Starting your own at home aquarium is something that a lot of people feel called towards and it can be one of the most rewarding decisions you make. Before you begin stocking it with bright and wonderful fish, you need to find the best aquarium for your needs. There are some excellent products available but finding the right one can be a bit of a challenge.
You need to find a product that is the right size for the fish you are drawn to and if you haven’t got any of the other equipment, then a starter kit can be a good idea. Because there are so many products to choose from, we have selected the best aquariums for at-home use so you end up with a product that you get a lot of enjoyment from.
- Editor’s Choice
Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Beginners
Tetra GloFish 3 Gallon Aquarium Kit Fish Tank (Amazon) – Review
- Best 20-gallon
Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit w/ filter heater LED & plants (Amazon) – Review
- Best Energy Efficient
Marina LED Aquarium Kit (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Night Use
GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank with LED Lighting and Filtration Included (Amazon) – Review
- Best Portrait
MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon
This is the best aquarium for anyone looking for a starter kit that has a good capacity and is easy to use. The Nano design of this 5-gallon aquarium stands out, showing off your fish via the etched glass with aluminum trim. Included is a powerful LED system that has 37 lights and you also get a few neat extras. These include a foam block, BioMax bio rings, and activated carbon insert which combine for a 3 stage filtration system.
The circulation pump and output nozzle are reliable and don’t give a loud burr noise when in operation. They work by pushing debris towards the filter and keeps oxygen flowing in all corners so your fish get everything they need. You get everything you need bar the fish and any tank life so it is the ideal starter kit for anyone who wants to dip their toes in the world of fish tanks. With it, you get the reputable Fluval brand name that is behind some of the best at home aquariums on the market.
- Includes a 37 light LED lamp
- 3 stage filtration system
- Excellent starter kit
- 5-gallon tank
Best For Beginners: Tetra GloFish 3 Gallon Aquarium Kit Fish Tank
The cube design of this 3-gallon tank makes it a convenient size that doesn’t take up a lot of room and for the price, it is the best value at home aquarium. It comes with Tetra’s 3i filter to help keep the tank clean so your small tropical fish can enjoy clean, clear water. There is also a vibrant LED light so you get to see your fish at any time of day.
With a convenient lid, it keeps out other pets and features a feeding hole to make lunchtime easy. This is particularly good for goldfish and betta fish and because of the pedestal base, the unit itself looks impressive, especially considering the price. Made from clear plastic, it is a low maintenance tank that won’t crack or shatter. Instead, you get a panoramic view of the fish you choose to stock.
- 3 gallon tanks made from clear plastic
- Includes a filter and LED light
- Ideal for small tropical fish
- Includes a feeding hole
- Great value
- Not suitible for larger fish
Best 20-gallon: Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit w/ filter heater LED & plants
This is the best aquarium for anyone who wants a larger tank and everything they need to get started without the fish themselves. It features an LED light that changes color to provide a unique ambiance to the tank that other brands cannot offer. There are also all the plants you could need to make your fish feel comfortable and give your tank a fun environment to look at.
Tetra has provided everything you need including a hood cover to keep the fish safe, a UL heater to ensure they are comfortable, plant multipacks, a filter, and an anemone that flows in the filtration system. At 20 gallons it can house an abundance of fish that the smaller products are not capable of housing and it has the build quality to ensure it is going to last a very long time.
- LED light that changes color
- 20 gallons is plenty for an array of fish
- Includes filtration system and plants
- Live plants are better and low maintenance
Best Energy Efficient: Marina LED Aquarium Kit
Another quality 20-gallon aquarium only this time it is from Marina. Similar to our other chosen products, this comes with a vibrant and reliable and energy-efficient LED light only it also comes with quick-change filter cartridges to ensure you have a few spares. With it, there is everything you need to get started including a miniature net, fish food, water conditioner to ensure the tap water you use is safe for your fish, a care guide to help with set up and general advice among other items.
There is everything to ensure the chemical balance of the water is optimal for aquatic life and plenty of features to help a first-time buyer get up to speed. It is available in smaller sizes so if the 20-gallon version is a bit much, you can also buy a 5-gallon or 10-gallon kit.
- 20-gallon aquarium
- Energy-efficient LED light
- Comes with everything you need to get started
- Pump can be a little noisey
Best For Night Use: GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank with LED Lighting and Filtration Included
This crescent-shaped fish tank is plenty of fun for someone who wants to buy fish for their kids to enjoy. There are some neat features for the family including the LED lighting system that illuminates the tank in blue light so you can buy fish that glow. There is also an internal filtration system that pulls the water directly from the aquarium and pushes it through the filter cartridge to make sure it catches the debris and waste, keeping the water clean.
