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Is LED light good for fish tank? (6 Benefits of LEDs over other types)

If you are wondering, is LED light good for fish tank then you are in the right place.

In this article, I am going to answer the same question.

Besides, I will also tell you:

  • The benefits and shortcomings of LED aquarium light over other types of aquarium lights
  • Then I will share with you some tips to choose the best LED aquarium light for your aquarium
  • I will also share with you some LED aquarium light recommendations 
  • And lastly, I will go over some frequently asked questions about LED aquarium lights

So without further ado let’s get into it.

Is LED light good for fish tanks? (6 Benefits of LEDs over other types) image

So, is LED light good for a fish tank?

LED aquarium lights are good for most of the fish tanks.

There are a lot of benefits of LED aquarium lights over other types of aquarium lights like fluorescent and incandescent aquarium light.

6 Benefits of LED aquarium light

fish tank with LED light

LED aquarium lights are getting more and more popular among aquarists.

And it is for a good reason. There are several benefits of LED aquarium lights over other types of lighting technologies.

1. No Heat

Fluorescent aquarium lights produce a lot of heat which heats up the water near the light.

Usually, this is not the problem in the larger tanks. But in smaller tanks, the heat produced by the light can heat up all the water in your aquarium.

It can heat the water so much so it can cause the death of the fish in the aquarium.

On the other hand, LED aquarium lights produce very little if not any heat.

And it will not heat up the water in your aquarium.

One thing to keep in mind is that, you should have a good air circulation around the LED aquarium light so the little heat it produces will not affect the LED chips. And your LED aquarium lights will last longer.

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2. Less electricity bill

LED aquarium lights consume very little electricity compared to other types of lights like fluorescent lights.

They consume almost 80% less electricity than other types of aquarium lights. So they will not raise your electricity bill too much.

3. LEDs last longer

LED aquarium lights last longer than other traditional types of aquarium lights such as fluorescent, incandescent, and metal halide bulbs.

Besides, another benefit of LED aquarium lights is that unlike other types of traditional lighting, they don’t get dim over time.

Though LED aquarium lights costs more other types of aquarium lighting, in the long run, LED lights will save you money.

Because unlike other traditional aquarium lights, you don’t need to change bulbs in LED aquarium lights. Also, they consume less electricity than other traditional aquarium lights.

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4. Light color

There is a wide variety of colors you can choose in LED aquarium lights.

The shade of the LED aquarium lights can be identified with the spectrum. And it is measured with in kelvin.

This variety of LED aquarium light colors can be used for different purposes. 

For example, the 8,000 Kelvin white spectrum led is good for aquarium plants because it promotes photosynthesis which is basically a process by which the plants create their own food.

Besides, the blue LED aquarium light can be useful to bring out the blue, green, and red coloration of the fish in your aquarium.

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5. Light intensity adjustment

Many LED aquarium lights comes with a feature that allows you to adjust the intensity of the light.

This feature is very useful especially if you are a beginner and you want to keep some live aquarium plants in your tank.

Many beginners either provide too little light or too much light. Either can cause algae bloom in the aquarium.

This is when this feature comes in handy. 

Using this feature you can either lower the light if you’re providing too much light. Or you can increase the light if you’re providing too little light to your live aquarium plants.

Besides, using this functionality you can emulate the natural day and night cycle of the aquarium fish.

In fact, there are some fully programmable aquarium lights that can emulate the sunrise, sunset, and even moonlight.

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6. Good coverage

LED aquarium lights are usually spread across a strip. So they can provide very good coverage throughout the fish tank.

So these are the benefits of LED aquarium lights.

But as with everything, there’re also a couple of cons with LED aquarium lights as well.

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Cons of LED aquarium lights

1. Costly

LED aquarium lights are usually more costly than other types of aquarium lighting.

Though you will have to pay a bit more for LED aquarium lights upfront, you can easily make up this cost over time by saving on electricity bills. And in LED aquarium lights you don’t have to replace bulbs as you have to do with other traditional aquarium lights. So you’ll save on bulbs as well.

2. High light plants

LED aquarium lights are good for almost all the fish in the aquarium hobby as well as low for medium light aquarium plants.

However, most of the LED aquarium lights are not good for very light-demanding aquarium plants.

So if you’re keeping such plants in your tank then LED aquarium lights may not be for you. Or you’ve to choose a very premium LED aquarium light for this purpose.

However, for most of the planted tanks LED aquarium lights can do the work.

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How do I choose the best LED aquarium light for my aquarium?

aquarium with led light on

Feature image – Author: Pete Brown Licensed by CC BY 2.0 Cropped and resized

Every aquarium setup is different. So a single LED aquarium light can’t be suitable for all aquariums.

I will share with you some tips that will help you to choose the best LED light for your aquarium.

But before getting into the tips, let me first explain why it is important to choose the best light for your aquarium.

1. Save money

Aquarium lighting can be a bit expensive so you don’t want to waste your money on the aquarium light which is not suitable for your setup.

Also, you should not go for the cheapest option available because, in the long run, it will cause you more hassle and money.

