aquarium with LED lights for fish

Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color

One of the many reasons for which you have an aquarium is to enjoy the bright colors of fish. Some fish have amazing colors, and it would be a shame not to enjoy the view.

Moreover, some fish may even show various colors from the lighting you have for your aquarium. All in all, good lighting can really bring out the best out of the colors of your fish. Just add one more thing that you carefully need to select when getting the equipment for your aquarium.

Top 7 Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish color

   1. S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light

Even if the price will seal the deal for most, the S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light sure doesn’t disappoint in terms of features either.

The light fixture comes with LED lights with 16 colors and four modes, allowing you to play with both colors and brightness of the light. It’s an excellent option for fish tanks, rockeries, cisterns, pet cages, and so on. It gives safe and bright light, benefitting both livestock and aquatic plants.

It’s a submersible light fixture that has an IP68 waterproof rate so you may safely place it on the bottom of your aquarium. The adjustability is amazing, and you can set the speed the way you want/. “Strobe”, “flash”, “smooth”, and “fade” are the settings to choose from.

The light fixture is made with ABS plastic and acrylic. You can control it through the remote or the power button (on/off). The suction cup is strong and stays that way for quite some time.

On top of everything else, the light fixture allows you to use it with a pump (it’s not included).

Let’s take another look at the functional aspects:

  • It comes with 16 colors for lights and four modes
  • It’s submersible and has IP68 Waterproof grade
  • You may adjust the speed and the colors
  • The suction cup is secure, and the build is good

For this kind of price, some issues are expected:

  • It works best in a small aquarium
  • The plug has a cheap feel to it

A penny saved is a penny served, and the light fixture is the perfect example of how you can get good lighting without emptying your pockets.

   2. NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

The black finish of NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light with Extendable Brackets, makes it very helpful, whereas the bright light brings out the colors of your fish.

The light fixture energy efficient and comes with durable LEDs, creating mesmerizing shimmer to your aquarium.

The metal brackets are adjustable so that the lighting is natural to fit aquariums ranging from 48 to 52in. You can choose from two lighting modes: white and blue LEDs for daylight, and blue LEDs for a nightlight.

Due to its build, you can use the light fixture over a glass-covered aquarium or panel. It’s low voltage and really safe, benefiting both fish and aquatic plants. You should use the lighting for 8-10 hours.

The instruction is easy to follow, and the light fixture is small, yet bright and dependable.

Here’s our take on the pros:

  • It features two lighting modes
  • It’s energy-efficient and safe
  • It comes with adjustable brackets
  • It has a black finish and benefits fish and plants

The cons are nothing to worry about:

  • The plug could be better
  • The brackets could use a more effective design

Regardless of the minor problems, the light fixture is quite the Jack of all trades as it’s useful, adjustable, dependable, and affordable too.

   3. Finnex Planted-Fully Automated Aquarium LED

The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED is entirely automated, and it’s an LED fixture that may come with/without a controller.

The lights simulate red sunrise and blue night and offer four color channels to choose from, with dimmable and elements with commands. You can select from cloudy, sunny, thunder, and moon for the lights. The 7k/multi-color combination sustains the plant growth, and the light fixture is easy to mount atop your aquarium.

The cycle can repeat on its own in real-time, so you don’t need to watch it throughout the day. When you don’t want to use the 24/7 function, you can always set 4 different modes. The light fixture also comes with memory function, remembering the last saved settings. It communicates with the controller with the help of a water-resistant IR sensor.

Should you need to mount it to a small aquarium, the bright legs are easy to slide inwards for a better mount. The legs come with screws for mounting on rimless aquariums. The removable inner portion of the legs eases out the mount on larger rimmed aquariums.

The light fixture is made with aluminum and features a water-resistant splash guard for a longer lifespan.

We’ve shortened the positive aspects to the following:

  • It has a 24/7 function, and you can select four custom modes too
  • It presents memory function
  • It allows mount on both small and large aquariums
  • It’s made with aluminum and has a water-resistant splash guard

The downsides shouldn’t make you change your mind:

  • The power cord is a tad short
  • The remote control has a gimmicky feel to it

Bear in mind that the light fixture ticks most boxes when it comes to adjustability, color spectrum, and build, which is why you shouldn’t skip it when shopping.


The VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control Dimmable 165W 300W LED Aquarium is made to maintain the balance of the PAR output and coverage.

It comes with an internal timer so that you can turn the light on/off automatically or separately. You may also adjust two channels brightness independently thanks to the dimmable function. You may change the channel brightness from 0 to 100%.

The light is full-spectrum and great for the reef, benefiting all photosynthetic corals. The full spectrum re-creates natural light, helping the fish and coral thrive. For best results, it’s wise to acclimate the aquarium/new corals to the new light by raising the exposure and intensity to the light only slowly.

The advanced high-speed fan is quiet, and the upgraded aluminum cooling heat sink will dissipate heat evenly and efficiently.

The light fixture is easy to mount, and the adjustable hanging kit allows straightforward and versatile mount.

