Blue LED Light Panel

Best 30-inch Aquarium Light/36-inch LED Aquarium Light

Using an aquarium light can be extremely beneficial for your tank’s inhabitants, particularly if you own live plants. Lights improve the visibility of your tank, boost the color of your fish, and help your plants survive.

There are so many different types of aquarium lights available, so finding a suitable choice for your tank can be a bit overwhelming. To help you find the best 30-inch and 36-inch LED aquarium light, I’ve reviewed an assortment of lamps that are ideal for most standard setups.

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Review Summary

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Best All-Rounder

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light

Good-quality and not too expensive. It comes with adjustable mounting brackets that can expand from 30 inches to 36 inches.

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light

This aquarium light is my overall recommendation for most tanks.

This aquarium light from MingDak is a great choice for fish-only and planted setups. It’s affordable, powerful, and comes with mounting brackets that can extend to 36 inches. It also includes daytime and night-time light modes.

Best on a Budget

Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W Marine FOWLR White Blue LEDs

It’s compact, slim, and has a sleek black finish. The fixture consists of 10,000K (kelvins) cool white and 460nm (nanometers) Actinic Blue LEDs.

Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W Marine FOWLR White Blue LEDs

Out of all the products I’ve reviewed, this one is the most affordable option.

If you’re looking for an inexpensive lamp for your tank, the Aquaneat aquarium light is an ideal selection. It’s adequate for planted and fish-only tanks. Mounting brackets that extend from 30 inches to 38 inches are included with the unit.

Editor’s Choice

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light For Aquarium

This aquarium light from Current USA can produce 1000 lumens, making it an excellent choice for fish-only and undemanding planted aquariums.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light For Aquarium

My personal favorite choice. This aquarium light has a lot of features but is a little costlier than the other lamps.

The amount of lighting modes the Current USA LED aquarium light comes with is impressive. Some of these settings include a storm mode and dimming effects. 

You get mounting brackets with the lamp that can extend up to 36 inches. This light is best used for low-light plants and fish-only setups.

How to Choose the Best Aquarium Light

There are a lot of factors to consider before choosing an aquarium light. These include your specific setup, budget, and the overall look you’re going for.

In fish-only tanks, a basic light system that simply enhances the color of your tank’s inhabitants is perfectly adequate. However, in marine reef and planted setups, a powerful light source is necessary.

School of Fish Inside Aquarium

Types of Aquarium Lights

Fluorescent lights are typically low in price, so they’re an ideal option if you’re on a budget. LEDs and metal halide lights can be pricey, but they are more durable and long-lasting.

If you prefer your tank to look natural, then an aquarium light that has different illumination settings is a good choice. These settings usually include sunlight and moonlight modes to replicate a more realistic habitat for your fish. 

TIP

Some units also allow you to control the brightness of the lamp, which is ideal for certain setups or species, such as nocturnal inhabitants and blackwater tanks.

What Are the Benefits of Using an Aquarium Light?

Using an aquarium light in your tank is extremely advantageous for your fish. If you have live plants, some form of lighting is necessary for their survival.

An aquarium light helps your fish see their environment more clearly, as well as food and other inhabitants. In turn, an illuminated aquarium allows you to see your fish better, both for your viewing pleasure and for spotting anything amiss.

Aquarists often use day and night lights/moonlights to provide a more natural habitat for their tank’s inhabitants.

A well-lit tank also deepens and enhances the colors of your fish, as well as the tank itself…

A well-lit tank also deepens and enhances the colors of your fish, as well as the tank itself. If you have live plants in your aquarium, then a light source is vital. Plants rely on light for photosynthesis and producing their own food. 

Certain plants require a lot of light to thrive, whereas others do well in low-light setups. Make sure you use the correct type of lighting for your plants to ensure their growth and survival. 

Types of Aquarium Lights

Violet LED Light Strip
Violet LED Light Strip

LED Lighting

LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting is a common choice for many aquarists due to its many benefits. LED lights produce a penetrating light that has a consistent color spectrum for the duration of their lifespan. Unlike fluorescent lights, LEDs don’t need to be replaced as frequently for this reason.