2. Reduce aquarium maintenance

You heard it right! 

Choosing the right LED aquarium light can help you to reduce the maintenance of your aquarium.

If you chose too bright LED light for your aquarium, then it will cause algae.

On the other hand, if the LED aquarium light you have chosen doesn’t provide sufficient light in your fish tank then the plants in your tank will not grow properly. And they may even die-off!

Do Aquarium Plants Need Light? (Do they really need a special light)

5 Tips to choose an LED aquarium light for your aquarium

Now I will share with you a few things you should consider while buying an LED light for your aquarium

1. The fish in your tank

When it comes to lighting for your aquarium, you should always try to mimic the lighting in the natural habitat of the fish in your tank.

Most of the freshwater fish comes from rivers, lakes, and streams.

So they are used to bright direct sunlight.

So in your aquarium, you should go for the LED aquarium light that provides at least medium lighting.

Light for the aquarium is measured in PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation).

And it is considered that the medium aquarium lighting should have PAR between 35 to 50 micromoles.

In the natural habitat of fish, the fish also has a lot of hiding places and shades to escape from the direct light.

You can mimic the same by adding some live aquarium plants as well as ornaments in your tank.

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2. Aquarium plants

Usually, most of the fish can do well in any lighting conditions.

And when it comes to lighting, you have to consider live aquarium plants over the fish in your tank. Because the lighting in the aquarium is more important for the live aquarium plants in your tank than the fish.

The live aquarium plants need proper lighting for the process of photosynthesis by which create their own food and grow in your aquarium.

Besides, the lighting requirements for live aquarium plants is different for different types of plants.

Basically, live aquarium plants are categorized as low, medium, and high light plants.

  • The low light aquarium plants require light between 15 to 30 micromoles
  • The medium-light aquarium plants require light Between 35 to 50 micromoles
  • The highlight aquarium plants require light more than 50 micromoles

So while choosing the light for your aquarium, you should know the lighting requirements of the live plants in your tank or the plants you are going to put in your aquarium.

52 Best Freshwater Aquarium Plants For Beginners (And Care Guide)

3. Moonlight feature

Nowadays, most of the LED aquarium lights come with moonlight feature.

This feature basically mimics the natural moonlight in the natural habitat of the inhabitants in your tank.

This is a nice to have feature, and it is not absolutely necessary in an LED light.

However, there are a couple of advantages of moonlight feature

  • You can avoid the sudden shock that the fish in your aquarium get when you suddenly turn on the light in the morning and suddenly turn off the light in the night using the moonlight feature. You can turn on the moonlight one hour before you turn on the main white light in your aquarium in the morning. And you can turn on the moonlight for one hour after turning off the main white aquarium light in your tank and then you should turn it off after an hour or so. 
  • Another advantage that moonlight provides is that you can observe the nocturnal behavior of the nocturnal fish if you have some in your tank.

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4. Timer

When it comes to lighting for an aquarium, consistency is very important.

What I mean by consistency is that you should start the light at a specific time in the morning and switch the aquarium light off at a specific time at night.

If you’re not consistent with the lighting of your aquarium, then this can cause algae growth in your tank.

And you may spend several weeks if not months fixing the algae problem.

Fortunately, there are a few LED aquarium lights that come with an inbuilt timer (I’ll talk about it later in the article)

The timer will turn on the light at a specific time in the morning and it will shut down the light at a specific time at night.

Even though the LED aquarium light you’ve chosen doesn’t have an inbuilt timer, you can buy a timer separately.

I recommend Nearpow timer. You can check it out at Amazon here.

As you can see it’s pretty cheap.

A general rule to follow when it comes to the number of hours you should keep the LED aquarium lights on every day is as follows:

  • For a tropical aquarium, you should keep the lights on for 12 hours every day
  • For a cold water aquarium, you should keep the lights on for anywhere between 8 to 10 hours every day.

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5. Right lighting environment

Before choosing the LED light for your aquarium you should know the light requirements of the aquarium plants you already have in your tank or you are going to plant in your tank.

This is important because as I mentioned earlier, an aquarium light is more important for live aquarium plants than the fish in your tank.

The proper lighting helps live aquarium plants to grow in your tank.

If the live plants didn’t get enough light, then they will die-off.

On the other hand, if you provide too much light to the live aquarium plants then it can cause algae growth in your tank.

Generally, plants are characterized in three groups according to their light requirements.

  • Low light aquarium plants– These are the plants that are not very light demanding and they require light anywhere between 15 to 30 micromoles
  • Medium light aquarium plants– These are the plants that do well under light between 30 to 50 micromoles
  • High light aquarium plants– These plants are very light demanding. And for their proper growth, they require light more than 50 micromoles.

It can get a bit tricky to choose the right lighting for your aquarium.

Thankfully, there are a few LED aquarium lights available that have the functionality to increase or reduce the intensity of light (I’ll talk about it later in the article).

If you use these lights and if you noticed your plants are dying off due to lack of light, then you can increase the lighting intensity. Or if you noticed algae growing in your aquarium because you are providing too much light then you can reduce the intensity of light.

