Having plants in your aquarium comes with various benefits for the growth and survival of the inhabitants of your aquarium. They produce oxygen, absorb the carbon dioxide in water and ammonia that your fish generate.

But just like any living organism, even plants in your aquarium have certain requirements for it to survive, grow and perform their functions properly. The most important requirement includes proper lights.

If you don’t have a good lighting system that provides enough light that your plants need, then they will not get the energy they need to grow and thrive.

This makes it one of the most major and essential parts of any running planted aquarium. It is extremely important to have a proper and high-quality lighting system in your tank to continue obtaining such benefits.

In search of the best-planted aquarium, I went through the variety of options available and their genuine reviews and comments. After doing so much research, I was able to list down some best options for lights that would be perfect for your planted aquarium.

As you read shear you, I have listed the ten best-planted aquarium lights with their genuine reviews. You can go through the list and pick the option that is best suited for your tank. In case if you get stuck while choosing, we have also provided a buying guide.  

10 Best Planted Aquarium Light – Reviewed

1. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC Aquarium LED Light

These Finnex Planted aquarium lights are super easy to set up on a rimmed tank and are great for lighting up your plants and aquarium environment.

It comes with two rows of intensive daylight and red LEDs, and the centre is a blend of dual red, green, and blue LEDs. Customisation of colour patterns gives wonderful tank lighting and ambience for your fish.

It comes with a remote that allows you to enter in and out of 24/7 mode, along with customising various colour combinations and commencing the four featured weather modes with the click of a button. 

You can use the planted series as it allows you to save various colour combinations in multiple intensities. It also has a built-in sensor that has two different colour indicator LEDs to clear any confusion.

With providing such features, this aquarium light comes at a great price giving a decent value for money. The only drawback of this is that the 27/4 colour control function does not work properly.

Pros

  • Customisable LEDs
  • Built-in sensor
  • Value for the money

Cons

  • The 27/4 colour control function does not work properly

2. hygger 42W 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light

With this aquarium lighting system, you will get five kinds of brightness: white, red, blue, green, purple, and orange. The light slowly ramps up and down in 15 minutes on the next day, and then comes the brightness you set. 

Even if it falls into the water briefly, you don’t have to worry as even if it is damaged, the separable adapter does not need to replace the whole light to avoid waste. It is easy to maintain and clean and has a built-in smooth metal aluminium housing. 

You just use a piece of a dry towel to wipe it clean as it is waterproof. The light is soft, and also the colour rendering index is close to natural light for protecting eyes and fish and do not cause any discomfort for fish and viewers. 

You can adjust the extendable bending bracket in length, and it is easy to install and be used in various freshwater tanks.  It has thickened aluminium to increase heat dissipation efficiency.

Read the instructions before setting up a cycle. It was expected to work for at least 50,000 hours, but as many people reviewed, it started blinking on and off after only about a couple of months and then stopped working fully. 

Pros

  • Easy to maintain and clean
  • Timer for setting brightness and cycles
  • Waterproof 

Cons

  • Not much durable

3. Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Planted Aquarium Lighting

This Fluval plant LED planted aquarium lighting performs very well and emits a very small amount of heat. It has nice watertight housing and can also create realistic artificial sunrises and sunsets along with a 24 hours cycle.

It also comes with smart app technology, and the light offers a variety of customisable features that you can easily control on your mobile device. This makes this lighting system so convenient looking at this modern generation.

The plant spectrum LED design is great for maintaining and thriving a live plant aquarium and high-quality value.

They are easy to install on various aquarium widths because they come with an extendable mounting bracket and allow 120 degrees light dispersion for full area coverage and uniform lighting all over the aquarium.

You will also get a warranty of three years with the purchase. The only thing that could be bothersome for some people is the high price tag of these aquarium lights. It could be really expensive for some people.

Pros: 

  • It has a smart app and can be controlled by mobile 
  • Convenient to use
  • Easy to install
  • Provide full area coverage and uniform lighting

Cons: 

  • High price tag

4. Current USA 18″-24″ Satellite Plus PRO LED Light

It comes with super bright white LEDs, and RGB (red, green, blue) LED’s come together in an amazingly sleek fixture providing an adjustable colour spectrum control that makes your tank look beautiful, as well as it is great for your plants.

The full adjustable spectrum of light is perfect for promoting strong plant growth while producing vivid colours and brilliant shimmer effects in the aquarium.

It has multiple modes; one is that it dim periodically to create cloud cover effects. The second is the storm modes that will blow you away, complete with lightning strikes and innovative evening modes that include lunar and dusk.

