Best Fish Tanks – Heater, Light, & Decorations

Best Fish Tanks - Heater, Light, & Decorations

Anthony Barnes

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Fish tanks are great for keeping tropical fish or other aquatic animals.

They come in various shapes and sizes, from simple aquariums to elaborate systems with multiple levels.

Fish tanks are usually built out of glass, plastic or acrylic.

The type of material depends on the size of the tank and whether it has a filter system.

If you want to add plants or live rock to your tank, you’ll also need to consider these options.

Every fish owner wants the best for their pets, and they also want the fish tank to look great in their homes.

But some aesthetically pleasing fish tanks aren’t actually best for the fish as they could be small or too cramped. 

For this reason, it can be difficult knowing which fish tank is the best – especially if you’re just starting out at keeping fish.

Today we’re hoping to make your decision a little easier by showing you eight of the best fish tanks. 

We’ve ranked them all as the best in their category – because they are!

So, if you’re looking for a specific type of fish tank, we have you covered.

RANK

IMAGE

PRODUCT NAME

RATING

1

Fluval Flex 6 and 15 Gallon

2

Coralife Biocube 32

3

Fluval Evo 13.5

4

Marineland Portrait

Marineland Portrait

5

Fluval Spec V

Fluval Spec V

6

Fluval Chi

Fluval Chi

7

Marineland Contour 3 Gallon Kit

Marineland Contour 3 Gallon Kit

8

Fluval Edge

Top Eight Fish Tanks

Let’s get right into our reviews of the fish tanks, shall we?

These are in no particular order as they are all the best fish tanks for their specific purpose.

For example, the best fish tank for saltwater fish is not going to be the best tank for bettas. 

Look through our list to find the perfect tank for your situation. 

1. Fluval Flex 6 and 15 Gallon – Best For Bettas

The Fluval Flex series was designed specifically for the home aquarist who likes to keep freshwater fish.

This includes bettas, goldfish, guppies, koi, and many more. It comes in two different sizes: the 6 gallon model and the 15 gallon version.

Both versions include a filter at the top of the tank that keeps the water moving throughout the tank.

This is one of the most popular models of the Fluval line due to its versatility, ease of use, and affordability.

It is made of glass which will stay clear for years.

It also features an LED light that mimics sunlight so that your fish feel more comfortable. 

You can choose which color you want the LED light to shine – in fact, there are 80 colors to choose from.

The position of the filter makes it very easy for you to clean, but doesn’t obstruct you too much when you’re changing the water. 

Pros

  • Customizable LED light.
  • Aesthetic design.
  • Filter and light included. 

Cons

  • Black plastic backing might scratch easily.

2. Coralife Biocube 32– Best Large Fish Tank

This aquarium kit comes with everything that you need to set up your new fish tank.

You can use this tank for either fresh or saltwater fish.

Choose between 16 and 32 gallons, but if you’re looking for a large tank, the latter is definitely the way to go. 

The filter is built into the design and takes the water through three stages to ensure that it is as clear and clean as possible.

You’ll also be able to use the integrated LED light to create a lovely natural underwater environment for your fish.

It also has a night setting that replicates moonlight. 

As with any large fish tank, you will need a stand to ensure that this tank is secure within your home.

Luckily, there is an option to purchase this tank with the stand.

If you don’t have a stand already, we would recommend buying the one that has been specifically made for this tank. 

Pros

  • Modern design. 
  • Sun and moon light effects to promote plant growth.
  • Quiet pump.
  • Option to control temperature within the tank.

Cons

  • You will need to purchase an aquarium stand for this tank. 

3. Fluval Evo 13.5 – Best For Saltwater Fish

Saltwater tanks are typically more difficult to look after and therefore need a great tank to make the task slightly easier.

The Fluval Evo tank has been made with advanced technology to ensure that the tank is kept clean for longer.

It also improves water movement and overall filtration. 

This tank comes with everything you need to set it up, including a filter and an LED light.

It even has an automatic cleaning cycle that allows you to keep the tank in optimal condition without having to spend too much of your time on it! 

