How do you illuminate your aquarium correctly?

Unlike in your living room or bathroom you shouldn’t just follow your personal taste when choosing aquarium lighting, since live aquatic plants are involved. For your fish the lighting is less important but aquatic plants have adapted to the existing sunlight in the course of evolution. They use the individual spectral components of visual sunlight to produce energy through the photosynthesis process.

For your plants to thrive, your aquarium light needs a sun-like spectrum. The JBL SOLAR fluorescent tubes and LED light under Lighting precisely have this sun-like light because they are full spectrum lights. Full spectrum means that not only some spectral components but that ALL visible spectral components of the sunlight are created. Plant expert Prof. Dr. Ole Pedersen has found out in tests that the JBL SOLAR full spectrum lighting has the most positive influence on the growth of aquatic plants of all the lamps tested!

Duration of lighting

A tropical day offers 12 hours of light from about 6 am to 6 pm. During sunrises and sunsets the sunlight has a warm colour temperature of about 2500 K. When the sun has reached its zenith the colour temperature rises to about 5500 K. The higher the colour temperature the colder the light.

You are strongly advised to avoid lighting with spotlights, LEDs or lamps which are not specially designed for aquariums! They might be bright and elegant but the light spectra are definitively NOT developed for aquatic plants. Very reddish radiation creates cell enlargement in plants but not healthy growth. Your aquarium plants would become long but only have a few leaves. Ideal are LEDs or fluorescent tubes with full spectrum as available in the JBL light range.

Light colours

Even though the light colours of a lamp are a subjective impression of our eyes, they are based on the colour temperature of the respective lamp. Higher colour temperatures (e.g. 9000 K) we experience as cold light, lower colour temperatures (e.g. 2500 K) are seen as warm light. JBL SOLAR NATUR T5 ULTRA, 24-39 W : 9000 K, cold-white daylight, very bright, ideal for fish aquariums or in combination with JBL SOLAR TROPIC T5 ULTRA, 24-39 W .

When using 2 fluorescent tubes, place

JBL SOLAR NATUR T5 ULTRA, 24-39 W in the front above the fish and JBL SOLAR TROPIC T5 ULTRA, 24-39 W in the back above the plants.

The two best JBL lamp types for aquatic plants

JBL SOLAR TROPIC T5 ULTRA, 24-39 W : 4000K, warm-white sunlight, from scientists valued and recommended as ideal for aquatic plants. In the JBL SOLAR light concept the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR is equipped with a remote control with which you can set the light colour to 2700, 4000 or 6700 K.

Light quantity

You do not manage to illuminate your aquarium too strongly due to lack of space above it. During JBL expeditions we measured lux values between 100,000 lux (Amazon) and 160,000 lux (Australia) in natural habitats. Fluorescent tubes or LEDs always remain below these values. If you use a stronger illumination for your aquarium (2 tubes instead of one, stronger LEDs instead of tubes etc.) your aquatic plants will get hungrier and you will need to increase the fertiliser and CO2 quantities.

The best lighting for aquariums

What does the PAR value mean and how important is it for aquarium plants? Biologist Heiko Blessin explains the importance of the PAR value (photosynthetically active radiation) for aquaristics in tropical waters in southern Japan.

What can modern LED lighting do?

The LED technology has revolutionised our lives: long-lasting torches, stylish car headlights, energy-saving room lighting and, of course, natural aquarium lighting. But why has a JBL LED concept taken so long? LEDs have been around for a long time!

Because LEDs have only recently become more energy-saving than fluorescent tubes, there hasn’t been the technology or demand (!) generally to improve the LED light spectrum for aquarium plants. Up to now LEDs were only used in the technical sector and in the home. The light spectrum of aquatic plants, however, varies considerably from the spectrum of household or torch LEDs. Here we are talking about the photosynthetically active radiation range of the light, called PAR (Photosynthetic Active Radiation), and a full spectrum which contains the TOTAL range within the visible light spectrum. Both of these components were needed before we could produce the perfect light for aquarium plants!

Since JBL was the first manufacturer worldwide to develop a full spectrum modelled on sunlight with its JBL SOLAR fluorescent tubes (under Lighting ) our development department didn’t just want to use the available home spectrums for LED aquarium technology, it wanted to create a SOLAR full spectrum, especially for aquariums! This took some time – but now it is available!

How does the amount of light (lux) and the PAR value change under water?

We investigated this interesting question with an equally interesting experiment. In the JBL indoor koi tank we determined all the values with increasing water depth (every 10 cm) while diving with waterproof sensors.

