Best LED Aquarium Lighting for Plants

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    Vicki Smirnova
    Vicki Smirnova

    Author: Vicki Smirnova

    Vicki S. is a professional writer and editor who adores animals and helps readers get along well with their pets. Vicki has been working in digital media for more than 5 years and has great experience writing content about lifestyle, including pets. Vicki specializes in Dog Feeding and Nutrition, Cat and Kitten Food, Dog Care and Training, Aquarium Fish Owner Tips topics. Also, Vicki headed several websites and worked as a news editor.

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  • Updated on: 10/21/2020

All life on earth needs light. Aquarium plants also need lighting. If they have enough light, their life becomes active, and they feel great. If there is not enough light, the plants will grow poorly and may get sick. A light that is too bright is also dangerous: plants may get burned, or the temperature of the water in the aquarium may increase, and it will have to be changed more often than usual.

In order for novice aquarists not to make unforgivable mistakes, remember that inside the aquarium is a real biological environment in which life develops. Lighting allows not only fish, but also plants, to develop correctly, but its quantity should not be insufficient or, on the contrary, excessive. All this leads to unpleasant consequences.

best led lights for a reef tankreddit.com

Results of Incorrect Illumination:

  • Too bright and prolonged lighting causes abundant growth of algae, which leads to rapid contamination of the reservoir; i.e. the water begins to bloom. The cycle of illumination of plants should be close to nature; that is, it should be 10-12 hours. However, some specifically increase the luminosity period to encourage faster growth of aquarium flora. Too long or short periods of light disrupt the natural biorhythms of plants, causing them stress. For this reason, plants often begin to get sick.
  • Certain types of plants for aquariums are in need of long-lasting and bright light for normal growth. But this mode can already harm the fauna; that is, fish. As a result, many fish that are used to living in natural conditions in shaded areas begin to fade, losing the brightness of their color. They hide from the bright light among seaweed and rocks, instead of swimming and pleasing the observer.
  • Lack of lighting also negatively affects the health of flora and fauna of your aquarium. Light is the main parameter on which the development of the flora depends completely. If you try to compensate for the lack of lighting with fertilizers and carbon dioxide, then be prepared for failure. The consumption of CO2 by plants directly depends on the intensity of total daylight, and no fertilizers can affect this.

READ MORE: Aquarium Plants Fertilizers

The reason is simple – the photosynthesis reaction can’t happen without the energy that plants get from light. As a result of this reaction, they begin to convert CO2, minerals and water into organic tissues. If the light does not fall on the plants, then carbon dioxide and all sorts of fertilizers remain unclaimed. Plants will slow down in development or simply die.

The necessary illumination for plants in tanks can be provided best by an LED light. The only problem is that different plants and animals need different amounts of light for normal life and growth. The best LED aquarium lights for plants provide photosynthesis and oxygen production, which is known to occur only in this light. But even here, it is necessary to understand that different kinds of lights are needed for the growth of different types of plants.[1]

The best LED aquarium lighting for plants does not overheat the water, has a certain spectrum of radiation, and evenly distributes light over the entire area of the aquarium.

RELATED ARTICLE: Aquarium Water Changing Guide

best led lamps for aquarium plantsPhoto by Huy Phan on Unsplash

10 Best LED lights for Planted Tank

In this chart, we picked the TOP 10 lights for planted aquarium.

Product

Features

Our Rating *

Buy

beamswork da fspec led aquarium light pent freshwater

1. BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater

  • Highest rated

  • Easy to install

  • Good value for its money

4.4 out of 5 stars

finnex fugeray planted+ aquarium led light plus moonlights cliplight

2. Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, Cliplight

  • Superior heat dissipation

  • An impressive light spectrum that promotes photosynthesis

  • Good for the budget

4.3 out of 5 stars

finnex planted 24 for 7 led klc aquarium light automated full spectrum fish tank light

3. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light, Automated Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light

