best lights for fish tank

10 Best LED Aquarium Lighting Systems

So you are ready to upgrade your old aquarium lighting system to the best LED Aquarium Lights? Great! You will be saving on your electric bill compared to other light bulb types and not have to worry about excess algae growth with natural sun lighting. We will dive into the specific qualities of LED aquarium lighting further down this article but you came here to see the 10 Best LED aquarium lights so lets get started!

10 Best LED Aquarium Lighting Systems

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium

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The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light is a freshwater aquarium light with super bright 6500k White LEDs and full spectrum RGB LEDs. All of which can be controlled from the easy to use 32 key wireless remote so you don’t even have to get up to change the light settings or reach into the tank. It comes with 12 dynamic effects buttons such as dawn, dusk, cloud cover, storm and lightning. You can pick from 6 freshwater optimized colors or make your own custom colors. You can even save up to 4 custom color with the memory buttons. No assembly is required to use, just place it on top of your tank.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater

Wattage- 25

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 72 White / 36 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 34.8” x 3.5” x 0.44”

Weight – 3.6 lbs

Pros:

No assembly required
Preset lighting effects and custom colors

Cons:

Only for freshwater aquariums

Buying Recommendation

The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light is a great choice is you are looking for a remote controlled customizable freshwater lighting system.

Kessil A360WE Controllable LED Aquarium Light

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The new Kessil offerings come equipped with Kessil logic which gives greater control over the light spectrum with fewer hassles. Instead of having to study a manual and fumble through a bunch of settings Kessil allows you to control just two knobs. Within that control you can dial in the perfect color balance and with the other knob you can control the intensity.

The LED lights are premium to say the least and provide a remarkable PAR rating given the units compact size. The LED lights are capable of handling the growing environment for small to medium sized reef tanks. Kessil also has shimmer effects to enhance the glow and mood of your aquarium.

Specs:

Water Type – Saltwater

Wattage- 90 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – Different wavelengths within a single LED array

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 5” x 5” x 10”

Weight – 3.7 lbs

Pros:

Awesome shimmer effects
Ease of use

Cons:

Considerable price tag for a smaller unit

Buying Recommendation

The Kessil A360WE is a great option for those looking to show off their aquarium with great effects while also managing the ecosystem of a larger tank.

VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Series LED Aquarium Light Dimmable Full Spectrum for Coral Reef Grow Fish Tank

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The Viparspectra is a full featured full spectrum LED aquarium light. You can tell that this light was engineered with plant growth in mind. The PAR counts and dispersion of the PAR ratings were some of the best that we tested. This results in the Viparspectra being able to handle larger tanks than most other units in the price range.

Like most of the other units we tested the Viparspectra is dimmable by two channels so you can set a night and a day mode. Maybe the best part of the unit is the generous 3 year warranty. Most competitors offer less than 1 year. You also have the peace of mind of a large community of users to offer assistance as it is a very popular unit.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater and Saltwater

Wattage- 212 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 55 different color leds

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 31.5” x 8.5” x 2.4”

Weight – 15.5 lbs

Pros:

Dimmable
Can handle a larger tank

Cons:

Only control 2 channels

Buying Recommendation

The Viparspectra is a great option for those looking for a LED aquarium light that can produce ideal reef conditions for larger tanks.

OceanRevive® Arctic-T247

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The OceanRevive Arctic T247 is a full spectrum aquarium lighting system built by fellow reefers. You can tell right away that this setup was built specifically for aquariums rather than an LED altered to fit aquariums.

The first place you will notice this in the light colors chosen. “ Royal Blue 450nm, Blue 470nm, Cool White 10000K, 12000K, Red 520nm, Green 660nm and UV 420nm, creating the natural reefing light to reflect vivid color from the corals and fish.” These guys measured the exact color makeup of reefs around the world and then translated that into an LED setup.

