In the United States, freshwater fish are the most popular pets to own. Why? Well, fishkeeping is an inclusive hobby that the whole family can get involved with. Naturally, one of the top items on your list, when starting, will be what fish tank to buy. This article will aim to educate you on things to consider, while also highlighting (what we believe to be) the best fish tanks available in today’s market.
What tank size do I need?
Choosing the correct size tank will depend on the sort of fish you plan to keep. Generally speaking, the bigger, the better. A larger tank (50 gallons plus) should require less maintenance, whether that’s less frequent water changes or cleaning. The filter works to clear the tank of all the waste. So the higher the water ratio to fish will mean fewer toxins harming them.
Mid-sized tanks are something I have owned before and can be classified as (20-45 gallons). I wanted a mid-sized tank to add real character to a room i.e that ornamental key feature.
Let’s not discard the small tanks, tell me more? The positives of having a small (15 gallons or less) or nano tank (2.5 gallons) are that they’re affordable, therefore, accessible to everyone. From a student bedroom to a crowded classroom, you will always be able to find the space somewhere. Yet, Small tanks can be temperamental. With slight changes in PH levels or ammonia having a significant impact on the tank environment.
What shape do I need?
Fish tanks are available in a host of different shapes. Choosing the correct one has a lot to do with the type of fish you plan to keep. Active fish will thrive in a longer tank, meaning a rectangular design will suit them more. Less active fish would fare better in a tall narrow tank, whereas a territorial fish wouldn’t because they need far more bottom space. Choosing the correct shape is more than just a matter of taste. Having a full understanding of the fish you plan to keep, and their unique behavior is imperative and will ultimately influence your final buying decision.
Acrylic or Glass aquarium?
Both are clear, and both hold water. When choosing whether to go with a glass or acrylic aquarium, each has its advantages, so it comes down to which one fits your specific needs.
- Scratch-resistant – Glass is hard to scratch, so unless you’re going out of your way to scratch the tank, the chances are that the tank will remain in good condition for years to come.
- A better price – Due to the manufacturing simplicity, glass aquariums tend to be cheaper than their acrylic counterparts.
- Stay’s clear – The transparency of glass will not be altered by the chemicals in the water over time.
- Hardness – Glass will only become flexible when exposed to extreme heat. Meaning glass can hold more volumes of water without bending.
- Poor resistance with impact
- Limited choice of shape
- Much heavier than acrylic
- Fast heat dispersion meaning it will need to be heated more often
- Easy to move – Due to acrylic’s lightweight properties, this makes it far easier to move.
- Variety – Since acrylic is born from a plastic sheet, this makes a variety of shapes far easier to mold than glass.
- Heat retention – Acrylic has far greater heat retaining properties than glass.
- Strength – This may seem strange, but acrylic is stronger than glass. A thin sheet of acrylic can be used to hold the same volume of water than the equivalent for glass, which would require it to be much thicker.
- Alterability – Acrylic can be drilled into if extra tubes are needed for specific add ons.
- Will need full stand support from the bottom
- Scratches easily
- Colour may alter with time
What is a fish tank kit?
In short, when you buy your tank it will most likely include a few extra gadgets. For those starting out and wanting to take the stress away from needing to piece everything together yourself, an aquarium kit is an excellent place to start. They come in a range of different sizes, usually with lights and a filter.
needyfish’s favorite fish tanks
- 15 Gallon glass aquarium
- Multistage filtration
- 48 white and 6 RGB fully adjustable 2450 lux LEDs
- 7500K LED lamp
- Flexpad remote control
Overall, people were very impressed with this tank. A popular sleek design perfect for a small space. Customers felt the 15-gallon guide is overstated and works out to be more around 10 gallons. However, the curved front helps give the illusion of a wider aquatic environment. The false rear wall to hide the filter and add ons proved popular, enhancing the tank’s neat appearance. If you’re an advanced aquarist wanting to add a lot of equipment and gadgets, this would not be the best option. However, if you want a beautiful looking tank that’s easy to maintain, this could be the one.
- Filter chamber flexible for customization
- Easy set up
- Compact unit
- Quiet pump
- Wide variety of color options with the lights
- The design can be hard to see from an angled view
- Tank top is one solid piece which can be hard to get on and off
- 20 Gallon glass aquarium
- LED hood
- Whisper Filter
- UL heater
Overall this would be an excellent kit for those starting, and the quality of the tank for many people far exceeded expectations for the price paid. Some people felt that the filter supplied was not big enough for the tank and would be better used as a backup. The hood having hinges proved popular for many users, making the cleaning process a whole lot smoother without the issue of having a loose hood and wires to contend with. Overall, with all the added extras included, this represents excellent value for money.
- Hood with hinges
- Great value with all the added extras
- Easy set up
- Manageable size with room for growth
- Temperamental filter
- Acrylic aquarium
- Reflector and electrical 24″ light fixture
- Extensive warranty.
The tank’s overall quality and strength impressed several users, in particular while full as the tank did not bow, an issue acrylic tank will often experience. Some users reported problems with the light fixture and had issues with the lid being fixed, the small light openings being the only way to feed your fish. However, aesthetically speaking, there is no arguing that this is a beautiful looking tank, thanks to the neatly seamed corners that don’t need to be framed which enhances the overall spectacle.
- Can be used in both salt and fresh water
- Does not scratch easily
- Temperamental lights
- 29 gallon (113 liters) glass aquarium
- LED lighting
- Tetra internal filter
Overall, people loved how spacious this tank was with consistently positive comments on the overall quality of the tank. However, a filter that is higher capacity would need to be purchased. The one provided could either be used for backup or added filtration. The lighting of the tank also proved popular. For the tank size, matched with the quality you would be buying, this represents excellent value.
- Low profile hood
- High quality spacious tank
- Great value for size
- Easy set up
- Will need to buy a filter
- Poor quality hood
- 13.5-gallon glass aquarium
- 3 stage filtration
- LED lighting system
- Circulation pump
- Foam filter block
One of the things that stood out for users was the slick aesthetics and appearance of the tank. A trend that is becoming synonymous with Fluval designs. Some customers found over time that the honeycomb design can start to show some wear. The LEDs proved popular, which has the capability to sustain hardy corals. Overall this is a sleek, high-quality design that would look at home anywhere.
- Conceals back filtration
- Silent pump
- Excellent brand
- Easy set up
- Honeycomb design easily waring
Deciding on the correct tank depends on your situation and needs, whether you are an experienced individual or just starting out. As you would have seen, there is a huge variety of choices out there from numerous brands. Out of the five products we reviewed, the best tank in terms of price, efficiency, and quality was the Glass Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit. When you are looking for quality products for fishkeeping, German manufacturer Fluval is right up there. Yes, you have to pay a slight premium on their products, but they are built to last.