Let’s take a closer look at the best parts:

  • It has internal times and two channels
  • You may set the brightness individually for the two channels
  • It benefits both fish and corals
  • It comes with an adjustable hanging kit

The downsides don’t throw us off:

  • It’s not waterproof
  • It may feel really bright on full power

Stay focused on the best parts as there are so many and don’t mind the pet peeves. Not only that, they’re minor, but they also don’t count for the big picture!

   5. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light

Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Light is going to bring all colors to life as it features ultra-bright LED in a full-color spectrum. It’s excellent for corals and fish, making them look fantastic.

The light fixture offers both light and pump control, helping you get the best out of your aquarium. The colors are popping, and the shimmer effects are magical, as the Orbit Marine creates a limitless number of color spectrums. The high ratio of actinic blue spectrum LEDs is balanced, leading to the perfect color combo for your live rock, corals, fish, inverts. They will all look fantastic. The wide-angle dispersion lenses spread the light evenly while helping the color bend perfectly.

The effects are realistic as the Orbit Marine gradually imitates the impact of a gentle sunrise, bright daylight, dimming sunset, and even moonlight. Thanks to the built-in lighting program, you may create a 24-hour natural biorhythmic lighting cycle.

The adjustability isn’t overlooked, and you may dim the modes from time to time. Lunar and dusk modes are beautiful, but you can also go with storm or cloud cover effects.

The light fixture is easy to install thanks to the extendable brackets. You may effortlessly install it in aquariums 18-24in wide.

It’s easy to program the light-fixture through the wireless IR remote, and you can even control the wave pump in terms of flow mode, flow rate, and feed mode.

Here’s what we like the most about the light fixture:

  • It creates amazing colors
  • You can select various modes
  • It benefits corals, plants, and everything else in your aquarium
  • You can create a 24-hour natural biorhythmic lighting cycle

For the picky customer, here are the minor flaws too:

  • The feet may rust
  • Not everyone finds the programming straightforward

Be that as it may, we still think that the light fixture is great from so many points of view, and you should take a leap of faith on any given day.

The more you’re willing to pay for the aquarium lighting, the more you should expect in terms of performance, features, and overall value.

   6. Current Orbit Marine-Aquarium Dual Light System

The Current Orbit Marine IC PRO LED Reef Aquarium Dual Light System with Wireless Loop will create an eye-popping color and impressive color rendition. In contrast, the full spectrum control lets you get the perfect color spectra for the reef.

The light fixture includes a bold combination of Dual Actinic blue, Dual Daylight white, and RGB LEDs with 90degree spherical optical lenses. It’s the ideal combination for helping corals thrive and impress with fluorescence.

The Orbit Marine IC PRO creates the same color spectrum as Orbit Marine IC LED, but provides twice the amount of light. It creates the effect of sunrise, shiny daylight, a soothing sunset, and moonlight.

The built-in lighting programming lets you create a 24-hour biorhythmic lighting cycle. It’s also wave pump ready and great for saltwater aquariums. It comes with wireless remote control, and it’s upgradable to Bluetooth for your mobile devices.

Here’s our take on the pros:

  • It’s made for saltwater aquariums
  • It features Dual LED lighting system and dual actinic output
  • It comes with 90degree optical lenses and adjustable color spectrum
  • It has wireless remote control, and you may pair it with your mobile devices, after upgrade

Bells and whistles aside, here’s what we like less:

  • It’s too bad it’s not for freshwater as well
  • The customer support isn’t there for you when you need it

Even if the light fixture isn’t all roses and rainbows, it’s still a significant investment to make for your saltwater aquarium.

   7. AquaIllumination Hydra FiftyTwo +HD LED Light

The AquaIllumination Hydra FiftyTwo +HD LED Light, Black, is loaded with useful features, and the first one to mention is the 52 energy efficient high output LEDs.

The list continues with the seven colors that you can control individually for better customization and versatility. The light fixture includes 80-degree color blending lenses, which only explain the efficiency.

We also have to notice the HD technology, which lets you create almost all spectrum you want. You can also use MyAi app and AiFi wireless connection. Therefore, you may connect and control the lights from wherever you are on this planet. The app is easy to use on IOS, Android, and any other internet-connected gadget. Thanks to the wireless function, you may even connect several units and run several modules.

The light fixture can produce a limitless number of spectral combinations to serve your aquarium to the fullest. You don’t need a controller as the light fixtures come with one built-in. As with modern appliances today, it’s all about Wi-Fi connections and apps.

Your corals and fish will thrive, and the colors are amazing. The light fixture comes with a hanging kit for the straightforward mount.

Truth be told, the price may scare some, but don’t your fish or corals deserve the only best?

Here’s our list of pros:

  • It features 52 high output LEDs and seven colors
  • The colors are easy to control individually
  • You can adjust and control the lights right from your phone
  • It’s impressive and great for fish and coral

The inherent flaws aren’t deal breakers for us:

  • It’s not the cheapest light fixture
  • It’s not waterproof

Frankly, the light fixture doesn’t come cheap, but it definitely gets the light controlling of your aquarium to the modern world, where everything is controlled by afar. So why not try it?

