In 2019, everyone is switching to LED lights. Cars, mobile phones, televisions, street signs, traffic lights – everything is using LED lights and aquariums are no exception.

This is hardly a surprise because few other types of lights offer the same amount of benefit like LED lights do. Not only are LED lights lightweight, bright and cheap to operate, they come in a very adjustable range of wavelengths which can be easily customized to suit different stages of growth for both your fish and plants in the aquarium.

In this list, we will explore some of the best LED lights on the markets. This list is compiled from both firsthand experience and information through reviews gathered on the internet.

Firstly, lets go over a rough framework for choosing the best LED lights for your fresh water aquarium.

Build Quality
Invest in an LED lighting kit with a robust body. You do not to pick the most expensive set up but certainly do not go for something if it is too cheap, it most likely has an absolutely terrible build quality which will break within a week after buying it. Generally speaking, products that cost more will be more reliable, you definitely do get what you pay for.

Start by checking the outer cover of the light casing. It must be tough, water resistant and sturdy so the relatively delicate lightbulbs can be firmly protected. The lenses should be made of a strong material that can shine brigher.

Control options
The beauty of a LED lighting system is that its extremely easy to customize and change. Being lucky to be born in an age where electrical lighting technology is so advanced, you should buy a kit which allows you to easily manipulate an LED lighting system into the wavelength of your desire.

The best lights would be having an external remote control so you don’t have to touch the LED light on the tank. The control panel should have an intuitive interface which isn’t confusing to work out.

Aquarium Type
There are many different types of aquariums all with different styles of lighting. Make sure you pick the model which suits your aquarium the most, whether this is in terms of functionality or aesthetic appeal.

It doesn’t matter if the lighting is for a planted aquarium, a coral reef tank or a tropical warm aquarium.

All LED lighting manufacturing companies will make it clear on the packaging what type of aquarium their product is best suited to.

Aquarium Size
The aquarium size will always affect the type of light you decide to use. Not all LED lighting systems can cover the aquarium adequately.

Check with the LED manufacturer the rating of each system before you make the decision to buy. Most manufacturers would indicate where the light is best used.

Considering the aforementioned^ factors, proceed onto the list below:

1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

We highly recommend that you purchase this one. The manufacture designed this model especially for ease of use from the consumer end. There are many youtube and forum tutorials online which teach the installation and usage of this light, the current USA Orbit Marine LED Light is almost always met with positive reviews.

Its compact construction comes in a very ergonomic and pleasing shape, you can now get it being installed easily in many aquariums with no issue at all. With the installation guide and instruction manual being very simple to read and easy to understand, the users have a great time installing this LED Light.

This model also has a durable housing, it is mass produced in factories which will also lower the price.

Furthermore, to improve the customization ease, this LED light comes with a large internal memory so it can be easily programmed to suit your taste. The model is also low voltage, you can expect it to take up far less electricity than other models.

This model also comes with a dual daylight and dual actinic spectrums, which are important for providing the brightest and most vibrant colors. These colors are essential to ensure great marine life growth. You will always be glad that your marine life is healthier thanks to a properly chose choice of LED light.

+: Sleek aluminium housing, water resistant, easily customizable

2. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED

With the Finnex Aquarium LED, you don’t have to press any buttons while the setup automatically adjusts to simulate a real sunlight and sunset. This is something both you and your fish will love, its a great deal.

This model is designed so that it is quite cool during the morning (dawn) and will transition slowly into a sunrise morning. During noon, you’ll notice that it forms an intense color blazing light which is similar to a searing sunset. This cycle repeats itself daily, allowing your aquatic life to form a regular living cycle.

This kit still comes with a great remote control for controlling the various aspects of the lighting system. With the remote, you can manually adjust the light to simulate natural weather phenomena such as thunderstorms, cloudy days, rainy days, sunny days and a huge variety of other features.

Best of all, this can all be performed with the touch of a button. You have 4 memory slots where you can customize as many lighting options as possible, you can load them whenever you like.

This model is best suited for planted aquariums because the model are 7000k daylight LEDs. This amount is important, it will provide enough “sunlight” for the plants to commence photosynthesis, you are fully capable of keeping this aquarium in a dark basement with this LED setup.

