Best Freshwater Fish Tanks – Top 10 Reviews, Guide, FAQs & More

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You’ll agree with us when we say that a tank is more than just a rectangular vessel; There’s a lot more that goes into buying a freshwater fish tank and it can be very daunting.

This is why we tested every freshwater fish tank we could find to bring you this extensive list. 

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at the best freshwater fish tanks available in the market and what makes them stand out from the crowd.

Top Pick

If you’re looking for a cleverly designed aquarium that will look lovely on your desk or countertop, this is it. It features a filter with a frame-less look.

Runner Up

This fish tank has an intuitive design which makes it great for novice fish-keepers. You’ll find it’s easy to set up and also easy to maintain.

Also Great

If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing and colorful environment for your fish, this is the one for you. It’s sturdy and light.

After months of experimenting with different tanks, we’ve concluded that these three are the best ones in every aspect. 

Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 10 freshwater fish tanks.

Best Freshwater Fish Tanks - Best 10 Reviews

1. All-Around Best Freshwater Fish Tank - Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit Review

The Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit proved to be great for novices as well as more advanced fish-keepers. 

Its small size means you can keep it on a desktop or a counter and let it be the main attraction of your room. It features a frameless, curved glass design that makes for great, unobstructed viewing.

The lid is plastic and is easy to remove so you can easily feed your fish as well as clean the fish tank.

Features of Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit – Best Freshwater Fish Tanks

  1. 2.7 gallons in size
  2. Comes with a hang-on filter, a thermometer and a fish net
  3. 10 inches high, 8 inches wide and 9 inches long
  4. ⅛ inch thick, sturdy glass
  5. Frameless design
  • Sturdy
  • Lightweight
  • Filter is quiet
  • Lid is conveniently designed for easy feeding
  • Filter has adjustable flow rate
  • Fish net and thermometer are low-quality 

If you’re looking for a complete package with a great value for money, this is the one for you. It’s lightweight, easy-to-handle and provides you with a great view of your fish.

2. Best Tropical Freshwater Fish Tank - Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit Review

The LED lighting in this freshwater fish tank is cleverly built into the hood of the aquarium. We were pleased to observe that the LED lights have a cool white presentation that’s bright enough to stimulate our fish but not too bright so as to disturb them. 

The built-in filter is effective and it even has a red light which flashes whenever the filter needs cleaning. 

The built-in heater it comes with maintains the water temperature at 78 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for any tropical freshwater fish you decide to keep.

Features of Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit

  1. 20 gallons in size
  2. Built-in LED lighting
  3. Comes with heater
  4. Built-in filter
  5. Water conditioning agents included
  • Filter has an indicator for when it needs cleaning
  • Feeding hole for easy feeding
  • Easy to set up 
  • Easy to clean
  • LED lights are bright and effective
  • Filter is slightly noisy
  • Heater not adjustable

If you have fish that like to reside in a heated environment and demand a consistent water temperature, this is the product for you. It comes with several little accessories that will help you start your fish-keeping journey.

3. Best Freshwater Fish Tank with Colored LEDs - GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank Review

The GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank has a very unique presentation up its sleeve. 

It comes with built-in LED lights that are blue in color. You will find this to be a very unique feature when it comes to fish tanks as the blue lights will give your fish a bright and shimmering glow. 

It comes with a variety of other accessories which you may find useful. The built-in filter is quiet and effective and it even comes with a sample of fish food and a water-conditioning agent.

Features of GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank

  1. Comes in different sizes ranging from 3 gallons to 20 gallons
  2. Unique Blue LED lighting
  3. Built-in Whisper Filter
  4. Comes with Fish food and Water Conditioner sample
  5. Built-in heater
  • Sturdy
  • Filter is quiet
  • Easy to install
  • LED lights are bright and unique
  • Lightweight
  • Built-in heater is too weak for the aquarium

If you’re looking to present your freshwater fish with a unique aesthetic, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s lightweight for its size and extremely easy to set up.

4. Best Freshwater Fish Tank with Artificial Plants - Tetra Complete Aquarium Kit Review

Just like it says in its name, the Tetra Complete Aquarium Kit definitely is the complete package. In fact, you could argue it’s actually more than complete because it takes it a step further by throwing artificial plants into the mix. 

That’s right. This kit comes with four artificial plants that you can decorate the fish tank with. These will provide your fish with a space to explore and you’ll find that they have a de-stressing effect on your fish. 

Features of Tetra Complete Aquarium Kit

  1. 20 gallons in size
  2. Comes with a mini UL Heater and a Whisper Filter
  3. Comes with four artificial plants and a Boxwood plant mat
  4. Built-in LEDs embedded into the hood
  5. Scratch-resistant glass
  • Very durable
  • LED lighting is customizable
  • Filter is quiet and effective
  • Heater is effective
  • Comes with food that your fish can feed on for a few days
  • Quite bulky and difficult to move
  • Heater temperature is not adjustable

If you’re looking to provide your fish with an environment that’s familiar to them, we highly recommend this product. It has scratch-resistant glass and high quality features.

