Best Fish Tanks of 2021: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

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In the past, it would come as no surprise to see an aquarium inconspicuously placed in a corner of a room as a decorative piece.

The problem was, they all looked basically the same back then.

These days, you will find different types of fish tanks in various shapes and sizes. Some look plain and simple, while others are colorful and well-designed.

If you’d like to bring the beauty of marine life into your home, we looked at five of the best fish tanks available today.

Through these, we aim to help you decide on the perfect option according to what you need.

Best Fish Tanks Reviews

1. MarineLand 5-Gallon Portrait Glass Aquarium Kit

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MarineLand is a trustworthy name for all your aquarium needs, catering to the needs of different individuals.

For those with limited space, this five-gallon portrait glass fish tank is the perfect icing on top.

Product Highlights

If you are looking for a vertical fish tank with smooth features, our first choice from MarineLand might be the perfect one for you, one of the best fish tanks.

This portrait aquarium will make an excellent conversation piece in any room.

  • Sleek Design

The MarineLand portrait tank offers a small footprint, measuring only 11.81 x 11.62 inches in length and width.

Its height of 17.05 inches gives the tank its five-gallon capacity, making it ideal for small spaces.

It is rectangular in shape and comes with a curved glass and a clear glass canopy for multiple angle viewing options.

You will also notice that it has a black plastic base and background that add to the overall design of the tank.

At the same time, this base also serves as a platform, raising the tank several inches from the tabletop.

  • LED Lighting

On top of this portrait fish tank is the lighting system that comes with two LED light colors.

The white produces a natural bright sunlight effect, while the blue creates a moonlight effect.

  • Easy Access

You can easily access the tank through the sliding glass canopy under the hinged LED lighting system.

  • MarineLand Rite-Size Z Filter Cartridge

The pre-assembled Rite-Size Z filter cartridge effectively traps dirt and waste particles, ensuring clean and clear water inside the tank.

You will find that it slides into place easily, too, allowing for a quick, dry, and effortless replacement process.

  • Hidden Filtration System

This MarineLand five-gallon vertical fish tank comes with an advanced three-stage filtration system.

It is intentionally hidden from view to maintain the clean and seamless look of the aquarium.

  • Inclusions

This aquarium kit includes the five-gallon glass fish tank, MarineLand Bio-Foam, and the three-stage filtration system.

You also get the Rite-Size Z cartridge and the adjustable flow filter pump.

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What We Like

The first feature that caught our attention is how MarineLand tried to hide the wires and filter for a cleaner look.

The compartment is placed at the back for this purpose, and the two-color LED lighting options added to the aquarium’s overall aesthetics.

Feeding the fish, cleaning, and maintaining the tank is more accessible through the hinged LED lights and sliding glass canopy.

What We Don’t Like

Unfortunately, the same compartment we mentioned earlier has some design flaws, too.

It does not allow you to put in extra tubing or bubbler unless you make some modifications to accommodate them.


  • Small footprint
  • Vertical orientation
  • Rounded edges
  • Easy to clean
  • Sturdy base


  • Big filter inlet
  • Flimsy plastic compartment cover

2. Tetra 20-Gallon Fish Tank Kit

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The Tetra 20-gallon fish tank kit is an ideal size for an aquarium.

Its traditional design and natural scenery decorations make it an excellent focal point in any room.

Product Highlights

If you are thinking of starting an aquarium, you might want to consider this 20-gallon kit from Tetra.

It combines beauty and functionality in all the right places, so you won’t regret investing in one.

  • Traditional Design

This USA-made aquarium makes use of scratch-resistant glass, ensuring its long-lasting durability.

The manufacturer even offers a lifetime warranty for the fish tank, vouching for its quality and sturdiness.

This rectangular glass aquarium measures 24 x 12 x 16 inches and weighs 33.9 pounds.

  • LED Hood

The low-profile, black LED hood comes hinged, providing you with easy access to the tank during feeding and maintenance.

It has energy-saving and environmentally-friendly LEDs, offering a natural shine effect on the water.

This design choice also gives your aquarium a lively and vibrant look at all times.

In addition to these features, you will find a feeding hole on top of the hood for added convenience.

  • Whisper Filtration System

Tetra’s patented Whisper filter offers a quiet power that ensures a dependable water flow.

