The 10 Best LED Lights for Planted Aquariums

BEST OVERALL

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

PREMIUM CHOICE

Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light with Aluminum Alloy Shell Extendable Brackets

GREAT VALUE

WILLS Newest 165W LED Aquarium Light

LED lights are one of the better options to get to illuminate your aquarium. They last much longer, they’re energy-efficient, you don’t have to change the bulbs, and they promote healthy growth for your fish and aquatic plants. However, LED lights can also be tricky depending on what you need them to accomplish for your tank. It can be difficult to decide which size your LED light fixture needs to be or what the wattage should be or even which colors your need your bulbs to be and what they do for your fish and plants. So, we’ve taken a look at the 10 best LED light for planted aquariums to help.

Table of Contents

BEST OVERALL

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light for aquariums is our ideal choice because it promotes healthy growth for your fish as well as your plants. The lights are bright, energy-efficient, and long-lasting. The LED bulbs are blue and white which brighten up your entire fish tank casting a spotlight on your fish and plants. There are two modes available with this light. One includes all the lights for a “day” mode” and the other is simply the blue lights for a “night” mode. The lights are protected by an inline barrier to keep moisture out and ensure it’s long-lasting. The brackets at each end are adjustable to fit the width of your tank. This also comes in a variety of adjustable size options ranging from 12 inches to 54 inches.

What We Like Most

Promotes healthy growth for plants and fish

Energy-efficient and long-lasting

Has two lighting modes for day and night

Includes adjustable brackets to fit your tank

Affordable

Our Synopsis:

This affordable LED light can fit most tanks, has simple lighting options, and will take care of everything in your tank, including your plants.

Analyst Rating

PREMIUM CHOICE

Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light with Aluminum Alloy Shell Extendable Brackets

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light from Hygger is a great choice with various sizes to fit your tank’s needs. The brackets on the side are adjustable to fit a range of aquariums from 12 inches to 52 inches. The different sizes also have different watts. The bigger your tank, the more watts the lights are to ensure your aquarium is getting maximum light. The lights are energy-efficient and can last up to 20,000 hours. There are five levels of brightness and three lighting modes including white, blue, and red lights for different day and night effects. It includes the timer so you can set your ideal lights for three, six, or 12 hours at a time. This product is made with an aluminum alloy shell so it won’t overheat and the lights are sealed in with waterproof glue.

What We Like Most

20,000 hours of energy-efficient lighting

Three color modes to choose from

Adjustable brightness

Comes in various sizes with adjustable brackets

Includes a timer

Our Synopsis:

If you’re looking for more lighting options, this is a great LED light to choose from.

Analyst Rating

GREAT VALUE

WILLS Newest 165W LED Aquarium Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light takes into account all aquarium types. Its full-spectrum lighting includes various colors such as red, white, blue, and more. The white and blue channels can be dimmed to fit your aquarium’s needs. You can turn on full-spectrum mode which includes all the light, have white one only, or have just the blue channel on. The white channel is best for freshwater tanks and will promote the healthy growth of your aquatic plants as well as your fish. The blue channel is more suitable for saltwater tanks and it will help your fish and plants grow through the use of absorbing coral calcium and promoting vitamin D3. This light structure contains a cooling system that keeps the lights cool, thus allowing the lights to last longer.

What We Like Most

Full-spectrum lighting

Suitable for freshwater and saltwater tanks

Two dimming light channels

Contains a cooling system

For up to 57-gallon tanks

Our Synopsis:

If you’re looking for LED lights that seem to do it all, this is a good product to try.

Analyst Rating

4

Aqueon Aquarium Clip-on LED Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Aqueon is a well-trusted brand when it comes to keeping aquariums. This particular LED light is perfect for freshwater setups that are as big as 20 gallons. This light contains 60 LED bulbs that are bright and long-lasting. It’s ideal for plant growth as well as keeping your fish healthy. The clip-on can mount onto any tank whether it has a frame or not. It’s easily adjustable to place wherever you feel is the right spot so your aquarium gets the maximum lighting. With a soft touch on the back of the clip, you can adjust the lighting channels. These channels are simply all the light on or off or having only the blue lights on for a night mode. This LED light is simple to set up and use for a smaller aquarium setup.