6 Tips to Take Care of Live Plants in Aquarium

Best LED aquarium lights (My recommendations)

Now I will share with you my recommendations for LED aquarium lights.

I am going to recommend three LED aquarium lights.

Among these three LED aquarium lights, at least one will be suitable for you depending on where you are in the aquarium hobby i.e. if you are just starting out or you have a bit experience or you really want to get serious about the hobby.

1. Finnex Stingray 2 aquarium LED light

See more images at Amazon here

Finnex Stingray 2 aquarium LED light is a very good mid-range LED aquarium light.

This light is very good for you if you have some experience in the hobby. And you want to upgrade and looking for aquarium light that is ideal for live aquarium plants.

Stingray 2 LED aquarium light comes from Finnex which is a very well-known brand in the hobby.

This led aquarium light is very reliable and it is actually a newer version of the older Finnex Stingray.

The new Stingray 2 comes with blue light or moonlight feature.

But it doesn’t have the functionality to decrease or increase the lighting intensity. And it doesn’t come with an in-built timer.

However, you can but a timer separately for it. I recommend Nearpow timer. You can check it out at Amazon here.

Overall, if you’re looking for a reliable LED aquarium light that can be used to grow plants without breaking the bank then Finnex Stingray 2 aquarium LED light is ideal for you.

You can check its price at Amazon here

2. Fluval plant spectrum Bluetooth LED 3.0

See more images at Amazon here

Fluval plant spectrum Bluetooth LED 3.0 is a top-end aquarium light from Fluval.

This light is for you if you have a good experience in the hobby and you really want to upgrade and experiment with aquarium lighting.

As you can say from its name, this light is specially made for live aquarium plants.

So if you’re really serious about your planted tank then this is the light for you.

It is a fully customizable and programmable light.

You can control it with an app that you will have to connect through Bluetooth.

It comes with a lot of presets and light customization options. You can easily increase or decrease the intensity of light.

It is a 24-hour programmable light so it can not only automatically turn on or off but it can mimic the sunrise, daylight, sunset as well as nightlight or moonlight automatically!

Overall, if you want to upgrade your Planted tank game then Fluval plant spectrum Bluetooth LED 3.0 is for you.

You can check its price at Amazon here

3. Nicrew classic LED plus planted aquarium light

See more images at Amazon here

Nicrew classic LED plus planted aquarium light is an upgraded version of the older Nicrew classic LED aquarium light.

The older version and this version of this light are very popular in the aquarium hobby.

And it is for a good reason!

Though NICREW is not a very big brand in the hobby its LED aquarium lights do have a very good build quality and functionality at literally half of the price of LED aquarium lights of well-known brands.

This is the light for you if you are just starting out or even if you have some experience and you want to upgrade from the inbuilt light that comes with the aquarium kit.

As you can see from its name, it is made for plants and it is bright enough to grow live aquarium plants.

Besides, it comes with the blue light feature that lets you see the nocturnal behavior of the fish at night.

This light doesn’t come with in-built timer and light intensity controller. However, you can get these functionalities if you purchase the NICREW extension. 

You can check out the extension at Amazon here

As you can see it’s very cheap.

Overall, if you’re just starting out in the hobby or you don’t want to spend a lot of money on aquarium lighting. But want a good aquarium light to grow aquarium plants then Nicrew classic LED plus planted aquarium light is for you.

You can check its latest price at Amazon here

FAQ

faq

Do LED lights cause more algae in aquarium?

LED aquarium lights will not cause algae if the intensity of the LED aquarium light is not too much for your aquarium.

The thing is, algae will grow in your tank if you are providing too much light in your tank no matter whether you are using LED aquarium light or any other traditional aquarium lights like fluorescent or incandescent.

Do Aquarium Plants Reduce Algae?

Are blue LED lights bad for fish?

Blue LED lights are not bad for fish if you keep them on at night for a maximum of a couple of hours every day. 

However, if you keep the blue aquarium light on all night, then it will cause algae growth in your aquarium.

6 Best Aquarium Plants to Prevent Algae (Detailed information)

Can fish tank light be too bright?

Fish tank light can be too bright. You can conclude that the light in your fish tank is too bright if you notice algae growth in your tank.

So, in this case, you should reduce the intensity of light if the aquarium light you have has the functionality. Or try keeping the aquarium lights on for fewer hours.

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Can fish sleep with the aquarium light on?

Fish requires darkness to sleep just as we do. So you should not keep the aquarium lights on all night.

If you keep the aquarium lights on all night for several days, then this can stress out the fish.

Besides, keeping the aquarium light on all night will definitely cause algae growth in your tank.

20 Tips to Maintain a Healthy Aquarium

Conclusion

Overall, LED aquarium lights are good for fish tanks.

And there are several benefits of LED aquarium lights over other types of traditional aquarium lights like fluorescent, incandescent light, metal halide bulb, etc.

I hope you found this article helpful.

If you do, please share it.

Happy fishkeeping!

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