You may think that you do not need the best aquarium light timer right now, but you will ask yourself why you did not get one sooner. This is especially true once you experience and discover how convenient it is.
You probably already have aquarium lights installed on your tank, but do you still need to turn them on and off by hand? Would it not be great if the lights would turn on and off on their own during certain times of the day? Aside from being convenient, this will also benefit your fish in more ways than one.
This article will teach you how to choose the right aquarium light timer, and why you and your fish need it.
Best Aquarium Light Timer Reviews
1. BN-LINK Surge Protector Digital Timer
This product is essentially an aquarium light timer dual power strip, something that I did not know I needed until I tried it. This power strip has eight outlets in total, four of which are always on while the other four are programmable. Even when I am out of the house, I am sure my fish gets the light they need.
Aside from letting you set the timer to turn the outlets on and off at a certain time, you can also choose what days they turn on. Just set the date and time that you want the aquarium lights to turn on and this power strip will do so automatically. I also use this to automate the feeder so even when I am out, my fish will still get enough food.
Here is another impressive thing about this aquarium timer power strip – you can set up to 8 different programs for the timer. Your fish needs at least 10-12 hours of light every day so they can maintain their bright colors. This is especially true for goldfish. So, I set my timer to go on for around 6 hours during the day and 4 hours in the evening.
No need to worry about the power surges or interruptions damaging your aquarium equipment because this power strip comes with a built-in surge protector and circuit breaker. In addition, it also has a built-in battery. This means that in case of a power outage, it will not erase the timer programs.
My problem with this product, though, is that it is a bit too complicated. It has numerous buttons. You need to press multiple buttons at the same time for some functions. If you are getting this aquarium timer, make sure that you carefully read the instruction manual and keep it safe in case you need it later.
2. Hygger Auto On Off LED Aquarium Timer Lights
The one thing that you need to make sure of when choosing an aquarium light is that it must at least have some amount of water resistance. This aquarium light with a built-in timer has an IP68 rating so accidental splashes and even momentary submersion will not cause any serious damage.
I also liked how I can control the intensity and brightness of the LED lights as a means of imitating the actual lighting in the real world. This product also allows users to change the colors of the light. The best part about it is that you can set the light to change its colors and intensity at certain times of the day.
It also comes with a sunrise and sunset function. This means that at specific times of your choosing, the lights will turn on and off gradually to simulate the rising and setting of the sun. This is much better for the fish compared to abruptly turning the lights on and off, causing them stress. The best part about this is that it is completely automatic.
Aside from the sunlight and sunset function, this light also comes with a moonlight setting that allows dulling down the intensity and colors. This can mimic the slight illumination provided by the moon. It will also give your aquarium a more natural look and feel.
Now, this product would have gotten a perfect score if only they did a better job with heat dissipation. This light can get hot after it has been on for a couple of hours, so it might affect the temperature of the water quite a bit.
3. DEWENWILS Indoor Plug in Outlet Timer
Unlike other wall-plugged aquarium lighting timers, this product does not take over the entire wall outlet. It is so slim and compact that you can still use the other outlets for other appliances. It is also so small that it is barely noticeable. This is great if you want to keep your aquarium setup neat.
This is almost as complicated as a regular kitchen timer. If you are even just a bit technically inclined, you can program this timer even without reading the instruction manual. Most people can probably figure out how to make it work just by looking at it.
You also do not have to worry about the power going out. This timer has an internal battery that will keep your settings. The backup battery is good for at least three months so an hour or so without power will not be a problem.
Unlike other timers, especially the mechanical ones, this product will not produce any noise at all. You can place it beside your bed to turn on your lampshade automatically, so you can wake up on schedule every morning. This timer will also help make sure that your fish gets all the light they need.
Keep in mind that this is a very basic timer. With that said, you should not expect that you can program it to turn on and off several times during the day. You can only set it to turn on once and then off again one time a day. If you will be using it for your aquarium light, then you need to set it for nighttime.
4. VIPARSPECTRA Timer Control LED Aquarium Lights
This aquarium light comes with two light channels with each one having its own spectrum of colors. One channel is for white light while the other is for blue light. You can program both channels to turn on and off at specific times.
This product is the ideal choice for aquarists who have a reef tank as well as for someone who is growing live rocks and corals. This aquarium light with a timer can easily penetrate deep into the tank to make sure that the corals get all the light they need to grow and cultivate properly.
You also get complete control over the intensity and the color of the lights. You can choose from two spectrums of colors. Also, you can adjust the intensity of the lights from dim to extremely bright. These lights are so bright that they can reach the bottom of deep reef tanks so that corals can have enough light.