  • Fully automated

  • Light-weight

  • Easy to operate and install

  • Four memory slots that save multiple color intensity combinations

4 out of 5 stars

finnex stingray 2 aquarium led light

4. Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light

  • Ultra-thin

  • Affordable

  • Impressive color spectrum and light intensity

4.6 out of 5 stars

coralife led biocube aquarium replacement canopy

5. Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Replacement Canopy

  • Easy to assemble

  • Waterproof

  • Great value for money

4.3 out of 5 stars

Price: from $89.25

aqueon freshwater aquarium clip-on led light

6. Aqueon Freshwater Aquarium Clip-On LED Light

  • Powerful lighting

  • Sturdy

  • Great Quality

  • Secure fit

5 out of 5 stars

Price: from $19.54

marineland fully adjustable essential aquarium led light

7. Marineland Fully Adjustable Essential Aquarium LED Light

  • Easy to assemble

  • Designed for 55 – 75 gallon aquariums

  • Durable

4 out of 5 stars

Price: from $109.99

fluval fresh and plant 3.0 led light fixture

8. Fluval Fresh and Plant 3.0 LED Light Fixture

  • Reasonable price

  • Easy to assemble

  • Easy to use

4.8 out of 5 stars

Price: from $149.99

hagen marina betta kit led light

9. Hagen Marina Betta Kit LED Light

  • Great value for money

  • Deep submersible

  • Good illumination

4 out of 5 stars

Price: from $12.23

fluval nano fresh and saltwater led lamp

10. Fluval Nano Fresh & Saltwater LED Lamp

  • Improves the colors of fish, corals and plants

  • High light output

  • Energy efficient

4 out of 5 stars

Price: from $62.99

*Ratings are formed by the Author of the article and based on own research and customer reviews.

Best LED Lighting for Planted Aquarium Reviews

1. BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater

This high-quality, energy-saving LED light from the Beamworks DEF SPEC series can easily replace fluorescent light. The lamp is made using 10000K, Actinic, red and green LEDs. This stylish lamp will add a modern aesthetic to any aquarium. LEDs work for a very long time, in both daylight and moonlight mode. Thanks to the extendable brackets, the lamp size can be adjusted. The power supply unit (driver) is compatible with a power supply from 110 to 220 V. Users outside of North America may need an adapter to install the outlet correctly.

Key benefits:

  • Lumen: 4000
  • LEDs: 80x 0.50W
  • Config: 51x 10000K, 16x Actinic 460nm, 7x Red 620nm, 6x Green 520nm
  • Timer ready, 2 mode day/night
  • Suitable for freshwater, plants, cichlid

Pros

Cons

  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to install
  • Good value for money
  • The color spectrum is not broad enough
  • Light intensity may be on the high side

Back to the chart

2. Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights, Cliplight

This modern, thin lamp is equipped with several LEDs. The lamp includes several high output LEDs that work together for high light output. The FugeRay has a more uniform scattering of LEDs, ideal for refugium purposes, as well as for aquariums with medium lighting. Red LEDs promote photosynthesis of chlorophylls. All models are equipped with a moisture-proof PC splash guard to protect against water ingress. This lamp will last you at least 40,000 hours. The LED spread is 120 degrees. The boards in these LED lamps are made of high-quality aluminum, and the device itself performs the function of heat synchronization, providing sufficient cooling and excellent heat dissipation. The tilt of the lamp can be adjusted, thanks to flexible materials. The power cord is 59 inches.

Key benefits:

  • Hood construction: aluminum/plastic
  • Wattage: 5 watts
  • Ultimate planted LED clip light
  • Lunar Blue Moonlight LEDs
  • True 660nm red LED’s, daylight and blue LEDs

Pros

Cons

  • Durable
  • Superior heat dissipation
  • Impressive light spectrum that promotes photosynthesis
  • Does not come with remote control
  • Not water-resistant

Back to the chart

3. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light, Automated Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light

This Finnex LED lamp simulates sunrise and sunset directly in your aquarium. The lamp has a 24/7 function that changes the temperature of the light. So, the dawn is imitated by cool light, the light of a warmer temperature imitates morning, the sparkling light-noon and the light that passes to the sunken sunset of the red sun and ends with starlight-cold and blue.

Key benefits:

  • Sunrise and sunset effect w/controller
  • 7K/multi-color blend for plant growth
  • Hands-free: simulates firey red sunrise to blue starry night
  • Water-resistant
  • Four customizable color channels, dimmable, weather modes

Pros

Cons

  • Light-weight
  • Easy to operate and install
  • Four memory slots that save multiple color intensity combinations
  • Remote control often malfunctions

Back to the chart

4. Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light

This lamp is characterized by a smooth aluminum design, making it almost invisible. It also gives a modern look to any aquarium. The material from which this lamp is made is resistant to corrosion and moisture, making it extremely durable.

Stingray 2 can provide users with three different colors in their aquarium – 7,000,000 daylight LEDs are used to illuminate the entire aquarium. In addition, there are red LEDs and actinic blue LEDs that simulate night time in your aquarium. This feature adds a great atmosphere and gives your aquarium a stunning look by changing the existing color.

The Stingray kit includes transparent plastic legs that can slide along the cap guide.

