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Top 7 Best 10 Gallon Aquarium Lights in 2020 (Buyer’s Guide)

If you’re new to fishkeeping, aquarium lights can be a little intimidating. They often come with terms you might not be familiar with, such as Kelvin rating and full spectrum color.

All of these things can seem a bit complicated at first, but they’re important factors you need to know in the long run. Just like filters and heaters, aquarium lights are a crucial part of your tank setup.

Aquarium lights create a natural day and night cycle for your fish, which makes for a more organic environment. In addition to this, aquarium lights are vital for live plants as they aid with photosynthesis. 

To make sure you find the best LED aquarium light for your 10 gallon tank, I’ve looked at a variety of different lights and analyzed their positives and negatives. And, if you’re new to keeping fish, I’ve also provided the basics on aquarium LED lights to help you get started!

Review Summary

Best All-Rounder

Aqueon Clip-On Aquarium LED Light

Available in both standard and planted versions. Depending on your setup, either variety is a great option for a small aquarium up to 20 gallons.

Aqueon Clip-On Aquarium LED Light

This LED aquarium light is my overall recommendation for a nano tank.

Aqueon’s aquarium LED light is a solid choice for any small fish tank. Its compact design makes it easy to hide, while its soft-touch control allows you to easily flick between different lighting settings. The light is also a breeze to assemble thanks to its handy mounting screw.

Best on a Budget

GloFish Blue LED Aquarium Light

If you’re looking for an affordable LED light for your tank, then the GloFish blue tank light is an excellent choice.

GloFish Blue LED Aquarium Light

Out of all the units I’ve looked at, this LED aquarium light is the most affordable.

The GloFish LED fish tank light uses blue bulbs to cover your aquarium in a lovely shimmery, night-time effect. The light is very bright and has a sleek but small design that’s perfect for nano tanks. 

Editor’s Choice

Finnex Planted 24/7 LED Fish Tank Light

The unit includes daylight, green, red, and blue LED bulbs. You get a few different settings for the light, like a 24/7 mode which lets you save custom light colors and intensities.

Finnex Planted 24/7 LED Fish Tank Light

My personal favorite LED light for a 10 gallon fish tank. It’s a little pricier than some of the other lights, but it comes with a lot of features.

If you own a planted small fish tank, then you can’t go wrong with the Finnex Planted 24/7 LED light. It uses daylight, blue, and red bulbs to encourage plant growth whilst making your tank colorful. There’s a feature that allows you to save custom light colors and intensities, too.

What to Know Before Buying an LED Light For Your Aquarium

Aquarium LED lights are one of the most popular types of lighting used in fish tanks. They come in a variety of colors and are extremely energy efficient, meaning the operation costs are relatively low.

Compared to metal halide or fluorescent fish tank lights, LED bulbs generate virtually no heat…

Compared to metal halide or fluorescent fish tank lights, LED bulbs generate virtually no heat, so there’s no risk of them raising the temperature of your tank water. 

NOTE

However, LED lights can be a little pricey and are not as powerful as other types of aquarium lighting. While this isn’t a problem for fish-only and undemanding planted tanks, it can be an issue for plants that need a lot of light to thrive.

What Type of Tank Setup Do You Have?

Depending on the type of fish tank setup you have, a LED light might not be the best choice. For most fish-only 10 gallon tanks, LED lamps are sufficient as you don’t need to worry about light output or power.

if you own live plants in your fish tank, then you’ll need to consider the specific needs of your plants and their light preferences…

However, if you own live plants in your fish tank, then you’ll need to consider the specific needs of your plants and their light preferences. A lot of fixtures designed for small tanks don’t provide enough light for more demanding species, which can affect plant growth.

In these cases, a fluorescent or metal halide lamp might be worth considering. LED lights targeted for planted fish tanks are available, but they can be pricey. 

Bright Blue Led Light Close Up
Bright Blue Led Light Close Up

How Strong are LED Lights?

LED lights produce a good amount of light, but they aren’t as strong as metal halide or fluorescent lights. This means they’re not as good for plants as metal halide or fluorescent lights, especially for species that require a lot of light. If you have demanding species of plants in your fish tank, then you’ll need to make sure the fixture you use has a high enough Kelvin rating.

What Kind Of Lighting Do I Need For A 10 Gallon Tank?

For basic 10 gallon tanks or nano aquariums, you don’t need an extremely powerful lighting system. Just a simple unit will be sufficient. 