The black hood looks great and helps to keep your fish safe from jumping and for the price, it is hard to find better value for an at-home aquarium. By turning the blue LED light on you transform your aquatic life to a florescent wonderland so kids can choose their plant life and fish then enjoy the fun.
- Includes blue LED light for a fluorescent environment
- The black hood prevents fish from jumping
- Comes in different sizes
- Not everyone wants a canopy design
Best Portrait: MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
This smart design wouldn’t look out of place in a bachelor pad or on the kitchen side as its non-intrusive look has a stylish appeal. The glass canopy allows you to view the fish from all angles and you get to switch between daylight and moonlight lighting thanks to the LED. This can be changed between bright white light to a moody blue to give in a moonlit appearance. The glass canopy slides to one side so you can feed your fish with ease.
What a lot of people like is that the 3-stage filtration system is hidden so you get a great view of the tank. It is easy to assemble, comes with a sturdy base and is a great option for anyone who wants to bring some aquatic life into their home without any previous experience.
- Can change between daylight and moonlight lighting
- Sliding glass canopy for easy access
- Stylish appearance
- Some included parts might need upgrading
When it comes to buying your fist aquarium for your home, it can feel like all the products you look at are offering similar things. However, there are many subtle differences to consider so unless you know what you are looking at, it can be hard to buy the right product for your needs.
Because you are going to be housing fish and want them to live as long as possible, it is an important decision. We have created the following buyers’ guide to make it simpler.
If you are experienced in the world of at-home aquatics, then you might have some of what you need already. Anyone who is starting from scratch will do well to get their hands on a complete kit. This should be comprised of a filtration system, LED light, tank, filters, pump, heater, and a net among other things.
Hood and Canopy
One of the major causes of premature death for aquatic fish is through jumping. Thankfully, most products tend to come with a hood and canopy to ensure they cannot jump from the tank and land in trouble. These are also advisable for homes with cats as it can keep paws out of the tank.
Placement of Accessories
Some people like to buy aquariums that come with filters and heaters that can be kept out of the way, giving you a pure view of the tank and its contents. Check on how the tank should be set up as some products are designed so you cannot keep certain parts out of the way.
This can make a fun addition to your aquarium or it can be functional. This is where you might like to find a product that comes with an LED light that changes color. It can create a fun environment, especially for kids and some even feature a blue LED option that makes certain fish and plants glow in the dark.
The Right Tank Size
There are two major considerations when selecting the tank size and that is the type of fish you wish to house in the tank and the placement of the unit itself. Because a full tank will be pretty heavy, you need to make sure it is going to be well supported and stable. It can be a good idea to buy a stand that is the appropriate size for your tank.
Some people prefer taller aquariums that don’t take up a lot of room whilst others like to get their hands on something with a bigger capacity in which they will usually have to settle for a longer tank.
Buying glass restricts your options whilst there are different shaped tanks made from other materials, but more on that in the next section.
This is one of the big questions you need to consider when looking for the best at-home aquarium for your needs. Both types have their benefits and glass tanks are good because they tend to be reasonably priced and scratch-resistant.
The downside is the weight as they can be a lot heavier and they are more susceptible to cracks and shattering.
One of the plus points for acrylic aquariums is that they can be purchased in different shapes and sizes so it is easy to find one with a curved front. They are also best for a true view of your fish and plant life as glass tends to exaggerate the size and colors of the contents.
However, acrylic can scratch easily so you must take care when installing the tank and then when handling it. Also, acrylic tends to yellow over time which is why a lot of people opt for glass.
Even if you just think keeping fish is going to be fun, there are other benefits you may not have considered. Here are some of the most common reasons why people buy aquariums.
The sound of flowing water can be calming in itself but studies have shown that keeping fish and watching them in their tank can be relaxing. Having fish in your home can help to reduce anxiety and stress so it is a great hobby that is also very calming.
It is not uncommon to find fish around an office environment. Because of the relaxing properties, keeping fish can help to boost productivity and allow you to work with a clear mind.
Finding out about what fish can live in harmony, or what plant life is best for your tank can be fun. The longer you have your fish, the more you will find out about their behaviors and eating habits among other things. This is also great for curious children who want to know the names of fish and you can even get them involved in the upkeep.
A lot of people fall asleep to the sound of white noise so it is no surprise that the sound of a filtration system can help to send the restless to sleep. The calming glow of an LED light helps to create a soothing environment for sleep.