7 Best LED Light for Planted Tanks of 2020

Best LED Light For Planted Tank

Planted tanks require to be lit for colorful displays and most importantly, for photosynthesis because they are placed indoors.

This means you should get a light source that produces the correct light spectrum for supporting plant growth.

With LED lighting being the most commonly used aquarium light source, there are several options to consider. This article looks at some of the best-LED lights for planted tanks, with a view of helping you pick the most ideal one for your plants.

You can also read other product reviews of LED aquarium lightingLED lighting for reef tank

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​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Finnex KL-48A

1. Finnex KL-48A (Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light)

  • Automatic 24/7 day and night lighting cycle
  • 4 colored LEDs with 4 independent channels
  • IR remote control unit with memory buttons
  • 7000K color temperature
Current USA 4008

2. Current USA 4008 (Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets)

  • Sliding brackets
  • 4 colored LEDs with 4 independent channels
  • 12 weather effects
  • IR remote control unit with 4 memory slots
Finnex AL-R12WM

3. Finnex AL-R30WM (Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light)

  • Ultra-slim design
  • 20.8-watt rating with 3 differently-colored LEDs
  • 40,000-hour lifespan
Coodia Aquarium Light

4. Coodia Aquarium Light (Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks)

  • Affordable
  • 2.4G remote controller
  • 4 colored LEDs with 12 preset color options
  • 7500K color temperature
Current USA 4012

5. Current USA 4012 (Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer)

  • 24-hour timer. Automatic day and night effects
  • Dynamic weather effects
  • 4 colored LEDs
  • Slim design with sliding brackets
KZKR Aquarium Light

6. KZKR Aquarium Light (Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks)

  • 8000K color temperature
  • 2-modes with switch control
  • 50,000-hour lifespan
  • Sliding brackets
Aqueon 68304

7. Aqueon 68304 (3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light)

  • 3 channels with 6500K white, blue and red LEDs
  • RF remote control
  • 8 preset colors and a 24-hour timer
  • Sliding brackets

PRODUCT

1. Finnex KL-48A

(Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light)

Finnex KL-48A
  • Automatic 24/7 day and night lighting cycle
  • 4 colored LEDs with 4 independent channels
  • IR remote control unit with memory buttons
  • 7000K color temperature

2. Current USA 4008

(Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets)

Current USA 4008
  • Sliding brackets
  • 4 colored LEDs with 4 independent channels
  • 12 weather effects
  • IR remote control unit with 4 memory slots

3. Finnex AL-R30WM

(Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light)

Finnex AL-R12WM
  • Ultra-slim design
  • 20.8-watt rating with 3 differently-colored LEDs
  • 40,000-hour lifespan

4. Coodia Aquarium Light

(Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks)

Coodia Aquarium Light
  • Affordable
  • 2.4G remote controller
  • 4 colored LEDs with 12 preset color options
  • 7500K color temperature

5. Current USA 4012

(Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer)

Current USA 4012
  • 24-hour timer. Automatic day and night effects
  • Dynamic weather effects
  • 4 colored LEDs
  • Slim design with sliding brackets

6. KZKR Aquarium Light

(Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks)

KZKR Aquarium Light
  • 8000K color temperature
  • 2-modes with switch control
  • 50,000-hour lifespan
  • Sliding brackets

7. Aqueon 68304

(3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light)

Aqueon 68304
  • 3 channels with 6500K white, blue and red LEDs
  • RF remote control
  • 8 preset colors and a 24-hour timer
  • Sliding brackets

1. Finnex KL-48A – Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 Fully Automated LED Aquarium Light
  • Fits: 48 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 7000K White
  • Power: 46.2 Watts

Finnex’s KL-48A stands out as the best overall planted tank LED light because of a number of reasons. For starters, it features a fully automated, 24/7 day and night gradual cycle that creates full day-and-night effects in real time.

To achieve this, the unit utilizes its 4 colored LEDs (7K white, red, green and blue) by dimming each color appropriately to come up with a cool lit dawn that gradually becomes a warm sunrise morning then to an intense high noon.

This is then followed by a red sunset and finally calls it a day with a blue moonlight. The result of this natural-like conditions is healthy growing plants because they are exposed to just the right amount of daylight and in the correct dosage as in the real daytime.

If you like taking things manually, these 4 colored channels can be individually dimmed to create customized color combinations. An infra-red remote control unit is used to regulate all these settings, and it also features other functionalities that make the fixture very easy to use.

These features include 4 memory slots for saving multiple color combinations and cloudy, thunder and sunny weather effects settings.

On the downside, this fixture is a bit expensive and has a water-resistant splash guard that is not very effective. With a little bit of care though, this LED light will serve you for a long time.

