Saltwater aquariums can be a very rewarding endeavour but it’s hard not to agree with us when we say that selecting and buying one can be quite a challenge.
That’s why we’ve gone out and tested all of the popular saltwater aquariums available today to bring you this extensive list.
Today, we’ll discuss how you can successfully set up a saltwater aquarium and the qualities you should look for when shopping for one.
After testing these out in several different conditions, we’ve concluded that these three are the best of the best.
Now, let’s get into the reviews for the 8 best saltwater aquariums.
Best Saltwater Aquarium - Best 5 Reviews
1. All-Around Best Saltwater Aquarium - MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit Review
The MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit was a treat for us to set up and tinker with. Its intuitive design made it very simple to assemble so we had it up and running in no time.
You will find its built-in LEDs to be a great feature as there are white LEDs which create a shimmering sunlight effect in the water and also blue LEDs which are used to mimic moonlight and provide an ambient shine.
The vertical design is also quite convenient as unlike most traditionally-shaped aquariums, this aquarium allows you to store it in much smaller spaces.
Features of MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit – Best Saltwater Aquarium
- Dimensions: 11.8 inches by 11.6 inches by 17 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds
- 5 gallons in size
- Built-in filter
- Built-in LEDs
- Easy to set up
- Easy to clean
- Separate compartment hides filter and cords
- The back area is plastic and can scratch easily
If you’re looking for a sleek and modern-looking aquarium that can handle saltwater well, this is the product for you. Its built-in LEDs provide a relaxing glow while beautifully illuminating your fish and corals.
2. Best Beginner Saltwater Aquarium - Marina LED Aquarium Kit Review
Newcomers often shy away from saltwater aquariums and tend to stick to freshwater aquariums but we’re here to say that you shouldn’t let being new stop you from experiencing the wondrous joy of having a saltwater aquarium.
Setting up a saltwater aquarium has become super easy because of products like the Marina LED Aquarium Kit. Marina designed this keeping in mind that assembly should be as simple and self-explanatory as possible.
It’s catered towards newcomers so you don’t have to worry too much about assembling the tank and you can focus all your energy towards other intricacies that go into setting up a saltwater tank.
Features of Marina LED Aquarium Kit
- Comes in three different sizes: 5 gallons, 10 gallons and 20 gallons
- Filter included with quick-change cartridges
- LEDs integrated into canopy
- Comes with a fish net and thermometer
- Comes with a fish food, biological supplement and a water conditioner
- Easy to assemble
- Sleek, modern design
- LEDs are bright and effective
- Filter works silently
- Quite bulky
If you’re a newcomer or are just looking for a tank that gets set up without too much of a hassle, this product is for you. It has a contemporary design and it comes with a filter that is super effective and also easy to clean.
3. Best Stylish Saltwater Aquarium - Tetra 29234 Half Moon Aquarium Kit Review
This is an aquarium that we are now using permanently in our office. Its unique half-moon shape made it a wonderful addition to our workspace and it’s something we are all very fond of now.
We were particularly impressed by how lightweight it is and how clear its walls are. Acrylic is known to be a lot clearer than glass but this is just ridiculous. We were able to see all the little details in our fish and corals and the LED lighting that’s built into the aquarium really made their colors pop.
The clear plastic lid is also great as it can easily be removed for cleaning and feeding purposes.
Features of Tetra 29234 Half Moon Aquarium Kit
- Dimensions: 18.5 inches by 12.6 inches by 20.8 inches
- Weight: 20.9 pounds
- 10 gallons in size
- Clear plastic lid
- Comes with a 50 watt heater and a filter
- Scratch-resistant walls
- 180-degree view of your fish
- Great aesthetics because of its unique shape
- Effective LED lighting
- Filter isn’t very effective
If you want a visually pleasing aquarium that also works effectively to maintain a clean environment, this product is ideal for you. It’s made to display your fish in all their glory and really enhance their beautiful colors for the viewer.
4. Best Saltwater Aquarium with Stand - SCA Starfire Glass Aquariums Complete Package Review
If you have an ample budget and enough space in your home, you can opt for the SCA Starfire Glass Aquarium Package. It’s made from premium materials and is sure to last you a lifetime.
