11 Best Aquarium Lighting For Fish Color – A Comprehensive Review

Best Aquarium Lighting For Fish Color by Aquarium Tales

Aquarium hobbyists love to decorate their fish tanks as per their aesthetic choice. The lighting can create such a dreamy effect in your aquarium that no other decors can do. Your fish will pop & glow with proper lighting. Moreover, the light is not only for decorative purposes for all aquariums.

If the fishkeeper wishes to have a planted aquarium, lighting is crucial for plant growth. Therefore, expert aquarists who maintain coral reef tanks need to equip their aquariums with special illuminations.

If you want your aquarium to look gorgeous, make sure that the lighting is perfect. You’ll need a spectrum of colors for fish color and beauty in an aquarium!

Typically beginners look for proper lighting to make the aquarium and fish look beautiful. However, everyone desires to have colorful fish in the aquarium, and the fish color is somewhat influenced by available light. So, an adequate spectrum of light is necessary to promote fish color.

It can be pretty tricky to find the perfect lighting for your aquarium. To help get you started, I’ve included some helpful information about what type of colors and intensities are best suited for your fish, as well as product reviews with pros & cons! So keep reading to get the best aquarium light for fish color.

Preview
Best Overall
hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light...
Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED Aquarium Lighting, 12...
Most Reliable
Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light, Blue Fish...
Title
hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light...
Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED Aquarium Lighting, 12...
Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light, Blue Fish...
Price
$38.99
$64.99
$63.20
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
865 Reviews
239 Reviews
601 Reviews
Best Overall
Preview
hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light...
Title
hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light...
Price
$38.99
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
865 Reviews
Details
Preview
Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED Aquarium Lighting, 12...
Title
Fluval Aquasky 2.0 LED Aquarium Lighting, 12...
Price
$64.99
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
239 Reviews
Details
Most Reliable
Preview
Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light, Blue Fish...
Title
Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light, Blue Fish...
Price
$63.20
Prime Status
Star Rating
Reviews
601 Reviews
Details

What To Look For In Color Enhancing Aquarium Lighting

What To Look For In Color Enhancing Aquarium Lighting

When it comes to researching aquarium lights, the 1990s were like studying for your master’s degree in physics. Prior to the LED era and when blending multiple types of bulbs were necessary depending on what kind you had (fancy ones with reflectors or ballasts), this took years before finding out that now there is an easier way: LEDs! They’re so much cheaper than incandescent-based systems, saving electricity costs over time since they don’t need as many watts as the old school setup. 

The considerations that play a vital role in enhancing the aquarium color are:

  • Your tank volume.
  • Transparency or clarity of the tank water.
  • Distance from the light fixture to the tank bottom.
  • The color of your substrate and decors.

LED Aquarium Lights Are Better Options

LED Aquarium Lights

LEDs are a superior option for aquariums now that they have started catching up in quality. In addition, LEDs offer many benefits, such as:

Save space and energy by being compact instead of using harsh light fixtures with bulky tubes or bulbs; you can also dim the lights if needed! 

They provide precise control over the intensity emitted from diodes which is great because some aquarium species don’t like bright lighting too close to their eyes. However, sudden light change won’t affect your fish since it fades off gradually instead of turning on all at once.

Not only do they allow you to have dimmable diodes that often can be programmed to gradually fade off, but they also change color on like a natural 24 hours cycle, including sunrise or sunset.

Some lights also give color channels that allow fish owners to blend colors for more intense looks depending on what their wish is at any given moment!

Best Lighting For Fish Only Freshwater Tanks

Shallow Water Fish

Best Lighting For Shallow Water Fish

For fish living in shallow freshwater habitats (Guppies, Mollies, Tetras, etc.), the most natural look is achieved with full-spectrum white diodes between the 5,500K and 8,000K range. Then you can mix your colors to best enhance their species and environment!

Colorful Fish 

Best Lighting For Colorful Fish

For red, orange, or pink-colored fish like Bettas, barbs, and goldfish, start by adjusting the intensity of white diodes until your tank is bright enough. This will bring out warmer tones in their tanks to make them feel at home with more natural lighting from Earth’s rays! 

You can also adjust how much light hits each area, so it has an even distribution- a significant factor for healthy inhabitants as well. Adding more warm-colored red diodes enhances the color nicely with red or orange-colored fish!

Cichlids

Best Lighting For Cichlids

For those looking to enhance the iridescent qualities and shine in your cichlid’s tank, I recommend using high levels of blue, reducing the warm ones a bit. 

You can also go with 10K full spectrum lights – which will make some species like African Cichlids pop! 

If you have orange or yellow colored Blood Parrot Cichlid, you’ll still need some mix of red and green colors to balance the effect!

