Home tools Buyer's Guides from tech enthusiast who loves technology and clever solutions for better living.
Best fish tanks 2018 – [Buyer’s Guide]Last Updated July 1, 2020
Best fish tanks of 2018
The table below summarizes features, and below you’ll find more detailed reviews of each good. Not all fish tanks are created equal though. I want to find something that’s designed well (both for aesthetic purposes and efficiency). Like choosing clothes or cosmetics, choosing fish tanks should be based on your purpose, favorite style, and financial condition.
Test Results and Ratings
Why did this fish tanks win the first place?
The rear part fits perfectly! It is mounted really tight and reliable. I don’t know anything about other models from this brand, but I am fully satisfied with this product. I am very happy with the purchase. It is definitely worth its money. The product is top-notch! The product is very strong. Its material is stable and doesn’t crack.
Why did this fish tanks come in second place?
Managers explained me all the details about the product range, price, and delivery. I like this product. For such a low price, I didn’t even hope it to be any better. It’s decently made. The design quality is top notch and the color is nice. The material is pretty strong and easy to wash if needed.
Why did this fish tanks take third place?
I liked the design. We’ve been using it for 2 months and it still looks like brand new. It doesn’t squeaks nor bents. Looks great in my apartment. A very convenient model. It is affordable and made of high-quality materials. It is inconvenient to use due to the size. I am going to get something different next time.
fish tanks Buyer’s Guide
The Insider Pick
Keeping pet fish is something of a science. To build a great aquarium for your fishy friends, you need a good fish tank. Whether you want to start out small or go big and bold, the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is the perfect beginner tank and our top pick for the best fish tank overall.
There is something about a beautifully maintained aquarium that eases the mind and soothes the soul. Lush aquatic plants, natural décor elements, and colorful fish come together to create something amazing that anyone can appreciate and any aquarium hobbyist can be proud of. Keeping a fish tank at home does come with its challenges, but the beauty of a healthy and thriving aquarium is a reward in and of itself.
Whether you are a seasoned aquarium enthusiast or a newcomer, your success in the aquarium hobby hinges on the choices you make when starting out. First and foremost, you need to choose the proper fish tank to sustain the kind of aquatic environment you want to cultivate. From there, you’ll need to outfit the tank with the necessary equipment and decorate it according to your liking before adding your fish and other tank inhabitants.
Although the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit, the Fluval Spec V 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit, the Tetra 20-Gallon Aquarium Kit, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit, and the SCA Starfire 50-Gallon Glass Aquarium Kit.
Setting up an aquarium is a popular hobby that provides hours of beautiful entertainment and offers soothing benefits. This is also a great way to teach your kids about different ecosystems whilst relieving the stress of everyday life. However, selecting the right fish tank isn’t easy since there are several factors you need to consider.
Unlike, cats and dogs, fish are great low maintenance pets but they also require a certain amount of planning and commitment. Also, keep in mind that different fish have different needs, hence a trip to the book store or reading up on online resources is a great way to get started.
Setting up a fish tank has a high start-up cost. This is because of the equipment involved to provide the fish with the right environment. Investing in a tank, lights, filters, food supplies and other essentials can drastically cause your cost to rise if you are not careful. Certain fish may also be expensive, especially if you are opting for a rare or special species.
Additionally, a larger tank will also be costlier. Freshwater and marine setups both have their unique set of advantages and disadvantages.
For example, saltwater fish are more colorful and beautiful but they require a higher level of care and attention. This is why a freshwater setup is recommended for novice pet owners who are new to the hobby.
Choosing The Right Size
Browse online species guide to determine how much space each fish will require.
Glass. Vs. Acrylic
Fish enthusiasts can choose from two types of aquariums in the market, i.e. acrylic and glass. Each type of tank has its advantages and disadvantages. Glass tanks are budget friendly and are more readily available.
Additionally, glass is considered a more durable option since it is resistant to heat and does not scratch easily. However, the only downside is that these tanks are considerably heavier and feature a silicone seal that needs to be replaced from time to time. This can be a minor inconvenience.
On the other hand, acrylic tanks are available in a variety of designs since the material can easily be molded into any shape.
Also, they are cheaper than glass options and can be easily repaired in case the material gets scratched. Another notable advantage is that acrylic is clearer than glass, allowing you to take a closer look at your aquatic friends.
The time and effort required for regular tank maintenance can be significantly reduced if the tank is set up properly. In most cases, a functioning filter will help remove most toxins and waste materials from the tank.
You will only have to replace the filter media a couple of times a year, regardless of the size of the aquarium. To improve the water quality, you must perform 10% to 20% water changes on a regular basis. This process may take up a large amount of your time, depending on the size of the aquarium.
Larger water volumes help dilute toxins that can be a severe problem in smaller tanks. This prevents changes in water chemistry and reduces the risks of pH spikes.
As long as you regularly clean the tank and allow it to cycle properly before adding new fish, you will not have much trouble getting rid of the algae, regardless of the size of the tank. The size of the aquarium does not have a significant effect on the growth rate of algae.
It may sound clichéd but sometimes all you need is change of scenery. Don’t be afraid to show off your creativity when selecting scenic pictures and backgrounds.
You can select stunning shots online or from your local pet store. Simply cut the picture to the appropriate length according to the size of the tank and you are good to go.
You may stick the picture on the back or outside. The photo is supposed to face inwards so people viewing the front of the tank can see fish and other objects as part of a bigger underwater scene. Fish enthusiasts can also opt for a detachable photographic background that can be easily replaced with any scene once you get tired of the old one.
Determine what kind of fish you want to keep.
The first thing you should do when you decide to keep fish is determine what kind of fish you want to keep. Different kinds of fish will require different care, different conditions, different space, and different equipment. If you get your equipment before you inappropriate or unusable equipment or insufficient space for the fish you really want to be keeping in your aquarium.
Now that everything is home, clean it all off and get ready to go. Expect to spend a couple of hours setting everything up if this is your first fish tank. Fill your fish tank with water once all of your equipment is set up, and let it settle for a day or so so you can make sure that everything is working properly and that nothing leaks.
Select starting fish.
Over the next 6-weeks, you must be patient. Be very diligent with fish tank maintenance, be absolutely sure not to over feed, watch your fish’s behavior closely, do extra water changes as necessary, and DON’T ADD ANY MORE FISH. Until your fish tank has finished cycling, you should only stick with your few select starter fish.
