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If you’re looking for the best aquarium and fish tanks that money can buy, you’ve come to the right place.
We’ve compiled this huge guide to home aquariums that every beginner, intermediate and advanced aquarist needs.
Whether you’re looking for the best nano aquarium, large fish tanks and even the best cheap aquariums, we’ve got everything you need right here — as well as a buying guide that will help prepare you for buying the best fish tanks for your precise needs.
Let’s get right into it.
- 1 Best Fish Tanks: Buying Guide
- 2 Best Home Aquarium Reviews 2018
- 2.1 Best Nano Aquarium
- 2.2 Best Fish Tanks: 10-55 Gallons
- 2.2.1 Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 10 Gallons
- 2.2.2 Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit, 20 gallons
- 2.2.3 Coralife Fish Tank LEd BioCube Aquarium, 32 Gallons
- 2.2.4 SeaClear Bowfront Acrylic Aquarium, 36 Gallons
- 2.2.5 SCA Starfire Glass Aquarium, 50 Gallon
- 2.2.6 SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium, 50 Gallons
- 2.2.7 Vepotek Full Acrylic 360 Cylinder Aquarium Tank, 55 Gallons
- 2.3 Best Large Fish Tanks
Best Fish Tanks: Buying Guide
Before you dive right in and buy a tank, it’s worth considering a few things first.
Home aquariums can be expensive so you want to be sure that you’re buying the best one for you, your home and, most importantly, your fish.
Here’s what you need to consider before you buy.
More important than anything else is how big you want your aquarium to be.
This will depend upon a couple of factors:
- How much space you have
- How many and what type of fish you’re planning to buy
Before you buy, it’s best to plan out exactly what fish you want in your home aquarium. You should research how big they grow to in adulthood, how much space they need to swim, if they’re better kept in groups, pairs or singles, and whether they’re compatible with tank mates.
We’ve compiled a couple of comprehensive guides to the best aquarium fish that covers all the above points:
If you’re planning on keeping big fish, or those that like a lot of open space for swimming, you’re going to need a big tank.
Thankfully, the best fish tanks are available in anything from 10 to 500 gallons — although you’ll probably only want to invest in the biggest if you’re a highly experienced aquarist!
Generally, as far as your budget allows, bigger is better when it comes to aquariums. This gives you plenty of flexibility of adding tankmates down the line.
Your number one takeaway should be: do your research and plan your aquarium before buying it.
Some home aquariums will come readily equipped with a filtration system, but others will require that you buy one separately.
While it’s generally easier and more convenient for beginner fish keepers to buy an all-in-one fish tank with a filter system, it can be beneficial to have to buy one separately.
A canister filter is a complex and sophisticated piece of kit, and experienced aquarists generally like to buy systems that can be customized to best serve their home aquarium. If you buy an all-in-one fish tank, you’re more or less stuck with the system for the life of the aquarium.
Of course, it will generally work out more expensive to buy the tank and the filter separately — particularly if you want to invest in the best canister filter — so bear that in mind when you’re calculating your set-up costs.
If you’re wondering whether you really need a filter system, aquarists almost universally agree that they’re a must-buy for any tank over 10 gallons. You’ll be doing your fish a disservice without one.
Just like filters, some fish tanks will come with lighting already installed and others you’ll have to buy this separately. Thankfully, these can generally be found for around $20 if you do need to buy them separately.
Again, this is another area where it really pays to have done your research beforehand: different fish have different lighting requirements. Bonus points for buying a lighting bracket that can be customized!
Not only is good lighting mandatory for your plants and fish to thrive, it also provides useful aesthetic benefits to your tank as well.
Another thing to consider is what your future fish tank is made from — glass or acrylic?
Here’s a table showing the differences between the two:
|Strength & Support||Very strong and supportive, but often thicker than acrylic||Very strong but often requires a stand and top support. Thinner than glass|
|Cracking||Will crack under extreme force||Will only crack under unprecedented impact|
|Weight||Up to 10x heavier than Acrylic||Lightweight|
|Scratching||Difficult to scratch||Scratches easily|
|Quality Over Time||Maintains clarity over time||Can yellow with age|
|Visual Distortion||Thicker the glass, the more light refracts = lots of distortion||Minimal distortion, true size and color|
|Cost||Usually cheaper||More expensive|
On the cheaper side of things, there are plastic fish tanks available but these are generally very small and also can’t be used with a filter. They’re not suitable for proper fishkeeping.
