The 9 Best Small Fish Tanks of 2020

Best Small Fish Tank

There’s not much to define a small fish tank. However, the word small is relative and in fish tanks, a small one holds at most 10 gallons of water.

This small size presents a couple of benefits such as occupying less space, being cheaper to buy and maintain and being lightweight. That said, it is important to get the best one so that the fish stays comfortably and in good condition inside

With this in mind, below is a review of some of the best small fish tanks in the market from which you can pick the best one that suits your needs.

You can also read other product reviews of betta fish tankself-cleaning fish tankNano reef tank.

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

MarineLand ML90610

1. MarineLand ML90610 (Fish Tank with Rail Light)

  • Rail-mounted LEDs
  • 3-way switch (off, blue light, and white-blue light)
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Adjustable flow filter pump
MarineLand ML90609

2. MarineLand ML90609 (Fish Tank with Rounded Corners)

  • Rounded corners
  • Daylight and moonlight LEDs
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Ideal for fresh and saltwater
Tetra 29049

3. Tetra 29049 (Best Small Fish Tank for Beginners)

  • 1.1-gallon capacity
  • Lightweight plastic construction
  • Repositionable LED lights
  • Half-moon shape with a feeding hole cover
GloFish 29045

4. GloFish 29045 (Best Small Fish Tank for GloFish)

  • 15 blue canopy LEDs
  • 2-stage filtration system
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Plastic construction with a crescent shape
Tetra 29041

5. Tetra 29041 (Small Fish Tank with Color Changing Bubbles)

  • Color changing bubble effect
  • 2-stage filtration system
  • Plastic construction with a 3-gallon capacity
  • Half-moon shape with a 180˚ view
Fluval 15385

6. Fluval 15385 (Floating Small Fish Tank)

  • Floating design with a 360˚ view
  • 21 LEDs with 7600K color temperature
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Glass construction with a 6-gallon capacity
Penn Plax ​WW113K

7. Penn Plax WW113K (Best Small Tank for Goldfish)

  • 10-gallon capacity; ideal for goldfish
  • Glass construction with a plastic lid
  • Cascade 3-stage internal filter
  • Movable LED light
Koller Products AQ360-34C

8. Koller Products AQ360-34C (Round Small Fish Tank)

  • 3-gallon round tank with a 360˚ view
  • Impact-resistant plastic construction
  • 7-color LEDs with a built-in timer
  • USB, mains or battery power options
Back to the Roots 31000

9. Back to the Roots 31000 (Aquaponic Small Fish Tank)

  • Aquaponic fish tank with a top-placed garden
  • Complete kit with planting medium, pump, etc
  • 3-gallon capacity
  • Lightweight plastic construction

PRODUCT

1. MarineLand ML90610

(Fish Tank with Rail Light)

MarineLand ML90610
  • Rail-mounted LEDs
  • 3-way switch (off, blue light, and white-blue light)
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Adjustable flow filter pump

2. MarineLand ML90609

(Fish Tank with Rounded Corners)

MarineLand ML90609
  • Rounded corners
  • Daylight and moonlight LEDs
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Ideal for fresh and saltwater

3. Tetra 29049

(Best Small Fish Tank for Beginners)

Tetra 29049
  • 1.1-gallon capacity
  • Lightweight plastic construction
  • Repositionable LED lights
  • Half-moon shape with a feeding hole cover

4. GloFish 29045

(Best Small Fish Tank for GloFish)

GloFish 29045
  • 15 blue canopy LEDs
  • 2-stage filtration system
  • 5-gallon capacity
  • Plastic construction with a crescent shape

5. Tetra 29041

(Small Fish Tank with Color Changing Bubbles)

Tetra 29041
  • Color changing bubble effect
  • 2-stage filtration system
  • Plastic construction with a 3-gallon capacity
  • Half-moon shape with a 180˚ view

6. Fluval 15385

(Floating Small Fish Tank)

