The Best Starter Fish Tank of 2021 – Get One & Make A Phenomenal Start!

Best Starter Fish tank

Imagine the feeling of having your very own, live underwater world in your home. A fish tank is a great way to bring some life into any living space and spend quality time with friends or family! 

Do you want to get started with an aquarium but are unsure of where to start? I am here to help! First, you can read my article: How To Start A Fish Tank In 6 Quick Steps For Beginners.

Now you are at the edge of choosing your first aquarium kit. These days, there is a large variety of fish tanks for beginners. Some are fairly small that they can sit on your desk, and some will take up most of the space in your living room. 

There are many factors to consider when picking an aquarium for the first time. However, you mustn’t rush this process and take the time to learn about the different types of tanks, tank sizes, fish species, feeding schedules, etc., before making a final decision on which one will be best for you.

This blog post will give you reviews and some helpful tips on choosing the best starter fish tank. In addition, you’ll get the following:

  • The right tank size for beginners
  • Things to consider picking your first aquarium tank

What Is The Best Fish Tank Size For Beginners?

In the beginning stages of starting your aquarium hobby, one of the first things to consider is tank size. Aquariums are available in sizes ranging from 1-gallon all the way up to 100-gallon, or even more.

Recommended starter fish tank for beginners

This choice will greatly affect how much time and money you spend on your hobby, as well as how easy or hard it will be for a beginner to care for their new pets. So pick it carefully.

I will straightforward recommend having a 20-gallon tank to start with. But if you don’t have enough budget to have a larger tank, no problem at all – start with a smaller one.

Still, the minimum recommended amount for beginners is 5 gallons, and once you have more confidence with fishkeeping or are looking at an advanced setup, then look into 20-gallon tanks or bigger ones.

You might assume that a small tank would be easier for beginners than larger tanks, but this isn’t always true! I am telling you why! 

Why Should You Start With A Relatively Larger Tank?

A smaller tank requires more frequent maintenance like regular water changes and cleaning. On the other hand, a larger tank is more stable in terms of water chemistry. 

A fish aquarium is a small ecosystem, and crucial processes like the nitrogen cycle keep it stable. A small volume of water gets polluted quickly.

A large aquarium with a high water volume is less susceptible to change than a small tank, so it’s actually easier to keep your fish happy in the long run!

Things To Consider Picking Your Fish Tank

Owning a fish tank can be really fun, but some things should be considered before picking up your new home for aquatic pets.

Tank size and budget are just the beginning of what needs to be taken care of during this process, and there are some more points that I will discuss further.

I recommend purchasing an all-in-one aquarium kit if simplicity is something you’re looking for in your aquarium journey.

Fish Type & Size

It is vital for those looking to keep different fish species to research how much space each needs before picking a tank. Some species need more than their size would suggest and overgrow as they age.

If you have chosen Goldfish, for example, then a smaller tank might not accommodate them in their adulthood as they grow rapidly and quickly to reach the maximum size. 

Whereas a group of Tetras might be happy with a much smaller tank because these types do not typically grow very large themselves or require excessive amounts of room to live comfortably.

Some people prefer to keep just one Betta fish in a nano tank as their first aquatic pet. So, I include reviews of 5 nano tanks to satisfy everyone’s needs.

One essential tip for you – overstocking is deadly! In the beginning, you should maintain a low fish density. A general rule of thumb for stocking is; the total length of fish (in inches) should not exceed the tank volume (in gallons). 

Accessories Available

A complete starter kit should include the following items:

  • A glass or acrylic tank
  • A filter with a pump
  • A heater and thermometer
  • A lighting system
  • Substrate
  • Decors

Aquarium kits having different sizes typically include a light fixture and filter, which will help keep the water sparkling clean for all inhabitants. 

Some even come with heaters or additional accessories like fish food, water conditioners that are sure to be enticing items until they’re used up!

If you want to make your job as easy as possible, consider buying an all-in-one aquarium kit like Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank instead of piecing things together yourself. 

Price

We are at the beginning of a journey – the question on everyone’s mind is, “How much do I need to spend on my new aquarium?” Well, that depends.

A few factors will impact, and you’ll want to bear them in mind before making a purchase; for example, size! Yes, bigger indeed means better, but it can actually be more expensive because of its upkeep requirements.

On the contrary, a smaller tank might require more frequent maintenance, as I said before. So, you need to identify the best solution by yourself – which tank will suit you the best.