Bottom Feeders

Best Lighting For Bottom Feeders

These fish live in dark and shallow habitats, needing a low-light environment. Catfish or Loaches especially have jet-black skin with brown or red markings on their bodies that can be brought out by warmer colors in less intense! 

For these bottom feeders to thrive, you should keep them away from bright lighting conditions, so don’t use too many lights if your aquarium has bottom-dwelling inhabitants.

Best Lighting For Coral And Planted Tanks

Best Lighting For Coral And Planted Tanks

If you want to keep your favorite plants and corals alive, be sure that the lighting fixture in your aquarium can support their needs. These species need the photosynthesis process to survive, which demands adequate lighting. 

An excellent way for different types of lives in the aquarium is to use several light fixtures – one primary with spectrums perfect for photosynthesis and then an additional set around fish or other features to make them pop out even more than before against their natural surroundings.

Review Of Best Aquarium Lights For Fish color

Most aquarium hobbyists, including newbies, love choosing aquarium lights to beautify their feature pieces. At the same time, they look for the right spectrum that enhances the fish color.

I have selected the ten best aquarium lights that can provide the necessary wavelength to promote fish color and decorate your fish tank elegantly. You can pick the one that suits your choice.

The Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light is an excellent, reliable light for your aquarium. This advanced full-spectrum LED aquarium light is perfect for those who want their fish to have the best color.

Get the most out of your fish-only tank or planted tank with Hygger’s Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light. Super-bright 6500K white LEDs paired with the full-spectrum RGB LEDs to emit bright light provide a whole spectrum of light that mimics natural sunlight to stimulate plant growth and enhance fish coloration. 

Hygger’s advanced technology allows you to customize the lighting colors and intensities, allowing you to create a spectacular atmosphere that really showcases the fish. The 24/7 light cycle also includes warm orange light at sunrise, bright full-spectrum light at noon, and starry blue light at the last thirty minutes.

The low-profile black metal aluminum shell of Hygger Advanced Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light produces little heat. So it won’t raise the water temperature, and you’ll have a safe, energy-efficient light for your fish tank!

Pros

  • Super slim and lightweight.
  • Excellent, bright lighting for your aquariums.
  • Very reliable brand.
  • The 24/7 light cycle is outstanding.

Cons

  • All current settings are lost in case of a power outage.

Fluval is a well-known name in the fishkeeping arena, as they created so many quality aquarium products. Now I’ll talk about Fluval AQUASKY aquarium light.

You can operate this light exclusively with a mobile app to mimic various seasonal effects, from stormy lightning to dense cloud cover. As a result, your fish habitat will get the natural flavor of the whole year’s annual cycle.

Each individual LED casts 120° of illumination in this light, which ensures extensive uniform coverage of light without any dead spot. In addition, each four individual color channel is independently operable, which gives you the convenience of creating your lighting environment that suits your aesthetic choice.


Pros

  • Provides a larger touch-switch surface for stable control without any fuss.
  • Straightforward to install with expandable legs. 
  • It can provide in-depth coverage without a dark spot. 
  • Waterproof, and it is a great benefit. 
  • Operable with a mobile app. 

Cons

  • Some users complained about moisture intrusion. 
  • Only a few users complained about the app that it is not useful. 

Aquarium lovers are very concerned about decorating their aquarium perfectly so that it reflects their aesthetic choice. Nothing but lights can give a glistening effect in an aquarium.

Finnex Stingray 2 Aquarium LED Light offers many features to beautify your underwater world. As a result, it has become a popular choice among customers. This lighting unit can bring life to an otherwise dull aquarium with its tri-color combo. In addition, it can provide the perfect spectrum to encourage fish color.

You can switch the light to the moonlight option, which gives your aquarium a stunning appearance, making a mind refreshing company.
This aquarium light itself is gorgeous to look at, which adds beauty to your aquarium being almost unnoticeable from a distance. The single cast, the sleek aluminum hood is attractive and stylish.

This light features a moisture-resistant coating to prevent moisture intrusion; thus, it has a longer lifespan than other lighting types. You can use this light for planted aquariums also.

Pros

  • Moisture-resistant Conformal LED coating helps a longer lifetime of lights. 
  • The Intertek-certified power supply is safe to use.
  • LEDs are energy-efficient to save money. 
  • The sleek metallic design makes it stylish and straightforward to install.
  • You can use this light for your planted aquarium.

Cons

  • The sliding leg adjustment option is for a minimal range. 
  • Some users complained that the brightness was not as expected. 

Here is another Nicrew light! We love this brand when it comes to aquarium lights, and not unlikely that you will get your best aquarium light in this brand.

