Best Fish Tank Lights For Cichlids | Ultimate Guide

Best Fish Tank Lights For Cichlids

Cichlids have evolved to flourish in the murky, gloomy environments found in some of the world’s deepest lakes, where algae, rocks, and plants coexist. Likewise, your cichlids will reach their maximum physical and mental potential if the lighting in your tank mimics these circumstances.

So what kind of illumination is best for cichlid tanks: fluorescent, LED, or Halide? We’ve put together a comprehensive buyer’s guide with our top seven selections to help you out.

In our opinion, LED lights are the best for Cichlid tanks, and we’ll explain why in this article. We’ll also take a look at the various lighting options and run through reviews of our top seven Best Fish Tank Lights For Cichlids.

Do Cichlids Need Light?

Cichlids usually don’t need any special lighting to see, especially when it comes to viewing food. They can get by just fine with the ambient light in a room.

While this is true, a light is always a good idea in a fish tank. For example, when it comes to Cichlids, the appropriate lighting can really bring out their vibrant colors and patterns.

In addition, if you have plants in the tank, you will need a light to keep them healthy.

Benefits Of Proper Lighting In Cichlid Tanks

Lighting your cichlid tank adequately will enhance the fish’s color and encourage plant development. Plant growth is the most critical of these factors. They not only provide fish with nutrients, but they also make oxygen that they need to survive in the water by using nitrate that would otherwise be toxic to cichlids.

Cichlids can grow to their full potential if kept in an environment similar to their natural habitat, both physically and mentally.

Risks Associated With Improper Lighting

Your cichlids will suffer significantly if you don’t provide adequate lighting in their aquarium. Your unhappy cichlids will become more aggressive and despondent in this setting, making them more susceptible to illness. In addition, their health will be at risk due to a rapidly deteriorating plant wellness.

Improper Lighting Risk In Cichlid Tanks

There are two ways to tell if the lighting in your aquarium needs to be adjusted. First, if the fish’s coloration becomes too light, you may need to dim the lights. As a second consideration, if the tank is getting too dark because of excessive algae growth, you may need to leave your lights off for more extended periods.

Review Of Best Fish Tank Lights For Cichlids

Current USA Satellite LED Aquarium Light

If you’re looking for a sleek and stylish LED light for your freshwater aquarium, you’ll love the Current USA Satellite LED Aquarium Light. This light comes in various sizes to fit most tanks, and it’s easy to install with the sliding dock leg installation method. 

Cichlid aquariums, for example, benefit greatly from the use of this light. The LED light from the Current USA is available in lengths ranging from 18 to 60 inches. And you can be certain that your light will be protected from moisture, thanks to the waterproof design.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light for...
1,058 Reviews
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light for...
  • SUPER BRIGHT- 6500k White LEDs and rich 445Nm Blue LED's come together in an amazingly sleek Fixture that's dialed in...
  • MULTIPLE MODES- With modes that dim periodically to create cloud cover effects, storm modes that will blow you away...
  • EASY INSTALLATION- Sliding docking legs allow quick and easy adjustments for a wide variety of installations. This...
  • REALISTIC EFFECTS- Beyond the world of white and blue light, the Satellite LED also features effects that mimic...
  • 30 DAY GUARANTEE-We are so sure you’ll be happy with your purchase that we offer a “30-Day Money-Back Guarantee”...

Your fish will be in awe of this light’s beautiful white and deep blue hues, which create an underwater paradise. Also, plants thrive in this climate!

The LED light’s ability to simulate the aquatic environment of cichlids is pretty interesting. Sunlight, gloomy days, moon phases, fading effects, twilight mode, and even lightning storms are available.

So whether you want a real underwater experience or just a fantastic aquarium to look at, the Current USA Satellite LED Aquarium Light is perfect for you.

Pros
  • Low consumption of electricity.
  • A protective covering that is impermeable to water.
  • Intense blues and whites.
  • Fish and plants will do OK.
  • Suitable for use in freshwater tanks.
  • Numerous options for changing the color and intensity of the light.
Cons
  • It’s not easy to find replacement parts.
  • The power output isn’t overpowering – it’s not too bright either.

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light

The NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light is available in various sizes to fit any aquarium and features two light modes – one for daytime and one for the night. 

The metal brackets used for mounting are sturdy and adjustable, ensuring a perfect fit. The extendable mounting brackets make it easy to install on various aquariums, and the light is compatible with Nicrew Single Channel Timer or Single Channel Timer Pro (Each sold separately).

NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light...
16,389 Reviews
NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light, Fish Tank Light...
  • ClassicLED pairs super bright 6500K white LEDs with rich 450nm blue LEDs for various color blends, perfect for beginners...
  • White and blue LEDs can be operated together or independently for different color-temperature settings (6500K - 20000K)
  • Especially designed for freshwater fish-only tanks or low light level plants like Java Moss, Java ferns, banana plants,...
  • Allow to easy install on a variety of aquarium with extendable mounting brackets
  • The ClassicLED is compatible with Nicrew Single Channel Timer or Single Channel Timer Pro (Each sold separately) which...

This energy-efficient LED light produces vibrant shades of blue and white, making your fish and plants POP. Plus, at just 13 ounces, it’s easy to install and transport. In addition, the blue LED lights create a beautiful underwater effect that will impress all. 

This light is perfect for freshwater fish-only tanks or low-light levels plants like Java Moss, Java ferns, banana plants, Anubia, Hornwort, and Anacharis. 

Pros
  • Low consumption of electricity.
  • A light fixture that weighs little.
  • A good choice for cichlid aquariums.
  • The ability to switch between night and day modes.
  • There is a wide range of sizes to pick from.
Cons
  • For tanks with a lot of plants, this isn’t ideal.

AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light

Looking for an aquarium light that is both bright and stylish? Look no further than the AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light! This powerful light is perfect for larger fish tanks and features two modes (on/off) for easy use.

If you’re looking for an aquarium light that won’t break the bank and uses very little energy, the AQUANEAT LED aquarium light is a great option! This extremely lightweight and thin light comes with legs for easy mounting and is a great choice for looking to save on energy costs.

AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum for 30...
1,446 Reviews
AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light Full Spectrum for 30...
  • Fits aquarium tank from 30" to 38" in length with adjustable mounting brackets
  • Light body without docking brackets: 27.7” L x 2.7” W. Tank thickness: No limit to rim size
  • Configuration: Total 72 LEDs, 52 pcs 6500K white LED, 10 pcs blue LED,5 pcs pink LED, 5 pcs Green LED
  • MODE: all lights on and all lights off
  • Super bright and energy efficient LEDs, suitable for all freshwater. NOTE: KEEP THE LIGHT AWAY FROM THE SPLASHING...

But the best part of this light is its stylish full-spectrum design, which includes white, blue, pink, and green lights. So whether you’re looking to add a touch of color to your aquarium or simply want a brighter light, the AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light is excellent.

AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Light is the perfect way to make your freshwater tank look its best. This light comes in various sizes, ideal for any aquarium, large or small. And the AQUANEAT LED light is excellent for both fish-only tanks and planted tanks.

 However, keep in mind that this light is not waterproof and may not be as durable as some other options on the market.

Pros
  • Lights up the entire spectrum.
  • Suitable for both fish and plants.
  • There are many sizes available.
  • It uses very little power.
  • Weight and sturdiness.
  • The fixture is simple to put up and takedown.
Cons
  • It can only be turned on or off.
  • Insufficiently resistant to water.

KZKR Aquarium Hood LED Light

The KZKR Aquarium Light is perfect for providing your fish and plants with the light they need to thrive. You can customize the light to fit your needs with three different control settings. 

High-quality LEDs are designed to last longer and use less energy. In addition, the aluminum casing ensures that the light stays cool and has a long lifespan.

KZKR Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light...
958 Reviews
KZKR Aquarium Light Full Spectrum Fish Tank Light...
  • Full spectrum LEDs aquarium light, bring more natural light to your fish and plant. 3 optional control modes: All LEDs...
  • Super bright 5730SMD. High-quality LEDs for low energy dissipation. Aluminum case for faster cooling to keep long...
  • Suitable Tank Length: 60cm/ 24inch- 80cm/ 32inch. With extendable bracket to fits your tank. Lumen: 2730. Power: 23.5-...
  • This light is not waterproof, please don't put it into the water.
  • Package include: 1x LED Aquarium Light, 2x Extendable Brackets, 1 x Power Supply. We will check the packaging carefully...

Available in blue and white, this light is ideal for freshwater fish tanks without too many plants. Whether you have a small tank or a large one, this light will fit perfectly and provide just the proper lighting. Plus, it’s easy to install and comes with everything you need for a quick and easy setup.

This aquarium light is thin, durable, and lightweight, perfect for any fish tank. The light is also extendable, so you can customize the look of your aquarium. The KZKR Aquarium Light is also high efficiency, meaning it uses less energy and emits less heat.

Pros
  • Several sizes to choose from.
  • Full-spectrum and blue/white light is available.
  • The mounting of this light is a breeze.
  • It requires very little energy.
  • There are several different lighting settings.
  • This light is quite long-lasting.
Cons
  • This light is not waterproof.