Fluval 15385
  • Floating design with a 360˚ view
  • 21 LEDs with 7600K color temperature
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Glass construction with a 6-gallon capacity

7. Penn Plax WW113K

(Best Small Tank for Goldfish)

Penn Plax ​WW113K
  • 10-gallon capacity; ideal for goldfish
  • Glass construction with a plastic lid
  • Cascade 3-stage internal filter
  • Movable LED light

8. Koller Products AQ360-34C

(Round Small Fish Tank)

Koller Products AQ360-34C
  • 3-gallon round tank with a 360˚ view
  • Impact-resistant plastic construction
  • 7-color LEDs with a built-in timer
  • USB, mains or battery power options

9. Back to the Roots 31000

(Aquaponic Small Fish Tank)

Back to the Roots 31000
  • Aquaponic fish tank with a top-placed garden
  • Complete kit with planting medium, pump, etc
  • 3-gallon capacity
  • Lightweight plastic construction

1. MarineLand ML90610 – Fish Tank with Rail Light

MarineLand Contour Glass Fish Tank with Rail Light
  • Tank Size: 3 gallons
  • Material: Glass
  • Dimensions: 12 × 12 × 12.5 inches

MarineLand’s Contour glass unit is the top-rated small fish tank in this list because of a couple of reasons.

It features an energy efficient LED lighting system that is mounted on a rail just above the tank. This system has a 3-way switch that toggles between off, blue light, and white-blue light settings.

The white light creates a shimmering effect that closely resembles that of sunlight underwater while the blue light creates a moonlight effect. These two show the tank and the fish inside in the best way possible through its glass body.

To maintain a healthy aquatic environment for the fish, this tank is equipped with an advanced 3-stage filtration system.

This includes mechanical filtration to filter out dirt and debris, chemical filtration to remove odor, impurities and discolorations and biological filtration to remove ammonia and nitrite, which are toxic to the fish.

Additionally, the unit has an adjustable flow filter pump to control the rate of water purification, effectively giving you full control over the filtration process.  

Pros:

  • Rail-mounted LED lighting system
  • ​Off, blue light, and white-blue light switch toggle
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Adjustable flow filter pump

Cons:

  • Glass construction means that it easy to break
  • Glass makes it quite heavy (10.5 pounds).

2. MarineLand ML90609  Fish Tank with Rounded Corners

MarineLand Portrait Glass Fish Tank
  • Tank Size: 5 gallons
  • Material: Glass
  • Dimensions: 11.8 × 11.6 × 17 inches

MarineLand’s ML90609 is also made of glass and features LED lights that create daylight and moonlight effects so that you can have the best views of your fish. This is enhanced by its rounded corners that give you a continuous view of your pets from multiple angles.

However, this tank is much larger than the contour tank above, holding 5 gallons of water. This makes it heavier, weighing in at 12 pounds, but it has the capacity to accommodate more fish.

It also features a similar 3-stage filtration process that involves mechanical, chemical and biological filtration to keep the water conducive enough for the fish. This makes it ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fish keeping, which makes it very practical.

Pros:

  • R​ounded corners for continuous views
  • LED lighting system.
  • 3-stage filtration process

Cons:

  • Quite heavy.
  • Can break or crack easily

3. Tetra 29049 – Best Small Fish Tank for Beginners

Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Fish Tank
  • Tank Size: 1.1 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 4.6 × 9.1 × 9.9 inches

Tetra’s 29049 is the smallest unit in this list, having a capacity of only 1.1 gallons. Though this gives a very small room for your fish, it means less maintenance, which is ideal for beginners in keeping betta fish.

Furthermore, the combination of its small size and plastic construction makes it weigh a mere 1.4 pounds. This makes the tank very portable and easy to have on desks as well as other small areas around the home.

This combination also makes the unit the cheapest product in this review, effectively giving it the best budget small fish tank title.

Despite being small, it includes some fancy LED lights that are repositionable so as to light up the tank from the top or bottom.