This is an excellent tank for beginners on a budget, but who also don’t want to opt for freshwater fish.

You can use this tank to house a number of great fish and plants without taking up too much space in your home. 

Pros

  • LED light to care for your plants and coral. 
  • Automatic cleaning cycle. 
  • Hidden filter. 

Cons

  • You might find yourself needing to improve some of the moving parts.

4. Marineland Portrait – Best Budget-Friendly Fish Tank

Best Fish Tanks - Heater, Light, & Decorations

If you’re looking for a budget friendly tank, this is the one for you!

While it might be a cheaper tank, it doesn’t compromise quality.

The modern design will fit into any room no matter what the design.

The glass front adds a level of durability to this tank. 

As a 5-gallon tank, you will find that this won’t be suitable for every fish out there.

It will be best for small fish.

This will limit your stocking ability, so make sure you know that your fish can withstand a smaller tank before opting for this one.  

This tank comes with an LED light which changes from white during the day, to blue overnight.

This helps mimic day and night for your fish and soothe them in their natural habitat.

You’ll also get a filter which makes maintaining your fish tank a breeze. 

Pros

  • LED light with day and night mode. 
  • Great for beginners. 
  • Hidden filter so as to not block too much of the water. 

Cons

  • Not great for bigger fish.
  • Filter is too big for shrimp and might kill them. 

5. Fluval Spec V – Best 5 Gallon Fish Tank

Best Fish Tanks - Heater, Light, & Decorations

This tank is small but mighty.

It is ideal for anyone who is looking to get into fish keeping for the first time and doesn’t want to spend too much on a tank.

This tank is only 5 gallons, so it’s not suitable for larger fish.

However, people do consider it to be one of the best tanks for keeping shrimp. 

The glass is durable and the design is sublime.

This tank will fit into any home seamlessly. It is also small enough to fit on a desk or a shelf! 

You’ll also get a filter with this tank, as well as a 7500K LED light.

The filter comes with a three-stage cartridge which will keep your tank looking sparkling clean for longer!

There is no heater within this tank, so you will need to buy one if you’re using it to stock tropical fish. 

Pros

  • One of the best tanks for shrimp. 
  • Includes filter and lamp.
  • Glass is etched for additional durability.

Cons

  • No heater included within this kit. 

6. Fluval Chi – Best Fish Tank With Waterfall

Best Fish Tanks - Heater, Light, & Decorations

The Fluval Chi is an excellent choice for anyone who wants an aquarium with a fun new addition of a waterfall.

Not only does the waterfall keep the water moving and give your fish somewhere to play, but it also adds a sense of elegance to your room decor. 

The tank is in the shape of a cube and comes with the waterfall attachment as well as an LED light, filter, and even more accessories!

You’ll be getting all you need to set up your own tank with this aquarium kit. 

This tank is 5 gallons, which is a great size for beginners who just want to test the waters within fishkeeping to see if it’s the right hobby for them. 

Overall, this tank is excellent for anyone who doesn’t want their tank to take up too much space in their home.

You can keep a few smaller fish within this tank and they’ll be very happy. Don’t forget to add some plants, too!

Pros

  • Comes with some accessories to help set your tank up. 
  • 7600K LED light with temperature controls.
  • Effective filter included.
  • Fun waterfall to make your tank stand out from the rest.

Cons 

  • The waterfall might not be the best to keep plants with.
  • Limited stocking ability. 

7. Marineland Contour 3 Gallon Kit – Best Nano Fish Tank

Best Fish Tanks - Heater, Light, & Decorations

Nano fish tanks are very small tanks that are ideal for beginners.

This tank fits the mold perfectly as it holds a mere 3 gallons of water.

Thanks to the size, it is also a cheap alternative to the bigger tanks. 

This tank comes with an excellent filter that is hidden from plain sight.

The filter will keep the tank clean for up to two weeks before it needs cleaning again! 

The LED light is energy-efficient, which is excellent for people not wanting to spend too much running their tank.

You’ll be able to fit this tank anywhere in your home without it taking up too much room!