The PAR meter was placed in a waterproof mobile phone case and the sensor head was slowly moved back and forth in the direction of the light at different depths. Elena Hänle, JBL’s chemistry expert, noted the highest PAR value displayed at each depth on the outer pane.

The values were measured directly above the surface (5 cm distance to the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR) and directly below the surface, then at distances of 10 cm, until they reached the bottom of the tank.

In short: The PAR value is always highest when a colour temperature of 4000 K is selected. The illuminance in lux was always measured with a luxmeter at the same time. It is directly related to the PAR value. A colour temperature of 4000 K also gives us the highest lux values because the cool white AND warm white LEDs are on together with this setting.

The good news for the aquarium plants is that we were still able to measure 197 PAR (at 2700 K), 223 PAR (at 4000 K) and 210 PAR (at 6700 K) in water depths of 40 cm! These are really excellent values, which explain the exceptional plant growth seen by aquarium owners thanks to the JBL LEDs!

What are the benefits of the JBL SOLAR range?

With the modern JBL LED SOLAR system you will receive:

JBL LED Solar Natur and Effect with remote control unit

An immediately accessible, elegant LED light system, incl. remote control, with maximum light efficiency for beautiful aquarium plants.

JBL LED Solar Natur

Perfect light for your fish, invertebrates and aquarium plants, since the warm-white and cold-white LEDs are evenly distributed in the light bar (only at JBL!).

Lux measurements compared

An energy-saving aquarium light, since the JBL LED SOLAR provides twice as much light compared to lighting with fluorescent tubes, while simultaneous halving the electricity costs.

Remote control

Gives you the possibility, with the help of the enclosed remote control, to slowly increase the light levels in increments or to simply switch the light on or off. You can also select one of three set colour temperatures: 2700 K (warm light), 4000 K (daylight - ideal for aquatic plants) or 6700 K (cold-white daylight).


Mounting all required components for the attachment: fits into the existing T5 or T8 fluorescent tube light unit (Both T5 and T8 end cap sizes are included) or position with the telescopic V4A stainless stell holding brackets (also included) on the aquarium rim. Special brackets for suspension from the ceiling are also available as accessories.

Cooling fins prolong the service life

Optimal passive cooling through cooling fins in the lamp body lead to very long service life. The LED module has a service life of more than 50,000 hours. With an illumination time of 10 h/day it lasts for more than 13 years! (The extremely long service life of 50,000 hours applies only to the LED module. The other components are subject to the guarantee: 2 + 2 years)

Ideal PAR value

Specially optimised for aquarium plant growth: ranges of the visible light are used by the plants to produce energy in the photosynthesis process. The quantity of this photosynthetically active spectrum (PAR) can be measured with special devices. With a PAR value of >200* the JBL LED SOLAR Natur provides the perfect light, just as the plants would get from the sun in their natural habitat!

*) measured as PPFD (Photosynthetic Photon Flux Density) in µmol/m2/s in a distance of 20 cm to the light.


A safe system with double effect: watertight in accordance with IP67. If a water ingress were to cause a short circuit, the power supply would switch off automatically.

The changeover to modern LED technology is easy

You can easily exchange your fluorescent bulbs for JBL LED SOLAR lights, even if the original light unit doesn’t work anymore. You only need the holders left and right to attach the JBL LED lights. Here's how it works:

Removing fluorescent tubes

Remove your fluorescent tubes (T5 or T8) from the sockets and measure the tube length without the pins at the ends. In the following table you can find the suitable LED for the appropriate tube length you want to replace.

Selecting JBL LEDs

Start with the basic equipment of the JBL LED technology ( JBL LED SOLAR NATUR ) in the required length stated on the back of the packaging.

Plugging in the adapters

Press the JBL retrofit adapters (included in the kit) onto both ends of the JBL LED light and then into your moisture-proof sockets of the tube holder. Screw them back onto both ends of the tube sockets – finished! The LED lights are freely rotatable and can be precisely aligned into a horizontal position.

Putting light on the aquarium rim

If you don’t want to use the existing fluorescent tube holders you can also put the JBL LED light directly on the aquarium rim with the enclosed V4A stainless steel holding brackets.


Now connect the cable of the LED light with the infrared receiver (enclosed in the kit) and connect the IR receiver with the driver (ballast). The driver has a power plug which you put into a timer or directly into the power socket.

Putting remote control into operation

With the enclosed remote control you can now switch the LED light on and off or slowly switch it up and down. With the remote control you can also choose between three light colours. The buttons for the colours Red (R), Green (G) and Blue (B) are only relevant if you extend your basic equipment with a JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT light.

Get the most out of LED light technology

Would you like to double the lighting intensity?

