Best Fish Tanks [2021 Complete Guide]

Best Fish Tanks [2021 Complete Guide]

Whether you are new to fishkeeping or have years of experience, choosing the best fish tanks is always challenging. You have to consider various factors when searching for a new aquarium.

For instance, you need to provide a safe new home for your fish while keeping in mind how the new tank will fit into your home’s aesthetics as well. Sometimes, it is hard to put all the considerations into one basket and thoroughly analyze them.

Fortunately, we did this, so you don’t have to. In this article, we will review the best fish tanks that are currently on the market.

Also, we will provide you with a buyer’s guide that will show you everything you need to know about purchasing an aquarium. It doesn’t matter if you need a tank for a beginner or a pro. We’ve got everything covered.

Best Fish Tanks – Reviews

Fish tanks come in many different shapes and sizes. They can include additional equipment, such as a filter or LED light, or you can purchase just a plain rectangular container.

To give you a broader perspective of which fish tank is the best for you, we will cover the top five fish tanks on the market.

Fluval Vista Aquarium Kit 16 Gallons

 

With a panoramic design that attracts attention, the Fluval Vista Aquarium Kit 16 Gallons is one of the best starter aquariums. It has everything you need to set up a fish tank.

The bowed shape of the front glass will appeal to hobbyists who have an eye for aesthetics. It is bound to stand out in your room wherever you place it. Accompanied with the Soft-start LED light that mimics natural daylight and doesn’t upset your fish, the Fluval Vista 16 makes an eye-catching element of your interior design.

Apart from its attractive look, this fish tank comes with Aquaclear 30 filter, a high-quality fish tank filter with a 3-stage filtration system. In other words, the Aquaclear 30 filters the water mechanically, biologically, and chemically, making sure that the habitat for your fish is clean.

What’s more, the hang-on filter is ideal for fish tanks up to 30 gallons in size. Thus, Aquaclear 30 will be more than enough to keep your 16-gallon tank clear. It requires cleaning every two weeks, so maintenance doesn’t feel like a chore.

Additionally, the Fluval Vista 16 includes a 100w heater and an outside thermometer. This lets you maintain the most optimal temperature for your fish. You will also get a water conditioner and biological additive which will enable you to add fish immediately.

Fish food is included as well, so you won’t have to think about your fish’s first meal.

The drawback of this fish tank is that it does not include plants or decorations. You will have to purchase these separately if you wish to add an aesthetic touch to your fish tank.

Dimensions 

24” L x 12” W x 15.5” H

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Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit

A cheaper alternative for beginners is the Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit. Like the Fluval Vista 16, this 20-gallon tank has everything a fish tank needs to get you up and going right away. It has a typical rectangular shape, scratch-resistant glass, and a slightly bigger size than the Fluval Vista 16.

The Tetra Aquarium 20 comes with an energy-saving LED hood that creates a daytime effect. This ensures your fish have sufficient light, even if you decide to keep your aquarium in a place where your fish don’t receive enough natural daylight.

Should you want to put live plants in your aquarium, this 6000K LED light will support plants that don’t need a lot of light, like java fern. For light-needy plants, you will have to purchase additional lighting.

The Tetra Whisper 20 filter that comes with this fish tank kit runs quietly and is powerful enough to provide a strong water flow.

Furthermore, the Tetra Whisper 20 has a 3-stage filtration system that clears the water of particles, toxins, and ammonia (which is extremely bad for your fish). The fish tank kit also includes the Tetra Mini UL heater, enabling you to regulate the water temperature.

Should you opt for the Tetra Aquarium 20, you won’t have to think about fish food or water conditioners, at least in the first few days of your new fishkeeping hobby. The fish tank kit includes Tropical Min fish food and AquaSafe water conditioner.

Also, you will get an artificial Boxwood Plant Mat and four artificial plants. So, if you don’t want to bother with decorations for your fish tank but don’t want it to look bland either, then the Tetra Aquarium 20 is the right choice for you.