Maintain your fish tank.
Once the fish tank has finished cycling, feed and observe your fish daily. Check your filters at least twice a week. Perform a 10-15% water change every week, and scrub for algae at the same time. Every month, check all hoses, fittings, clamps, cords, lights and other miscellaneous equipment. This may sound like a lot, but a couple of minutes a day could tell you changes usually take under 30 minutes for a fish tank, including checking all equipment and scrubbing for algae! Most people find their aquariums to take under minutes a day to keep everything in good order.
Acrylic or glass
When it comes to choosing an acrylic or glass tank, there are pros and cons to both options. Acrylic often scratches (although it can be buffed) and it can distort from some angles so some people think it doesn’t quite look as good as glass, although others disagree. Acrylic is also a better insulator than glass so if you have a lot of lighting (for example, in a Reef tank) you may need to install a chiller. Acrylic tanks often have smaller access holes than glass tanks, making access more difficult.
There’s no right or wrong choice: you need to decide what’s right for your circumstances and the sort of tank you’re setting up. For example, an acrylic tank is probably the best option for a FOWLR set up where there’s going to be kids around and cost is an issue.
Substrate or gravel.
A testing kit to help you keep an eye on ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels.
A timer for your lights – not essential but good for your fish as they like a steady ‘day and night cycle’.
Decorations – make sure they are safe and suitable for the set up you’ve chosen and the fish you want to keep.
All electrical equipment that you buy should have a drip loop to ensure any water runs onto the floor and not into your electrical sockets.
They’re easy to prime, quiet, reliable, come with all the media and are dead easy to get going and service. I’d recommend these time and time again and sleep well knowing that I had done.
The G series literally broke the mould in aquarium filtration and in many ways is the world’s best external filter. The LED screen monitors water conductivity as well as overviews continuous performance, but what does it for me is the ease of maintaining the mechanical and chemical filtration chambers. I find this an absolute joy and the biggest innovation in filter technology since the Prime was mastered.
I’d describe the FXas the 4xof external filters, being all terrain, having the most grunt, most torque and being able to handle more muck than any other external filter. Yet when you get that sizeable intake strainer out of the box and those 2.5cm/1” pipe fittings you realise you are dealing more with a monster truck than a 4x— and the big messy fish owners of this world simply love them.
Before the FX5, big fish owners used pond filtration in various DIY formations. Now they all just use FX5s… Enough said.
Almost anything Eheim…
Instead give me an Ecco Pro or a standard Professional 3, or, better still, a Professional thermofilter option, and I will surely feel in filtering heaven.
The Ecco is super efficient, easy to open, clean and load with media and good value for money. The Professional is everything you want from an Eheim — being large, sturdy, reliable, well built and having huge media capacity — and if I was to choose just one to see out my fishkeeping days it would probably be one of these.
TetraTec from Tetra
Known more for its fish food than equipment these days, Tetra does make a very good external filter which ticks all the boxes.
It’s easy to prime, powerful, quiet, reliable, comes with the media and all the pipe fittings, and I’d happily use one and recommend it to any tropical or coldwater fishkeeper.
The largest model, the EX2400, is a bit noisy as it’s frankly huge, so if into the larger filter market go for the FXinstead.
CristalProfi from JBL
JBL makes some excellent external filters with thoughtful designs, excellent media options and interesting add-on bits like a surface skimmer.
Again they tick all my boxes, including having media, being easy to use, set up and prime, and being quiet and reliable.
The company has even reduced already low energy consumption of existing models and introduced even more efficient ’01’ models.
Aquis Pro from AquaOne
I like the Aquis Pro as it combines everything I want. I don’t like the non-Pro Aquis anywhere near as much, as you have to prime it with a jug, and I don’t like the Aquis Pro 2450UV-C as I find externals with built-in UVs a faff.
However, stick to the Aquis Pro 550-1250 models and you’ll be a contented fishkeeper.
For someone who has never owned an aquarium before or doesn’t have too much experience in the hobby, our experts recommended starting with a 20-gallon tank or larger because it’s harder to mismanage and better able to rebound from chemical spikes. Although this may seem counterintuitive, small fish tanks are much harder to keep than large fish tanks. A small ammonia spike can be tolerably diluted in a 30-gallon tank but lethal in a 10-gallon one. The smaller the tank, the smaller the margin for error. If 20 gallons sounds big to you, we promise: It’s not as big or daunting as it sounds.
Our experts recommended starting with a 20-gallon tank or larger because it’s harder to mismanage and better able to rebound from chemical spikes.
Tanks generally come in two materials: glass and acrylic. After researching both, we think glass is the better tank material for any aquarium under 7gallons. Glass tanks cost a third or a quarter as much as acrylic tanks, plus they scratch far less easily and won’t yellow or fog with age. Acrylic tanks are shatterproof, which makes them a better pick for huge, public aquariums. They’re also lighter, but that doesn’t matter much since you’ll be filling the tank with hundreds of gallons of water anyway. “I always recommend glass over acrylic, unless you go over 300 gallons. Then people get more curious, they see big beautiful fish and want to tap on the glass,” Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho said.
No aquarium can clean itself, so you’ll need a strong filter to remove the rotting food, sunken fish poo, and other decaying organic material that naturally accumulates in a thriving fish tank. You’ll encounter three types of filtration—biological, mechanical, and chemical—and all three are important, so we looked for filters that offered the option to do all three, all while processing the entire volume of a tank twice in an hour. While many different types of filters exist, we looked only at power filters, which hang on the back wall of the aquarium and use an electrical pump to move water through the filter media. This type is the most common filter for freshwater tanks, and also the kind our experts recommended. In addition, we calculated the maintenance costs of all the leading aquarium filters (how much the replacement cartridges and sponges cost, and how often you need to replace them), as the best filters should be affordable to maintain.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
Note that the Marina kit lacks a heater. A tank kit that’s missing such a vital piece of equipment may not seem like much of a kit in the first place. But no kit in our test group includes everything you’ll need to start an aquarium, such as a year’s supply of food and water conditioner, a gravel vacuum, or even fish. Since you’ll be buying those supplemental pieces of equipment anyway, we think it’s not a big deal to add a heater (such as our pick, the 100-watt Eheim Jäger) to the mix, as it will also be a much higher-quality, adjustable heater than the one found in other kits, and it’ll make keeping your fish healthy easier. Also, the preset heaters found in most kits can sometimes be calibrated wrong, and without the ability to adjust the temperature manually, that could be fatal to your pets. There are certain things you just can’t upgrade in a starter tank, such as the light (which is generally attached to the lid) or the tank itself. So we think buying a tank with the highest possible quality of those irreplaceable parts is the best choice, and that choice is the Marina kit.