Where Will You Place It

Do you have a lot of space in your home? If so, the best place for a fish tank is somewhere that it can be visible and accessible. You should make sure to keep your aquarium away from doors or windows where natural light will interfere with water quality.

The best place for a fish tank can be the living room, the kitchen, or the hallway. But, of course, the size you need will depend on where exactly you put your aquarium!

So, your available space to place the aquarium will be a vital consideration when purchasing the fish tank.

Glass Vs. Acrylic

Aquariums have a few different options when it comes to construction. The next decision you have to make after deciding on what size tank you want is how the tank will be constructed – glass or acrylic?

I always recommend glass because of its sturdy nature and affordability- not only that, but over time your fishies can swim around in crystal clear water! Glass tanks are suitable to use with different types of heaters which is a significant advantage.

Acrylic tanks are also a great choice if you’re looking for something with more durability. Go ahead and choose one made out of this material – they don’t crack as easily, making them easier to maintain cleanliness without worrying about fixtures being damaged.

The decision of what type you want your tank made from ultimately falls on personal preference – whether that means aesthetics or cost savings.

The Weight

What will the weight of your tank be when it is full? When full of water, both glass and acrylic tanks are heavier than empty one.

Consider this before making decisions about what size you want and where to place it so that you don’t need to worry about buying extra stand-alone furniture for your fishy friend!

Freshwater Or Saltwater Aquarium?

The answer is straightforward – your first aquarium should definitely be a freshwater aquarium. This is because freshwater tanks are cheaper and easier to maintain than saltwater tanks.

Though maintaining a saltwater aquarium is not a big deal – the primary difference between freshwater and saltwater aquariums is how they make their water: freshwater uses tap water while saltwater requires the addition of table salt to maintain its salinity levels.

But I suggest gathering some knowledge on fishkeeping by starting with a freshwater aquarium and then thinking of a saltwater tank if you are interested in it. 

You can read my article: How To Start A Saltwater Aquarium: The Definitive Guide.

Best Starter Fish Tank Review

I have selected 5 aquarium kits to pick the best fish tank for beginners here. My primary preference is a 20-gallon all-in-one tank. Keep reading.

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit

The Tetra 20 Gallon Glass Aquarium Kit is the perfect starter kit for any home. This complete kit comes with everything you need to set up a beautiful and healthy aquarium. This one is my top pick for the best starter fish tank for beginners.

One thing I like about this kit is how modern yet classic its design really makes it perfect for anyone who wants a simple but elegant touch where ever they decide to put their beloved pet.

The compactness of this tank makes it easy to display in any room of your house or apartment. In addition, the Tetra Aquarium comes loaded with an LED hood that provides a natural daytime effect and a Whisper Filter that is whisper-quiet while delivering powerful, dependable water flow.

The complete all-in-one kit includes one Tetra Mini UL Heater, one artificial Boxwood Plant Mat, four artificial plants. Thus the Tetra 20 gallon aquarium kit is very much ideal for the beginner. You need to add only gravel and fish to make a complete home aquarium.

Pros

  • Includes everything necessary
  • Energy-saving LED lights 
  • Efficient heater
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Strong filter flowrate

GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank

The GloFish Aquarium Kit is a great way for beginners to get started in the hobby of fish keeping. With four different tank sizes, you can find one that fits your needs perfectly, whether it be large or small, and not have to worry about being cramped with extra space!

I recommend a 20-gallon tank. The 20-gallon kit has more than enough room for any Glofish, including zebrafish, Tetra, and tiger barb, so this size would work well if you’re looking into getting many kinds of these varieties at once.

The GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank is a perfect starter kit for any budding fish enthusiast. The 20-gallon tank comes with all the supplies needed to get started, including a Tetra Whisper 20 power filter, a Tetra mini UL heater, 13″ LED light stick, one GloFish yellow anemone, two plant multipacks, fish food, water conditioner sample, and a setup guide.

In addition, a digital thermometer comes to help maintain optimum temperature conditions in your tank for the healthy growth of plants and animals alike.

The included AquaSafe sachet keeps water clean from harmful matters like ammonia caused by waste excretion/organic decay. Other essential tools like a fishnet are also provided, so you don’t have to buy one separately later on down the line as well!