5. Best Freshwater Fish Tank with Mini-Garden - AquaSprouts Garden Review

The AquaSprouts Garden is not only a great set piece to have in your home, it is also something that can be used as a learning tool. 

As you can probably tell, the plants growing at the top help oxygenate the fish tank while the water and the fish waste inside is something that the plants can utilise in order to grow. This is how the natural cycle works too and if you have children at home, this product can work as a visual tool to help them learn about how nature works.

You can grow all kinds of plants and herbs in the garden section and the freshwater fish tank works great for housing all sorts of fish.

Features of AquaSprouts Garden

  1. 10 gallons in size
  2. Self-sustaining
  3. Comes with an air pump and timer
  4. Comes with a light bar
  5. Weight: 24 pounds
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Quite lightweight for its size
  • Fully-automated using built-in timer
  • Water flow is extremely quiet
  • Compact, minimalist design
  • A bit complicated to set up

If you want a self-sustaining freshwater fish tank, this is what you’re looking for. It’s a clever product that works very well as a teaching tool as well as an aesthetic set piece in your home.

6. Best Freshwater Fish Tank with Effective Air Pump - Tetra ColorFusion LED Half Moon Aquarium Kit Review

The Tetra ColorFusion LED Half Moon Aquarium Kit is a small freshwater fish tank that packs a big punch in terms of look and aesthetics. 

It features an air pump that blows a high frequency of small bubbles into the fish tank that are constantly changing their color because of the multi-colored LEDs built into the aquarium. 

Expect this to be a great addition to your desktop as it looks absolutely stunning especially in the dark. The built-in air pump works very effectively and keeps the fish tank well-aerated for your small fish.

Features of Tetra ColorFusion LED Half Moon Aquarium Kit

  1. 3 gallons in size
  2. Built-in Multi-colored LEDs
  3. Built-in air pump
  4. Comes with feeding tube
  5. Great focus on biological filtration
  • Lightweight
  • Small and easy to handle
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to clean
  • Great for housing bottom-feeding fish
  • Feeding tube doesn’t work well with floating food; Not suitable for top-feeders

If you’re looking for a brightly-colored fish tank to illuminate your desk or countertop, this is the product for you. It’s easy to move and is perfect for smaller freshwater fish.

7. Best Acrylic Freshwater Fish Tank - BiOrb by Oase Classic Aquarium Review

BiOrb by Oase Classic Aquarium is the first entry on this list that is an acrylic freshwater fish tank. 

If you’ve worked with glass fish tanks before, you’ll find this to be extremely light as acrylic aquariums are known for being much lighter than their glass counterparts. 

The acrylic material is also clearer so you can observe your fish in all their glory. Not only this, it is crack-resistant and durable so you don’t have to worry about having to replace it anytime soon.

The product also advertises five-stage filtration that will help keep your tank water sanitary and crystal-clear.

Features of BiOrb by Oase Classic Aquarium

  1. 8 gallons in size
  2. Five-stage water filtration: Mechanical, chemical, biological, water stabilization and oxygenation
  3. Comes with LED lighting
  4. Low-voltage, safe transformer
  5. Easy-to-change filter cartridge
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to clean
  • Crack-resistant
  • Affordable
  • Central air tube looks ugly 

If you’re tired of handling heavy glass fish tanks, this product is ideal for you. Its acrylic exterior makes it extremely lightweight and the internal air tube keeps it well-aerated.

8. Best Betta Freshwater Fish Tank - Aqueon Betta Falls Kit Review

The Aqueon Betta Falls Kit is a freshwater fish tank that managed to impress one of our most senior staff members with its ingenious design. 

If you know anything about Betta fish, you will know that they have to be kept separate. You can’t have more than one Betta in the same tank as they are extremely aggressive and will fight a lot if you do that. 

To solve this problem, Aqueon made this tank that has three separate compartments that allow you to store up to three Betta fish. The walls in between the compartments even have frosted panels so the fish don’t see each other and get agitated.

Features of Aqueon Betta Falls Kit

  1. Waterfall feature 
  2. Three separate compartments for Bettas or other small fish
  3. Frosted panels
  4. Built-in filter
  5. Weight: 1.98 pounds
  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to maintain
  • Filter is quiet
  • Waterfall may disturb smaller Betta fish

If you want to house more than one Betta fish or want to house different species of fish that can’t live together, this product is perfect for you. Its unique design is a great conversation-starter and works very well with different species of fish.

9. Best Hydroponic Freshwater Fish Tank - Back to the Roots Water Garden Review

The Back to the Roots Water Garden is a mini aquaponic fish tank that aims to be a self-sustaining closed ecosystem. 

