The best aquarium lighting for fish color is a subject that has been discussed at length. However, as with most things in life, there are many different opinions on the matter. Some people say that the more expensive LED light bulbs have better color rendering than fluorescent lights and others may argue that it doesn’t make any difference what type of lighting you use.
Regardless of your opinion, we would like to present to you some information about each type of light so that you can make an informed decision before making a purchase.
Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color
Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color – Freshwater
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light
The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light (Buy Online) is a revolutionary aquarium light fixture that was designed to provide the most efficient and natural lighting for planted freshwater aquariums.
The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light is a high-quality light that’s affordable for everyone. And It comes with a remote control so you can adjust it to fit your needs at any time of day or night. Plus, it has four different weather mode settings to simulate sunrise, sunset, cloudy skies, and stormy nights
There are many different types of aquarium lights on the market today, but none offer the same level of versatility as this one does. It offers three different modes including the 24/7 mode, which allows you to set specific times for sunrise and sunset so your fish can experience their own daily routine. This feature also provides complete customization options with four separate memory slots allowing users to save and access their custom colors & intensities on command.
Overall, The Finnex planted+ 24/7 CRV Aquarium LED Light is the best aquarium lighting for fish color enhancement because it provides the right light spectrum needed to bring out your fish’s natural color potential.
CURRENT USA SereneSun LE PRO Freshwater Plant Aquarium LED Light
The CURRENT USA’s SereneSun LE PRO (Buy Online) is the best aquarium lighting for fish color and growing freshwater plants because it delivers over a million shades of HDR light through smart high output LED technology. This is combined with 90-degree LED lenses with smart high output white and red LEDs that enhance the natural vivid color in most fish.
This combination allows the CURRENT USA SereneSun LE PRO to create custom spectrums of bright white and natural daylight using the RGBW multi-spectrum lights so you can bring out vibrant colors in your fish tank like never before.
Plus, the CURRENT USA SereneSun LE PRO features a state-of-the-art wireless remote control, and a 24-hour timer function so that you can program what time to start a gradual sunrise or gentle sunset in your tank.
Fluval Fresh and Plant 3.0 LED Light Fixture
The Fluval Fresh & Plant 3.0 LED Fixture (Buy Online) is an advanced light that provides you with everything you need for your plants and fish to thrive together in one tank. It’s also easy to use and customizable so that you can get the most out of your aquarium lighting system.
This fixture has six unique light frequency outputs for full spectrum results, programmable gradual 24-hour light cycle settings which simulate sunrise, midday, sunset, and night; optional pre-set habitat light configurations like Lake Malawi or Tropical.
The Fluval Plant 3.0 LED Light Fixture uses the latest technology in LEDs (light-emitting diodes) that can be programmed with gradual 24-hour light cycle settings (sunrise, midday, sunset, and night). By programming this fixture like the sun throughout a 24 hour period, plants and fish will thrive better than they ever have before.
Plus, the built-in Wi-Fi allows you to connect to this light using the free Fluval App, so you will have total control over all aspects of this aquarium lighting system from anywhere using a smartphone or tablet device (Android/iOS).
These unique features allow fish-keeping hobbyists to have the same level of control of their aquarium’s lighting system that usually would cost multiple hundreds if not thousands of dollars. But with the Fluval Fresh & Plant 3.0 LED Fixture, you get all of these features for a price that won’t bust your budget.
Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light
The Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light (Buy Online) makes it easy for you to bring out your fish’s natural beauty by simulating a day and night cycle with bright white light during the day and soft blue light at night. This helps prevent stress on your fish while making them more comfortable in their environment.
The Hygger 24/7 Lighting Aquarium LED Light is the perfect solution for anyone looking to create a beautiful and natural environment for their fish. It’s easy to install and has an adjustable timer that allows you to control the light schedule. You can also set it up in any color scheme you like.
Plus, these lights are waterproof and easy to clean so you don’t have to worry about them getting wet or dirty when you’re cleaning your tank.
With the Hygger Aquarium LED Light you’ll be getting an affordable lighting system that will make your aquarium come alive with vibrant colors and stunning effects 24/7 day and night.
Kessil Planted Tank LED Aquarium Light
The Kessil Planted Tank LED Aquarium Lights (Buy Online) are a great choice for planted tanks. They provide a 6,000K/9,000K LED spectrum mix that will enhance the natural colors of your fish and plants.
