Best 20 Gallon Aquarium – 5 Top Reviews, Guide, FAQs & More

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A 20 gallon aquarium looks incredible in any home but it’s hard not to agree with us when we say that selecting one that’s best for you can be quite a daunting task. 

That’s why we’ve gone and tested all the 20 gallon aquariums available in the market right now in order to find out which ones are the best. 

In today’s post, we’ll look into the pros and cons of many different 20 gallon aquariums and discuss what qualities a great 20 gallon aquarium should have.

Top Pick

This kit comes jam-packed with accessories and equipment to help you get started on your fish-keeping journey. It features effective lighting with a sleek, modern hood.

Runner Up

This fish tank features blue LED lighting which will give your aquarium a unique aesthetic. It comes with a lot more accessories than its competitors which you will find useful.

Also Great

Many fish-keepers like to have complete control over the aquarium they build and this tank is made for them. It’s made from high-quality materials and is extremely sturdy.

After rigorous testing, we’ve come to the conclusion that these three products are the best ones out there.

Now, let’s get into the reviews for the 5 best 20 gallon aquariums.

Best 20 Gallon Aquarium - Best 5 Reviews

1. All-Around Best 20 Gallon Aquarium - Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit 20H Black Review

The Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit is something that you really can’t go wrong with. It’s packed with features that will appeal to both new-comers as well veterans within the fish-keeping community. 

You’ll find that it’s low-profile hood has a feeding hole which makes it super easy to feed your fish. The hood also has cut-out sections which can break away in case you want to mount additional equipment onto the aquarium. 

The hood comes right off allowing you to easily wipe the walls clean and perform water changes. The filter itself also has an LED indicator which tells you when it needs to be cleaned.

Features of Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit 20H Black – Best 20 Gallon Aquarium

  1. Dimensions: 24.2 inches by 12.5 inches by 19.5 inches
  2. Weight: 30 pounds
  3. Comes with a power filter
  4. Comes with a preset heater
  5. Elegant, contemporary design
  • Lightweight for its size
  • Very durable
  • Easy to assemble
  • Feeding door for easy feeding
  • Filter is effective and super quiet
  • Tank itself is very durable but the hood is slightly flimsy

If you’re looking for an aquarium kit that has it all while still being easy to set up, this product is for you. It’s lightweight, easy to handle and the accessories that come with it are all super effective.

2. Best Vibrant 20 Gallon Aquarium - GloFish 20 Gallon Aquarium Kit Fish Tank Review

GloFish are a brand that are known for their eccentric, vibrant and bright designs and this 20 gallon aquarium is no different. 

It features highly effective Blue LED lights which not only give the aquarium an aesthetic that’s all its own, it also provides a unique ambience to whatever room its in. The Blue LEDs are also very calming to your fish as they mimic moonlight brilliantly. 

It comes with a lot more accessories than its competitors such as a yellow anemone, 2 decorative artificial plants, fish food and a water conditioning sample.

Features of GloFish 20 Gallon Aquarium Kit Fish Tank

  1. Dimensions: 27.9 inches by 16.1 inches by 20.4 inches
  2. Weight: 34.4 pounds
  3. Comes with a filter and LED lighting
  4. Mini heater included
  5. Comes with a ton of accessories including artificial plants
  • Lightweight for a 20 gallon aquarium
  • Sturdy
  • Blue LEDs are visually pleasing
  • Filter is effective
  • Easy to clean
  • Heater may be too small for the aquarium

If you’re looking for a visually striking aquarium, this product is ideal for you. It’s not just style and no substance as the aquarium itself is very well-made and the filter that comes with it works brilliantly too.

3. Best Adjustable 20 Gallon Aquarium - Carolina Biological Supply Company 20 Gallon Aquarium Tank Review

20 gallon aquariums are usually the size that is recommended to most new-comers. What new-comers want are aquarium kits that will give them everything they need to get started. However, there do exist veteran fish-keepers who want to have a 20 gallon aquarium but also want complete control over the equipment they mount onto it. 

This is where this product comes in. It enables fish-keepers to customize it in several ways and it has the capacity to have all kinds of different equipment mounted on it. 

The aquarium was shipped to us in thick packaging within three boxes in order to ensure that the aquarium wouldn’t get damaged in any way.

Features of Carolina Biological Supply Company 20 Gallon Aquarium Tank

  1. Dimensions: 24 inches by 12 inches by 16 inches
  2. Weight: 30 pounds
  3. Reinforced packaging to prevent damage
  4. Silicone-sealed walls
  5. Minimalist, simple design
  • Suitable as a freshwater or a saltwater tank
  • Long-lasting
  • Can accommodate all kinds of aquarium equipment
  • Affordable
  • Crack-resistant glass
  • Not suitable for novice fish-keepers

If you want to have a barebones aquarium onto which you can mount aquarium equipment of your choice, this product is perfect for you. It features a simple and elegant design that gives you the liberty to customize it in any way and make it your own.

