The 5 Best LED Lighting for Planted Tanks

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

When you have a planted tank, you can create a natural environment by introducing LED lighting. This not only provides the right lighting but also ensures that the temperatures are optimal. The LED lights will also add aesthetic value to the planted tank.

This article reviews some of the best LED lights for planted tank alongside planted aquarium led lighting guide. (The list is in descending order.)

The Best LED Lighting for Planted Tanks

5.) — Mingdak LED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable Brackets, White and Blue LEDs

Get yourself the Mingdak LED Aquarium Light if you are looking to introduce a more natural environment for the plants (coral, fish). They have a high lumen and an upgraded cool white lighting mode for the day and blue mode for night. These LED lights are super bright, making them ideal for smaller plants that are highly phototropic. They also allow actinism and are better than a fluorescent tube fixture. | Pros: They come with adjustable mounting legs that fit a range of tank heights: from 20 to 29 inches. The LED lights are easy to install, super-bright, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. And They work great, which gives them amazing value for the price paid. | Cons: Some users may be concerned with the quantity, which limits them from moving it around. They are only ideal for smaller tanks: 20-29 inches.


4.) — AZOO Black Flexi mini LED Lighting for Planted Aquarium

The AZOO Black Flexi mini LED Lighting for Planted Aquarium is definitely one of the best lights for aquarium plants. This LED lighting is made with great innovation and passes through advanced CNC manufacturing processes. It is made from a piece of aerospace aluminum alloy for guaranteed quality and longevity. For aesthetic purposes, the AZOO Black Flexi mini LED Lighting is crafted elegantly. Its functionality is also on another level, and it features full-spectrum MCRI LEDs. | Pros: The LED lighting is sleek and stylish, which gives your planted tank a classic look. They come in a compact design, allowing it to fit in the smallest planted tanks. and The lighting is super bright to provide your plants with enough light for growth. | Cons: There is no way to adjust the position of the swivel for front/backlighting. And It has no dimmer, which means you cannot control the amount of light emitted.


3.) — Finnex Stingray Aquarium LED Light

Do you grow anubias, mosses, or ferns in a plant tank and are in search of LED lights to keep them growing? Well, the Finnex Stingray Aquarium LED Light is here for you. It comes in three colors that will make your planted tank beautiful to the sight: 7,000k Daylight LEDs, 660nm RED LEDs (for photosynthesis), and Actinic Blue LEDs. It has clear plastic legs for easy setup and a pair of mounting clips if you have to install them on the canopy. | Pros: It is designed with three different colors that can adequately support aquatic life. They are a great choice for standard aquarium lighting due to the LED option offered. and It is also ideal for low light plants thanks to the 660nm red LED tri-color blend. | Cons: Some users find this LED lighting to be too bright for their planted tanks.


2.) — Beamswork EA Timer FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Freshwwater Plant Extendable

This full-spectrum LED light is top quality and the best replacement for that old fluorescent tube. It is energy-efficient, which saves on your monthly utility bill while keeping your aquatic plants alive. It comes timer ready with 2 lighting modes: day and night lighting needs. The LEDs are 22x 0.50W (1000 lumen) with configurations of 15x 10000K, 3x actinic 460nm, 2x red 620nm, and 2x green 520nm. The LED lighting is ideal for the freshwater, plants, and cichlid. | PROS The LED lighting is reliable as it helps in proper plant growth. The lights add to the aesthetic value of the planted tank. The different lighting colors look amazing on the tank. | Cons: The lights are a bit dim for some users and the programmed timer cannot be adjusted. The lights may bend at the center, which may put off some users.


1.) — NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable Brackets, White and Blue LEDs

If you want to create a realistic underwater home-aquarium environment for fresh water plants, the NICREW LED light has you covered. It comes with two lighting modes: Lunar LED (6LED blue light mode) and Daylight LED (30 white LED + 6LED blue light mode). Lunar LED is energy efficient while the Daylight LED is extremely bright. These lights have a lumen on approximately 380lm. This LED lighting is suitable for plant tanks that are 11″- 19″.| Pros: It features adjustable mounting legs for a perfect fit as per the planted tank’s length. The adjustable mounting legs also allow you to add other fixtures with ease. The white LEDs and blue LEDs are bright enough to create an amazing aquatic environment. And The lighting adds a fantastic shimmer to the planted tank. | Cons: The cord may need occasional adjustments for lighting efficiency and reliability.