Pros:

  • Fully automated 24/7 day and night cycle
  • 4 independent color channels
  • Infra-red remote control unit
  • 4 memory slots ​
  • Cloudy, thunder and sunny weather effects

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Water resistant feature is not very effective

2. Current USA 4008 – Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Aquarium Light
  • Fits: 48 – 60 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 6500K White
  • Power: 30 Watts

Current USA’s 4008 is characterized slim, sleek design with sliding brackets on the 2 ends that allow it to fit above 48 – 60-inch tanks. These brackets simply the installation process because you only have to suspend it above the tank

Just like the Finnex unit above, this one has 4 individually controlled channels that can be dimmed easily using the unit’s wireless remote control.

These channels include 6500K white, red, green and blue colors, which combined provide a full-colored light spectrum that is very beneficial to the photosynthesis process in plants.

Although no automatic day and night cycle is built-in, it has a couple of color-presets and 12 dynamic weather effects that include 2 storm modes with lighting and cloud cover, 3 cloud cover effects and a dusk mode among many others.

Additionally, the IR remote controlled unit has 4 memory slots that allow you to save countless color and intensity combinations, just in case you like doing things manually.

Pros:

  • Slim design with sliding brackets
  • 4 separate channels that produce a full-color spectrum
  • IR wireless remote control
  • Multiple color presets
  • 12 dynamic weather effects

Cons:

  • No full day automatic cycle

3. Finnex AL-R30WM – Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlight
  • Fits: 30 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 7000K White
  • Power: 20.8 Watts

Finnex’s FugeRay also features an ultra-slim unibody and is available in 7 different sizes, which include 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, 36 and 48-inch size options.

The fixture’s color spectrum is composed of 7000K white, moonlight blue and 660nm red, which falls in between the PAR 400 – 700 range of beneficial colors for photosynthesis.

The respective LEDs for these 3 colors are evenly spaced out on the light’s panel and this means that the unit produces a low-medium light output, which is ideal for refigium purposes or plants that do not require a lot of light.

Well, spaced out LEDs are not that bad because this design reduces their number and consequently reduces the energy consumption of the FugeRay. It is rated at 20.8 Watts, which is very efficient considering that it is a 30-inch fixture.

Apart from efficiency, durability is also incorporated into the unit’s design, with LEDs that are rated at 40,000 hours. An aluminum circuit board construction makes it hardier while its aluminum body doubles up as the heat sink for cooling the LEDs, effectively making them more durable.

Pros:

  • ​Slim body with 7 length sizes
  • ​7000K white, moonlight blue and 660nm red LEDs
  • Energy efficient
  • Durable construction
  • Aluminum body doubles up as the heat sink

Cons:

  • No remote control unit
  • Does not have green LEDs

4. Coodia Aquarium Light – Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks

Coodia Aquarium Hood RGBW LED Light
  • Fits: 19 – 28 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 7500K White
  • Power: 12 Watts

For a 4 colored LED fixture, this unit is certainly very affordable, but it is quite small in size, measuring 19 – 28-inch size. This makes it suitable for smaller tanks.

However, it is available in larger 28 – 36 and 37 – 45-inch options as well as a smaller 11 – 19-inch option, each having a different price.

The unit features a 2.4G remote controller that allows you to control the lighting without a direct line-of-sight between the remote and the fixture, giving you the convenience of altering the light settings from a different room.

This controller is fully featured with 12 preset color buttons, smooth, fade, strobe and flash buttons as well as dimmer buttons for the red, green, blue and white colors, effectively giving you total control over the lighting at your fingertips.

In terms of efficiency, the Hood light is rated at 12 Watts, which is pretty efficient. It also has a relatively high color temperature of 7500K, which makes it ideal for both fresh and seawater tanks. 

On the downside, its LEDs have a relatively low lifespan of about 10,000 hours but this can be justified by its low price.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Features 4 colored LEDs
  • 2.4G remote controller
  • 12 preset color options
  • Usable on both freshwater and seawater tanks

Cons:

  • Relatively short lifespan
  • Small in size.

5. Current USA 4012 – Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer

Current USA Satellite Plus Pro LED Light
  • Fits: 36 – 48 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 6500K White
  • Power: 60 Watts

This unit is the top rated LED light for planted tanks, which shows there is something about it that appeals to aquarists.

For starters, the piece has an integrated 24-hour timer that makes it possible to create gradual sunrise, daylight, sunset and moonlight effects in real time.

The timer alters the color and intensity of 4 colored LEDs to produce these effects in a timed, gradual change that looks very realistic.

Beyond this, the Satellite Plus Pro also has dynamic weather effects such as lightning strikes and cloud cover. These closely mimic the real world aquatic conditions, making the plants feel at home.

Other features include a wireless remote control, sliding brackets for quick and easy installation, a super slim design and high-performance LEDs that produce a high PAR and lumen output for quick plant growth.

The downside to it is that it has a high power consumption of 60 Watts.

Pros:

  • Integrated 24-hour timer
  • Red, green, blue and white colored LEDs
  • Dynamic weather effects
  • Wireless remote control
  • High PAR and lumen output

Cons:

  • Consumes a lot of power
  • Expensive

6. KZKR Aquarium Light – Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks

KZKR LED Light for Planted Tank
  • Fits: 60 – 72 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 8000K White
  • Power: 31 Watts

KZKR’s LED light produces a color temperature of 8000K, which makes it ideal for saltwater aquariums. Saltwater aquariums usually require high color temperatures because the light blue color mimics the underwater light in the sea.