4. Best Rimless 20 Gallon Aquarium - Aqueon Ascent Frameless Aquarium Kit Review

20 gallon aquariums often feature ugly borders that line their edges. Even if these borders aren’t ugly and are beautifully designed even, a majority of them start to get chipped, damaged or discolored over time. 

This product eliminates that problem entirely by virtue of being completely frameless. This means you can view your fish from all angles without any obstruction and the lighting that’s built into it enhances this experience as it illuminates your fish gloriously. 

Its modern design and polished edges give it a classy, glossy appearance that will surely enhance the look of any space it’s placed in. 

Features of Aqueon Ascent Frameless Aquarium Kit

  1. Dimensions: 21.3 inches by 14.2 inches by 25.6 inches
  2. Weight: 25 pounds
  3. Floating base
  4. Aesthetically pleasing, frameless design
  5. Built-in LED lighting
  • LEDs are not overbearing
  • Borderless design makes for unobstructed viewing
  • Extremely lightweight for its size
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to maintain
  • Top hood is quite heavy and difficult to move

If you want to view the brilliant colors of your fish in all their glory, this is the product you’re looking for. Its sleek design is a pleasure to look at and it requires little maintenance.

5. Best 20 Gallon Aquarium with Hidden LEDs - Elive Aqua Duo 20 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit Review

After testing and experimenting with so many 20 gallon aquariums with generic and uninspired designs, this product was a breath of fresh air. 

It has a space where you can grow a small plant along with the aquarium. This plant makes use of the fish waste in your tank water and as a result, purifies it. If you have children, this aquarium could be a great opportunity to teach them about how ecosystems work. 

The built-in filter is highly effective and gives you the option to switch between aquaponics mode and a normal power filter mode. The water discharge also has two modes namely, waterfall and surface water discharge.

Features of Elive Aqua Duo 20 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit

  1. Dimensions: 25.5 inches by 14.2 inches by 17.5 inches
  2. Weight: 36 pounds
  3. Built-in filter with two modes
  4. Concealed LED lighting
  5. Two water discharge modes
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to assemble
  • Equipment is highly customizable
  • Filter is easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Not widely available

If you’re in search of a unique-looking aquarium with a ton of features and customizability, this is the product you’re looking for. It looks absolutely beautiful in any room and is sure to be a great conversation-starter any time you have guests over.

best 20 gallon aquarium

Buyers’ Guide 

What are some things to consider when buying a 20 gallon aquarium? 

A 20 gallon aquarium is relatively large when it comes to household aquariums so there are a number of factors which you need to take into account before you go out and buy one. Thinking about these factors and deciding them beforehand can help you prevent a lot of problems down the road. Some of these factors are: 

  • The Location of the Tank 

While this may seem quite obvious, we can’t stress this point enough: Always decide where you’re going to place your aquarium in your home before you go out to buy it. A 20 gallon aquarium takes up a fair amount of space so you should make sure you have a spot in your home that can accommodate it. 

  • The Price of the Tank 

20 gallon aquariums can get pricey due to the fact that they’re bigger and use more material than smaller aquariums. It’s essential that you do your research and buy an aquarium that fulfills all your needs effectively but it’s also equally important that you do this without burning a hole in your pocket. 

There are plenty of reasonably-priced high-quality 20 gallon aquariums out there, most of which we’ve listed in this article. Be sure to get that right balance of price and quality before you go out and buy one. 

  • Additional Equipment 

Most 20 gallon aquariums are sold in the form of kits so it’s worthwhile to observe and decide whether the additional equipment you’re getting with the aquarium is worth the price or not.

Often times, companies will attract new-comers by stating that their aquarium kit comes with “everything you need” but often times, this is either untrue or the equipment is of sub-par quality that stops working after a while. 

Be sure to look at online reviews of the aquarium kit you intend on buying and read up on whether the aquarium equipment holds up to equipment sold separately or not. 

How do i care for and clean a 20 gallon aquarium?

The best way to care for a 20 gallon aquarium is to perform weekly, regular, small cleanings and water changes so that when you do have to perform a deep clean, it isn’t too messy or complex. 

A 20 gallon aquarium doesn’t get dirty too easily but that shouldn’t discourage you from performing 10-15% weekly water changes along with a casual pat-down of the aquarium walls which prevents algae buildup.

As for a deep cleaning, you will need another vessel for this that will temporarily hold your fish while you clean your 20 gallon aquarium. 

  • Start by carefully moving your fish to this temporary vessel. 
  • Next, remove most of the water from your 20 gallon aquarium. 
  • Wipe down the walls to address algae build-up. Use a gravel vacuum to suck up dirt, debris and waste that is lodged between your aquarium’s substrate. 
  • Swivel the remaining water around in your aquarium and empty it to rinse out dirt and debris. 
  • Check your aquarium equipment such as your filter and perform any cleaning that it requires. 
  • Mount all your aquarium equipment back onto your fish tank. 
  • Add dechlorinated and water-conditioned water into your aquarium. 
  • Place your fish back into your 20 gallon aquarium. 

How do i set up and use a 20 gallon aquarium? 

