Best Aquarium LED Lighting (Reviewed 2021)

Updated on March 27, 2021 by

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To set-up a successful aquarium we have to consider purchasing quite a lot of accessories. Among them to name a few: an aquarium heater that’s meant to warm up the water for tropical or marine species, an aquarium HOB filter or canister filter to clean the water of any harmful debris, but a crucial part is nevertheless the lighting equipment.

Getting the best aquarium LED lights plays a vital role as they are a key element for the growth of corals and plants. Getting the best aquarium LED lighting for your tank is an absolute necessity, bringing tremendous help, and fortunately, the lighting options are growing in popularity.

What is the best aquarium LED lighting?

Before buying, you can always research furthermore to get more details on the brands. As per our reviews, we find Viparspectra LED lights to be the best aquarium LED lighting.

It has fixtures providing enough PAR that promote healthy and sustained coral growth. Even on a tight budget, these lights are an excellent and long-lasting choice as high-tech LED lights, suitable for both freshwater and marine environments.

Best aquarium LED lighting systems compared

Our Top Pick
VIPARSPECTRA 165W LED Aquarium Light
VIPARSPECTRA 165W LED Aquarium Light

Spectrum: UV Blue, Purple, Red, White & Green LEDs
Environment: Fresh & Marine
Models: 2 – 165W and 300W

Dimmable: Timer control dimmable
Power: 165W (55Pcs * 3W)
Size: 16 x 8.5 x 2.4
Weight: 6.8 lbs
Life Span: More than 100,000h

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Reefer’s LED Lights
Phlizon 165W Aquarium LED Light
Phlizon 165W Aquarium LED Light

Spectrum: UV Blue, Purple, Red, White & Green LEDs
Environment: Fresh & Marine
Dimmable: Double dimmer model
Power: 165W (55Pcs * 3W)
Size: 20 x 7 x 2.4″
Weight: 6.6 lbs
Life Span: More than 50000h

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Powerful LED Lights
MarsAqua Dimmable LED Aquarium Lights
MarsAqua Dimmable LED Aquarium Lights

Spectrum: UV Blue, Purple, Red, White & Green LEDs
Environment: Saltwater

Models: 2 – 165W and 300W
Dimmable: Yes – 3 lighting channels
Power: 165W (55Pcs * 3W)
Size: 32 x 7 x 3″
Weight: 15.56 lbs
Life Span: More than 100,000h

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Best LEDs for Planted Tanks
Finnex Planted+ Aquarium LED Light
Finnex Planted+ Aquarium LED Light

Environment: Freshwater
: 20 / 24 / 30 / 36 / 46.5-48″

Customizable: Sunrise & Sunset
Size: 46.5 x 3.8 x 0.8
Weight: 2.6 pounds
Channels: 4 dimmable
LEDs: 7K/multi-color + remote

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Best Bugdet LED Lights
NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light

Models: 4 smaller sized
Environment: Freshwater
Size: 46 in L x 4 in W
Weight: 3.99 pounds
Channels: 2 all LEDs / Blue only

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Great for Marine Tanks
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

Environment: Saltwater
Spectrum: Full Spectrum
Models: Mutiple different sizes
Dimmable: Yes – multiple realistic modes
Weight: N/A
Life Span: N/A

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Great for Freshwater Tanks
Current USA Satellite Freshwater Aquarium LED Light
Current USA Satellite Freshwater Aquarium LED Light

Environment: Freshwater
: 6500k White LEDs & rich 445Nm Blue LEDs

Models: Mutiple different sizes
Dimmable: Yes – multiple realistic modes
Weight: N/A
Life Span: N/A

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Cheapest Multicolor LED Lights
AQUATICLIFE Reno Aquarium LED Lights
AQUATICLIFE Reno Aquarium LED Lights

Environment: Freshwater
: Full-spectrum RGB LEDs

Models: Mutiple different sizes
Dimmable: Yes – via Mobile app
Weight: N/A
Life Span: N/A

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Best LEDs for FOWLR
BeamsWork Aquarium LED Lights
BeamsWork Aquarium LED Lights

Environment: FOWLR, Freshwater, Cichlids
: 3400 Lumen, 33x 10000K, 6x Actinic 460nm

