- Updated May 24, 2020
- Writen by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
7 Best LED Light for Planted Tanks of 2020
- Updated Nov 14, 2018
- Writen by Editorial Staff
- Table of Contents
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.
- 7 Best LED Lights for Planted Tanks – Reviews
- 1. Finnex KL-48A – Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light
- 2. Current USA 4008 – Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets
- 3. Finnex AL-R30WM – Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light
- 4. Coodia Aquarium Light – Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks
- 5. Current USA 4012 – Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer
- 6. KZKR Aquarium Light – Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks
- 7. Aqueon 68304 – 3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light
- How to Buy the Best Planted Tank LED Light
7 Best LED Lights for Planted Tanks – Reviews
1. Finnex KL-48A (Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light)
2. Current USA 4008 (Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets)
3. Finnex AL-R30WM (Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light)
4. Coodia Aquarium Light (Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks)
5. Current USA 4012 (Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer)
6. KZKR Aquarium Light (Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks)
7. Aqueon 68304 (3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light)
1. Finnex KL-48A
(Best Overall Planted Tank LED Light)
2. Current USA 4008
(Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets)
3. Finnex AL-R30WM
(Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light)
4. Coodia Aquarium Light
(Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks)
5. Current USA 4012
(Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer)
6. KZKR Aquarium Light
(Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks)
7. Aqueon 68304
(3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light)
1. Finnex KL-48A – Best Overall Planted Tank LED 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.
2. Current USA 4008 – Planted Tank LED Light with Sliding Brackets
- 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.
3. Finnex AL-R30WM – Ultra Slim Planted Tank LED Light
- 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.
4. Coodia Aquarium Light – Best Budget LED Light for Planted Tanks
- 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.
5. Current USA 4012 – Planted Tank LED Light with a 24-Hour Timer
- 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.
6. KZKR Aquarium Light – Best LED Light for Marine Planted Tanks
- 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.
7. Aqueon 68304 – 3-Channel Planted Tank LED Light
- 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.
How to Buy the Best Planted Tank LED Light
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.
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.
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.