Have you ever seen an aquarium fish tank or aquascape without lighting? The chances are that if you’ve ever been around one like this, the tank was either empty, or it had no reason or appeal to catch your attention.
When you’re creating and maintaining an aquarium, the lighting system and setup you use is one of the most important aspects to consider; and it’s even essential if you want the lie inside your aquarium, especially your plants, to thrive.
Not only is the lighting essential for life, but it’s crucial for adding depth to the design of your tank and helps to add a touch of magic when it comes to highlighting your fish and the beautiful colors they pride themselves on.
Today, we’re going to explore eight of the best, and most affordable, lighting systems for your aquarium. We’re going to detail everything you need to know about each one, helping you to choose the best lighting for you accurately.
VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Series LED Aquarium Light Dimmable Full Spectrum for Coral Reef Grow
To start off our list of the best lighting setups and systems for your planted aquariums, we have the outstanding VIPARSPECTRA. While this may not be suitable for tank owners on a limited budget, this is truly high-performance setup that comes with everything you need to help your plants thrive.
Most importantly, this lighting rig has been designed with coral reefs in mind, which is usually considered one of the hardest kinds of aquarium plant to grow. Inside this rig, you’ll find VIPARSPECTRA’s signature collection of high-performance LED bulbs with is designed with balance, performance, and tank coverage in mind.
We adore the fact this setup has a built-in timer, so you don’t need to worry about coming in and turning your light on and off; you can simply use the timer to automate the entire process. There’s even an integrated dimming feature for night times, or when you want to customize the light levels you’re allowing into the tank.
As you would expect from a leading designer and aquatic producer provider such as VIPARSPECTRA, this is full spectrum LED system that can produce any color light you want for the perfect aesthetic touch, but this also means the light is suitable for all kinds of photosynthetic coral reefs you may have.
Just to guarantee the quality of this setup, even more, each unit comes with a 3-year warranty that has you covered in case of any breakdowns or repairs, and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee in case you’re not happy with the product, but we’re sure this won’t be a problem.
All in all, there’s really nothing bad to say about this setup. There’s a remote control, so you can customize your options easily without having to mess around with the unit itself and said-unit is effortless to install and mount onto your tank, regardless of what it is or where you want it, securing this light’s place as one of the most complete and exciting experiences.
- Really easy to install and set up onto any tank
- A remote control for easily customizing your settings
- Perfect for encouraging healthy plants and coral
- A full spectrum design that can produce any color you like
- A middle-to-premium price tag
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light for Aquariums
Next up, we’ve chosen the awesome Current USA LED lighting bar which is designed to be an elegant solution that suits any fish tank or aquarium and creates a beautiful atmosphere that you, your fish and your plants are going to love.
This bar is available is a variety of sizes ranging from 18 – 24-inches, all the way up to 48 – 60-inches, ensuring you’re easily able to find the one that’s right for your tank. Boasting a lightbar design, this device is packed with stunning 6500K bright LED lights that are capable of producing dazzling whites or shimmering blues.
While this bar is limited to producing the two colors, it does come with multiple modes, such as the unique ‘cloud’ effect in which the lights dim from time to time, or the lunar and dusk settings that add a whole new dimension to your aquascape.
To some of you, these effects may sound cheesy or over-the-top, but this simply isn’t the case. The lighting effects and overall mood that this lightbar creates is out of this world and really does suit every kind of setup.
Everything you need to install the lightbar is here, including two adjustable mounting brackets, all the cables, and adapters to get you up and running, and even a wired controller, so you can turn your lights to their desired settings.
For an affordable price and all the features and high-quality design aspects a beginner or experienced aquarium keeper would be looking, there may not be any need to look further than this.
- Multiple size versions available for the perfect fit
- Can produce white and blue lights for creating a traditional aquarium atmosphere
- Comes with a ton of customizing effect settings
- A simple wired controller for making your desired changes
- Can only produce two colors
KOVAL INC. Aquarium Lighting Fish Tank Light Hood with Extendable Brackets (White and Blue)
With 156 super-bright, built-in LED lights that are capable of producing five unique colors, a selection of full spectrum LEDs and three completely customizable modes to choose from, if you’re looking for a complete lighting system that’s both affordable and allows your plants to thrive, you may not want to look further than this.