The fish tank utilises the water by sending it to the grow bed of the plants above. Here, the grow bed absorbs the fish waste out of the water so the plants can use them as fertilisers. The clean water is then sent back to your fish. It’s a great approach to keep the tank clean and you’ll find that you’ll have to put in very minimal effort to maintain it.

Features of Back to the Roots Water Garden

  1. 3-gallons in size
  2. Water-cleaning mechanism
  3. Comes with fish food and fertiliser
  4. Submersible water pump
  5. Self-sustaining
  • Lightweight
  • Compact, elegant design
  • Air pump is quiet and doesn’t disturb the fish
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Very easy to set up
  • Expensive

If you want a compact, elegant and uniquely-designed freshwater fish tank for your room or office, this is what you’re looking for. Its hydroponics approach reduces the need for maintenance and it is very lightweight.

10. Best 360-Degree View Freshwater Fish Tank - Koller Products AquaView Review

The Koller AquaView is a counter-top freshwater fish tank that is designed so that you can view your fish from any side. 

It features an effective built-in filter that works extremely quietly so as not to disturb or stress out your fish. It’s also extremely effective and focuses particularly on biological filtration.

The built-in LED lights are customisable so you can choose to tinker and adjust them in any way you deem fit. It even has a built-in timer for the lights so you don’t have to worry about turning them off and on every time. 

Features of Koller Products AquaView

  1. 3 gallons in size
  2. 360-degree view
  3. Impact-resistant material
  4. Built-in filter
  5. Built-in LEDs
  • Highly customizable lights
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a replacement guarantee
  • Requires batteries to run 
  • Can be run using a power adapter but that’s sold separately

If you’re looking for a lightweight and easy to handle freshwater fish tank, this is the one for you. Its great design lets you view your fish from a number of different angles.

best freshwater fish tanks

Buyers’ Guide

What are some things to look out for when buying a freshwater fish tank? 

You’re going to want to keep a few factors in mind when buying a freshwater fish tank in order to ensure that your fish-keeping experience is rewarding and enjoyable both for you as well as your fish. These factors are:

  • Fish Tank Size

The size of the fish tank you’re going to get is probably the most important factor in deciding which freshwater fish tank to get. We recommend that you get as big of a fish tank as you possibly can, keeping in mind your budget and the amount of space you have in your home. That way, you don’t have to worry too much about problems like overcrowding. 

  • Filtration Equipment

Filtration equipment is absolutely necessary no matter what the size of your fish tank is so it’s important that you note whether the fish tank you’re getting has one built into it or not.

There is a myth that small freshwater fish tanks don’t need a filter but that’s all it is: a myth. No matter how few fish you have, they are still living organisms that are going to produce waste. A filter isn’t a piece of equipment you can afford to skip. 

  • Fish Tank Lighting 

Most freshwater fish tanks come with their own set of built-in lights. These lights are usually LED and are controllable and programmable so you can give your fish the best experience you can. 

It’s important for you to note whether the fish tank you’re getting has LED lights or not and whether these lights are customizable and also, how effective and bright they are. 

You don’t only need LED lights just for aesthetic and presentation purposes. They also stimulate growth within your live aquarium plants as well as provide a natural environment for your fish which allows them to feel at home and relax.

  • Fish Tank Construction

A sturdier fish tank is long-lasting but it might be too bulky, heavy and difficult to handle. At the same time, we don’t recommend getting a lightweight freshwater fish tank that is too flimsy and made from cheap materials. 

At the end of the day, you have to find a balance between these things and get a freshwater fish tank that is reasonably sturdy but also not too difficult to move around.

What are some materials I will need to clean my freshwater fish tank? 

You’ll need to gather a few things in order to effectively clean your tank. We recommend getting all of these materials in one place before you start the ordeal of cleaning your freshwater fish tank. These things are: 

  • Paper towels
  • Dechlorinating agent
  • Dechlorinated water
  • Water conditioning agent
  • Small cup 
  • Secondary fish tank 
  • Large bucket
  • Fish net 
  • Algae pads
  • Tissues

What’s a good size for a tank for me to start out with if I’m a beginner? 

If you’re a novice fish-keeper, you might be thinking it’s a good idea to start out with a small fish tank rather than a larger one. We strongly recommend that you don’t do this. Maintaining a large freshwater fish tank is actually a lot less strenuous than a smaller one.

Maintaining a freshwater fish tank is all about keeping the water quality high and well-aerated. This is actually much easier to do in larger bodies of water. Your fish excrete waste into the water that eventually lowers its quality. If you have a large fish tank, these waste products will be a lot less concentrated in the water as compared to if you had a smaller fish tank. Thus, having a larger fish tank gives you the liberty to clean your fish tank a lot less often while still maintaining high water quality.