You will find that it has a Multi-Density Floss for removing particles.

The Activated Carbon in the filter gets rid of discoloration, odor, and toxins effectively.

At the same time, the Bio-Foam takes care of nitrates and toxic ammonia.

  • Decorative Artificial Plants

The kit comes with artificial plants to decorate your aquarium, replicating the natural underwater feel and atmosphere.

These plants also serve as hiding places for the fish to prevent stressing them out.

Their natural swaying motion because of the filter current makes them look more realistic.

  • Package Inclusions

This complete beginner’s kit from Tetra includes the 20-gallon glass aquarium, the LED hood with energy-saving lights, and the Whisper filtration system with a filter bag.

Additionally, you will also receive the Tetra mini UL heater and thermometer for maintaining the water temperature.

It will also include a small fish net, the boxwood plant mat, other artificial plants, and the care and instructions manual.

Lastly, the manufacturer decided to add some product samples, namely, the TetraMin tropical fish food and the AquaSafe water conditioner.

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What We Like

This 20-gallon fish tank kit is easy to install and has all the essentials for setting up a conventional aquarium, making it one of the best fish tanks kit.

You just need to add the water, fish, some gravel, and other decorations according to your personal preferences.

Its hinged LED hood allows you to clean and maintain the tank without the hassle of dealing with loose wires and cover.

You’ll also like that this reasonably priced aquarium kit is the ideal size that will not take up too much space in your room.

What We Don’t Like

Some users complain of having difficulty installing the hinges to the tank, while others say that the filter is noisy.


  • Reasonably priced
  • Suitable size
  • Durable
  • Thick glass
  • Bright lights


  • Insufficient filter
  • The heater is not adjustable

3. GloFish 3-Gallon Bubbling LED Kit

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Add some vibrant colors to any room with the GloFish Bubbling LED Kit.

This half-moon fish tank is the perfect underwater fluorescent wonderland.

Product Highlights

Enhance the vibrant natural color of the fluorescent fish with this bubbling LED kit from GloFish.

Anyone visiting your home will surely be amazed by this fluorescent experience.

  • Half-Moon Fish Tank

This black acrylic half-moon fish tank measures 12.5 inches high and 12.9 inches wide and has a depth of 6.8 inches.

The lightness of this three-gallon GloFish tank makes it the perfect desktop aquarium kit for your fish.

It comes with a clear canopy made from the same acrylic material, equipped with a feeding hole on top for added convenience.

  •  LED Bubbler

The blue LED lights help enhance your fish’s fluorescent colors together with the GloFish decors, creating a stunning underwater lighting effect.

Apart from this, the generated bubbles help improve the oxygenation and water circulation inside the tank.

  • Kit Inclusions

This GloFish Bubbling Kit comes with the three-gallon semi-circular fish tank and a transparent cover with a feeding hole.

You will also get a blue LED bubbler and the Tetra Internal Filter with a small cartridge.

Also included in the purchase are an air pump, airline tubing, a blue LED airstone, and an airline connector valve.

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What We Like

This bubbling LED kit fish tank is suitable for those without ample space to spare for a standard-sized aquarium.

It’s the perfect decorative piece to put on your desktop or as a beginner’s fish tank.

You will find that it is suitable for kids to teach them about the responsibility of having a pet.

What We Don’t Like

The clear canopy of the fish tank allows the light to reflect on the ceiling.

As a result, it lights up the whole room instead of just the inside of the aquarium.


  • Has small footprint
  • Available in other sizes
  • Bright LED lights
  • Easy to set up
  • Great starter kit


  • Hard to remove algae
  • Scratches easily

4. Penn Plax NuWave 1.5-gallon Betta Aquarium Kit

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If you are on the hunt for a small aquarium for your table or desktop, you can never go wrong with this small Penn Plax NuWave Betta Aquarium Kit.

Product Highlights

Introduce beauty and life into your room with this NuWave Betta small fish tank kit from Penn Plax, one of the best fish tanks for your betta.

  • Betta Fish Tank

The Betta fish tank can hold up to 1.5 gallons of water.

This aquarium, made from premium quality transparent plastic material, measures 6 x 8.5 x 9.5 inches.

It comes with a curved rectangular design for clear viewing and an elevated black base.

At the same time, the removable cover lets you feed the fish and clean the tank with ease.