This model also comes with clear legs which easily slide, allowing for extremely easy adjustment of LED lights.

+: Easy installation, quality construction, bright light, easy to use remote control.

3. Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium

If you’re a freshwater aquarium owner, this light will bring life into your aquarium like nothing else.

Don’t be fooled by its plain looks, this LED lighting kit is a serious value adder for any aquarium.

This model is designed to be “plug and play”. If you don’t like the settings, changes can be easily made without uninstalling the entire setup and placing it back on again.

For the mounting section, the LED lighting manufacturer has made it easy to alter by having adjustable docking mounts. All you have to do is adjust the mounts to suit your aquarium size and get them into position. Another important feature to keep in mind is that this model is energy efficient because it can operate on a very low voltage.

This model will take up a lot of power, make sure you leave the lights on to do the work. This product is also tested water resistant with IP65 certification (google it). This makes a great environment as water splashing onto it from energetic fish will be of no issue at all.

For lighting, you have various modes to adjust accordingly with different times of the day. You have modes such as lunar, dusk, fade and storm. Its still possible to keep the lights dim depending on the time or effect you’re trying to create.

+: Adjustable docking mounts, low voltage, water resistant, various lighting modes, easy to program. Note: do not attempt to use this LED kit for larger aquariums.

4. Finnex RugeRay Planted+Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights

This model is suitable for both marine and freshwater aquariums, this LED aquarium light is multipurpose. This model comes with a standard slim body, similar to the halogen lights we normally see on ceilings. This is easy to mount onto any type of rectangular aquarium easily. This models differs from the Ray II model which its designed to replace.

The FugeRay series features evenly spaced lights which are strategically designed to be set in order to provide a superior LED aquarium lighting experience.

Like many other LED models, the Finnex is fully moisture resistant, no need to worry about the splashier fish in your tank.

More people are favorable towards this LED lighting for having 66nm red LED lightbulbs. This wavelength is important for making sure that the plants can handle photosynthesis easily.

If you need to use this light for a planted aquarium, the light is enough to keep the plants happy and lively at all times. The new LEDs are warmer to deliver the best output that you need to keep the water in the aquarium within a set temperature range.

+: Long lasting LED lights, wide range of diverse wavelengths, easy to mount into position, great heat dissipation.

5. Galaxyhydro LED 55x3w Dimmable 165w Full Spectrum

Party time. Not only does the galaxy hydro boast a beautiful construction appearance, it also has a superior construction quality, you can rest assured that this LED lighting kit will last a long time in your aquarium.

This Aquarium LED light is made from an acrylic material, this material provides superior transmittance and heat resistance as well as durability to make sure your investment lasts a long time.

This model has a great low operating noise, the cubical design allows a lot of space therefore it comes with a built in cooling fan making this a great Aquarium LED light for use in warmer tropical like climates, or simply if your room is warm, as long as you keep the exhaust clear this fan will never overheat.

This light is also fully dimmable, you can set the light intensity to any level you desire, the intensity can be varied from 0 to 100 percent.

These LEDs will use less power overall, therefore remain safer for the aquarium and still come with a much longer lifespan.

+: cheap price, high quality fan, bright chips, high level cover

6. Aquatic life LED Aquarium Fixture

This great LED Aquarium light comes with a 3-channel timer and a battery backup. You have all the functions easily controlled for the different lights. You can control the white light, mixed color and still the moonlight LEDs,

You can now create a lighting that can replicate the underwater lighting during the day and the same for the night.

The ultra slim body is combined with superior technology ensuring maximum light output at all times.

The fixture size is designed to mount onto saltwater and freshwater aquariums with ease. Heat dissipation is superior, you won’t have to worry about this LED light heating up the aquarium for a single second.

+: Easy operation, different light wavelength options, provides a beautiful full spectrum of light, easily fits on a variety of different aquariums.

7. Lightimetunnel 165W Aquarium LED Light Full Spectrum Dimmable Lighting

The name is a bit of a tongue twister but the installation process is straightforward and it delivers simple honest results to your aquarium’s illumination.

This light delivers a high penetration of water to ensure maximum photosynthesis is performed by the plants in the aquarium.

