October 26, 2019

Beginner Fish Tank Reviews

Fish Tanks For Beginners

Fish tanks are an obvious necessity for anyone who may want to welcome a finned friend into their family. However, not all fish tanks are equal. Read on to learn more about the good, the bad, and maybe even the ugly when it comes to all things fish tank related.

Following are just a few of the fish tank kits found on Amazon.com that boast quite a bit of good buyer reviews.

Top 5: Beginner Fish Tank Reviews

Hygger Horizon 8 Gallon LED Glass Aquarium Kit for Starters with 7W Power Filter Pump, 18W Colored led Light, Wide View Curved Shape Fish Tank with Undetachable 3D Rockery Background Decor

The first tank kit on the list is a Hygger Horizon. This particular kit includes an eight gallon glass tank that has a 3-D background design, a power filter pump, and a LED light strip as a lid covering. The tank itself has a curved front side, which allows for a wider view.

The light strip has an external controller with controls for brightness, light shifting modes, and also for timed lighting. The light itself has three modes of white, blue red and white, or blue and red modes.

The pump is easy to take apart for a deep cleaning as needed. It has a knob to adjust water flow and is considered to be ultra quiet when filtering water. ]


  • Good Customer Reviews.
  • Easy to Clean Pump.
  • Quiet Filter System.


  • Higher Priced.
Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light, 5-Gallon

The next tank kit on the list is Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium. This one is a five gallon tank that includes an LED lighting system. The lighting system has both blue and white energy efficient lights. The light has two settings on a hinged mount. The tank itself has a stylish modern look.

The filter is a three stage filtration system with an adjustable pump. The filter is hidden and the company boasts low noise level, which makes it a top choice for many. The kit includes a glass canopy that slides to open and close the tank.

This tank is the perfect size for those who wish to use it to house their beta fish.


  • Adjustable Pump.
  • Quiet Filter System.
  • Stylish Look.


  • Tank is on the smaller size.
Aqueon NeoGlow LED Aquarium Kit, 5 Gallon

This next kit is an Aqueon NeoGlow that includes LED lighting, as well as gravel and decorative plants. The glass aquarium tank has colored silicone and a low cover lid that has blue LED lighting to perfectly illuminate the tank's water.

The kit also includes a sample of high quality fish food as well as a small sample of water conditioner, both of which are helpful when it comes to first setting up for a new fish friend. The tank itself is a five gallon aquarium with a black background that allows for power cords to remain hidden out of sight while still allowing any lights to illuminate fish as they swim throughout the tank.

The biggest con mentioned by reviewers, however, is that there seems to be some issue with being able to replace the lights once they have burned out from usage.


  • Background makes hiding cords from view easy.
  • Decorative plants included.
  • Kit includes all that is necessary for startup.


  • Replacement bulbs for lighting are hard to find.
KollerCraft Aquarius Classico Panoramic Aquarium Kit with LED Lighting and Internal Power Filter, 6-Gallon

The next tank on the list is a KollerCraft Aquarius Classico. This is a six gallon tank that is cylindrical in shape. This tank has a panoramic 360 view look and made to resemble an Italian column of sorts.

This kit included a four colored LED light that shines blue, green, red, and white. It also included an internal power filter that purifies the tank's water at a rate of 45 gallons per hour. The tank itself is impact-resistant acrylic rather than glass, but is proved to be just as good if not better, without the risk of leaks at the edges as this tank has no glued seams. 


  • 360 viewing.
  • Acrylic constructed.
  • Powerful filter system.


  • Higher Priced.
biOrb HALO 15 Aquarium with MCR Lighting - 4 gallon, White

The last (but definitely not least favorite) on the list is a Halo-15. This kit includes a four gallon acrylic constructed tank. It is shaped in a spherical ball shape. The fact that it is acrylic means it is stronger than a glass tank would be by nearly 10 times. It is also lighter than a glass constructed tank would be and allows for better transparency rating, at 95% versus a glass one at 70%.