This small fish tank starter kit is the perfect home for your betta and other small fish variety.

  • Filtration System

This NuWave Betta fish tank from Penn Plax uses a built-in three-stage internal filtration system: biological, chemical, and mechanical.

In addition to this, a carbon filter helps get rid of nitrates and pollutants to keep the aquarium clean.

  • LED Light

Embedded in the cover is a low-voltage, white LED light with an on and off switch.

This ultra-bright light allows maximum viewing experience without eating up too much energy.

  • Inclusions

Everything you need to set up your aquarium arrives with the starter kit.

In addition to the 1.5-gallon fish tank, you will also receive the LED light and the internal filter.

With all the inclusions in this kit, setting up the aquarium is a breeze, and you can let your fish enjoy its new home.

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What We Like

This NuWave Betta fish tank is perfect for small fish types.

Additionally, you will like that it adds an excellent touch to your desk or countertops.

The filter output is not that powerful to cause stress on your fish, and the pump is also silent that you can barely hear it.

Due to the small size of the fish tank, cleaning and maintaining the aquarium is an easy feat.

On the other hand, the LED light ensures that the tank is always bright when necessary.

What We Don’t Like

Since the fish tank material is plastic, you must be very careful when cleaning it to prevent scratch marks.


  • Durable plastic material
  • Convenient feeding hole
  • Aesthetically good
  • Easy to set up
  • Quiet filter


  • Suction cups not working
  • Hard to find filter replacement

5. Back to the Roots Water Garden Deluxe Self-Cleaning Fish Tank

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Do you like plants as much as you love having a pet fish? What if you can have both in one tank?

This self-cleaning fish tank from Back to the Roots Water Garden offers just that.

Product Highlights

Are you looking for a project for the family or a unique gift idea?

You might want to try the Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem from Back to the Roots Water Garden.

  • Water Garden Duo

This deluxe water garden fish tank has an innovative design using high-quality plastic material.

With this, you’d be able to grow food plants or succulents in your kitchen.

Adding a small colorful fish to the tank, plus the herbs growing on top, adds life and vibrance to your room.

You can harvest your organic plants from your water garden within 10 days and then grow another batch.

The plants on top help clean the water inside the aquarium, while the waste from the fish fertilizes the plants.

As a result, you don’t have to use a filtration system for your fish tank.

Similarly, you don’t need fertilizers for your plants to grow healthy.

It’s a small water garden fish tank measuring 13.4 x 13.4 x 9.5 inches with three gallons of water capacity for two to three small fish.

  • Educational Value

For every purchase of this water garden fish tank, the manufacturer includes a STEM curriculum for free.

It encourages kids to learn more about aquaponics and hydroponic systems, making it the perfect gift to give friends and family.

  • Inclusions

This water garden fish tank includes all the essentials you will need to start your mini aquaponics system:

  1. Organic Microgreen Seeds

These nutritious and fast-growing seeds are the perfect starter crops for your system to start functioning.

  1. Growstones

This growing medium is all you need for your plants to grow roots and reach down to the water from the fish tank.

  1. Coupon, Dechlor, Food

Inside the box, you will find additional items like a coupon for your Betta fish, a natural dechlorinator for keeping the water safe, and nutritious fish food.

  1. Other Essentials

In addition to the items mentioned, you will also receive the three-gallon tank, submersible water pump, gravel, and grow bed.

  • Back to the Roots Guarantee

The manufacturer of this USA-made water garden fish tank guarantees its customers that the seeds will grow.

Customers can contact the manufacturer if the seeds fail to grow so that they can get a free replacement or a complete refund.

You can also purchase refill kits if you need some.


What We Like

The free STEM curriculum is an excellent idea to teach kids about the concept of aquaponics and hydroponic systems.

Also, eliminating the hassle of endless cleaning and maintaining the fish tank will prove to be a bonus, especially for busy individuals.

The manufacturer’s offer of either a full refund or free replacement for the seeds that will not grow is something we should be thankful for.

What We Don’t Like

Removing the grow bed to feed the fish can be challenging, and cleaning each grow stone is a tedious task.


  • Easy to set up
  • Fast-growing seeds
  • Educational for kids
  • Durable
  • Well-built


  • Noisy pump
  • Pump sucks fish

Buyer’s Guide

It’s hard to dive into the sea of aquarium options without knowing what you should look out for when choosing your first fish tank.