Size: 29 x 5 x 1″
Dimmable: 2 Mode Day / Night

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Low Tech Planted Tanks
Finnex FugeRay Aquarium LED Light
Finnex FugeRay Aquarium LED Light

Environment: Freshwater
: 4 Blue LEDs/32 White LEDs, 7000K

Size: 10 x 3 x 1″
Dimmable: N/A

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Good All-round
MarineLand LED Aquarium Hood
MarineLand LED Aquarium Hood

Environment: Freshwater
: White & Blue LEDs

Size: 30 x 12 x 3″
Dimmable: 2 Mode Day / Night

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What are the benefits of aquarium LED lights?

Regardless of whether we talk about a fresh or saltwater environment, the LED lights are an absolute must. LEDs are economical, efficient, and do a great job of facilitating plants and corals growth. If we talk about the fish and other aquatic creatures, most of them enjoy an aquarium LED daylight simulation.

Some fish and plant species prefer though lower lights, that’s why it is important to choose a dimmable LED lighting system. We never know when we might change our aquarium setup or its inhabitants.

The aquarium lighting systems offer a multitude of benefits. There are many options on the market to choose from, and we are reviewing below the finest of them.

What to consider when buying an aquarium LED lighting?

  • LEDs are much smaller in comparison to the traditional lighting, but they are way more effective.
  • LEDs are directional, so that they light specific objects in the aquariums, without missing any important spots.
  • LEDs use mixed lights such as green, red, blue, or white.
  • LEDs are by far cooler, more energy-efficient, and have lower heat emissions.
  • LEDs are a fabulous choice for aquariums, however, there are a few things to keep in mind when seeking the ideal LED lighting system for your tank.

How can we improve the lifespan of our aquarium LED lights?

Avoid using LEDs underwater. The LEDs are labeled as waterproof or water-resistant, yet do not use them underwater unless the manufacturer instructions specifically mention you can. Or else, the equipment might suffer irreversible damage.

Do not allow the LEDs to get hot. They should not be mounted very close to other light types such as metal halides. This will reduce the lifespan of the LEDs.

Do not allow water droplets to accumulate on the lighting devices’ surface. Keep a watchful eye for mineral and salt accumulations as they may corrode the lightning parts. The lights should be cleaned regularly.

When using LED lighting for reef tanks, one should be careful where the lights are installed, to have the proper height, otherwise corals might suffer. The LED light can cause shock to corals and bleach them. LED lights should be gradually introduced to corals and reef tanks.

Not only corals or freshwater plants, but the fish as well have particular requirements when it comes to lighting. While some species enjoy higher intensity lights, others prefer dim lights.

Therefore, thorough research should be done as well about the fish species you are planning to house, before purchasing the best aquarium lights for your tank.

1. VIPARSPECTRA – Best Overall Aquarium LED Lighting

Our Top Pick
VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable - Best Overall Aquarium LED Lighting

VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable

The Viparspectra comes with a special design offering a full spectrum of light to the aquarium. Its lights present a criss-cross style making it a premium LED lighting system for any aquarium, whether fresh or saltwater.

This is a unique layout offered by the manufacturer, providing very colored lights that are arranged among the white bulbs. With 2 available models, 165W and 300W they are a perfect match to any aquarium setup.

Timer function:

There is a built-in programmable timer function, facilitating the possibility of setting specific lights and intensities, depending on the time of the day, so you won’t need to wake up at night or rush back from work to adjust the lights.

With the timer function you have the possibility to opt between different lighting styles and intensities, making this a perfect LED lighting system for freshwater and marine environments alike.

Good design:

It mimics natural day and night light helping the fish and corals to have balanced growth. The two channels brightness which are completely adjustable facilitate outstanding coral or plant growth, while the built-in timer features on and off settings. Included in the system as well are the high-speed quiet fans, easy hanging kits, and aluminum upgraded heat sinks to offer heat dissipation.

With such powerful enhancements coming with the Viparspectra, you can be rest assured there won’t be any issues with the system heating up due to extended usage.

The kit:

The package includes 165W 1 timer, 2 hanging kits, 1 user instruction, 1 wireless remote, and a 6ft US power cord.