This particular tank has a five stage filtration system to help aid in keeping the tank's water as clean as can be. The kit includes a multi color remote to allow for sixteen preset colors to be used, as well as controls to adjust for the brightness of the lights.

The tank itself has a hinged lid that consists of a magnetic closing clasp to keep it tightly closed when and if needed. The lid also has an evaporation lid with a silicone plug cover to lessen evaporation and any air exchange.

The only big complaint listed for this tank kit is that replacing the filter is a bit of a hassle in that it requires much of the tank's contents to be moved, adjusted, or completely removed in order to change the filter.


  • Remote control lighting system.
  • Magnetic closing lid.
  • Evaporation Lid.


  • Replacing filter can become a hassle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Size of a Fish Tank Matter?

When it comes to fish and their homes, size absolutely does matter.

If the tank is too small for the type of fish placed in it, this can lead to a number of different issues. Some of these issues include growth stunts, aggressiveness, and also unstable water conditions. A tank that is too small can also cause a fish to stress out. Any (or even all) of these conditions could lead to a fish dying.

A bigger tank allows a fish to "roam" more freely, which lessens the amount of stress it will go through. A bigger tank is often easier to maintain as well. The water is easier to keep stable when it comes to temperature and water chemistry, which are typically two things that lead to issues in smaller tanks.

There is no best size tank that will work for every fish or even every person. But typically, following certain guidelines will only offer help. Bigger is definitely better in terms of management. Buying an aquarium that gives your fish the chance to grow rather than buying a small one now, with the intentions of later transferring the fish to a bigger tank after it grows.

Where Should I Keep My Fish Tank?

There are certain housing components that also make a difference when it comes to choosing where within your home to keep your fish tank. These include keeping the fish tank in a room, or even area of a room that has low lighting, low noise levels, and keeping the tank away from any sources of extreme heat.

Fish Care For Beginners

It’s no secret that fish make excellent pets. They’re beautiful, fascinating, and relatively easy to care for. But while maintaining a simple aquarium isn’t difficult, there is some particular knowledge necessary to do it properly. Simply filling a tank with water and buying the prettiest fish in the store won’t cut it (and will doom your purchase to a shortened existence).

If you’re serious about fish keeping, then you owe it to your future pets to learn about the necessary equipment, preparations, and procedures. This basic guide will get you ready to set up and care for your first aquarium.

First of All, Choose a Tank

Most people base the size of their aquarium on the amount of space they have available to them. Don’t forget that your tank will require a stand and space in the back for a filter.

If you’ve got plenty of room to work with, then you can base your tank size on the type of aquatic community you’re hoping to create. Different species require different amounts of space to live comfortably. For small, stationary fish, a smaller tank is okay. For larger fish or species that need to move around, then a bigger tank will be necessary.

Also, don’t forget that tank size will be the limiting factor in determining how many fish you can keep. A general rule to remember is that for each gallon of water in your tank, you can keep one inch of fish. This means that in a twenty gallon tank, you could keep twenty one-inch fish or ten two-inch fish. If you want a large fish population, you’ll need to find the space for a bigger tank.

Buying The Right Equipment

First of all, let’s make it clear that this is a guide for keeping freshwater fish. Saltwater aquariums, while beautiful, require much more effort and meticulous care than a simpler freshwater set-up.

A saltwater tank generally isn't the best options for a beginner. Once you’ve learned the basics with a freshwater tank, you can consider making the step up. For now, keep it simple. And don’t worry- freshwater aquariums are often gorgeous in their own right.

To keep your fish happy and healthy, you’ll need some basic equipment. A small filter, which attaches to the back of the tank, is usually necessary to keep the water clean.

You’ll also need at least one aerator, maybe more depending on the size of the tank. Fish need oxygen to breath, and the aerator keeps the members of your underwater community from suffocating. A simple airstone will do, but there’s all sorts of fun designs that can keep the equipment from looking unsightly.