No one ever said that being an aquarist was a cheap hobby!
There are quite a lot of large and small costs involved in setting up a home aquarium, which are best to be aware of before you go forking out most of your budget on the tank itself.
Here’s what you need to budget for:
- Filter system and protein skimmer
- Water thermometer
- Water heater
- Chemical test kit
- Live plants/reef
- Fish food
If you’re just starting up, we recommend focusing on buying the best fish tank for beginners, a filter, lighting, hardy fish and fish food. Everything else can be added as you become more experienced and add more interesting fish to your aquarium.
Now, let’s get down to the rankings: the best home aquariums of 2018.
Best Home Aquarium Reviews 2018
Here’s a quick taster of some of our top picks:
|Capacity||5 Gallons||20 Gallons||50 Gallons||150 Gallons|
|Filter||Adjustable Flow Filter Pump||5-Stage Filtration||Sump Filter and Skimmer||Built-in Sump Filtration|
|Weight||12 lbs||35 lbs||250 lbs||330 lbs|
Best Nano Aquarium
If you’re a complete beginner to the world of fishkeeping, or you’re looking for a suitable starter fish tank for someone who is, we’d suggest a nano aquarium.
As the name suggests, these are essentially tiny aquariums — meant for a couple of small fish at most.
Their benefits lie in their small size — they can be kept on a desk or a cabinet — and their low prices. Perfect for beginners!
Here are a few of our favorites.
With a 5 gallon capacity, it’s slightly bigger than its competitors and it’s more sophisticated too, with an advanced 3 stage filtration system with an adjustable flow filter pump hidden in the back panel. This means a high standard of water quality is available — almost unheard of in such a small fish tank!
The fact that you can adjust the flow of the pump also means that this makes for one of the best Betta fish tanks too.
- 3-stage filter built in
- Adjustable flow filter pump built in
- Beautiful blue and white, energy efficient LED lighting
- Sliding glass canopy allows for easy access
- Rounded corners for unobstructed visuals
- Marineland is a highly respected manufacturer
- Easy to assemble and maintain
- Lightweight at 12 lbs
- Tall — great for adding plants and ornaments
- Cover isn’t totally air tight — small escape artists may be able to crawl out if not monitored
This is one of the bestselling small aquariums out there in 2018 and it’s easy to see why: it’s small enough to fit on almost any size desk, has a filter and is pretty darn cheap.
This nano fish tank is also available in packs of 2, 3, 4 and 5 — great for if you want a number of small aquariums in your home (or if the kids want one in each of their bedrooms!).
- Comes with a Tetra 3i filter – a Whisper power filter
- Has an LED light
- Feeding hole in the lid
- Small footprint
- Very cheap
- Attractive cube design
- Made from plastic so not the sturdiest
- Filter is too powerful for a Betta fish
It’s hard to resist this cute little nano aquarium with a built-in waterfall!
At only 1.8 gallons, it’s one of the smallest fish tanks you can buy — but it sure looks good. It also comes with a pump driven filter so it’s more sophisticated than a fish bowl.
- Beautiful design
- Very small footprint
- Comes with a Tetra pump driven filter with cartridge
- Equipped with bright white LED lights
- Light and filter powered by power cord
- Reasonably expensive given its size
- Very small — only suitable for one or two fish
Here we’ve got another popular and low cost aquarium, which comes ready equipped with a water thermometer and filter for all budding aquarists.
The manufacturer recommends it for both small fish and shrimp — just make sure that they make good tankmates before you introduce them!
- It comes with everything you need: tank, hang on filter, thermometer and net
- Made from glass: sturdy and durable
- Secure plastic lid with hinges
- Small footprint so great for desks
- Frameless design for great visuals
- Quiet filter
- Low price
- No lights included
- Lid is plastic and a little flimsy
This is probably the smallest desktop aquarium that we’ve ever come across — but it’s awesomely innovative! Just make sure that you don’t overcrowd it.