Below are some criteria to consider when looking for the best fish tanks.

1. Size

Deciding on the aquarium size depends on the kind and number of fish you want to take care of.

If you plan to keep a large fish species or several small fish, choose a bigger fish tank.

The typical aquarium size for beginners should have at least 10 gallons of water capacity.

Contrary to what you might think, larger fish tanks are easier to clean and maintain.

2. Material

The fish tank material is another factor you need to take into consideration when buying an aquarium.

At the moment, there are two popular material types for fish tanks: acrylic and glass.

Hence, the continuing discussion on which one is the best option.

Acrylic fish tanks tend to be brighter, more lightweight, and more durable than glass aquariums.

They are also energy efficient, providing better temperature insulation.

The problem is, acrylic fish tanks are more susceptible to leaks than glass aquariums.

On the other hand, fish tanks made from glass material are more durable and do not scratch easily or turn yellow.

3. Saltwater or Freshwater Tank

After choosing the size and material of your fish tank, it’s time to decide between saltwater and freshwater aquarium.

When deciding between the two ecosystems, you need to consider several factors, like cost and maintenance.

The standard freshwater tropical fish tanks are the ideal choice for first-time aquarists.

However, additional expenses and maintenance are required if your aquarium is full of plants.

Freshwater species are enduring and more affordable but not as colorful as saltwater creatures.

Alternatively, saltwater fish tanks are more expensive and trickier to maintain because they require additional equipment and special lighting.

4. Tank Placement

Tank placement is another critical factor to consider.

Knowing where you plan to install your aquarium helps you decide on its size.

It will help if you place it where people can see it without trouble, as it may stress out the fish.

Keep it away from direct sunlight to prevent algae formation and temperature fluctuations.

Air drafts can also upset your fish tank’s environment. For this reason, you should not place it near vents and windows.

5. Budget

If you don’t have any issues with your aquarium’s setup, then that’s well and good.

Otherwise, this will also affect your choice.

For those on a tight budget, choose the one within your means and upgrade later on.

Fish Tanks FAQs

1. What is the best fish tank size?

The best fish tank size depends on many factors, such as the number of fish you want to keep and your budget.

Check on a fish tank’s dimensions and ensure that it will fit wherever you plan to place it with a few inches to spare.

Most professionals suggest that 10-gallon fish tanks are the ideal size for beginners.

Keep in mind that smaller aquariums are more sensitive to pH fluctuations and waste accumulation.

2. What is the most low maintenance fish?

For newbies, it is best to choose a low-maintenance fish as their first pet so that they don’t get overwhelmed.

Here are some of the most low-maintenance fish that you can care for as a beginner:

  • Bettas

This low-maintenance fish displays brilliant colors in various shades.

Commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, the male betta has long and luxurious fins you’ll never tire of watching.

The main issue is, they fight with other bettas, so you’ll probably have to keep them separate.

  • Platies

Platies also come in different colors and get along well with other passive species.

They are bred to create new colors and can produce at a high rate.

  • Black Molly

Black Molly is another passive fish that can adapt well to different types of water.

They are also livebearers and get along well with other species.

3. Why is my fish tank getting dirty so fast?

There are several factors why the fish tank gets dirty so fast.

Some possible reasons are overcrowding and the lack of live plants.

Overfeeding the fish means more fish wastes go into the water.

Additionally, exposing your fish tank to too much light promotes algae growth.

4. Do fish like vertical tanks?

Generally, fish like to swim from side to side. Also, more water surface area means better oxygen exchange.

Nonetheless, some fish varieties prefer vertical space, like the angelfish.

5. How much does an average fish tank cost?

According to professionals and fish enthusiasts, you need at least $200 to set up proper freshwater equipment.

Fish enthusiasts and professionals don’t recommend saltwater aquariums for beginners, as they are more expensive and complicated to set up.

Which Is the Best Fish Tanks?

As a rule, each adult fish in your aquarium needs a gallon of water.

Most aquarists believe that bigger is better when it comes to fish tanks.

With this in mind, we are choosing the Tetra 20-Gallon Fish Tank Kit as the best fish tanks.

Its 20-gallon water capacity and traditional design mean your fish will have enough surface area to swim from one side to the other.

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