Updated: January 25, 2021 - By: - Categories: Equipment

Lighting is important for small tanks as it is for big tanks. Having the right lighting not only helps to grow healthy and vibrant plants but also make the colors of your tank pop.

For a small tank, finding the right lighting can be an uphill task. If the light is too strong, you will have an algae problem, and if the intensity is too low, the plants will suffer a slow death. You also have to contend with the lack of space to install the lighting fixture.

This is where clip-on LED lights come in handy. To make it easy for you to find the perfect light for your small tank, here are reviews of four excellent options for small and nano aquariums.

Best clip-on LED lights and small fixtures

Model Our rating Type Ideal for For tanks LEDs Modes Wattage
Finnex Stingray LED Clip Light editor's ratingFinnex Stingray LED Clip Light clip-on fish-only, Bettas, low light plants 2.5-5 gallons 12 white 7000K, 3 red and 3 actinic blue day, night, off 4 watts
Innovate Flexible LED lamp with magnet fixing editor's ratingInnovate Flexible LED lamp magnet fixing fish bowls, nano cylinder tanks up to 5 gallons (8-gallon available) cool white white 1 watts
LED light with bamboo board for small bowl editor's ratingLED lamp with bamboo board lamp with stand bowls, special-shaped tanks, potted plants under 9 gallons white white daylight 5 watts (7/9W available)
Finnex FugeRay Planted+ cliplight editor's ratingFinnex FugeRay Planted+ clip light clip-on fish, low-medium light plants 2.5-5 gallons daylight, 660nm red and blue day, night, off 5 watts
Mindak clip-on fish tank light editor's ratingMindak clip-on fish tank light clip-on fish, low-high light plants 3-8 gallons 15 white, 3 blue blue + white, blue only, white only 7 watts
NICREW ClassicLED Plus editor's ratingNICREW ClassicLED Plus mounting fixture most demanding plants 2.5-5 gallons 26 White + 6 Blue + 3 Red + 1 Green day/night 8 watts
MingDak LED Aquarium Light editor's ratingMingDak LED Aquarium Light mounting fixture fish-only, low-medium light plants up to 5 gallons 32 white, 6 blue, 4 red 2 day modes, 1 night mode, built-in timmer 8 watts
Aqueon Aquarium Clip-on LED Light editor's ratingAqueon Aquarium Clip-on LED Light clip-on fish, medium-high light plants up to 20 gallons 60 total day, night, off
Lominie F20 freshwater editor's ratingLominie F20 freshwater clip-on high-light plants 8-18 inch cube tank manual switch for dimming 12-16 watts
COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting editor's ratingCOODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting mounting fixture fish, low-light plants up to 7.5 gallons White + RGB countless colors with the remote
NICREW HyperReef 30 editor's ratingNICREW HyperReef 30 clip-on saltwater fish, most types of corals up to 10 gallons 18 LEDs from 405 nm (UV) to 660 nm (Deep Red) blue and white channels, adjustable 30 watts

Small LED clip light reviews

Finnex Stingray LED Clip Light

The Finnex Stingray LED clip light is designed for nano tanks that require low light intensity. This 9.5-inch long LED light works perfectly for tanks with slow-growing plants that don’t need a lot of light. It is ideal for nano fish tanks or Betta tanks with some easy-to-care plants such as Marimo Moss Balls, Banana Plants, moss, ferns, Anubias, etc.

For aquarists looking to add some light and color to their tanks or replace the stock lighting fixture that comes with the tank, the Finnex Stingray LED light is a worthy replacement.

Finnex Stingray LED Clip LightFinnex Stingray LED Clip Light

The LED light spots an aluminum cover for easy dissipation of heat with plastic caps at the ends to prevent moisture. It puts out 4 Watts of power courtesy of 12 white 7000K LED bulbs, three red and three actinic blue LEDs.

The flexible arm makes the light easy to position in your tank, and the clip-on design saves you space on your tank and installation time.

Innovate Flexible LED lamp with magnet fixing for small bowls

This is another fantastic option for small fish bowls up to 5 gallons, and there’s also an option that can work with tanks up to 8 gallons.

Best for round or square aquariumsBest for round or square aquariums

The most stand-out feature of this light is its mounting option, a universal, innovative magnet fixing that allows you to install the LED light on any tank regardless of its shape.

It’s packed with cool white 6500K LEDs consuming just 1 watt of power. The light comes in a series of vibrant colors if you want to add color to your aquarium. It’s an excellent light for small aquariums in tight spaces, and it’s also easy going on your pockets.