Aqueon Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light

Check out the Aqueon Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light! This 36-inch light is perfect for most aquariums and comes with a regular white fluorescent bulb. 

You can also replace the bulb with a compatible bulb of your choosing, making this light extremely versatile. The Aqueon Aquarium Strip Light is perfect for replacing a whole hood or just for adding extra light to your cichlid aquarium.  

Aqueon Aquarium AAG25936 Fluorescent Strip Light,...
367 Reviews
Aqueon Aquarium AAG25936 Fluorescent Strip Light,...
  • Aqueon Strip-Lights are used with Versa-Tops for proper aquarium lighting
  • These are exact strip-light replacements for Full Hoods
  • 36-Inch Black

This powerful light comes with an entire spectrum bulb, perfect for any aquatic environment. The one-button design makes it easy to use, even for those with little experience keeping fish.

This strip light is durable and long-lasting, making it the perfect choice for any fish tank.

Pros
  • It’s a dependable name.
  • It’s effortless to put up.
  • A fish-friendly, bright white light bulb.
  • Adding it to fish tanks brightens their hues.
  • A suitable bulb can be used to replace the original.
Cons
  • This isn’t the brightest source of illumination.

All Glass Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light

The All Glass Aquarium Fluorescent Strip Light is perfect for lighting up your freshwater fish tank. The included white fluorescent bulb emits a bright, natural light that is perfect for displaying your fish in all their glory. 

The light fixture is also compatible with other bulbs, so you can customize it to create the ideal environment for your cichlids.

This beautiful and durable light hood is perfect for any ceiling, and it comes complete with everything you need to get it up and running. 

All Glass Aquarium AAG25916 Fluorescent Strip...
199 Reviews
All Glass Aquarium AAG25916 Fluorescent Strip...
  • All-Glass Strip-Lights are used with Versa-Tops for proper aquarium lighting
  • These are exact strip-light replacements for Full Hoods
  • 16-Inch Black
  • All-Glass Strip-Lights are used with Versa-Tops for proper aquarium lighting
  • These are exact strip-light replacements for Full Hoods

The high-quality materials and workmanship make this one of the most stylish and long-lasting lights on the market, while the built-in heat absorption system keeps your home cool and comfortable. 

This affordable and easy-to-install light fixture comes with a full-scale reflective hood to increase light intensity and reflectivity. Plus, the strip light emits a bright, natural-looking light that is perfect for bringing out the vibrant colors of your fish.

Pros
  • Excellent for bringing out the vibrant colors in your aquarium.
  • A good hood for boosting light output.
  • The hood helps to keep heat in.
  • The hood has a long lifespan.
  • There are numerous bulbs to choose from.
Cons
  • Mounting can be difficult.

MingDak LED Aquarium Light

Looking for an LED light that will make your freshwater Cichlid tank pop? Look no further than the MingDak LED Aquarium Light. This full-spectrum light produces white, red, and blue light, perfect for bringing out the colors of your Cichlids and promoting plant growth. 

MingDak LED Aquarium Light is perfect for your fishy friends! This light comes with a brightness adjuster and time settings, so you can customize the light to your specific needs. With three different modes, this aquarium light will ensure that your cichlids feel right at home.

Mingdak LED Aquarium Fish Tank Light Fixture,Full...
2,397 Reviews
Mingdak LED Aquarium Fish Tank Light Fixture,Full...
  • FULL SPECTRUM: The 6500K natural light with the dedicated white, blue and red diodes has just the wavelengths which are...
  • BRIGHTER & MORE ENERGY EFFICIENT:With more leds , higher lumens stronger illuminance,but lower energy consumption,this...
  • BRIGHTNESS ADJUST & TIME SETTING: This led aquarium light with an external multi-function controller which can be adjust...
  • 3 LIGHT MODES: Two daylight modes: white+Blue+red LEDS on and white+red LEDS on; one night light mode: only blue LEDS...
  • BEAUTIFUL & FUNCTIONAL:Aluminum housing which is slim and sturdy;Adjustable mounting legs can expand from 30 inch to 36...

This affordable, easy-to-install light is perfect for both freshwater and saltwater tanks! Plus, with low energy usage and a long lifespan, you can keep your tank looking great for years to come.

Whether you’re looking to add a little bit of color to your tank or you’re interested in creating a lush, green environment for your fish, the MingDak LED Aquarium Light is a perfect choice.

It comes in various sizes (12 to 18 inches, 18 to 24 inches, 30 to 36 inches, and 48 to 54 inches), so you can find one right for your aquarium. And it’s super easy to install, so you can get it up and running in no time.

