Best Fish Tank Reviews – Large, Medium and Small Fish Tank Aquarium Kits for Beginners and Hobbyists

Do you enjoy keeping marine or tropical fish as pets? Having fish as pets does in fact have some health benefits. However, the best way to ensure that you have happily swimming fish that help to make your life less stressful is to get a great fish tank. We’ve researched the best fish tank brands on the market and highlighted 5 fish tanks built in different sizes for different types of fish. Our chosen products are aquarium starter kits, but each brand sells fish tanks and supplies separately too.

In our experience, most people looking to get started with fish tend to look for smaller aquariums, up to 0 gallon fish tanks. For this reason, other than the Tetra 20 gallon fish tank, our featured aquariums are all small fish tanks. However, if you are looking for a larger aquarium, such as a 55 gallon fish tank, we’ve highlighted some great options available on Amazon.

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Our Top Choice
Marineland Desktop Aquarium Small Fish Tank
A creation of the Spectrum Brands Inc., the Marineland brand is renowned for highly innovative aquatic pet products like their contour glass aquarium Kit.
Easy to assemble. Stress free maintenance. Elegant design.
The back chamber may appear overcrowded.
12 x 12 x 12.5 Inches; 10.5 Lbs
3 Gallon (makes other sizes)
3-Step Filter
Rail LED Lighting
Best Value
Fluval Spec Aquarium - Small Fish Tank
With over 35 years of experience, the Fluval Company is globally recognized for dependable and technologically advanced products like their aquarium kits.
Great compact design. Made of pure glass. Durable.
Heater is bought separately.
10.8 x 11.8 x 8.7"; 10.1 Pounds
2.6 Gallon (makes other sizes)
3-Stage Filter
LED Lighting
Tetra LED Aquarium Kit - Medium Fish Tank
Since its inception in 1951, the Tetra Company has spearheaded the creation of innovative products like the Tetra LED Aquarium Kit geared towards the wellbeing of aquatic pets.
Easy to follow installation steps. Sleek low-profile design.
The thermostat is not adjustable. You may need to consider upgrading it.
24.2 x 12.4 x 16.7"; 34.1 Pounds
20 Gallon (makes other sizes)
Whisper Filter
LED Hood Lighting
Marina Glass Aquarium Kit Fish Tank
With a history dating back to 1955, family-owned Hagen Company continues to dominate the pet market at a global level with quality products like the Marina Glass Aquarium Kit.
Easy maintenance.
The filter can be loud.
16 x 8.5 x 10.5"; 11.8 Pounds
5 Gallon (makes other sizes)
Marina Slim S10 Clip-on Filter
LED Lighting
KollerCraft API Aquarium Kit
The API Company has been a pioneer in aquatics-related research leading to the creation of much sought-after products like their KollerCraft Aquarium Kit.
Easy to set up. Easy to maintain. Creates a beautiful ambiance in the house.
Heater bought separately.
16 x 11 x 5.6 Inches; 2.5 Pounds
2.5 Gallons (makes other sizes)
Internal Power Filter
7 Color LED lighting

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What is the Best Fish Tank Kit for Beginners and Hobbyist Fishkeepers?

Armed with the basic information about finding a suitable fish tank (read our buying guide below if you need help) getting one shouldn’t be a hassle. Here are a few of the things you need to consider when picking the right tank: Are your fish freshwater or saltwater species? What size aquarium is appropriate for your pet fish? What kind of filtration system do you want? What about maintaining water temperature? Fortunately, we’ve anticipated these questions and filtered our searches accordingly. The information we’ve given below about each product should be sufficient to answer those questions and help you to make your final decision. We do want to give a special shout out to GloFish® whose vibrant aquarium kits feature blue LED lighting to really make your fish stand out. They get our Honorable Mention since we only had room for 5!

Our Top Choice
The stylishly designed Marineland Desktop Aquarium comes with features that mimic a natural marine environment. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, check out the Marineland Silhouette Square Glass Aquarium Kit. This one has a 3-gallon capacity, and comes with a special lighting mechanism that produces both blue and white lights for outstanding effects.

Marineland ML90610 Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light — Small 3 Gallon Fish Tank

The Marineland brand has grown in popularity with backdrop cutting-edge innovations. From aeration to heating technologies, the brand has been successful in creating healthy and stunningly beautiful environments for marine pets.