A good starter kit with a heater
This kit has all the essentials, as well as a heater. The overall quality of its equipment is inferior to that of our main pick, but compatible equipment is easy to find at any fish store.
The Aqueon kit looks almost identical to the kit I tested from Tetra, in appearance, light, and add-ons—I had to label them so as to not mix them up during testing—but it distinguishes itself with a slightly better filter (though one that’s still notably inferior to the Marina filter). Both the Tetra and Aqueon filters use a cartridge containing activated carbon and dual-sided mesh, but the Aqueon model also includes a slot for an extra filter pad meant to remove ammonia. We also preferred Aqueon’s instruction packets, which cogently explain how the filter works and how to assemble it. Tetra’s manual is much more sparse and refers to the cartridge only as a Bio-Bag, which feels condescending to people who want real information. But the Aqueon filter is not too powerful, so you should be careful not to overstock the tank with too many fish (the general rule is inch of fish per gallon of water—so you can have no more than 2-inch-long fish in a 20-gallon tank).
A note on preset heaters
After researching nearly a dozen aquarium lights and testing five, we think the Current USA Satellite Freshwater LED is the best light for most aquariums. At just inches wide and less than half an inch tall, it’s the slimmest, sleekest light of the bunch, but it still illuminates the corner of a tank more evenly than lights twice its size. The Current USA model also features seven customizable blue and white light settings and dimmable control to suit your preference. If you have a 20-gallon tank, we recommend the 24-to-36-inch model, which features 6white LEDs (6,500 K) and 3blue LEDs (445 nm).
To test the lights, we placed each model over a filled 20-gallon aquarium in a pitch-black laundry room and took photos of the light they cast using identical settings on a digital camera. These pictures displayed striking differences between lights that looked pretty similar during the day—which shouldn’t matter much to you or your fish, but could make a big difference in the health of your plants.
The Current USA model provided even, uninterrupted light to all corners of the tank. The chunkier Marineland and shorter Aqueon light fixtures both produced a harsh spotlight in the center while leaving the corners dark. The short docking legs of the Current USA light make it lower profile than other models, allowing the upper rim of the tank to obscure the direct light of the LED strip. The result: a tank with the pleasant appearance of a softly glowing box. The tall legs of the cheaper Nicrew and pricier Finnex lights we tested both stood an inch or two above the rim, which left the bright circles of the strip visible from a head-on view.
While your fish won’t care about customizable settings that mimic light from lightning storms and cloudy days, we think they’re super cool. The Current USA light includes a remote control with seven preset lighting modes that mimic dusk, a sunny day, and the blue light of the moon, each of which you can further customize by dimming.
The Current USA model was not the brightest light of the bunch, so if you want a planted tank, you may be better off with the Finnex light (it won’t affect the fish one way or the other). But the Current USA light’s slender size and customizable glow make it the perfect light for most tanks, and it’s still bright enough to support plants that require low to moderate light.
The Marineland Bio-Wheel LED Aquarium Kit 20 came with the second-best filter of the bunch, but its light was dim and the kit cost one and a half times as much as all the other kits at the time of our testing.
We were intrigued by the affordable Elive Aqua Duo 20 kit’s optional aquaponics filter, which allows you to grow a terrestrial plant on top of the filter to help reduce fish waste. But the setup looked a little strange, and as the tank was explicitly designed for this aquaponics setup, it makes little sense without it.
The Tetra 20 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit looked almost identical to the Aqueon kit, except with an inferior filter and five free plastic plants. We value the filter more.
Other than the Aqueon 20 High tank, we couldn’t find any other similar-size glass tanks available online from reliable retailers due to how hard it is to ship just one empty glass box. But you can buy this tank, or others like it, at your LFS or pet superstore.
The Marineland LED Strip Light was affordable, but the body of the light was far too wide and dim to compete with the superior and cheaper Nicrew.
The Penn-Plax Aquarium Heater, though three-quarters the size of the Eheim Jäger, stood out much more due to the bright blue color of its internal thermometer.
While we appreciated the Finnex Compact Electronic Titanium Heater’s external temperature selector, we struggled to find a place to put the controller where it would be easily accessible but not an eyesore.
The Aqueon Submersible Aquarium Heater had temperature markings only every four degrees, the same issue we found with its more indestructible twin.
Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho recommended the versatile DeepBlue Professional BioMaxx Power Filter ADB8870(for up to 30 gallons) as a runner-up to the AquaClear. This filter contains two deep buckets that can each hold one piece of foam and one cartridge, or any kind of custom filtration media. But unlike with the AquaClear model, the preset cartridges don’t include ceramic stones.
The Marineland Penguin Power Filter 150 stood out for its innovative Bio-Wheel, a rotating cylinder meant to maximize habitable surface area for bacteria. But the filter contains just one cartridge, which means your tank will cycle again when you replace it.
The popular Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro Aquarium Power Filter and Tetra Whisper Power Filter are the same filters in those companies’ respective kits; both lack sophisticated, stable filtration because they rely on one cartridge.
The Fluval C-Series Power Filter’s five-stage filtration system looks just as effective as that of the AquaClear, if not more so. But those five parts (instead of the AquaClear’s three) all need to be cleaned and replaced on different timelines and are available mostly in aquarium specialty stores, so it’s more difficult to maintain this model well and procure replacement parts.
API’s Tap Water Conditioner, Aqueon’s Water Conditioner, and Tetra’s AquaSafe Plus all have positive reviews and seem to work well, but they each treat only gallons per teaspoon as opposed to Seachem Prime’s 50 gallons.
Fluval’s Water Conditioner has positive reviews but treats a meager gallons per teaspoon; per ounce, it’s the second most expensive conditioner we tested.