How to select the aquarium lighting for fish color?

If you’re a dedicated aquarist, you know that you don’t just go ahead and buy the very first light fixture you see on the shelf. There are several aspects to consider when buying, so let’s check the most significant ones:

  • The aquarium’s setup and livestock

The LEDs for coral and plants are quite different, especially when we’re considering the ones that count for aesthetics.

It’s one thing when you have beautiful fish and want the light to bring out the most color, and quite different when you’re focusing on the aquascape instead. What kind of aquatic plants do you have? Do you have a reef aquarium? If you have corals, the soft ones really like low light, for instance.

Long story short, you need to do your homework about the needs of your livestock, plants, or corals before selecting the lights.

  • The size of the aquarium

It may not sound important, but you have to pay attention to all dimensions of your aquarium before selecting the lighting:

  • Length– It’s related to the size of the LED fixture, especially if you have a large aquarium. It’s easy to find light fixtures for smaller aquariums, but it’s quite tricky in the case of larger tanks.
  • Height– Some like to call it depth, and it may count even more than length. Some aquariums have a substrate or a clean bottom. New models of LEDs go deep into the water, and you should choose according to the depth of your tank.
  • Width– It’s not as necessary, and the 24 in is the right size for many aquariums.
  • PAR/PUR or PAS?

These terms are essential as light is fundamental for photosynthesis:

  • PAR stands for Photosynthetic Active Radiation. Any light between 400 to 700 nanometers is considered to be PAR. It’s the best option for growing aquarium plants and coral
  • PUR, aka Photosynthetic Usable Radiation, is what you want for corals and plants. It refers to the quality of light per application, as opposed to PAR, which relates to the quantity. More PUR means healthier plants.
  • PAS, aka Photosynthetic Action Spectrum, relates to which photons activate the Chlorophyll A and B accurately.
  • Quality of the build

Some light fixtures are more durable than others, which explains the full range of prices. Most LEDs take the use for 50,000 hours, but you also need to consider the movable parts and side equipment, which aren’t as durable as LEDs.

  • Features and adjustability

Adjustability is one of the most important aspects to consider, and manufacturers sure don’t disappoint us. Some lights are dimmable, and some come with just one color, and so on. You may control the lights manually or right from your phone. It depends on the model and the price you’re willing to pay. Some of the best options out there allow even weather simulations, from cloudiness to thunderstorms. It’s not fundamental for your corals or fish, but it sure makes an impression on your guests!

  • Lenses, shadowing, and “beam light

New LEDs come with lensing that concentrates the beam more, which is why it goes deeper into the aquarium. A lens that ensures a 60degree angle for the beam means that the light is highly concentrated, offering fantastic water penetration. But it comes with a price, as it’s going to be less color mixing. Soon enough, a disco will happen on the bottom of your aquarium.

Reputed manufacturers place diodes close to one another so that the color combination isn’t sacrificed.

The tight lensing angle also leads to beam light effect, which doesn’t look amazing in an aquarium.

It doesn’t mean you cannot remove the lenses whenever you feel you need to. Most quality LEDs will still go deeper into the water.

  • Price

LEDs are pricier than other types of aquarium lighting. It’s the features, durability, the lower heat that give, the higher the price.

As with anything else in life, the more you’re willing to pay, the more you should expect when it comes to durability, functions, and performance.

FAQs on aquarium lighting for fish color

Q: Should you use blue or white light for your aquarium?

A: White color is essential, and you can go with a really bright type so that you help the colors stand out. If you’re looking for full-spectrum light with 10,000k, you shouldn’t skip blue light, though.

Q: What’s the definition of actinic lighting?

A: Actinic lights refer to the blue spectrum in lighting. It’s not typical for regular lighting, but you will probably notice it in most aquariums. Light with full spectrum also includes blue light, but it’s the wow factor that you have when fish goes under the light that counts the most.

Q: Do LEDs hurt the fish’s eyes?

A: In all fairness, some aquariums really have bright light, so one can only wonder if it hurts the fish or not. There aren’t many tests in that area so that no one can say for sure. With fish spending time under the full rays of sun in the wild, one can only assume that LEDs won’t hurt their eyes too much. Should you worry about the bright light harming the fisheyes, you can always turn the brightness down a notch. You can also create plenty of hiding spots for the fish so they may escape the bright light whenever they feel like it.

Q: Should the lights in the aquarium be colored?

A: It’s not an easy answer for this one, but we can say for sure that the color and the brightness do matter. The easiest way to notice is to pay attention to your fish carefully. If it seems stressed when you change the color and intensity of light, you should go back to the previous light setting.

Q: What’s the best light for African cichlid aquariums?

A: There are many beautiful fish and corals, but we all have to admit that Cichild’s colors are some of the most amazing to admire in an aquarium. They have so many colors, and there are so many types of lights to use for making those colors pop. Some recommend using a 50/50 actinic bulb for a CiChlid tank, with bright white light ranging between 6500k to 10,000k.

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