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In this post, we hope to help you find a great LED Light for a 10-gallon fish tank with our top 5 recommendations.
Keeping fish is a fantastic hobby. Unlike other pets that integrate well into your home, fish need a home of their own, i.e., a proper fish tank.
Among other essential and vital elements that make up a fish tank, lighting often gets overlooked.
Nevertheless, light is an integral part of any fish tank, especially those with live plants.
Lights in your aquarium have several purposes:
They are used to illuminate the tank properly so that you can keep an eye on their fishy inhabitants.
Quick Picks: Top 3 Choices For The Best 10 Gallon Aquarium Light
- NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
- NICREW Bright LED Aquarium Light
- Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light
They are also used to complement the color of the fish. Apart from aesthetic purposes, lights are also crucial for some species to thrive.
They are vital for aquatic plants and corals because of their involvement in photosynthetic processes.
Over the years, lights have evolved:
Florescent bulbs once lighted most fish tanks. They were power consuming and limited in variety. Now LED lights are considered the best and the most economical fish tank lighting solution.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights are also very efficient in power consumption.
Let’s get into it;
- Quick Picks: Top 3 Choices For The Best 10 Gallon Aquarium Light
- Top 5 LED Lights For A 10 Gallon Fish Tank
- What to Know Before Buying an LED Light For Your Aquarium
- How LED Light Affects Your Fish & Plants
- What Type Of Tank Setup Will You Have?
- How Much LED Light Is Needed For Your Tank Size?
- Cost & Durability
- How Strong Is The LED Light?
- Additional Features
- What Should You Do?
- More Info About 10-Gallon Tanks
Top 5 LED Lights For A 10 Gallon Fish Tank
Below we have curated a list of five of the best-LED lights for 10-gallon fish tanks.
1. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
Starting the list is the classic LED Aquarium Light by NICREW.
Minimally designed, this light has 36 LEDs. The classic LED can produce white, as well as blue light. The light helps recreate the natural light most fish are familiar with.
The lighting itself is 18″ in size, which is extendable up to 24″ thanks to the extended bracket. The brackets are metal, and the body is plastic.
Size extensions allow this light to be used easily on many fish tank sizes, from 10-gallon to 30-gallon fish tanks of both classic and bow designs.
The black finish of the light fixture looks beautiful, attached on top of the lidless tank.
The unit is highly energy-efficient, with a power rating of merely 11 Watts.
- Great value for the price.
- Adjustable brackets allow for easy installation on many different tank sizes.
- Economical in the long run because of energy efficiency.
- Not waterproof, so it needs to be detached every time you need to change the water or do a cleaning.
- The unit is for freshwater tanks only. Not well suited for marine water fish tank.
2. NICREW Bright LED Aquarium Light
Another contender from NICREW is the bright LED light for fish tanks.
This unit also comes with extendable legs so that it can be used on different fish tank sizes. The LED circuit is in an aluminum casing, which acts as a heat sink, extending the life of LEDs.
The light itself is full-spectrum and boosts the natural colors needed for fish and plants.
Full-spectrum lighting is excellent for plant growth. Plants thrive when they can photosynthesize using all the wavelengths of lights, instead of just one of two particular colors.
The design is sleeker as well, only 2.5 inches wide. BrightLED provides a steady diffusion of light, even in the base. The light intensity of BrightLED is 5000 lux at a depth of 12″.
- Aluminum housing prevents LEDs from quickly heating up.
- Full-spectrum lights add to the aesthetic value of the tank, as well as help the plants in the tank.
- Intense LEDs let the light diffuse easily down to the bottom of the tank.
- Aluminum housing requires proper ventilation.
- The power consumption of 18W is higher than in similar units.
- Too powerful for fish-only tanks.
3. Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light
The KCL-20A by Finnex is a remote-controlled customizable light. The remote control allows for operation and easy customization from a distance.
The LEDs in the unit provide a full spectrum of light, perfect for many aquatic plants. The unit can automatically mimic the effect of light at sunrise and night lights, or you can time these effects yourself.
Customization of three primary colors, i.e., red, green, and blue, allows you to set the light exactly as you want.