If you have enough light reaching your plants, your aquarium will always stay looking excellent. The hood LEDs found throughout the model are ergonomically designed to ensure that the best brightness and color is provided to your aquarium without worrying about it falling apart through the years.

This LED lighting is perceived to be safe for the different types of aquariums where you mount it. It can be used for open water, freshwater and even saltwater marine aquariums.

This is all due to the impressive light spectrum allowing this light to be utilized in a variety of different environments.

+: works great for different types of aquariums, has UL approved fans, blasts the aquarium with a great vibrant color, very bright LEDs.

8. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control 165W LED Aquarium light

Viparspectra delivers a great combination between price and quality without compromising on either one, this aquarium LED Light is truly a great product to own.

The remote control is extremely responsive and is equipped with non slip rubber button coverings for easy operation. It has a large range so you can change it sitting on the couch on the other corner of the room.

This model comes with a built-in-timer which is important for programming the system to work according to your desires. The timer also has an adjustable light intensity which can be used differently for the separate channels.

You can also separate the on and off times for the different channels, with so much power in your hands, there is a truly a lot to do with this timer compared to some of the similar models currently available on the market today.

This model was designed from the feedback of thousands of reefcentral members. With so many people collaborating on a single design, you get hundreds of thousands of hours of experience coming together to amalgamate the perfect LED aquarium light.

+: Made from group opinion, most likely to satisfy the most people. Great layout for the aquarium. Suitable for photosynthetic corals.

9. Beamswork LED 1W HI Lumen Aquarium Light Marine FOWLR Cichlid

The Lumen brand is another well known department in the world of Aquarium LED lights.

The build quality of this lighting kit is without a doubt one of the most impressive systems out there. It has a very well organized row of 3 LED lights, this can be used to shine light into every corner in your aquarium.

These LEDs will also be very long lasting, no need to worry about buying a new LED aquarium light every couple months because this LED Aquarium light will last for a long time.

+: durable, aesthetic, cheap to run, adjustable to a diverse variety of aquariums

10. NICREW LED Aquarium light with extendable light brackets

From the picture you can tell this model comes with a fantastic set of clampers allowing itself to be securely attached to a very wide variety of different aquarium styles between 37-45 (94 to 115cm) inches in size.

The Nicrew LED Strip lights are great when it comes to providing the best aquarium lighting, it will create that realistic underwater experience thanks to the wide range of lighting options which will also replicate the different times of day (dawn dusk midday) very well.

+: High quality LED lights, adjustable mountaing clamps, cheap

LED Aquarium Lighting Q&A

1. What is the best led aquarium light?

A number of top models exist today. To choose the best, it all depends on what you have to achieve in the end. As for this list, the Current USA Orbit marine aquarium stands out as one of the best to use today. It will always deliver the right performance that you have always wanted. It is still affordable so that you do not have to rob a bank to afford it.

2. How much led light for aquarium?

Most of the time, you get to get different output for the different aquariums. It would be great if your model can deliver between 7000K to about 10000K in terms of intensity. This should be sufficient for different types of aquariums.

3. How many watts led for planted tank?

It all depends on the types of plants you have chosen for the aquarium. If you get to choose the easy plants, then 0.25 to 0.5 watts per liter should be enough. The medium plants would often want 0.5 to 1 watt per liter. The advanced plants will require more than 1 watt per liter.

4. How long do led aquarium lights last?

Depending on the construction and other factors, the LED lights can last between 50000 to 100000 hours. It is also often based on how you get to use and maintain the LED lights that will affect how long the light will last.

5. How to hang led aquarium lights?

Hanging of the LED lights on the aquarium depends on the mounting options available for the model. Some will come with adjustable brackets, while others might come with adjustable legs. With adjusting capability, it should help you easily get the light to fit based on where you have to install it. Simply follow the instructions as given by the manufacturer to get the job done.


To end up with the best LED aquarium lighting system, you need to follow this guide closely. It has highlighted some of the top systems you can get for yourself today and the features to consider when looking to buy the LED lighting systems. You now have all the important information to help you make a decision on any model.

Always take the time to compare between the different models that you like to find one that delivers on performance and other needs. With the right light chosen, you can sit knowing that you made the right decision too.

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