Pros

  • Great all-in-one
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Efficient heater

Cons

  • Strong filter flowrate

Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit

The Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit is the perfect choice for anyone looking to start their own aquarium! Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kits include everything you need to set up a healthy and vibrant aquatic environment for your fish.

This one is one of my favorite all-in-one starter kits that include high-quality LED light, an enhanced five-stage filtration system, a submersible preset heater, plus a comprehensive guidebook on how to set up and maintain.

The Aqueon aquarium heater keeps water at 78 degrees, which is the ideal temperature for most tropical fish. The low-profile hood provides brilliant cool white LED lighting that will bring your aquatic world to life. This starter kit also includes an easy-to-use filter with a red LED light that flashes when it’s time to change the cartridge.

In addition, you will get fish food, a water conditioner, a fishnet, and a stick-on thermometer in the box. So, what is left then? Simply add your preferred style of plants and decor – and it will be all set!

Pros

  • All-in-one
  • Reliable
  • Affordable
  • Energy-efficient LED

Cons

  • Heaters may struggle

Marina LED Aquarium Kit

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit comes with everything you need to get started. With this aquarium kit, you can enjoy the beauty of aquatic life with minimal hassle or effort.

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is available in three different sizes – 20-gallon, 10-gallon, and 5-gallon.

The kit includes a Marina Slim S20 clip-on filter, which provides high-performance filtration for your aquarium. In addition, it has a quick-change filter cartridge that makes it easy to maintain and clean. 

This tank is also equipped with a long-lasting, natural daylight effect LED lighting module that creates the perfect environment for aquatic life, making it ideal for viewing your fish from all angles. 

This complete kit comes with – 

  • Aquarium environment Fishnet
  • Fluval Max fish food
  • Fluval Aqua Plus Water Conditioner
  • Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement
  • Aquarium care guide  

This kit can be an excellent gift for children. Aquariums are a perfect way for children to learn about the natural world while they’re still young. The Marina LED Aquarium Kits make it easy and rewarding so that kids don’t have any difficulty with their first venture into fish keeping!

Pros

  • Clip-on filter 
  • Sturdy glass tank
  • Reliable
  • Energy-efficient LEDs

Cons

  • Without a heater

biOrb Classic Aquarium

The biOrb Classic Aquarium is a stylish and low-maintenance aquarium that provides a healthy environment for fish. It has been intended to be compact so that it can fit into any home décor.

biOrb Classic Aquarium Kits offer four different sizes. You can either choose the 28-gallon or 16-gallon tank, which would be the best way to start. However, nano tanks are also available in 8-gallon and 4-gallon sizes.

Each aquarium includes a unique and patented filter cartridge that provides biological, mechanical, chemical, water stabilization, and oxygenation filtration. The biOrb aquarium has been designed to be energy-efficient. It is easy to set up, easy to use, and easy to clean.

The biOrb aquarium comes with everything you need to keep your fish happy and healthy. This gorgeous kit is a solid competitor to be your first home aquarium!

Pros

  • Stylish
  • 5-stage filtration
  • Aesthetically pleasing

Cons

  • Pricy

Best Nano Starter Fish Tanks 

Many people prefer to have a small compact aquarium with one or two cute small fish at home. Here I have selected 5 nano fish tanks that could satisfy such needs.

Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit

When it comes to a nano tank, my top pick is the Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit. For 50 years, Tetra has been providing hobbyists with products and solutions to make it easier for them. The Crescent 5 is perfect for any room, whether your kitchen, bedroom, living room or dorm!

This beautiful crescent-shaped aquarium kit is perfect for one Goldfish/Betta or up to three community tropical fish. The Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter provides a healthy environment for your pet fish and keeps the water clean. 

Bright white energy-efficient LED lights are hidden inside the low-profile black cover, including an on/off switch. 

This aquarium kit includes almost everything you need to set up a healthy habitat for your fish. The complete package includes:

  • 1 Tetra Crescent 5 Gallon Aquarium 
  • 1 LED Light and Hood 
  • 2 Decorative Stones 
  • 3 Colorful Plants 
  • TetraFauna BioSpira Starter Filtration Media (sealed) 
  • TetraMin Tropical Fish Food Sample Packet

Pros

  • Nice looking
  • Seamless tank
  • Reliable
  • Not prone to crack easily

Cons

  • Inconvenient to add a heater

Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit

The Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit is another ideal starter kit for freshwater aquariums. This is the perfect desktop aquarium for any fish lover. This small tank, being Made with 5-gallons of space, can fit almost anywhere and offers a contemporary look in one compact package.