The Kessil Planted Aquarium LED Light is an affordable alternative to high-intensity discharge (HID) systems used by most professional aquarists, with similar results at a fraction of the cost.
These lights deliver the equivalent light output of a 175-watt metal halide, and they only use 40-watts of power so you can run multiple fixtures without running up your electric bill.
The intensity of the Kessil Planted Aquarium LED Light can also be adjusted, so it’s perfect if you need more or less light. Plus, these lights have a gooseneck mount which makes them really versatile – just attach them anywhere on the back of your tank.
If you’re looking for an easy solution for lighting your densely planted tank then look no further than these Kessil Planted Tank LED Aquarium Lights.
BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light Pent Freshwater
The BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED Aquarium Light (Buy Online) makes it easy for you to create a natural environment that will improve your fish and plant’s lives. This light fixture has been designed by experts to help improve plant health and bring out a fish’s true color.
The BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED features 4 different spectrum LEDs so that you can easily achieve any color temperature needed (10000K, 460nm red, 620nm actinic blue, 520nm green) and offers 2 Modes (Day/Night). It also has a timer function that allows you to set on/off times automatically, which means you can set it up once and it will practically run itself.
Best Aquarium Lighting for Fish Color – Saltwater
AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED (Black)
The AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED Light (Buy Online) is one of the best aquarium lights for fish color and coral growth. And it’s easy to set up and use, with a smart control system that lets you adjust light intensity from your phone or tablet.
The most common mistake people getting carried away with when choosing a light is focusing on lumens and neglecting PAR. A high lumen count does not necessarily mean your corals and fish will thrive.
The AquaIllumination AI Prime 16 HD Reef Aquarium LED is an excellent choice for coral reef tanks between 10-30 gallons in size. This fixture has a peak PAR of 100µMol at a depth of 24 inches which means you get the best balance of power and spread from this small footprint fixture.
Think about how many hours you spend researching your next fish purchase and setting up your tank, only to find out that it doesn’t look as good as you imagined it would. Or worse, when a coral dies or an algae bloom takes over. The culprit? Usually Poor lighting.
AquaIllumination has solved this problem with the AI Prime® 16 HD LED Reef Aquarium Lighting System. This revolutionary fixture uses advanced technology to deliver more high PAR light per watt than any other similarly sized reef-capable LED on the market today, resulting in vibrant colors and increased coral growth for better health and longevity – all while using less power.
It also features built-in WiFi connectivity so you can control every aspect of your tank from anywhere in the world using the free AquaIllumination App, which lets you schedule timers, modulate light intensity, change the light color balance, and much more.
Fluval Marine and Reef 3.0 LED
With the Fluval Marine & Reef 3.0 LED lighting system (Buy Online), you can enjoy vibrant colors in your marine or reef tank while also providing optimal levels of essential actinic blue spectral wavelengths for enhanced coral growth. This powerful combination helps promote and support strong coral growth and coloration, which makes this one of the best budget-friendly saltwater lights on the market today for both fish and coral.
Red Sea ReefLed 50 Light ONLY
The ReefLed 50 Light (Buy Online) is the perfect lighting solution for small saltwater tanks. It’s designed specifically for optimal coral growth while producing great color enhancement for fish as well. The maximum spread of this light is 20″ X 20”. While the light itself measures 4.7″ L x 4.7″ W x 2″ H. and it only consumes 50 watts of power.
This light is designed for optimal coral growth with its high power output and advanced light spectrum control. And the Red Sea Reefs ReefBeat smart aquarium app allows you to adjust your lighting from anywhere in the world with WiFi connectivity, and you can control this light from any Android or iOS device.
Kessil AP9X LED Aquarium Light
The AP9X LED Aquarium Light (Buy Online) from Kessil has been designed specifically with saltwater tanks in mind. This light will help you grow colorful coral and have bright, healthy-looking fish that pop off the reef with vivid color.
Kessil has done their research and created an LED aquarium light that will work well on both mixed-reef tanks as well as SPS coral reefs. The new AP9X features improved reflectors which make sure you’ll see great color from your fish when using full power mode (which uses about 30% less energy than other similar LEDs)
The Kessil AP9X LED Aquarium Light is a revolutionary new light that will change your tank forever. Plus, it features an all-new violet channel, which helps coral pop and grow like never before. And you’ll be able to control this light from anywhere using the free Kessil app on either iOS or Android devices.