What We Like Most

Designed for planted aquariums

Three light settings

Easy mounting for any fish

Ideal for tanks up to 20 gallons

Affordable

Our Synopsis:

This affordable and easy to use LED light is ideal for smaller freshwater fish tanks.

Analyst Rating

5

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light looks complicated from the outside, but it’s simple to use and easy to set up. All the remote needs are AAA batteries to work and then you can do a wide variety of settings with it. It includes memory keys to remember which settings you use often and like the best. There’s also a 24/7 mode that will mimic a sunrise and sunset mode for your fish. Alternatively, there are weather effects such as cloudy, thunderstorm, sunny, and moon. This particular light fixture has a variety of colors from white, red, blue, and green. It promotes healthy growth for all plants such as red plants, carpet plants, and more. It comes in a few different sizes, but the biggest reach up to 48 inches and is ideal for fish tanks that are 55, 75, and 90 gallons big.

What We Like Most

Capable plant growth

Four bulbs, sunrise and sunset options

Moisture resistant and splash guard

Includes a remote with sensor

Comes in various sizes

Our Synopsis:

In addition to proper lighting and healthy growth for your fish and plants, you can get some extra bells and whistles with this LED light through the remote options.

Analyst Rating

6

BeamsWork EA Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Fish Tank Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light fixture comes in a few different sizes to fit a variety of fish tanks from 12 inches to 48 inches. It also has adjustable brackets on the end to ensure a tight fit on top of your aquarium for maximum lighting. This product is ideal for freshwater setups and will promote healthy growth for those fish as well as freshwater aquatic plants. The lights are bright and long-lasting with white, blue, red, and green colors. There are only two modes, a day and night cycle, which you can set up on a timer. The timer, however, is sold separately. This product is affordable, even with its biggest size. In addition to that, the simplicity of this light fixture is worth it to try.

What We Like Most

Suitable for freshwater plants and fish

Two different modes for day and night lighting

Can be hooked up with a timer

Comes in various sizes

Affordable

Our Synopsis:

This is a simple, easy to use LED light fixture. If you’re looking for something easy to set up and maintain, this is a good option.

Analyst Rating

7

Aquaneat Aquarium Light White and Blue LED

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light from Aquaneat is a simple and easy to use product. Like most of the other products on this list, this light comes in a variety of sizes from 11 inches up to 44 inches long. It has extendable brackets on the end that can reach about six inches so that you can ensure it’ll fit on your aquarium. It’s affordable, which makes it easier to choose this product. There are no bells and whistles attached and there aren’t many lighting modes. You can simply turn all the lights on or all of them off, there’s no day and night options. However, the lights are energy-efficient and long-lasting. What’s interesting about this product is that it’s not waterproof, so you need to be careful the LED lights don’t get splashed while sitting atop the aquarium.

What We Like Most

Has adjustable brackets

Comes in a variety of sizes

Two modes: all lights on or off

Simple

Affordable

Our Synopsis:

If you’re looking for something simple and affordable, this is a good product to try.

Analyst Rating

8

Hagen Fluval Plant Bluetooth Nano LED Aquarium Light (15 Watt)

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This is a small but powerful plant spectrum LED light. This is designed for healthy tropical plant growth. There are different habitat options you can set the lights to such as tropical or planted. Also, there’s a programmable light cycle that goes through the 24 hours of a day including sunrise, midday, sunset, and night. The LED lights are 15 watts but they can last up to 50,000 hours. This is meant for smaller aquariums that can fit on top of your desktop without taking up too much room. The light fixture itself is adjustable and you can set it anywhere on the tank from the top to the sides or even the bottom. It’s controlled through Bluetooth so all you need to do is get the Fluval SmartApp and you’ll be able to try all sorts of things with this light.

What We Like Most

24-hour gradual light cycle

Engineered for healthy plant growth

Adjustable

For nano and desktop aquariums

Optional habitat settings

Our Synopsis:

If you have a small fish tank setup, this is a simple and minimal LED light fixture to get.

