The 8 Best Fish Tanks

Updated April 19, 2018 by Ben G

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We spent 41 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. These fish aquariums are a long way from the old round bowls you put a goldfish from the fair in. They come in stylish designs and colors that will keep your pets happy, safe and living large in their own fancy crib. Some of these tanks look so good you may stop seeing them as just an environment for your piscine pals and consider them as art for your home. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best fish tank on Amazon.

8. MarineLand Portrait

The curved glass of the MarineLand Portrait gives it a sleek look. It comes with two different colors of LED lights to simulate daylight and moonlight, so your fish will feel like they are in a natural environment and they'll look good, too.
  • good for tall plants and ornaments
  • canopy makes feeding easy
  • filter can suck in small fish
Brand MarineLand
Model ML90609
Weight 16.6 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

7. Tetra Waterfall Globe

The Tetra Waterfall Globe comes from a leader in the hobby fish business, and this particular model is great for a dorm room or small office space, due to its compact 1.8-gallon size. The light is controlled by a simple on/off switch.
  • waterfall keeps water fresh
  • very simple to set up
  • cartridges require regular replacing
Brand Tetra
Model 29008
Weight 4.6 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

6. KollerCraft Aquaview 360

The KollerCraft Aquaview 360 has a cool cylindrical shape, making it a great centerpiece, and it features a discreet under-gravel filtration system. The acrylic construction makes it resistant to impacts, so it is safe for a kid's room.
  • comes with fish food
  • water-care starter kit
  • lights have been known to burn out
Brand KollerCraft
Model AQ360-24C
Weight 3.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Fluval Chi II

Bring the outside in with the Fluval Chi II. It turns any room in your house into a tranquil pond with calming flowing water. It also features a powerful filtration system that makes sure the aquatic environment is clean and healthy.
  • good current for bettas
  • also great for snails and frogs
  • spacious lid accepts a heater cable
Brand Fluval
Model 10505
Weight 14.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Marina 20G LED

The Marina 20G LED is available in five-, ten-, and twenty-gallon sizing options. Whether you want to raise a couple of aquatic animals or have a whole group that needs a new home, one of them will fit the bill. Plus, a clip-on filter is included.
  • comes with water conditioner
  • plants grow well in it
  • great for shrimp as well
Brand Marina
Model 15266A1
Weight 36.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. GloFish 29045

The GloFish 29045 is an awesome tank for the beginning aquarist, whether you're picking up the hobby or teaching your children to care for a pet. It has a curved front that makes observation easy, and a clear canopy with a convenient feeding hole.
  • designed for glow-in-the-dark fish
  • comes with everything you need
  • cartridges are simple to replace
Brand GloFish
Model 29045
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Penn Plax Vertex

The desktop-sized Penn Plax Vertex is big enough to hold a single betta fish or to use for a small group of shrimp. Whether you're looking to supplement an already-full tank or just to learn how to keep these animals, it's a solid choice.
  • digital thermometer is included
  • sturdy one-eighth-inch thick glass
  • lid is easy to open
Brand Penn-Plax
Model WW130
Weight 6.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Fluval Edge

The Fluval Edge is a visual masterpiece. With its seamless 6-sided tank, it gives your fish light wherever it's placed. It holds six gallons of water, which is plenty of room for multiple pets, and the sealed lid lets you fill it up to the top.
  • 12-gallon model also available
  • stunningly bright led lights
  • column hides the wiring
Brand Fluval
Model 15385A1
Weight 29.6 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Finding Nemo, Dory, And Many More

When it comes to taking care of small animals living in their own miniature ecosystem, a home-based aquarium can be a relaxing, inviting, and valuable addition to your home. Also known as an aquarium, a fish tank is an enclosed vivarium with at least one transparent side through which lights, plants, water, and aquatic animals are visible for display, observation, or study.

The four types of aquarium available include freshwater tropical, coldwater, marine, and brackish. Freshwater tanks are the most common and the easiest to maintain, as they require no special chemical additives beyond basic water conditioners. They range in temperature from seventy-two to eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit and are ideal for accommodating many varieties of tropical fish. Coldwater aquariums maintain temperatures below seventy degrees Fahrenheit and are ideal for accommodating goldfish. Coldwater tanks are also relatively simple to maintain with the proper equipment.

Marine aquariums require a bit more maintenance than either cold and freshwater tanks, given that marine tanks need saltwater for the fish to survive. The salt is typically purchased separately before adding water into the tank itself. There are also specific types of fish that thrive in saltwater environments, so it's important to understand the distinction. Both marine fish and tanks are more expensive, as they require coral, while the fish have greater sensitivity to overall water conditions. Some marine fish also have specific dietary needs, so this is important to take into account. Brackish aquariums feature a mix of salt and fresh water, so the types of fish that can live within such an environment are limited to very few species, such as the Puffer fish. Water conditions inside a brackish tank are also difficult to keep balanced.