Most pet fish are tropical species, meaning they can only live in warm water. That is why a heater is a necessary piece of equipment for any aquarium. The heater’s size will depend on the size of the tank. Buy a stick-on thermometer as well to keep track of water temperature.

Aquarium decor is also a must. Not only does it make the tank look much better, but it also helps create a more appealing aquatic habitat. Fish are accustomed to darting in and out of rocks, and many species won’t be happy in an empty tank.

Choosing decor is also one of the most fun components of setting up the aquarium, giving you a chance to play interior designer for your fish.

Most tanks look best (and work best) with a gravel substrate. The choice of color, which could be anything from gray to neon green, will determine if your tank has a “snazzy” or natural look. Make sure you buy gravel packaged especially for an aquarium, since it’s the only way to know the substrate is perfectly clean.

A background for the tank is not necessary, but it certainly makes the aquarium look better. You can buy artful backgrounds at most pet stores, or stick to construction paper if you want something simpler. Just cut the paper down to size and tape it to the tank’s rear exterior.

Overhead lights, well optional, are a great way to make your tank really dazzle. Just don’t forget to turn it off every night (or buy an automatic timer), since fish, like humans, appreciate their rest.

Treating and testing water is also an essential component to fish keeping. Buy an aquarium water conditioner and a water test kit to create an environment in which your fish can survive and thrive.

As far as food goes, you should base your purchases on the species of fish you plan to get. From flakes to pellets, there is a variety of food on the market. While some fish require special food, you’ll likely be able to buy a single flake food that can satisfy your entire community.

Preparing the Tank

Once you’ve got all the equipment you need, it’s time to set it all up. This is an exciting time. If you're like most rookie fishkeepers, you’ll feel the joy of a new project and the anticipation of a soon-to-be-realized dream.

First put the gravel in the bottom of the tank. Usually an inch of thickness is perfect. Then, it’s time to fill the tank with water. Make sure you treat the water first, since unconditioned tap water contains chlorine and other chemicals that would kill your fish. Once you’ve got the tank full, you can add the filter, aerator, heater, thermometer, and decorations. Now you’re almost ready for your first fish!

Choosing the Right Species

Creating an aquatic community isn’t as simple as tossing a bunch of fish into a tank and hoping it works out. Each species comes with its own set of needs and desires. Some fish grow too big for a tank the size of yours, while others are so aggressive they can bully their tank-mates to death. To properly populate an aquarium requires research and planning.

Never bring a fish home from the store without having learned about the species. You could accidentally buy an aggressive fish that will decimate the rest of your community or an individual member of a species that only thrives in a small school. Even worse, you could buy a fish that requires a special environment with different water specifications (like an African cichlid, for example), which will turn your purchase into a cruel death sentence. When it comes to choosing fish, research isn’t an option. It's a necessity.

The Nitrogen Cycle

Before buying your first fish, it’s important that you understand the phenomenon popularly known as “the cycle.” Failure to account for this process could kill your fish just as you’re starting to enjoy them.

In nature, the nitrogen cycle works to filter nutrients and create an optimal environment for living organisms. The waste of animals and fish contains nitrogen, which plants and bacteria consume and treat before being in turn eaten by animals and fish. This same process needs to happen in your aquarium, but a brand new tank lacks the plants and bacteria necessary.

That’s why you need to start slowly in building your tank’s community. If you start with a full load of fish, their waste will pollute the tank. Without good bacteria to process this excess ammonia, the water will quickly become unlivable and the fish will die.

To avoid this type of disaster, start with just a few fish (one fish per ten gallons of water is a useful rule of thumb). Feed the fish sparingly at first to limit the amount of waste. Check the ammonia level daily with your water test kit, and if the level is above 0.2 ppm do a partial change of the tank’s water (treating the new water with your conditioner, of course).

Once you’ve kept the nitrate levels below 0.2 ppm for a week, you’ll know the cycling process is complete. This means you can add more fish. Keep in mind, however, that you still don’t want to add too many fish at once, since a major change will disrupt the rhythm of the tank.

