These low cost premade LED strip lights are a frog keepers' dream come true! Gone are the buzzing starters and heat of fluorescent lights designed for fish keeping and growing plants. Gone is the heat, unreliability and expense of incandescent bulbs. (which are slowly being outlawed world wide!) Personally I find aquarium rated lamps to be too bright for caudate keeping, however I do like to have some lighting for display and light cycling.


For around 20USD you get a 16 inch strip containing 22 White LEDs rated at 100,000 hours life. The voltage regulator is built in and encapsulated in resin along with the LEDs making it water and humidity resistant. A power switch is built into the cord, but I leave this in the on position and operate the light with a standard lamp timer.

A single strip is rated at a small 1.45 Watts consumption per strip. (After testing a strip for a week on a 12 on 12 off cycle I actually got a total consumption average of 1.28 Watts...) these are true white LEDS with zero UV output (confirmed by my testing). At 16 inches long, one half inch wide, and roughly 1/2 inch thick including LEDs this unit is small, compact, durable and light weight. (@ household voltage of 120 volts, 60 Hz)

Up to 13 strips can be linked together with various lengths of jumper cords allowing you to light your entire collection of tanks with one timer. They are plug-and play lights which can also be surface mounted under shelving with the included mounting hard ware.

The really impressive part is the are bright, but not as bright as florescent. Compared to the glaring light of a standard T8 or aquarium tube, these are more like forest filtered sunlight.

( terrestrial Ambystoma opacum enclosure with "standard" GE AquaRays 15W Florescent tube and bulky hood)

(Same enclosure with same camera settings with LED strip)

As you can see from the pictures, the color rendering is much better.

Keep in mind the LED strip is completely silent and runs at an average of 75F compared to the tube which holds an average of 96F when measured and logged over one week at an ambient temperature of 68F.

Here is a link to the manufacturer site. I purchased my strips for 21.94 each including sales tax at Menards. A quick web search shows them to be available world wide in many stores and online. They also make an 8 inch strip of the same LEDs and various other sizes of LED lighting.

I have only two complaints about this product. The first is that they only seem to be available in white housings. I would prefer a black housing. My second is that while the "link" connector is built in so you can link up more strips, if you are using one strip you will have a two inc long hunk of wire with a MOLEX type three connector hanging off the end of the strip. For under-shelf mounting this is not an issue yet if you just want to set it tank top you will need to convert your flour-tube hood, or use a halved length of painted PVC to keep a clean, organized and safe aesthetic.

Given my sizable critter room and a need to lower my electricity bill, I have decided to convert my entire critter zoo over to these lights. At that low price and the savings on my electric bill I feel this is a solid "green" alternative whether you have one tank or 50. as an added bonus, I will no longer feel uncomfortable using breakable glass tubes full of mercury in my home.