Top 5 Best LED Lights for Planted Aquariums


To make the most out of your planted fish tank, you have to ensure that it enjoys the optimal conditions for it in order to be able to grow just as it would in nature.

The point of this article will be to explore those conditions and determine what products best fit that description so you can choose the best LED light for planted fish tanks!

The Top Five Aquarium Lights for Planted Tanks

You would basically want to aim for something that doesn’t produce that much heat and instead focuses on a nice and easy 6000 Kelvin when it comes to intensity as that best emulates their condition in the wild.

1) The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium, 48...
  • Super bright 6500K White LED's are paired with full spectrum RGB LED's to offer every color under...
  • The remote includes 6 fresh eater optimized color presets, 4 memory buttons for saving custom...
  • Manufactured in China

To start with the list, Current USA have been one of the biggest manufacturers of LED lights worldwide and they never seem to disappoint with their products.

This bad boy comes in many different sorts of sizes, so choosing one suited for your aquarium will never be a problem.

What to Like About This Product

  • It featured cool lighting effects that could be applied with a simple click
  • Day and night mode, so it was very easy to control the environment inside
  • A memory button that could be saved and used whenever, saving you precious time
  • Remote control which allowed me to make changes on the go.

What Could Be Improved On

  • I felt the remote had too many buttons and they weren’t that far apart, causing confusion.
  • The light wasn’t that poweRul for the size of the LED light
  • I had to use an alarm as the product didn’t feature a timer.

2) The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED, Controller, 48...
  • Fully Automated Aquarium LED Fixture w/Controller
  • Hands Free: Simulating Fire Red Sunrise to Blue Starry Night
  • Four Customizable Color Channels, Dimmable
  • 7k/Multi-color Blend for Plant Growth
  • 48 Inch Fixture

Finnex really tried their best when it comes to the Planted version of their product.

Being available in a variety of different sizes are only one of the many benefits I’ve found using this bad boy.

What to Like About This Product

  • Can be fully automated, meaning that ones you set things up you can leave it be for a while.
  • Very modern and stylish to top it off.
  • The remote featured a lot of buttons that were far apart from each other, it was easy to navigate.
  • Nicely built, quality material that gives off the impression that it can withstand a lot of impact

What Could Be Improved Upon

  • If you have got a shallow tank, the light might be a bit too much.
  • Memory button can be worked upon as it is easily overwritten.
  • Some modes are counter-intuitive for the user (moon being brighter than cloud)

3) The Finnex FugeRay Planted

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights,...
  • 48" Unibody Ultra Slim High Output Planted LED
  • TRUE 660nm intensive photosynthesis RED LEDs
  • (180) 7000k + (96) 660nm RED + (12) Blue Moonlights
  • 35.6 Total Watts

Our third pick revolves around an ultra slim design which has not yet been fully utilized on the market.

Will their confidence pay off or will the design prove to be insufficient enough to satisfy our demands?

What to Like About This Product

  • The best remote out of all the products, easy to customize and adjust.
  • The price is on point as the materials used in building it are quite durable
  • It’s very thin, almost unnoticeable so it tends to just blend in with the aquarium.
  • You can leave it running on its own, doesn’t need any sort of supervision.

What Could Be Improved Upon

  • Its length can become a problem when mounting it, be sure to measure your aquarium!
  • Even though the remote works great, the interface is just awful to look at.
  • Not enough versatility when it comes to colors.

4) The NICREW LED Aquarium Light

Currently on Sale
NICREW LED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable...
  • Super bright, energy efficient and long lasting LEDs to produce amazing shimmer to your aquarium
  • Adjustable metal brackets to fit aquarium tank from 28 inches to 36 inches
  • Light Fixture: 28 in L x 4 in W, Hood w/ Brackets Extend: 36 in L x 4 in W.
  • Two lighting modes: White & Blue LEDs for daylight and Blue LEDs for nightlight
  • One-Year Limited Warranty. Please use over a glass or clear plastic canopy

The NICREW is one of the cheapest models available on the market these days.

That says a lot about the competition when it comes to aquarium lights as we think that the price is more than justified.

What to Like About This Product

  • You definitely get your bang for the buck
  • Excellent materials used in designing the light
  • A day and night mode, covering both cycles in different moods.
  • Metal brackets are adjustable to fit different aquarium sizes.

What Could Be Improved Upon

  • Only a one-year warranty, making you question the reasoning behind such low trust in their own product.
  • The light is a bit too bright for its own good, needs adjustments.
  • Limited amount of colors presentable.

5) The Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent

Beamswork DA 6500K 0.50W Series LED Pent Aquarium Light...
  • Lumen: 8000
  • LEDs: 176x 0.50 watt
  • Config: 144x 6500K, 32x Actinic
  • 2 Modes: All on / 32x only
  • Timer Ready

What a nice contraption this is! Featuring over 150 LED lights all carefully placed in a perfect manner, this shiny piece of plastic sure had my expectations high!

What to Like About This Product

  • Suited for light output in the 6500 Kelvin range, perfect planted aquarium led lights
  • Has a very intuitive timer
  • Materials used are absolutely top notch, a lot of thought has gone into safety
  • Suitable for both big and small tanks as it is adjustable.