LED lights are small in size and are widely available for any type of aquarium. They come in a variety of designs, such as clip-on units for tiny tanks, slimline strips, and even spotlights that go inside your aquarium. LEDs also come in an array of different colors to fit a range of setups, such as planted and marine reef tanks.

Another great feature about LEDs is that they do not create heat…

Another great feature about LEDs is that they do not create heat, so you don’t need to worry about the temperature of your tank rising from using them. 

The only downside with LEDs is that they are typically more expensive than fluorescent lights. However, their operating costs are cheaper long-term, and they do not need to be replaced very often. 

Three Flourescent Light Tubes
Three Flourescent Light Tubes

Fluorescent Lighting

Fluorescent lights come in long T8 or T5 tubes. The T8 style is larger than the T5 style. Fluorescent lights go inside the hood of your tank and are available in many different lengths.

Using a reflector is common with this type of aquarium lighting to spread more light into the tank…

Using a reflector is common with this type of aquarium lighting to spread more light into the tank. Fluorescent lights come in a wide range of wavelengths, such as red/warm bulbs, blue (marine) bulbs, and daylight simulation bulbs. Depending on the type of setup you have, some bulbs are more beneficial.

T5 bulbs are generally better than T8 bulbs as they are smaller, brighter, and have a longer lifespan. The biggest advantage of fluorescent lights is that they are far cheaper than other types of aquarium lights.

Unfortunately, fluorescent lights create heat, so fishkeepers often use a chiller to keep the temperature of their tank stable. The bulbs also need replacing quite often as the color spectrum they deliver isn’t consistent in the long run. In general, fluorescent lights don’t last as long as other lighting types, such as LEDs.

Metal Halide Lighting

Metal halide lamps create a powerful light source that replicates natural sunlight. This is why they work well in marine reef and freshwater planted aquariums. 

The bulb contains a combination of mercury vapor and metal halides (compounds of metals with iodine or bromine). This type of lighting lasts a fairly long time and has low operating costs. 

Unfortunately, the initial expense of the unit can be pricey. Metal halide lights also produce a hefty amount of heat, so using a chiller is a good idea to prevent your aquarium from overheating.

School of Fish in An Aquarium Swimming Near Rocks
School of Fish in An Aquarium Swimming Near Rocks

How Much Light is Enough for My Tank?

For fish-only setups, around 1 to 2 watts per gallon is plenty of light. Planted aquariums typically require 2 to 5 watts per gallon, and marine reef setups need around 4 to 8 watts per gallon.

However, LED lights and metal halide lights function a little differently than fluorescent lights as they are more energy efficient. It’s best to look at the number of lumens per liter the lamp produces. This tells you the light output of the unit rather than the amount of energy it gives off.

Most plants require around 10 lumens per liter, but some types could need more…

Most plants require around 10 lumens per liter, but some types could need more. Plants that need a lot of light to thrive might require up to 40 lumens per liter. 

For example, if you own a 10-gallon (37.85 liters) tank filled with plants that require a lot of light, then a lamp that can produce around 1500 lumens should be enough.

30-inch Aquarium Light/36-inch LED Aquarium Light Reviews

Top Pick

Best All-Rounder

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light

Good-quality and not too expensive. It comes with adjustable mounting brackets that can expand from 30 inches to 36 inches.

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light

This LED aquarium light from MingDak is my overall recommendation for most tanks as it’s good-quality and not too expensive. It comes with adjustable mounting brackets that can expand from 30 inches to 36 inches.

This LED aquarium light from MingDak is my overall recommendation for most tanks as it’s good-quality and not too expensive…

The only issue with the mounting brackets are their flimsiness, which can cause the lamp to be knocked out of place fairly easily.

The lamp consists of 42 LEDs with a combination of blue, red, and white bulbs. This lamp produces 1600 lumens (17 watts), so it’s a good option for fish-only and planted aquariums. The bulbs are very vivid and typically retain their level of brightness for quite some time.

Daylight and Night-time Mode

My favorite feature about this aquarium light is that it comes with a daylight and night-time mode. The daylight setting creates a shimmering aura that replicates the underwater effect of sunlight. In contrast, the night-time setting produces a cool, dim atmosphere for your tank.