Built to provide an ideal home to your pet fish, the Marineland Desktop Aquarium comes with a sleek glass canopy for added beauty. Retailing at only $61.98, this fish tank comes with a lighting switch that toggles between white or blue light and off status.

Moreover, here are the features that make this product unique:
  • Comes with a glass canopy for added lighting and a rail LED lighting system fitted above the tank for an appealing look
  • Built-in biological filtration mechanism helps keep the water clean for your fish
  • Fitted with activated Carbon for all chemical filtration needs to keep the water’s PH at a healthy level
  • Canopy is designed to provide easy access to the tank
Get value for your money with the stylish, uniquely designed and highly affordable Marineland fish tank.
Best Value
Fitted with a circulation pump, the Fluval Spec Aquarium comes in a classy design for a nice blend with your house fixtures. If you need a higher capacity fish tank, get the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit. This 5 gallon fish tank comes in a sleek etched-glass design trimmed with aluminum metal.

Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit — 2.6-Gallon Fish Tank, Filter, Lights and Cover

With a resolve to give fish keepers the best service ever, the Fluval Company has continued to manufacture products that cover the aspects of healthy and safe aquariums. To achieve this, they’ve invested in research to enable them to produce superior products.

The Fluval Spec aquarium is a testament to this fact. Going for only $52.49, this aquarium kit comes with a low-voltage electric transformer that is safe and easy to handle.

In addition, here are the features that make this kit popular:
  • Comes with an activate carbon component for chemical filtration
  • 10-Watt LED light lamp with 32 LED lights
  • Comes with a special Fluvial BioMax component for biological filtration
  • 2-year limited manufacturer’s warranty
Built for long years of service, the Tetra LED Aquarium Kit comes with a lifetime warranty. However, if 20 gallons is a little too large a size for you, consider the Tetra 3 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit. This pedestal-base-designed small aquarium also comes with a Whisper(R) Power filtration mechanism. Need something even bigger? Then the Tetra 55 Gallon Fish Tank Kit with aquarium, net, fish food, filter, heater and water conditioner might be exactly what you were looking for.

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit - Includes Aquarium, LED Lighting and Decor

The Textra company is Mainly known for its high-quality pet fish feeds. However, through years of intensive research and competition, they’ve diversified their niche and products to include aquariums and fish tank lighting and heating systems. With the devotion of their able personnel, they have made great advancements.

For instance, the Tetra LED Aquarium Kit is made of scratch-resistant glass, which allows it to retain its original sleek look, despite accidents or little children poking the tank. Retailing at only $115.59, this environmentally friendly fish tank gives you value for its cost.

Many owners of this aquarium recommend it to others because of features like:
  • A heater and thermometer for temperature control.
  • LED lit for natural aquatic environment effect
  • Designed with a feeding hole
  • Made in USA
  • Ingeniously crafted synthetic plants make the environment more realistic for the fish and for guests looking on
  • Reliable water filter
Best suited for novice aquarists, the Marina Glass Aquarium Kit comes with a durable LED lighting system for natural light effect. If you fancy an even smaller option for a start - especially if you need a tank for Bettas - consider the Marina CUBUS Glass Betta Kit. Its small 0.9-gallon size comes built with a breathing hole and will fit nicely on a desk or end table.

Marina LED Aquarium Kit with Clip-on Filter - Available in 5 Gallon, 10 Gallon or 20 Gallon Sizes

Over the years, the Hagen Company has created highly competitive brands catering for specific pet needs. The Marina brand is exclusive to pet fish products including aquariums and other accessories.

The Marina Glass Aquarium Kit comes with a water conditioning feature to make your water habitable by fish. At only $57.99, you can own this beginner size fish tank.

Here are the features of this small aquarium you need to know about:
  • Comes with Nutrafin Cycle Biological filter and a detailed care guide to help you maintain the tank properly
  • Safe fish net for careful handling of pets
  • Easy-to-change filters
Built in a compact design, the KollerCraft API Aquarium Kit comes with a unique LED lighting system capable of emitting 14 different shades for a beautiful display. Want to take some of the guess work out of caring for your fish? Take a look at the Koller Products Smart Tank 6.5 gallon fish tank and aquarium kit.