What Could Be Improved Upon

  • Only two modes to choose from, felt a bit stale.
  • The lights were becoming a bit too bright after 30 minutes of use.

Tips On Choosing The Best LED Lights For Planted Tanks

Even though we have listed the top five best planted tank led lighting that’s currently being sold on the market, there is nothing stopping you from doing a bit of exploring on your own.

If you are not too keen on doing it on your own or if you lack the confidence to judge an aquarium, here are four general things to look out for:

1) Look At The Label!

Aquarium lighting is becoming a booming business nowadays and with that, there are a lot of small-time companies, I like to call them parasites that try and leech off on this wonderful hobby.

They are basically trying to undermine all the hard work that legitimate companies put in by selling low-quality ripoffs at a cheaper, affordable prices.

You always have to remember that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is and the same goes with LED lights.

You are better off purchasing a brand product that you know will give you the support you might require during the warranty, instead of opting for a cheaper model and living in the dark.

Playing with fire can lead to only one thing: More money lost in the sum of the event as you will have to purchase another LED light pretty soon once the rip off stops working and their support line proves to be nonexistent.

2) Light Spectrum

We have talked about this before but just to make it absolutely clear to anyone reading this: Planted fish tanks require a set environment that emulates their natural habitat.

What one needs to realize is that they cannot play a God.

If a plant requires 6000 Kelvin of light intensity to strive, then you better ensure that you provide what is necessary to that plant!

3) Control Features And Modes

If you have a keen eye, you might have already realized that the lower end models usually don’t have more than two modes and that their control features are all wacky and sometimes not even present.

What’s more is that the amount of coloring is also usually lacking so unless you have a very colorful aquarium on its own, you shouldn’t fall into the trap of saving money on LED lights.

Ideally, you want an aquarium that lets you have full remote control, you want it to have a memory function that works, a timer that is intuitive to use, full automation and not too many buttons so that you don’t get lost in the entire process.

4) Ease Of Installation

From my vast experience in installing LED lights, I would have to say that one has two basic tenants to fall back to when it comes to installing these bad boys.


These lights just sit on the rim of your aquarium, they were easy to install and don’t require any sort of professional help.

You can basically do it on your own, you don’t have to read the manual!


This is where it gets harder and where one would need some help if it was his first time doing something like this.

Although a lot more work goes into mounting them, they look a lot better as they give off that natural vibe that many aquariums lack.

5. Amount Of Lightning

Most planted aquariums hover between 50-150 lumens per gallon and would do best to divide them into three categories to better understand the underlying relationship.

  • Plants that require low light, you would need an average of 60 lumens per gallon.
  • Plants that require medium light, you would need about 110 lumens per gallon.
  • Plants that require high light, you would need about 150 lumens per gallon.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How long do lights need to be on for optimal plant growth?

There are a lot of factors that can determine that, but let’s just name those that you can actually influence as they are probably the ones you want to focus upon.

To start off, you should really try and comprehend the fact that every plant has a different sort of optimal light amount and that trying to please every type of plant in your aquarium is an impossible task.

What would be best to do in such a scenario is the following:

  1. Plant similar plants together in the same aquarium
  2. Try and find an average optimal light between all the plants in your aquarium.

To extrapolate on the latter, if your plants enjoy sunlight from 50-100 lumens per gallon, you would want to set the light to hover between 70-80 lumens per gallon.

This would allow for all plants to get the best out of both worlds!

2) How much electricity do LED aquarium lights use? What’s the cost to run such a thing?

For LED aquarium lighting for planted tanks, it all depends on the size of the tank as we cannot possibly give you a figure and claim it to be the end all be all.

What we can do however is use a medium sized aquarium as an example and if you own a different sized one, add or remove around 1/4 from the total we get. The amount of energy expended will most likely depend on the amount of Watts used.

For a medium sized tank, 50 Watts would be a decent start.

Considering the fact that LED lights use up to 80% LESS electricity as their power up, we can safely assume that for a year of using them at 50 Watts, one would spend around 60$ on electricity per year.

Compare this to the 200$ per year you would spend using alternative lighting and we can see that we save up to a 150$ dollars per year just on one average fish tank!!!

We can see that although we will have to invest and take a loss in the first two to three years, all the money after that will go straight into our pockets!

This means that if our LED lights survive for more than five years, we have more than doubled our investment!

One might think to them self that five years is a lot of time but it adds up, believe me, it does. My grandpa always used to say that the rich aren’t rich because they are saving up money. No, they are rich because they invest long term and ignore the short term.

Be like them and get yourself a LED light today!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, planted aquariums are a beauty on their own so you don’t have to take the most versatile LED lights on the market. Just one that’s able to allow your plants to thrive.

Even if it only has two or three colors available, making it not that versatile, if your environment is lively enough – more colors would just ruin the appeal. Sometimes less is more, but most of the times, it is the other way around!

Always remember to do your own due diligence when it comes to buying stuff from any vendor, no matter how reputable they are! We hope that we have helped you out in your journey to build the perfect planted aquarium!

Last update on 2017-08-23 at 04:03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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