Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
African Cichlid Aquarium Lighting Comparison/Review

African Cichlid Aquarium Lighting Comparison/Review

Hey everyone, Steve Poland here, Steve Poland Cichlids, And in this week’s video I wanted to talk
a little bit about lighting, because I think it can make a really big difference in the
overall enjoyment of your aquarium. I’m not trying to grow anything in my tank.
In fact, in most cases I’m trying not to grow something, which of course is algae. So I’m going to focus on the impact that lighting
can have on the look of your tank, because I have a few different options on hand that
I’ve collected over time. All of the lights will be displayed on my 6 foot long, 125 gallon
tank. The lighting will be pulled all the way forward on the tank, which is something
that I highly recommend you do because it really helps you see the fish a lot better.
No factors other than the lighting will change. Now it’s tough to find lights that are 6 feet
long, so most people usually go with one 4 foot light or two 3 foot lights. I’m going
to start off with a couple of 4 foot lights. First is a 4 foot Aqueon fluorescent strip
light with a 32 watt bulb. Any time you have a 4 foot light on a 6 foot tank you’re going
to have dark corners. I don’t necessarily mind that as much as I thought I would, but
though this light doesn’t look as washed out in person as it does on camera, I’m still
not a fan of the bright focus in the center and the reddish tone that it gives the grey
rocks. Next we have a different 4 foot solution.
This time it’s a nice LED light that’s pretty popular, the Current Satellite Freshwater
Plus. Now right away I like it a lot better than the 4 foot fluorescent, but part of the
reason for that is that this light has a ton of different settings and it even allows you
to tweak those settings to create custom colors. It has a remote control which I never really
used other than to change these settings but it’s kind of cool to have. It even has weather
patterns like this thunderstorm setting which my kids love but my fish hate. Here is a comparison of these two 4 foot lights
so you can see the difference. Now for a few 6 foot long options. This is the tank with two 36 inch Aqueon strip
lights. Now one thing worth noting is that these fixtures are 3 feet long but the bulbs
are only 24 inches, centered in the middle of each fixture. That doesn’t seem to impact
the look at all though, and while I like this a lot better than the 4 foot fluorescent,
it’s still too bright for me and as with all basic fluorescent fixtures there is no way
to change it. Next up is the first of two different LED
solutions that I bought from eBay. I grabbed this one because it was one single 6 foot
long fixture which as I mentioned before is tough to find. I also didn’t have a canopy
on my tank at the time and I liked the look of one long light running all the way down
the tank. This is a nice fixture and the light hits the corners but my biggest problem with
it is that it has only these two settings. This one, where only a portion of the LEDs
are turned on, which is ok but a bit too dim, and then this one which is like you’re standing
on the surface of the sun. Last but not least we have the lights that
I have been running most recently. These are two 3 foot LEDs from eBay. There are two things
I really like about these lights. One is that they have a reasonable default brightness
setting. They don’t look quite this bright in person. And second is that they have a
few blue actinic LEDs interspersed with the whites which looks really cool with these
African Cichlids. Here is a comparison of these three 6 foot
lights so you can see the difference. And here is a comparison of the Current Satellite
Plus next to the 3 foot LEDs that I currently run. I think I might be actually be switching. So which lights to you think look the best?
Let me know in the comments. I’ll include the names of all of these fixtures in the
video description along with links. As always, if you enjoyed this video please
hit like, and if you want to see more be sure to subscribe. Have a good one!

42 comments on “African Cichlid Aquarium Lighting Comparison/Review

  1. Excellent video Steve! I'm a big fan of the Current Satellite + and prefer that look in your video. I definitely like all the options & custom settings it provides. I also like to keep the lighting a little dimmer as it seems to help curb aggression as well.

  2. steve i put cheep ebay LEDs in my 125 gallon 2 strips in the front on a dimmer 2 strips in the back on a dimmer, and 1 dark blue in the center on a dimmer so i can ajust each. front on back off,back on front off both off blue on. makes it vary handy when i have to have the canopy open and turn the front off back on and clean the tank. total cost on lighting $40.00 ebay dimmers ebay LEDs

  3. Excellent video! I've been contemplating switching to LED lighting so I really appreciated this. I just subscribed, by the way.