KollerCraft API AquaWave Aquarium with LED Lighting

With over half a Century’s worth of experience in research and manufacturing marine pet products, the API Company has mastered the art of aquarium building through their KollerCraft brand.

The KollerCraft Aquarium Kit is a popular unit recognized for its dazzling beauty. Costing only $32.83, this small aquarium is a perfect choice for anyone planning to start keeping ornamental fish.

Here are the features that will help you pick this kit as your preferred choice:
  • Comes with built-in S10 filters for crystal clear water while the Bio-Chem Zorb 10 filter removes odor, discoloration, and other issues
  • Child-friendly
  • Illuminated with energy-saving LED system

Best Fish Aquarium Kits for Beginners Buying Guide — What to Know When Buying a Your First Fish Tank

Having a pet is fantastic! It gives you a sense of companionship and most people in this day and age will have a pet whether it’s a dog, cat, guinea pig, rabbit or fish! No matter which is your pet of choice, you no doubt want to make sure you’re giving it the best life possible and that starts with its home. For dogs and cats that’s fairly easy; just buy them a nice comfy bed and they’ll probably end up stealing yours anyway! With fish, however, it’s a lot more complicated.

This is because they live in an aquatic environment that many people may not know how to control. This doesn’t mean that you can’t keep happy and healthy fish in your home. Of course, one of the biggest challenges for any pet fish hobbyist is creating an optimal living environment for their fish.

This starts by choosing the right fish tank for your pets. Aquariums come in different sizes and shapes. Fish tanks can also be designed for use with freshwater or saltwater depending on the design of their filtration systems. However, it’s important to mention that you can improve the performance of your fish tank at any time by fitting it with an aquarium filter of your choice. Also, if you feel that your pet fish aren’t getting enough oxygen, fixing a fish tank air pump to your aquarium can be a good solution.

While you can't pet a fish or cuddle them, they are still great for reducing stress. Watching fish swim has been proven to bring a feeling of harmony and sense of relaxation.

Aquariums can give your living room a dynamic and beautiful look when they are placed in an easily visible vantage point. You can achieve this by investing in a quality aquarium stand or a modern wall mount. The most important thing is to make sure that the stand or mount holds the fish tank securely. Below are some things you may want to consider before making a decision on which fish tank to buy.

Video: Beginners First Aquarium - How to Set up Your First Fish Tank

Quick guide on how to set up your tank and treat the water for your fish. | Courtesy of Chewy's Bro Aquatics
The cost of fish tank highly depends on its size and other features such as the type of construction materials and filtration mechanism. For example, a 2.5-gallon Nano-aquarium made of acrylic with an internal filter can cost about $30, while a 20-gallon glass fish tank with a three-stage filter can cost up to $120.

This isn’t the largest fish tank out there -- it only tells that you should be prepared to spend more for large sized aquariums. More moderately-priced fish tanks are also available on the market. However, their major downside is that most of them will have substandard light and filtration systems that will fail within a short time. This can harm your pets, especially if it results in the accumulation of toxins. This is why we haven’t included such fish tanks in our review.

Video: Best Ways To Maintain A Fish Tank

10 Things You Should Know About Aquarium Maintenance. | Courtesy of KGTropicals
A happy pet brings joy to the family, and a good pet owner will do everything to make sure that their lovely companion is happy. This is no different with fish. When fish are healthy and comfortable, they are more active, attractive and breed faster. If you want to achieve this, then you must invest in a quality fish tank.

Here are the important features to look for in a tank:
  • Type – Is the fish tank freshwater or saltwater?
  • Size – What are the dimensions and weight of the aquarium?
  • Capacity – How many gallons of water can it hold?
  • Construction materials – What’s the fish tank made of?
  • Filtration mechanism – The type of filter that comes with the fish tank
  • Lighting system – The design of its light system
  • Water pumping mechanism – How is the water pumped in and out of the fish tank?
Construction and Design
Freshwater aquariums use different filters than saltwater fish tanks. So, when buying a fish tank, confirm whether the fitted filter is suitable for the type of water you’ll use it for. Fish tank filters come in external canister, clip-on power filter, or internal submersible filter designs. These filters can feature all or part of filtration stages (mechanical, chemical and biological). Canister filters are powerful and are suitable for big fish tanks while the internal filters are specially designed for Nano aquariums. Remember that the choice of a fish tank is determined by the type and number of fish you intend to keep. So, have this in mind and if need be, consult a fish pet expert before settling on one.

