Best Aquarium Lights Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Aquarium Lights
Tank illumination is an interesting addition to the pets home. It is technically meant to illuminate things, but the focus is more geared towards illuminating an aquarium, maybe the immediate area surrounding it, and not much else. Which is a tall order expected of LED illumination, since they’re known for being unbearably bright, so it’s remarkable that this illuminationmanage to find the right balance to make things work.
Tank illumination has quite a few plates to spin at the same time, though you wouldn’t know that at first glance. At first, they seem to be purely for our sake, but then you remember that you put live plants in these aquariums. Plants and pets need plenty of brightness, in order to grow and remain healthy. But they don’t need too much of it, which is why it’s important that they remain automated. And on that note, we believe that the above ten are the absolute best of the best in this line of products. There isn’t a single lackluster product in the entire production, and all of them have something that the others don’t. So, if you need a good aquarium illumination, whether it’s because the last one gave out, or because you just got a tank and you want to give your pets the deluxe treatment, you can’t go wrong with one of these ten excellent choices.
Assembling a list of criteria for this list was an interesting process. Mostly because we didn’t know whether or not we had enough to work with. We had to figure out how to make this list without just making a criteria list for normal illuminating bulbs. Aquarium illumination is complicated machines with a lot of different jobs to fulfill, and as such, we ended up with quite a few criteria by the end. With that said, here are the top criteria we used to determine what got on the list, and once on, how far up the list they got.
This criterion is a concept with two sides to it, and one side of that is the size of the brightness, and how it relates to the size of your tank. In general, you should always make sure you take and then write down the measurements of your tank before you go shopping for a tank illumination at all. It’s just the smart thing to do because it will narrow your search now that you have the size you need to match.
If you have a smaller tank, one of the smaller illuminations on this list will be all that you need. They’re LED illumination, so you don’t have to worry about them being bright enough. But of course, if you have a larger tank, then you’ll need the larger brightness, with maybe the smaller one for when you need to feed your pet at night. Now then, for the other half of the coin.
Size is only one half of the equation; the other half is how adjustable the tank illumination is. This is more of a criterion for the larger models than, the smaller ones, for obvious reasons. You’ll have a much easier time of it trying to get in a small tank illumination than a large one. Adjustability, in this case, refers to the brackets you would use to mount the tank illumination onto the top or bottom of the tank itself. Depending on where you want the tank, adjustments may need to be made to the base design of the tank in order to properly fit it into the space you want. Which, of course, may make putting in a tank illumination even harder, since you need to then account for how you’re going to fit something that cannot be so easily altered, into your now altered space. As such, we judged each entry for how easy they made it on the user to actually install them on the tank.
One of the many reasons that LED’s are so much more popular than normal illumination is that, with a simple change to what kind of charge you’re applying to the device, you can drastically change what color it is. This is where the concept of different bulb modes comes in, the ability to change what kind of brightness is being shown, thus altering what kind of effect is being achieved. How many modes there are in each entry wasn’t what concerned us, what did concern us was how useful each entry’s modes were. Did they add to the experience? Did they provide a level of brightness that would be beneficial to a particular type of plant or a pet? Did they at least provide a spectacle that was visually pleasing? All of these are important factors to take into account.
These are ultimately illumination bulbs, so the question then becomes: how long do these things actually last? These are LED bulbs, though, so it’s a bit different than your average, run of the mill illumination bulb. The current standard for how long an LED bulb tends to last if used every hour of every day, is around 50,000 hours, or 11 years. And then you take into consideration the fact that even the smallest tank illumination will have dozens of these bulbs, and you get the idea of how long these tend to last on average. Unless there’s an outright malfunction causing the entire device to die on you, you’re unlikely to need a replacement for quite some time.
The final criteria we judged was the price of each bulb. However, we feel the need to clarify this, because it isn’t the price itself we judged, it was the relationship between the price and the product. You’ve likely noticed by now, but if you need a particularly large tank illumination, then you’re going to be paying quite the handsome fee for it. While the smaller tank illumination is cheap enough, the larger models can be obscenely expensive depending on how big you need your tank illumination to be. What we meant by price and product relationship was what the product was doing to justify the price it was asking for. The less a product had to offer that another product couldn’t do better, the more the price it was asking for was scrutinized.
Top 10 Picks
Starting off our list, we have the NICREW ClassicLED Tank illumination. There are a lot more companies making tank illumination than you might be aware of, and NICREW have been doing it for quite some time. They aren’t the most famous, mind you, but they’re decently well known, and products like the Classic LED are one of the reasons why.
This should be something you consider mandatory for your tank illumination. No two tanks are alike in terms of exact size, so when you get a tank illumination or some other such accessory for your tank, it needs to have some amount of adjustability to it. Luckily, this one should be just what you’re looking for in that regard, being able to adjust between 11-19 inches in length.