LED lamp with bamboo board for small bowl, nano Betta fish tank

This product comes as an 18-inch high LED lamp attached to a 9 x 8.5-inch bamboo board. Despite its miniature size, this is an excellent light with unlimited installation options. The bamboo board plays the role of a stand that fits any type and shape of fish tanks or bowls.

Ideal for different shaped bowlsIdeal for different shaped bowls

The 6000K white daylight output makes it ideal for nano planted Betta tanks. It can work with potted terrestrial plants as well. The light intensity is dimmable to meet the needs of different plant types.

The lamp head has a 360-degree swivel for flexible installation and adjustment. It comes with a lens to maximize the depth and width of illumination, perfect for aquarium tanks that hold less than 9 gallons of water. You can choose from options of 5, 7, or 9 watts depending on your tank’s needs and size.

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ clip aquarium LED light

The Finnex FugeRay Planted+ clip light is ideal for a small planted aquarium or a saltwater filtration sump. The PAR @ 12-inch depth is 35. However, because this small clip light is mostly used for nano planted tanks that are usually lower than 12 inches, it can work well for even medium light-demanding plants.

Besides white LEDs, it is integrated with blue and red LEDs to adequately lit the aquarium and gives a vibrant feel. It offers two lighting modes with a switch button for daylight with all LEDs on, moonlight with several blue LEDs on, or all the bulbs off. In the daylight mode, the 660 nm red LEDs provide a true wavelength that favors photosynthesis in plants.

Finnex FugeRay Planted+ clip lightFinnex FugeRay Planted+ clip light

The LED bulbs are housed in an aluminum case for better heat dissipation. They are also covered by a PC splash guard, which safeguards them from any water mishaps and moisture. Because of this, the LEDs can serve for an extended lifespan of up to 40,000 plus hours.

The fixture is very slim and light. Since it comes in a clip modeled fixture, it is effortless to install. You only have to slide the aquarium wall into the groove of the gooseneck and use an included nylon crew to fix it over the tank.

Mindak fish tank clip-on light with in-line timer

With 18 total LEDs and three lighting modes (two day modes with/without blue and a night mode with only blue), this LED light offers more functionality and plenty of shimmers into your aquarium. You can use it for your Betta fish tank, shrimp, or other tropical fish. The light also benefits to grow plants with its two white daylight modes.

Light modes and timerLight modes and timer

This clip-on light comes with an in-line timer for automatic control. The timer is simply designed with three lighting periods (6/10/12 hours) to choose from. Just turn on the light one morning and choose the lighting time you want the light to be on and it will remember your setting and repeat the same lighting schedule day by day.

The in-line timer also allows you to dim the light by adjusting the intensities of the blue and white channels. So, you don’t need to worry about if the light is too bright for your fish in case you have species that prefer soothing light. If you have Betta fish and some low light plants such as marimo moss balls, anubias, ferns, e.g. you should dim the light to fit the plants.

The setup is the same and as easy as other clip-on lights. It comes with everything you need to attach it to the rim of your aquarium.

If you have a planted aquarium, you should read a complete guide here: https://portlandaquarium.net/planted-aquarium-led-light/

NiCREW Classic LED Plus for 2.5-5 gallon planted tanks

Although this is not a clip-on light, it is easy to set up and use in small planted tanks from 2.5 to 5 gallons. It is a full-spectrum light that combines white, blue, red, and green LEDs. It’s brighter than most lights and produces a fine-tuned color spectrum suited for aquarium plants.

It has a three-way switch that allows you to juggle between day and night modes. For heat management, the light has a stylish and durable aluminum alloy shell that extends the operational life span of the light.

The diverse light can be used for lighting in saltwater settings and caters to medium and high light level plants. The installation of the light is simple. It has metal extendable mounting brackets. For the best results and longevity, it’s best to use the light in canopy-covered aquariums.

MingDak LED Aquarium Plant Light 12-18 inch extendable fixture

If you’re looking for stronger light and a bit of sophistication, the MingDak LED aquarium light fits the bill. With 42 total LEDs and three lighting modes, this LED light offers more functionality and plenty of shimmers into your aquarium.

MingDak LED Aquarium LightMingDak LED Aquarium Light

The small fixture is very special with its in-line timer design. The timer is simply designed with three time frames to choose from, 3/6/12h. The smart design makes the light a perfect option for the simple needs of most beginners but still keeps the price as low as cheap clip lights rated for the same tank sizes.

The light is dimmable with the in-line timer controller, so you don’t need to worry about if the light is so bright that it may cause algae problems.

With its average PAR output, the MingDak LED aquarium light is perfect for nano tanks with fish only, or low-high demanding planted tanks. It comes with adjustable brackets that make positioning and setting up a breeze. It works for tanks that are 12 to 18 inches across.

