10 Gallon Tank Reviewing budget-friendly flood lights instead of LED strips

  • #1
NOTE: All LEDs are from Amazon.ca. All mention of money is in CAD. I recognize FishLore is US based and the prices, stock and products will differ as it is at Amazon.com.

I've recently been looking into cheap alternatives to the expensive full spectrum strip LEDs for aquariums, and heard LED floodlights can work pretty well while not being designed for aquariums at all. Especially for me, on a budget of preferably under $25, maybe $25-50.

I am aiming for a light that will provide medium to low lighting. I'm looking to grow the following:
*Salvinia, frogbit, red root floaters
Water sprite
*Limnophila sessiflora
*Pygmy swords
*Crypt. albida, c. wendtii, c. balansae
Java fern
*Some sort of moss (most likely java moss)
Parrot feather
Guppy grass
Four leaf clover
*Marimo moss balls
* = definitely/already have

Tank information:
Dimensions: 20''/10''/12''
Lid: Hood, will be replaced soon by DIY plexiglass, acrylic or plastic lid
Stocking: 1 betta, 1 mystery snail, planning on more snails/nano fish
Current light: Stock TopFin LEDs
Fertilizer: None currently; will buy some soon
Injected CO2: None
Liquid CO2: Maybe
Substrate: Gravel
Substrate depth: 1.5-2''

LED Flood Lights:

1. Yangcsl Colour Changing Flood Light
Length x Width x Height: 13.49 x 4.01 x 13 cm
Material: Aluminum
Power: 15W
Light beam: 120°
Input: 90-240V
LED initial flux: 1200LM
Color temperature: 2700-6500K adjustable
CRI: >85
RGB color: 120 different colors
Waterproof rating: IP66

GOOD: It's small and would fit nicely above my tank, albeit maybe a bit bulky. The light angle of 120° will sufficiently cover the tank surface. It's dimmable and adjustable to 6500k, the recommended kelvins for plants in the planted aquaria. It's waterproof and has a high CRI, meaning the colours of my tank will be more vivid and nicely displayed. Comes with all the colour options, so I could potentially create a moonlight "blue" LED setting. The cable is 4.9 ft so I wouldn't have any issues there, either. And it comes with a remote control to adjust the brightness and change colours, mainly. It also claims to have an internal memory to store the user's last settings for the next time it is turned on.

BAD: Several reviews have complained of quality issues regarding moisture in the fixture, poor wiring, poor material, and especially difficulties with the remote control. The buttons are hard to push, you have to bring the remote directly in front of the light to work, etc. Others who have purchased this light report missing or damaged products, which are most likely due to the act of shipping. And it has no timer. I would have to buy it separately. I don't think the mount is adjustable, either. The final thing I can list that's negative about this is it doesn't have a safety certification by any service/company.

I don't feel it's the best quality nor is the colour changing feature really needed in my case. The only useful aspect I would get out of the remote would be being able to adjust the brightness of the LEDs and turn them on/off. Also, I couldn't mount it easily above my aquarium; it doesn't look very adjustable. And this is the most expensive. Adding the expense of timer and it's out of my preferred <$25 budget. Overall, I don't think I'll receive all the bang for my buck.

2. Ankishi LED Flood Lights
Length x Width x Height: ?
Material: Aluminum + Glass
Power: 20W
Light beam: ?
Input: 110V
LED initial flux: ?
Color temperature: 6000-6600K
CRI: ?
Waterproof rating: IP65

GOOD: Plenty of power and could provide sufficient lighting. The colour temperature is in the range which I want and it is waterproof. This flood light comes with an adjustable stand, so I could mount it anywhere to suit my tank's needs. It also sounds as if it would last me a long time, the description boasting a whole 30,000 hours of LED life. And unlike the Yangcsl, it has safety certifications from CE and ROHS. Don't know if those apply at all, though - I'm unfamiliar with them.

