Best Aquarium Light Timers 2021 & Buyers Guide

Having an aquarium in your house or office does not mean just buying pretty and amazing fish and just throw them in a bowl of water and forget about them.

Caring for your fish habitat needs a bigger investment and time and not just buying their food.

A display of abundant, living plants can definitely enhance a well-maintained aquarium that houses a good fish collection. However, you should also keep in mind that planted tanks actually need more maintenance and technical knowledge than bigger tanks with silk plants. But having said that, the result of having a well-kept planted tank is well worth the additional effort from us.

The rise of planted tanks has also resulted in the popularity of aquarium lights with timers. Nowadays, a good number of aquarium owners have lights installed in them.

However, even selecting the perfect light for your aquarium should have needed some bit of research. If you light your aquarium up too much, the water inside can have algae, and it is something you do not want to have as a problem. However, if you have a light that is not really that powerful enough would hinder your fish, coral, and of course, your plants from growing.

Cheap & Good

Our Favorite

Customers Choice

Product

NICREW Single Channel LED Light Timer

NICREW Aquarium LED Light Dimmer

BN-LINK 24 Hour Programmable Dual Outlet Timer

Type

Ramp Lighting Timer

Ramp Lighting Timer

Plug-in Timer

Compatible LEDs

0 V to 36 V

5 V to 24 V

-
Voltage: 125V, 60Hz

Control

On-Off or Timer

Rotary Dial

On-Off or Timer

Connection

 inline between the transformer and LED light

inline between the transformer and LED light

Plug-In Mount

Our Rating

The best Aquarium Light Timers in 2021

1st NICREW Aquarium LED Light Dimmer

Specifications

  • Type: Ramp Lighting Timer
  • Compatible LEDs: 5 V to 24 V
  • Rating: max. 6 Amperes
  • Control: Rotary Dial
  • Connection: inline between the transformer and LED light

A top company known for its LED lighting and pet supplies since 2015, NICREW manufactures cheap yet efficient LED aquarium lights.

The NICREW Aquarium LED Light Dimmer is a manual dimmer, allowing us to turn up or down some LED aquarium features gradually.

This is a wonderful feature, especially for those that offer basic single-channel lighting. This is especially true when you do not need an automatic timer for your aquariums but prefer dimming control features.

There is an On-Off timer that you can use to control the light automatically. For instance, an hour before you go to sleep, you can dim the light in your aquarium. Afterward, the timer will completely turn the light off, turning it on the next morning.

Since the NICREW Aquarium LED Light Dimmer dims the light, you can increase the lighting manually before leaving home.

Just a note: This dimmer works well with basic LED aquarium lights utilizing a barrel connector that has 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm specifications and 5V to 24V DC to control the lights.

There are adapters out there that allow you to match the barrel size. However, the light you have must use more or less the same power range. The NICREW dimmer connects in between the power supply of the light and the light fixture.

Pros

  • One-year warranty overall, including a 30-day money back guarantee
  • Good value for the money; considered among the best affordable dimmers in the market
  • Simple and easy to install
  • Offers better features than its competitors

Cons

  • Some customers may find the product too dim for them
  • Connection not water proof
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2nd BN-LINK 24 Hour Programmable Dual Outlet Timer

Specifications

  • Type: Plug-in Timer
  • Voltage: 125V, 60Hz
  • Rating: max. 15 Amperes
  • Control: On-Off or Timer
  • Connection: Plug-In Mount
  • with 24 Hour Programmable Dual Outlet Timer

This amazing mechanical rotary timer also has a grounded power cord that is six inches long. The protective housing is water-resistant. What does it mean? It means the housing cannot be drenched with the water from the aquarium. However, the occasional splashes may drip off the cover.

Its timer works on a cycle that runs for 24 hours. Setting up the rotary timing is fairly easy: just push down a pin when you want the light on. When you want to turn it off, you need to push a pin corresponding to it.

You should always remember to push down the pins needed in between your On and Off-cycle.

This timer has two grounded outlets. The timer’s maximum load is 15 amps that are split between its two outlets. The timer controls both outlets.

The timer also has an ON and OFF button that you can use manually. If the power in your home is lost, you will have to reset the timer to correspond to the current time.

Pros

  • One-year warranty overall
  • Perfect if you are tired of manually plugging in and unplugging your aquarium lights
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Manufacturer offers good customer services

Cons

  • Fragile On-Off switch
  • Customers may find the cord too short
  • Cover does not open easily
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3rd myTouchSmart Indoor/Outdoor Plug-in Digital Timer

Specifications

  • Type: Plug-in Timer
  • Voltage: 125V, 60Hz
  • Rating: max. 10 Amperes
  • Control: On-Off or Timer
  • Connection: Plug-In Mount
  • includes 2 custom timers

The myTouchSmart Indoor/Outdoor Plug-in Digital Timer is manufactured to aid holiday lighting and small fountain pumps. But not many people know is that the product also works perfectly for aquarium lighting programs.