How To Enhance Fish Color
A fish’s diet and stress level mainly determine the clarity, brightness, and tint of its colors. A good diet with a balance of protein and antioxidant compounds will condition your fish’s body so that it can develop gorgeously bright coloring as an indicator of pristine health.
A plant-rich aquarium can also have an amazing effect on the amount of stress your fish are experiencing. When you add plants to your aquarium, you’ll see a definite difference in your fish’s coloration once they settle down.
Fish are also prone to increased stress levels when their slime coat becomes compromised. This can be seen as either a scratch of various wounds along their body where the protective coating is no longer intact, or you might see mucus build-up around the fish’s mouth and eyes.
It is vitally important for owners to be aware of these symptoms and remedy them with a slime coat repair solution like API Stress Coat or Seachem StressGuard
Best Color Enhancing Fish Food
Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food
Fluval Bug Bites Color Enhancing Fish Food (Buy Online) is made with black soldier fly larvae, which is an excellent source of protein for young fish and helps them grow big quickly while supporting a strong immune system.
The color of a fish’s skin and scales depends on the food it eats. And if you want your fish to look its best, then you need to feed it high-quality food that contains the right nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant coloring.
This natural fish food covers all of those bases since it’s made with soldier fly larvae and whole salmon rich in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids along with vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to help keep your fish healthy so they can live long lives and show off their true colors.
TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes with Color Enhancing
TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes (Buy Online) features a special formula that was designed to make sure tropical fish stay healthy, colorful, and full of energy all day long.
The high-protein formula in TetraColor PLUS Tropical Flakes helps ensure that you’re giving your fish everything they need without any extra waste or cloudiness caused by undigested food particles floating around in your aquarium’s water column.
Plus, these color-enhancing flakes have carotene and other natural ingredients that will help bring out the most vibrant colors from your tropical fish while keeping them in peak health.
Hulx Astaxanthin Red Color Enhancing Powder
Astaxanthin Red Color Enhancing Powder (Buy Online) contains only natural ingredients and it’s rich in astaxanthin (a pigment found in red algae). This will give your aquarium fish vibrant colors while protecting them from harm or stress. It also helps reduce cellular oxidation, so you might even see an improvement in their health as well. Just mix 30 grams of powder with 1 kg of food and you’re good to go.
Best Fish Stress Reducer
Seachem StressGuard Slime Coat Protection
Seachem StressGuard (Buy Online) will protect your fish’s slime coat with an extra layer of protection so it doesn’t fall apart when stressed or exposed to bad water conditions. This product has been scientifically proven to improve healing time in wounds and promote healing after fin damage due to trauma or fin nipping. It also helps prevent secondary infections caused by bacteria entering open sores on the body surface (ulcers).
API Stress Coat
API Stress Coat (Buy Online) is a safe and easy way to reduce stress on your fish without harming them in any way. It replaces the natural slime secretion that’s caused by many different forms of stress, and it helps heal torn fins, skin wounds, and other injuries that can lead to poor coloration in your fish.
Fish Coloration FAQ
Why Do Fish Lose Their Color
Exposure of fish to erratically changing water quality conditions (i.e., high nitrite levels and low oxygen) is one plausible reason for color alterations in fish. It also has been well documented that unhealthy or stressed fish develop a paler coloration, which can be an early sign of a weakened immune system.
Why Do Fish Change Color
Fish are social animals and they rely on visual cues to communicate with one another. Changes in coloration are used for everything from mating, resting, warning other fish of danger, and more.
Fish also change colors based on their general mood or environmental conditions. For example, it’s very common for fish in low light or darker conditions to exhibit a more subdued coloration. While those in moderate light may display more vibrant colors as a signal to other fish that they are in peak health.
Some fish also change color to communicate their social status. In most cases, weaker less dominant fish will usually have a coloration that seems more washed out. This signals to other fish their position in the social hierarchy. And it also tells the dominant fish in their school that they have submitted and accepted their subordinate position, so they don’t get bullied and attacked as much as if they were displaying their full-color pattern.