MALAWI Cichlid

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links to products. We may receive a small commission for purchases made through these links at no added cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

In this article on the best-LED lighting for cichlids, I will walk you through selecting which aquarium lighting will best fit your cichlids.

You will also read about some of the essential considerations for selecting LED lighting African cichlid tank.

If you are a hobbyist and own an aquarium, then you shouldn’t be a stranger to aquarium lighting.

Here is a quick round-up of our top three lights for cichlids:

1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Lights

2. Current USA Satellite Aquarium Lights for Cichlids

3. Finnex Planted + 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Controller

Some hobbyists don’t give aquarium lighting much attention. This is no fault of theirs.

In the past, specialized aquarium lights were scarce. The non-availability of such lights meant that many aquarium owners had to use incandescent on regular fluorescent bulbs to light up the aquarium.

The situation is different now because the market has-beens flooded with numerous brands of aquarium light with varying claims of lighting efficiency and quality.

LED aquarium lights could also be very functional, as it gives your cichlids the feeling of being in their natural habitat as well as assisting the aquarium plants in growing.

If you’re purchasing or building your very first cichlid aquarium, then keep reading.

Because in this article, there’s so much information on cichlid lighting researched and written for you.

Our Side by side comparison

Cichlid Aquarium Lighting Guide

There are so many types and models of aquarium lighting in the market. Your lighting needs should determine which you should buy.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, there are several factors to consider before buying LED lights for your African cichlid tank. These include –

  • Aquarium type
  • Quality
  • Controls
  • Cost

We will review 6 of the very best aquarium lighting you can get your hands on. They vary in quality and price, and the final choice is yours.

It is also essential to know that there is no such thing as a perfect product. The lights all the light for cichlids have pros and cons, and we shall look into those as well.

Best LED Lighting For African Cichlids Review

1. Current USA Orbit Marine Aquarium LED Lights

Current USA Orbit Marine is undoubtedly one of the best-LED aquarium lights available in the market at the moment. Its advanced features are ones that you will surely enjoy.

It is so easy to control, thanks to its infrared wireless remote. Just point and press a button, that’s it!

With this product, you have 24hrs control over the brightness, meaning you can adjust the light, or turn it on or off over 30-minute transition periods.

You can have fun with the colors also only by adjusting the spectrum to give you the loveliest lighting colors.

During the night, you could set it to the ‘moon pattern,’ which sets the tone for your fish to go to sleep.

Installing this product in your tank is very easy; it comes with an instruction manual that will guide you all the way.

Be sure to read through the warnings and precautions, just so you’d be clear on what to do, as well as what not to do.


  • It has a great design
  • It is easy to install
  • It comes with several attractive colors
  • The lighting fixtures are easily customizable


  • It is not the best choice for deep tanks
  • You can only adjust the settings with the remote control

See Price on Amazon

2. Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED Plus Lights

If you’re looking for a good quality aquarium led lighting for African cichlids, then you should consider this product.

It not only looks great in your tank, but it also helps improve the health of your pet fish.

This product comes in different sizes. These include 18-24 inch, 24-36 inch, 36-48 inch, and 48-60 inches in length.

This particular lighting isn’t intense.

It means you may need to install more than one light, depending on the size of your tank.

This product has a set of dynamic effects that include

  • Three fade modes for cloud cover effects
  • Two lunar light modes
  • Two storm modes with lightning and cloud cover effects
  • Dusk mode for evening viewing

These lighting effects are so real that they will keep your fish happy and give them the feeling of being at home.

They will also give you the confidence to show off your aquarium to your friends because they look outstanding!

Furthermore, Its wireless remote control makes it easy to managing of cichlid lighting very conveniently.

This means functions like dimming, turning on and off are right at your fingertips!

The remote also comes with 32 customizable keys, which allows you to combine the colors of the lighting spectrums easily.