The myTouchSmart product is a digital timer, compared with rotary mechanical timers out there. What does this mean? This means you do not have to adjust any moving wheels or pins. You just need to set the actual time when you want the product’s single outlet to turn on immediately. You can also do the same when you want to turn the unit off.

But wait, there’s more. The product allows us to make a second photoperiod, allowing the light to come on and off automatically at a different interval.

The product’s LCD screen allows us to program and check the current time of day easily and which program of the unit runs the lights. The myTouchSmart product timer also has an internal battery back-up, saving the time of day and programming in various cases, such as power failures or if you have to unplug the time.

The product’s digital timer is safely encased in a housing that is resistant to splash.

Pros

  • One-year warranty overall
  • Easy to set up
  • Simple to program
  • A reliable outdoor timer

Cons

  • No manual override
  • May have issues during cold weather or climate
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4th NICREW Single Channel LED Light Timer

Specifications

  • Type: Ramp Lighting Timer
  • Compatible LEDs: 0 V to 36 V
  • Rating: not stated
  • Control: On-Off or Timer
  • Connection: inline between the transformer and LED light

This NICREW Single Channel LED Light Timer offers a fully programmable LED lighting controller operating on a 24-hour cycle, allowing us to turn on and off your lights and mimics a serene sunrise and gentle sunset for your fish.

This feature gives off a sunrise and sunset every day to prevent jarring, and even stressful, the light shock experienced by your fish when aquariums shift from total darkness to maximum brightness. The NICREW Single Channel LED Light Timer’s manual button enables us to turn your lights on or off instantly.

The manufacturer has a step-by-step guide, allowing customers to set up and program the unit easily. With the product, you can easily dim your aquarium light whenever you please.

Pros

  • One-year warranty overall, including a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Easy to install and program
  • You can immediately control brightness or light intensity
  • Simulates sunrise and sunset for your fish

Cons

  • You may have to reset the time every time you lose power or you are unplugging the light
  • Not waterproof
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Why do I need an Aquarium Lights Timer?

True, an aquarium lights timer may not be necessarily required for us to have a successful tank. However, having an aquarium lights timer is another good way to ensure your tanks are really efficient and reliable.

There are numerous benefits when you have an aquarium lighting timer set on your system. Arguably, the best benefit you could have is that you do not have to worry or be concerned about turning on and off your fish tank light. For many, this may come in very handy, especially if their schedules are very erratic or inconsistent. If the aquarium owner is just plain forgetful, they will be thankful for aquarium lighting timers.

Another huge advantage is that a lighting schedule that simulates natural daylight and night results in better stability in your tank. Like us and many of the living things on planet Earth, your fish, corals, and plants, as well as other invertebrates, have to work on what you call a circadian rhythm. In short, these creatures have to depend on the changes happening between day and night to perform some processes.

When these organisms have an irregular or inconsistent light schedule, then your tank, in general, cannot simply fall into a routine. This may lead to stunted growth among your plants and corals and odd behavior among your fish in general.

To be fair, there are some disadvantages to having a lighting timer in your aquariums, but in the long run, for most peoples’ fish tank systems, the pros of having a lighting time surely outweigh the cons.

Among the biggest problems you are likely to run into is that many of these timers can tend to be large and bulky.

Of course, it is also worth noting that aquarium lighting timers may be an added expense. Good thing, many of these units are not that expensive. But that means you should expect to pay more for a good timer that you will use in your aquariums.

Aquarium Lights Timer Buyer’s Guide 

Aquarium lighting is actually a crucial – but often overlooked and confusing – aspect of maintaining an aquarium.

Lighting systems are a good way of seeing all the various activities in your aquarium and even bringing out the vibrant colors of your fish. In addition, without sufficient lighting, the plants in your aquariums would not grow, and your pet fish would not be at their peak health.

The kind of aquarium light required for your fish tank would have to be ultimately dependent on the fish and plants you wish to maintain and the final look you would like to have.

Features

Our aquarium lighting features would depend on the types of organisms you would have in your aquarium. By researching your aquarium specimens’ requirements, you would have an idea of the features you need for your aquarium lighting.

For example, a lot of aquarium fish you usually get come from rivers or clear lakes. These specimens are used to bright light sunlight. However, some fish come from murky floodplains and prefer a dimmer environment.