Key benefits:

  • 3 Position switch: max, moonlights or off
  • True 660nm red LEDs
  • Ultra sleek aluminum hood

Pros

Cons

  • Ultra-thin
  • Affordable
  • Impressive color spectrum and light intensity
  • Some buyers says that light has started to dim over time

Back to the chart

5. Coralife LED BioCube Aquarium Replacement Canopy      

coralife led biocube aquarium replacement canopy

This lamp is designed for 14/16 size aquariums. This lamp allows you to light your aquarium in the best possible way. The lamp is equipped with a 24-hour timer and can shine bright white and blue. The lamp can simulate a 30-minute sunrise and sunset, and there is also a 60-minute moonrise and sunset function. These features will allow your aquarium inhabitants to really feel at home in their natural habitat.

Key benefits:

  • Sunrise and sunset effect w/controller
  • Features an integrated 24-hour timer with 3 settings
  • Helps brighten your aquarium

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Great value for money
  • Waterproof
  • Some buyers says that light dies in a few months

Back to the chart

6. Aqueon Freshwater Aquarium Clip-On LED Light

aqueon freshwater aquarium clip-on led light

Improve the life of your aquarium inhabitants with the Aqueon Freshwater Aquarium Clip-On LED light. Thanks to its convenient mounting, the lamp can be quickly attached to the aquarium and in the desired position. The lamp consists of 21 bright LEDs and is ideal for freshwater aquariums up to 20 gallons. The Clip-On LED light from Aqueon provides optimal lighting for a bright and thriving aquarium.

Key benefits:

  • Easy to install on frame or frameless aquariums with a universal mounting screw
  • Has a two-way touch control with 21 bright LEDs.
  • Ideal for freshwater aquariums up to 5 gallons.

Pros

Cons

  • Powerful lighting
  • Great quality
  • Provides optimal lighting
  • Non adjustable light intensity and positioning
  • May become hot with extended use

Back to the chart

7. Marineland Fully Adjustable Essential Aquarium LED Light

marineland fully adjustable essential aquarium led light

This lamp is designed for aquariums from 55 to 75 gallons and tanks from 48 to 54 inches. The lamp has 8 white and 2 blue LED modules and can accommodate up to 31 LED modules. With Marineland’s fully adjustable LED lighting, you can create a natural environment for your fish.

Key benefits:

  • Designed for 55-75 gallon aquariums
  • Mounting legs can adjust from 48 inches to 54 inches, and the light strip can hold up to 31 LED PODs
  • Offers customizable lighting and light intensity controls

Pros

Cons

  • Designed for aquariums that hold 55-75 gallons
  • Durable
  • Easy to assemble

Back to the chart

8. Fluval Fresh and Plant 3.0 LED Light Fixture 

fluval fresh and plant 3-0 led light fixture

Create a natural environment in your aquarium with live plants with a variety of customizable options for the Fluval Fresh & Plant 3.0 Full Spectrum Performance LED lamp. The lamp also has 24-hour light cycle settings. Thanks to this function, the LED light can simulate sunrise, noon, sunset and night. The lamp can be used with a controller or via Bluetooth on your smartphone. For this purpose, the FluvalSmart technology application is provided. You can use it to configure a wide range of parameters. High-output LEDs provide improved light output and spectral quality, while consuming the same amount of energy as previous generations of lamps. The smooth packed shell provides efficient heat transfer and improved protection against water and humidity penetration.

Key benefits:

  • You can set up a 24-hour light cycle (sunrise, noon, sunset and night)
  • Includes optional pre-set habitat light configurations like Lake Malawi, Tropical and Planted
  • Six unique band waves for full spectrum results

Pros

Cons

  • Reasonable price
  • Easy to use
  • Easy control system
  • Low controllability

Back to the chart

9. Hagen Marina Betta Kit LED Light

hagen marina betta kit led light

This LED lamp acts as a nightlight or a unique decorative accent and is a great addition to your Hagen Marina Betta set. The most important feature of the lamp is that it can be completely submerged in water. The lamp has a safe, low power of only 6 W.

Key benefits:

  • Can be used as a nightlight or a unique decorative accent
  • May be fully submerged in the water of your aquarium
  • Safe system, thanks to low power
  • Can be used with the Hagen Marina Betta kit

Pros

Cons

  • Great value for money
  • Outstanding aquatic illumination
  • Fully submersible
  • Light is to focused for small aquarium

Although this lamp is not considered very suitable for betta fish, it is a perfect budget lamp for plants, ideal for beginners.

Back to the chart

10. Fluval Nano Fresh & Saltwater LED Lamp

fluval nano fresh and saltwater led lamp

This LED lamp enhances the color of fish, corals and plants in marine aquariums. The lamp is suitable for those species of fish, plants and corals that require a low-intensity level of illumination in the nano-tank environment. Thanks to the LED technology C. O. B. (Chip-on-Board), the lamp has higher energy efficiency, better spectral characteristics and maximum light output. Light scattering of 120 degrees allows you to cover and evenly illuminate the entire aquarium.