This complete system includes a stylish glass aquarium with cover, LED lighting system, circulation pump, foam filter block, activated carbon, and BioMax.

The three-stage filtration system is quite good. First, the activated carbon removes any unwanted odors. Second, the BioMax insert provides all of the necessary bacteria for nitrification: these tiny creatures are responsible for breaking down ammonia into less harmful nitrate before it leaves our tanks by water changes – thanks, biology nerds!! And, third a porous foam block traps large particles and debris.

LED lights to provide your favorite fish or reptile with natural sunlight all day long without things getting too hot inside their new habitat. The 7,000K high-output LED delivers all of the light necessary to grow plants and enhance fish colors.

Several features make this aquarium easy to maintain, hence perfectly suitable for beginners.

Pros

  • 3-stage filtration
  • Reliable
  • Compact
  • Good LED lights

Cons

  • No room for a heater in the side compartment

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium is a small but complete fish tank for all your aquatic needs. I will recommend it as one of the best nano aquariums to start with, not just because they are so easy on space, that’s what everyone says! A proper filtration system and high-tech lighting make this, in my opinion, the best nano aquarium around.

It occupies minimal space and so well-liked to keep in small rooms. For its portrait shape, this tank fits comfortably inside any room with limited space.

The kit includes everything you need for your new pet fish, including an advanced filtration system, adjustable pump, and filter cartridges with bio-foam. In addition, the built-in LED light casts bright illumination over the entire tank, making it easy to see your fish swimming around all day long. 

For more details, you can read my article; Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium, A Full Review.

Pros

  • Hidden filtration
  • Reliable
  • Adjustable pump
  • Good LED lights

Cons

  • Inconvenient to clean

Aqueon NeoGlow Fish Aquarium Starter Kit

NeoGlow LED aquarium kits are the perfect way to add fun and color to any room in your home. This kit covers everything you need to set up your new aquarium.

The Aqueon NeoGlow is also available in 7.5, 5.5, and 5-gallon sizes. But I prefer the 10-gallon kit as it comes with everything, including a 50-watt preset heater.

These kits come with a 10-gallon glass tank that features an orange fluorescent silicone, which will fluoresce under blue light from NeoGlow’s low-profile hoods. The kit also includes Aqueon Quietflow filters for water movement and cleanliness while maintaining maximum silence.

In addition, you will get multi-colored gravel, three plants, fish food, and a water conditioner with the box.

Pros

  • Visually appealing
  • Reliable
  • Quiet filter
  • Preset heater
  • Glow gravel

Cons

  • Several cracking issues

biOrb Tube 35 Aquarium

The biOrb Tube 35 is a stylish, modern aquarium that combines the beauty of an acrylic-made product with the low maintenance and easy care of a traditional bowl.

This one is a 9-gallon aquarium – available in a range of stunning colors to suit your decor. The biOrb TUBE 35 Aquarium offers an unobstructed, 360-degree view of its underwater world. Constructed out of acrylic – 10 times stronger than glass, 50% lighter, and 93% clearer. In addition, the patented biOrb filtration system keeps water crystal clear for optimum viewing.

LED lighting with 16 preset colors and brightness control enhances the beauty of your underwater world and can be set to change at predetermined intervals automatically.

The unique patented filter cartridge is designed to fit all biOrb Aquariums, providing biological, mechanical, chemical, and water stabilization filtration. The multi-stage filtration process provides a healthy environment for fish. This aquarium is suitable for freshwater fish only.

Pros

  • Stylish
  • Effortless to set up
  • Easy feeding access
  • 5-stage filtration
  • Advanced LED lighting

Cons

  • Pricy

Final Words

I’ve done my research on these products and would love to help you find one that will suit all of your needs. 

I was thoroughly impressed by the Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit. This kit comes with everything you need to keep your tank running smoothly: filter with media, heater, air pump—plus an LED light fixture that’s perfect for keeping plants alive or growing them from plantation! 

On the other hand, the company has an excellent reputation for customer service, which provides peace of mind to newbie hobbyists who worry about what happens after their purchase is made.

I hope you found this best fish tanks for beginners guide helpful. If so, please share it with your friends and family who may be looking for a new tank! And don’t hesitate to put a comment below!

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