Water test kit
Testing strips, such as API’s 5-in-Test Strips and Tetra’s EasyStrips 6-in-Test Strips, are a recently popular alternative to solution kits. After you dip these small tabs of paper into your water, they change color to reflect the test results. But currently a box of 2strips will run you around half the cost of the API Master Test Kit—testing just once for pH, nitrite, nitrate, and water hardness costs around 50¢. On the other hand, testing once for pH, high-range pH, nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia with the API Master Test Kit costs just 16¢. Strips are also an all-or-nothing kind of test, as each strip contains colors for those five parameters. We like how the Master Test Kit allows you to test for just one compound at a time. In addition, since high ammonia levels are one of the most common downfalls of a tank, we think a good kit must contain an ammonia test.
You need two bags of Seachem’s Flourite Black to fill a 20-gallon tank, whereas just one of CaribSea’s Eco-Complete will do the trick. And one bag of the Seachem substrate costs as much as a CaribSea bag. Some owner reviews also say this Seachem substrate is better for aquariums that focus more on plants than on fish.
We looked into some other popular siphon models with different features, but none stood out as being quite as useful as the Terapump.
The snaking, 25-foot-long Python No Spill Clean and Fill Aquarium Maintenance System comes equipped with a nozzle that can attach directly to your faucet, allowing you to pump water directly from your sink into your tank. But we don’t recommend pouring untreated water directly into your tank; the toxic chlorine could shock your fish, even if you add conditioner right after.
The battery-operated Eheim Quick Vac Pro’s ability to suck out sludge without removing water sounds great for spot maintenance, but you’ll still need to remove dirty water one way or another.
Many aquarists swear by Hikari’s Micro Pellets fish food, and we liked that it didn’t come as a flake. But this food contains just 4percent protein, which pales in comparison to the 4percent protein of our pellet pick from New Life Spectrum.
Pacific Aquarium’s Chi Cho also recommended Ocean Nutrition Community Formula Flakes, a food that has 48.percent protein but is hard to find online.
We also looked at traditional scrapers, such as the Penn-Plax WZ20 Wizard Aquarium Scraper and Scrubber Combo Kit. But the stainless steel scraper looks unnecessarily harsh for normal algal growth, and some owners report that the head falls apart after some scrubbing.
The API Algae Pad for Glass Aquariums was particularly cheap, but we preferred scrubbers with handles so you don’t have to worry about sticking your whole arm into dirty aquarium water.
There are three kinds of tank systems: freshwater, saltwater, and brackish water. The easiest of the three to set up and maintain are freshwater systems. These particular systems do not require as many chemical additions and are cheaper to set up and maintain. For a beginner a freshwater system is the way to go. Once you have decided on a water type you should come up with a plan for your tank. Where is it going to go? What kind of fish do you want? How big of a tank do you want? Do you want live plants or invertebrates? These are all things that you should explore before purchasing a tank.
How Big And Where
First things first; pick a room. Keep in mind, you don’t want the tank to be near windows that get a lot of sun as this will lead to an increase in algae growth. You also don’t want the tank to be positioned where people have the chance to knock into it. The best place is in a room, say the living room, along a wall where it can be admired, easily maintained, but not in any danger of being ran into. The tank should also be near electrical outlets since you will need to plug in the pump, heater, air pump, and any lights you may have on the system.
Now how big of a tank should you get? Easy. As big of a tank as your space and budget allow. The bigger the tank the more fish, or simply just larger fish, you can have. Just remember don’t go for broke on the tank. Nearly every aspect of owning an aquarium can be expensive and you don’t want to buy cheap chemicals and decorations to go with your top dollar 150 gallon tank.
Once you have a tank picked out its time to select a stand. Of course many pet stores sell tank and stand combs for a discounted price, some even include pumps and other necessary accessories. A good stand will have places for you to store your chemicals, fish foods, cleaning supplies (gravel wash tube and hose), as well as extra filtration and decorations. Ideally the stand will also have an aesthetic appeal and compliment the beauty of the tank. A lot of people try to be crafty and make their own stands by buying wood that the hardware store. Be very careful if you choose to go that route. Remember a gallon of water weighs roughly nine pounds, then add in rocks and gravel and you are looking at a very heavy aquarium. A 30 gallon freshwater tank can weigh over 320 pounds. That is a lot of weight for the stand to have to support.
Substrate and Water
Now that you have a tank and stand and they are in the location of your choice you should add your substrate. The type of substrate will dictate what kinds of fish you can have. For example you wouldn’t want to put a fire eel in a tank that has a rocky gravel substrate because the gravel would scuff up the eel’s nose. There are a good number of freshwater fish that should only be placed in tanks with sandy bottoms: knife fish, eels, freshwater rays, ect. However gravel tanks do have some advantages, one of the best is that they are easier to maintain since the substrate will not be sucked up through the gravel wash tube as easily. Gravel is also often cheaper than sand and can add more color to the tank if desired.
Before the substrate is added to the tank it should be thoroughly rinsed with water. This will remove any dust, dirt, and debris from the substrate. After it has been rinsed you can carefully pour into the tank and smooth out the top layer. At this point you can also add any decorations you desire. Keep in mind that fish do sometimes need places to hide in order to feel safe, especially after they have been put in a new environment. I’m not saying you need a replica of Spongebob’s pineapple, but a few nice rocks or plants should do the trick.
Now its time to add water. Add the amount of water your tank holds. Once the water has been added you need to condition it so that it will be safe for your fish. There are several different brands and kinds of treatment. Some even have elements to help cycle your tank so you don’t have to buy different chemicals. This is also the point at which you should install your filtration. How you go about this stage depends on the kind of pump you have. Most models have a bio-wheel and a place for a carbon filter, usually incased in floss. It is important to note that all filter media should be rinsed before it is placed in the tank.
You should also place your heater and air pump at this time. The heater is simple. It is going to heat the water to a specific temperature and shut off when not needed. Many heaters have several different temperatures for you to choose from. You can even buy heaters that have been preprogramed to only go up to a specific degree point. From your air pump you will have a line, called airline tubing, and then an air stone. This air stone is very important. It is going to aerate the water in the tank, stabilize the pH, and help to maintain a uniform water temperature throughout the tank. To avoid air going into your filtration pump place the air stone on the opposite side of the tank.