However, if you own live aquatic plants, then a lamp that can generate a good amount of light is required to keep your plants healthy. When choosing a light for a planted tank, you need to look at the Kelvin rating (K) of the particular lamp.

When choosing a light for a planted tank, you need to look at the Kelvin rating (K) of the particular lamp…

The Kelvin rating is used to measure the color of light. Cool colors are normally around 5000K, while warmer colors are below this. Daylight is 6500K. Most plants do well with a light around 6500K, but some species require up to 8000K. 

Are Color Changing Lights Bad for Fish?

Color changing lights don’t harm your fish, so you shouldn’t be put off from using them. The color of your aquarium light isn’t really something you need to worry about, as it’s mostly down to personal preference and the type of setup you have.

Multicolor LED Lights
Multicolor LED Lights

How Many Hours of Light Does a 10 Gallon Tank Need?

Aquariums should receive around 8 to 12 hours of light each day before being switched off overnight. This replicates the natural day and night cycle, and also provides your aquatic plants (if you own any) with enough light.

Can I Leave My Aquarium Light on 24/7?

You should avoid leaving your aquarium light on 24/7 as doing so can stress out your fish and cause algae to build up. Leaving your tank lights on for too long can disrupt your fish’s sleep, so you need to make sure they receive enough darkness to rest properly.

leaving your aquarium light on 24/7 as doing so can stress out your fish…

As you might already know, algae thrives in environments that get a lot of light. Keeping your aquarium lights on all the time can accelerate the growth of algae, resulting in an outbreak. While not harmful to your fish, algae isn’t exactly appealing and can make your tank look unsightly.

Fish Tank with Plants and Colorful Fish
Fish Tank with Plants and Colorful Fish

Do LED Lights Work for Planted Aquariums?

LED lights are a decent option for undemanding planted tanks as they are available in a lot of different colors, some of which are beneficial for certain species of plants. For example, white spectrum LEDs encourage photosynthesis and make orange, yellow, and red fish appear more colorful.

LED aquarium lamps aren’t the best pick for plants that require a lot of light…

Unfortunately, LED aquarium lamps aren’t the best pick for plants that require a lot of light as many fixtures are not powerful enough. If you have species of plants that need a strong light source, then you’ll need to make sure the unit you use has a Kelvin rating of at least 6500K.

LED lights are also energy efficient, making them cheaper to run than other types of aquarium lighting. Additionally, the bulbs don’t generate a lot of heat like fluorescent or metal halide lights do, so they won’t heat up your tank water.

10 Gallon Aquarium LED Lights Reviews

Best All-Rounder

Aqueon Clip-On Aquarium LED Light

Available in both standard and planted versions. Depending on your setup, either variety is a great option for a small aquarium up to 20 gallons.

Aqueon Clip-On Aquarium LED Light

Aqueon’s LED tank light is available in both standard and planted versions. As you’ve probably already guessed, the planted variety is designed for aquariums with live plants.

The major difference between the two types is the number of LEDs they have. The standard version has 21 LEDs, while the planted version has 60 LEDs. Depending on your setup, either variety is a great option for a small aquarium up to 20 gallons.

The best feature about this tank light is its simple and no-hassle assembly…

The best feature about this tank light is its simple and no-hassle assembly. The unit is placed onto your aquarium using a mounting screw, making it compatible with framed and frameless fish tanks. 

Soft Touch Led Controls

I also like the soft-touch LED control on this light. The standard type has a 2-way soft-touch LED control, while the planted variety has a 3-way one. This allows you to easily flick between different lighting settings.

Its compact design makes it subtle and easy to hide…

The design of this tank light is another highlight. Its compact design makes it subtle and easy to hide, which some other lights fall short on. There’s nothing worse than having a gigantic, bulky light protruding from your aquarium if you’re going for a natural style. It’s great that Aqueon’s LED light doesn’t suffer from this issue. 

However, there are a couple of drawbacks of the Aqueon LED tank light. The LED bulbs can be prone to flickering, and the unit itself can sometimes fall forwards a little towards your tank water.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 8” x 7” x 4.8”
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Kelvin Rating: Unknown
  • Wattage: Unknown

Pros

  • Simple to assemble
  • Soft-touch control
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Bulbs can be prone to flickering
  • Unit can fall forward towards your tank water

Best on a Budget

GloFish Blue LED Aquarium Light

If you’re looking for an affordable LED light for your tank, then the GloFish blue tank light is an excellent choice.