While fish tanks come in many different shapes and sizes, the most common construction materials include either glass or acrylic. Glass tanks are typically less expensive than acrylic, more difficult to scratch, and feature a higher refraction index, which means that light passes through the glass tank more naturally when viewing it from many different angles. However, glass tanks are also quite heavy and they can break easily if dropped. By contrast, acrylic tanks are more expensive, easy to scratch, yet lightweight and more difficult to break. However, the best view of an acrylic tank is from an angle, whereas the view can appear distorted when looking at it head on.

Other equipment that fish tanks require include heaters for ensuring the water temperature doesn't fall below required standards, thermometers to keep an eye on the consistency of that temperature, and filters to keep the water as free from waste products as possible. There are three common types of filtration systems that include biological, mechanical, and chemical. Biological filtration essentially decomposes any toxic ammonia that fish produce as a waste product. For that reason, all fish tanks are required to have biological filtration. Mechanical filtration is used to trap things like plant leaves or uneaten food, allowing it to be removed from the tank before it decomposes into ammonia. Chemical filtration can remove ammonia, heavy metals, or other dissolved organics on a limited basis, making it useful for administering and removing medicines to fish. Filters also require cleaning and maintenance.

Managing A Delicate Balance

Regardless of the type of tank chosen, one must realize that an aquarium is a living, breathing, contained, and miniaturized ecosystem with many variables to consider. These variables need to be properly balanced in order to work together and allow one's fish to flourish. That said, if you're new to fish-keeping, start slowly. Invest in a small glass freshwater or coldwater tank, so you don't have to worry quite as much about treating the water.

Just because you're new to the concept of maintaining an aquarium doesn't mean you don't have options. Many goldfish and colorful tropical fish can thrive in freshwater environments, which is great if you want to purchase a fish tank for a child to expose him or her to underwater life and how to properly care for living things. A child's exposure to fish-keeping can be a valuable precursor to owning a larger pet, such as a dog or cat.

Next, consider the size, shape, and materials of the tank you want. Do be aware that glass is fragile and heavy, so you must be certain you'll have room to transport a glass tank and ample space to place it. Some fish tanks are octagonal in shape, which can be ideal for placement in corners.

Finally, if you're unsure about the types of fish, lighting, heating, or filtration needed for the tank you choose, don't be afraid to ask questions at the pet shop you visit. The experts can help lead you in the right direction and give you all the supplies you'll need.

A Brief History Of Fish Tanks

Archaeological evidence of fish-keeping dates back to the times of the ancient Sumerians and Egyptians who considered fish to be sacred creatures as early as 2,500 BCE. The Chinese also kept goldfish and bred them selectively during the time of the Sung Dynasty between 960 and 1279 CE. These fish were kept for purely decorative purposes, as people were forbidden to eat them.

The process of maintaining the water for a fish tank was not well understood until the time of English chemist Robert Warington, who is credited with studying the fish tank's requirement to have its water cycled in order to keep fish alive for extended periods of time. By studying a 13-gallon container full of goldfish, eelgrass, and snails, Warington succeeded in creating one of the first stable tank ecosystems. He developed the aquarium system by explaining that the addition of plants to water within a container would give off an ample supply of oxygen to support aquatic life.

Warington's work was published in London's Chemical Society journal in 1850. By 1853, the popularity of keeping aquariums as a hobby became well-entrenched in the United Kingdom, thanks in part to the ornately-designed cast-iron tanks featured at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and Philip Henry Gosse who created and stocked the first public aquarium at the London Zoo, which became known as the Fish House in 1853.

During the Victorian Era, a common design for the home aquarium was a glass front with wooden sides made watertight with a pitch coating. The bottoms of many of these tanks were constructed from slate and heated from underneath. By the nineteenth century, the tank evolved to include glass with metal framing as well as designs for hanging and wall mounting. By 1908, the first mechanical aquarium air pump was invented and powered by running water instead of electricity. As home electricity supplies became more common after World War One, tank heating, filtering, and artificial lighting became easier.

To this day, aquariums and fish-keeping is still considered to be one of the most popular hobbies with tanks being made from any combination of objects that include coffee tables, sinks, gumball machines, and even the shells of computers.

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Last updated on April 19, 2018 by Ben G

Ben is a writer from California. He mostly dives into film, videogames, and science fiction literature. Also Hello Kitty. He likes Hello Kitty a whole lot.

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