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing.
  • Energy-efficient running.
  • Cheaper and excellent for beginners. 

Cons

  • Limited option to stock due to the small size. 

8. Fluval Edge – Best Modern Looking Fish Tank

If you’re worried about your fish tank fitting into your modern interior design, look no further from this tank.

The compact design will fit on any shelf or table, and the edgeless design gives it a much more aesthetically pleasing finish. 

This tank comes with a 6500K LED light which can leave you with shimmering light dancing all around the room, enhancing your design.

The filter is also high quality and can improve water conditions in terms of chemical, mechanical, and biological levels. 

You can choose between two sizes for this tank – 6 and 12 gallons.

The larger tank looks slightly different from the smaller, but it will still fit perfectly into a modern room. 

Pros

  • Edgeless design makes the tank more aesthetically pleasing.
  • LED light with touch button.
  • Fits a wide range of modern interiors.

Cons

  • Not the easiest tank to clean and maintain. 

Fish Tank Buyers Guide: Things To Consider

Now that you’ve seen our top recommendations for fish tanks, you should have a better idea of how to find the best tank for you.

But why take our word on these tanks?

While we believe that they are the best, you might need something different. 

So, for this reason, we have made a buyer’s guide for you to use.

Here we have the most important factors to look for when choosing your fish tank.

Keep these factors in mind when shopping for your fish tank to ensure that you get a high-quality tank that suits the needs of you and your fish. 

Materials

There are two main materials that a fish tank can be made out of – either glass or acrylic.

Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so let’s go through these now to see which would better suit your needs. 

Glass Fish Tanks

Glass is the more traditional material of a fish tank and it is heavier, so these tanks can be a pain to move around.

However, glass is non-porous and therefore does not change color or get cloudy overtime.

Glass is also resistant to scratches and easy to clean.

Glass tanks allow you to see your fish clearly and don’t require updating too often. 

Acrylic Fish Tanks

On the other hand, acrylic fish tanks are much lighter to move around.

However, constant exposure to water will make the acrylic tank brittle and cloudy over time.

This means that the tank will need to be replaced much quicker than a glass one would, at least if you wanted to be able to see your fish through it! 

Size Of Tank

The size of your fish tank is incredibly important for both you and your fish.

Fish have a minimum amount of room that they require for their tank.

Smaller fish will need less space and therefore can get away with a smaller tank, but bigger fish need lots of swimming room. 

Another thing to consider is overcrowding.

While you might think that a small tank is fine for your small fish, if you have a lot of them that need to share the space, then they’re going to fill the tank quickly and run out of room. 

The larger your fish tank is, the more options you have for stocking your tank.

You will be able to choose from a larger variety of fish, as well as how many you want in your tank.

However, larger tanks also require more attention, equipment, and maintenance. 

Smaller tanks are considered the best for beginners.

However, they are also limiting as they don’t allow for many fish to be kept within them.

Many nano tanks are very difficult to keep a stable water condition within and therefore end up killing the fish within. 

So, the best size of tank for a beginner would be a medium-sized tank.

They are easier to control the water and therefore keep your fish alive, but they don’t require extra equipment or experience.

You also have more choice when it comes to stocking your tank. 

Overall, for beginners, the best size of tank would be between 10 and 20 gallons. 10 gallon tanks will be good for bettas, shrimps, tetras, and other single species fish.

20 gallons would be best if you wanted to keep a mixture of fish within it as well as some plants. 

If you already know what type of fish you want to keep, make sure that you check their tank requirements.

Some fish might look small at first glance, but require a lot of swimming room. 

Additional Features

Many tanks come with added features that can enhance their appearance and make you more willing to buy them.

That’s because there are many things that you need to add to your fish tank in order to keep fish in it.

Unfortunately, it’s not enough just to have the tank for your fish to live.

You’ll need lights, a filter, and maybe a heater if you’re keeping tropical fish.

These can all quickly add up in the way of expenses, so choosing a tank that comes with some of them can be a great benefit. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common additional features seen in fish tank kits.

Filters

You can’t keep fish without a filtration system.

The filtration system removes waste products from the water and keeps it clean.

