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Best fish tank: six top-rated tanks for all types of fish

best fish tank
(Image credit: Getty)

Picking the best fish tank is not as simple as you might think. You will want to create a healthy environment for your fish, so you will need to consider what you need before diving in and purchasing the best fish tank for the job.

First up is tank size. It’s quite simple; bigger is better. But not everyone has the room for a bigger tank. And, you may only need a tank for one fish so circumstances will help dictate tank size. Ideally, you want something that is at least 5 gallons in capacity, but smaller is OK if you have a small single fish to house. Beyond the size of the fish tank you need to think about the material it's made from, choosing the best fish tank accessories, a filtration system, water heater, lighting and style. 

Fish tanks are typically made from glass or plastic. Glass is heavier and typically cheaper, while acrylic is stronger and lighter, but usually more expensive.
A filtration system is absolutely essential to keep your fish healthy. Lights are great so you can see your fish when dark or to help recreate a fish’s natural environment. If you are bringing home tropical fish you will need a water heater and a thermometer to keep an eye on water temperature and ensure your fish stays happy and healthy, also you’ll need the best fish tank stand you can find to show off your aquarium both securely and stylishly.

Here we have put together a collection of tanks and kits to help you decide exactly what you need to house your fish and keep them happy and healthy. 

best fish tank best overall fish tank

(Image credit: Aqueon)

Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit

Best overall fish tank

Size: 27.25 x 15.75 x 21 inches | Weight: 32.4 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Clear | Accessories: Yes

20-gallon tank
Pre-set heater
Quiet filter
No tank decor

If you are new to the world of fish tanks and want to get started quickly and without too much fuss a starter kit is a great option. As you might expect the Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit is more than just a tank; it also comes with a load of accessories, which means you will be up and running in no time. 

The tank itself has a 20 gallon capacity which is ideal for keeping multiple fish. As a general guideline you need approximately one gallon for each adult fish. So this tank would be suitable for up to 20 fish. Or, it could be a luxury tank with plenty of room if you only have a few fish. It measures 27.25 x 15.75 x 21 inches, so make sure you have enough space to put the tank where you want it. 

To keep the fish tank lit there is a low profile LED full hood. This is perfect for getting a great view of your tank and fish, especially at night. To keep the water clean – and your fish healthy – there is a QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter with a medium cartridge. A medium cartridge will probably last around a month to three months. Other included essentials are premium fish food, water conditioner and a fish net to help remove your finned friends when giving their tank a clean. 

If you are looking to specifically keep tropical fish there is a 100W preset heater and a stick-on thermometer to keep the water at the ideal temperature. Note there is no gravel/sand or tank decor included with the Aqueon. So, you will need to purchase these items yourself. 

best fish tank

(Image credit: Tetra)

Tetra ColorFusion Starter Aquarium Kit

Best budget fish tank

Size: 6.88 x 12.5 x 12.9 inches | Weight: One pound | Material: Acrylic | Color: ClearX | Accessories: Yes

Small footprint
Panoramic view
LED light for bubbles
No water heater

If you are delving into the world of fish for the first time and don't want a big outlay to start with then this budget fish tank is for you. It's a starter kit that contains all the basics that you will need but without breaking the bank. It doesn’t have a big tank, it only has a 3 gallon capacity. This makes it ideal if you only have a few fish you want to nurture and admire. The tank measures 6.88 x 12.5 x 12.9 inches, so you won’t need a lot of room to keep it on display.

The tank is not your conventional rectangle design with straight sides. The front of the tank is a half moon shape which allows for 180 degree panoramic viewing. Great for seeing your fish from all angles without a straight edge interrupting your view. 

To make the view even more inviting there is a 6 LED light that pumps out bubbles. This creates a multicoloured bubble curtain wherever you place the light in the tank. To keep your few fish happy and healthy an air pump-driven Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter will keep the tank clean. This uses a two-part filtration system that catches waste and removes debris and odors. This is great for the fish and great for your home. 

The top of the fish tank boasts a clear canopy with a hole for dropping in any flaky fish food. Alternatively, if you want to feed your fish liquid food the Tetra ColorFusion Starter Aquarium Kit comes with a convenient feeding tube. 

best fish tank

(Image credit: Marina)

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

Best portrait fish tank

Size: 11.81 x 11.62 x 17.05 inches | Weight: 12 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Black | Accessories: Yes

Hidden filter
Sleek and stylish
Space saving design
No plants or decor
No water decor

Do you want a sleek and elegant upright tank to house your fish? But don’t have enough space for a large tank. Say hello to this portrait tank from Marineland. It has a small footprint, measuring just under one foot in length and width. But it is the 17-inches in height that pumps up the capacity to five gallons, which is more than enough for a small community of tropical fish. 

The tank sits on its own sturdy plastic base, held in place by its own weight. This raises the tank a few inches above any surface it is placed on and adds to the ambience of the overall design of the tank. 

Add in the curved corners and black background and you have a tank that is attractive and great for viewing your smart looking fish from multiple angles. Sitting above the tank is a blue and white LED lighting system which brings your tank to life with natural daylight and moonlight settings. 

The bright white LEDs create a shimmering sunlight effect while the blue LEDs produce a moonlit glow, an ideal night time setting. Directly under the hinged LED lighting - and across the top of the tank – is a sliding glass canopy for easy access to the tank. 

The kit doesn’t include any decoration to bring the tank to life and give your fish a more natural environment. See this as an opportunity to invest in some tall plants, some natural strata and a water heater to create a bespoke habitat to keep you and your fish happy. 

best fish tank

(Image credit: Getty)

CYS EXCEL Glass Bubble Bowl

Best fish bowl

Size: 12 x 12 x 10 inches | Weight: 3.99 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Clear | Accessories: No

Very affordable
Stylish
Hard to clean
No accessories

Fish bowls are often seen as the traditional home for a small fish. They are very affordable and look great, but when purchasing one, make sure to get the right option for your fish. The bigger the better, because the more space your fish has the better it is for their health and happiness. It is worth noting that fish bowls are not really suitable as a permanent home for tropical fish. But they will work well as a temporary home when cleaning out an aquarium tank.  