The unit has a total of 48 LEDs, out of which 32 are 7k daylight LEDs and rest 16 RGB LEDs. The light also allows your plants to effectively thrive while giving you control over the ambiance of the tank.
At 20-inches in length, this is a specially designed LED light for 10-gallon fish tanks.
Finnex lights are very well made and work really well. Infact they are two of the most popular lights that I see people purchase from my site. I have two reviews you can read, one on the Finnex Planted Plus and one about the Finnex 24/7.
- Thoroughly customizable light.
- The number and intensity of LEDs allow it to be used in the densest of planted tanks.
- Different light effects can help create a familiar environment for most species of fish.
- Costlier than other simpler units.
- Remote seems to develop problems over time.
4. S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light
This light is a small, easy to fit light for most small-sized fish tanks. The 7.5″ unit is the first waterproof light on our list.
The IP68 waterproof rating means it can be submerged in depths over 40″. The suction cup mounting means that it can easily be attached to any wall of the fish tank.
The light focuses on aesthetics. With 15 RGB LEDs, you can switch between 16 colors and four lighting modes (flash, strobe, fade, smooth) using a remote control. Each mode has a beautiful effect and can liven up your fish tank.
A lower number and power of LEDs means it’ won’t work for a planted fish tank.
- Very reasonably priced.
- The effects and customization of colors and brightness give you a lot of options to beautify your tank.
- Easy to install.
- Can’t be used for planted tanks.
- Light diffusion is not very good.
- Not suitable for some species of fish.
5. Lominie LED Aquarium Light
Closing the list is a flexible, single bulb LED light.
Unlike the other LED lights on this list, the Lominie LED light doesn’t come as a strip of LEDs. Instead, it uses a single 6500k CRI COB LED.
The CRI part of the LED refers to the Color Rendering Index, which determines how well the LED illuminates and projects true color.
COB means Chips on Board; packaging multiple LED chips as a single light source, efficient and long life.
Its flexible gooseneck allows for easy re-direction of the light. It is strong enough as an LED light for 10-gallon fish tanks, provided that the tank is freshwater.
For smaller tanks, the light is suitable for marine water and coral, as well. It can clamp to any of the sides of a lidless fish tank. The light can be dimmed as needed.
I actually use this very same light on my son’s planted tank that he keeps in his room and it works great for a simple cost-effective solution. Oh, and it grows live plants very well. check out the progress of the tank here in this post of check out my video.
- Easy to install and adjustable.
- Strong LED allows for proper light diffusion and equally-distributed illumination.
- Great for planted fish tanks.
- A single unit is not enough to cover a 10 gallon or bigger planted tank.
- Relatively expensive
What to Know Before Buying an LED Light For Your Aquarium
Since lighting is an essential part of your fish tank, there are a few standard features you should know about before you decide on the right LED light for your fish tank.
Also, some considerations may determine which LED light is best for you.
How LED Light Affects Your Fish & Plants
Your fish and aquatic plants are the first important consideration before buying an LED light for your fish tank.
If you have an adequately illuminated room, or the fish tank is near a light source, you may not even need a light for your fish-only tank.
But for a planted fish tank, a primary light source is vital. Then, depending upon the plants you plan on putting in your tank, you may want a stronger light.
Most fish tanks are designed primarily around the fish species you will be keeping, so it’s prudent to choose your LED lights according to that.
Most LED lights made for a 10-gallon fish tank would be able to support most aquatic plants and will be suitable for most species of fish.
LEDs are superior to older light sources even when fish aren’t dependent on the light; they are significantly affected by any change in the water temperature, and unlike HDI lamps that used to heat the water, LED lights don’t affect the temperature of the tank.
What Type Of Tank Setup Will You Have?
A lot of people who plan a fish tank do so with more than fish in mind. Some fish tanks focus heavily on aquascaping, some house coral, some are used only for fish, and some focus more on plants and algae.
You should choose the LED light that enhances the underlying theme of your fish tank.
You may even save some money, buying the less expensive light that is just right for your setup, instead of an expensive all-purpose one.
How Much LED Light Is Needed For Your Tank Size?
The dimensions of the tank are essential for two purposes.
One is that you will not be able to install an LED light that is too big or small, depending on the size of your tank; it must be just right.