The Koval Inc. setup has completely changed the aquarium lighting market. With such an affordable product that’s able to achieve so much, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner owner or an expert tank keeper, you’ll find the benefits of this system.
Most notably are the extendable mounting brackets. This ensures this lighting system is able to be installed onto any tank, regardless of how big or small it may be. Once installed, the 50,0000-hour LEDs mean you’ll never have to play or move the lighting system for years to come.
As we mentioned above, there are three customizable modes to play with; all LEDs one, only blue lights on, or off. This ensures you have control over the night and day cycle of your tank, and you can optimize the growth of your plant light.
Again, this is a premium quality product where they’ve really thought of everything. The bulbs themselves produce little to no heat which makes them extremely energy-efficient, the bulbs have an extremely long lifespan, and the whole thing is suitable for all budgets; making this one of the best kits around.
- Bulbs last up to 50,000 hours
- Extendable brackets so light can be installed into any tank
- Three unique lighting modes to choose from
- An affordable solution suitable for any fish tank owner
Hygger LED Aquarium Clip-On Fish Tank Lights
If you’re limited for space, or you don’t have a large enough aquarium, it can be tempting to think that a lighting system is out of the question, but this doesn’t have to be the case. The Hygger LED Clip-On light is an easy solution which literally does what the title suggests.
This light can be clipped onto any fish tank using the built-in gooseneck clamp, and then adjusted using the flexible arm and stand. This means that once the clip is connected, simply reposition the light to any position or angle you want, and that’s it!
This particular model is available in two different forms, one being a 13-watt design, the other a 21-watt design, so all you need to do is pick the one that’s right for you and your specific tank.
Regardless of the lighting strength you choose, you’ll be able to light up using white and blue LEDs lights; each of which is interchanging using the switch on the light itself.
We love the fact this light is designed with everything in mind. The sleek design means that the product looks amazing whenever you choose to put it, while the aluminum materials are great for preventing the light from getting too hot if it’s used for a long period of time. It’s also splash-resistant!
All in all, this is a great lighting system to have on any sized fish tank and comes with all the basic yet powerful features to help you bring your aquarium to life. What’s more, in this price range, there’s really no better system than the Hygger!
- Available in an array of power sizes and brightness levels
- Simple clip-on design to be used with any aquarium tank
- Produces beautiful blue and white lights using LEDs
- Can be set into any angle or position
- Not as bright as other lights on this list
- No wired controller
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlight
This is another fantastic aquarium lighting setup to finish off our list, this time available in a plethora of sizes ranging from 12-inch to 48-inch, but there are multiple options in there, ensuring you’re easily able to choose the one that’s right for you.
All your main colors are covered since blue, red and white lights are included. The red LEDs are super-powerful, measuring in with true 660nm intensive photosynthesis lights, which is ideal for helping plants to thrive.
The white and blue lights measure in with an impressive 7000K beam, all working together to produce a total of 35.6-watts, which makes this setup one of the most powerful, especially for the affordable price tag that this is available for.
Again, this is one of the most popular aquarium lighting systems on the market, and there’s no way you can really go wrong. Of course, if your tank is over the 48-inches mark, then you’re going to need to go for something bigger, such as the Current USA above, but as long as your tank fits the requirements, you should be fine.
Apart from that, this lighting rig will do everything you need it to with no trouble, and if you do happen to find yourself with a faulty product or the device in some way doesn’t meet your expectations, you can simply contact the world-class customer service team to help!
- The impressive 35.6-watt lighting system
- Multi-colored lights for optimizing plant growth
- Available in a variety of sizes to suit your fish tank
- Affordable and easy to set up and use
- Not suitable for fish tanks over 48-inches wide
- Limited features and pre-sets
Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light
Heading back over to the Current USA brand, if you’re looking for the ultimate lighting experience and don’t mind paying extra for a complete range of features, settings, and options you simply don’t get with any other brand; this is the lighting device for you.