There are similarities among all models of this brand about the features they provide. With energy-efficient LEDs, it emits an optimized color spectrum, and its brightness is fully adjustable. There are many different color options, and with remote control, you can choose a color pattern that you prefer.

The structured aluminum alloy shell is good for heat dissipation. It prevents the lights from overheating, ensuring a longer lifetime of LEDs. The adjustable bracket helps straightforward installation on a wide variety of aquarium sizes.

Pros

  • Provide optimized light output for the healthy growth of fishes.
  • Easy to install on various aquarium sizes with adjustable legs.
  • The aluminum housing is perfect for heat dissipation.
  • Fully remote control color adjustment. 
  • You can use it for low-light freshwater plants also. 

Cons

  • This light is not waterproof.
  • Some users complained about the remote controller that malfunctioning. 

This one is a Beamswork LED light with popular customer reviews. If you are a beginner and not ready to invest in lights with so many features instead of a quality one, go for it.

This product can provide abundant lighting for your aquarium and a full spectrum to help fish color. At the same time, it is energy-efficient and durable. If you wish to use a timer module somewhen later, no worries, you can buy a Beamswork timer module, and your light is compatible with it. You can use a power splitter to hook up more than one light to the same power source.

The choices for an aquarium light can be overwhelming. There are so many different brands and models to choose from, but if you’re looking for something that will work well with your budget and provide the features necessary in order to avoid any problems down the line, then this option might just do it!

Pros

  • Provides good quality products at a low price.
  • Straightforward to install.
  • Available in six different sizes. 
  • It is compatible with the Beamswork Timer Module. 

Cons

  • If you want to have a planted aquarium, this light will not work. 

An underwater light can create a lighting effect that brightly illuminates your fish with the dazzling colors you choose. The MingDak submersible LED light with so many color-changing options will bring your underwater world to a whole new level.

You can install LEDs as aquarium background lights. Choose whatever colors you prefer from 16 solid colors and four various light modes. Each color is individually dimmable so that you can get different color pattern combinations. Color adjustment is super easy with a remote controller.

Suction cups will hold the light firmly with the inner surface of your aquarium. This light is a good quality submersible light with a long life span and energy-saving features.


Pros

  • Available in five different sizes. 
  • Provides an extensive array of color options. 
  • The remote control is handy and super comfortable. 
  • Suction cups mount tights and are convenient to use. 
  • Safe for underwater use. 

Cons

  • Some users complained, the brightness was not as standard as expected, and they suffered from flickering. 

This one is another submersible aquarium light (IP68 waterproof ), and it is useable both inside and outside of the water. Pretty well light for the money, with 16 different colors and four preset modes.

It is dimmable with an easily operable button. You can adjust the settings as you prefer and enjoy the leisure landscape of your fish swimming around.

NATEEL submersible LED light is an energy-efficient, reliable, and utterly safe aquarium light, as we come to know from the user’s feedback.


Pros

  • Available in four different sizes. 
  • Reasonable in price.
  • It returns to the last settings after a power outage. 
  • IP68 waterproof certified. 
  • Provides various options of colors and effects to decorate your aquarium perfectly. 

Cons

  • This light does not fit in properly other than a rectangular fish tank.  

This one is another Nicrew light! Budget-friendly and durable as like other products of this brand. If you are looking for a full spectrum light that helps fish coloration, this Nicrew LED light is an excellent option for you within a small budget.

Nicrew lights have a reputation for their durability. In this model, an improved in-line switch added another dimension to prevent damage. The extendable bracket feature is available for this model, so you can make it fit for various aquarium sizes.

The aluminum housing can optimize heat dissipation and prevent overheating; simultaneously, it is light in weight, comfortable to handle.


Pros

  • Available in four different sizes.
  • Independent control for white and color LED. 
  • Improved in-line switch reduces light burnout.
  • An extendable bracket makes it fit for different sizes. 
  • Aluminum alloy housing is lightweight and long-lasting. 

Cons

  • The light housing is not waterproof.

You can use this aquarium light for versatile purposes. It is suitable for saltwater tanks up to 30 gallons and provides enough lighting for your fish or other inhabitants. 

The manufacturer recently redesigned the holding clip in response to the customer’s feedback, and now this light fits for rim and rimless fish tanks up to 0.9 inches. The aluminum alloy shell is ultra-thin and well-structured, which optimizes heat dissipation excellently.

This light is straightforward to install. Just simply clamp the light with the tank’s rim and switch it on – that’s it. Tiy can adjust the angle of focus by gently turning the gooseneck clamp. Two lighting effects enhance the beauty of your aquarium.