GloFish Blue LED Aquarium Light

If you’re looking for an affordable LED light for your tank, then the GloFish blue tank light is an excellent choice. It’s suitable for small fish-only aquariums up to 10 gallons. 

This aquarium LED light is extremely bright, so it shouldn’t have any problem illuminating your fish tank… 

The bulbs are blue, so they should complement your aquarium nicely, particularly in the evenings. This aquarium LED light is extremely bright, so it shouldn’t have any problem illuminating your fish tank.

Design

Design-wise, GloFish’s fish tank LED light is sleek and compact, which is exactly what you want for a small aquarium. 

Unfortunately, the GloFish LED aquarium light can break prematurely as the bulbs don’t have the longest lifespan. In addition to this, the light may become a little dim after a few months.

However, there are a couple of drawbacks of the Aqueon LED tank light. The LED bulbs can be prone to flickering, and the unit itself can sometimes fall forwards a little towards your tank water.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 3” x 1.9” x 8.6”
  • Weight: 8.8 oz
  • Wattage: 2 W

Pros

  • Sleek and small design
  • Bright
  • Attractive blue bulbs

Cons

  • Can have a short lifespan
  • Can become dim over time

Editor’s Choice

Finnex Planted 24/7 LED Fish Tank Light

The unit includes daylight, green, red, and blue LED bulbs. You get a few different settings for the light, like a 24/7 mode which lets you save custom light colors and intensities.

Finnex Planted 24/7 LED Fish Tank Light

The Finnex Planted 24/7 LED light is a fantastic choice for a planted 10 gallon tank as it has a Kelvin rating of 8000K. This amount of light is plenty for plant growth, even for some more demanding species.

The unit includes daylight, green, red, and blue LED bulbs…

The unit includes daylight, green, red, and blue LED bulbs. You get a few different settings for the light, like a 24/7 mode which lets you save custom light colors and intensities. For convenience, these settings can be accessed via a remote.

Design

I really like the design of this unit as it’s sleek, compact, and thin. It has a corrosion resistant hood with a high surface area that effectively dissipates heat. This means your tank water won’t heat up when the light is in operation. The mounting brackets included with the fixture are also sturdy and durable.

However, the Finnex Planted 24/7 can break prematurely. The memory for storing custom light settings is also prone to malfunctioning.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 20” x 3” x 0.4”
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Wattage: 16.5 W
  • Kelvin Rating: 8000K

Pros

  • Comes with a 24/7 mode for full customization
  • Sturdy mounting legs
  • Sleek design
  • Corrosion resistant aluminum hood

Cons

  • Memory storage can malfunction
  • Memory storage can malfunction

Finnex Stingray LED Clip Light For Aquariums

Solid choice for a small aquarium, especially if you own undemanding live plants. It features a mixture of daylight, actinic blue, and red LEDs to make your aquarium vibrant and colorful.

Finnex Stingray LED Clip Light For Aquariums

Finnex’s Stingray fish tank LED light is another solid choice for a small aquarium, especially if you own undemanding live plants. It features a mixture of daylight, actinic blue, and red LEDs to make your aquarium vibrant and colorful.

Aluminum Hood

The hood of the light is made from robust aluminum. The switch for the unit is also waterproof for added safety.

visually appealing and compact…

My favorite feature of the Finnex LED light is its design, which is both visually appealing and compact. I also appreciate how easy the unit is to assemble due to its convenient mounting screw. You simply place the light over the rim of your fish tank and latch it into position. That’s all there is to it!

Despite this aquarium light’s positives, it does have a few imperfections. The LED bulbs can suffer from brightness problems, which means they might need to be replaced frequently. The unit itself also isn’t as durable or flexible as it could be.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 9.5” x 1.5” x 0.5”
  • Weight: 6.4 oz
  • Kelvin Rating: 7000K
  • Wattage: 4 W

Pros

  • Small and visually appealing design
  • Waterproof switch
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • LED bulbs can suffer from brightness issues
  • Not as high quality as some other fish tank lights

MarineLand LED Natural Shimmering Lamp

Can be extended for tanks up to 30 inches long, so it’s another decent pick for a 10 gallon aquarium. The unit is energy efficient thanks to its low voltage power, which helps reduce running costs.