Buying Fish

So you’ve got your tank set up, you’re prepared to begin the nitrogen cycle, and you’ve researched the types of fish you’d like to buy. Congratulations! Now the real fun starts.

At the store, don’t forget that you’re purchasing a living creature. You can’t just pick the first one you like. Locate the species you’re after, and then observe the fish as they swim around their tank. Do they look healthy? Are they free of white spots or any obvious signs of illness? Are there any dead fish at the bottom of the tank? The last thing you want to do is start your aquatic community with fish that were sick to begin with.

Once you’ve got your healthy fish in the bag and out the door, be sure to go straight home. It might seem obvious, but more than one beginning fishkeeper has killed their new purchase in the trunk while stopping for lunch. The little bag doesn’t have much air, and your fish will run out of oxygen quickly.

Don’t place your fish in the tank right when you get home. The water in the tank is not the same temperature as the water in the bag, and an immediate transfer can shock the fish or even kill them. You need to begin by acclimatizing your fish.

Luckily, acclimatization is an easy procedure. All you have to do is place the sealed bag in the water and let it bob around for twenty minutes or so. The water in the bag will slowly come to match the temperature of the water in the tank, and your fish will adjust along with it. Then, all you’ve got to do is open the bag and let the fish swim free.

Feeding Fish

One of the most important truisms in fishkeeping is that you’re better off underfeeding your fish than overfeeding them. If you feed your fish too little, they might be hungry but they won’t be dead. Feed them too much, and you’ll likely pollute the water until it becomes unlivable, and you’ll unwittingly wipe out the entire tank.

Resist the temptation to feel your fish more than once a day. You’ll quickly learn that fish are inveterate beggars. They’ll hang out by the front of the tank with hungry eyes no matter how much you’ve fed them. Don't give in and spoil them.

All the food should be gone shortly after every feeding. If you see leftovers floating on the surface of the water, then you know you’re guilty of overfeeding.

Changing the Water

One of the most important jobs in fishkeeping is regularly changing a portion of the water. Most experts advise changing twenty-five percent of the water every two to four weeks. The filters help keep the water clean, but they can’t do all the work on their own.

Resist the urge to change all the water at once. You might like the idea of a comprehensive cleaning, but such an overzealous move will only ruin the water chemistry and eliminate the precarious nitrogen cycle.

Always treat the water you put into your tank, even if it’s just a little. Small amounts of chlorine and other chemicals can have a devastating effect on your fish.

Other Regular Maintenance

Keeping a fish tank might not be as time-consuming as raising a puppy or taking care of a cat, but it is not entirely hands-off, either. Beyond the daily feeding and occasional water changes, there are a few other jobs you’ll have to do from time to time.

Algae has an annoying way of growing on the interior glass of the tank. For your aquarium to look its best, you’re going to want to give the glass a quick wipe from time to time. The easiest way to do this is with a magnetic cleaner that attaches to the glass.

The filter does an excellent job of cleaning the water, but it gets dirty itself in the process. Check the internal sponge every week or so, and if it’s completely filthy give it a quick rinse in the sink.

Keeping an Eye Out

In general, you want to watch your aquarium for any signs of trouble. Get in the habit of checking the thermometer every day. If the temperature falls below seventy-five degrees, your heater might need a replacement.

After introducing a new fish, watch to make sure that no serious bullying is going on. If a fish is harmfully aggressive, you might have to invest in a tank divider to keep it apart or bring it back to the store for an exchange.


Easy on the eyes and less demanding than their furry counterparts, fish make truly remarkable pets. And while caring for them has its complications, you'll get the hang of it quickly. Good luck, and happy fishkeeping!

Final Verdict

Of course, research is a necessary part of all pet ownership, finned fish friends included. Before taking the jump into buying a tank, check out some of these tanks.

Find what type of fish you want to take in and then figure out what is necessary for that particular fish. Some fish live better when they have the ability to be the only one in their tank. Others live and flourish better when given friends to swim and play with. Regardless of what you may know, it is never too late to learn some more.

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