If you’re keen about not messing up your tank’s design and layout, the slim and modern design of the light will play into your preferences and play its role while blending into the tank’s design.

Aqueon Clip-on LED Light for tanks up to 20-gallon

The Aqueon Aquarium Clip-on LED light is the true definition of looks can be deceptive. This 8-inch long LED light packs a low profile, perfect for aquarists who prefer not to have chunky lights that hog all the space.

It has an incredible 60 LEDs that make easy work of providing enough light for tanks that can hold up to 20 gallons of water. The Aqueon LED light is designed to help grow lush plants and comes with all the bells and whistles to help you get the greenest and healthiest plants.

PAR  measurement @ 12-inch depthPAR measurement @ 12-inch depth

Based on the PAR information provided by Aqueon, if you use it for a 5 gallon planted tank or a smaller one, this light can work well for even ‘light-hungry’ plants, especially if you have carpeting plants like Glossostigma, which tend to stay close to the base of the tank. The light also does an exceptional job of bringing out the natural colors in your tank.

A lower-output version (PAR 20-30 @ 12″) of the light is also available if you have a Betta fish tank with/without some low light plants to care for.

3 way soft-touch button3 way soft-touch button

Its collection of features include blue and white LEDs with a 3-way mode (all on, blue on, and all off). The light has a handy touchpad on the fixture that you can use to switch among the modes.

If you’re unlucky to have your tank a significant distance from the power source, you’ll be happy to know that the light offers up to 5 feet of cord, which is quite handy. The power cord comes in two parts, making it easy to replace for a longer one or when it breaks down.

Installation should be a breeze with the Aqueon Aquarium Clip-on LED light. It has a versatile mounting screw and bracket that slip on effortlessly on both framed and frame-less tanks.

If your budget is a little flexible and you’re looking for a good LED light that will support plant growth without blowing your finances out of the water, this compact, low profile LED light from Aqueon will do the trick.

Find other options for a 20-gallon tank here: https://portlandaquarium.net/30-inch-led-light/

Lominie F20 freshwater LED light for 5-gallon planted

This cylinder-shaped aquarium light from Lominie is also a versatile product to consider. It is made using COB (Chip On Board) technology, a new method of LED package, for uniform illumination and more vigorous intensity. This makes it an ideal choice if you have live plants to care for in your aquarium.

The intensity of the light is customizable from 0 to 100%, using a manual switch included, to suit your aquarium needs. Besides the default 180-degree lens fitted in the unit, it comes with a 60-degree one to use with narrower tanks. This makes it ideal for small office aquariums that are commonly 8-18 inches in diameter.

This LED light is designed with quality aluminum casing, which has exceptional heat dissipation for low operating temperatures as well as prolonging its lifetime. The gooseneck makes the setup and customization of this clip-on light just a squeeze.

COODIA Aquarium Hood Lighting for up to 7.5 gallon tanks

This is another light fixture option. The COODIA aquarium hood lighting is an excellent light that works for tanks with low light plants while showcasing your fish collection. Its expansive range of lighting modes and multiple colors is for customizing the aesthetics of your fish tank.

Multi-color optionsMulti-color options

It comes with a 2.4G remote technology that is for easier control without pointing the remote directly towards the receiver. You can dim the high-quality RGB LEDs or choose from a range of color options to suit your tank setup using the remote.

The extendable brackets make the light a perfect fit for tanks of different sizes, and the sleek aluminum housing improves heat dissipation for a lifetime of over 10,000 hours.

NICREW HyperReef 30 for 5-gallon reef

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 18 LEDs with an optimal output for dramatic color and supporting coral growth.

HyperReef 30 performanceHyperReef 30 performance

The PAR is 58 at 24-inch depth; the number is provided by the manufacturer. We estimate the PAR is around 150 at 12-inch. This is just enough for most soft and LPS corals in a 5-gallon reef tank. In case that you have higher-demanding corals, just choose a higher-output version – the Nicrew HyperReef 50.

Two color channelsTwo color channels

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.

For an automatic lighting schedule with sunrise and sunset, you can use a dual-channel timer from Nicrew (sold separately). Please note that this timer only works with the HyperReef 30, not higher-range models in the HyperReef series.

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.

Find other reef tank LED lights here: https://portlandaquarium.net/led-light-for-reef-tank/

Final thoughts

Most aquarists will conquer that finding the right lighting for your tank is the most challenging task you can come across. This is more so the case with smaller tanks that tend to have a smaller pool of options. These aquarium clip-on LED lights will work for most small tropical fish/shrimp tanks, Betta tanks, and we even added an option for reef tank owners to cover all the grounds.

Lucas has been keeping successful fish, planted, and reef tanks for many years. He loves to collect aquatic organisms and keep as many aquariums as he can.

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