Dimensions

24.2″ L x 12.4″ W x 16.7″ H

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Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

If you want to start small and keep only a few betta fish, you may want to consider the Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. This is an excellent option for those whose taste for interior design may be slightly greater than their love of fish.

With its portrait design, this elegant aquarium will fit anywhere in your interior and make a captivating ornament for your home.

The Marineland Portrait Glass tank includes an LED with two modes, which adds to its overall stylish appearance.

You can switch between the modes since one replicates the daylight shimmer, while the other creates an alluring moonlight glow. This enables you to change the appearance of your aquarium to fit the mood of your room.

Another advantage of the LED system is that it is hinged. Together with the sliding glass canopy of the aquarium, this facilitates cleaning and maintenance.

The filter has a 3-stage filtration system, which meets the quality standards of today’s filters. It includes a Rite-Size Z Cartridge, Marineland Bio-Foam, and a filter pump with adjustable flow. The filter is located at the rear of the fish tank, so you always have a clear view of your tiny water pets.

The only downside of Marineland Portrait Glass is that it doesn’t include a heater. If you wish to keep tropical fish in this aquarium, you will have to purchase a heater separately.

Dimensions

11.81” L x 11.62” W x 17.05” H

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MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit

If you are looking for an aquarium kit that comes with all the bells and whistles to get you started, but you don’t want to spend a lot to buy it, the MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit is an excellent option to keep in mind.

First of all, the aquarium measures 11.75 x 11.75 x 16.75 inches, and it is 5 gallons in size (although there is also a smaller 3-gallon option). This is the perfect fish tank for beginners who just want a small tank or for people who only have space for a small tank.

You may not be able to fit too many fish inside it, but it looks excellent. Glass looks nice, and it doesn’t scratch as easily as acrylic.

Moreover, this fish tank has rounded edges that provide a sleeker look and more viewing angles. The aquarium has a small black base, as well as a black backing to hide the filter.

This aquarium kit comes with its own 3-stage filter. This filter uses mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. It comes with an adjustable filter pump to adjust the filter’s output. The filter uses basic media cartridges that are very simple to replace.

The MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit also comes with a transparent glass canopy, so you can keep the fish and water where they are supposed to be while still getting a great view from the top.

Above the glass canopy, there is an LED light strip with blue and white lights. The lighting has dual settings—one for daytime and one for nighttime illumination. The LED lights are fixed on a hinge, so you can tilt them back, making it easy to access and clean the aquarium’s interior.

The simple fact is that the MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit comes with everything you need to get started, including the tank, a filter, a lighting system, and a glass canopy.

For a very reasonable price, it’s the perfect kit for beginners and kids alike.

The tank is actually a bit smaller than advertised, which can be annoying. Moreover, although all included components are decent, they are not spectacular. They will get the job done, but some, mainly the filter, probably won’t last all that long.

Pros

  • Sleek aquarium
  • Does not scratch easy
  • Filter included
  • Lights included
  • Glass canopy included
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • The filter has limited durability
  • Slightly smaller than advertised

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SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

Suppose you are looking for a large aquarium that can hold many fish and plants. In that case, the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is an excellent high-end option.

Be aware that this is not the most affordable option around, but as they say, you get what you pay for, and here you get quality.

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is a 50-gallon tank. It is quite sizeable, and it should allow you to create a very diverse aquarium setup. This aquarium comes in various sizes, including 15, 20, 26, 29, 30, 40, and 46 gallons.

Moreover, the 50-gallon model is a rectangle, but other sizes come in a hexagon. The dimensions of the 50-gallon tank are 36 x 15 x 20 inches.

It’s important to note that this aquarium is made of acrylic. While some prefer the look of glass, acrylic is about 17 times stronger. It’s more impact, crack, and chip resistant than glass and more durable overall. It weighs almost half as much as glass.

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium comes with several extras. It has a reflector panel for the rear of the tank, which helps you get a better view, plus reflectors like this make fish tanks look larger than they are.