The design of this LED light is slim and lightweight. It features an aluminium alloy shell that increases the lifespan of the LED bulbs and reduces heat. There’s also a two-level switch that has been refined to limit damage and moisture. 

Pros

  • Very bright
  • Slim, durable, and lightweight design
  • Daylight and night-time modes
  • Adjustable mounting brackets

Cons

  • Mounting brackets are a little flimsy

Best on a Budget

Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W Marine FOWLR White Blue LEDs

It’s compact, slim, and has a sleek black finish. The fixture consists of 10,000K (kelvins) cool white and 460nm (nanometers) Actinic Blue LEDs.

Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W Marine FOWLR White Blue LEDs

The Aquaneat aquarium light is an affordable option for your tank. It comes with adjustable mounting brackets that can be adjusted from 30 inches to 38 inches. I like that the mounting brackets are adjustable, but they are a little flimsy.

The light contains 36 LED bulbs which are bright and energy efficient. The wattage of this lamp is 0.50 per bulb (18 watts overall). It produces a total of 2160 lumens. This is suitable for fish-only and planted aquariums.

I really like the simple design of this aquarium light. It’s compact, slim, and has a sleek black finish…

I really like the simple design of this aquarium light. It’s compact, slim, and has a sleek black finish. The fixture consists of 10,000K (kelvins) cool white and 460nm (nanometers) Actinic Blue LEDs. For the most part, these bulbs work fairly well, but are not as long-lasting as some other LED aquarium lights.

Unfortunately, there are only two modes for the lamps. These modes let you flick between keeping all the lights on or all the lights off. This means you can’t adjust the brightness of the lamp or choose between other settings, such as a night mode. 

NOTE

The switch for the lamp can be a bit stiff to press and is positioned very close to the plug. This is a bit of an inconvenience but isn’t a huge issue. 

The biggest downside with this aquarium light is that it’s not water-resistant, so it’s vital that no water hits the fixture. A splash guard is included with the unit, but this doesn’t eliminate the risk of the lamp getting wet entirely.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 27.75” x 2.7” x 0.4” (without bracket)
  • Weight: 1.3 lbs (with packaging)
  • Power: 18w
  • Lumens: 2160lm

Pros

  • Comes with adjustable mounting brackets
  • Compact and attractive design
  • Good value

Cons

  • Not water-resistant (can break easily)
  • Mounting bracket is a little flimsy
  • Odd switch placement and only 2 light modes

Editor’s Choice

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light For Aquarium

This aquarium light from Current USA can produce 1000 lumens, making it an excellent choice for fish-only and undemanding planted aquariums.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light For Aquarium

This aquarium light from Current USA can produce 1000 lumens, making it an excellent choice for fish-only and undemanding planted aquariums. It’s my favorite lamp out of all the ones I’ve reviewed as it comes with a lot of features. 

The lamp contains bright 6500K white LEDs and full-spectrum RGB LEDs that are fitted in a sleek fixture. It comes with adjustable mounting legs that can extend up to 36 inches.

The most impressive aspect of this lamp is the huge number of lighting modes it comes with…

The most impressive aspect of this lamp is the huge number of lighting modes it comes with. All of these settings can be accessed via the 32-key wireless remote. There are daylight and night-time modes, as well as dimming effects, storm settings (which include lightning strikes!), and even custom color blends. 

Unfortunately, the unit does not have a long lifespan and can break fairly easily. The mounting brackets that come with the lamp are quite flimsy and poor-quality, especially when you factor in the overall price of the light.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 22.8” x 3.5” x 0.44” (without mounting brackets)
  • Weight: 1 lbs
  • Power: 18 w
  • Lumens: 1000 lm

Pros

  • Comes with adjustable mounting brackets
  • Huge number of lighting modes
  • Includes a wireless remote to access lighting modes

Cons

  • Short lifespan
  • Mounting brackets are a little flimsy

Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

The lamp features white, red, and blue LEDs. You get a remote with this unit that allows you to access different color and lighting modes. There is also a timer so you can set the brightness lighting time to 3, 6, or 12 hours.

Hygger Full Spectrum Aquarium Light

Hygger’s LED aquarium light produces 1,234 lumens, so it’s suitable for planted and fish-only aquariums. With the unit, you get a couple of mounting brackets that can be extended from 30 inches to 36 inches.