Despite its low price, this truly nano aquarium has got a lot of cool features, including a large, bright LCD screen that shows the date, time, temperature and has alarm functions. It’s pretty limited however as the recirculation of water is powered by USB. The screen is powered separately by batteries.
- Large, bright screen
- Comes with decorative peebles, plants and a USB cable
- Multiple functions as a desktop device: alarm clock, thermometer, pen holder
- Also has 6 nature music sounds
- recirculating water
- Cute design
- We think this is far too small for a fish to thrive
- Thermometer is not a water thermometer
Best Fish Tanks: 10-55 Gallons
These small and mid-sized aquariums are the next step up from nano aquariums, and the products you should be looking at if you’re seriously interested in fish keeping.
These sized tanks will easily serve any beginner aquarist, while those at the larger end — particularly 50 gallons and up — will be perfect for intermediate ones too.
Described by the manufacturer as an ‘aquarium kit’ with everything you need to get started, it comes with a clip on filter and some quick-change filter cartridges. Personally, we’d swap this out for a more sophisticated filtration system, but this will more than suffice for beginners.
- Comes with a Marina Slim S15 Clip-On filter and quick change filter cartridges
- Long-lasting and energy efficient LED light built into canopy
- Comes with fish food, water conditioner, biological supplement, fish net and care guide: perfect for beginners
- Quiet filter
- Adjustable flow rates
- Switch to turn light on and off
- Made of glass
- Sturdy, strong and supportive
- Affordable price
- LED light is super bright with no night light feature
Its 20 gallon capacity is showcased in a classic design, and it’s got basically everything you need to get started: a sophisticated filter, 100W heater, fish food, water conditioner, thermometer and a fish net.
- Comes with everything you need to get started
Preset heater keeps tank at a versatile 78°F
- 5 stage filtration system is high quality, quiet and flashes red when the cartridge needs changing
- Also comes with ammonia specialty filter pad
- Vibrant, energy saving, LED lighting
- Secure and full hood
- Convenient feeding door at the front
- Made in the USA
- Easy to assemble
- Great price
- Made from glass
- No hinges on the hood — you have to completely take it off every time
- Heater is preset and can’t be adjusted
First off, it’s a very attractive tank with rounded corners and great views, and it also enjoys automatic lighting to complement the natural day-night cycle. No wonder it’s so popular!
Take a look at this video if you’re looking to upgrade and modify your BioCube:
- Sleek, modern look
- Automatic 30 minute sunrise/sunset and 60 minute moonrise/moonset functions
- Vibrant LED lights with 3 independent channels
- Customizable filtration system
- Quiet, submersible pump
- Dual intakes and adjustable return pump included
- Made from glass
- Good customer service
- Lid lifts the whole way
- Reasonably expensive
- Fans are a little loud
Safe for both salt and freshwater fish, this tank has a beautiful bow fronted design for optimal views and displays. It’s advertized as being 17 times stronger than normal glass, so is a good bet for aquarist families with children and other pets.
- Comes equipped with reflector and 24″ electrical light fixture
- Beautiful bow-fronted appearance and convex shape
- Made from acrylic
- Seams are practically invisible
- Very clear views
- Leakproof and strong
- 15″ depth so can be tricky to thoroughly clean
- Acrylic is very easily scratched
This is definitely one of the best saltwater fish tanks of 2018 and really quite perfect for aquarists looking for a tank and cabinet for a centerpiece.
Advertized as the complete package, this large home aquarium comes with a heavy duty cabinet, sump, skimmer, return pipe, tubing and biological media as standard. You just need to, you know, fill it.