Pros
  • Thin and lightweight.
  • It’s straightforward to put up.
  • Legs that can be adjusted.
  • There are a lot of colors here.
  • It consumes less electricity than the other alternatives.
  • Both fish and plants will benefit from it.
  • Suitable for both saltwater and freshwater.
Cons
  • The house is not water-resistant.

What Type Of Lighting Is Best For Cichlids

Cichlid tank lighting is all about deciding whether you want to provide natural lighting or the best aquarium lighting for highlighting colors.

Cichlid fish can be found in the darker waters of lower lake bottoms in their natural habitat. Therefore, the lighting used to accentuate the colors of cichlids will be distinct from their natural environment.

There are four primary options for aquarium lighting – fluorescent, compact fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity metal halide lighting.

LED Lights

With LED lights, you don’t have to spend a lot of money buying or operating them. In addition, they don’t emit a lot of heat (which is perfect for Cichlids because Cichlids are tropical fish) and come in a wide variety of sizes and color spectrums.

LED Light In Cichlid Tanks

LED lights use significantly less energy to provide the same amount of light as other types of aquarium lighting is a significant factor in why so many people opt for them. These can be used in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums.

But if you have a tank with many plants, you need to pay attention to the PAR value, which measures the amount of light radiation and the color spectrum of the light.

Metal Halide Lights (High Intensity)

High-intensity metal halide lights for aquariums are large, strong, expensive, and consume a lot of energy.

Metal Halide Lights In Cichlid Tanks

Advanced aquarium hobbyists may want to check out these. These bulbs’ light and color output are excellent for extensive cichlid aquarium use. Because these bulbs are extremely powerful, making them ideal for enormous and deep aquariums, requiring a lot of light.

Unlike other lights, which may not be able to reach the depths required for extra-large fish tanks, these lights can.

Fluorescent Lights

Fluorescent lights are a popular choice for many individuals. These perform nicely in fish-only aquariums or aquariums with only a few low-demand plants.

These are often low-maintenance, affordable, and don’t produce much heat. As a result, freshwater and saltwater tanks both benefit from their use.

Fluorescent Lights In Cichlid Tanks

Fluorescent lights are great because they can be utilized with various bulbs, each serving a unique purpose.

  • Full-spectrum bulbs emit light at all wavelengths, simulating sunlight. These are perfect for saltwater aquariums & low-demand freshwater alike.
  • 50/50 lights emit a white-blue light combination. These are great for re-creating marine light and promoting coral growth.
  • Light from color boosting lamps is warmer. For fish-only and saltwater aquariums, truly help the fish colors pop.
  • Actinic lights emit a lot of blue. These are great for re-creating deep-water marine light conditions and promoting coral growth.
  • Plant bulbs shine blue and crimson. Perfect for planted aquariums.
  • High-intensity bulbs produce a cold white light excellent for replicating deep-sea conditions.

Compact Fluorescent Lights

The small fluorescent aquarium light is another form of fluorescent light to keep in mind. Rather than a single bulb, these typically use two or four tubular lamps, which generate more illumination. So these are more powerful and smaller than standard fluorescent lights.

compact fluorescent light in cichlid aquarium

They produce a little more heat than standard fluorescent lights, but not much. In addition, using a single compact fluorescent bulb instead of two regular fluorescents saves money.

Final Verdict

The Current USA Satellite LED Light for Aquarium is the most excellent option for cichlid illumination among the items we’ve examined so far.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light for...
1,058 Reviews
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light for...
  • SUPER BRIGHT- 6500k White LEDs and rich 445Nm Blue LED's come together in an amazingly sleek Fixture that's dialed in...
  • MULTIPLE MODES- With modes that dim periodically to create cloud cover effects, storm modes that will blow you away...
  • EASY INSTALLATION- Sliding docking legs allow quick and easy adjustments for a wide variety of installations. This...
  • REALISTIC EFFECTS- Beyond the world of white and blue light, the Satellite LED also features effects that mimic...
  • 30 DAY GUARANTEE-We are so sure you’ll be happy with your purchase that we offer a “30-Day Money-Back Guarantee”...

Its size permits a single light to cover tank sizes most first-time cichlid keepers will utilize while allowing easy expansion for several lights on more giant tanks. In addition, to provide the most pleasing viewing and color enhancement possible, the bright white lighting is combined with RGB lights.

However, we discussed all of the different types of aquarium lights at the outset, and you could use them for Cichlid tanks in some form.

Cichlids love a little light, but they aren’t finicky about how much light they get.

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