Hygger’s LED aquarium light produces 1,234 lumens, so it’s suitable for planted and fish-only aquariums…

One of these mounting brackets is made from metal which is durable and helps heat dissipate, the other is made from plastic. Overall, I think the design of the Hyyger aquarium light looks great.

The lamp features white, red, and blue LEDs. You get a remote with this unit that allows you to access different color and lighting modes. There is also a timer so you can set the brightness lighting time to 3, 6, or 12 hours. 

No Off Switch

Strangely, this time there isn’t an on and off switch. Instead, it dims the lights (on the lowest mode) for the desired time and then increases the brightness on them. 

I like that the brightness of the lamp can be changed. There are 5 levels of brightness you can choose from, which is handy for tanks that require low lighting. 

This aquarium light is relatively water-resistant and uses waterproof glue and acrylic baffle. It’s not submersible but shouldn’t become damaged if it accidentally falls into your tank.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 28.5” x 3.2” x 2.4”
  • Weight: 1.8 lbs (with packaging)
  • Power: 20 w
  • Lumens: 1,234 lm

Pros

  • Comes with adjustable mounting brackets
  • Various lighting options that can be accessed via remote
  • Relatively water-resistant

Cons

  • The timer only acts as a dimmer not an on/off switch

NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light

Capable of producing 920 lumens, the NICREW Classic LED aquarium lamp is a good choice for fish-only aquariums.

NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light

Capable of producing 920 lumens, the NICREW Classic LED aquarium lamp is a good choice for fish-only aquariums. Unfortunately, it is not powerful enough for most planted tanks.

The lamp consists of light and blue LED bulbs that make up 18 watts in total. It includes adjustable mounting legs that can extend from 30 inches to 36 inches.

I like the slim and compact design of this aquarium light. It really looks great with any tank!

You get two light modes with this lamp: a daytime setting and a night-time setting. When the daytime mode is switched, only the white bulbs are activated. During the night-time mode, just the blue bulbs are activated. 

An unfortunate flaw with this aquarium light are the poorly-made adjustable mounting legs it comes with. The brackets don’t appear to fit the light unit properly, which often results in them working loose. This happens frequently during removal of the hood of the tank.

You don’t get any type of housing or a splash guard with the NICREW Classic LED light, so you’ll need to be very careful to ensure no water hits it.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 28” x 1.4” x 4.8” (without mounting brackets)
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs (with packaging)
  • Power: 18 w
  • Lumens: 920 lm

Pros

  • Includes adjustable mounting legs
  • Night-time and daytime light modes
  • Compact and sleek design

Cons

  • Adjustable mounting legs aren’t very high-quality
  • Doesn’t include a splash guard

After considering all the options our top picks were…

Best All-Rounder

Overall, I think the best 30-inch and 36-inch LED aquarium light is the MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light. It’s not too expensive and is suitable for fish-only tanks and most planted setups.

It comes with adjustable mounting brackets that can extend up to 36 inches, so it can fit a variety of different sized aquariums. The bulbs are bright and tend to retain their vibrancy levels quite well.

A great feature with this aquarium light is that it includes daytime and night-time modes. This helps replicate sunlight and moonlight for your fish, and also increases the beauty of your aquarium. The only downside with the lamp are its fairly short lifespan and flimsy mounting brackets.

Best on a Budget

If you’re on a tighter budget, then I recommend the Aquaneat Aquarium Light 0.5W Marine FOWLR White Blue LEDs. It’s very affordable and is a good option for most tanks, even planted ones.

It features a compact design and adjustable mounting legs that can be extended to 38 inches. However, the unit is not as long-lasting and as high-quality as some of the other aquariums lights I’ve reviewed.

Editor’s Choice

Lastly, if price isn’t a factor for you, the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Light For Aquarium is worth taking a closer look at. It has adjustable mounting brackets that can be widened to 36 inches. 

The highlight of this lamp is the large range of lighting modes it includes, all of which can be accessed via a wireless remote. Unfortunately, the light is not the best option for planted tanks as it isn’t overly powerful. 

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