LED illuminations are bright little things, and so it’s best that you get the kinds that achieve that without ratcheting up your power bill too high. Luckily, this is one of the most energy-efficient LED illumination on the aquarium market, so if energy efficiency is at the top of your priority list, then mark this down at the top of your shopping list.
Cost and Value
The price of this device is rather a standard issue for an aquarium device of its size. It’s not the biggest or most complex aquarium illumination device you’ll find out there (but then the biggest and most complex ones out there aren’t exactly meant for commercial use), so the price is rather merciful.
2. Current USA Orbit
Coming in second place, we have the Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED illumination. If the previous entry is the affordable, basic but functional option, this is the expensive but dazzling option. You’ll be paying out the nose to get it, but you won’t regret the purchase. And why is that? Well, let’s take a look and find out.
Insane variety at the push of a button
The best part about this device, by far, is the sheer variety, and how easy it is to control. The Orbit Marine has a vast array of realistic effects and different modes that you can switch to with the push of a button on the remote that comes with the device. From realistically mimicking the slow rise and fall of the sun on the ocean, to dynamic weather effects, cloud cover effects, storm modes complete with the sound of brightness striking, this device will downright spoil you.
Not only does it have this wide variety of different modes, but it also comes paired with an expansive color library, all of whom are vibrant and eye-catching. Utilizing a higher ratio of actinic blue spectrum LED brightness than anyone in the competition, this device comes with the full-color spectrum, washing your tank in ultra bright LED colors.
Cost and Value
Okay, we’ve cushioned the blow for the huge “but” coming. While this device is amazing, it’s also one of the most expensive entries on the list. While not the priciest mind you, and you are definitely getting what you’re paying for, this piece will cost you quite the pretty penny if you want to get your hand on it.
3. Finnex FugeRay Planted
Rounding out our top three section, it’s the Finnex Planted+ Tank LED. if the second place entry made your jaw drop in amazement, but the price made your jaw drop for different reasons, then this is a good backup choice. It does just enough that the previous entry does to be worth your time, at a smaller fee.
Hands-free day simulation
Without having to push a single button, this tank illumination device, throughout the day, simulates a fire red sunrise, midday, afternoon, before settling into a blue starry night with the kind of efficiency and accuracy that just a few years ago was unthinkable. Just push a single button to make the simulation start working, and just watch the beauty unfold.
Customizable weather patterns
Feel like giving your tank the feel of an ocean in a thunderstorm? How about a quiet, cloudy day? Or maybe the serenity of a full moon night? All of these options are available to you via the Planted+, as the remote control that comes with the device allows for instantaneous switching from one mode to the next.
Cost and Value
This is where things get tricky, as this device comes in different sizes, rather than just one product with adjustable brackets. As such, it can either be a bit pricey but otherwise affordable, or it can be very expensive, but not as much as the previous entry.
4. Finnex FugeRay Moonlights
Coming in at #4, we stay with Finnex for a bit longer as we look at the Finnex FugeRay model. Unlike the other entries prior to this one, this device is meant to be mounted on the underside of the tank. So, what does it do when it’s down there? Let’s find out.
Rubber boot covering
Unlike the previous three entries, you actually have to go down and flip a switch on the brightness in order to make the device turn on and off. And don’t worry about condensation or a leak getting into the switches and short-circuiting the whole thing, as the switches are outfitted with rubber boots that prevent any moisture from getting in.
If there’s one thing you can’t take away from this thing, it’s that it’s easily one of the brightest illuminations on this entire list. Which only makes sense, considering the fact that it resembles a fluorescent illumination that one might find in a hospital. So, if nothing else, you never need to worry about there being a lack of illumination with this item.
Cost and Value
Once again, the price of this device all depends on its size. Except for this time, getting it in smaller sizes means a much more reasonable fee, and the larger sizes aren’t too bad either.
For our 5th place spot, we chose the Mingdak LED Tank Illumination. Sometimes you don’t need the big bright bulbs for your tank brightness, instead, you just need some nice small bulbs to keep your tank decently illuminated, especially if you have the kind of fish that don’t like constant bright illumination.
Super water resistant
The fact that this device comes with a big plug and a long cord may make some people worried since all they can see is a tank filled with fried fish. However, rest assured, every component on this device is completely waterproof, with almost zero chance of a discharge when submerged in water.
Great for night viewing
If you already have a tank illumination that works decently enough, this illumination will make a great night illumination. Especially if you forget to feed the fish until late at night and you don’t want to turn on the big brightness and wake everyone up. Just flip on this switch, and you have exactly as much brightness as you need.
Cost and Value
The best part about this product is the price. No matter what size you get this device in, you are guaranteed exceptionally good prices across the board. So, if you need a good night illumination, or if you have a smaller tank that doesn’t need a big one at all, this is the right one for you.
6. Koval Inc
Coming in at #6, we have the Koval inc Tank Brightness System. This is another tank illumination bracket that washes your tank in dazzling, splendid multicolored bulbs that will be the envy of your fellow fish owners. But what does it bring to the table that the other ones like it don’t?