No problem: just buy a second JBL LED SOLAR NATUR and connect it. But careful: 1 JBL LED light is already brighter than 2 fluorescent tubes!

How about some light effects?

If you want to create some special light effects (such as coloured light, red sunrise and sunset, blue deep water or lightning storm) ADDITIONALLY to your current light you need a second light: The JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT. JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT You can connect this LED light to the second connection of your main light ( JBL LED SOLAR NATUR ). With the remote control unit, enclosed in the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR , you can now activate the individual colour channels (Red/Green/Blue). To adjust the effects (biotopes, lightning storm, clouds, rain etc.) you need a special controller ( JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL ), which you can then use precisely and easily with your mobile phone.

Would you like to illuminate habitats (biotopes) based exactly on nature’s model?

This can be done easily and precisely with the JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL , a free app, and your mobile phone. You can either create your light yourself or use pre-set biotope values.

Does the LED light need to be suspended from the ceiling?

For that you need the suspension system accessory JBL LED SOLAR Hanging . With the enclosed 2 m long steel cords you can suspend the JBL LED lights any way you want. You can easily screw together the cords with the light from above.

Would you like to exactly reproduce the light of a tropical living environment (biotope)?

With the accessory JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL you have the opportunity to imitate the light conditions of a habitat exactly, with dry and rainy seasons or lightning storms, or to set the perfect light for a densely planted aquascaping aquarium. The JBL development team has implemented 5 aquarium types with the JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL :

Pantanal River

The Pantanal in South America has the clearest tropical water on earth and is the home of countless species of fish we keep in the aquarium. The clearwater rivers are surrounded by jungle and have their own particular rainforest character. The jungle river motif is definitely one of the most fascinating motifs when setting up aquariums. Your plants will thrive and your tetras or dwarf cichlids will be displayed in their most beautiful colours!

Would you like to learn more about this aquarium? You will find all details about the themed aquarium here:

Jungle aquarium type JBL Rio Pantanal®

A bit of jungle river in your living room. Lively underwater action! No problem with the JBL Rio Pantanal® aquarium
Malawi Rocks

The very bright and cold-white illumination corresponds to the light in both African Rift Valley waters Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika. In the clear water of the lakes the blue tones are especially visible! Your Lake Malawi and Lake Tanganyika cichlids with their wonderful colours are wonderfully expressed, as nature does it.

Would you like to learn more about this aquarium? You will find all details of the themed aquarium here:

Rocky reef aquarium type JBL Malawi Rocks®

The fish of Lake Malawi are as colourful as the fish in the coral reefs. This aquarium brings a bit of freshwater reef into your living room
Goldfish Paradise

The pre-set light colour accentuates the beautiful colours of the goldfish! Even hardy plants, such as the hornwort or the waterweed will grow fast under this light.

Would you like to learn more about this aquarium? You will find all details of the themed aquarium here:

Goldfish aquarium type JBL Goldfish Paradise®

Lively goldfish in the aquarium enhance any room perfectly! Invite some new flatmates into your home with this goldfish aquarium.

Aquascapers will be happy about this type of light because it supplies maximum light efficiency with a very high PAR value (photosynthetically active radiation) which promotes the healthy and vigorous growth of your plants. Aquascapers reproduce landscapes under water which e.g. feature a mountain with meadows, a forest or cliffs with vegetation. This setup style definitely belongs to the most spectacular setups of all aquariums! The plants used generally make very high demands on the light quantity and lighting quality. The light type “Dream Scape” has been programmed precisely for them.

Would you like to learn more about this aquarium? You will find all details of the themed aquarium here:

Aquascaping aquarium type JBL Dreamscape®

Mountains, valleys, meadows and fish! Create your dreamlike landscape under water with the Dreamscape® aquarium
Community aquarium

You have put together a suitable fish and plant community. With this program you will receive the ideal illumination to highlight your fish and it promotes the growth of your plants.

Special program to acclimatise plants

If you want to adjust aquarium plants from lighting with fluorescent tubes to LEDs you need to do it slowly, since the light intensity of LEDs is significantly higher. JBL has added an acclimatisation mode at the beginning of each program which can, if required, be selected or skipped. This way the plants can slowly get used to the new light.

Individual program

Do you have your own ideas about which light climate is best for your aquarium? No problem! In this program you can assign your own light creation to each day of the week. This program is also ideal for trying out light effects and colours!

What do the individual JBL LEDs contain?

You will find out exactly what the individual LED components contain, the way they function and what effects they have, here.