  • It has full spectrum light features
  • It has an impressive range of dynamic effects
  • It conserves energy


  • It is quite small in size
  • The lighting of a single unit is not suitable for larger tanks
  • It does not have a timer
  • Company warranty does not cover damages caused by water

See Price on Amazon

3. Finnex Planted + 24/7 Fully Automated Aquarium LED Controller

This lighting has so many great features, one of which is simulating the sunrise and sunset modes to make the aquarium look great and natural at different times in the day.

The way it switches from a chilly little dawn to an exquisite sunset condition is truly incredible!

This product comes with a memory chip, one with which you can save your lighting settings. The installed chip saves you the stress of continually adjusting the settings daily.

WithFinnex aquarium light, you can be sure of getting exactly how much light your African cichlid needs.

It also has a weather mode feature that includes the thunderstorm mode and so many more.

Also, there is a water-resistant IR sensor that controls its dusk to dawn mode.

Its superb color combinations help the plants grow better. A mix of dimmable red, green, and blue, with the addition of 7000k daylight LEDs help aquarium plants to thrive.

Also, it is simple and straightforward to operate. When you set it in 24/7 mode, it will keep functioning without the need to be reset.


  • It has a 24/7 mode setting
  • It looks great
  • It is easily adjustable
  • It is easily customizable


  • There’s a good chance the user could overwrite the saved settings when adjusting the light settings

See Price on Amazon

4. Finnex Fugeray Planted + Aquarium LED Light Plus Moonlight

Finnex Fugeray aquarium light is sleek and beautiful. The manufacturers did a great job with their looks. Your visitors would be impressed by it.

Besides its looks, it is also durable.

Thanks to its high-quality metal frame that ensures you will use this product for many years as corrosion won’t be a problem with this product.

This is because the light is designed to be moisture resistant and can withstand some exposure to heavy moisture. It also offers the best light spectrum for an African cichlid.

It comes with two adjustable legs that allow you to install it on various sizes of aquariums.

You can also fit it on rimless aquariums that come with it if you like.

The light is compatible with several types of tanks that make this one of the best aquarium LED lights for African cichlid you can buy online.

Talking of its features, The metal closure helps protect its inner components and also doubles as a heat-sink that helps discharge unwanted heat from the diodes.

The model has a lifespan of about 40,000 hours, which makes it a long-lasting product.

It doesn’t stop there, As the product comes with a 6-month warranty.


  • It comes with a 6-month warranty
  • It has a splash guard
  • It is designed with adjustable legs, so it’s compatible with many types of tanks


  • It condenses moisture if kept near the water levels

See Price on Amazon

5. Aquamana LED 55x3W Dimmable 165w Full Spectrum LED Aquarium Light

Compared to many other aquarium lights, this product is wider but significantly shorter. It measures at 15.8 x 8.4 inches in length.

Unfortunately, it comes in only one size, meaning you may need more than one fixture to produce adequate lighting.

The chips use 45mil Epileds and bridge lux chips.

This causes the light to burn 30% brighter, and it gives it a much longer lifespan than many other brands. It also consumes way less energy.

Its full-spectrum lighting and color channels give your tank a natural glow that will make your fishes feel at home, similar to their natural habitat.

The lighting comes with two dimmer modes — one for each of the two-channel lights.

Lights generally produce heat and need to be cooled off; many brands don’t have in-built cooling systems, but not this one.

It comes with two active cooling fan systems that help with heat dissipation. This feature places this product as one of the best cichlid lightings you can choose from.


  • It has full-spectrum lighting
  • It has in-built cooling fans
  • It has two separate and controllable light channels


  • It is small in size compared to other brands.

See Price on Amazon

6. Aquatic Life LED Aquarium Light Fixture-Best LED Lighting for African Cichlid Tank

This product comes with a built-in battery back-up for all its timer functions.

It has an ultra-slim design that is built with state-of-the-art LED technology that gives you excellent light output.

It also has five colors of 120-degree dispersion and 0.5 watt LEDs to guarantee a full spectrum of light that your tank’s inhabitants need.