The CYS EXCEL Glass Bubble Bowl is available in four different sizes from a small 5.5 -inch option through to the largest 12-inch option. The smallest option is only ideal for a single fish while the largest can hold around three gallons of water. This makes it ideal for two or three fish. 

The fish bowl is made from quality hand-blown crystal clear glass, not machine manufactured, which gives it a more unique bowl design. The glass is around a quarter of an inch thick adding to the weight of the bowl which weighs around 20 pounds when full of water. 

A fish bowl makes a great stylish centerpiece in your home when well decorated and lit and this offering is no different. The curves of the bowl bend and reflect the light giving it its own sense of style. However, this bowl comes with no accessories whatsoever, you simply get the bowl. This is ideal for creating a bespoke environment for your fish, but don’t forget to factor in the extra cost when buying a bowl. 

One downside is, fish bowls are not as easy to clean as a rectangular fish tank. The opening on the top of the CYS EXCEL Glass Bubble Bowl measures 6.75 inches. This is big enough to get your hand in, but not so easy to manoeuvre your hand once inside. 

best fish tank

(Image credit: Tetra)

Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit

Best tropical fish tank

Size: 27.88 x 16.13 x 20.38 inches | Weight: 34 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Clear | Accessories: Yes

Large tank
All necessary kit
Scratch-resistant glass
Poor tank decorations

If you are looking to start your own tropical fish aquarium, you will need all the right equipment to make it happen. This may seem like a herculean task, but you can throw yourself straight in at the deep end with a Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit. The kit comes complete with everything you need, except for the fish. You get to choose those. 

The key component of any aquarium is the fish tank. The tank in this kit has a 20 gallon capacity – ideal for around 20 fish – and has a footprint of 27.88 x 16.13 x 20.38 inches. There are larger options available from Tetra including a 55 gallon aquarium kit if you want to go large. The tank is made from quarter inch thick scratch-resistant glass ensuring that viewing of your finned friends will stay crystal clear. 

Also included in the kit is a Tetra Whisper 20 filter to keep the tank clean and a Tetra Mini UL heater to keep the water temperature at the right level. Both of these models do the job, but you may want to think about upgrading in the future. The  heater has an electronic thermostat that automatically adjusts to keep the water in the tank at a steady 78 degrees. Check this works for your fish. 

Tank decorations create the habitat inside a tank and this Tetra kit comes with a few basics. There is one artificial Boxwood Plant Mat and four artificial plants. This is enough to get you started but you will need to invest in more accessories to create a great looking aquarium. And, there is no gravel or sand to recreate a seabed. To complete the aquarium an LED hood provides a natural daytime effect. This is conveniently on hinges to open for easy access and cleaning. But there is also a small flap to quickly drop in fish food. 

best fish tank

(Image credit: Landen)

Landen 36P 5.4 Gallon Rimless Low Iron Aquarium Tank

Best basic fish tank

Size: from 14.2 x 10.2 x 8.7 inches | Weight: From 10 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Clear | Accessories: No

Well-built
Multiple sizes
Large capacity
Heavy
No accessories
No tank decorations

If you are literally looking for just a fish tank then this option from Landen could just be what you are after. No water filters, no tank decoration, no water heaters, just the tank (and a black nano foam levelling mat). This makes this tank the ideal solution for someone who’s looking to take their fish keeping hobby a little more seriously. You get to choose everything that goes with the tank. The perfect opportunity to create your own custom aquarium. 

The Landen is made from premium quality thick crystal clear low iron glass, which has a greater than 91 percent transparency. This means you get to gaze at your finned friends with plenty of clarity and really enjoy their beauty. They are hand-made by craftsmen and come with a high standard of workmanship, especially on the edges. 

The Landen is available in six different sizes. The smallest in the range measures 14.2 × 8.7 × 10.2 inches and weighs in at ten pounds. This has a capacity of around five gallons, so ideal for around five fish or less. The next option in the range measures 23.6 x 14.2 x 11.8 inches and weighs in at 26 pounds. But, the largest tank measures an impressive 39.37 x 17.72 x 17.72 inches and weighs in at a hefty 92.8 pounds. And this is without water – the tank holds around 50 gallons – so you will need to make sure you have a strong and sturdy platform to place your tank on. 

How to choose the best fish tank

When on the lookout for a new fish tank the first thing to consider is how many fish does it need to house. Do you have a single small fish? Do you have a happy little community of four or five fish? Or are you going all out with 20+ fish for your new aquarium. As a general guideline you need a capacity of one gallon for each adult fish you are housing. So, if you have a single fish then a one gallon tank should do. If you are looking to house 20 fish then a 20 gallon tank should be the order of the day. 

The mantra when housing fish is ‘the bigger the better’. At the very least you need to be getting nothing less than the minimum capacity. But if you have the space and can afford it, consider a bigger tank. The Landen 36P 5.4 Gallon Rimless Low Iron Aquarium Tank is a good choice if you want to start with a blank tank and build from there. 

But if you want a no-fuss and easy to implement solution then a starter kit like the Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit is a great starting point. This comes with a water filter, water heater, thermometer, food and lighting. The only thing that is missing is tank decoration. Other kits like the Tetra ColorFusion Starter Aquarium Kit and the Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit are a bit more basic. They have the essentials – such as a water filter – to get you started, But, they also give you the opportunity to choose the accessories and tank decoration you want to create a happy and healthy habitat for your fish.