The Best Fish Tanks Of 2018

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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.

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.

best cheap fish tank

Aquarium Size

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:

  1. The Best Saltwater Aquarium Fish
  2. The Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish

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.

Filtration Systems

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.

best nano aquarium

Lighting

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.

Material Construction

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:

FeaturesGlassAcrylic
Strength & SupportVery strong and supportive, but often thicker than acrylicVery strong but often requires a stand and top support. Thinner than glass
CrackingWill crack under extreme forceWill only crack under unprecedented impact
WeightUp to 10x heavier than AcrylicLightweight
ScratchingDifficult to scratchScratches easily
Quality Over TimeMaintains clarity over timeCan yellow with age
Visual DistortionThicker the glass, the more light refracts = lots of distortionMinimal distortion, true size and color
CostUsually cheaperMore 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.

best large fish tank

Costs

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:

  • Tank
  • Filter system and protein skimmer
  • Lighting
  • Water thermometer
  • Water heater
  • Chemical test kit
  • Live plants/reef
  • Decorations
  • Substrate
  • Fish
  • 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 fish tanks

Best Home Aquarium Reviews 2018

Here’s a quick taster of some of our top picks:

Aquarium
Capacity5 Gallons20 Gallons50 Gallons150 Gallons
MaterialGlassGlassGlassAcrylic
FilterAdjustable Flow Filter Pump5-Stage FiltrationSump Filter and SkimmerBuilt-in Sump Filtration
Weight12 lbs35 lbs250 lbs330 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.

Marineland ML90609 Portrait Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon

best nano aquarium
We think that this is far and away the best nano aquarium on the market right now.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Cover isn’t totally air tight — small escape artists may be able to crawl out if not monitored

>>> Read our full review of the Marineland 5-gallon Portrait Aquarium

best small aquarium

Tetra 29095 Cube Aquarium Kit, 3-Gallon

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!).

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Made from plastic so not the sturdiest
  • Filter is too powerful for a Betta fish

best fish tanks

Tetra Waterfall Globe Aquarium, 1.8 gallons

best small fish tank
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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Reasonably expensive given its size
  • Very small — only suitable for one or two fish

best small aquariums

Penn Plax Vertex Aquarium Kit, 2.7 Gallons

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!

Pros

  • 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
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet filter
  • Low price

Cons

  • No lights included
  • Lid is plastic and a little flimsy

best fish tanks

Mini USB LCD Desktop Lamp Light Fish Tank Aquarium, 0.4 Gallons

best beginners fish tank

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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.

Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 10 Gallons

best fish tank
This is one of the most popular home aquariums of 2018, and it’s one of our favorites if you’re looking for a small, cheap and efficient tank.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • LED light is super bright with no night light feature

best fish tanks

Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit, 20 gallons

best 20 gallon fish tank
This is one of the newer aquarium kits on the market, but it’s already a hit with aquarists.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • No hinges on the hood — you have to completely take it off every time
  • Heater is preset and can’t be adjusted

>>> Read our full review of the Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank

best fish tanks

Coralife Fish Tank LEd BioCube Aquarium, 32 Gallons

best home aquariums
The Coralife BioCube is one of our favorite home aquariums and a great buy for someone serious about fish keeping.

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:

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Reasonably expensive
  • Fans are a little loud

best fish tanks

SeaClear Bowfront Acrylic Aquarium, 36 Gallons

best aquarium
If you’re interested in a larger, acrylic aquarium, this one from SeaClear could be just what you’re looking for. Just remember to buy a filtration system separately!

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.

Pros

  • 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
  • Lightweight
  • Leakproof and strong

Cons

  • 15″ depth so can be tricky to thoroughly clean
  • Acrylic is very easily scratched

best fish tanks

SCA Starfire Glass Aquarium, 50 Gallon

best large aquarium

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • 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

>>> Read our full review of the SCA 50 Gallon aquarium

best fish tanks

SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium, 50 Gallons

best fish tank
As a cheaper alternative to the SCA 50 gallon tank above — albeit without all of the additional accessories — you should definitely consider this acrylic aquarium from SeaClear.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Light fixture is too weak for live plants
  • Not enough top support so the center bows inward slightly

best fish tanks

Vepotek Full Acrylic 360 Cylinder Aquarium Tank, 55 Gallons

best cylinder aquarium

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!

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Expensive
  • At 95 lbs, you may need assistance with assembly

best fish tanks

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:

Seapora Standard Aquarium, 90 Gallons

best large fish tank
If you’re looking for a bare bones fish tank approaching 100 gallons, you can’t really go wrong with this glass edition from Seapora.

What you see is really what you get — perfect for experienced aquarists happy to buy their own equipment.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Very heavy
  • Doesn’t come with a lid

best fish tanks

Aquarium Masters Standard Aquarium, 150 Gallon

large home aquariums
Another bare bones aquarium, but this time arguably of a higher quality is this Aquarium Masters 150 gallon model.

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!

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Incredibly heavy

best fish tanks

Triton Oasis 150 Gallon Aquarium

150 gallon aquarium

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!

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Heavy — over 300 lbs!

best fish tanks

Triton Cynthia Aquarium, 430 Gallons

best large aquarium

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Very heavy (over 600 lbs!)

best fish tanks


And there you have it — our complete guide to the best fish tanks of 2018.

What’s your pick for the best home aquarium?

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