It comes with all kinds of tubing, bulkheads, filter and bio media and pipes so you have no trouble setting up and connecting your equipment to the aquarium.
Speaking of equipment, the aquarium stand that comes with it has more than enough space inside it to store any kind of equipment and gear you get for your tank.
Features of SCA Starfire Glass Aquariums Complete Package
- 50 gallons in size
- Rimless aquarium
- Weight: 250 pounds
- Comes with heavy-duty cabinet
- All sorts of tubing and filter media included
- Extremely sturdy
- Highly customizable
- Aquarium stand is durable and can hold the aquarium’s weight easily
- Ample space for fish and corals
- Excellent silicone work
- May be difficult to set up for beginners
If you’re looking for an aquarium that will fulfill all your needs and can be upgraded and customized in the future, this product is the one for you. It’s every fish-keeper’s dream and the materials it’s made out of are so good, the aquarium will probably outlive you.
5. Best Cubic Saltwater Aquarium - Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED Review
One important thing about saltwater aquariums is that they are home to extremely vibrant fish and corals with brilliant, bright colors. It only makes sense to have lights for them which will be able to illuminate them in a way that does justice to their beautiful appearance.
This aspect is where the Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium shines (pun intended). It has LED lighting built into the hood and these LEDs are a mixture of bright white, blue and color-enhancing LEDs. The lights even come with 30/60 minutes sunrise and moonrise cycles which mimic sunrise and sunset extremely well.
Features of Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED
- Comes in two sizes: 16 gallons and 32 gallons
- Modern, low-profile hood
- LED lighting built into the hood with several modes
- Customizable built-in filtration system
- Submersible pump
- Convenient feeding hole
- Lights are effective and provide a great shimmer
- Compact design
- Adjustable filter flow
If you’re looking for an aquarium that will really bring out the colors of your fish and corals, this is definitely the product for you. It’s extremely well-made, easy to maintain and features a number of lighting modes which beautifully illuminate the tank.
6. Best Desktop Saltwater Aquarium - Fluval Edge Aquarium Review
Saltwater aquariums often come available as large fish tanks for which you have to make a special space in your home and buy a separate aquarium stand for. They require a lot of time and resources to set up.
The Fluval Edge Aquarium is unlike any of those aquariums as it’s only 6 gallons in size and it provides you with the opportunity to safely place it on a table, desk or countertop.
It has a top lid that securely locks in place which prevents your fish jumping out and also helps protect them from other pets you may have in your home such as cats.
Features of Fluval Edge Aquarium
- 6 gallons in size
- Dimensions: 10.2 inches by 14.5 inches by 16.9 inches
- Weight: 23.3 pounds
- Hidden built-in filtration system
- Powerful integrated LEDs
- Visually pleasing
- Filter is quiet and easy to clean
- Filter and cords are hidden in separate compartment
- Lid protects fish from other nosy pets
- Highly durable
- Aquarium itself is slightly difficult to clean
If you’re looking for a beautifully built aquarium that looks more like an art installation than a fish tank, this product is perfect for you. It’s not all style and no substance as it comes with a very effective filter and bright LEDs.
7. Best Saltwater Aquarium with Hidden Filter - Fluval 10531A1 SEA EVO XII Aquarium Kit Review
This product by Fluval is specifically designed for fish-keepers wanting to set up saltwater aquariums.
Keeping this in mind, you will notice how it comes with LEDs which are extremely bright so they can properly illuminate your corals.
It also comes with an air pump that’s adjustable. This is great since it keeps the tank water’s oxygen levels high at all times and you can easily modify it to make sure it’s not creating currents that are too strong for your fish.
Features of Fluval 10531A1 SEA EVO XII Aquarium Kit
- 13.5 gallons in size
- 3-stage filtration system
- Dimensions: 23.4 inches by 13.5 inches by 15.6 inches
- Weight: 28.8 pounds
- Super bright built-in LEDs
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to clean
- Hole in hood makes for easy feeding
- Low energy consumption
- Air pump keeps tank well-aerated
- May be out of budget for some people
If you’re looking for an aquarium that comes with everything you need right out of the box to set up a saltwater aquarium, this product is for you. You’ll be stunned by how beautiful your fish and corals look underneath its lights and the filter does a great job of keeping it clean.