FAQs

What factors do you consider when buying LED lighting for a planted tank?

You should first know the type of plants you plan or are growing in the tank. Highlight their characteristics, size, shape, height, etc. You also must know the light intensity needs of each plant type and understand how they react to heat. For this, you should consider the LED lights that are sold with a data sheet and menu. This will help you to calculate the illumination for the plants as well as the watts needed per gallon. For proper growth and development of the aquatic plants, the LED lights must provide enough PAR.

What is so amazing about LED lighting?

The LED lighting is a great way to add beauty to your planted tank. The lights come in different colors with some featuring sleek designs that will look super stylish in the aquatic environment created. The LED lighting is also made to meet the needs of aquatic plants with respect to light. Some come with adjustment settings that allow you to increase or decrease the light intensity as per the plant’s needs. Plants absorb the light provided by the installed LED lighting system to support varying physiological processes like photosynthesis.

Just how much light do plants in a tank require?

The amount of light needed by each plant varies. The size of your tank will also determine the LED lighting needed to meet the light requirements of each plant. Different LED lighting comes with varying lighting modes suitable for day or night use. You should know the spectrum emitted by each lighting type to know whether it is suitable for your planted tank. As such, you should measure the lights in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR). 0.25 and 0.5 Watts per liter are okay.

What are the different types of LED lights?

LED lights come in varying spectrums and lighting combos that feature blue/red/white lights. Each light combo has a different effect on the aquatic plants. Some lights combo will change with respect to the weather, time of day, moonlight, etc.

Which LED lights are best for a planted tank?

Like most other products, you will find a series of LED lights in the market designed for planted tanks. As such, you should define your needs and expectations. This way, you will be able to compare them against the features and options the lighting system you choose has to offer.

How do I adjust the lighting in my planted tank?

In some incidences, LED lighting users have complained about not being able to adjust the lights in aquariums. It, therefore, is important that you consider the systems that come with a dimmer. You can use it to make the lights brighter or dull based on your desires.

What are the advantages of LED lights over other lights?

  • LED lights do not heat up the aquatic environment for the plants.
  • They save on electricity consumption.
  • More light output options like adjustability.
  • LED lights have more longevity.
  • LED lights may come in different colors for added beauty.

How to use LED lights for optimal plant growth in a tank?

Ensure that the plants used are all similar. This will make it easy for you to estimate the best amount of lighting needed for optimal growth.

How much energy do LED lights consume?

This will depend on the size of the planted tank. For the medium size, however, about 50 watts should be enough.

How long do LED lights last?

The brand, type of LED lights, their use, and maintenance affect the lights’ durability. In most cases, LED lights to last up to 100,000 hours.

How do I identify the right lighting fixtures for my planted tank?

This will depend on the light requirements of the plants, water clarity, water depth, and tank height. High-intensity fixtures are used in larger tanks to meet the needs of the plants.

What types of light can I use in my planted tank?

For a planted tank, you should go for Standard Fluorescent, T-5 HO, VHO, Compact Fluorescent, or Metal Halide/HQI system.

How does the color of lights affect aquarium plants?

The light spectrums emitted by LED lights feature visible and invisible light colors. Red and blue are visible lights while others are invisible. All these lights are essential for photosynthesis to take place.

Will aquarium plants grow if I install LED lights?

Yes, however, you should check out the type of spectrum delivered by each LED light. The red, blue, and white spectrums are common. Each has different benefits to the plants in the tank.

What’s behind the death of my aquarium plants?

You probably bought the wrong plants or the amount and type of LED lighting is not ideal for the plants. When buying aquarium plants, you should know that freshwater and salt-water plants vary.

Should I turn off aquarium lighting?

Yes, the lighting system should mimic the natural environment of the plants. As such, you should provide 12 hours of brightness and 12 hours of darkness for the plants to grow as needed.

How do I install LED lights in my planted tank?

Mounting LED lights is easy. Some will require a suspension mount while others are placed directly on the planted tank. Usually, the manufacturer provides mounting options and instructions for you.

How high should my LED lights in an aquarium be?

This will depend on the size of your planted tank and the plant density. It is important that you understand the lighting needs of the plants.

How do I program LED lights in my aquarium?

Some LED lights come preset so they can program themselves depending on the time of day/weather. For others, you need to read the instructions manual to know how to program them.

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