What are some things I need to do regularly to maintain my freshwater fish tank? 

You can significantly lower the amount of maintenance you have to do simply by carefully setting up your freshwater fish tank in the first place. 

We recommend getting an aquarium test kit that helps you monitor your tank water’s pH levels, hardness and chemical levels. It’s a good idea to record these levels every time you measure them in a journal or diary. This will allow you to keep track and find out what your fish tank’s normal readings are. So, in an event where you detect an abnormal reading, you’ll immediately be able to make changes in order to fix them.

What is “New Tank Syndrome” and how do I prevent it? 

New Tank Syndrome refers to your fish being unhappy and stressed when they are put into a new environment such as a new fish tank. This usually occurs because the fish tank hasn’t been properly cycled. 

In order to prevent this syndrome, we recommend you perform fishless cycling in your freshwater fish tank before adding any fish in. Fishless cycling involves plugging all your fish tank equipment in and turning it on such as the heater, filter and air pump and letting them run in your empty fish tank that only has water in it. Let it stay like this for a few weeks. This will allow nitrifying bacteria to grow inside the tank which helps in biological filtration.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get a small and cheap secondary tank in addition to my main one? 

It’s generally a good idea to get a cheaper tank that you can use in case of emergencies. 

You don’t absolutely need it but we highly recommend that you do invest in one as it can be a life-saver in certain situations. 

It can be very handy when you’re performing water changes and need another place to temporarily house your fish. 

It can also work very well as a quarantine tank. If you have a fish that falls ill, you don’t want to keep it in the same tank with the rest of your fish as that could cause it to spread whatever disease it has. You can use this secondary tank to house your sick fish and treat it with special conditions it needs to become healthy again. 

How many fish can I keep in my freshwater fish tank

A good rule of thumb when you have to estimate how many fish you can keep in your fish tank is to have a maximum of about 1 inch of fish for every 1 gallon of water in your aquarium. 

It is important that you research how big the fish you’re getting will eventually grow up to be and use that size as your estimate, not the size they are currently. This is important because your fish are going to grow and if you haven’t accounted for this properly, it could lead to overcrowding and you might end up having to get a new fish tank.

How long should I wait for my freshwater fish tank to cycle? 

Cycling refers to growing nitrifying bacteria inside your tank which encourage biological filtration. 

If your freshwater fish tank is brand new and hasn’t had any life inside it before, it’s usually a good idea to let it cycle for 2-8 weeks. You can identify when it’s ready by monitoring the contents of your tank water. The end of the nitrogen cycle is characterised by a spike in nitrates inside your tank. That’s a good sign that your tank is ready for fish. 

Why is my tank water cloudy? 

There could be several reasons as to why your tank water has gotten cloudy or murky. You can identify what the reason is by observing your tank and seeing what kind of tint the murkiness has. 

If it has a greenish tint to it, then the cloudiness is most likely due to an algae breakout. Algae is particularly annoying as it prevents your aquarium plants from performing photosynthesis which causes the oxygen levels to go down. This stresses out your fish as they have difficulties breathing. We recommend putting your fish tank in darkness for a few days to fix this problem. 

If the murkiness is just cloudy white, this could be due to a bacteria bloom in your fish tank. This normally occurs when you cycle your fish tank for the first time. The nitrifying bacteria bloom is visible to the human eye in the form of this cloudy white haziness in your tank water. You don’t need to do anything to fix this, it’ll go away on its own within 2 – 3 days. 

How do I do a water change?

Performing a water change may seem intimidating for new-comers but it’s actually not that complicated if you do it carefully step-by-step. Here’s how you can easily do a water change:

  • Unplug all the equipment you have hooked up to your aquarium. This includes heaters, filters, and air pumps
  • Wipe off the sides of your aquarium with an algae pad to remove any algae. It’s important that you do this even if you don’t visibly see any algae on the walls of your aquarium. 
  • Use a siphon to suck about one-third of the water out of your freshwater fish tank.
  • Place the large end of your siphon inside your substrate about 1 inch deep and use it to suck any debris, dirt or leftover food that’s stuck underneath the gravel. 
  • Add dechlorinated and conditioned water into your tank. It’s important that this water is slightly warmer than the water already in your aquarium. Be sure to do this gently so you don’t shock your fish. 
  • Check pH levels of your tank water and tweak accordingly. 

Final Verdict

A fish tank is arguably the first thing you get when starting your fish-keeping journey. It’s going to be your fish’s home so it’s essential that you get one that is able to provide them with everything they need to live a healthy life.

After subjecting our fish to a number of different homes and environments, we have to go with the Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit. Its attractive and compact design makes it perfect for desktops and it comes with everything you need. 

This brings us to the conclusion of our post for the best freshwater fish tanks. 

Give us feedback and let us know what tank you’re using for your freshwater fish. 

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