Moreover, to get you started, this fish tank also comes with a 24-inch light fixture. The light itself is not included, but the fixture is.

The good part about the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is that it’s an all-around high-quality acrylic fish tank. It comes in many sizes and shapes, it’s exceptionally durable, and it comes with a couple of extras.

The bad part about the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is the price. Comparatively speaking, this is by far one of the most expensive fish tanks you can purchase. However, many would agree that it is well worth the investment.

Pros

  • Very durable
  • Large size and spacious
  • Many size and shapes to choose from
  • Reflector included
  • Light included
  • Lightweight tank

Cons

  • Scratches easily
  • Very expensive

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Marina LED Aquarium Kit

If you are a beginning aquarist with no preferences about design at this stage, then you should check out the Marina LED Aquarium Kit.

It comes in three different tank sizes (5 gallons, 10 gallons, and 20 gallons), enabling you to find the perfect match for the number and size of fish you want to keep.

With its simple rectangular design, you will be able to organize your first aquarium the way you want it.

The LED light system is incorporated into the fish tank’s canopy, so it doesn’t appear clunky. The LED lighting creates the natural daylight effect for your fish. And it can support low-light plants.

Aside from this, you will get a clip-on filter and filter cartridges that are easy to change. The filter has biological filtrations that ensure the water is clear from debris, pollutants, and ammonia. The only disadvantage of this filter is that it does not have a 3-stage filtration system.

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit comes with Nutrafin Max fish food and Nutrafin Aqua Plus water conditioner, ensuring that the tap water you pour into the aquarium is devoid of chloramine safe for your fish.

You will also get a fish net made from soft mesh and a helpful guide to help you set up and maintain your fish tank.

Unfortunately, like Marineland Portrait Glass, this fish tank kit doesn’t come with a heater. Depending on your room temperature and the type of fish you plan to keep in Marina LED Aquarium, you might want to consider buying a heater and a thermometer additionally.

Dimensions

5 Gallon: 21.8 x 14 x 18.8 inches

10 Gallon: 12.91 x 10.24 x 20.2 inches

20 Gallon: 30 x 18 x 22.3 inches

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COLIBROX Aqua Aquarium, 10 Gallon

This is the simplest and the cheapest option you will come across. The COLIBROX Aqua Aquarium is a simple rectangular glass aquarium that is ready for customization.

It’s up to you to choose the filter, heater, thermometer, plants, water conditioners, LED, and everything else you want. The COLIBROX Aqua Aquarium allows you to configure your fish tank precisely the way you want it.

On the other hand, this fish tank may not be suitable for fishkeeping beginners. You would have to research every component a fish tank needs, which can feel like a grind if you are just taking up the hobby.

Dimensions

20 L x 12 W x 10 H

Buyer’s Guide

Finding a fish tank that you like the best is only half of the work. Buying a fish tank that won’t benefit your fish is just a waste of time and money.

So, you have to determine which fish tank is the best fit for your needs. We compiled a few factors that you need to keep in mind when buying a fish tank.

Types of Fish Tanks

Depending on what they contain when you buy them, fish tanks can be divided into three categories:

Basic Glass Tank

The COLIBROX Aqua Aquarium that we reviewed earlier is an example of a basic glass tank. This type of fish tank includes only the glass container itself. You don’t get any additional equipment. This gives you the freedom to organize your aquarium precisely the way you want.

But purchasing each part of fish tank equipment separately can be costly. For this reason, we don’t recommend basic glass tanks to fishkeeping novices but rather to experienced hobbyists who want to create a custom aquarium.

Aquarium Kits

Every beginner aquarist should consider purchasing an aquarium kit first. These all-in-one fish tanks are usually designed for new aquarists.

The equipment these kits include is carefully selected with the size of the fish tank in mind. Therefore, you will not have to bother buying a filter, heater, thermometer, plants, LED light, fish food, aquarium net, water conditioners, and other fishkeeping accessories.