8. Best Acrylic Saltwater Aquarium - Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit Review
Tetra is a brand that has been manufacturing aquariums for decades now. We’ve been big fans of the stuff they’ve put out and with this aquarium, they’ve completely won us over.
It features a hidden filtration system that effectively weeds out any debris, waste or leftover food within the aquarium. You’ll also find that the bio media inside the filter encourages biological filtration to neutralize toxins which are especially active in saltwater aquariums.
It’s also made from acrylic which means it’s extremely lightweight and easy to handle.
Features of Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit
- 5 gallons in size
- Dimensions: 16.6 inches by 11.2 inches by 13.2 inches
- Weight: 5.4 pounds
- Made of Acrylic
- Comes with a filter and built-in LEDs
- Extremely lightweight for its size
- Extremely cheap despite being an acrylic aquarium
- Impact-resistant walls
- Very quiet filter
- Special focus on mechanical and biological filtration
- May be prone to leaking according to some reviews
If you’re looking for an aquarium that requires little maintenance, you’ve just found it. It features bright lights that enhance colors inside the aquarium as well as providing a relaxing ambience to any space it’s placed in.
What should I look for when buying a saltwater aquarium?
Setting up and successfully running a saltwater aquarium involves a lot of factors that don’t necessarily go into running a freshwater aquarium. You have to think differently when tackling a saltwater aquarium and some of the things you should keep in mind are:
We’ve talked before about how having as big of an aquarium as you can is usually preferable since they don’t need to be cleaned very often and the water parameters in them are easier to control.
This is infinitely more applicable in the case of saltwater aquariums. Since saltwater aquariums contain salty water, this can have a lot of effects on the water’s properties such as pH, etc.
Thus, you definitely do want to have as big of an aquariums as you can afford and have the space for in your home.
Corals, live rocks and marine fish have astoundingly beautiful colors and it’s almost essential that you have good lighting which will be able to illuminate them properly.
Most saltwater aquariums come equipped with built-in LED lighting that is able to show off their colors quite well. These lights are also cheaper as they utilize electricity quite well and they also last a long time.
Make sure the tank you’re getting has lights that are bright and effective but not overbearing.
If you’re unsatisfied with your saltwater aquarium’s lighting, you can opt for reef or coral lighting which is sold separately.
The Saltwater Mixture and a Hydrometer
Since you’re setting up a saltwater aquarium, it only makes sense that you invest in a tool that’s able to accurately measure the salinity of the water. Ensure the aquarium you’re getting comes with this tool and if it doesn’t, please do purchase one as it makes running a saltwater aquarium a whole lot easier.
How do I set up my saltwater aquarium?
There are some simple steps you can follow in order to successfully set up your saltwater aquarium. These steps are:
- First thing you have to do is plan out your tank. This may seem unimportant but it can save you from a lot of hurdles and problems down the line. Think about where you’re going to place your tank, what type of creatures you’re going to keep inside it and what their needs are. Your aquarium should be designed around what fish and corals you want to keep inside it.
- Clean your tank. Even if your tank is brand new, you still want to brush it clean. Don’t use household cleaning products as they could be toxic to your fish. Just use a wet cloth to wipe down any dust or particles inside it.
- Place your aquarium on the surface and ensure it’s able to support the tank’s weight. Also check to see whether the aquarium is level.
- Rinse and clean your gravel before adding it to your saltwater aquarium. You can wash your gravel by adding it to a bucket and rinsing with water. Repeat this process until the water comes out clean.
- After adding your gravel, mount all of the equipment necessary to your saltwater aquarium. This includes filters, heaters, air pumps, etc.
- Add water. You’ll have to add water that’s been through reverse osmosis. This can be found from your local pet store or alternatively, you can use a dechlorinating agent and a water-conditioning agent before adding it to your tank. Since this is a saltwater aquarium, you’ll also have to add salt. Aquarium salt mixes are readily available online and in pet stores.