This product also comes with a remote control. If you mount the light a bit too high, then you can use the remote to easily and conveniently control the lights from below. You can control all functions from the small remote that came with the lights.
The problem with these lights, at least with the ones I got, is that they require mounting on the ceiling. Although the reason for this is so you can adjust the height of the aquarium light, it would have been much easier if you could place this on top of the tank if you wanted to.
5. Fosmon Indoor Mechanical Outlet Timer
This product is one of the easiest to use when it comes to programmable timers for aquarium lights that I have used so far. You do not have to figure out which buttons to press. Just twist the dial to the current time then push down tabs to set the duration of each program.
If you wish to, you can set the timer to turn on and off up to 24 times a day in 30-minute increments. If you will be using it for controlling your aquarium lights, you can set them to turn on for four hours every morning and another four hours every evening. All it takes is to push the tabs that coincide with the time.
The nice thing about this type of timer is that everything is analog so you do not have to worry about power interruptions. If the power in your area fluctuates a bit, the setting on the timer will not reset. You can set the timer programs, plug it in, and forget about it.
Another neat thing is that it is quite compact. If you plug it into a wall outlet, it would not block the other socket. Moreover, this timer has two power sockets. This means you can control two electrical appliances at once. I use it to control my lights and an auxiliary aerator. This timer makes keeping an aquarium convenient.
Here is the problem I have with this timer – there is no manual override. If you want to turn on the plugged appliances into the timer manually, then you will not be able to do it. It would have gotten higher marks if there was an override function.
6. IREENUO Auto on/Off Timer LED Aquarium Lights
If it was not indicated in the packaging, you would not have thought that this LED aquarium lighting with a timer was programmable. This light has simple controls with only four switches to press. There is not even a screen that you need to decipher.
Speaking of programming, you just need to press one button to set the timer. There are three lights on the switch known as the timer indicators. You can set the timer to run for 6, 10, or 12 hours. Once you set the timer, the light will turn on again at the same time the next day.
Another neat thing about this aquarium light is that it has an IP68 waterproof rating, which means you can submerge it in the water. It also lets you position this light wherever you want.
This product is not like other aquarium lights where you need to install a bracket before you can install the actual light. With this aquarium light, you just have to attach it using the included suction cups. You can attach it wherever you want if the suction cups can attach to the surface.
The only thing about this aquarium light that I did not like is that you cannot program it in advance. You have to program it at the exact time when you want it to turn on for the succeeding days. This would not be too much of a hassle. However, if the power in your house trips up, you will need to do it all over again.
7. NICREW Controller Aquarium Light Timer
The neat thing about the NICREW aquarium light timer is that it is easy to install. You will have no problems installing it even without any electrical wiring. The only thing that you need to do is connect it in between the adaptor and the light fixture. You are essentially installing a bypass switch and extending the power cord.
For such a small and simple-looking device, I was surprised that this can hold 6 separate program blocks. You can use this simple device to turn any regular LED aquarium light into a programmable and dimmable lighting solution at a fraction of the price.
This product is not just for aquarium lights. You can use it on your bedside lamp so that you can dim the light whenever you need to. If your light uses the same dimmable lamps, you can use the switch to dim the lamp at a certain time and eventually turn itself off.
Another nice thing about this timer switch is that you can essentially add sunrise and sunset settings in your aquarium lighting. In other words, the lamps will gradually turn on and off so they will not shock your fish and live plants.
Now here is the issue. It might look like a simple gadget but it is a bit on the complicated side. Not only do you have a small-time window to start programming the timer, but it also uses a 24-hour clock. This means that if you are unfamiliar with that, then you need to learn how to read it. Moreover, in case of power failures, the programs will reset.
8. MingDak Fish Tank Inline Timer Clip on Lights
Installing this aquarium light could not get any easier. Just clip it on the side of your aquarium and plug it in the nearest power socket. You can adjust the distance of the lights from the surface by bending the flexible gooseneck.
You have a choice between three different timer lengths (6, 10, and 12 hours). Once you set the timer length, the lights will turn on again at the same time every day. This is probably one of the easiest to program aquarium lights that you can buy right now.
This aquarium light has adjustable brightness, which you can adjust in 10% increments. If your fish are not fond of overly bright environments, then you can dim the light down to make them more comfortable. You can also change the color temperature by choosing one of the presets.
Aside from providing illumination for your aquarium, you can also use it as a plant grow light. I use it to give my indoor succulent plants light throughout the day. Although they are not as great as full-spectrum grow lights, they still provide decent results.