Other features include a half-moon shape, a clear plastic construction, a black plastic base, and a black feeding-hole cover. However, you don’t get any filtration system.

Pros:

  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight
  • ​Repositionable LED lights
  • Plastic (acrylic) construction makes it more resistant to cracking or breaking

Cons:

  • ​No filtration system

4. GloFish 29045 – Best Small Fish Tank for GloFish

GloFish Crescent Fish Tank with Blue LED Light
  • Tank Size: 5 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 11.2 × 16.6 × 6.7 inches

As the name suggests, this tank is ideal for GloFish because it makes them glow in their true colors. This is made possible by a set of 15 blue LEDs on its canopy that provide a bright overhead light over the whole tank.

This illuminates the fish, coral, and plants in the best way possible while also preventing the water from evaporating because the LED lid is hinged and always remains closed except when feeding the fish or washing the tank.

In terms of design, this aquarium has a crescent-like shape with seamless corners that make it provide good views of the fish.

For filtration, this unit features a Tetra Internal Filtration System, which comprises a mechanical filter for clearing out the dirt and debris, and a chemical filter for removing odor and discoloration. However, no biological filter is included.

Other features include a 5-gallon capacity and a lightweight 6.71-pound construction. This makes it easy to carry and more durable because plastic does not break easily.

Pros:

  • Bright overhead LED lights
  • Internal filtration system
  • Lightweight as compared to its size

Cons:

  • Lacks a biological filter

5. Tetra 29041  Small Fish Tank with Color Changing Bubbles

Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Fish Tank Kit
  • Tank Size: 3 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 6.9 × 12.5 × 12.9 inches

The highlight feature in Tetra's 29041 is its colorfusion lighting system. This system uses color changing LEDs to illuminate bubbles with multiple colors (red, blue, yellow, green, etc.), causing the “colorfusion” that blends very well with the fish.

This creates a very vibrant display that also blends well with your interior decor. 

Other than that, the aquarium has an internal 2-part filtration system comprising of mechanical filtration using a filter cartridge and chemical filtration using carbon to clean the water for recycling. 

In terms of design, the tank has a semi-circle, half-moon cross-section shape, which gives a 180º view of the fish as well as the multiple colors so as to brighten up your interior.

Pros:

  • Vibrant ​bubble color display using LEDs
  • Internal 2-part filtration system
  • Half-moon shape gives a 180º view of the aquarium

Cons:

  • ​No biological filter.

6. Fluval 15385 – Floating Small Fish Tank

Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light
  • Tank Size: 6 gallons
  • Material: Glass
  • Dimensions: 13.7 × 17 × 14.3 inches

Presentation is everything when it comes to aquariums and the Fluval Edge has certainly nailed this spot on.

The tank is very stylish with its glass body appearing to be clasped mid-air by the supporting pedestal. This makes it look like its floating while also giving you a 360º view of your fish and other decorations on the inside.

However, all this comes at a cost. This aquarium is the most expensive one on this list but its features do not stop here.

It has a 3-stage filtration system comprising of mechanical, chemical and biological filters that do a complete cleanup of the water for reuse. This also means that the tank can be used to keep saltwater fish.

All these systems are carefully hidden inside the pedestal, which also acts as an equipment casing.  The top of this pedestal hosts 21 powerful LED lights that produce a white-blue light at 7600K, making it perfect for plants.

In terms of size, the unit comes as a 6-gallon capacity glass tank but there is a 12-gallon option if you want a bigger size.

Pros:

  • Stylish floating design with 360˚ views
  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Powerful LED lights at 7600K
  • Stylish design
  • 2 size options let you choose the size you prefer most

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Fragile glass construction ​

7. Penn Plax WW113K – Best Small Tank for Goldfish

Penn Plax Curved Corner Fish Tank Kit
  • Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Material: Glass and plastic
  • Dimensions: 17.8 × 11.8 × 12.6 inches

With a 10-gallon water capacity, this tank is the largest in this review, making it the best goldfish tank. Goldfish usually require large volumes of water and this is what makes the 10-gallon tank the most ideal one for them.