As it is specifically designed for freshwater aquariums, so I will not suggest you use it for marine water aquariums. It is very easy to install with its sliding docking legs that allow quick and easy adjustments for a wide variety of installations. 

It also has a wireless remote control for your convenience so you can wirelessly program and control just about the lights, but it is quite hard to control the aquarium lights as the remote control does not work properly. 

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Multiple modes are available
  • It makes your aquarium look beautiful 
  • Promotes strong plant growth

Cons

  • The remote control does not work properly 

5. Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LEDLight

This LED fixture’s contemporary slim design features a series of LEDs. The series are identical in a clip light moulding and feature a more evenly spaced LED alignment ideal for refugium purposes as well as medium-light needy aquariums. 

This aquarium lighting system also has different lights, like red LED’s, daylight and blue LEDs and has a moisture-resistant splash guard to protect against water mishaps. The red LED’s lights do a great job promoting photosynthesis.

The LED light bulbs are durable and are expected to last more than 40,000 hours, giving a high output. The circuit boards are built with high-quality aluminium material to extend and ensure longevity.

The PAR rating is 35 ( for medium light plants ) at 12 inches high and has an LED spread of 120 degrees. It also has a flexible gooseneck to allow the appropriate amount of light as needed.

After going through multiple reviews, I found that the LEDs do not work as long as they are expected. The LEDs worked for like half a year or even less for some and then stopped working for many people.

Pros

  • Different coloured LED’s
  • High-quality aluminium circuit boards
  • Good for plants medium light plants

Cons

  • Not durable LEDs

6. Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light for Aquarium

This current freshwater aquarium light comes with super bright LEDs that are white and are paired with a full spectrum of red, blue, green coloured LEDs to offer a variety of colours under the sun.

It allows quick and easy adjustments as it comes with sliding docking legs that you can use for a wide variety of installations. Not only the white lights and blue lights, but they also can produce effects that mimic real-world aquatic conditions.

Like the previous light, it also has multiple modes like innovative evening modes, including lunar and dusk, and gets dim periodically to create cloud cover effects, storm modes that will blow you away and complete with lightning strikes.

The LEDs are low voltage and quite efficient, and you get a 120-degree dispersion angle for optimal spread and colour blending.

After going by many comments and reviews, many people stated that the remote control does not work well for and it just randomly stops working and will not control the light. For some, it stopped working completely after a few months. 

Pros: 

  • Quick and easy to adjust
  • Have multiple modes
  • Low voltage LEDs

Cons: 

  • Improper working of remote control

7. NICREW SkyLED Plus Aquarium Light for Planted Tank

This aquatic LED light is designed to brighten up your underwater environment and is ideal for freshwater and low to high light level plants. The LED lights help, supports and promote plants growth.

It comes with an adjustable daylight and moonlight colour spectrum and intensity with the wired switch on the power cord. You can operate the day and night lighting channels together or independently for many different colour modes.

A full spectrum lighting effect is created when the bright white LEDs get combined with the blue and red LEDs.

You can install these aquarium lights on almost any fish tank and are adjustable as the docking legs allow quick and easy adjustments. You can use brackets as they help to extend around 24 – 30 inches.

The lights work fine and do a great job of providing enough light for plants and aquarium, but this only continues for a few months as the LED lights start getting dimmer and stop working after a few months of use.

Pros: 

  • Ideal for freshwater plants
  • You can install it on any aquarium
  • Adjustable light spectrums

Cons: 

  • Stop working in a few months

8. Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlights

This Finnex FugeRay aquarium LED light is great and works for both marine water plants and freshwater plants, and this feature is not seen in every aquarium lighting system. They come with a contemporary ultra-slim design.

The LED fixture features a series of LEDs to promote underwater plant growth. It also has a separate switch for moonlight, which can be activated during the evening to give the aquarium a pleasant moonlight tone. 

It also comes with a moisture-resistant splash guard to protect against water mishaps. The red LEDs offer a warmer tone throughout your aquarium.

Even if you have a large aquarium, this 120 degrees slim LED bar can light up your aquarium in a beautiful way due to its widespread lighting. This aquarium also has a unique leg fixture that allows this LED light to mount on various sized aquariums and sump setups. 

The circuit boards are built with high-quality material to extend LEDs life. The only thing that could be a problem for you is that the aquarium light does not come with a timer, so you have to do the switching manually or purchase a timer.

 Pros

  • Suitable for both marine and freshwater
  • Moisture resistant splash guard 
  • Widespread light
  • Unique led fixture

Cons

  • It does not come with an automatic timer

9. Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light

This light is really amazing as it supports aquatic life. It has red and blue colours, making them great as they help highlight your aquarium’s colours. It also has high colour rendering Index LEDs which helps to create optimum PAR for freshwater and reef aquariums.

