Which Color Light is Good for Aquarium

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Which color light is good for aquarium? Owning and maintaining an aquarium is a lot more complex than filling a bowl with water and throwing in a couple of fish. It requires plenty of forethought and consideration in order to be a sustainable environment for your fish to live in.

Beyond simply giving your aquarium a beautiful aesthetic glow, suitable lighting greatly contributes to the sustainability of your aquarium. And while it is easy to fall into the trap of picking whatever color best suits your individual taste, it is important to consider a variety of factors that may have otherwise flown under the radar.

Lighting an aquarium is, therefore, quite the undertaking for a fledgling aquarist. Fortunately, there are plenty of options available, each of which presents their fair share of pros and cons which you will need to navigate in order to choose the perfect lighting for your aquarium. In this article, we are going to examine some of the things you need to consider, as well as explore some of the best aquarium lighting solutions.


Naturally, aquarium fish come in many different forms, each with its own set of required conditions in which to survive and thrive in your freshwater tank. You will need to decide on what type of fish you want to house before you can even consider searching which color light is good for aquarium in your situation.

Most aquarium fish come from rivers, lakes, and streams, where they enjoy plenty of sunlight and warm weather. However, these fish also need a means of hiding from the sun if necessary, whether it be in the shade of a rock or nestled within some aquatic plants. You will therefore not only need to choose suitable lighting conditions within which they may survive, but also some form of artificial cover that they may shelter under every once in a while.

Of course, some aquarium fish may be more inclined towards darkness coming from naturally shady, dim areas. In this case, dimmer lighting conditions would better suit your aquarium.

Lighting and Fish

Of course, while we have just discussed the importance of knowing which color light is good for aquarium and finding the right lighting conditions for the species of fish you choose, fish, in general, are not as reliant on light as plants. You can choose any form of lighting that you wish, be it LEDs, incandescent, or fluorescent. Incandescent lights, however, can sometimes cause a problem for fish in an aquarium.

Incandescent lights are notoriously unsustainable, and they can be just as harmful in aquariums where they heat the water closest to them. This causes the overall water temperature to constantly fluctuate, leading fish to swim exclusively to cooler areas of the tank. On the other hand, LEDs produce almost no heat, and can therefore be safely used in any aquarium, while also being far more diverse in their array of colors, choosing this type helps you to know which color light is good for aquarium.

Which Color Light is Good for Aquarium

Lighting and Plants

In contrast to fish, plants rely on light in order to grow and survive. The exact amount of lighting required – along with the color of the lights – depends on the type of plant, so you need to know what plants will be in your aquarium to search which color light is good for aquarium considering these plants.

Tropical plants are notable for requiring plenty of light in order to photosynthesize. Some tropical plants grow close to the surface of the water and therefore require even more light.

Again, the exact amount of light required and knowing which color light is good for aquarium depends upon the type of plant. For example, plants with red in their leaves also require plenty of light, while others – particularly plants that grow further from the surface of the water in their native habitat – may not need as much. Before purchasing your plants, consider what kind of lighting conditions your fish can endure, or vice-versa. Do not buy a plant that requires plenty of light if your fish can only handle a moderate amount.

Day-Night Cycles 

In order for any aquarium to be a sustainable habitat for fish and plant life in equal measure, it needs to be able to accurately simulate the conditions of those species’ native habitats. To this end, it is also important to consider the amount of daylight your fish may have received if it were out in the wild.

Of course, modern aquarium lighting systems often come equipped with mechanics in place that may serve to replicate the conditions brought forth by daytime and nighttime conditions. Your job then is to research the type of fish you plan to keep, specifically their natural environment. For example, tropical fish and plants typically receive around 12 hours of daylight per day, throughout the year. In this case, all you would need to do is cycle your lights according to a timer. 

Some fish species require more specific lighting conditions and permit you to use different colors, so in this case you will need to know which color light is good for aquarium considering the species you put in it. Areas further away from the equator will receive more or less light depending on the season, so you will need to keep track of the time of year when cycling through your lighting conditions.


Many new aquarium owners believe that an excess of bright light leads to an overabundance of algae. However, algae are not affected by lighting alone, but rather the number of nutrients in the water as well. Typically, there are more algae in a new aquarium until it cycles for the first time.

Algae is not a major concern when it comes to adding lighting to your aquarium, so you can choose whatever light you want so long as both your fish and plants will be able to handle it, always searching for the impact the colors can have on them to know which color light is good for aquarium.


Of course, the real draw of lighting an aquarium is bringing out all the bright colors and deep tones within the scales of your fish, always searching for the impact the different colors can have on them to know which color light is good for aquarium considering the species of fish and plants you’ll have on it. For the most part, bright lights bring out colors the best – it may just take some time for your fish to acclimate to their new lighting conditions.

Final Thoughts

The exact color that you choose to light your aquarium with comes down to you, but you can safely bet on using bright LEDs to serve your purposes well. So long as you have considered the species of plants and fish that you want to keep, you can cycle through a variety of colors to keep your tank looking as beautiful as you want. 


Q: How often should I change my aquarium light?

A: The answer to this question really depends on the type of light you are using, and how often it needs to be replaced. Typically, LEDs last a very long time and do not need to be replaced as often as other types of lights.

Q: What is the best way to get rid of algae in an aquarium?

A: Algae can typically be controlled by reducing the amount of nutrients in the water. You can do this by changing your filter media regularly, or by adding an algae eater to your tank. Additionally, make sure to keep your tank clean and free of debris. The kind of light you have in your aquarium can affect the amount of algae. Brighter lights tend to promote more algae growth, while dimmer lights will help to control it.

Q: What is the best time of day to observe my fish?

A: The answer to this question really depends on the type of fish you are keeping. Some fish are more active during the day, while others come out at night. Do some research on your specific species and try to match their natural habits as closely as possible in your aquarium.

Q: Is an aquarium light necessary?

A: Aquarium lighting is not strictly necessary, but it can have a big impact on the overall appearance and health of your tank. It is important to use the right kind of light for your specific tank, know the impact each light color can have on the fish to know which color light is good for aquarium, taking into account the size, type of plants and fish, and the number of algae present. With the right kind of light, you can bring out all the beautiful colors in your aquarium.

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