Key benefits:

  • Enhances the color of fish, corals and aquarium plants
  • Designed for nano and desktop aquariums with a volume of 20 gallons
  • The lamp can be used in aquariums without frames, or in aquariums with upper frames
  • Maximum frame height: 30 mm/1 1/8″

Pros

Cons

  • Improves the color of fish, corals and plants
  • High energy efficiency
  • High light output
  • Designed only for nano and desktop aquariums up to 20 gallons

Back to the chart

Buyer’s Guide – Led Plant Lights

How to Choose the Best Planted Aquarium Light

There are several factors to consider before purchasing a lamp for your aquarium.

Light intensity

Each aquarium has its own light requirements; some plants thrive in low light and some need high or medium light. Therefore, you should make sure that the best LED for a planted aquarium is right for your tank. Light intensity for aquarium plants is usually measured as photosynthetic active radiation (PAR), and its ranges (relative to lighting requirements) are defined as follows:

  • Very high light: >80 μmol
  • High light: 50 – 80 μmol
  • Medium light: 30-50 μmol
  • Low light: 15 – 30 μmol

Color spectrum

The color spectrum created by LED lighting is another crucial property that should not be overlooked. The correct spectrum should include as many colors as possible. This ensures that the plant will receive light that will contribute to the best photosynthesis process. For example, a white LED lamp 6500K or 7000K creates lighting close to natural daylight.[2]

Light coverage

This indicator depends on the size of the tank on which you will install the lamp. In addition, you must consider the density of the population of flora that will grow in the aquarium. The LED lamp should provide a good uniform distribution of light to effectively stimulate the growth of plants.

The Kelvin/Lumen rating

This is one of the most important functions. You need to make sure that the model you are choosing has the right rating in terms of Kelvin or Lumen. These two units are important in measuring the different outputs of the LED lights in terms of both the color temperature and the total visible light.[3]

For most planted aquariums, having the light operating at around 6500K to 7000K should be ideal to keep the plants growing. It would also help make the unit work as a natural light source.

Features

One of the features of some models is different lighting modes. Some lamps can simulate sunrise, sunset, and even night. As for the management functions, you need a model that is easy to control. You don’t need to have a complex model that makes it difficult to get the right combination of light.

Easy installation

The installation process is always important for the user. When purchasing a lamp, make sure that you can install it correctly. Read reviews or watch a tutorial video before you buy a lamp.

The durability of the LEDs

You should make sure that the model you choose has the best durability. Durability depends on the material used to make the device and the type of LEDs used. At first, some LEDs may work fine, but later they may burn out in a short time.

Ventilation and splash protection

The ventilation of the model is another factor to keep in mind. LEDs generate heat that accumulates during operation, so it is important that this heat be released. LED lights must not have any contact with water.[4]

READ MORE: TOP-10 plants for Goldfish

lighting example for 180 gallon tankhttp://fishtanktv.com/

FAQ

Why Are LEDs Perfect for Planted Aquariums?

The durability of LED lamps is significantly higher than that of other types of lamps. Lighting with LED strips does not affect the temperature balance in the aquarium. It allows you to use the selection of brightness and lighting colors to create beautiful views of the underwater world. They have a significant light output and durability. Light from the diodes penetrates to the depths. The light spectrum of white LEDs is broader than that of incandescent lamps, which is favorable for aquarium plants.

How Much LED Lighting for a Planted Tank?

Before buying LED lighting for your aquarium, you should understand the needs of plants. If you do not pay attention to this, you can get a lighting device that does not meet the needs of plants. Some aquarium plants require more light and some require less. First, study the needs of all your plants, then buy a lamp.[5]Most manufacturers provide the lumens rating so that you know where best to the model:

  • Low-light plants need an average of 60 lumens per gallon
  • Average-light plants need about 110 lumens per gallon
  • High-light plants need more, about 150 lumens per gallon

How much light is required for aquarium plants?

Light is the most important factor for plants in your aquarium, and plants need light to grow and function. The amount of light depends on what plants you grow, and you should know their light requirements. Some plants need a lot of light and some don’t. Too much light can cause the rapid growth of algae, which can turn an aquarium into a swamp. Before buying a lamp, the aquarium owner needs know a lot about their plants.

Useful sources

  1. Beginner Aquarium Plants That Anyone Can GrowAquarium Tidings
  2. The Art of Aquarium Keeping Communicates Science and ConservationElizabeth A. Marchio, Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, United States, Frontiers – The Art of Aquarium Keeping Communicates Science and Conservation
  3. 4 Things You Need to Know About Aquarium CareAquarium Tidings
  4. AquariumThe Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Encyclopaedia Britannica’s editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree
  5. How to calculate the proper LED light intensityAquasabi – Aquascaping Wiki

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