The OceanRevive allows for independent control of both the blue and full spectrum lighting. You can control the intensity of both which helps simulate night and day along with varying weather conditions. The support brackets are adjustable allowing you to control the height and in turn allowing you to light up larger tanks without having to turn the intensity to 100.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater and Saltwater

Wattage- 120 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 14 White / 34 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 15.75” x 10.24” x 1.57”

Weight – 5 lbs

Pros:

Feature packed with advanced design

Cons:

Can only control 2 channels. If it allowed for control of each light color it would be the top pick.

Buying Recommendation

The OceanReview Arctic lineup is feature rich with quality components. This is a great option for any aquarium owner.

Phlizon 2017 Newest Aquarium LED Light

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The Philzon lineup is a great budget option if you are looking for a high quality full spectrum light and dont need a ton of control. This unit is perfect for simulating daylight and night growing conditions and that is pretty much all you need with a smaller tank. The light colors are setup to help aquatic plants grow better and increase oxygen levels for fish and other tank occupants.

The Philzon is great for a set it and forget it approach. You won’t have to monitor things like color distribution or the unit overheating. It has two built in fans for cooling and the preset colors are perfect for most applications.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater and Saltwater

Wattage- 165 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 28 White / 27 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 8” x 16” x 2.4”

Weight – 6.8 lbs

Pros:

Full spectrum
Dimmable

Cons:

Can’t control colors

Buying Recommendation

The Philzon is a quality option for those looking for a high quality full spectrum Aquarium lighting system but don’t need a ton of customizable options.

Beamswork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater 0.50W

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The Beamswork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium light is a barebones LED system that is only suitable for freshwater tanks. While it does not have all the bells and whistles or power of the other units we tested it can still work if you have a limited budget.

The only control you have of the unit is the dimmer which basically means you can set it for day and night mode. The timer is sold separately. On a positive note Beamswork products are very popular so if you run into a problem there is probably a Youtube video out there to help.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater

Wattage- 60 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 86 White / 34 RBG

Dimmable – Can only set it for day or night mode

Size – 48.2” x 5.2” x 1.5”

Weight – 5.8 lbs

Pros:

Price

Cons:

Freshwater only
Lacks programmable features

Buying Recommendation

The Beamswork units are great for getting started with your aquarium and should fit the bill if you have little vegetation and a few freshwater fish. Anything more and you should opt for a higher end unit.

LED Aquarium Light Fixture for Saltwater/Coral Tanks – Euphotica Dimmable 16″, Programmable 16″ / 24″ / 32″

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The Euphotica programmable aquarium system is by far the most feature rich and quality aquarium lighting package we tested. Lets just take a quick look at all the features this package offers:

55 LEDs
120W total output with intensity control from 0% to 100%
Configurable 8,000K to 20,000K Color Temperature
90 Degree Optic Lenses

Those are just the highlights. The Euphotica is completely programmable allowing you to mimic natural ecosystems easily. You can go on vacation and know that your aquarium is in good hands. Even more impressive is the control unit itself. The Euphotica was the only unit we tested that had an LCD screen control panel making it very intuitive rather than a bunch of complicated buttons on a cheap remote.

Specs:

Water Type – Saltwater

Wattage- 120 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 20 White / 35 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 15.8” x 9” x 2.6”

Weight – 8.9 lbs

Pros:

Fully automated and controllable
Full Spectrum

Cons:

Would like to see control of each color rather than just 2 channels

Buying Recommendation

The Euphotica was the best unit we tested not only in its price range but overall. The ability to control almost everything and the high quality components made this aquarium lighting system stand apart.

MarsAqua Dimmable 165W LED Aquarium Light

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Mars is a leading LED manufacturer for all types of plant growth. They have just started making LEDs for aquariums and they are exceptional for the price. The only downside we found was that the PAR rating tends to weaken much more rapidly away from the center than other brands. Besides that, the color and dimmer settings allow for great growing and environmental conditions.