Once you have all of this in place it is time to test the water. Depending on what kind of fish you want in your tank you might have to make adjustments in your water chemistry. Some fish prefer a warmer tank with a slightly higher pH, while others like colder waters. If you need to adjust the quality of your water at all you can buy specific chemicals to do what you need. All the tests you need to run on your water can be done by purchasing a water quality kit, or testing strips, from your local pet store.
This is probably the most important part of set up. Without going into too much detail you are essentially allowing good bacteria to grow on your biological filter. What this will do is when you have fish in your tank the good bacteria will be able to use the nitrogen in the ammonia. This will prevent your water from becoming toxic to your fish.
The easiest way to cycle a tank is to let it run for a week or so on its own. You can feed it with chemicals, ammonium chloride, during this time if you so desire. However this step can be bypassed if you have a water conditioner that contains ammonium in it. You can also, towards the end of the cycle add a couple of hardy fish, like tetras, to help speed along the cycling process. These fish have a higher tolerance to changes in ammonia levels and help to provide the good bacteria with nitrogen products to feed on so that they can multiply.
One easy way to tell if your tank is cycled and ready for fish is if you have an algae bloom. You will know if you have one. Your water will go from crystal clear to cloudy, it may is be almost milky. Do not panic! This is a good thing. Simply do a 10-15% water change every other day and this will help lower the amount of bacteria in the water. Once the bloom is over you should have beautiful crystal clear water again and you are now ready for the fun part.
Betas, however beautiful, are not the only kind of freshwater aquarium fish.
Now that you have your tank set up and cycled it is time to get your fish! You should be careful not to add too many fish at one time however tempting it may be. If you add too many fish at once you will shock your system and could cause an ammonia spike. This could kill of of those fish that you spent so much time preparing for.
A lot of people don’t like the idea of freshwater tanks because they think all they will be able to get are betas and goldfish. Or people assume that because a fish lives in freshwater it will not be as colorful as a saltwater fish. This is simply not true, although you can keep a beta with a good many number of tank mates. There are dozens of species of freshwater fish that come in dazzling colors. Gouramis, discus, and cichlids all come in different colors and are just as pretty as saltwater fish. Though be advised, discus require near perfect water quality at all times and could die if there are even slight variations. Tetras, barbs, and danios are also nice schooling fish that add a sense of completion to any aquarium.
There are a few things that you must keep in mind when selecting your fish. Do they all have the same water quality needs? Will the all get along? (You don’t want several different kinds of aggressive fish in your tank) How big will they get? How many can you have in your tank? All of these questions can be answered by researching specific species online or going to your local pet store and talking with the fish staff there. A word of warning, you will find biased people on the internet and in stores it is best to do your own research and compare your findings.
The dimension of the tank is important since it will decide how many fish in a gallon aquarium you need to put in it. If the fish you put inside it is too big, then it might give unpleasing looks. For instance, if you put too many fish, it will make the whole fish tank looks crowded. In other hands, putting less fish will make it has boring looks. Measure the dimension of the tank before purchasing is highly recommended.
Aside from figuring out how many fish in a gallon tank you should put in it, the size of the fish is also important for another thing. Before you put it inside your home, you will need to get the perfect measurement of the fish tank. It allows you to have better planning on where to place the aquarium in your home interior.
Additional equipment is often coming with the package of the product. Most products usually include starter kit to help you getting the top gallon fish tank setup ideas. The starter kit package commonly includes a filtration system. As we know, the water filter is essential equipment of the aquarium. It allows you to prevent the water from being cloudy. Other additional equipment that is often included is submersible heater along with the thermometer. You can monitor the temperature of the water to makes it an ideal place for fish to live.
After you select fish for gallon tank, you also need to do proper maintenance. It is required to get pleasant looking for the aquarium and to maintain the life of your fishes. In general, the maintenance is performed by replacing the water and cleaning the water filter. It prevents the water on the water tank from getting cloudy.
Clean and purified water is crucial for fish survival. The tank you get should definitely come with an aquarium filter that is built to regulate and circulate your pet’s living space. A part of that low maintenance cost that you will be paying, is for filters. Most tanks require the filters to be changed every so often to keep things fresh and clean. However, there are some aquariums that come with their own filters so you won’t actually have to buy any separately.
Fish Tank Size
If you are getting really elaborate and wanting to incorporate real plants in your tank, you must make sure that you have the proper lighting to accompany everything. Live plants in a tank are there to provide food for you fish, therefore, having the right light in the tank to provide nourishment for the plants will, in turn, provide more nourishment for your fish as well.
If you have decided that the plants you want to get are fake and simply for aesthetic purposes, the aquarium LED lighting you choose to include can be specifically for ambiance purposes. Just make sure it is safe for your pets and won’t disrupt their daily lives.
Tanks For Cold Water
The first is called a Coldwater tank. These are cold, freshwater aquariums that best used at around 70 degrees or a bit lower than room temperature. Koi fish or goldfish are typically the most comfortable in these types of homes. Both of these types of fish are relatively low in price and won’t cost that much, all around.
Freshwater aquariums are perhaps the most popular type that are purchased. These are known for being the easiest to clean and maintain after your fish are already living there. Tropical fish come in all different shapes and sizes – there is a greater variety to when choosing which type of fish, you want. These tanks are typically between 7and 8degrees and are said to be the easiest because there are no chemicals involved with treatment and cleaning. The lighting system that usually accompany this type of tank, is easy to handle and maintain as well as the filtration systems and other equipment.
Brackish tanks are for the most adventurous type of fish owners. The water is a mix of saltwater and freshwater – think of it as just diluted saltwater. Not only is this a rare type of tank to have, it can be considered the most tedious to have because it takes a lot of effort and commitment to maintain cleanliness, throughout. The most well-known type of fish that lives in this type of water is the Pufferfish. Looking at these fish is very cool, however, they do require a bit of extra work.
DeepBlue aquariums were created with the consumer in mind. Not only are they cost effective, they also have great designs. They are the only brand known for using black silicone in their creations as a means to strengthen the durability and reliability of the tank itself. These tanks are also known for having tempered glass in a few of their different designs.
