the growth and vividness of underwater flora.
With six LED band widths and a full-spectrum LED system, the Fluval Plant 3.0 is a versatile option suitable for a wide range of plant species. The light fixture’s adjustable intensity and colour temperature simulate natural sunlight and moonlight conditions, creating a healthy, natural environment for aquatic plants.
The Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting is Bluetooth compatible, and the free FluvalSmart App allows you to control the light settings and customize lighting schedules from your smartphone or tablet. With its modern, stylish design and adjustable mounting bracket, the light fixture is an attractive and practical addition to any planted aquarium setup.
Overall, the Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting offers a winning combination of innovative technology, functionality, and aesthetics, making it the ideal choice for planted aquarium enthusiasts.
3. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light – Best aquarium light for all types
The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light is a high-quality LED light designed specifically for planted aquariums. It features a customizable colour spectrum with red, green, and blue LEDs that promote plant growth and enhance the colours of fish and other aquatic life.
The 24/7 mode simulates a natural lighting cycle, with a gradual sunrise and sunset, and a moonlight mode that creates a subtle blue hue for nighttime viewing.
One of the standout features of the Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light is its CRV technology, which stands for Color Rendering Value. This technology ensures that the light accurately reproduces colours in the aquarium, making fish and plants look their best. The light also has a sleek and low-profile design that adds a modern touch to any aquarium setup.
The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light is energy-efficient, consuming only 16 watts of power, and has an adjustable bracket that allows for easy installation on a variety of tank sizes. It is also equipped with a remote control that allows you to easily adjust the light’s settings, including brightness, colour spectrum, and the 24/7 mode.
4. Current USA Orbit Marine IC Pros – Best aquarium lights for saltwater
The Current USA 4226 Orbit Marine IC PRO LED Reef Aquarium Dual Light System with Wireless Loop is an exceptional lighting system designed for reef aquariums. It features two light fixtures that offer full spectrum lighting, including UV and infrared wavelengths, to promote healthy coral growth and enhance colouration.
The wireless loop function enables easy control of the lights through a smartphone or tablet, with customized light settings and schedules for a more natural day/night cycle and better aquatic ecosystem health.
The light fixtures are 36 inches long and easy to install on most aquariums. The adjustable docking legs allow for a personalized fit, ensuring optimal lighting position for your specific tank.
This LED system has a built-in cooling system that prevents overheating and extends the LED lifespan. The aluminium body construction is sturdy and corrosion-resistant, ensuring long-lasting use.
The Current USA 4226 Orbit Marine IC PRO LED Reef Aquarium Dual Light System with Wireless Loop is an advanced and comprehensive lighting solution for serious reef aquarium enthusiasts. Its full spectrum lighting, wireless control, and durable construction make it a top-of-the-line choice for enhancing the health and beauty of your reef aquarium.
The MingDak Fish Aquarium Tank Light is an adaptable and practical choice for aquarium enthusiasts seeking to add some colour and illumination to their tanks. This light fixture is 11 inches long and comprises 15 RGB-coloured LEDs that can adjust colour and brightness, providing your aquarium with a unique and vibrant appearance.
One of the notable features of this aquarium light is its wireless remote control, allowing you to conveniently adjust the colour, brightness, and lighting mode of the LEDs without having to manually adjust the light itself.
Moreover, the light has a timer function, which can be programmed to automatically turn on and off at predetermined times, adding to its convenience.
This aquarium light is also submersible, enabling it to be safely used underwater. It is crafted from high-quality materials designed to withstand the moisture and humidity of an aquarium environment. Additionally, the light fixture has a suction cup attachment, making it easy to install and position in your tank.
The MingDak Fish Aquarium Tank Light has garnered positive reviews from customers who appreciate its versatility, affordability, and ease of use. Many users have commended the remote control, which they say simplifies adjusting the light to their preferred settings. Others have lauded the submersible design, which enables them to use the light fixture underwater without any issues.
And let’s not forget that it is exceptionally cost-effective, with an average price range of $15 to $20! If you are searching for a cost-efficient aquarium light, the MingDak Fish Aquarium Tank Light is certainly worth considering.
1. What’s the recommended duration for keeping the aquarium light on?
Aquarium experts recommend keeping the aquarium light on for 8-10 hours daily. A shorter duration will also help reduce the growth of algae if your lighting tends to be stronger.
2. Is it safe to use a regular light bulb in an aquarium?
No, using a regular light bulb in an aquarium is not recommended as it emits too much heat, which can harm aquatic life.
3. What’s the recommended duration for replacing an aquarium light?
The replacement interval of an aquarium light depends on the type of light and the manufacturer’s recommendation. From experience, fluorescent lights need to be replaced every 6-12 months, while LED lights can last up to 5 to 6 years. That’s why we recommend LED lights.
4. Is it okay to use different types of lights in my aquarium?
Yes, it’s completely possible to use multiple types of lights in an aquarium to achieve the desired spectrum and intensity of light.
5. What is the best light for live aquarium plants?
Yes, planted aquariums require lights with a specific spectrum of light that is essential for plant growth. The ideal light for planted aquariums are LED lights with a red and blue spectrum.
6. Is there a best aquarium light to prevent algae?
Finding the perfect aquarium light to prevent algae growth can be a challenge, but some LED lights with low Kelvin ratings of 6500K or less can help discourage algae growth. Another helpful approach is to use a lighting schedule that replicates natural daylight with a period of darkness at night. Along with the right lighting, proper filtration, and maintenance practices are also essential in preventing algae growth. You can choose the best aquarium light that is suitable for your tank, but always balance lights with the duration.