Top 7 Background Lit Aquariums

Get inspired with our Top 7 Aquariums with LED background lighting. We often get asked questions about of aquascapes, aquariums and Serene LED lighting, so we've included some tips with each pick, along with why its in the Top 7!

#7 - Office of Cichlids

This 125 gallon aquarium is built into the hallway at our main offices in San Diego, CA.  It's stocked with Malawi African cichlids and is a simple rock with manzanita branches hardscape. Being in the wall provided additional room behind the tank, so we placed manzanita branches behind the glass film - providing an added dimension of depth.

#6 - Split Dragonstone

This 13 gallon Serene Aquarium combines a few classic rules of an Iwagumi aquasape and keeps the focus on the stones:

  • Use an odd number of stones, all the same color and type (Dragonstones)
  • The largest stone is placed 2/3 the length of the tank
  • Keep the focus on the stones


#5 - Iwaizumi Manzanita

The simplicity of this hardscape really shows off the background lighting. Placing all of the stones and branches at a similar angle gives the perception of movement like a water spring - hence the name (Iwa=Rock, Izumi=Spring/Fountain.)

#4 - Adapt Rehab Aquarium

This 135 gallon aquarium is located in the waiting area of Adapt Functional Movement Center in San Marcos, CA. Background lighting provides color therapy, and can help patients relax, decrease stress and lower anxiety. The schooling fish are simply mesmerizing.

#3 - Serene Riverwood

The Riverwood Serene Aquarium is by far our most popular aquascape (and aquarium) for good reason. The thick, winding branches of molded riverwood combined with our Seiryu Stones creates the perfect striking contrast for background lighting.

#2 - Pillar of Dragonstone

This recent aquascape features a combination of one large and multiple smaller molded Dragonstones with Manzanita Branches. Once this aquascape was complete and stocked with barbs, watching the fish schooling and circling around the tall pillar of dragonstone was soothing and just hypnotic, 

#1 - Firewater

One of our first background lit aquariums - Firewater is still our favorite.  It's simple, minimal, and is a perfect example of how to use contrast.  The large stones combined with forking Manzanita branches coming up out of the water is both elemental and striking.  The background light is actually casting light on the wall behind the tank, then reflecting it back - giving it a strong contrast at the surface.

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