TopFin is probably the easiest and most inexpensive brands of tank that you can get – however, the cost has no effect on the durability and reliability though. This brand has kits for beginners or kids that are good if you’ve never had an aquarium before. They also offer the filtration system filters so you don’t have to purchase them separately or at a later time.
The filter is constructed with an intake cipher. The intake is made of clog proof construction that allows complete flow. It will ensure that nothing is able to block the intake. This will ensure the fish are safe and have proper water flow.
The foam screen is constructed of a two-layer material for added protection. The filter is easy to connect and use in a matter of minutes. It is equipped with several filtering baskets that allow for different media filtration function.
The filter is made of durable construction. It allows the proper space for bio spires to thrive. The rings and biofilter offer a multi-area for extensive growth. The complete construction of the filter is equipped with polishing padding.
This type of pad filtering option can help the fish survive longer because it helps keep the habitat safer.
There are several accessories that come with this type of filtration system. The accessories are designed to help enhance the work of the filter and are a great option to have and use. These accessories provide a more in-depth filtration to purify the water and make it healthy.
EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter
The EHEIM Classic External Canister Filter with Media is a resourceful product to use. It has several creative benefits that make it a great choice for the best aquarium filter on the market.
It is a stable and durable product that is designed to provide excellent filtration. It has several options that consumers can take advantage of to make the tank a clean and clear area.
The fish are protected when this type of filter is being used. The benefits of this product can help you decide if you want this filter in your tank. It is a popular brand that many fish owners choose to purchase.
The convenient design provides proper water levels without any seeping. It is designed with a silicone sealer that is made of permo-elastic material.
This type of seal is strong enough to keep water from spilling out of the filter and onto other surfaces. It will keep the water inside of the filter and tank without it leaking.
The work capacity of this filter is amazing. It is designed with several features that make it a perfect product for different media options. The elastic seal is located on the top of the pump for easy access.
The seal is designed to completely close after each cleaning. The filter and media design make it simple to maintain and have clear water flow.
The filter works well with 100-gallon tanks
The Aqua Clear filter is powerful. It is made to circulate water effortless while it filters out the unwanted particles. The strength of the filter provides the most up to date cleaning power for your fish to enjoy.
A filter that is able to run continuously will keep the tank water clear. It will help to keep the fish alive as they are able to swim through uncontaminated water.
The filter is strong enough to flow consistently and it can be adjusted for a change of flow power. This is a good option to have if you want to control the water flow of the filter.
The size of the tank is important to know when you are shopping for the best aquarium filter. The Aqua Clear filter is able to be used in tanks that hold up to 1gallons of water.
Fluval Canister Filter
The Fluval Canister Filter FXis a popular brand to own. It has many qualities that provide the most efficient filtration for your tank.
Each quality that this product has to offer can provide high-quality clean water throughout an aquarium. The filter does not need to be siphoned because it begins when the water is full in the canister.
The canister filter has a drain valve that makes it easy to clean. It is reputable filter type that can last for years and provide the best water for your fish. It is a good product to buy and use with a variety of aquariums on the market.
The creative design gives users an easy cleaning and maintenance capability. The purge valve is located conveniently at the bottom of the canister.
This valve is handy to have because it lets you easily access and clean the canister for a better filtering experience. The available spout makes water distribution a breeze.
It allows for different flows of water to be distributed throughout each area of the tank.When the water does not need to flow in different areas of the tank, the spout can be adjusted.
The largely rounded intake lets water spout faster and filters more quickly. This keeps the aquarium looking new and the water completely safe for all of the underwater life.
Eheim Canister Filter 2217
The Eheim Canister Filter 221is recommended to be the best aquarium filter to purchase. It has a fascinating pump module unit that is extremely reliable.
The pump has a reputation for being reliable without requiring a lot of work to keep it working. It is a popular brand that many consumers choose to have in their tanks. This model of filtration does not need a lot of maintenance to perform.
It can be left to take care of the water and provide a clean purified area for the fish to swim. It does not need a lot of attention and is a great product for people with busy lives.
The unit provides a high-quality filtering system that makes the tank clean and pure. It provides enough protection by filtering out the debris from the water and keep it safe for the fish to live.
It has an excessive amount of power that provides the maximum performance of filtration. The filter is easy to use and set-up with minimal supervision. It is able to run continuously to maintain the water and the living habitat for a long time.
The fast flow of water takes less time to fill and purify. It offers excellent performance for long-term use while it filters out particles and other unwanted grime that can build up.
The design of this filter unit takes up less room. It can be used on different types and tank shapes with ease. It is simple to put together and get up and running.
Once you purchase this product it will take minimal time to have it functional and working properly. It is geared towards better performance and efficiency of every use. The filter can work continuously to filter water, or it can be used only when needed.
The unit can use different filter types to improve performance and ensure that the water is being cleaned as it should. The brand has designed the product with expanded technology to provide users with the most up to date filtration available.
SunSun Hw304B canister filter
The SunSun canister filter kit has many benefits to enjoy. It is a popular filter system that is considered to be the best aquarium filter on the market. This product can provide you with long-lasting filtration.
It increases the health of the fish because it reduces unwanted and harmful particles in the water. The filter is able to circulate the water into the tank while it purifies it.
The canister filter is a good product to use in many different types of fish tanks. A filter unit is a great option for bigger tanks and aquariums.
The filter is constructed to handle up to 150 gallons of water. If you have a tank that can hold this amount of water, this may be the item for you.
Air-driven internal fish tank filter
The Air Driven Internal Fish Tank Filter is a great choice for office and apartment fish tanks. The filter is small and square in shape. The filter helps to reduce and filter out particles that could be harmful to the fish and their habitat.
The air-driven internal filter is designed to be placed inside the tank. It allows the tank to sit closer to the wall without taking up a lot of space. This product works well in smaller tanks with smaller fish.
The filter is strong and powerful to keep the tank clean and the fish healthy. It is gentle to not harm the fish or let unwanted bacteria into the tank. This type of filter is a good choice for small fish that need small tanks.
Under gravel filters
The Under-gravel filter is used in aquariums with gravel. The filter is positioned under the gravel inside the tank. The water flows through the gravel which is used to filtrate the tank. The water is moved through the gravel which helps to break down the particles of bacteria and waste that is in the water.