However, carefully check what each fish tank kit includes. Some kits may not include all the necessary equipment. For example, none of the fish tank kits we reviewed include an ammonia test kit, and testing the water for ammonia is essential to your fish’s life.

Also, watch out for cheap equipment that is sold as part of the kit. Some companies may sell a fully operating fish tank, but the filter’s quality may be poor considering the equipment’s overall price. So, choose wisely.

Systematized Aquariums

Some aquariums are sold with fixed equipment, meaning you can’t change the filter location or any other part of the equipment. Like aquarium kits, systematized aquariums may also be suitable for beginners since the manufacturer has already placed the equipment where it should be, and they know the best.

Still, if you ever wish to change or upgrade a part of your aquarium equipment, this can be a struggle. Therefore, should you want to buy this aquarium, please meet all your fishkeeping preferences.

Size and Species of Fish You Want to Keep

This is the most crucial factor when buying a fish tank. You are essentially buying a new habitat for your fish. You want to make sure that your fish can live a healthy life in their fish tank.

The size and number of fish you intend to keep are essential when choosing the right fish tank. Ideally, a large aquarium is always better. But it can also be costly.

Whatever size of fish tank you want to buy, you have to consider the fish size. Just to be safe, you should follow the “one inch per two gallons” rule. For example, a fish that is three inches long will need six gallons of water.

Bear in mind that fish grow as they mature, so this ratio may change with time. To avoid this, do thorough research on the growth patterns of fish you want to keep.

As for fish species, there are over 33.000 of them. Maybe you have already chosen one or more species you wish to keep. Fortunately, you only have to know two basic categories.

Freshwater (Tropical) Fish

As a beginner, it will be easier for you to maintain a freshwater aquarium. Goldfish are suitable for a start, but they can grow very large and produce a lot of waste, making your aquarium maintenance a little more complicated.

Also, you don’t want to mix bettas with any other species as they can be aggressive. The species that go well together are domestic platies, neon tetras, and swordtails.

Saltwater (Marine) Fish

If you don’t mind engaging more with your fishkeeping hobby, maybe saltwater fish are for you. Dottybacks, for example, need a lot of hiding spots.

Firefish are generally friendly with other species. Tangs are aggressive only towards their own species but friendly towards other fish, so you should keep only one of these.

In any case, you should consult an expert to see which fish species are best for your fish tank and vice versa.

Weight of the Tank

Fish tanks up to 15 gallons can be placed on a shelf or a desk. However, fish tanks larger than this are very heavy when filled. You should have a separate firm stand for it to avoid the risk of any breakage.

Filtration

Your aquarium needs to have proper filtration to ensure a sufficient water flow for your fish. Most aquarium kits include a filter that is just the right size for the fish tank it comes with.

Still, if you want to buy a filter separately, there is one rule you should follow: The filter should allow the entire volume of fish tank water to pass through your filter four times within one hour.

Also, it is never a mistake to go for a filter designed for larger fish tanks.

LED Lighting

You want to ensure that your fish tank has LED lighting, and here’s why. LED lighting consumes a small amount of energy and has a long-lasting life. It generates no heat, which means that it won’t affect the water temperature.

Also, it is easily programmable, so you can set different colors or light intensities for your aquarium. Another great thing is that most aquarium kits come with LED lighting.

Style

You are buying a fish tank not only for your fish but for your home as well. Choosing the right fish tank design is an essential factor.

There is nothing worse than buying an aquarium that just feels awkward in your living room. Fish tanks come in many different designs. Apart from the classic rectangular shape, there are tower tanks, round tanks, bowfront tanks, and square tanks.

Furthermore, there are fish tanks you can mount on a wall! So, you have options from which to choose.

Construction

Finally, look at the construction of the aquarium. This more or less comes down to whether you want a glass or acrylic tank. Glass looks great, and it is scratch-resistant.

However, it features less impact resistance than acrylic and is much heavier too. This is a tradeoff to think about.

FAQs

How to Care and Clean a Fish Tank?