This light also has a moonlight option which makes the aquarium look more beautiful during nighttime and helps you give an aesthetic look to your aquarium. You can switch to normal lights in the daytime, and you can turn on the moonlight option at night.

This lamp comes to you at a very low price in exchange for the function it delivers, which makes it pocket-friendly and durable and long-lasting.

This light comes with an adjustable body which makes it easy to use. It has plastic expansion legs, which helps in giving this lamp an aesthetic look. It will provide a good ambience for your aquarium.

The only thing that might cause a problem would be that it has light in different sizes. The short light doesn’t get that much hot, but the longer one becomes hot. This might be a problem if you have a small aquarium as the water’s temperature also rises a little bit.

Pros:

  • Durable 
  • Pocket friendly
  • Adjustable and easy to use

Cons:

  • Lights heat up

10. BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater

These LED lights are best for freshwater planted aqueriums. They are amazing lights as they work really well and has bright lights which give a nice look to your aquarium.

A suggestion would be buying the timer with this light. As you turn on the regular light, you will see a purple-ish look if you use it without the timer because all the lights are running simultaneously. 

But if you get the timer, set the hard switch off, then use the white timers button to turn the regular lights on. This will make the purple tint disappear since only the white, red and green lights will come on.

It has high-quality plastic legs which are stable. They help a lot and provide an aesthetic look to the light, which helps make the ambience of your aquarium look super good. It also comes at a reasonable price which makes this product pocket friendly.

The only thing that is not good about this light is that it is not long-lasting and durable as the lights get burned out in a few months. 

Pros:

  • Pocket friendly
  • High-quality plastic legs
  • Provides a great look for your aquarium

Cons:

  • Not durable

Things To Consider Before Buying A Planted Aquarium Light

Keeping high-quality lights for your planted aquarium used to be quite expensive just a few years ago but in recent days it became possible for anyone to keep high-light planted aquariums. All thanks to the rise of cost-efficient lighting features.

Nowadays, planted aquariums are getting more popular among people around the globe. This is mainly with the latest rise in technologies in recent years, which made raising aquatic plants in home aquariums a not so tough job. 

Choosing the perfect light for your planted tank can be really tricky as it is easy to get lost between loads of different options available in the market and not everybody knows what features you must look for. But don’t worry as I have done the trickiest part for you.

There are many factors to consider when you are buying lights for your planted aquarium. Here are some of the factors that you can keep in mind while choosing the best option for you and your tank:

1. PAR 

It is usually observed that the light manufacturers generally provide their products with PAR measurements. This is only applicable for lights that are intended for photosynthetic organisms like corals and plants. 

Using the PAR measurements can measure the amount of radiation required for photosynthesis and plant growth. 

It is the most common and easy to use. You can get a better understanding by taking the PAR measurements of your aquarium lights at different positions in a planted tank.

If the PAR value is higher, then it normally reflects promoted plant growth. But not every plant follows the same line. There are numerous plants, and different types of plants need different PAR levels to grow properly. 

Rather than keeping all plants as a single point, you can place them in varying locations from the source as per their requirements. This will ensure the proper growth of all your plants and boost the tank’s health.

2. Amount of Light Needed 

As we all know, there are a variety of available plants that you can keep in your fish tank and provide a real home to your fishes as well as elevate your aquarium’s look.

But do you know that different aquarium plants require different levels and intensities of light to grow and flourish? This is because of the difference in light absorption depending on the type of plant.

There are certain levels in which you can categorise aquatic plants depending on the level and intensity of light they require to thrive. There are low light, medium light, or high light plants.

Following is the guide for different lighting needed for aquatic plants:

  • Low-light plants such as moss balls, Anubias, ferns etc., generally do not need a very high intensity of light to live as the PAR value for them is around 15-30. Keeping a carbon dioxide supply for these plants is not compulsory as this intensity will not promote algae to bloom, but it helps them grow. For fluorescent lights, you will need nearly 1W/GAL for providing low-intensity light.
  • Most mid-background stem plants fall under the category of medium-light plants as they have a PAR value ranging between 35-65. You may need not too much but a certain amount of CO2 to let the plant grow and avoid the accumulation of algae. For fluorescent lights, you will need nearly 2W/GAL for the medium intensity of light.
  • High-light plants like Dutch, needle-leaf, red plants, etc., having a very high PAR value ranging around  65-120+, have high light consumption. This may also boost the algae to grow, not just your plants, so CO2 regulator in your tank is essential to avoid such problems. For the high light demand of old-tech fluorescent lights, you will need nearly 3W/GAL.