In terms of design, the Penn Plax aquarium has a bent glass design that makes it look frameless and seamless. This gives you unobstructed views of the fish from all angles, including from above.

For filtration, the system features a cascade 3-stage internal filter that is placed inside the tank. This means that it has a continuous glass body all through on the outside.

Construction wise, the unit has a clear plastic lid that is hinged on the backside to allow for easy access as well as to keep the water from evaporating by covering the top surface completely when laid down.

Lighting is provided by a movable LED light that features a clip for attaching it anywhere on the top back glass wall of the tank. This light illuminates all the fish and decorations placed inside the tank to provide a very eye-catching view in the dark.

Pros:

  • Large water capacity; suitable for goldfish
  • ​3-stage filtration system
  • Movable LED lights

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of space
  • Requires a lot of maintenance

8. Koller Products AQ360-34C – Round Small Fish Tank

Koller Products Aquaview Fish Tank
  • Tank Size: 3 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 10.2 × 10.2 × 14.5 inches

This Koller Aquaview fish tank has a rounded design that gives you a 360º view of the fish and decorations inside.

It is made using impact resistant clear plastic, making it very strong and durable while also being clear enough to give very nice views of the contents inside.

This clarity is especially important because it has an LED lighting system that produces 7 dazzling colors, giving you the option to choose from white, blue, green, amber, aqua, purple or red light.

However, the top lid is black in color and this limits you from viewing the fish from above. On the Brightside, this cover houses the LEDs, enabling them to illuminate the whole structure from above.

Additionally, it has a built-in timer that enables you to switch the lights on 2 hours a day, 4 hours a day or remain on fulltime.   

To keep the LEDs on, this system can be powered through the mains, USB or 3 AAA batteries, enabling you to keep the aquarium glowing even when the lights go off.

Pros:

  • Round design with a 360˚ view
  • 7 LED color options
  • Built-in timer for controlling the lights
  • LEDs can be powered through the mains, USB or AAA batteries

Cons:

  • Blacktop lid limits the top view of the aquarium

9. Back to the Roots 31000 – Aquaponic Small Fish Tank

Back to the Roots Water Garden Self-Cleaning Fish Tank
  • Tank Size: 3 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 13.3 × 9.4 × 13.3 inches

This is not your conventional fish tank. It is ecologically designed to support both fish and plants in a closed-loop ecosystem, just like what happens in aquaponics.

Basically, the fish excrete ammonia, which is toxic to the fish but a very important nutrient for plant growth. The plant absorbs this ammonia, acting as a biological filter to keep the water clean and maintain a healthy environment for the fish.

To help you get started, the kit comes with a planting medium, wheatgrass and radish sprout seeds for planting, a submersible pump for circulating the water, gravel, a coupon for a betta fish and fish food.

With these, all that is left for you to do is to feed the fish and refill the water every once in a while because the plants will use it to grow. This makes it one of the best home aquariums because it uses less energy yet it can be used to grow food or other useful plants.

Construction wise, the tank is made of plastic and has a capacity of 3 gallons. This means that it is very lightweight, which makes it possible to move it to where there is sunlight during the day and back inside at night.

Pros:

  • Contains a natural biological filter in the form of plant roots
  • Includes a submersible pump
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • No LED lighting
  • No chemical or mechanical filters

How to Buy the Best Small Fish Tank

How to Buy the Best Small Fish Tank

1. Types and Number of Fish

The type of fish directly determines the tank capacity that you should buy. Using the two most common examples, betta and goldfish, bettas require a smaller amount of water per fish.

Each should be kept in at least 1 – 3 gallons of water. The more the number, the larger the tank that you will need.

For goldfish, a single one requires a minimum of about 10 gallons of water. Again, the more the number, the larger the tank that you will need.

Buying advice: ​If you have a single betta fish, buy a small tank such as Tetra's 29049​. For goldfish, we recommend the large Penn Plax's ​WW113K​.

