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Best LED Aquarium Lighting

When it comes to creating the perfect aquarium for home or office, you’ll want to make sure that your setup provides the ideal environment for your fish and plant life.

Choosing the right aquarium and conditions are the initial considerations when starting fish keeping as a new hobby, but you’ll also want to research the use and benefits of LED lighting in your aquarium too.

LED Lighting is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your aquarium configuration as it plays a crucial role in preserving and promoting the growth of your plants and coral and maintaining the wellbeing of your fish. In addition, the best LED aquarium lighting really helps to improve the overall aesthetic of your aquarium to create a stunning arrangement for any environment.

LED lighting has many advantages over the more traditional fluorescent options but in fact has only really gained popularity in the last two or three years.Take some time to consider the main job you’d like your LED lighting to fulfill prior to purchase and then you can look into the key features to decide if your chosen system will work well for you. Remember, you’ll be wanting to simulate the natural environment of your fish and plant life as accurately as you are able to.

There are a lot of options to choose from when first deciding which LED lighting system to go for, so the decision-making process can be a little overwhelming. But as one of the original specialist online aquatic retailers, at Aquacadabra we’re here to make your life easier and help you with your selection process. 

Key considerations:

  • What size is your aquarium?
  • Will your tank house fish and/or plant life and corals?
  • What type of plants do you have in your aquarium?
  • How much budget do you have? 

What size is your aquarium

Consider both the length and depth of your aquarium as deeper water will require brighter light. And if your tank is on the extra large size, take into account that you’ll need even more lighting with extra wide coverage and consistent intensity. 

For a small tank (up to 18 inches deep), LED lighting works particularly well for either a fish-only or lightly-planted tank. 

A medium tank (18 - 24 inches deep) will require a stronger lighting system, especially if you’re adding plants and corals into the mix. This is a rough guide to wattage, depending on how your tank will be filled:

  • Fish-only tank - 1-2 watts per gallon of tank lighting
  • Planted tank - 3-5 watts per gallon of tank lighting
  • Reef tanks with corals - 4-8 watts per gallon of tank lighting

For a large tank (24 inches plus deep), you’ll really need to increase the lighting system, especially if heavily planted or you have a reef with corals. The light intensity will increase and should be researched fully depending on how and what your tank is filled with.

Will your tank house fish and/or plant life and corals

Installing an LED lighting system is the ideal way to give light to your fish and plant life, even if your aquarium is in a well-lit room. LED lights can be controlled remotely and often have dimming options, so you are able to control the amount of lighting the aquarium receives (check out our LED aquarium lighting guide later on in this post to see some of the key features available in some of our top selling products).

If your aquarium is housing only fish, this may be as simple as setting between light and dark / day and night and is a great feature for nocturnal fish. The main benefit of LED lighting in a fish-only tank is primarily to enhance the appearance of your fish and the decorations within the tank. 

But for plant and coral aquariums you’ll need to control the light within specific parameters - too much light and the tank can become overwhelmed by algae, too little light and some plants and corals may die. Ultimately, the use of LED lighting in this instance will serve the important purpose of providing energy to the plant life to facilitate the process of photosynthesis, essential for the longevity of live aquarium plants. 

What type of plants will you have in your aquarium

Whether using fresh or saltwater, the plants or corals you have in your aquarium will each have different growing phases that will all require different levels of light sensitivity throughout different times of their life cycle. Research your types of plants and find out exactly what their lighting requirements are, to help inform your decision pre-purchase, as there are LED systems to suit all kinds. 


And if you are at the stage where you have not yet bought your plants, bear in mind that low-light aquarium plants are an excellent choice for beginner level as they are more robust and require less maintenance. 


Budget

Although you’ll find that LED lighting will have a greater initial cost, the running costs in the long run will help to make up for this. They use up to 85% less than other halogen or incandescent bulbs and you can expect the average life of LED lighting to be around 25,000 - 50,000 hours. There’s also the added benefit of needing to replace LED lighting less often than fluorescent light, so it’s less time-consuming all-round.

LED Aquarium Lighting Guide: Top Selling Products

At Aquacadabra we stock leading brands such as Juwel, Fluval, Aqua Illumination and many more. Let’s take a look at our current top five best-selling LED options to give you more insight into what our customers are favouring:

AI Prime 16 Fresh LED Light Units, £224.99

By design, each and every tank is completely unique and, as such, they require individually tailored care. With its dedicated moonlight channel, the new AI Prime 16 HD LED Freshwater Light Unit is capable of simulating the natural lunar colour and intensity your planted tank needs to thrive. This is fully programmable through the myAI app, giving you the freedom to control your tank from your mobile phone. Additionally, while this light unit is perfect for freshwater tanks, the new AI Prime 16HD LED Light Unit is the ideal alternative for marine tanks.

 

Red Sea ReefLED Light Units, £225.00 - £599.00

The result of many years of research into LED technology, the Red Sea ReefLED Light Units are specifically designed to create the safest environment for your reef aquarium. Not only does the reef-safe LED light promote optimal growth and colouration to ensure the health of your reef, the owner’s viewing experience has been fully considered too. The hollow optical-glass lens ensures a homogeneous light spread to create a gentle shimmer throughout the aquarium and, with Red Sea’s ReefBeat smart aquarium app, you will have full control over preset lighting programs and additional features to create your preferred look. There are three units to choose from in this collection:

  • Red Sea ReefLED 50 Light Unit
  • Red Sea ReefLED 90 Light Unit
  • Red Sea ReefLED 160 Light Unit
Fluval Aquasky Bluetooth LED aquarium lighting

Fluval Aquasky 2.0 Bluetooth LED Lighting, £65.49

As technology progresses, so too does aquarium technology. You can now operate your aquarium’s lighting directly from your mobile phone via bluetooth. FluvalSmart is a bluetooth based app that you can download for free from the Apple Store or Google Play and offers full customisation across various key features including a programmable 24 hour light cycle; an adjustable spectrum with independent colour control; multiple weather effects such as stormy lightning to dense cloud cover; and the Aquasky feature provides programmable light cycles such as the natural cycles of the sun and moon to create a realistic environment for your fish.

 

Superfish Retro LED Lights, £33.99 - £39.99

The Retro LED Lights from Superfish are the perfect hassle-free upgrade for your tank’s lighting needs. Upgrading from traditional fluorescent lamps to these low energy and cost-effective LED lights will allow you to save up to 50% on energy and make the most of their long life span of up to 30,000 hours. There are four options to choose from to fit your existing light unit and lighting needs:

  • Superfish Retro LED Bright (T8 & JT5)
  • Superfish Retro LED Combi (T8 & JT5)
  • Superfish Retro LED Combi (T5)
  • Superfish Retro LED Bright (T5)

    Aqua One StripGlo Tropical LED Lights, £49.99

    With its aesthetic slimline design and durable lightweight aluminium casing, the Aqua One StripGlo will leave your fish tank looking both well-lit and stylishly modern. The StripGlo provides you with full control over the spectrum and intensity of your light and, with an automatic gradual fade from dark to light, your fish are protected from being startled. This energy efficient lighting solution is available in 4 sizes and, with adjustable mounting brackets, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your tank.

    Investing in an LED lighting system for your aquarium, whether it’s a large or small tank, is a decision you will not regret making. Helping to create a stunning display and showing off your fish and plant life to their very best, the addition of LED lighting will be a satisfying benefit for both beginner and experienced fish hobbyists alike. If you have any questions on setting up and fitting your new LED lighting system, get in touch with us here at Aquacadabra today!