||The increasing use of artificial light at night (ALAN) has led to exposure of freshwater ecosystems to light pollution worldwide. Simultaneously, the spectral composition of nocturnal illumination is changing, following the current shift in outdoor lighting technologies from traditional light sources to light emitting diodes (LED). LEDs emit broad-spectrum white light, with a significant amount of photosynthetically active radiation, and typically a high content of blue light that regulates circadian rhythms in many organisms. While effects of the shift to LED have been investigated in nocturnal animals, its impact on primary producers is unknown. We performed three field experiments in a lowland agricultural drainage ditch to assess the impacts of a transition from high-pressure sodium (HPS) to white LED illumination (color temperature 4000 K) on primary producers in periphyton. In all experiments, we compared biomass and pigment composition of periphyton grown under a natural light regime to that of periphyton exposed to nocturnal HPS or, consecutively, LED light of intensities commonly found in urban waters (approximately 20 lux). Periphyton was collected in time series (1–13 weeks). We found no effect of HPS light on periphyton biomass; however, following a shift to LED the biomass decreased up to 62%. Neither light source had a substantial effect on pigment composition. The contrasting effects of the two light sources on biomass may be explained by differences in their spectral composition, and in particular the blue content. Our results suggest that spectral composition of the light source plays a role in determining the impacts of ALAN on periphyton and that the ongoing transition to LED may increase the ecological impacts of artificial lighting on aquatic primary producers. Reduced biomass in the base of the food web can impact ecosystem functions such as productivity and food supply for higher trophic levels in nocturnally-lit ecosystems.