It also helps prevent algae growth and prevents bacteria from building up in your tank.

Filters are usually placed near the top of the tank, below the surface of the water.

Filters are essential to fish tanks and, despite what you might have read online, all fish need a filter within their tank.

Fish can’t live properly without one.

So, an added filter within your tank can be very appealing.

Just bear in mind that the filter that comes with your tank might not be the best quality.

You might have to purchase a separate one if you want a top of the range filtration system.

Either way, an added filter is a great additional feature for any beginner. 

Lights

Again, not all people know that fish need lights in their tank.

Lights can help fish see and live their best life.

Some fish tanks come with integrated LED lights so that you can see your fish at all times of the day.

If you are keeping aquatic plants within your fish tank, an LED light might also be necessary to keep them alive. 

If you’re wanting a fish tank with a light within it, look for one around 6000K.

This will be sufficient enough to keep your fish and plants happy. 

Another thing you should look for, if you want an aquarium that already comes with a light built in, is day and night mode.

This will allow you to keep the settings as natural as possible for your fish so that they’re not over or underexposed to light. 

Heaters

If you’re wanting to keep tropical fish, then you’re going to need a heater within your tank.

You can buy these separately, although some tanks do come with them already installed – which can be easier.

Some fish require warm water, such as Bettas, and the water needs to be regulated to remain constantly warm. 

A heater is a less common addition to fish tanks that you’ll see on the market, but there are a few that do come with one.

If you’re planning on keeping tropical fish, this could be an excellent addition to your new tank. 

Overall Cost

When choosing your new fish tank, price is certainly going to influence your decision of which to get.

Some tanks come with a much higher price point than others because they have added features.

However, if you do not need these added features, then you might find yourself paying for nothing. 

Cheaper fish tanks tend to be smaller and come with average quality additional features.

However, these might be fine for a beginner. 

Our advice would be to look on the cheaper side for your tank if you’re just starting to keep fish.

You can get a more expensive tank once you determine that you enjoy fish keeping.

However, if you know that you’re going to be keeping fish for many years to come, it might make more sense to make the investment now. 

Now For The Fun Part: How To Decorate Your Fish Tank

You’ve decided what tank you’re going to get – woohoo!

Now you get to enjoy the decorating side of keeping fish (and isn’t this one of the best parts?).

When decorating your tank, you need to find a balance between what you want the tank to look like and how your fish needs it to be. 

The first thing you need to do is research the type of fish you’re keeping and how they like to live.

Some fish like lots of places where they can hide, while others prefer lots of open space to swim freely. 

Below we’ve come up with three tips on how to decorate your tank.

Keep our advice in mind while decorating, but the rest is up to you! 

What’s Your Theme?

The theme of your fish tank is important when decorating your tank!

Some themes can be more intricate than others, such as pop culture themes.

Some of the most popular pop culture themes for fish tanks are Spongebob and Star Wars. 

However, your theme could be more simple, such as natural woods or lots of greenery! 

You can find plenty of decorations online or in your local pet store for fish tanks.

We recommend looking around as all of the different options can spark inspiration for your own tank!

You can be as creative or as simple as you want with your tank, as there will be a number of decorations to fit any theme that you could think of. 

Start With A Strong Base

The base of your fish tank should be covered in a type of gravel or stone to stop the light reflecting off of the mirrored glass and blinding your fish.

Gravel is the most popular type of base for a fish tank, and you can get it in all different types of color or finish. 

You could also use sand instead of gravel – some fish even prefer sand!

You should know what kind of base your fish like before setting their tank up thanks to your prior research.

So, choose the base that the fish you’re planning to keep will enjoy the most. 

Add Some Greenery! 

Plants are a great decoration for any fish tank.

They provide oxygen for your fish, help filter out waste, and add beauty to your home.

There are two main kinds of plants that you can put into your fish tank: floating plants and potted plants.

Floating plants grow in water and float around the top of the tank.

Hanging plants grow in soil and sway in the moving water. 

When choosing the plants you want in your tank, it’s important that you use plants that are only compatible with the fish you’re planning to keep.