Pros

  • The acrylic casing is splash-resistant.
  • The sleek and light design makes it easy to handle.
  • Widely useable for saltwater and planted aquarium.
  • Easy to install and long-lasting.  

Cons

  • Some users complained that the brightness is too high to enhance algae growth.  

I include various products in my list of the 11 Best Aquarium Lighting For Fish Color, different in size and price. Because I know different people have different needs and it is not wise to fill the list with high capacity and pricy lights only.

The JackSuper Bright Classic LED Aquarium Light is primarily for small fish tanks. This one is a decent quality product at a low price. The manufacturers claim to design this light professionally for fish, frog, turtle, cichlids, and aquarium plant cultivation. The user’s feedback supports their claim to be valid.

The high luminance LEDs provide full-spectrum white light that can render any object closest to the natural color. The aluminum alloy shell makes this light lighter than any other, allowing heat dissipation for faster cooling.

It is effortless to set up; two extendable mounting brackets allow you to adjust the length to fit your fish tank from 8.5 inches to 11.2 inches. Overall this one is a beautiful lighting unit for small aquariums.


Pros

  • Available in three different sizes. 
  • It is lighter than most other lights. 
  • Suitable for aquarium plant cultivation.
  • The adjustable bracket is useful to fix in different aquariums.  
  • Reasonable in price.

Cons

  • Many users complained about the holding screw as it is not strong enough to firmly hold the light with the tank rim. 

Finnex is a trendy brand for aquarium lights. They provide a wide variety of lighting units for various purposes. This model I am discussing is also popular, with an excellent review rating.  

According to user reviews, this Finnex light is perfect for promoting fish color. The intensity and quality of this light are excellent. The adjustable neck makes it easy to set up in different-sized aquariums.


Pros

  • Provides sufficient lighting spectrum for fish color.
  • Two lighting effects enhance the beauty of aquariums. 
  • Straightforward to set up with an adjustable neck.
  •  Provides good quality at a low price. 

Cons

  • Some users complained the mountain bracket is over large. 
  • The control box accumulates some heat output. 

How To Choose The Best Aquarium Lighting For Fish Color

It is not unlikely to get confused while pondering to choose the right aquarium light for your aquarium. Many lights are available in the market, and the vast range of variety and price will confuse anyone easily.

Available spectrum is the most crucial consideration for fish color. But all LED lights, more or less, provide an adequate spectrum for the purpose. Therefore, I will help you pick your best aquarium light only with three points.

You Aquarium Size

Aquarium size is a vital consideration as it determines the light intensity throughout the aquarium. You can understand the philosophy, as it’s effortless. The same source of light cannot brighten a 10-gallon and a 20-gallon aquarium equally. 

The larger your aquarium is, the more light it will need to meet the purpose, very simple! People use multiple lighting connected in series for huge aquariums, using features like the daisy chain.

Your Budget

You will get many aquarium lights of almost the exact specifications but with a various range of prices. Some additional features, control options, and goodwill of brands can create this differentiation in price. 

So the budget will play a significant role in your selection process but don’t worry, as the price range variation is vast, you will definitely get one within your budget. So choose one with the features you need only and don’t pay for the unnecessary songs.

Types Of Fish

Most colorful fish start getting pale in colors if you keep in darkness. Because vitamin D is necessary for fish coloration, they get it from light. Therefore, if you keep sensitive fish like goldfish or betta in the aquarium, it is mandatory to maintain shiny lighting to promote their bright color.

Saltwater fish are more sensitive to color, but saltwater aquariums need special lighting that I covered in a different article. 

Why Do Fish Change Color

Fish change colors depending on their mood or environmental conditions. For example, it’s not uncommon for fish in low-light or darker environments to exhibit a more subdued coloration as they try and blend into the shadows of their surroundings. In contrast, those living in brighter areas often use vibrant shades as signals that things are going well with them at this time (peak health).

Fish have a fantastic ability to communicate with one another through color change. If something changes the way it looks, all of these fish know what’s wrong exactly and will warn their friends about danger quickly! However, fish change color for mating purposes also.

Some fish also change color to communicate their social status. Weaker, less dominant fish will usually have a coloration that seems more washed out in most cases. It signals to other members of its school hierarchy position in the pecking order. And it tells dominant groups not to get picked on or bullied by others as much, either!

Why Do Fish Lose Their Color

The changeable water quality of an aquarium is one plausible reason for color alterations in fish. In addition, the paler appearance can indicate a weakened immune system and stress or illness.

Wrapping Up

Right aquarium light spectrum can encourage the coloration of colorful fish, simultaneously brightening their appearances. You need to be picky to get the right one.

Hopefully, my review article will somewhat guide you in the buying process. If you have any comments or other sharing, please put them in the below comment box.

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