2. Tank Size

The dimensions of a tank should match the space that you have for it. Ideally, you should measure the space that you have beforehand and use these measurements to find a perfect fit with some room to spare.

3. Filtration Equipment

Filtration equipment usually has either 2 or 3-stage filtration systems.

A 2-stage system features a mechanical filter, which mostly uses a filter cartridge to remove dirt and debris, and a chemical filter, which uses carbon to get rid of bad odor and discolorations. 

A 3-stage system has an additional biological filter that basically uses bacteria to break down ammonia and nitrites, which are very harmful to the fish.

This 3-stage system is better off for handling saltwater fish keeping due to the ammonia filtration.

Saltwater fish tend to secrete more concentrated urine (which contains ammonia) due to the salty conditions and thus, require a more powerful ammonia removal system.

Therefore, if you want to keep saltwater fish, you should buy a fish tank with at least a 3-stage filtration system like MarineLand's ML90610​.

For freshwater fish, you can even have a bowl with no filter, provided that you change the water every once in a while. However, we recommend a tank with at least a 2-stage filtration system such as the Tetra 29041​.

4. Fish Tank Construction

A fish tank’s construction can be looked at from two angles: the design and the material.

For design, a tank that gives a 360º view of the contents inside like Fluval's 15385​ is the best option to buy.

For material, glass is usually very clear, does not discolor over time and is scratch resistant. However, it is very brittle and can break easily when handled roughly. It is also heavier and more expensive than ​plastic.

Acrylic, or plastic, is very light and strong. It does not break easily but is not as clear as glass. Plastic also scratches easily and thus, requires to be cleaned gently.

Buying advice: If you are on a budget or if you are a clumsy person, you should ​go for a plastic tank such as Koller Products' AQ360-34C.

However, if you are careful and can afford it, glass aquariums like MarineLand's ML90609 are the best ​type. 

5. Lighting System

LEDs form the lighting systems in most aquariums. One simple rule applies here; if you like colors, the more colorful the LEDs (such as in Tetra's 29041), the better.

However, if you prefer simplicity, a simple white or blue colored LED system like in MarineLand's ML90610 will ​do. 

How to Clean the Small Fish Tank

1. Gather all the materials

Before cleaning the tank, there are a couple of things that you will need. These are:

  • Paper towels
  • Water conditioner
  • De-chlorinated water
  • De-chlorinator
  • Cup
  • Small fish tank container
  • Large bucket
  • Fishnet

2. Remove decorative pieces plus the fish

Unplug the fish tank’s power outlet and remove all the decorative pieces, bubblers, filters and plants.

Scoop some water from the aquarium and transfer it to the large bucket. Once the bucket has enough water, use the net to catch the fish and transfer it to the other bucket.

3. Save some water

Scoop a little amount of water and place it aside for future use. Normally, fish require a few bacteria in order to survive. This water will provide a continuity of these bacteria once you clean out the rest of the tank.

4. Clean everything

Do not use soap or chemicals to clean the tank. Use the paper towel and tap water to wipe the aquarium’s walls clean from algae.

Wash the rocks and pebbles by moving them around the tank with some water in it. The water will wash down the dirt from these items and collect at the bottom of the tank.

5. Add the water and other pieces back to the tank

After a thorough cleaning, add the de-chlorinated water to the tank. Add a few drops of water de-chlorinator to deal with the tap water that was left on the tanks surface when cleaning.

Next, add a water conditioner to clean the water plus the water that you has set side containing bacteria.

Return the decorative pieces back to the tank, turn it on and wait for about half an hour for the water to stabilize.

6. Put the fish back to the tank

After the water has stabilized, put the fish back inside and the process is complete.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, small fish tanks are ideal for fitting in tight spaces and we recommend ​Penn Plax's ​WW113K because it is large enough to fit most kinds of fish and has a 3-stage filtration system for fresh or saltwater use. 

Sources


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