You should check your aquarium lighting features to offer bright, warm lighting or dimming features, especially those that prefer dimmer lighting. For example, tropical fish and plants need at least 12 hours of light per day throughout the year.

Besides, you should also check out how light setups may affect other species you put in your aquarium. For instance, plants that have red stems or leaves need high light levels. How would that affect the other specials in your aquarium?

Power Source

You have to consider your aquarium power center. What is that? An aquarium power center is a power strip that has a manual or digital light timer that can simulate a day/night cycle for your aquarium light as well as moonlights while at the same time also providing power to your other aquarium equipment. You must note that some aquarium power centers may have the ability to turn a light on and off but may not have the capacity to do advanced aquarium light controls.

You have to look at the power source for your lighting needs since this allows us to look at the lumen or level of brightness you need for your aquariums.

Warranty

When looking at aquarium lighting, you also have to check out the warranty information, including the number of days when you can return the item, especially if it is defective, broken, or does not meet your expectations.

Many aquarium lighting companies offer warranties that offer at least a year overall, with some offering 30-day money-back guarantees.

For some strange reason, some customers are not very particular when it comes to warranties. But that should be the case. In its strictest sense, a warranty is a guarantee that is provided for us by the manufacturer or maker of a certain product. In essence, the warranty assures us that the products you buy are of pristine quality and do not have manufacturing defects. Warranties, in short, give us – the consumers – the right to question the manufacturer to handle any issues related to the product according to the stipulated terms and conditions.

Price

A lot of the aquarium light timers are relatively affordable, offering services that match their cost.

Before buying an aquarium light timer, let’s research online first and see which products you prefer and meet your needs. You can also visit your neighborhood aquarium supplies company to see what they offer. If they have insights or advice on what aquarium light timers work best in the aquarium you have at home or in the office.

Having said that, you need to select accordingly a light timer that can benefit us in all possible ways and comes with the least disadvantages. This, of course, also depends on your aquarium’s specifications.

As much as possible, we suggest you always try to buy a unit of the same brand as your aquarium’s aquarium light model.

If you are still confused or have questions about the most suitable aquarium light timer, then you must be certain about the brand of your aquarium’s power connector and then purchase the light timer from the same manufacturing brand.

Different Aquarium Lights Timer Types

Plug-in Timers

A plug-in timer allows you to manually set up the times you need to turn on or off the lights. This makes it easier for you, as it gives you another less task in your day-to-day duties.

The plug-in timer is the most frequent kind of timer used by a lot of people for aquariums. And it is for a good reason. This timer is not only readily available but super affordable too.

Plug the timer into the outlet or power strip, and then plug the electrical equipment into the timer. All that is left for us to do is program the timer so that the lights and the other equipment completely turn on and off whenever you want them to. It is that simple.

However, this might mean more commitment for you to remember the lighting responsibilities you have daily.

Another possible drawback of plug-in timers available in the market right now is that they usually work for one product. What does this mean? It means that if you have, say, two pieces of equipment that you hope to switch on and off at various times, you may need to buy separate plug-in timers for them. Fortunately, these plug-in timers are affordable to a certain extent that this issue is quite hardly a problem.

Ramp / LED Lighting Timers

These Ramp / LED lighting trainers may allow you to better track your aquarium lighting, but it would not allow us to have a more personalized approach to taking care of your aquariums.

Ramp timers, at least compared with plug-in timers, are much less common. But they are there in the market, and we feel this is something we should include in our guide.

Rather than have your timers turn your lights on and off, wouldn’t it be great if they could mimic a gentle and vibrant sunrise or sunset for your fish?

Well, ramp timers are created to do exactly just like that.

Think of ramp timers as dimmer lights for your aquarium lighting. As soon as the timer gets activated, your lights will dramatically start to get brighter. The result is a gentler environment for your fish and plants. Of course, ramp timers provide the standard “on/off” operation found on other timers in the market.

There are also ramp timers out there in the market that allows us to control your lighting’s brightness, mimic thunderstorms, and others just by using a remote control.

But these days, many high-end aquarium lights offer these features that are built into them. Also, ramp timers usually only work with some brands and may cost a pretty penny. Thus, it is easy to see why many ramp timers are not frequently used in the aquarium hobby.

Conclusion – Best Aquarium Light Timers 2021

As far as aquarium lighting timers are concerned, you would want to have the best product available in the market.

From the models we have reviewed above, you should have fewer difficulties making up your minds right now when it comes to aquarium lighting timers. Whatever you ultimately pick from the five above – or even if you go and research for your own – let us hope you end up selecting the best aquarium lighting timer that will perfectly work with your light fixture.

 

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