Most aquariums are made of transparent glass or acrylic panels to give a clear view of the fish. The quality of the construction material may differ from one manufacturer to another, with some of the leading brands using scratch resistant glass. Others use etched glass and reinforce the edges with aluminum. Moreover, most designs come with fish tank covers.

When it comes to lighting fish tanks, some of the leading brands use LEDs which may or may not be programmed to give color changing light. The number of LEDs on the lighting system will vary from one aquarium brand to another and thus produce varying light intensities. It’s also important to note that most of these lighting systems can easily be connected to a clocking system that can help determine when the light goes on/off.

Video: How to Change Fish Tank Water Without Killing Fish

How to Clean a Fish Tank without Removing Fish | Courtesy of Tropical Fish Guy
Performance and Ease of Use
When choosing a fish tank, it’s good to find out how efficient its filters are. A good aquarium filter will run for long without the need to change its filtration pads. It also captures any food debris to keep the water clean and clear. This also frees you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on frequent cleaning and maintenance.

Also, lighting systems that produce a natural lighting effect make your aquarium mimic a natural habitat for added comfort of your fish. It’s important to note that lighting systems with varying light shades can provide an added aesthetic effect to your home. So, the choice is yours to make depending on your personal preference.

Remember, fish are not just fun and beautiful to look at. The many benefits of having fish include improving your mood, aiding in relaxation and helping you sleep. Taken care of fish has also been shown to teach children responsibility and improve behaviors!

Get the Best Fish Tank of 2023!

It’s only prudent to buy something that fits your needs perfectly, and it’s our hope that after going through our review on the best fish tanks, you find one that suits you. However, if you still want to view more options before deciding on a suitable aquarium, each of our trusted brands has plenty more to offer on Amazon. Simply click the links on this review page to see additional options.

Our Top Choice
Marineland Desktop Aquarium Small Fish Tank
Best Value
Fluval Spec Aquarium - Small Fish Tank
Tetra LED Aquarium Kit - Medium Fish Tank
Marina Glass Aquarium Kit Fish Tank
KollerCraft API Aquarium Kit

Fish Tank FAQs

How to clean a fish tank?
There are two ways main ways to clean a fish tank - with the fish in it or taking them out. We have more details in our buying guide, but here are the basics. First, if you are properly maintaining your tank with a good filter and cycling the water regularly, you can leave your fish in the tank. There are special siphons that will clean the algae and fish residue from the gravel and pull out some of the older water. You will also want to gently remove any decorations so you can clean them as well. Finally, you will want to clean the walls of your tank.

If the water has gotten to a point where you want to totally replace it, gently remove the fish with some water and set them aside. Then, empty out the water and clean everything. From there, it’s just like setting up a new tank with fresh water.
Why is my fish tank cloudy?
If your fish tank looks cloudy because there might be some organic compounds in the water. It could also be due to a bacterial blossom, gravel residue, and dissolved phosphates, heavy metals, or silicates. If the water appears greenish, then it could be because of too much light, excess phosphates and nitrates.
How to lower the PH in a fish tank?
You can lower the PH in a fish tank in several ways. First, you can purify the water before it gets into the container. Filtering through reverse osmosis will help. Alternatively, you can use PH down by adding to the tank. However, it may not work in water with a moderate or high PH.
How to cycle a fish tank?
Changing out the water, or cycling a fish tank is simple. First, you could try the fish-in cycle, which involves the introduction of live nitrifying bacteria. You may also use plants which will consume nitrogen waste. They absorb nitrogen waste and convert it into green leaves. Lastly, we have the fish-less cycling method, which involves the introduction of ammonia into a tank to grow bacteria.
How to set up a fish tank?
To set up a fish tank, first, place it where you desire to station it. Wash and rinse all ornaments and gravel to remove paint and dust. After that, fill the tank with water. Do that slowly to avoid arousing particles that may make the water cloudy. Turn on the electrical filter and heater. After adding treatments, allow the tank to cycle. Start with some fish food, which breaks down into ammonia to promote the growth of bacteria. Now, add fish - but make sure you get them acclimated to the water temperature first. One way to do this is to keep them in the bag and let that sit in the tank of water. The temperature in the bag will gradually balance out.