The ability to daisy chain the units together allows for an economical solution for larger tanks. Many users report that the light can sustain a mixed reef well but we were unable to test under those conditions. The quality of light was exceptional for the price point and allowed for independent control of both the white and blue light settings. The light was easy to program and we could manage the dimmer without too much hassle.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater and Saltwater

Wattage- 165 W

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 20 White / 35 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 15.8” x 8.4” x 2.5”

Weight – 6.5 lbs

Pros:

Budget friendly
Easy to control color of light and dimmer settings

Cons:

Low PAR rating outside of direct light

Buying Recommendation

The MarsAqua offerings are worth your time to look at and considering their pricing it might be the best bargain on the market.

AquaIllumination Hydra FiftyTwo +HD LED Light, Black

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The AquaIllumination Hydra FiftyTwo provides one of the most vivid and wide ranging light spectrums on the market. The design allows you to dynamically control the intensity to each color output so you can control the color spectrum exactly. The Hydra FiftyTwo is incredibly energy efficient and does not require a separate controller. Instead you can use your smartphone to program and control the system from anywhere.

The lights has some of the best PAR ratings for its size that we tested. You can easily see the difference right away with the quality of the light. It has 52 total high output LEDs along with 80 Degree Color Blending Lenses.

Specs:

Water Type – Saltwater

Wattage- 135

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 12 White / 40 RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 12” x 5” x 3” Size

Weight – 5.6 lbs

Pros:

Extremely high quality lights
Customizable

Cons:

Not the best quality control
Requires wifi connection

Buying Recommendation

Overall the Hydra FiftyTwo is at the top of the class in terms of features. Once they figure out some minor quality control issues they would likely be the best LED aquarium lights on the market.

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED, Controller

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The Finnex Planted Automated Aquarium is a handsfree Aquarium Lighting system that allows for 24/7 automation. You can automate the lights to replicate the outdoors with settings that replicate all stages of the day dawn through dusk. The control system even lets you account for other types of weather like rainy days with cloud cover or even thunderstorms.

The lights are high quality LEDs that should last more than a few years even with constant use. The waterproofing is pretty good but I would not submerge them in water. Normal splashes shouldn’t produce any side effects.

Specs:

Water Type – Freshwater

Wattage- 46.2

Full Spectrum – Yes

LEDS – 7,000k Daylight White / Full spectrum RBG

Dimmable – Yes

Size – 48” x 3.8” x 0.8” Size

Weight – 2.8 lbs

Pros:

Fully programmable
Hands free control

Cons:

Not fully waterproof
If remote battery dies you can not control lights

Buying Recommendation

If you are looking for a realistic programmable lighting system The Finnex line of products are a great option.

LED Aquarium Lighting Systems Buying Guide

When purchasing a LED aquarium lighting system it is important to consider the price and various other factors. Below we break down the specific factors you should check before making your purchase.

Water Type – Make sure that your LED lights are made specifically for your water type. For example, do not purchase a system that specifically says freshwater only for a saltwater tank. It seems simple enough but some people don’t realize there is a difference. Generally saltwater tanks need a more substantial aquarium lighting system compared to freshwater.

If the manufacturer does not state what type of water the LED lights are meant for that might be a sign they aren’t very good. Keep in mind that LED lighting systems are used in a variety of different applications. This leads to manufacturers to repackaging one of their existing products and saying it is good for aquariums without really knowing.

Wattage – Generally the higher the wattage output the bigger the tank your LED lights can handle. This is not always the case as some units tend to focus the light energy to a narrow spot rather than dissipate evenly over a larger area. You can measure the PAR rating and see how it is targeted by noting the decrease as you move away from the center light beams. The better units will continue to show higher ratings further from the center.

Full Spectrum – This a term that is used to describe light that covers all wavelengths of light that is useful for human and plant life to thrive. Most of the higher end LED lights will be full spectrum which will provide ideal growing conditions for plants and replicate the sun to a pretty good degree.

Dimmable – A LED aquarium lighting system that is not dimmable is kind of pointless. It will not replicate day and night and will probably cause undue stress for the fish and plant life. Some units allow you to dim certain light color ranges which provides even greater control as you can keep up intensity while not having all colors at full blast.

Size – Make sure to buy a LED aquarium lighting system that fits your aquarium!

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