Secondly, the dimensions of your tank might require a more thorough spread of light than some LED lights offer.
Most LED light manufacturers try to come up with lights and fixtures that can be used with multiple fish tank sizes. They may provide extensions in the design. They can also have adjustable clamps so they can easily fit over various tank wall thicknesses.
Unusual tank designs usually warrant unique lights for proper illumination.
If you are choosing a light that is not adjustable, make sure that it is sized correctly for your tank. A 19″ long light fixture won’t fit over your standard design 10-gallon fish tank that is 20″ in length.
Want a full course to help you determine how much light you’ll need? Then check out our article: How Much LED Light For A Planted Aquarium.
Cost & Durability
Like many other things, the more you spend on an LED light, the better it’s likely to be.
But you shouldn’t go all out for no reason. Some lights are costly simply because of the additional features you may not even need. Features like “Thunderstorm” are nice to have but not essential.
Choose the light that is the best value for its cost, and it fits your requirements.
LED lights are usually durable, but the overall build can sometimes be flimsy. Look for features like waterproofing and aluminum housing. You should choose the LED light that can withstand occasional water splashes, even when it’s not waterproof.
How Strong Is The LED Light?
For planted fish tanks, you may want to develop an in-depth understanding of LED features.
Some of the terms you might come across are Kelvins, PAR and PUR levels, spectrum, lenses, and diffusion.
For the sake of simplicity, powerful full-spectrum LEDs can work with most planted fish tanks.
Remote control, time adjusters, and customization features are great for giving a beautiful look to your fish tank.
If aesthetics is your primary goal, you should go for LED lights that allow you to manipulate the lighting colors, intensity, and affect.
Angles and different beam effects can also change the look of your tank.
What Should You Do?
Having a rudimentary understanding of LED lights, your fish and your plants should allow you to make the right choice.
Out of the lights we shared, we believe that the NICREW ClassicLED Aquarium Light is the best choice.
It’s simple, easy to install, and well equipped for a general 10-gallon fish tank setup makes it the best choice for beginners at fish keeping.
If you want to have complete control over the lighting of your tank and illumination of your swimming friends, you may want to go with Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light. It is an expensive option, but it will let you change the lighting effect of your 10-gallon fish tank however you want.
A fish tank is like a tiny little world for your fish. It’s their world. And even though the lighting doesn’t affect most of the fish that much, some lighting conditions can stress your fish out.
Similarly, choosing subpar, insufficient, or unnecessarily powerful LED lights is a mistake, as it can hurt your aquatic plants.
Try to find the right balance, and go for an LED light that will be good for your fish, plant, and the look of your fish tank.
Want to learn more about LED lights? Then check out our Freshwater LED Aquarium Lighting Guide.
What is the best LED aquarium lighting?
LED aquarium lighting is great for almost any aquarium. Below you’ll find our top 5 LED lights for a small aquarium.
- NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
- NICREW Bright LED Aquarium Light
- Finnex Planted+ 24/7 LED KLC Aquarium LED Light
- S SMIFUL LED Aquarium Light
- Lominie LED Aquarium Light
Is LED light good for fish tanks?
LED lights are great for both fish and plants. With advances in technology, you’re sure to find a LED light perfect for your needs.
To learn more, read: Freshwater LED Aquarium Lighting Guide.
More Info About 10-Gallon Tanks
- Guide to Setting up Your 10-Gallon Planted Tank
- 12 Hungry Algae Eaters For Small Tanks 10 Gallons & Under
- Stocking A 10 Gallon Tank
- Best Small Catfish for a 10-Gallon Tank Setup
- Bottom Feeder Fish for a 10-Gallon Tank
- How Much Gravel For A 10 Gallon Tank
- How Many Neon Tetras In A 10 Gallon Tank
- How Many Guppies in a 10-Gallon Tank
- How Many Goldfish in a 10-Gallon Tank
- Easy 10-gallon Cichlid Tank Ideas
- Best Powerhead for a 10 Gallon Tank
- What Is The Best Canister Filter For A 10 Gallon Fish Tank?
- Gravel Vacuum For 10 Gallon Tank & Smaller
- Best Stands For 10 Gallon Fish Tanks