Analyst Rating

9

Lominie LED Aquarium Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This LED light looks like a desk lamp but it’s made with your fish and aquatic plants in mind. It’s ideal for any kind of aquarium, though there are different types so you need to make sure you’re getting the correct one for your fish tank setup. Some of the lights are better suited for freshwater while others are better suited for saltwater tanks. This particular light is made for smaller aquariums, such as 24-inch cube tanks. The gooseneck is adjustable so that you can aim the light where you want it to go. The LED contains full-spectrum lighting so that your fish and aquatic plants can get the proper lighting they need. This only comes with one light so if you need more lighting for your tank, you’ll have to buy more than one.

What We Like Most

Ideal for all aquarium types

Clip-on, rustproof gooseneck

Includes a cooling fan

Remote control included

Only comes with one light

Our Synopsis:

This is a simple LED light to buy for a smaller tank. It will get the job done just as any light fixtures would.

Analyst Rating

10

MingDak LED Aquarium Light

Read Customer Reviews Here »

This is an interesting product because this LED light goes inside the water within your aquarium. Similar to a heater, it has suction cups that can stick to the sides of the tank on the inside. The light is, of course, waterproof. It has a low voltage so it’s safe and energy-efficient for your fish, aquatic plants, and the lights themselves. The angle is adjustable for multiple views so that you can control where the light goes within the water. It only comes in a few sizes and it only has one light mode. This particular product has only white lights but you can buy another that has only blue lights if you’d like to give yourself a day and night option.

What We Like Most

Waterproof, submersible inside your tank

Multi-angle view

Safe, low voltage

One light mode

Comes in a few sizes

Our Synopsis:

This is another simple LED light fixture that’s easy to use and great for planted aquariums.

Analyst Rating

Buyer's Guide

There’s a lot to look at when it comes to choosing the correct LED light fixture for your tank. Different plants, fish, and water types need different care. Light sources are one of the most important ways to healthily boost the growth of your aquatic plants.

LED lighting vs other lights

There are a lot of options for lighting your aquarium. Some are better than others depending on what you want to use the lighting for. For example, if you have live plants within your tank then you want good lighting that will promote their healthy growth. We chose to take a look at the best LED lights for planted aquariums because there are a lot of pros to having LED light vs other light such as fluorescent bulbs or incandescent bulbs. LED lights are better in the long run for several reasons. They produce little heat and some come with cooling systems within them to ensure they don’t overheat. They’re long-lasting and you never need to change the bulbs. Some LED light fixtures can last up to five years which means you won’t have to replace it for quite a while. That makes it a good investment for your aquarium because you’ll save money in the long run. Also, LED lights have more color options and can promote healthy fish and plant growth in ways other regular lights can’t.

Wattage

In general, when a light fixture has more wattage then that means the light intensity is more. Different plants and corals need different lighting depending on their growth. Whether you have freshwater plants or maintain a reef aquarium, the wattage will be different. For example, a good rule of thumb is to have 2-5 watts per gallon within your freshwater tank with aquatic plants. For a saltwater or reef aquarium, you may need 4-8 watts per gallon. A fish tank without any live plants will need fewer watts per gallon. Of course, these rules can change depending on the tank’s setup, which fish you have as well as the types of plants you have within the aquarium.

Types of plants

Before you buy your LED lighting for your tank, be sure to research which live plants you want to have inside your tank. Some plants can only be in freshwater setups while others are more suitable for saltwater or reef aquariums. These plants will help your aquarium remain healthy, be good for your fish, and will boost the overall ecosystem of your fish tank. There are so many different types of plants such as carpet plants that cover the ground or plants that grow from bulbs and a lot more. These plants do different jobs and they grow differently. When choosing which plants you want to have in your aquarium, be sure they’re compatible with the water type, the fish you have, and they’re compatible with each other and are easy to take care of with similar light sources.

How do you set up an LED light fixture?