  • Scientifically engineered to keep the balance of the PAR output and coverage
  • An internal timer allows you to turn the light on or off automatically and separately
  • Simple channel controls
  • Economical entry into reef led lighting
  • 1-year local warranty plus 30 days satisfaction or return guarantee
  • The power cord is on the fixture top

2. Phlizon 165W – Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks

Reefer’s LED Lights
Phlizon 165W Dimmable Full Spectrum - Best LED Lighting for Reef Tanks

Phlizon 165W Dimmable Full Spectrum

The Philizon 165W Aquarium LED lights are matched properly, giving a full spectrum of colors that will show a natural, healthy, and beautiful display.

The blue UV light works as a defense mechanism for the entire environment, the purple light enhances fish growth, and nevertheless, the red and white light promote coral reef growth. Last but not least, this LED lighting system is one of the most durable one currently available on the market.

Attractive Design:

The design is built in such a way that it promotes photosynthesis and increases the oxygen levels, helping the fish to stay very healthy. The aquatic plants such as corals, algae, and moss will enjoy healthy growth as well.

Double dimmer model:

It acclimates your aquatic plants and fish by increasing the intensity of the light in time. There is a dimmer function that triggers the day and night light effects. The function of the dimmer knob is to separate the 2 channels and to adjust individually the brightness.

Two cooling fans:

Two cooling fans work quietly for heat dissipation over the top of the aquarium.

  • Upgraded Crystal Lens offer a 25% higher light transmittance
  • Durable metal case
  • Independently controlled channels
  • High LEDs lifespan
  • No remote control

3. MarsAqua 300W – Powerful LED Lighting for Large Reef Tanks

Most Powerful LED Lights
MarsAqua Dimmable 300W LED Aquarium - Powerful LED Lighting for Large Reef Tanks

MarsAqua Dimmable 300W LED Aquarium

The MarsAqua Dimmable 300W LED Aquarium Light WiFi LED aquarium lighting system serves the right purpose offering timely control.

It is our pick for larger tanks. The light spectrum is incredible and the color breaking looks astonishing. On top of it all, it comes as well with a helpful mobile application that’s extremely handy.

Easy installation:

The MarsAqua LED lighting system comes with a complete hanger kit that will do a great job. It can be easily suspended anywhere (against any type of ceiling) as you like and it’s suitable for any size of your tank (e.g.24/30/48/50 inches tank). You have to make sure though the ceiling is strong enough as this lighting system is a bit heavy.

Multimode channels:

It has 4 channels to choose from:

  • All Lights ON (meaning all the LED lights on the channel are on) – 55 LEDs
  • White Channel ON (meaning 28 LEDs on) – cool-white 14000k, warm white 2700k, red 660nm, green 520nm)
  • Blue Channel ON (meaning 24 LEDs on) – blue 460nm, purple 410nm, blue light promotes the absorption of coral calcium, synthetic vitamin D3, making corals grow brightly
  • Night Blue Channel ON (meaning 3 LEDs on) – night blue 450nm to simulate the lunar cycle to help produce the vitamin D3, promote fish sleep and the absorption of calcium for coral 

High efficiency:

It has top quality acrylic lenses ensuring light efficiency. This is favorable for the healthy growth of coral reefs, fish, and plants alike.

  • Promotes healthy growth for all aquatic life
  • 25% brighter lights compared to other LED lighting solutions
  • Amazing color control and preset modes
  • Adjustable 4 channels to choose from
  • 3-years warranty
  • Great LED lighting system for larger tanks
  • The mobile app could use some improvements

4. Finnex Planted – Best LED Lighting for Freshwater Planted Tanks

Best LEDs for Planted Tanks
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Aquarium LED Light - Best LED Lighting for Freshwater Planted Tanks

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Aquarium LED Light

Finnex Planted +24/7 is a lightweight fixture made of aluminum. It is our budget pick for a wide range of aquarium sizes, and ideal for freshwater planted tanks. From 20 to 48 inches in length, it can cover all sorts and types of tanks.

It has a sturdy fixture equipped with efficient heat dissipation capabilities. The Finnex Planted features 7000K high-quality daylight plus red LEDs.