It then filters it out and is used as a bacteria filtration system. The under-gravel filter will need to use a powerhead or air flow pump to circulate the water through the gravel. This helps to clean the tank and remove dirt and harmful particles that is lurking in the water.
The biological filter is not an expensive filter choice. It is a filter that can be used for big and small fish tanks. It is recommended that the filter is used in an aquarium with less fish for better results.
The Power Filters are a great choice for many fish tanks. It is a popular buying choice because it works for a variety of aquariums. This filter type offers filtration of biological, mechanical, and chemical results.
The Power Filter is a nice choice for tropical fish. It is a filter that hooks to the back of the aquarium and fits most tank sizes. This product is an interchangeable filter that can be replaced when it needs to be changed.
It is an inexpensive item and is easy to keep the filter maintained for the fish tank. It is a good filter to use if you have little time to keep the aquarium clean.
The Canister Filter is a great purchasing choice for big fish tanks. It works great in a tank with a lot of fish. This type of filter is recommended because of its biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration. A canister filter may have more than one basket that holds different types media.
The layers help to improve the quality of the water. This product works well in tanks with saltwater, freshwater, and other aquarium types. It consists of more maintenance than the other filters, but it has a massive filtering ability. The filter keeps the tank clean and the fish healthy.
The bacterial media filtration reduces the harmful bacteria, algae, and dirt that can build up in the water. This is a recommended filter for large fish tanks and tanks with big amounts of fish.
There are several things to consider when buying the Best Aquarium Filter. Being able to choose the right filter is important for the fish and its habitat. These considerations can help you choose the perfect filter for your fish aquarium.
The Filtration Technology
The filtration technology is important to understand when reviewing filters for your fish tank. Not all filtration technology is the same. Some of the filtration technology may not be what works for your fish.
It is important to review the filter technology and what it can do. This will help you decide on the right filter for your aquarium.
Water-Flow Rate for the Filter
The water flow rate for the filter is an important factor to consider. It determines how much water flow you have an hour. The water flow is measured in gallons. The faster water flow filter you have, the less time it takes to fill the tank.
When shopping for a filter, it is recommended to review different brands for their water flow rate. This will ensure that you are receiving a good deal that will provide enough water flow for your fish.
Fish Tank Filters Brand The brand of the fish tank is important when finding the right product. A good brand of the filter may be a brand that you have used many times before. A high-quality brand will have a reputation for making good quality products.
This is rule applies to filter brands as well. If you find a brand of filter that you like, then continue to use it. Many name brands offer the best aquarium filter because of the long-lasting products they offer.
Add a few fish
This may seem like a really odd order to do things in, but years of experience have shown me, this way of doing things will avoid upset and disappointment in the long run.
I was lucky when I started fish keeping. My local pet shop had a great aquatics section with a very experienced and knowledgeable assistant, who gave me plenty of advice and made sure I was on the right track.
Test Your Water
You may never have had to test your water before. It’s something us fish keepers do on a regular basis. Once your tank is up and running these are thing you will need to test for on a regular basis, but right now I just want you to test the pH of your water. The pH will affect the range of fish you are able to keep. It is possible to alter your pH, but as a beginner I would not recommend it. It is far easier to pick fish suited to your waters natural pH.
To test your water you can either do it yourself by buying a testing kit from an aquatics shop or most aquatic shops offer a water testing service. Most kits are easy to follow and come with full instructions.
Do A Little Research On What Fish You Would Like
Now you have your pH results you can start researching your fish. I recommend you have look through the different fish profiles, in particular look at their pH requirement and max size.
There of course some fish beginners should not attempt to keep, these would include Discus, Red Tailed Catfish, Killifish, and Oscars. It is often a not a case of a particular fish being a bad choice, it’s more a combination of fish being a bad choice.
Many experts don’t like the idea of a general mixed community aquarium and suggest instead you should only keep fish from the same part of the world together. The advantage of doing things this way is the aquarium inhabitants will have similar water requirements so no fish has to attempt to live in water which is out of their natural range.
Introducing your fish and plants
Once you have had a couple of days to make sure everything is working as it should and to allow the tank to settle, it’s time to think about adding some aquatic plants to your aquarium.
These can either be planted in the substrate with weights, or left in the miniature pots they can often be bought in. Real plants are a great hiding place for shy fish, and really add depth and movement to the tank. Lots of different types of plants are available for your aquarium, and most aquatic specialists and larger pet shops will stock a good range and be able to advise you of the best types to buy.
After about a week once the tank has had time to settle, comes the fun part- choosing your first few fish.
It’s important not to overstock the tank, and also not to add too many fish all at once especially in the early stages, to avoid overloading the tank’s developing ecosystem.
Suggesting what specific types of fish to buy for a new tank is almost impossible, due to the sheer number of species and the ranges available in different areas.
Take advice from experienced staff when buying, and they will guide you through the selection process with advice on ease of keeping, compatibility of species, and space required.
Always pick strong, active healthy looking fish- avoid fish with damaged fins, or that appear listless.
Never buy a fish, even a healthy looking one, from a tank containing dead or dying fish.
Get your new fish home from the shop as soon as possible, and then acclimatise them to your tank slowly.
Keep the tank light off while introducing the fish, and for the first couple of hours afterwards.
Float the bag the fish are in on the top of the tank water, gradually adding water from the tank into the bag over half an hour to an hour, until the temperature in the bag and the tank match.
Then, gently release your fish into their new home. Do not feed them on the first day, and feed lightly until they have fully acclimatised and you have judged the appropriate amount of food for them.
If you are a novice, you should consult a salesperson on the type of freshwater, tropical fish that you should get. They should give you tips on which fishes are compatible with one another, and so forth. You should look for a locally-owned fish store in the area since they tend to provide the most accurate information and high-quality fish. Quality pet stores will have compatibility charts for freshwater and saltwater fish.
This is an important step as selecting incompatible fish will have significant consequences. You could end up with stressed, harassed and colorless fish. Eventually, the fish that is not the alpha will die and you would have lost your investment.
Selecting Reef Fish
When selecting your fish and invertebrates for your reef tank, ensure that your chosen fish do not pick at corals or eat invertebrates. Also, these fish must be able to coexist with one another. Your selected invertebrates also cannot consume corals.