You could write a whole book on this matter, but essentially:

  1. Vacuum out the bottom about once per week to remove waste.
  2. Clean and maintain your filter.
  3. Scrub algae off the tank walls.
  4. Perform weekly water changes.

Why is my Aquarium Water Cloudy?

Your aquarium water may be cloudy because:

  • It has not been properly cycled yet
  • There could be dissolved organic compounds in the water
  • There could be a buildup of waste
  • Sand or gravel could be emitting small particles into the water
  • The filter may not be working efficiently
  • You might be seeing algae

Will Fish Only Grow Relative to the Tank Size?

No, this is an absolute myth.

How Long do I have to Wait for the Tank to Cycle?

Generally speaking, it will take between 3 and 5 weeks for a tank to cycle.

Why is There so Much Algae in my Aquarium?

Algae feed off ammonia, and it likes lots of natural sunlight, both leading causes of algae bloom in aquariums.

Do I Need a Heater for My Fish Tank?

Depending on the type of fish you wish to keep, your fish tank may need a heater. Saltwater fish need heat, while not all freshwater fish do. You have to know the optimal temperature for each species and determine whether your fish tank needs a heater or not.

However, the other important factor is your room temperature. If your home has a good heating system, perhaps you don’t need to buy a heater. Still, you should always have a thermometer for your fish tank and regularly check to ensure the water temperature is suitable for your fish.

What’s the Best Tank Shape?

The answer to this question may be different for you and for the fish. You will most likely go for a fish tank that is most pleasing to the eye and for which you already have an ideal place in your home in mind.

But consider the fact that your fish needs oxygen to breathe. The greater the surface area, the more oxygen your fish will have.

Also, rounded or bowfront tanks can be disorienting for your fish as their perception of the outside world is distorted. If you care about your fish only and don’t care about the aesthetics, consider buying a rectangular fish tank.

Are Glass or Plastic Fish Tanks Better?

For novices in fishkeeping, we recommend glass fish tanks. They are cheap, resistant to scratching, and the glass will remain clear after ages of use.

But they can break upon impact, so you need to be very careful where you keep your glass tank. Aesthetic-wise, the shapes in which glass fish tanks come lack variety.

However, plastic (acrylic) fish tanks are much lighter than glass tanks, and they won’t break as easily. They come in different sizes, so there is a greater chance that you will find the best match for your home.

The bad thing about acrylic tanks is that they are easily scratched and can yellow with age.

What Happens if I Have Too Many Fish in My Tank?

You should never overstock your fish tank. Your fish need enough room to move freely. Otherwise, they will get stressed out and start acting aggressively towards each other.

Also, there are health issues that your fish may suffer. Fish produce waste that contains ammonia, a toxic chemical that can be dangerous to them.

If there is too much ammonia in your fish tank, this can lead to ammonia poisoning. Your fish can get ammonia burns on their skin and most likely die if you don’t provide them with immediate treatment.

Can I Use Tap Water to Fill My Fish Tank?

Yes, but be careful. Tap water in most community water systems contains chlorine. This chemical compound is detrimental to your fish’s health. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use tap water to fill your fish tank.

This is when a dechlorinator – a water conditioner – comes into play. You can treat your tap water with this and ensure that the water for your fish will be healthy. Just remember to read the product label to learn about the exact dosage.

Final Verdict

Fishkeeping seems like a simple hobby, but there are many things you have to consider in reality. Choosing the appropriate fish tank is essential for the quality of life of your fish.

Aquarium kits are the best options for starters as they usually include all the components that a fish tank needs. Alternatively, if you are confident enough, you can buy a fish tank alone and equip it how you like.

Though some aquarium designs and sizes may be attractive at first glance, we highly advise you to always consider the fish you will keep in that aquarium. Is there be enough room for them? Do they have everything they need?

Maybe you need to purchase an additional heater if you want to keep heat-needy fish. You need to consider all this so that both you and your fish are satisfied with their new home.