DIY: Hang Aquarium Lights From a Ceiling

Updated November 21, 2016

Every fish aquarium needs lighting to regulate the fish's cycle, promote healthy growth and illuminate the beauty found in the waters. There are a variety of ways to set up this feature, including by hanging a lighting fixture from the ceiling above the tank. A hanging light is easy to move out of the way when cleaning, and by not resting it on the aquarium it's safe from bumps and vibrations that could break the bulbs. You can hang your aquarium lights from the ceiling in a few steps.

Locate a beam in the ceiling above your aquarium using a stud finder. It's important to hang the lights from the beam because the weight of the fixture will pull through drywall alone.

Measure the horizontal length of the aquarium light. This will be the needed distance between the eye bolts that you'll install in the ceiling.

Mark the length of the aquarium light fixture on the ceiling from where you want to hang the light. Use a ruler to measure the distance and make a straight line. Make a dot on either end of this length using a pencil.

Drill a pilot hole into each of the pencil marks on the ceiling. A pilot hole is a hole smaller than the screw's width that is designed to guide the screw into place. Screw an eye bolt into each pilot hole.

Measure the vertical distance from the ceiling to where you want the top of the light to sit above the tank. To find out an optimal height above the fish tank, check the manufacturer's suggestions.

Buy two decorative but supportive chains in the needed length for the hanging light. Leave a few extra inches to have added flexibility once the light is installed. Ensure the lengths are exactly the same so that the light is evenly suspended across the aquarium.

Unplug the light fixture and remove all the light bulbs. Drill two pilot holes in the top of the light fixture. Make these holes in the centre of the right and left side of the fixture. Ensure the holes don't interfere with any of the light system operation.

Screw eye bolts in the holes drilled into the lighting fixture, with the eyelets facing out of the top. Reattach the light bulbs.

Connect the chains to the light fixture by stringing a link through the eye bolts. Hang the other end of either chain into the eye bolts in the ceiling.


Make sure the light isn't plugged in until it's been hung from the ceiling. Drilling a hole into the light fixture may void its warranty.

Things You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Eye bolts
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Chain
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