Control color mode:

The V2 series features a color control mode enabling the users to save intensities and colors in the 24/7 preset programs. Sunrise and sunset color modes can be easily customized, saved, and reused whenever convenient.

Wireless LED sensor:

Eliminates any unpleasant LED dangled cords. This is built-in into the fixture by creating a streamlined and professional look.

Remote control:

It is made of quality materials, completely redesigned with remote control powered by two AAA batteries. The remote has a wireless end cap that allows sending commands with ease.

  • Lightweight slim design
  • Remote control easy to operate
  • Fully automated lights cycle
  • Fewer cords around compared to other models
  • Multiple models with a water-resistant LED coating 
  • The power cord could be a bit longer

5. NICREW Classic – Best Budget Aquarium LED Lighting

Best Bugdet LED Lights
NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Lights - Best Budget Aquarium LED Lighting

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Lights

The Nicrew Classic LED fixture is one of the best aquarium LED lighting systems one can find out there. These LED lights are very popular among aquarium owners.

The fixtures are available in 5 different models/sizes and the LEDs are energy efficient and extremely bright. They are ideally mounted atop of freshhwater glass aquarium’s covers.

Bright LEDs:

The LEDs’ spectrum comes with combined blue and white LEDs, making it an amazing fixture that is suitable for freshwater aquatic environments like never before. It is also energy efficient with daylight and lunar LEDs.

The NICREW Classic LED fixture has two lighting modes:

  • Mode 1 with all LEDs ON (ideal for all-day use)
  • Mode 2 with only Blue LEDs ON (ideal for night time)

Adjustable brackets:

The legs are adjustable, facilitating high flexibility during mounting and fitting. If needed, this also helps when adding multiple fixtures with ease.

Impressive looks:

The fixture is in full plastic except for the adjustable stands. It has a good looking black finish that blends in perfectly with most rooms’ design. Moreover, the blue light at night looks shining, enhancing the look even more.

  • Adjustable brackets for easy fitting
  • Two lighting modes: day & night
  • Comes in 5 different models, suiting all kinds of aquarium sizes
  • Very nice design, good looking LED lighting fixture
  • Not waterproof, so an aquarium glass/acrylic lid is highly recomended to protect the LEDs

6. Current USA Orbit – Great Saltwater Tanks LED Lights

Wider Color Spectrum
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Lights - Great Saltwater Tanks LED Lights

Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Lights

The design of the Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED light is such that it illuminates any marine aquarium of standard sizes. Coming in 4 different model sizes, it’s absolutely a high-end LED lighting system for saltwater tanks. It offers a galore of features such as a wireless infrared remote which is so easy and comfortable to use.

The next worth mentioning feature lies in its waterproof capabilities meeting the IP65 standards. The perfectly distributed LEDs provide a wide and effective lighting around the clock.

Natural effects with brighter LEDs:

Right from sunrise and all day long up until sundown, the Orbit Marine LED lighting system mimics the sunrise effect, bright daylight, dimming sunset, and the moonlight. There is a 24-hour built-in lighting cycle, that can be easily adjusted or set using the remote control.

Simple to install:

It features extendable brackets that ensure fitting LED lights to most tanks that belong to the following categories of 18 – 60 inches length.

There are 4 available models, suitable for the following aquarium lengths: 18 to 24 inch, 24 to 36 inch, 36 to 48 inch, and the last and biggest LED fixture is ideal for 48 to 60 inch long tanks.

Cool look:

The aluminum profiling is thin, measuring a thickness of ½’ so that all over at the top of the aquarium, a nice and full transparent view is ensured. The wide lenses spread light evenly offering superior color, that looks cool.

  • Top-quality and modern LED fixture
  • Easy to handle and mount
  • Highly adaptable with extendable brackets
  • Complete 24h lighting cycle with remote control
  • Bright actinic blue spectrum LEDs
  • More expensive compared to other models listed in this review

7. Current USA Satellite – Great Freshwater LED Lights

Top Quality Freshwater LED Lights
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Lights - Great Freshwater LED Lights

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Lights

The Current USA Orbit’s freshwater sibling, the Satellite model is undoubtedly one of the best aquarium LED lighting for high-end freshwater planted tanks. It comes with the same sleek fixture design and bright LEDs to encourage quick and healthy freshwater plants’ growth.