BAD: Well... it's missing dimensions, the light beam angle, the initial flux, and CRI measurements. I don't know its size, if it will cover all the area in the tank, and whether my aquarium will look adequate under it. It has absolutely no reviews, which is already a huge deterrent. 20W sounds like it'd be too bright for my aquaria. I further solidify the former; in the description it says the light has an "optimum irradiation distance" of 25 meters, an "acceptable irradiation distance" of 30-35 meters and and "irradiation area" of 45-50 square meters. There is no dimming feature, no on/off switch, and no timer included.

Overall, a cheap light, and without any reviews, I feel like I'd be quite dissatisfied if I purchased it. To add on, it sounds like it'd have way too much power/brightness for my small aquarium. It could be something to test in the future, but not as a permanent replacement to my current LEDs.

3. HannaHong LED Flood Lights
Length x Width x Height: 18.03 x 13.46 x 6.86 cm
Material: Aluminum + Glass
Power: 10W
Light beam: 120°
Input: 85-365V
LED initial flux: 900lm
Color temperature: 6500K
CRI: 80-90
Waterproof rating: IP66

GOOD: Providing me with all the information I need. It would fit nicely over my tank, and the light beam angle is 120°, wide enough to cover the entire tank. A nice colour temperature of 6500K; exactly what I was aiming for, and a CRI of 80-90 to show nice colours in my tank. It is waterproof and the seller claims the LEDs have over 50,000 hours of life. It is safety qualified by FCC, which I am familiar with. In the first description of the product, it includes a review of a happy customer who is using the light to grow high-light plants in an aquarium. That's a nice plus. And this one has reviews, the most out of any in my list. Speaking of reviews, most are 5-stars and saying it is bright, easy and effective.

BAD: There is no on/off switch or timer, so I would have to buy and install one myself. But that seems to be a running theme. Some critical reviews say it arrived damaged, chipped, or defective, but I feel as if these are majorly due to shipping casualties.

Overall, it sounds like I will be getting all the bang for my buck. Although it could be too high of a light for what I want, I can always dim it in DIY ways. Having to buy a separate timer would up the cost past $25, but I feel like it would be worth it. Although, depending on the timer, maybe I'd be better off buying a cheap planted tank light that is certified for aquaria use.

The HannaHong light is the one I am leaning most towards. To me it feels like the most trusted brand, and I would get what I paid for. I would need to buy a timer, of course, but I would have to buy one for any of the flood lights I listed. It has all the necessary measurements covered, excluding PAR, probably the most important, but I can't measure that myself anyway and they aren't aquarium lights.

Are any of these worth it? Or should I just give in and pay the extra $40 for a real planted tank light?

Any and all help appreciated,
- Att.

  • #2
sorry I cant help but i am also looking for a light hopefully under $30 so i will be following to see what people say about them.
  • #3
I can’t help with those specific models, but for our large tank which is over 150 gallons, we used two 50 W floodlights which give 12,000 lumens each and cost $24 each. They are actually 5000k as this was the only one available in the size we needed, but the plants are growing very well and the colour looks good. They are meant for exterior use so are waterproof. Where I bought them there were many smaller versions as well, also available in 6500k. The ones I have are similar and the same make as those the ones in this link, but I cant find the exact one online. I am in Ecuador so there was not too much choice available, and they are not adjustable, but I am happy with them. https://www.ledvance.com/profession...oodlight-100deg-gen-2/floodlight-50/index.jsp
  • Thread Starter
  • #4
For anyone wondering which option I went with; none of them. My parents bought a 35 gallon tank for the family with everything (and extra) included, which ended up having a NICREW Classic Gen 2 LED, 18-24" long - fit for my 10g, 20" long tank. Since the 35 is without a light now though, I may end up mounting 2 10W HannaHong LED flood lights over the tank. If I choose to do this, I'll let you know of my results. :)
  • #5
Oh no, you are letting out a big secret lol. Let me enjoy my $25 lights in peace hahaha :D

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