Updated: October 12, 2020 - By: - Categories: Equipment

With a 20 gallon tank, you can start your aquarist journey in any way you prefer. You can have a setup with a reef or a freshwater planted tank. The only thing you need to make your tank fully functional is the right LED light. In this article, we will look at some of the best 24-inch LED lights for 20-gallon tanks, depending on how set-up your tank is and what you set it up for.

Best 24-inch LED aquarium lights – comparison table

Model Our rating PAR Ideal for Fixture sizes For tanks LEDs Modes Wattage
NICREW ClassicLED G2 4.5 star ratingNICREW ClassicLED G2 75 @ 12-inch depth fish, most types of plants 24-36 inches 20-gallon standard/long 90 white & 18 blue Day/night, adjustable 18 watts
COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting 4.5 star ratingCOODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting fish, low light plants 19-28 inches 20-gallon standard White + RGB countless colors with the remote 12 watts
Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus 4.5 star ratingCurrent USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus 35+ @ 12-inch depth (48-inch fixture) fish only, fresh /saltwater 24-36 inches 20-gallon standard/long 48 White + 24 RGB custom colors, weather effects 18 watts
NICREW SkyLED Plus 5 star ratingNICREW SkyLED Plus 97 @ 12-inch depth most plant types 24-30 inches 20-gallon standard/long 64 White + 12 Blue + 8 Red Day/night 26 watts
Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC 5 star ratingFinnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC 97 @ 12-inch depth most plant types 24 inches 20-gallon standard daylight, 660nm red, green, blue 24/7 timer controller, multi modes watts
Current USA Satellite Plus PRO 5 star ratingCurrent USA Satellite Plus PRO 100+ @ 12-inch depth medium-high light plants 24-36 inches 20-gallon standard/long 20 White / 9 RGB 24 hour timer control, multi modes 30 watts
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 4.5 star ratingFinnex FugeRay Planted+ 121 @ 14-inch depth (48-inch fixture) high-demanding red plants 24 inches 20-gallon standard (88) 7000k + (48) 660nm RED + (8) Blue Day/moonlight 26 watts (true data from finnex.net)
BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED 4.5 star ratingBeamsWork DA FSPEC LED 96 @ 12-inch depth (24-inch fixture) medium-high light plants 24 inches 20-gallon standard 42x 10000K, 8x Actinic, 5x Red, 5x Green Day/night 60 x 0.50W = 30 watts total
NICREW HyperReef 50 5 star ratingNICREW HyperReef 50 128 @ 24-inch most types of corals maximum spread of 24″ x 24″ 20-gallon 24 LEDs from 405 nm (UV) to 660 nm (Deep Red) blue and white channels, adjustable 50 watts

Reviews of 20-gallon aquarium lights

NICREW Classic LED G2 aquarium light 24-36 inch

To kick start our reviews, we will begin with the versatile and practical Nicrew Classic LED G2 aquarium light. The light is best suited for fish-only fresh /salt-water or planted freshwater tanks and when you want to add a shimmer to your tank.



The design of the light is carefully thought out and executed. It has a sleek and thin shell with extendable metal brackets that easily fit on most 20-gallon aquariums both standard (24″ W x 12″ L x 16″ H) or long (30″ W x 12″ L x 12″ H), and powerful LEDs that will support most plants.

Two channel wired controllerTwo channel wired controller

It helps that the light has two lighting modes for easier transitioning from daylight to night mode. During the day, blue and white LEDs will shine on the tank while the night mode only features the blue LEDs. The light is compatible with a dual channel timer from Nicrew (sold separately), so you can use the timer to transition between the lighting modes gradually.

COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting 24-inch

The COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting LED is quite the mouthful. It offers an extensive range of lighting features and modes and is perfect for fish-only tanks with several low light plants.

This 19 – 28-inch LED features durable RGB LEDs with a lifespan of 10,000 hours. With the help of a remote that comes with color-coded buttons, you can play around with up to 16 different lighting colors for your tank.

2.4G remote control2.4G remote control

The dimmable feature (which also has a dedicated button on the remote) is another welcome feature. The note-worthy remote features 2.4G technology for extra convenience and even allows you to adjust the lighting from an adjacent room.

Extendable brackets open up the light to a world of mounting options depending on your tank’s location and actual size. It allows the range from 19-28 inches that means it’s perfect fit onto a 20 gallon aquarium with the standard dimensions of 24″ W x 12″ L x 16″ H.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Light

The Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED light is a budget-friendly lighting option perfect for fish-only aquariums. It has a mixture of 48 White + 24 RGB LEDs.

The excellent, sleek, and thin design with sliding docking legs is quite convenient and adds a modern feel to the aquarium. But, the most impressive feature has to be its multiple lighting modes.

Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED PlusCurrent USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus

Even better, the lighting mimics real-world situations using additional lighting modes. Using the wired remote, you can choose from various modes, including three fade modes for cloud cover effect, two lunar modes, two storms with lightning effects, and a dusk mode for evening viewing.

Although the light does an exceptional job bringing out the vivid colors of your tank’s residents, it works best if you have tetras, livebearers, or cichlids in your tank.

This is an excellent option if you’re looking for an affordable light for a 20-gallon starter tank that is convenient and has plenty of cool features that make keeping an aquarium even cooler.

NICREW SkyLED Plus light for 20-gallon planted tank

If you have a planted aquarium, the last thing you want is a high PAR output LED light that benefits to growing plants. Sometimes, that means digging deep into your pockets to buy an expensive light. However, the NICREW SkyLED Plus aquarium light offers all you need with a very affordable price tag.