Setting up a 20 gallon aquarium may seem like a daunting task but it’s actually just like setting up any other aquarium. Some easy steps you can follow to set up your 20 gallon aquarium are: 

  • Place your aquarium on the aquarium stand and make sure that the stand is level and stable. 
  • Rinse and clean your gravel and add it to your aquarium. 
  • Mount all of the aquarium equipment you need to your fish tank. This includes chillers, heaters, hang-on thermometers, filters, lighting, etc. 
  • Treat your water with a dechlorinating agent and a water conditioning agent before adding the water to your 20 gallon aquarium. 
  • Make sure all the equipment is properly plugged in, turn it on and let it run for some time. You are doing this to let the nitrogen cycle complete. You can identify when it’s complete by testing the water for ammonia. When the ammonia in your tank water is 0, this indicates that the nitrogen cycle is complete.
  • Once, the 20 gallon aquarium has cycled, add your fish. 

What type of fish can I keep in my 20 gallon aquarium? 

Some fish you can keep in a 20 gallon aquarium are: 

  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Mollies
  • Zebra Danios
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Cory Catfish
  • Neon Tetras
  • Fancy Guppies

And many more.

What are some different ways to utilize a 20 gallon aquarium?

20 gallon aquariums are most commonly used as freshwater tropical tanks but that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to this. 20 gallon aquariums are very versatile and can be used as saltwater aquariums, brackish tanks, coldwater tanks and even a paludarium which is a combination of water and land inside the tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some suitable dimensions for a 20 gallon aquarium? 

Most 20 gallon aquariums are traditional rectangular-shaped vessels. Most companies tend not to deviate from this design as aquariums as big as this could get quite unstable if they have a novel shape. 

20 gallon aquariums normally have dimensions around 25 inches by 14 inches by 20 inches. 

Where in my home should I put my 20 gallon aquarium? 

You have to think carefully about where to put your 20 gallon aquarium as this can have a lot of unforeseen consequences. 

Make sure the location is away from direct sunlight and it’s a place where the temperature does not fluctuate too much. Sunlight is a factor which you can’t control. You don’t know much sunlight you’re aquarium is going to get so it’s best that you place it away from direct sunlight and use artificial LED lighting to light your aquarium. Direct sunlight has also been proven to be a cause of algae breakouts in aquariums. 

You must also be okay with the space you’re going to place it in being drenched or getting wet every once in a while because that’s definitely going to happen during water changes and cleaning sessions and such. Make sure the space is near a power socket as well as you’re probably going to need it to power aquarium equipment such as filters, heaters, etc. 

What are some of the most trusted brands when it comes to 20 gallon aquariums? 

Some brands that we’ve rarely ever had issues with while testing and experimenting with them are: 

  • Aqueon
  • Tetra
  • Marineland
  • Marina
  • GloFish 
  • Carolina Biological Supply Company

Is a 20 gallon aquarium suitable for beginners? 

If you’re a beginner, you may think that a 20 gallon aquarium might be too big for you to handle but actually, the complete opposite is true. If you ask any veteran, they will recommend you to start with as big an aquarium as possible. A 20 gallon aquarium usually hits that sweet spot where it’s big enough to be suitable for beginners and also reasonably sized enough that most people can accommodate it in their homes. 

The reason why bigger aquariums are actually more suited towards beginners is because they are a lot easier to maintain and require a lot less cleaning. 

Just think about, in a small aquarium, even the smallest change in variables can cause dramatic changes in water parameters such as pH, temperature, etc. The larger body of water in a 20 gallon aquarium is much more forgiving when it comes to this. You can mess up the dosage of your chemicals by a little bit and you won’t reap any bad consequences because of it because the large body of water will be able to accommodate this. 

Similarly, a small aquarium gets dirty very quickly. This obviously makes sense because fish waste tends to concentrate the small body of water much more quickly. Hence, you may say that a small aquarium is easier to clean but you have to clean it a lot more often. 

Hence, we highly recommend you get a 20 gallon aquarium if you’re a beginner. In fact, if you have the cash and the space, we recommend you go for something even bigger. 

How do I perform fishless cycling in my 20 gallon aquarium?

The name of the process itself pretty much explains how you perform it:

Once you’ve set up your aquarium, i.e., filled it with treated water and mounted all of your aquarium equipment such as your heater, filter, lighting, etc., plug in all of this equipment and turn it on. 

Let this equipment run in your fishless aquarium for some time. This can take anywhere from between 4-8 weeks. You can identify when your aquarium has cycled by testing your water for ammonia. When the ammonia amounts to 0, cycling is complete.

Final Verdict

20 gallon aquariums look great in any home but they can be very tricky to buy because of their scale and many variables that affect their performance. 

After a lot of deliberation, we have to go with the Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit. We love how simple and elegant its design is and it works wonderfully as a comfortable home for your aquatic pets.

This brings us to the conclusion of our post for the best 20 gallon aquariums. 

Give us feedback and let us know what 20 gallon aquarium you’re using in your home.

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