  4. nice i am looking around at mo for a light for my 5ft mbuna tank i think its got to be leds so i can change up the light pattern

  5. Hi Steve. Great review, clean, simple with awesome comparison in-video views! I've already shared it on fish lore forums. I'm upgrading from a 60G cichlid setup with limestone holey rock and black painted back using one 48" Satellite Freshwater LeD+ fixture. The light setup on my 60G is almost perfect. Only thing it's missing is the capability to program dawn/dusk/day automatically (I think there's a higher end model for that). I generally using only white and blue LEDs in a custom setting…I don't like adding full-spectrum i.e. greens and reds so that are always off. Now I just refinished the 72" 125G cabinet and canopy and I would like to keep in simple under the canopy and above the glass hinged tops and use just one 72" fixture wherein the end-cap bracket would slide in a stand-off I glue and nail to the sides of the canopy. This way when I open the canopy I can simply slide the whole fixture back and then open one side of the class lid to feed. I agree, the last setup you show seems the best. I've been told that all 6500K would be best but now that I've seen the 10000K + actinic I think I might go that route. I don't want anything plant-wise to grow. I only wish that last version had two possible options: 1. comes in a 72" 2. allows 2 or even 3 modes (all leds on, half leds on and only actinc leds on) but I think it's only 2 modes of all on or only blue and IMHO I would much rather replace the blue only with 1/2 LED (white and blue) l on which is better for dusk/dawn setting.

  6. Nice video, thanks for sharing. I'm not following who makes the last set of double 3' LED's ? Are they programmable such as the Current Satellite +  ? I have a 90G Peacock I just set up and added fish today. I need the lights for the last thing. Does the last set of lights use 10K Spectrum ?

  7. Why not go with 2 36" current satellite +? Then you can have the features of the current, and light up the tank end to end.

  8. Great comparison. It's nice to have something where you can see the differences in the same place under the same conditions.
    Was thinking about trying out one of the Beamswork LEDs. I love my 4' Current USA Freshwater + on my 135G but it's so expensive. As you mentioned, the lightning storm is cool but probably not the best for fish.


  10. Thanks Steve.

    Recently, I see a lot has been changed in light. With LEDs getting flooded, it's even more confusing what is right and best with cost. We have CFL, HO, LED, Actinic.. and many more.
    can you please update by comparing and suggesting best one among the new lights. That will be a kind favor.

    no doubt your chichild setup is beautiful 🙂

  11. The following is:

    The best lighting for African cichlids is Blau Lumina Led 152 special reef

    But, you have to know how to program it, do not use automatic programming

    Schedule manual

    My aquarium is 2 meters long and is lined back and sides with panels of – Juwel

    So the light gets more concentrated in the aquarium

    To avoid excessive light and the opposite

    The programation:

    Coordinates 10 South

    34 East

    Midday Function 15:30 Intensity Filter – 60% – yes, – 60% Lake Malawi is deep

    Nubellate Days, to your taste, 2 to 5%, as Africa is constant heat and rains little as we have already decreased the light intensity I recommend 2% for occurrence of cloudy days

    The Blau Lumina Led 152 special reef – special reef is expectular for dusk with its dimming channels – 2 actinic LED lights per plate

    And dawn is also phenomenal

  12. Great videos Steve. Love the way your tanks look so much I decided to start a cichlid tank myself. I was wondering about the the lighting, how long do you leave the lights on? Do Cichlids need a day and night cycle or can I just turn the lights on when I get home from work around 5pm and turn them off before bed? Will it affect their health?

  13. Fabulist video , they way you compare the different sets of lights is marvellous . Lovely fish and tank obviously 🙂

  14. Can you add a (programmable)controller to the exquisite?

    Can you confirm the links under your post are still correct? I believe the exquisite EX90 link takes you to a different product.

  15. You do the best reviews, I like the 4ft light! I actually like the darker corners & the spotlight look in the center. I’m literally ordering a 4ft now.

  16. My African Cichlids look brighter and more fired up with natural sunlight. Too bad that doesnt light much of the tank. Frustrating that a brighter LED seems to wash them out a bit. Maybe I need to work on the settings and spectrum more on the Fluval Aquasky I'm running on the 125.

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