Completely waterproof, this fixture is IP65 rated and it ensures peace of mind.

Compared to other freshwater LED lighting system, the Current USA Satellite is equipped with 6500k White LEDs and rich 445Nm Blue LEDs that make it stand out from the crowd.

Full kit:

The package contains two adjustable mounts for docking, to fit on a wide variety of aquarium sizes, 1 Satellite LED fixture, 1 wired LED remote control, and 1 12V DC UL transformer.

Multiple Modes:

This LED lighting system adds excitement to any aquarium providing professional modes to periodically dim the lights creating a multitude of realistic weather effects like cloud cover effects, or simulating dusk time.

Perfect fit:

It comes with sliding docking brackets to ensure easy adjustment and perfect fit. It is suitable for a wide variety of installations. It is a breeze to even add multiple fixtures if needed.

  • Waterproof fixture
  • Super quality and bright LEDs for advanced freshwater plants
  • Low voltage, super safe LEDs
  • More functions and modes compared to other models
  • Fully controllable with wireless IR remote
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • A little bit pricey, but top quality comes with a price

8. AQUATICLIFE Reno – Best Aquarium LED Lights with WiFi Control

Best LEDs for Fish only Tanks
AQUATICLIFE Reno WiFi Multi-Color LED - Best Aquarium LED Lights with WiFi Control


This manufacturer came with an attractive and sleek appearance for the AQUATICLIFE Reno LED lighting. Although is built using very strong materials, it maintains a low profile doing an amazing job for fish-only tanks.

The aquarium LED material is durable and it is moisture resistant so that there will be no corrosion issues in a very long time of usage.

Energy efficient:

Powering this LED fixture comes with assured high energy efficiency. LEDs are the best when it comes to energy consumption and so no worries about spending on energy bills. This is the perfect light for fish-only aquariums when complete color customization is desired.

The full spectrum RGB LEDs provide an almost endless combination of colors while the white LEDs provide extra brightness over the aquarium.

Highly adjustable:

This model has two adjustable legs so that it’s extremely simple to mount on any type of aquarium. The rimless aquariums also fit greatly with this LED lighting system. The built-in WiFi allows the fixture to connect directly to your phone and works smoothly with both Apple and Android platforms.

You don’t even need a router or WiFi network in your home or office for these fixtures to match with your phone.

Long LED lifespan:

When buying an aquarium LED lighting system, means ensuring it is a durable product. The AQUATICLIFE Reno LED lighting system operates around 40.000 hours meaning it will run for several years even when used continuously.

  • Full-spectrum RGB LEDs great for fish-only tanks
  • Available in multiple sizes to suit different tank sizes
  • Can be controlled with a mobile app via WiFi
  • Attractive & low price
  • Not so powerful LEDs, that’s why the fixture is mostly ideal for fish-only tanks

9. BeamsWork – Best FOWLR & Cichlid Tanks LED Lights

Best for Marine FOWLR & Cichlids
BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light - Best FOWLR & Cichlid Tanks LED Lights

BeamsWork LED Aquarium Light

BeamsWork LED is a nice and solid-looking, while an impressive LED lighting system at the same time. The lighting system comes in a perfect packing with bubble wrap and triple boxed.

The lights are very bright when set to the daytime mode, while the actinic blue lights make it look amazing in the night mode. Thus, this lighting system is our choice for FOWLR marine tanks or freshwater Cichlid tanks.

High quality:

This LED fixture is of high quality and it’s equipped with bright 1W LEDs, providing a shimmer that owners will feel happy anytime they see their thriving aquarium displayed.

Energy efficient:

The light energy is very efficient so that you can save more on your energy bills and use it for other purposes. Enjoy saving extra money. These are long-lasting LEDs so that there is no need for any replacements.

Extendable brackets:

The brackets are extendable so they adjust easily to a wide range of aquarium sizes.

