10 Best Small Fish Tanks 2019 – Reviews and Buying Guide

Best Small Fish Tank

There’s not much to define a small fish tank. However, the word small is relative. In terms of fish tanks, a small one holds at most 15 gallons of water.

This size presents a couple of benefits such as occupying less space, being cheaper to buy and maintain and being lightweight.

Due to this, a number of manufacturers make such units, leaving you with multiple options to choose from.

Considering that you will keep fish inside, it is important to get the best one so that the fish stays in good condition.

With this in mind, below is a review of some of the best small fish tanks in the market that will help you pick the best one to suit your needs.

You can also read other product reviews such as betta fish tankself-cleaning fish tank, Nano reef tank.

10 Best Small Fish Tanks – Reviews

Product Name

Image

​Features/Benefits

Rating

Current Price

1. MarineLand Contour Glass Fish Tank with Rail Light


MarineLand Contour Glass Fish Tank with Rail Light

3-gallon glass fish tank with a powerful 3-stage filtration system and good lighting

4.2

2. MarineLand Portrait Glass Fish Tank

MarineLand Portrait Glass Fish Tank

Large and affordable fish tank with a powerful 3-stage filtration system and rounded glass corners

4.2

3. Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Fish Tank

Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Fish Tank

Small, light and affordable half-moon shaped fish tank that is easy to manage and maintain

4.2

4. GloFish Crescent Fish Tank with Blue LED Light

GloFish Crescent Fish Tank with Blue LED Light

Crescent-shaped fish tank with a 2-stage filtration system and 15 powerful blue LEDs

4.1

5. Aqueon Betta Fish Tank Kit

Aqueon Betta Fish Tank Kit

3 small fish tanks designed as a cascading waterfall with a good pumping and filtration system

4.0

6. Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Fish Tank Kit

Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Fish Tank Kit

3-gallon fish tank with a colorful LED lighting system and a 2-stage filtration system

4.1

7. Fluval Edge Fish Tank with LED Light

Fluval Edge Fish Tank with LED Light

Stylish fish tank with a powerful set of 21 LEDs and a 3-stage filtration system

4.0

8. Back to the Roots Fish Tank and Water Garden

Back to the Roots Fish Tank and Water Garden

Ecologically designed aquaponics fish tank with a garden at the top and a water reservoir below

3.9

9. Penn Plax Curved Corner Fish Tank Kit

Penn Plax Curved Corner Fish Tank Kit

10-gallon fish tank with a bent glass design and a Cascade Internal Filter

3.9

10. Koller Products Aquaview Fish Tank

Koller Products Aquaview Fish Tank

Rounded fish tank with a built-in timer to control a multi-colored LED lighting system

3.5

1. MarineLand Contour Glass Fish Tank with Rail Light

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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:

  • LED lighting system
  • 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 Portrait Glass Fish Tank

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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

MarineLand’s Portrait fish tank is also made of glass and is much larger than the Contour tank above. This makes it heavier, weighing in at 12 pounds. However, it can hold 5 gallons of water, which translates to accommodating more fish.

Just like its smaller brother above, this tank features LED lights that enable it to create daylight as well as 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.

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. Such a filtration system makes it ideal for both freshwater and saltwater fish keeping, which means it is very practical.

To make it even better, it is slightly cheaper than the smaller contour fish tank, making it the most ideal choice if you have a bigger space.

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable
  • LED lighting system.
  • 3-stage filtration process

Cons:

  • Quite heavy.
  • Can break or crack easily

3. Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Fish Tank

Editor's Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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

Tetra’s LED Half Moon fish tank is the smallest unit in this list. It is shaped like a half moon, with a clear plastic construction all through, a black plastic base and a black feeding-hole cover.

The tank has a water capacity of only 1.1 gallons, giving you a very small room for your fish. However, this small space means it requires less maintenance, making it ideal for beginners in keeping betta fish.

Furthermore, the combination of a small size and plastic construction makes it weigh a mere 1.43 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, enabling you to light up the tank from the top or bottom.

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Very small water capacity
  • Does not have a filtration system

4. GloFish Crescent Fish Tank with Blue LED Light

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

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 GloFish fish tank makes the fish glow in their true colors. It has 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. This makes it one of the best freshwater small fish tanks.

Although quite large, the tank weighs only 6.71 pounds and this is due to its plastic 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
  • Not ideal for saltwater fish keeping

5. Aqueon Betta Fish Tank Kit

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Aqueon Betta Falls Kit
  • Tank Size: 1.5 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Dimensions: 16.9 × 11 × 11.4 inches

Aqueon’s Betta fish tank kit comprises of a set of 3 separate tanks, which collectively have a 1.5-gallon capacity and a filtration system that cleans and circulates the water back to the tanks.

The set has a curved shape with the three tanks arranged in a cascading design. This makes them form a mini-waterfall as the water is being circulated and falls from the top tank to the bottom one.

This results in a calming sound of the water flow as you admire the beauty of the small fish in the separate aquariums.

Additionally, this water flow can be controlled, enabling you to adjust the intensity of the gushing water from one tank to the other.

The joints between these tanks are frosted and this keeps the fish from seeing each other. Since it is meant for betta fish, frosting results in safer fish keeping because they won’t harm themselves on the glass as they try to fight each other over their territories.  

Pros:

  • Comes with an internal filtration system
  • Cascading waterfalls look good and are music to the ears
  • Frosted walls keep the fish from seeing each other
  • Adjustable water-flow control

Cons:

  • Small tank capacity
  • Water evaporates quickly through the waterfalls

6. Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Fish Tank Kit

Editor's Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

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

The Tetra ColorFusion fish tank is quite affordable and has its main strength centered on its built-in lighting system.

As the name suggests, this colorfusion system illuminates using a multiple color system, which ends up creating a very vibrant display.

It uses LEDs that illuminate bubbles with rainbow colors of red, blue, yellow, green and everything in between, causing the “colorfusion” that blends very well with the fish as well as your home’s interior.

Other than this, 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 LED color display
  • Internal 2-part filtration system
  • Half-moon shape gives a 180º view of the aquarium
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Does not have a biological filter.
  • LED lights are not permanently attached to the tank

7. Fluval Edge Fish Tank with LED Light

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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:

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

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Glass construction means that it is very delicate

8. Back to the Roots Fish Tank and Water Garden

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

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
  • Comes with everything in one kit.
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • No LED lighting
  • No chemical or mechanical filters

9. Penn Plax Curved Corner Fish Tank Kit

Editor's Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars (3.9 / 5)

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 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 means you can have more than one fish.
  • Internal filtration system
  • Movable LED lights

Cons:

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

10. Koller Products Aquaview Fish Tank

Editor's Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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:

  • 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
  • Not ideal for goldfish

How to Buy the Best Small Fish Tanks

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: Before buying any fish tank, first determine the fish that you want to keep and how many, then find the water capacity that they need in order to survive. With this information, get the appropriately sized tank.

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.

For freshwater fish, you can even have a bowl with no filter, provided that you change the water every once in a while.

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 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 glass.

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 definitely avoid glass. However, if you can afford it, glass aquariums are the best option to buy.

5. Lighting System

LEDs form the lighting systems on most aquariums. One simple rule applies here; if you like colors, the more colorful the LEDs, the better. If you prefer simplicity, a simple white or blue colored LED system will work for you.

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 

This article shows you that fish tanks are more than just the beautiful fishes and lights that make them elegant home improvement accessories. If you carefully go through the information provided, you will definitely get closer to finding the best small fish tank that is ideal for your home.