Planted Aquarium Lights: The Best of the Best

While keeping reef tanks has long been our specialty, we have had some great experience in the creation of thousands of our customers’ freshwater planted aquariums. With the countless aquascaping options that these aquariums present, picking a light fixture that is visually pleasing, grows the variety of plants you are looking to keep while also effectively lighting every corner of the aquarium can sometimes be difficult. We have developed this comprehensive list to give our recommendations on some of the best planted aquarium lights on a budget and for a nano tank. We also discuss the ideal choice for a high-light requiring planted tank and, we present our opinion on the perfect choice for the tech enthusiast. 

Best Planted Aquarium Light on a Budget: Lifegard Aquatics Full Spectrum High Output LED Light Fixture

Lifegard Aquatics Full Spectrum Fixture Powered On.

This light offering from Lifegard Aquatics is just what you’re looking for if you’re hunting down an easy to use and durable strip light that can sustain your low maintenance planted aquarium. This fixture comes in four different sizes and is cool running as well as energy efficient. The 9000K color temperature will give your plants the light and spectrum they need to thrive. A moonlight feature is also included which is a nice touch at this price point. This feature can give your plants a nice lighting break while still being able to make out your tank inhabitants. 

Best Planted Aquarium Light for a Nano Tank: Kessil A80 Controllable LED Aquarium Light- Tuna Sun

Kessil A80 Fixture

The A80 fixture is a compact, well designed, and budget friendly option coming from one of the most reputable and popular lighting brands, Kessil. You get the same excellent controllability and shimmer you have come to expect from Kessil’s other offerings in a smaller, more compact footprint. This particular fixture can accommodate planted aquariums up to a sixteen inch cube. Two knobs on the top of the fixture allow you to dial in the proper spectrum and intensity that you are looking to achieve. It is also possible to use multiple fixtures to allow for the coverage of a larger system. The controllability, build quality, and compact footprint make the Kessil A80- Tuna Sun our choice for one of the best planted aquarium lights for a nano tank. 

The Best Choice for High Light Requiring Plants: Kessil A360X Controllable LED Aquarium Light- Tuna Sun

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Kessil A360X Fixture.

The Kessil A360X Tuna Sun is an excellent selection for those who really want to dive in and grow some of those plant species that need a high level of light. Similarly to the A80, this fixture has excellent shimmer and can have even more advanced controllability options when paired with Kessil’s wifi dongle. The dongle allows for the creation of a customized light schedule. The spread and coverage provided by this fixture is over double the amount you can expect from the A80 which makes it a great choice for any planted tank in the medium to large size range. The innovative heat sink on this fixture allows for a surprising amount of light output for such a small LED which in turn can allow for your high-light needing plants to thrive.  

Best Planted Aquarium Light for the Tech Enthusiast: Aqua Illumination Prime 16 Freshwater Gen 2 LED Light Fixture

AI Prime 16 Fixture.

For the planted tank aquarium keeper who wants to be able to control every aspect of the lighting on their system, the Aqua Illumination Prime 16 Freshwater LED is the ideal choice. Like their Prime reef cousins, the freshwater version of the AI Prime can be controlled via the MyAI Smartphone application. On the app you can independently control each of the colors and intensities in order to create your own custom spectrum and schedule. The coverage on this fixture will be slightly larger than the Kessil A80 as it can cover around a twenty inch cube aquarium. For the amount of controllability and customization provided by this fixture, it is our choice for one of the best planted Aquarium lights for the tech enthusiast. 

Lighting a Spectacular Planted Aquarium:

Even though planted aquariums may not get the same shine as some reef tanks, they can be just as stunning with the proper aquascaping, products, and husbandry. Selecting the proper light option for the species you are looking to keep is critical and, we hope this list can give you some ideas as to the many different offerings on the market. In addition to these great choices, we do offer a plethora of other lights that may fit what you are looking for. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer care team with any questions or if you are looking for a personal recommendation. 

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