Just determine under what level your plant come in and provide sufficient light as per the standards. 

Suppose you have a variety of different plants in a single aquarium, and it’s impossible to maintain a particular light level for other plants. In that case, you can try rearranging your plant’s positions such that they get proper needed light. 

3. Hours of Light Aquatic Plants Need

It is best suggested that you must provide your aquatic plants with 10 to 12 hours of light per day. This would be the best time for your plants as well as your aquarium tank to keep them away from other unwanted growths.

It’s also equally important to provide your aquarium with a consistent day/night cycle. You can switch off the lights, and you can just buy new night lights or dimmer lights for your aquarium to mimic the night effect. 

If you think that your aquarium light does not provide enough light intensity, then this doesn’t mean you will keep them on for a longer duration of time as this won’t be of any help, nor does it give the effects you might expect.

4. Use of Light Timer

It could become a problem if you forgot to turn your aquarium lights off before going to sleep or on an extended business trip, right? Therefore, using a timer sounds incredibly convenient for your aquarium lights to prevent any mishap or problem.  

These days there are digital and mechanical timer options available for you to choose. In early times, socket timers were also available that could be compatible with most aquarium lights in the market, even these days. 

In modern terms, you will also find lights already embedded with an inbuilt timer that automatically switch off your aquarium lights from time to time. Going with such options would be a much smarter choice.

5. The Effect of Light Spectrum On Plants

When you go out to buy lights for your planted fish tank, you will come across many options that provide white light, but you will also find lights having electromagnetic spectrum containing red, blue, white, and green light.

Each of these colours plays an essential for your aquarium plant’s growth and health. You need to provide these lights in varying degrees, as red and blue light is most commonly seen to be used for good aquatic plant growth.

It is often seen that blue light has better penetration in water as compared to red light. This is because plants use red and blue lights for photosynthesis. Aquatic plants need 50% red light and 15% blue light for healthy growth.

Do you know why most plants appear green to our eyes, be it underwater or not? 

This is because plants only absorb 70% of the provided green light, and the remaining 30% gets reflected, resulting in their green appearance. From the RGB spectrum, 35% green light is needed by the aquatic plants for growing and blooming healthily.

6. Effect of size and shape 

It is extremely important to measure your tank before buying any accessory for it. If you purchased a smaller light that does not fit the aquarium length properly and the corners of the tank are in shadow, it may lead to poor or uneven plant growth. 

If you have a taller aquarium, you will need a stronger light source as light does not penetrate water very well, and some plant species need more intense light to grow effectively. A weaker light source may not help your bottom plants to thrive properly.

7. Effect on Planted Tanks without Light

Light is important for every plant to survive, but the amount required varies from one plant to the next. Without a light source, plants requiring more light need additional support; on the other hand, plants requiring less light can survive on diffused natural sunlight indoors.

In most common cases, if plants in your aquarium are not getting any light due to the light source getting shut off for a long time, the plants will start taking in oxygen and putting out carbon dioxide until they get the light. 

Carbon dioxide will accumulate over time, resulting in a lack of oxygen in the tank and may severely affect your fish’s survival.

8. Effect of too much light

If you leave your lights on for too long (longer than the duration of 10 to 12 hours, as mentioned above) in your planted aquarium, then your tank will be more prone to the growth of algae on a large scale.

A combination of too intense light and nutrients in your aquarium water will cause rapid growth of algae and can also result in affecting the colour of the water that appears brown or yellowish.

If your lights have been running for a very long time, there is a high chance that the lighting system will get fused or have a short circuit in it.

9. Relation of Light and CO2

Do you think the light is only responsible for causing algae to bloom in your aquarium? That is not entirely true as the carbon dioxide level in the tank plays a good role in it too.

It is very important to maintain the right balance between the light and CO2 level, as if your tank has more light present, it will cause more CO2 to be required by the plants. 

But if there is a shortage of CO2 in the tank and enough CO2 is not present for your plants, it can cause an algae bloom.

On the other hand, if you decrease the intensity of light and the amount of CO2 is increased, at this point, plants will not carry out photosynthesis properly, resulting in the accumulation of CO2 and becoming toxic to the fish and aquarium environment.

Conclusion

Aquarium lights are indeed an essential part of decorating your aquarium and making it look like a true attraction among the room decor. The major role that lights play in the health and well-being of a planted aquarium remains dominant. 

As finding the best-planted aquarium lights is not as simple as it sounds, I hope that this article helped you in choosing one of the many options available in the market that fits best in your aquarium.

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