MarineLand LED Natural Shimmering Lamp

MarineLand’s LED lamp can be extended for tanks up to 30 inches long, so it’s another decent pick for a 10 gallon aquarium. The bulbs are 25% brighter than the previous model to make sure your aquarium is never encased in darkness.

energy efficient thanks to its low voltage power, which helps reduce running costs…

The unit is energy efficient thanks to its low voltage power, which helps reduce running costs. There are rubber feet attached to the lamp’s fixture to minimize slipping and increase sturdiness.

Lighting Modes

This lamp has a few different lighting modes, including a night-time effect which creates a stunning blue aura. 

Although the manufacturer states that the bulbs for this LED lamp are long-lasting, they can begin to flicker after a short period. Additionally, the switch for the unit can be a bit flimsy.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 11” x 4” x 1”
  • Weight: 12.8 oz

Pros

  • Energy efficient
  • Bright bulbs
  • Night-time mode

Cons

  • Bulbs can have a short lifespan
  • Switch can be a bit flimsy

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light

Featuring 6500K white LEDs and 455Nm blue LEDs, this lamp from Current USA Satellite would make a lovely addition to any 10-gallon tank.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light

has a range of impressive lighting modes…

Featuring 6500K white LEDs and 455Nm blue LEDs, this lamp from Current USA Satellite would make a lovely addition to any 10-gallon tank. It has a range of impressive lighting modes, including a night-time and dim setting. There’s even one that replicates a storm, complete with lightning strikes!

Easy Installation

The unit is extremely simple to install due to its slick docking legs, which allow you to make easy and quick adjustments. To help prevent moisture getting into the device, there is a waterproof casing shielding the LED bulbs. 

While this LED lamp is good overall, there are a few problems it can encounter. Despite having a waterproof casing, water can still get into the device and damage the LED bulbs. 

In addition to this, the unit can break after a short period of use, as well as suffer from brightness issues.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 16.8” x 2” x 0.44”
  • Weight: 1.39 lbs
  • Kelvin Rating: 6500K
  • Wattage: 7.5 W

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Lots of different lighting modes
  • Extendable sliding docking legs

Cons

  • Waterproof casing can fail
  • Can suffer from durability issues

AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Full Spectrum Light

Worth considering for your 10-gallon tank. It sports 30 white 6500K LEDs, 6 blue LEDs, 3 red LEDs, and 3 green LEDs. All of these bulbs work to create a colorful and bright atmosphere.

AQUANEAT LED Aquarium Full Spectrum Light

Suitable for aquariums up to 24 inches in length, AQUANEAT’s LED full spectrum light is worth considering for your 10-gallon tank. It sports 30 white 6500K LEDs, 6 blue LEDs, 3 red LEDs, and 3 green LEDs.

It sports 30 white 6500K LEDs, 6 blue LEDs, 3 red LEDs, and 3 green LEDs…

All of these bulbs work to create a colorful and bright atmosphere. The light has two modes: all lights on and all lights off. To make the unit a little more durable, a splash guard covers the LED bulbs. 

Simple Installation

The lamp is quite simple to attach to your tank due to its mounting bracket, which can extend from 18 inches to 24 inches. 

This LED light from AQUANEAT is a good option for basic setups, but it might not be powerful enough for planted aquariums. The bulbs can also burn out fairly quickly.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 17” x 2.7” x 0.4”
  • Weight: 1 lb
  • Kelvin Rating: 6500K

Pros

  • Includes a splash guard
  • Extendable mounting bracket
  • Bright bulbs

Cons

  • Might not be powerful for live plants
  • Bulbs can have a short lifespan

Best All-Rounder

After looking at a variety of aquarium lights, I think the best LED light for a small fish tank is the Aqueon Clip-On Aquarium LED Light. 

The light is available in both a standard or planted version, providing a good option for both fish-only or planted setups. Both types are incredibly easy to install as they feature a handy mounting screw, allowing you to lock the light securely into place.

The convenient soft-touch control lets you easily flick between lighting settings. It also has a sleek and compact design making it easy to hide in your tank.

Best on a Budget

If the Aqueon light doesn’t seem like a good fit for your setup, then I also recommend the GloFish Blue LED Light or Finnex Planted LED Tank Light. The former is relatively affordable, making it a good pick for aquarists on a budget.

Editor’s Choice

In contrast, Finnex’s LED lamp is a bit more pricey, but it comes with an array of features.

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