Due to the territorial nature of reef fish, avoid putting species with similar coloration or markings together in the same tank, as they will normally clash over living space. Members of closely related species can also be poor choices as they are likely to require identical niches and fight as much as two individuals of the same species. Also, do not mix species with the same feeding pattern. For example, some Tangs and Blennies can be aggressive towards other algae-eating fish.
The type of membrane you use determines the amount of impurities that the Reverse Osmosis unit will remove. The semi-permeable membrane acts as an ultra-fine filter which strains almost all unwanted constituents from the main supply. This allows only water molecules to pass through. Some high-output units may feature multiple membranes, thus enhancing filtration.
Given its vital role in any reverse osmosis unit, the membrane is expensive. However, it is also easily damaged. Therefore, you must handle your reverse osmosis with care, otherwise you may risk damaging it beyond repair.
The pre-filters also need to be changed regularly to avoid any instances of failure. Otherwise, this will adversely affect the efficiency and lifespan of your unit’s membrane.
This valve allows pressure to build up in the system. For reverse osmosis to take place, pressure is essential. Most reverse osmosis units require a minimum pressure of around 2.bar (40psi). At the same time, the ideal pressure will help prevent the system from leaking or blowing apart.
Your reverse osmosis unit may also have a pressure gauge. This allows you to monitor the pressure of the main water entering the membrane. Insufficient pressure reduces the unit’s efficiency and can even stop the unit from working at all. While not all units have a pressure gauge, they can be retrofitted.
Some models contain the additional feature of a flush valve which bypasses the flow restrictor. This rapidly rinses impurities from the membrane. Thus, this prevents scaling or fouling of the RO membrane and keeps the membrane clean.
Some recommend adding the flush valve as it improves the efficiency, output and lifespan of a unit’s membrane. Under heavy use, the membrane should be flushed daily. Some units do not feature a flush value; however, you need not worry as flush valves can also be retrofitted to most systems.
In the first stage water is passed through a micron sediment pre-filter that removes silt, sediment, sand, and clay particles as well as any rust particles and debris that is created in the tap water system pipes that might clog the R/O membrane.
In the second stage, the water is then passed through an activated carbon filter that traps minerals and contaminants such as chromium, mercury, copper, pesticides and other chemicals. It also removes chlorine which is often found in tap water. This is important as chlorine will shorten the life of the membrane as well as the lifespan of your tank’s occupants. There are now specialized carbon filters available that will remove chloramines, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, which is also commonly used to disinfect water supplies.
RO/DI units have deionization (DI) as the third stage. In deionization, there are two types of synthetic resins used; one resin is to remove positively charged ions and the another to remove negatively charged ions.
Cation deionization (DI) resins remove cations, such as calcium, magnesium and sodium and replace them with the hydrogen ion. Whereas, anion deionization resins remove negatively charged ions, such as chloride and bicarbonate, and then replaces them with the hydroxide ion. In Deionization, the displaced hydrogen ion and hydroxide combine to form pure water.
The red tube is the line that supplies water to the RO unit and it is called the supply line. The black tube is the drain line for waste water. You can simply place this tube in a sink or down a drain and allow the water to flow freely. The blue tube has your purified water, which is free of contaminants.
You will need to find a location that has a source for cold water and a drain. You must then connect the filter to the source water and run the waste water line to the drain. This can be connected in places like a laundry room, under or next to a sink or outdoors near a faucet.
If you are hooking up your filter system outside, then it needs to be protected from the heat and cold. Hot temperatures can ruin your unit’s membrane and freezing temperatures can cause the housing to crack.
For most reverse osmosis units, you must install the unit’s sediment, carbon and membrane into their respective housing. When you purchase a reverse osmosis unit, it will come with a manual and installation guide. Some units will be pre-assembled. You can refer to online resources for a comprehensive guide on installing your purchased unit.
Turn on the water and flush the system with a couple of gallons. You should look out for any potential leaks. After shutting the water off, you can proceed to the installing the DI resin cartridge. Lastly, turn the water back on and start collecting your purified water.
You should not keep the first gallons of water that your reverse osmosis system produces. The first gallons of water will contain pollutants that must be flushed out from the system. Also, when you replace the filters, you must still flush the first gallons of water too.
Most RO and RO/DI systems are simple to set-up and do not require experienced hands. While some set ups may be a little more advanced, most standard RO and RO/DI filter installations take only 30 to 60 minutes.
Some users remarked that the hose was a bit too short especially if your tap location is too far away. If the hose is too short, then you will need to buy a longer hose separately which will add additional costs. Additionally, there is also the issue of this unit’s high water-wastage ratio. This unit needs about gallons of water to produce gallon of pure water. While this is not unusually high, it is still significant for users who prefer zero waste reverse osmosis systems.
This model is available in 50 and 100 gallons per day (GPD) units.
A key part of aquarium maintenance is the water change, which should be performed about every two weeks. In most cases, 10-15% of the tank volume is sufficient. A good method is to replace the water extracted while vacuuming the gravel, which will eliminate uneaten foods and other residues that settle on the substrate.
Well water is usually harder than tap water, but is chlorine/chloramine free.
Filtered water should also be checked on a regular basis and should be considered part of your aquarium maintenance routine. The filter membranes could be damaged or may require replacement prior to the expiration date.
Freshwater Fish Profiles
Learning how to set up a fish tank is not all that difficult, but there are some steps you should follow for a freshwater aquarium setup. First, you must realize a few things about an aquarium setup. A tropical fish tank is just like having a dog or a cat when it comes to the amount of effort on your part. In order to have a successful freshwater tropical fish tank you will have to work at it.
STEP Get ready for regular maintenance.
Be prepared to spend some time once every week or two to clean your tank. Performing regular water changes will reduce the nitrate levels and keep your tropical fish happy and healthy.
First of all thanks for reading my article to the end! I hope you find my reviews listed here useful and that it allows you to make a proper comparison of what is best to fit your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to try more than one product if your first pick doesn’t do the trick.
Most important, have fun and choose your fish tanks wisely! Good luck!
So, TOP3 of fish tanks
- №1 — Zacro Pack of 2 LCD Digital Aquarium Thermometer Fish Tank Water Terrarium Temperature
- №2 — Zacro Digital Aquarium Thermometer Fish Tank Water Terrarium Temperature
- №3 — Marineland Magnum Polishing Internal Canister Filter