NICREW SkyLED Plus5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on Amazon.com

Its 6500K white, 450Nm blue, and 660Nm red LEDs provide the right light spectrum for an extensive range of aquarium plants to grow.

Using the switch on the power cord, you can select between day and night modes and adjust the intensity of the lighting for maximum visual appeal and benefit to your plants.

The structure aluminum housing on the light looks classy and is the perfect design to maximize heat dissipation.

It’s perfect when you’re looking for an LED light that works for both growing plants and fitting on a 20-gallon tank. With extendable legs, setting up the light in various aquariums and positions shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes.

Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC – 24-inch fixture

This planted aquarium light comes with a remote that is packed with so many cool features. If you want your plants to feel like they are receiving natural sunlight, all you have to do is click on the 24/7 button and the light would automatically adjust its intensity as the day goes. Then, click on a time button that near to your current time and the light will bright or dark as the time that you just clicked.

The Finnex Planted+ 24/7 ALC comes with white, red, green, and blue LED bulbs. The company designed this light to use more true 660nm red LEDs that effectively stimulate photosynthesis and boost plant growth. With the combination of different colors, the light gives your aquarium plants a more nature-like setting (i.e. full spectrum).

Another feature that I observed in this product is that you can play with different weather effects such as lightning to flash white light multiple times, cloudy day to dim the light a little bit, sunny day for the highest intensity, and moonlight to mimic the stars at night.

This aquarium light comes with four memory slots to save your customizations. You can actually customize your own lighting combinations and use them anytime you want with just a single click. With the remote, it is easy to increase /decrease a specific color, or set the unit to display just the color of your choice.

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ 24 inch fixture

If you have extremely high light-demanding plants in your aquarium, the Finnex FugeRay Planted+ is what you need to care for the plants. With (88) 7000K + (48) 660nm RED + (8) Blue LEDs and the PAR output of over 100 at 12-inch depth, the light meets all the lighting needs of a 20 gallon high demanding planted aquarium.

To keep the price low, the product doesn’t offer many features, boasting of only two lighting modes; day and night. But what it lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in quality.

Its aluminum shell acts as a heat sink ensures excellent heat dissipation with the light only getting warm to the touch. The shell is moisture resistant with splash guards for extra protection.

The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ gives you the best bang for your buck, balancing quality, price and longevity. The lovely shell that brings class and elegance to your aquarium. The extendable clear plastic legs blend in with the overall finish of the lighting for a minimalist appearance.

Current USA 18″-24″ Satellite Plus Pro

For tech-eye aquarists that love control, the Current USA Satellite Plus Pro is a match made in heaven. This one of a kind LED light supports vibrant plant-growth, vibrant colors and brings a brilliant shimmer to your tank. Its performance is powered by various LEDs that include 20 pieces of 6500K white and 9 of RGB LEDs.

The light comes with a handy IR wireless remote and a touchpad timer that gives you full control of it. It features a 24-hour automatic lighting cycle with hand-free control. Moreover, the cycle is included with 15-minute ramp up and down periods in order not to shock your fish because of sudden lighting changes.

By using the remote, you can choose from any of the lighting modes: daylight, moonlight, cloud cover, fading lunar, and storm and lighting. You can customize the light color by adjusting different color channel buttons. This helps the light to adapt to the needs of your tank.

Extendable brackets make the light easy to install and can easily work with various tanks in varying situations.

BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED – 24-inch

The BeamsWork DA FSPEC LED is a practical, minimalist LED light that works perfectly for plant growth. It features a full-spectrum light of 10,000K white, eight actinic 460Nm, five red 620Nm, and five green 520Nm LEDs.

The light is not big on customized lighting but offers just enough of what your plants need to grow. It has a daylight mode with all the LED on, and a night mode with only the blue on.

The light comes timer ready. However, you have to buy the timer separately. If you do, the timer should add some convenience and consistency in lighting cycles, which is vital for the growth of plants.

The BeamsWork DA FSPEC has solid structural integrity. The shell is made from structured aluminum for durability and effective heat dissipation. It comes with plastic extendable legs that are easy to install and will work for virtually any 20-gallon tank.

This is an all-business kind of light. It doesn’t pack all the bells and whistles. But it focuses on essentials that will improve your chances of success with a planted tank.

NICREW HyperReef for 20-gallon reef aquarium

Reef lights are dreaded because of their high price tags. The Nicrew HyperReef aquarium reef light offers starting reef keepers an excellent option with a very affordable price tag.

To keep up with a reef tank’s lighting demands, the light has 24 LEDs with an optimal output for dramatic color and supporting coral growth. It has a blue spectrum, red, green, and red LEDs with a UV channel.

The white and blue channels are adjustable independently and individually depending on your desired spectrum and you can also use the smart touch control to adjust the light intensity.

The modernly designed light features an integrated smart fan for heat management. For mounting, it comes with a clip-on bracket. There is also a hanging mount option available, but the hanging mount is sold separately.

When you’re starting out and don’t want your budget to run out of control but want a light that will give your new tank a fair chance at thriving, the NICREW HyperReef will offer you the features and lighting you need without crippling your finances.

If you have a reef tank, don’t forget to check our PAR guide as well as other LED lights for reef aquariums.

Final thoughts

Lighting is a crucial factor in every aquarium. Whether you’re looking for vibrant, vivid colors with a shimmer effect, robust and lush green plant growth, or a healthy color-filled reef, it all goes down to lighting.

For beginners, a small, manageable tank is the best place to start. The most preferred is the 20-gallon tank. Should you decide to go down the tried and proven path and opt for a 20 gallon, you will find that any of these eight lights will be perfect when used for the right application.

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