The Best Fish Tanks For Your New Aquatic Friend

These aquariums will make the perfect home 🏠

fish tank

You want to make your new fish feels right at home, which means finding him the perfect tank.

Not all fish tanks are the same, so you’ll definitely want to do some research before purchasing one.

When shopping for the best fish tank, it should be the right size for the kind of fish you have (and how many you have) and should be able to be placed on a flat surface or on an aquarium stand that can hold its weight.

We spoke with Mario Musa, a certified aquarist and owner of Epic Aquarium, for more insight on the best fish tanks and what to look for when shopping for one. Here are our top picks:

How to find the best fish tank

“The size specifications for a fish tank will vary depending on the type of fish you're keeping,” Musa told The Dodo. “For example, goldfish require a 20-gallon fish tank (at minimum), while bettas (the most popular fish among home aquarists) need at least 3 gallons.”

Also keep in mind that saltwater tanks typically need to be larger than freshwater ones since saltwater fish need more space (so opt for at least 5 gallons for a saltwater tank).

And if you plan to keep more than two fish in the tank, you’ll want to opt for a larger tank so they have plenty of room to swim around in.

But don’t forget, the larger the tank, the more there is to clean and the more space it’ll take up in your home.

If the aquarium is the right size for your fish, your space and your lifestyle, and can sit on a flat surface, consider the accessories it comes with. According to Musa, in order for your fish to live his best life, his aquarium should have the following:

  • Filter — Essential to the health and well-being of your fish, a filter helps to keep the water clean and free of debris, as well as aerated and oxygenated. Filters also help to remove harmful chemicals and toxins (ammonia and nitrates) from the water that can be detrimental to your fish's health.
  • Heater (if you’re keeping tropical fish) — Most tropical fish (like bettas) need their water temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the fish you’ll be taking care of, an aquarium heater may not be essential, but it’s recommended to maintain a consistent water temperature. A sudden change can cause stress and lead to illness in your fish.
  • Accessories — A fish tank needs decorations, live plants or other objects (rocks, woods) to provide hiding places for your fish. A hiding spot provides your fish with a sense of safety and security, which is crucial for his well-being.
  • Lighting (if you decide to include live plants in your tank) — Lighting is essential for the growth and health of aquarium plants. Plants need light for photosynthesis, which is how they create their food.

7 best fish tank options

Based on expert guidelines and product reviews from pet parents, we’ve come up with some pretty cool options for your new aquarium.

Best overall fish tank: Marina LED Aquarium Kit

This 20-gallon glass aquarium receives high marks for being a great aquarium across the board. It includes a clip-on filter (and extra filter cartridges!), natural daylight-effect LED lighting, Nutrafin fish food, water conditioner and a soft mesh net for tank maintenance. Despite not including a heater (which can be purchased separately), experts and reviewers alike agree this tank can make an ideal and versatile home for your fish. Setup will be a breeze with the included aquarium care guide. 

Best starter: Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit with LED Lighting

For the beginner fish parent, the Aqueon 20-gallon aquarium fits the bill. All the equipment you need is included: the glass aquarium itself, cool-white LED lighting, filter, filter cartridge, heater (which keeps the temperature at 78 degrees), premium fish food sample, water conditioner sample, fish net, thermometer and setup guide. We like that a red LED light flashes on the filter when it’s time to change the cartridge.

Best small fish tank: Penn-Plax Radius Desktop Nano Aquarium Kit

The Radius aquarium is a stylish aquarium from Penn-Plax. Not only is it great for small fish, but it’s perfect for small spaces and can fit comfortably on a desk or countertop. It’s also available in several sizes (3.4 to 10 gallons). Plus, this kit comes with some accessories, including an internal filter, black LED light and a mat to go underneath the tank. 

Best betta: Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit with LED Lighting and 3-Stage Filtration 

Because of their fins, bettas are very sensitive to water flow that’s produced by a filter. The Fluval SPEC aquarium kit has a custom three-stage betta filtration system to slow the water and protect the fish. Bettas require an aquarium heater, and this aquarium has a pre-set heater designed to set the temperature to the betta’s requirements. (Just make sure to purchase the 5-gallon size since this is what a single betta fish requires.) We like the modern look of this aquarium and everything it comes with: glass aquarium with cover; LED lighting system; safe, low-voltage transformer; circulation pump with output nozzle; foam filter block with handle; activated carbon insert; and BioMax insert.

Best budget: Aqua Culture 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit with LED

This 10-gallon aquarium wins points for its intuitive design and easy maintenance. The starter kit includes the rectangular tank, LED lighting that mimics natural sunlight, and a Tetra internal filter with easy-to-switch cartridges when needed. We like that the kit also includes water cleaner, fish food and TetraCare, which connects you with support in case you need it during setup. You’ll have to buy a heater separately, though. 

Best self-cleaning: Back to the Roots Water Garden

This aquarium is really special. Not only will it provide a home for your fish, but you can grow food on top of it! With everything you’ll need to get started (radish and wheatgrass seeds, water conditioner, water dechlorinator and fish food), you’ll be able to harvest organic microgreens from your aquarium in 10 days. And here’s where the self-cleaning part comes into play: As your water garden grows fresh food on top, the fish waste fertilizes the plants from below and the plants clean the water. Pretty cool, right? Perfect for anyone who loves fish and has been wanting to get an aquaponic or hydroponic system. 

Best round: biOrb Classic LED Aquarium

If you’re stuck on the idea of the classic round fish tank, we get it. This 4-gallon tank by biOrb will do the trick! Made of heavy acrylic, this tank will sit nicely on flat surfaces and features LED lighting with pre-set colors (and a brightness remote control), easy feeding access, and a five-stage filtration system. Perfect for use as a centerpiece to really enjoy your new fish, this round tank also includes an air pump, filter cartridge and water conditioner. If warm water is required for the kind of fish you bring home, you’ll have to buy a water heater separately. 

Here’s to your fish’s new aquarium! He’ll feel right at home in no time.

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