Everyone loves looking at an aquarium. The beauty of the colorful fish and the swaying plants is captivating. However, not everyone has room for a large aquarium. But there’s good news! Any one of these amazing small aquariums would make a great addition to your home, office, or desktop.
Today’s nano and small sized aquariums are beautifully designed and fit into any décor. They look great on a desktop, in the living room, in a child’s bedroom, or even in the office. And caring for a small aquarium only requires a few minutes a day. If you’re new to aquarium-keeping and don’t know what equipment is required don’t worry! Each of these 6 best small aquariums kits comes complete with everything you need to get started.
If you are looking to set up a small tank on your own you may want to check out this article where we drive you through the basic set-up process for building your own small fish tank.
Six Amazing Small Aquarium Compared
Last update on 2019-10-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Features to look for in a small desktop aquarium kit
Top small fish tanks and nano aquariums
Shopping for your first aquarium can be a bit overwhelming but don’t worry. We have scoured the web and come up with what we think are the 6 top small aquarium kits of 2019. Our review will list all the features and benefits that are important in selecting the right desktop aquarium for your needs.
Tetra LED Cube With Pedestal Base
The Tetra Aquarium Cube is a 3-gallon aquarium that measures 10″L x 10″W x 10.5″H. The tank also has a unique pedestal base. The black plastic base supports the aquarium and raises it up for easier viewing. The aquarium is formed out of clear acrylic plastic that won’t crack or shatter.
However, because plastic can scratch, care must be used when cleaning the inside or outside of the tank. Beware that even some algae scrubbing pads can scratch plastic and that a soft cloth should be used instead.
The aquarium comes with an LED light fixture and the Tetra Whisper 3i Internal Filter. This is a pretty cheap filter that may not last a long time. We also find it to be somewhat noisy (unlike the name would imply). However, this fish tank kit does not include a heater. Gravel and ornaments are also not included.
This small aquarium is best suited for keeping shrimp, small tropical fish, or even a frog. Beware that the filter on this tank has been known to suck up an injure Bettas so we would recommend caution if you’re thinking about getting this tank for a Betta.
Bottom line, this is a good starter aquarium for the home, office, or classroom. It has an attractive design and a relatively cheap price. However, this also means that that you are not getting a top-of-the-line fish tank so don’t expect perfections!
MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light
The Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium comes in either a 3- or 5-gallon size mounted on a black pedestal with a built-in filter and LED light rail. The glass canopy on top provides easy access for feeding.
The internal 3-stage filter system with mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration will help keep your water crystal clear. The filter is hidden in the back wall of the aquarium. Inside the filter is a water pump for circulation. The filter uses Rite Size Z filter cartridges, also available on Amazon. These filter cartridges remove particulate matter, colors and odors. The filter also includes Bio-foam to help in biological filtration.
The aquarium also does not come with a heater, which is necessary for keeping tropical fish.
Blue and white LEDs are mounted in the attached light rail. The lights can be switched from white, to blue or both. The blue LEDS enhance the colors of fish, plastic plants, gravel and ornaments. It also creates a relaxing moonlight effect.
The Marineland Silhoutte aquarium is best suited for small freshwater fish, shrimp, a frog, or a betta.
Bottom line, this is a very stylish tank at a bargain price considering all the features (i.e. glass tank, high-quality filter, LED lighting, and pedestal). This is one of our top-picks in the small fish tank category!
Fluval Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit
The Fluval EVO V is designed for keeping marine fish, reef invertebrates, and coral. The aquarium is constructed of glass with a volume of 5 gallons. This puts the Evo V in the nano aquarium class of marine aquariums.
The aquarium kit comes with a bright 11000K high-output LED light encased in a sleek aluminum housing that is a blend of white and blue LED lights. The LED light is designed for saltwater corals but is not compatible for freshwater plants.
The 3-stage filtration system (mechanical, biological and chemical filtration) is mounted inside the aquarium to one side of the tank. The black honeycomb pattern helps the filter box blend in. The filter has a relatively large area for adding filter media. It comes with a Fluval foam filter block with handle that makes maintenance easy. The filter also comes with Fluval Biomax bio media and activated carbon for clear water.
The Fluval Evo V is best suited for small reef fish and soft corals. Large and small polyp stony corals will require better lighting and a protein skimmer. You’ll also need to add a submersible heater to maintain a steady water temperature.