3 optional control modes
When you have as many bulbs as this one does, with as varied as they are, you’d best have different options for what kinds of brightness you want to have on at one time. And this bulb is more than happy to oblige with that, providing three different modes. So, whether you want all of the illuminations on, only the blues, or dimmed down the brightness, then this tank illumination will give you exactly what you need.
One problem with these sorts of illuminations is that the whole thing can be potentially blown if just one bulb goes out. These sorts of overly interconnected circuits can be a huge problem, especially if you don’t know that that’s the cause and think that the whole thing is busted. Which is why the illumination on this fixture are independently wired, staying on no matter how many go out.
Cost and Value
While the price range for this product is much larger than the previous entry, the largest price on this product is nowhere close to what we saw at the top of this list.
For the #7 spot, we chose the MarineLand LED Tank Illuminating Bar. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want anything too fancy for their tank illumination, and just needs something to keep your tank nice and illuminated, then this is the one for you. It’s nothing outstanding, but it is functional, and won’t let you down.
Never replace a bulb again
This tank illumination is outfitted with a series of long-lasting 60 mW LED illumination, which is famous for their longevity. LED bulbs are wonderful devices, revolutionary, but replacing them is always a pain because of how tiny they are and because of the unorthodox nature by which you put them in and take them out compared to other bulbs. But it will be years before you have to replace even one of these bulbs.
For those who have always wondered what low voltage means, it basically refers to how much energy the device takes from the outlet, and thus how much they add to the electric bill. LED illumination is so popular because of how much energy they can put out on low voltage. And this device is definitely no exception.
Cost and Value
Unlike the other entries on this list, this tank illumination only comes in one single price and one single size. While sure, that leads to the main problem being that this device isn’t all that adjustable and thus your options for using it are limited. However, the price is also extremely affordable, so if you can use it, we highly recommend doing so.
Kicking off our final three entries for this list, we have the COODIA Tank Hood illumination. The biggest draw for this device is the sheer size it offers. This is the devince you go with when you have a deluxe, ultra large tank in your house (let’s just assume you can afford that). But does it only have the size to its name, or something else? Let’s find out.
Great for growing plants
Plants and fish have different needs when it comes to how much brightness they take in. Which is why it’s important to get your hands on a tank illumination with multiple brightness modes so that you can address those needs. Which is where this device comes in, sporting multiple different brightness modes, each remarkably beneficial to different types of underwater plants.
Easy to use
For those of you who dread the thought of meticulously screwing in a new tank illumination, then having to find a place to plug it in, then testing to make sure it’s on there correctly, dread no longer. This tank illumination is equipped to be as easy to install as possible. All you do it stick it on top, then plug it in. Bada bing, bada boom, you’re done.
Cost and Value
We’re back to prices varying based on size again, and thankfully we have yet another very forgiving price range for this device. While not as cheap as the last one we covered, it’s still pretty affordable.
In our second to final entry, we have the Smiful LED Tank illuminating device. Once more, this is a smaller option for an LED brightness, meant more to be used as a backup rather than a primary brightness or to be used at night when you need a dimmer bulb. So what else does this device have to its name besides that? Let’s find out.
Brighter and safer
LED illumination, on average, don’t explode. At all. However, there have been exceptions to this rule, and seeing as how we aren’t betting people, we decided to showcase this little countermeasure employed by this tank brightness. This illumination is made from 5050 LED illumination chip, which is not only 20% brighter than other LED illumination, but also much longer lasting. And in case there is a catastrophic malfunction, the acrylic glass that makes up the frame of the device can take an explosion.
The main appeal of small tank illumination like this is that they’re usually completely waterproof, meaning that you can put them into the water of the tank and still have them work fine. So, if you need that extra backup brightness but have nowhere to put it, there’s always the inside of the tank.
Cost and Value
Like before, this product only has one set price, but unlike those other smaller bulbs, this is probably the cheapest product on the entire list. So, if you need a small backup brightness and are on a tight budget, this is what you’re looking for.
For the final entry of this list, we have the Beamworks Freshwater Tank illumination. We recommend this as a basic version of the larger tank illumination. If you don’t need all those fancy gizmos and features, and just need a new kind of illumination before your plants die on you, then we recommend you go with this one.
No one has the time to constantly be configuring and messing with his or her tank illumination at different points of the day. So, this tank illumination is outfitted with a smart timer that will turn on and shut off when you need it to. So, if you need the brightness to turn off at 8, then just set the shutoff timer to that time, and when the clock strikes 8 on the dot, then the brightness will turn off.
Not as many modes as other entries on this list, but they’re at least both modes that you will find yourself using when you buy this. The modes are a choice between having them all on at once, or only having the 32x Actinic bulbs on. Both of which are incredibly useful features.
Cost and Value
While the price for this brightness jumps up into the triple digits like its other plus-sized brethren, this brightness is actually very affordable by that metric. So, if you need a large tank illumination for a good price, then this is what you’ve been looking for.