  • Higher output LEDs
  • Noiseless and heat efficient lights
  • Literally floods the aquarium with light
  • Super attractive price
  • Poor quality switch

10. Finnex FugeRay – Best LED Lights for Low Tech Tanks

Build Quality LED Lighting
Finnex FugeRay Aquarium LED Light - Best LED Lights for Low Tech Tanks

Finnex FugeRay Aquarium LED Light

Freshwater plant growth is heavily promoted with the contemporary ultra-slim designed led fixture – Finnex FugeRay.

Unlike its predecessor, Ray II which incorporates multiple high output LEDs pinched together for high light output, the FugeRay features a more evenly spaced LEDs alignment, ideal for refugium purposes as well as for low to medium light needy aquariums.

The FugeRay also features moonlights, which can be activated during the evening to give the aquarium a pleasant moonlight tone.

Easy setup:

The fixture just needs you to slide the legs and place it at the top of the tank after taking it out of the box. The legs fit just perfectly into the grooves. After that, it only needs to be plugged in and switched on.

4 Blue & 32 White LEDs:

The LEDs’ combination is just perfect, supporting and ensuring optimal light wavelengths for the photosynthesis of freshwater plants. A planted tank will simply thrive with Finnex FugeRay.

Well priced for such quality:

Plants grow perfectly with the Finnex FugeRay LED lighting system, provided we talk about a medium size planted tank. However, for heavier bio loads, a supplemental fixture is most likely required. For medium size planted tanks though, this is more than enough.

  • Good PAR ratings
  • Sturdy build with good quality materials
  • Very well priced for its output
  • Easy to install, basically just plug & play
  • One switch for daylight and moonlight modes
  • Can’t say any, simply a great LED system that does it’s job

11. Marineland LED – Good All-round Aquarium LED Lighting Hood

2 in 1 Hood with LED Lights
MarineLand LED Aquarium Hood - Good All-round Aquarium LED Lighting Hood

MarineLand LED Aquarium Hood

Marineland LED Light Hood creates astonishing natural daylight and its night light built-in effects come very handily during evenings. Its LED lighting provides a clean and crisp light. 

For enthusiasts enjoying a lid over the tank, then this hood comes as the perfect 2 in 1 – a lid including LED lighting as well. There is no mercury in its composition, providing minimal environmental impact, and also ensuring a longer lifetime.

Innovative equipment:

This is a piece of truly innovative LED lighting equipment offered by the well known Marineland brand, allowing users to create the ultimate aquatic environment in their house. 

Beautiful illumination:

The LED light hood of Marineland provides for a beautiful illumination for any freshwater tank. The shimmering light of the white LED mimics the effects of sunlight underwater. In the evening and night enjoy by switching to blue soft light.

Three hood sizes:

The hood comes in three measures, being suitable for 15, 25, and 30 gallon tanks.

  • Highly energy efficient
  • Environment friendly
  • Hood lighting facilitating easy feeding and access
  • Compatible with cords from filters and heaters
  • Not recommended for reef tanks

To conclude

The technology used in aquarium LED lights has changed now and people love to have their aquariums in different styles. Always choose the light that is favorable to plants, corals, and fish that you house in your aquarium.
All the models discussed are designed as high-quality and offer the best performance.

Are LED lights useful for the growth of aquarium plants?

The bulbs emit light and this is useful for the aquarium plant growth. You can choose the aquarium lights as you wish. Do more research and choose lights that will be effective for the growth of your aquarium plants.

How does the light color affect the aquarium plants’ growth?

The aquarium LED lights emit a light spectrum and this has a visible and non-visible spectrum of colors. Identify the light type suitable for the plant’s growth. For photosynthesis, bright light is required.

How to best hang the aquarium LED lights?

The LED aquarium lights can be easily mounted. Check the manufacturer’s guide of mounting and ensure things work as expected during the mounting.

How high should the LED lights be hung?

This is based on various factors such as the available space above the aquarium, besides other materials available. Understand the right height depending on your aquarium, and its aquatic life plus of course the total weight of the LED equipment.

How to best dim the aquarium LED lights?

The aquarium LED lighting systems feature different control options. This helps in choosing the settings of the right type. Adjust the controls accordingly and dim the light or brighten. LEDs also come with a remote control option so that you can dim sitting on your couch.