The Orbit Marine Aquarium Light is a powerful light-block that’s available in four different sizes to suit any sized tank and produces far more colors and designs that previously thought possible. With the ability to generate reds, blues, greens, and whites; basically any color is possible.
In addition to being able to choose any color, there are also countless effect modes to choose from that can add an entire dimension to your tank, and there’s even a natural 24-hour weather cycle mode that creates the most realistic lighting environment out of any lighting system on the market.
This 24-hour cycle effect can also replicate an authentic sunrise/sunset experience, rainy days, rolling clouds, and even simulates lightning storms. This all comes together to create an awesome visual experience for you and helps your fish’s biorhythmic instincts to thrive.
As you can see from the photo, all the settings and features can be controlled via the completely wireless remote which allows you to sit in comfort while experimenting with which settings work best for you.
Despite the relatively expensive price tag compared with other lighting models here and on the market, this really is a top-of-the-game piece of professional equipment, and it doesn’t get much more immersive than this.
- Simulates a real-life 24-hour weather cycle
- Dozens of effects and lighting experiences to choose from
- Can generate any color you desire
- All settings controlled with a wireless remote control
- The above average price tag
NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light Bar
The NICREW Aquarium Light Bar takes a classic and traditional approach when it comes to lighting up your fish tank and aquascape. The light bar is a simple design that clamps on either end of your tank for a stable and secure fit, with the lights filling the space in between.
There are multiple size versions available, ranging from 12-inch to 54-inch, so you’re sure to find the one that fits perfectly for your tank. However, while this is an essential consideration, the winning feature of this light bar is the durability and efficiency of the design.
Each bulb used is chosen with a maximum lifespan in mind, as are the materials which help to minimize energy loss through heat; all of which is recaptured and used in the power of the bulbs themselves. This creates a beautiful aesthetic that everybody who experiences your tank is sure to love.
The bar is capable of producing both white and blue lights, both of which can be controlled using the integrated switch on the top of the bar itself. All these quality features are backed up by a one-year warranty; although we’re sure, in most cases, you’re not going to need it.
Furthermore, this setup is one of the most affordable, so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced aquarium keeper, this is a great option for you and your tank.
- Available in a huge range of sizes and power options
- Designed to minimize energy loss through heat
- Two adjustable mounting brackets for easy installation
- Produces stunning blue and white lights
MarsAqua Dimmable 165/300-Watt LED Full Spectrum LED Light System
To finish off our list, we’ve chosen this absolute powerhouse of a lighting system that completely revolutionizes what it’s like to light up your aquarium. Available in huge 165 or 300-watt versions, get ready to change your tank’s aesthetic forever.
With the ability to generate every color you can imagine through powerful and professional LED lights, use the remote control of this device to create genuine night and day lighting cycles, or create an atmosphere of your own inspiration.
Each of the LEDs has been chosen for their 25% higher light output compared with traditional bulbs, ensuring you have the most visual experience that money can buy. Installation of this lighting rig is effortless thanks to the hook of the body, and there’s even a built-in fan system to help keep the lights cool.
However, there’s no need to worry as even the fans have been designed to maintain their quiet operation sound that won’t distract you in any way. With dozens of features and lighting options to explore, we could go on forever about what this setup can achieve.
All you need to know is that this is one of the most professional and complete lighting experiences available, and although it costs a pretty penny, you’ll probably never need to buy another lighting system ever again.
- Bulbs used have 25% higher light output than conventional bulbs
- Can produce any color imaginable
- Easily install the lighting system to your aquarium using a hook
- Built-in fan system to dissipate heat
- The above average price tag
As you can see, it doesn’t matter what experience level you are as an aquarium keeper, or what kind of budget you’ve got to spend; there’s a lighting solution out there for you. Any of the eight best setups we’ve listed above make ideal choices, so all you need to do is pick the one you love the most!