One of the great things about LED lighting for aquariums is that they’re super easy to set up and maintain. Other light bulbs need hoods or other fixtures that protect the bulb itself from the water, but LED lights are normally encased in something that’s typically waterproof. Regular bulbs also need to be changed which means you need to have a stash of extra bulbs somewhere and the hood itself makes the lighting bulky. LED lights are slim and don’t need to be replaced for quite some time. With that said, all you need to do to set up your LED light is to simply place it on top of your fish tank, plug it in, and turn it on. Many LED lights have various lighting modes such as mimicking day and night, having the option to dim the lights, or even trying different color combinations. Depending on the brand, this is all done using a remote or an app on your smartphone using Bluetooth. Meanwhile, other LED lights simply turn on and off with the touch of a button. In the end, it depends on the kind of LED light you buy and what you want the lights to accomplish with your tank, but they’re all simple to set up.

How long should the lights stay on for?

If your LED lights are on too long then algae may grow in your aquarium making it harder to clean and could also make your fish and plants sick. This is why having a timer for your light fixture is a good idea because then you’ll know that your aquarium is getting the same amount of light every day consistently. It may depend on the size of your tank as well as the type of plants you have, but a general rule is to not have the lights on for more than eight hours a day. However, this is why there are typically different modes that come with the lights. For example, there are usually day and night modes that mimic the sun and moon. This helps your fish get into a better routine and won’t mess up their eating or sleeping habits. This is another reason a timer comes in handy so that your plants and fish don’t get too much sunlight during the night or vice versa. This will boost the photosynthesis process for your live aquatic plants.

How much light do my plants need to grow properly?

This will depend on the types of plants you get for your aquarium. Some aquatic plants need a lot of light to grow well but others will only need a little. This is why it’s a good idea to do research on which types of plants you should get for your aquarium depending on the water type as well as the kind of fish you plan on having within the environment. When deciding on how much light you need, you need to take into consideration not only the type of plants you have but also the size of your aquarium so that the lighting can be evenly distributed throughout the tank. When researching various aquatic plants, you can simply look up a list of beginner live aquatic plants for freshwater or saltwater setups, depending on what you have. It’s a good idea to start with simple plants that are easy to grow and don’t require a lot of maintenance until you have a better idea of how to take care of your plants with the proper lighting and you understand the terms that go along with choosing the right lighting for your aquarium as a whole.

What do the different terms mean regarding proper lighting for planted aquariums?

When setting up your first aquarium and choosing the correct LED lighting for your tank, there may be some terms that look unfamiliar to you. There’s a lot more that goes into choosing the lights needed for your fish and plants than one may think. To choose the correct lighting for your tank’s needs, there are some terms you need to know and understand so you can make the right choice. Kelvin: this refers to the color temperature of the bulbs. This measures how “warm” or “cool” the lights are. Live plants do well when the lights are under 6,500 Kelvin. Lumen: this explains how intense the light is. For example, the higher the lumen, the brighter the lights are. This measures how much light the bulb puts out into the tank. Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR): this is the type of light that is required for live plants to grow properly. It is typically seen in daylight bulbs. Photosynthetically Useful Radiation (PUR): this describes the usable portion of PAR and can be affected by how deep the aquarium is. Watt: this is what measures how much energy the bulb needs to light. The higher the watt is, the brighter the bulb will be. When researching various aquatic plants, you can simply look up a list of beginner live aquatic plants for freshwater or saltwater setups, depending on what you have. It’s a good idea to start with simple plants that are easy to grow and don’t require a lot of maintenance until you have a better idea of how to take care of your plants with the proper lighting and you understand the terms that go along with choosing the right lighting for your aquarium as a whole.

Expert tip

LED lights seem to work the best for live plants and fish with red and blue lights for more coverage of the color spectrum. Try to stay away from LED lights that only have white lights.

Did you know

The main purpose of aquarium lighting is to enhance the colors of your fish and overall environment. However, light plays a vital role in the photosynthesis process for your live, aquatic plants.

Conclusion

Lighting for your aquarium is important and there’s a lot to think about when it comes to choosing the correct lighting. Aside from the type of fish and water you have inside your tank, proper lighting is important to get right with live plants. LED lights have a variety of options to choose from when it comes to promoting healthy growth for your planted aquariums.