Many studies have shown that having small finned friends as pets prevents loneliness, reduces anxiety and lowers blood pressure, so splashing the cash on the best fish tanks is sure to be mutually beneficial.
Before you get down to choosing the right tank, however, you'll need to bear a few things in mind. First, what kind of fish will you be keeping? Second, how many are you looking to have? And third, what do you intend to put in the tank? Have a look at the best fish tank accessories to whet your appetite at the potential goodies you could buy.
One thing's for sure, the fish tank market has improved vastly over the years. There was a time when people would win a goldfish at a fairground, swing it home in a bag and pop it in the tiniest of bowls in the corner of the room – a practice that is, thankfully, far rarer these days.
Now, conscientious fish owners are far more careful and considerate. The demand is for tanks that are not only practical but look good. To that end, it's essential to consider what material you want the tank to be made from. Acrylic is lighter than glass, but it's not as scratch-resistant. Glass won't lose clarity, but you're going to be limited to certain shapes and sizes.
There's no right or wrong answer, though. Just ensure you can get a good view of your aquatic animals and that the tank is easy to clean and maintain. You definitely don't want to restrict the space your fish can enjoy either. For example, if you have a school of tropical fish then something with a capacity greater than 20 gallons will be needed but, in general, go for one gallon of water per inch of fish.
Now that you know what to look for when shopping for the best fish tanks, it’s time to dive in and take a closer look at our top picks for 2021...
- How to choose the right pet fish – a beginner's guide
- Best small fish tank: The top aquariums of five gallons and under
PetsRadar's pick of the best fish tanks
- Best overall fish tank: Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit
- Best budget fish tank: Tetra ColorFusion Starter Aquarium Kit
- Best portrait fish tank: Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
- Best fish bowl: CYS EXCEL Glass Bubble Bowl
- Best tropical fish tank: Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit
- Best basic fish tank: Landen 36P 5.4 Gallon Rimless Low Iron Aquarium Tank
- Best fluorescent fish tank: GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank
Best fluorescent fish tank
Size: 11.25 x 16.56 x 6.71 inches | Weight: 6.71 pounds | Material: Acryllic | Color: Black | Accessories: Yes
Make any room pop with this sleek and stylish GloFish Aquarium that’s sure to be the talking point of your home. An affordable starter kit that includes all the essentials, the crescent-shaped 5-gallon tank comes with a Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Filter Cartridge, a convenient feeding hole and energy-efficient blue LED lighting.
The perfect home for Danios and Tetras, the hidden blue LED lights are set into the hood, illuminating your fish from above to give them a fluorescent look. The dense dual-sided mesh does a great job of catching the debris and waste that’s pushed through the filter cartridge and the black hood reduces evaporation and the fish from jumping.
This tank has a great look to it and provides an excellent view of your fish and we love how easy it is to set up and maintain. It’s also available in 10 and 20-gallon options as well, great if you’ve got a large fish family that you’re needing to house. The only drawback is the material, with the hood not being quite as durable as we’d like. Other than that, this is a fun and exciting tank with a unique look.
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.
Get the best advice, tips and top tech for your beloved Pets
Thank you for signing up to Petsradar. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.