The only issue that I have with these aquarium lights is that they can get hot when used for a couple of hours in the brightest setting. It is almost too hot to touch. This product might work a bit better if it had better heat dissipation.
9. JOYHILL Timer Fish Tank LED Light Bar
What I liked about this aquarium light is that you can submerge it when needed. However, I didn’t do it with mine. I was afraid that the casing would break over time. I just stuck the light at the side of my 50-gallon tank and it provided enough light for the entire tank.
It is also quite easy to program. The switch only has a couple of buttons that control the brightness, the color temperature, and the timer. You only need to choose the length of time the lights are on. It will turn on at the same time the next day and every succeeding day after.
It might look like a simple LED light bar but this aquarium light allows you to choose between three different light configurations – blue light, white light, and a combination of the two. The blue light is best for the evening as it relaxes the fish, thus allowing them to get some rest.
It also helped a lot that this aquarium light is so easy to install. You do not need to screw on brackets or clamps. It uses strong suction cups to attach itself to the sides of the tank, or any smooth, non-porous surface.
I do have a small issue with this light, though – that is it is too bright for small tanks even at the lowest brightness setting. If you have a bigger aquarium, like a 50-gallon tank, this would be fine. However, it will be too bright for a 5- to 10-gallon betta tank.
10. AMZBD Programmable Time Aquarium Lights
I liked that this light is so easy to install and it also looks great sitting on top of the tank. The only thing that you need to do is hook the brackets on the edges of the tank. It will be kept in place by the springs hidden inside the light housing. You can be sure that it will not be going anywhere.
I have had a couple of aquarium lights fail on me because my fish splashed water on them, thus shorting them out. It will not be an issue with this product as it has an IP68 water rating. This means that the light can survive even when you accidentally drop it into the water.
Another neat thing about this lighting solution is that it has a sunlight and sunset setting. This makes the lights gradually get lighter during the day and then slowly get dimmer once evening approaches. This prevents the fish from getting shocked because the light goes on gradually.
Because it is a full-spectrum aquarium light, you can tweak the settings a bit so that both your fish and your live plants will have enough light to grow. You can even change the color of the light to whatever shade and brightness you want.
If you are not that tech-inclined, then you may have a bit of trouble figuring out how to program the light. In addition, the buffer stage for each cycle is permanently set at 15 minutes. You cannot shorten or lengthen the time.
What to Look For When Buying a Aquarium Light Timer
Now that you have seen a couple of recommendations, what are the things that you need to look for when choosing the aquarium timer light for your setup? Here are some of the most important qualities you should keep an eye out for:
Ease of Use
If you only want your timer to go on and off at a certain point during the day, then you should get a basic repeating timer. These are the ones where you only set the times when the aquarium lights will turn on and off. It will repeat the cycle every day.
Now, if you want to give your aquarium a more natural feel, get one of the aquarium light timers that have sunrise and sunset settings. However, keep in mind that these are a bit trickier to program.
There are aquarium light timers that easily connect to your existing LED lights and light setups that come with their timers. If you do not want to drill mounting holes in your walls or ceiling, then get the light timers that are easy to install.
The ones you can easily install are those that you just need to clamp onto the side of the tank. There are even those held on using suction cups.
If you want to get the most out of your money, then get an aquarium light timer or a new aquarium light that can let you control the brightness and color of the light.
Using a light that is too bright will only stress your fish and cause them to hide. That said, it would be best for you to get a light that you can dial down to a comfortable level for your fish and live plants.
If you do not have much room in your budget, which is understandable as aquariums can get expensive, then you should get a basic timer that allows you to set a daily schedule for the lights.
However, if you have a bit more wiggle room, I suggest that you get a product that allows multiple programs, preferably one that does not have ramp timer pro problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to set Aquarium Light Timers?
This depends entirely on the brand of timer you have. Typically, they work like kitchen timers. The only difference is that you set a start and end time. Some timers let you turn the light on and off several times during the day.
How Long Should Aquarium Lights be on?
Ideally, your aquarium should get at least ten hours of light, especially if the tank is located where it does not get indirect natural light. If your fish does not get enough light, their colors will fade and they will get sluggish and prone to diseases.
A proper aquarium light timer makes aquarium keeping a bit easier. With this simple device, you can ensure that your fish will be getting the right amount of light during the day. This also assures you that they will remain colorful and healthy for many years to come.
The best aquarium light timer will automate the lights for you, thereby making the hobby a bit easier and more enjoyable.