- Check to see that all your equipment is plugged in, start it and let it run for some time in order to complete the nitrogen cycle. You can identify when this is done by checking the water for ammonia. When the ammonia levels read 0, the cycle is complete.
- Add your fish.
How does a maintaining a saltwater aquarium differ from a regular one?
Maintaining a saltwater aquarium can be more difficult than a freshwater one since the water’s salinity is an added factor which you have to keep an eye on.
You also have to be mindful during water changes and cleaning to not mess up the water salinity levels and adjust them accordingly.
How do I measure the salinity of the tank water?
The most convenient and economical way of measuring the salinity is to invest in a hydrometer. There are two types of hydrometers: glass hydrometers and plastic boxes.
What is the recommended salinity of a saltwater aquarium?
Generally, you should aim for getting the same salinity as would be in seawater which is around 35 grams per liter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best location for a saltwater aquarium?
If you’re thinking actively about where to put your saltwater aquarium, you’re already putting in more effort than most fish-keepers as many people put in minimal thought when it comes to the placement and location of their saltwater fish tank.
There are a number of factors that could affect your saltwater aquariums so it’s important you take them all into account and use them to make an informed decision about where to place your aquarium.
First thing to think about is the weight as aquariums can get extremely heavy with water, equipment and fish inside them. Make sure the floor that the aquarium stand and aquarium are resting on is sturdy and reinforced so it’s able to handle the weight of your saltwater aquarium. It’s a good idea to place it in a corner where the sub-floor will be supported.
You must also be okay with the place where you’re going to keep it to be drenched as you’re bound to spill and splash water when caring for your saltwater aquarium.
Make sure to keep your aquarium away from open windows and doors. Direct sunlight is a big no-no as it can cause algae breakouts as well as erratic rise and falls in the water temperature.
It’s also a good idea to have your aquarium close to a sink or any other source of water. You don’t want to be carrying heavy buckets around your house every time you have to perform a water change.
Does aquarium salt expire?
Aquarium salt does not expire and you can keep it for quite a substantial amount of time if you just keep it in a cool, dry place stored in a tightly closed container. If you open up your container to find clumps of salt inside it, this is a telltale sign that moisture has gotten into the container and you’ve stored your aquarium salt for a bit too long.
Mixed saltwater is a whole different story. We recommend that you utilize saltwater as soon as you prepare it but if you do need to store it, we recommend doing this in a cool place to prevent evaporation and precipitation.
How do I prepare saltwater for my saltwater aquarium?
There’s really not much that goes into it.
First, we recommend that you get Reverse Osmosis (RO) water for your saltwater aquarium as simple tap water has many toxins in it which can harm your fish and other aquatic life. RO water can be found online or at your local pet store.
We recommend investing in a TDS (Totally Dissolved Solids) meter in order to test the quality of your water.
Once you’re done testing, add aquarium salt to it while maintaining a level of 35 parts per thousand, i.e., 35 grams of salt for every 1 liter of water.
It’s important that you not only get aquarium salt for your first filling of your saltwater aquarium but also keep it at hand for regular water changes in the future.
What kinds of fish can I keep in my saltwater aquarium?
There are a number of fish that look absolutely beautiful in household saltwater aquariums such as:
- Watchman Gobies
- Coral Beauties
- Chalk Bass
And many more.
How do I cycle my saltwater aquarium?
You cycle your saltwater aquarium in the same way as you would any other aquarium, i.e., add gravel and saltwater to it, mount your equipment and let the equipment run till the nitrogen cycle is complete. This is characterized by zero ammonia and nitrite inside your tank water.
Saltwater aquariums can be a very vibrant and colorful addition to your home but it’s important you get an aquarium that’s able to handle the needs of saltwater creatures well.
After months of testing, we definitely have to give the title of the best saltwater aquarium to the MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. It’s very elegant, easy to set up and fulfills all the needs of a saltwater aquarium setup.
And with that, we’ve reached the end of our post for the best saltwater aquariums.
Let us know in the comments what saltwater aquarium you have in your home.