The unit also has a 2-mode setup, with the full blue and white LEDs being on for the daylight mode and the blue light on for the night time mode. These modes are controlled via a switch, which also adds a third mode for turning everything off.

Construction-wise, this fixture has an aluminum casing that is durable and doubles up as a heat sink for cooling off the circuitry. This contributes greatly towards the 50,000-hour lifespan of the LEDs.

You also get a long and thin unit that is suitable for large 60 – 72 inches planted tanks. However, the fixture is also available in other sizes such as the much larger 72 – 84-inch option as well as the smaller 48 – 60, 36 – 48 and 24 – 32-inch options among many others

On the downside, the unit is not waterproof but it has extendable brackets that mount it safely above the tank to prevent it from falling inside.

Pros:

  • ​Ideal for saltwater tanks
  • Available in 5 different sizes
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Long lifespan

Cons:

  • Not waterproof
  • No wireless remote control

7. Aqueon 68304 – 3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light

Aqueon Optibright Plus LED Light System
  • Fits: 30 – 36 inches
  • Light Spectrum: 6500K White

Aqueon’s Optibright Plus features bright white 6500K, blue and red LEDs that are controlled independently via a 3 channel system by dimming in order to achieve different colors.

These adjustments are made using a radio frequency remote control, which is very convenient. 

In addition to the 3 channel dimming function, the remote has 8 preset color options that allow you to tweak the color output at the push of a button, and a 24-hour timer. 

If you want the color switching to be done for you, Optibright Plus features sunrise and sunset effects with automatic 30-minute ramp up or rump down intervals. This enables you to create realistic daytime and nighttime effects hands-free.

Other features include extendable legs for placement over a varied 30 – 36 inch planted tank and a high-grade plastic shell.

Pros:

  • 3 channel dimming control
  • Radio frequency remote control
  • Sunrise and sunset effects
  • Extendable legs

Cons:

  • Plastic construction
  • Lacks weather effects

How to Buy the Best Planted Tank LED Light

How to Buy the Best Planted Tank LED Light

1. Control

With all the features and fancy LED lights, the control mechanism ultimately determines how easy and ​convenient it will be for you to use the entire lighting fixture.

Control basically comes in the form of a switch, dials, and remote controls.

Switches are the most basic forms of control and allow for the transition between on and off modes or full LEDs on, part of them on and off. KZKR's Aquarium Light is equipped with such a switch, which is easy to use.

Knobs or dials are better than switches because they enable you to make gradual adjustments in sort of an analog curve as compared to the on/off switch characteristic. However, you still have to be at the fixture physically so as to make any changes.

Remote-controlled lights such as Finnex's KL-48A are the best options because they give you remote access to the lighting unit and usually have a ton of features and settings for complete lighting customization.

2. Light Spectrum

The light spectrum is primarily considered in terms of color temperature in Kelvin. The best color temperature for supporting photosynthesis in plants is in the range of 6500K to 8000K.

This range closely mimics the natural light from the sun and this is what makes it suitable for supporting plants. However, the higher the value, the more the light turns bluish, turning it into a seawater compatible light too.

Therefore, if you have plans to change your tank to a saltwater aquarium, 7500K – 8000K lights such as KZKR's Aquarium Light are the best for you. Otherwise, the lower values will do for freshwater tanks.

Light spectrum can also be looked at in terms of PAR output. For multicolored ​units, the RGB lights should be in the range of 400 – 700nm like in Finnex's AL-R30WM because this is the photosynthetically active range that supports ​quick plant growth.

3. Compatibility

Compatibility is looked at considering the tank size and type of plant that you want to grow.

For the tank size, the measurements given for each lighting fixture determines which tank width it can fit on. For instance, a 24 – 32-inch unit ​with ​sliding brackets ​can be​ fitted on a 24 – 32-inch tank width.

The plant that you want to grow should be accommodating of the amount of light being produced. For instance, a plant that requires a high-intensity beam will do poorly when exposed to a low-medium light output fixture.

Therefore, you should consider these two carefully so that you do not end up buying a product that will turn out to be useless for you.

4. Ease of Installation

LED fixtures can be installed in one of two ways. First is by hanging using hanging kits. This is usually the hardest method of installation because you have to find a strong anchor point to hang the unit.

LED units with extendable brackets ​such as Current USA's 4008​ are the easiest to install. However, you have to get the fitting size and there is the risk of splashing or falling inside the tank since they are only held by the rim the tank.

Conclusion

The most important thing to consider in terms of lighting for planted tanks is the light spectrum. You have to get this right ​because plants require the right spectrum to thrive.

That said, we recommend Finnex's KL-48A​ as the overall best LED light for planted tanks because it has an automatic 24-hour cycle, remote control, 4 independent channels and multiple effects. For marine ​tanks though, buy KZKR's Aquarium Light.


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