Some fish don’t like plants altogether, so keep them away from these fish. 

Some fish like to eat plants, so it’s important to know that the plants you have chosen are not poisonous to them.

To avoid this altogether, you could use artificial plants rather than live plants.

Both types of plant can be fun and add a lovely color to your tank. 

Why Should You Keep A Fish Tank In Your Home? 

There are a number of benefits to keeping a fish tank in your home, and it’s a very rewarding hobby to enjoy.

It’s a great way to teach your kids about animals and nature, and you’ll never get tired of your new addition to your daily routine. 

Watching fish swimming around your tank can leave you feeling relaxed, as it can be meditative to you.

Fish swimming around is incredibly peaceful, so adding them to your home can benefit your mental wellbeing. 

Another benefit is that fish aren’t messy or loud like other pets are.

You don’t have to walk fish and they don’t scratch your furniture.

Fish are much less stressful than cats or dogs. 

Fish can make a very positive change in your environment, making you happier and healthier.

If you have ever considered keeping fish but haven’t taken the leap yet, we strongly suggest that you do.

You won’t regret welcoming a new little family member into your home! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Now we’re going to answer a few quick frequently asked questions to give you more information on choosing your fish tank.

Hopefully, after reading these, you won’t have any more questions about fish tanks and will feel confident enough to choose your own. 

Should I Get A Glass Or Plastic Fish Tank?

Glass tanks are usually recommended over plastic ones because they’re easier to clean and maintain.

However, if you want a lighter tank in weight, then a plastic tank is the one for you. 

Bear in mind that a plastic tank will get cloudy and scratched over time, whereas a glass tank will remain clear and be much more resistant to scratches.

However, the decision of what material to opt for is up to you.

Do I Need A Fish Tank With A Heater?

A heater is an essential part of having a fish tank at home – if you’re keeping tropical fish.

Without a heater, your tropical fish would die due to cold temperatures.

The best heaters available today are LED lights which emit light energy without using too much electricity. 

If you are keeping cold water fish, however, you will not use a heater as they can withstand colder temperatures.

Again, it all depends on what you plan to use the fish tank for as to whether you need one with a heater or not. 

How Much Water Do I Need For My Fish Tank?

The amount of water needed depends on how many fish you plan to keep in your tank.

Most people recommend between 10-20 gallons per fish.

This means that if you have five goldfish, you’d need between 50 and 120 gallons of water.

You should also consider the size of your aquarium when calculating how much water you need. 

Are Fish Tanks Easy To Maintain?

Maintaining your fish tank shouldn’t be hard, but some fish tank designs make it much more difficult than it needs to be.

Cleaning out the gravel and filter regularly is important, especially if you’ve got a lot of algae growing in your tank. 

You should also check the water level every once in a while.

It’s easy to forget to do this, but it’s important to ensure that there isn’t too much or too little water in the tank.

Out of our list above, the Fluval Flex is the easiest tank to maintain because it has a self-cleaning feature built in.

It also doesn’t require you to purchase another filter and therefore only asks that you complete a water change every month. 

When setting your fish tank up, a filter is going to be your best friend.

The filter works to clean the water so that you don’t have to.

The better quality your filter is, the better it will work.

So, if you want to make your fish tank easily maintainable, we suggest investing in a high-quality filter. 

How To Choose The Best Tank For Tropical Fish? 

Choosing the right tank for your tropical fish is very important.

If you get the wrong type of tank, you could end up with a dead fish!

Choosing the right tank will depend on the type of fish you’re planning to keep, though. 

Some tropical fish like much larger tanks to swim around in, while others (such as Bettas) prefer a more compacted space.

Make sure that you do your research on the fish you’re choosing before buying their tank. 

When choosing the best tank for your tropical fish, make sure that you consider the size, material, and additional features.

Your research will inform you of how important all of these factors are to your tank. 

Summary

 We hope that you have found your new favorite fish tank from our list, and feel more confident in starting your fish keeping journey!

We wish you luck with your fish tank and hope that you enjoy sharing your home with a new family member! 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age