It contains a light in the desired length with a 2 m cable attached, an LED driver (ballast) with cable and plug for your socket and an infrared receiver, integrated between the light and the driver. Now the system is ready for use and can receive commands from the remote control supplied. With the remote control you can switch the light on and off, dim and brighten it slowly and set 3 different colour temperatures (2700 K = warm light, 4000 K = warm daylight, 6700 K = cold-white daylight). JBL LED SOLAR NATUR light contains: 2 adapters for T5 sockets, 2 adapters for T8 sockets and 2 stainless steel holding brackets, for fixing the light onto your aquarium.

LED lighting with the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR has the great advantage that you can adjust the light colour by remote control! You have the choice between warm white light with 2700 K, daylight white with 4000 K and cool white light with 6700 K. With fluorescent tubes, you would have to change the tubes to switch between the light colours.

Only the warm white LEDs are lit = 2700 K

Warm white AND cool white LEDs are lit = 4000 K

Only the cool white LEDs are lit = 6700 K


High-performance LED light for aquariums

  • Maximum light efficiency for beautiful aquatic plants: extremely high photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) of more than 220 µM/s/m2
  • Plug & play: clip light in tube holder or set it up, connect cable, switch on or dim via remote control and select one of 3 light colours
  • Evenly distributed warm white and cool white LEDs for a biotope-compatible light climate, 2 channels with 3 preset light colours: 2700 K (warm white), 4500 K (daylight white), 6400 K (cool white)
  • You can extend the features by using your smartphone to include preset biotope-compatible or individual light controls and the JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT RGB light for special colour effects
  • Contains: water-protected light (IP67), remote control, driver (receiver), power supply unit, con. cable, holding brackets for top assembly & end caps f. installation in tube sockets (T5&T8). Guarantee: 2 years (+2 years upon registration of product)
from 129,32 €

This light computer is extremely versatile and easily to control using a free app of your mobile. You have 2 steering options: automatic or manual mode.

The manual mode allows you unlimited access to the light control and you can create your own light climate.

In the automatic mode you can choose between 5 lighting types and in addition start an acclimatisation program for plants which have previously been used to fluorescent tubes and now need to become accustomed to the stronger LED light for several weeks.

For the 5 lighting types, incl. sunrises and sunsets, lightning storms and clouds, the complementary light JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT is not mandatory. The JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL in combination with the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR offers you very realistic light situations but without red, green and blue tones.


Control unit for JBL LED SOLAR lights, to be adjusted by app

  • To operate JBL LED SOLAR NATUR individually or in combination with a JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT. Biotope data, effects, thunderstorms, moon phases, sunrise and sunset to be operated by mobile
  • Easy to operate: replace existing IR receiver with the JBL control unit and adjust the effects you want with the app
  • With 5 programmes + additional manual programme (South America & Africa biotopes, aquascaping plants, goldfish, community aquarium, each programme has plant acclimatisation setting)
  • Biotope data contain dry and wet season, cloudiness, thunderstorm, as well as sunrise and sunset, which can also be adapted to the geographical location if desired (light on when the sun rises at the location)
  • Package contents: control unit to connect to the JBL LED SOLAR system for 2 lights (1x Natur & 1x Effect); the app you require is always free of charge
from 210,49 €

It contains a light in the desired length with 2 m cable. This light doesn’t need its own power supply and infrared receiver because it can easily be plugged into the second connection of your JBL LED SOLAR NATUR . The JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT has so-called RGB LEDs with which almost each desired colour can be created. Then you also can use the buttons for the 3 individual colour channels on your JBL LED SOLAR NATUR remote control and you can steer the LEDs of the effect light according to your wishes.

If you already use the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR ile JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL you will get an even more lifelike light control by connecting the JBL LED SOLAR EFFECT : sunrises and sunsets will be underlaid with the right red tones, lightning storms will be more colourful and even the biotope conditions can be imitated in more detail.


LED effect light as supplement to JBL LED SOLAR NATUR

  • Special light with RGB LEDs to create colour effects, ideal as replacement for the second coloured fluorescent tube (T5 or T8)
  • Just connect to the enclosed cable switch of the existing JBL LED SOLAR NATUR and adjust using its remote control.
  • Enables more dramatic simulations of sunrise and sunset colours, as well as weather situations, such as lightning storms or rainy season.
  • The integrated RGB LEDs can create red, green and blue, and all mixed colours, using the JBL LED SOLAR NATUR remote control. Dimmable in 7 steps. Further effects can be achieved using the JBL LED SOLAR CONTROL app on a mobile phone
  • Contains: LED effect light, waterproof (IP67), cable switch, holding brackets for top assembly and end caps for the installation in tube sockets (T5 & T8). Guarantee: 2 years (+2 years upon registration of the product)
from 107,39 €

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