- Complete package — comes with everything you need for tank assembly
- Cabinet is very sturdy with double doors
- Cabinet comes pre-assembled
- Comes with a sump and skimmer for saltwater fish
- 3 year warranty, plus 1 year warranty for various accessories
- Large enough for most hobbyist needs
- Excellent customer service
- Works well as a reef tank
- Great value for money considering the size and quality
- Installation can be a little arduous
- While the tank is very high quality, some of the accessories are not quite so well crafted and will probably require replacements down the road
It’s almost entirely the same as the 36 gallon model above, just this time it’s a little bigger. It’s a very popular purchase among intermediate and expert aquarists.
- Comes with a reflector and 24″ light fixture
- Made from acrylic
- Very strong and robust
- Beautiful clear views
- Lightweight considering size
- Excellent price
- Curved front corners are seamless and elegant
- Holds stable temperatures
- Light fixture is too weak for live plants
- Not enough top support so the center bows inward slightly
This is definitely one of the best cylinder aquariums available, and a great buy if you’re looking for a striking tank and aren’t afraid to spend a bit of money.
With a stainless steel trim and a fully acrylic tank, this is high tech and modern looking, and a great showcase for tall plants. It reaches an impressive 67 inches in height, so make sure you’ve got the room for it before you buy!
- Made from high strength acrylic
- Includes filtration system, pump, air pump and bio ball
- Stainless steel stand and canopy are included
- Comes with a power compact aquarium light
- Very attractive and unique design
- Can be used for freshwater and saltwater fish — although you may wish to upgrade the filter system and pump for the latter
- At 95 lbs, you may need assistance with assembly
Best Large Fish Tanks
If you’re a committed and experienced aquarist who is happy to invest some serious time and money into your hobby, then you’ve likely considered buying a large aquarium to house your fish.
Large fish tanks are practically mandatory for some of the more aggressive species that need a lot of space to swim, including animals like stingrays. And when it comes to fish keeping, like with many things in this life, bigger really does equal better 😉
Here are the best large home aquariums of 2018:
What you see is really what you get — perfect for experienced aquarists happy to buy their own equipment.
- Excellent low price
- Made in the USA
- 4 feet long and 25 inches tall
- Made from glass
- Bare bones — great for people looking for a spare tank, or for those who like to choose their own accessories and equipment
- Very heavy
- Doesn’t come with a lid
It’s clearly made of very high quality with distortion free glass, diamond polished edges and commercial grade sealant to prevent leakages. One thing to note, however: it’s heavy — well over 200 lbs!
- Very high quality glass and general construction
- Minimal light refraction and visual distortion
- Rigorously tested and exceeded industry standards
- Bare bones — perfect for buying your own accessories and equipment for
- Perfect for saltwater fish
- Good price
- Incredibly heavy
Here’s another 150 gallon fish tank, but it’s a little more all-in-one than the Aquarium Masters model above. That does mean that it’s more expensive as well.
Advertized as the complete acrylic aquarium system, you’ve got more or less everything you need for the ultimate saltwater aquarium here — built in sump filtration system, LED lighting, Smart Controller for an LCD computer board, water pump and air pump.
Plus, it’s a real beauty!
- Complete aquarium system with sophisticated built-in wet/dry filtration, lighting and pumps
- Made from acrylic — stronger and clearer than glass
- Beautiful 4 sided views and rounded corners
- Smart LCD control board
- Space for protein skimmer and heater in the cabinet
- Ideal for either fresh or saltwater fish
- Highly attractive model
- Heavy — over 300 lbs!
Here it is — the Big Daddy of the aquarium world. The Triton Cynthia.
Just like the Triton Oasis above, it’s a complete aquarium system, only this one is much bigger: 430 gallons, to be exact. It’s pretty darn luxe: with a built-in bilateral and inside filtration system, with LED lighting and the same smart controller and computer board.
You can really go crazy with this, the best home aquarium.
- Made from acrylic — super strong and clear
- Sophisticated built-in bilateral and inside filtration system
- Comes with 2 water pumps and an air pump
- Vibrant LED lighting
- Can be smart controlled via a computer board
- Very, very large — perfect for the elite aquarist
- Ideal for salt and freshwater fish
- Very expensive
- Very heavy (over 600 lbs!)
And there you have it — our complete guide to the best fish tanks of 2018.
What’s your pick for the best home aquarium?