Overall this is a great starter small saltwater aquarium kit with an attractive design and a super-clear glass. While the price may seem high, you really get what you pay for with this small fish tank.
Hygger Horizon 8 Gallon LED Glass Aquarium Kit
The Hygger Horizon Aquarium measures 19″ L x 11.8″ W x 9.6″ H, which still makes it small enough to fit on most desktops. This small fish tank features a curved front which widens the view of the aquarium. While it is a 8-gallon tank it only holds 6-gallons of water because of the detachable 3D rockwork background. When it is full of water and has a layer of gravel, the tank as a whole will weigh around 70-75 pounds. The tank has a cushion pad on the bottom to prevent scratches.
The tank includes a 7W 110GPH internal power filter pump with adjustable water flow and 2 rain showers that add a nice water noise. The 3D rockwork background also has a hole specially cut out for the filter.
Also included is an 18W white+red+blue LED lighting system with an external digital controller. The controller has a timer that can be set for 3-,6-, or 12-hour increments, can adjust the brightness from 10% to 100%, and has 3 light modes. The different light modes will really highlight the colors of your aquarium while also allowing you to simulate both daytime and nighttime conditions.
Bottom line, we really like this tank! It is very attractive – especially with the curved front and 3D rock background – and comes with a lot of great features for the money.
Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit
The Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit falls into the Pico aquarium category. It holds just 2.7 gallons of water and measures 10 inches high by 8 inches wide and 9 inches long. Its small size means this aquarium will fit just about anywhere.
The smooth bent-glass design has sleek, attractive curves and gives the aquarium a modern look. The glass is 1/8” think which is structurally sound for under 3 gallons of water weight. However, the thin glass may not be suitable for a room with children throwing toys or in high-traffic areas. The clear plastic lid is hinged for easy access to care for the aquarium.
The kit comes with a small Cascade 20 hang-on-back power filter specially made for a Pico-sized aquariums. The filter uses replaceable filter cartridges to keep the water clear. The Vertex aquarium kit also comes with a stick on thermometer to monitor the water temperature and fish net.
The Vertex desktop Aquarium Kit does not come with a heater, which is required for keeping tropical fish. The Tetra HT submersible heater with digital thermostat, available on Amazon, is recommended for this aquarium. This 50-watt heater will make this aquarium suitable for small tropical fish and freshwater shrimp.
The kit also does not include a light, meaning you’ll have to select your own if you want to illuminate the aquarium. There are also no gravel or ornaments are included with this aquarium kit.
Bottom line, this is a high-quality tank that would make a great desktop fish tank for an office or home. We would recommend stocking this tank with a single Betta, nano shrimp, or some small tropical fish.
Seapora Rimless Cube Aquarium
Rimless glass aquariums are very popular with nano aquarium enthusiasts. The special high clarity glass gives the cube a crystal appearance and makes viewing fish, plants, and other aquatic live enjoyable. The Seapora Rimless Cube measures 10″ x 10″ x 10″, holds 4-gallon, and comes with a nice black impact mat to prevent scratches.
The rimless aquarium does not come with a filter, heater or lighting system. This rimless cube aquarium is intended for DIY nano tank enthusiasts who want to design their own aquarium system from scratch. The crystal clear, rimless design is just a starting point. Many types of filters and lighting systems are available from other manufactures to choose from, depending on budget and whether you want to keep corals, live plants or just fish.
Our Top Picks in the small fish tank category
All of these aquariums would make a great small fish tank for your home, office, or desktop. Your choice will depending upon your particular situation and budget. We’ve put together our top-picks below.
Best Budget Small Aquarium: If you’re looking for a budget aquarium for a few freshwater tropical fish or a betta, the Tetra Aquarium Cube is a comprehensive kit that is hard to beat. This small fish tank will fit just about anywhere. Just add a heater and you’re ready to go!
Best Overall Small Aquarium: For a higher-end appearance, we really like the MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit the sleek contoured glass, the black pedestal, and the built-in light rail give this small aquarium a very modern look. Add in a high-quality filter and this aquarium is our top-pick in the small fish tank category. It’s hard to beat this total package for the money.
Best Small Reef Aquarium: If you’re looking for a small reef aquarium, then we would recommend the Fluval EVO V . This tank comes with just about everything you’ll need to get started. It’s designed specifically for marine and reef keeping, especially soft corals.
Let us know in the comments which one is your favourite or if you have any other small tanks that you like!