It is available in 2 sizes – 36” and 48” inches.


  • It has sturdy adjustable legs
  • It has a durable and robust structure
  • It has an Acrylic bottom cover lens that protects the lights from splashes


  • It does not have an in-built cooling system.

See Price on Amazon

Critical Considerations for Aquarium Lighting for Cichlids

An African Cichlid

Aquarium type – Aquariums come in different shapes and sizes. As their physical features differ, so do their lighting needs. Be sure to go for LED lights that are best suited for yours!

Quality – Now that you’ve figured out the type of lights you need, you need to make sure it’s of good quality. It’s pointless spending money on something that wouldn’t serve your needs well enough. Better quality could potentially cost more, but it’ll be worth it!

Controls – I’m sure you’d like to be in a position where you can easily control your aquarium lighting system. Be sure to get LED lights that are very easy to control

Cost – As mentioned earlier, varying qualities of LED lights would, of course, come with varying costs.

It is more likely that the better the quality of LED lighting, the more it will cost. Still, it advisable to go for the best possible quality, they function better and last longer.

Whatever aquarium LED lighting you choose to buy, make sure you choose one that will give you good value for money!

Watch the video below for some useful tips on cichlid tank lighting

How Much Light Do African Cichlids Need?

Good lighting is very beneficial to a dark cichlid tank because it performs the essential function of stimulating plant growth. With that in mind, African cichlids need adequate lighting for at least 8 hours a day. This is sufficient to stimulate the development of nutritious algae, which is an important source of food for them,

Cichlids originate from very deep lakes, meaning they can thrive in the darkness.

An important thing to keep in mind is that the brightness of your lights is dependent on the original habitat of your Cichlids.

For instance, Cichlids from Lake Victoria are more accustomed to “murkier” conditions than those from Lake Malawi.

Plants aren’t just a food source for your Cichlids; they also utilize the nitrate (that would be hazardous to the fish) and produce the oxygen required for them to breathe underwater.

Just as good lighting is beneficial to your Cichlids, poor lighting could be dangerous.

Cichlids react to improper lighting, and unhappy Cichlids tend to become more aggressive, and depression can set in on some occasions. The depression could cause them to be vulnerable to illness.

Poor lighting will also affect plant life that cichlids depend on.

When the quality of the plant in a cichlid tank depreciates, it will in no way be beneficial for the Cichlids.

You may ask, how do I know when the lights are too bright or dull? Well, it’s simple.

First of all, if you notice the color on your fishes becoming too light, then it means you have to reduce the lighting.

Secondly, an abundance of algae in your tank means that your tank will become darker; this means you need to turn off your lights for more extended periods.

Does Light Cause Aggression in Cichlids?

Having light on all the time can increase aggression, for exactly the same reason that when people don’t sleep they get grumpy. There are other problems you will have if you leave the light on all the time as well, including loss of color as you will increase stress.

The best thing to do to increase color is food, feed a variety of foods. The next thing is cover, fish that aren’t stressed because they have places to hide will show better colors


Cichlids are lovely colorful fish. A species that appreciate its natural habitat more than anything else.

Having them as pets in your aquarium would significantly contribute to the beauty of your home.

But as elegant as they look inside the tank, they still need the basics to survive.

Proper lighting is among their basic needs and giving your African cichlid the best-LED lights is the way to go.

You need to provide them with the right amount, not too much and not too little. The proper lighting is essential to cichlids’ happiness, growth, and overall health.

Lighting helps grow algae, and this is a natural source of food for the Cichlids.

Without this, they will be malnourished and unhealthy. Malnourishment could potentially lead to the death of your pets.

The recommended aquarium lightings above are top-grade products.

Their various functions and uniqueness make them good buy anytime.

Be sure to take note of their pros and cons so you’d pick out the one that ideally suits your needs.

You Might Also Like:

Best Lights for Growing Plants Indoors

Best Aquarium Lighting [Buying Tips & Recommendations]