Everyone loves looking at an aquarium. The beauty of colorful fish and swaying plants is captivating.
However, not everyone has room for a large aquarium.
But there’s good news! You don’t have to have a large home or office to enjoy a nice looking aquarium.
Today’s nano and small sized aquariums are beautifully designed and fit into any décor.
They look great on the desktop, living room, child’s bedroom and even the office.
Even better, 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, relax!
Most small aquariums come complete with everything you need.
If you are willing to set up your small tank on your own, you may want to check out this article where we drive you through the basic process.
But if you want a complete kit, just keep reading!
Six Amazing Small Aquarium Compared
|Tetra LED Cube Shaped||3 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
|Fluval 10528A1 Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit||5 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
|Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit||2.7 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
|MarineLand Silhouette||3 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
|Ultum Nature Systems 20C Clear Rimless Cube||Available from 2.1 GL to 7.1 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
|Vepotek AQUARIUM FISH TANK NANO Kit||4 GL||Check it out on Amazon|
Features to look for in a small desktop aquarium kit
Top small and nano aquariums
Shopping for your first aquarium can be a bit overwhelming.
No worries! We took a close look at six of the top small aquarium kits.
Our review will list all the features and benefits that are important in selecting the right desktop aquarium for your needs.
Tetra LED Aquarium Cube 3
The Tetra Aquarium Cube is a three-gallon aquarium with 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 plastic.
Care must be taken when cleaning the inside and outside of the tank.
Plastic will scratch if aggressive algae scrubbing pads are used. A soft cloth is recommended.
The aquarium comes with a LED light fixture and Whisper 3i internal filter but does not include a heater.
Gravel and ornaments are not included.
This aquarium is best suited for shrimp, small tropical fish, a frog or a betta. Measures 10″L x 10″W x 10.5″H.
It is a great starter aquarium for the home, office or classroom with attractive design
Fluval Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit
The Fluval EVO V is designed for keeping marine fish and reef invertebrates.
The aquarium is constructed of glass with a volume of five gallons.
This puts the Evo 5 in the nano aquarium class of marine aquariums.
The aquarium kit comes with a bright light encased in a sleek aluminum housing that is a blend of white and blue LEDS. 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 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 need to add a submersible heater to maintain a steady water temperature.
Overall a great basic saltwater aquarium with an attractive design and a super-clear glass.
Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit
The Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit falls into the Pico category.
It holds just 2.7 gallons of water.
Measuring 10 inches high by 8 inches wide and 9 inches long, the aquarium will fit just about anywhere due to its small size.
The smooth, bent glass design has sleek, attractive curves, giving the aquarium a modern look.
The glass is 1/8” think which is structurally sound for under three gallons of water weight.
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 power filter, made for a Pico-sized aquarium. The filter uses replaceable filter cartridges to keep the water clear.
The Vertex aquarium kit comes with a stick on thermometer to monitor the water temperature.
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.
The 50-watt heater will make this aquarium suitable for small tropical fish and freshwater shrimp.
The kit does not include a light, meaning you’ll have to select your own if you want to illuminate the aquarium.
A small fish net is included with the kit. No gravel or ornaments are included with this aquarium kit.
Marineland Silhouette Glass 3-Gallon LED Aquarium Kit
The Marineland Silhouette is a three-gallon aquarium with a twist.
The aquarium is a standard glass cube, mounted inside a black, curved frame.
The aquarium uses traditional aquarium construction including clear silicone sealer on all corners.
The frame acts as a black background and serves to break up the boxy aquarium.
An internal filter system covers 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 does not come with a heater, which is necessary for keeping tropical fish.
The hinged lid reduces water loss from evaporation and makes cleaning easy.
Blue and white LEDs are mounted in the black, curved “silhouette” frame.
The lights can be switched from white, to blue or both. The blue LEDS enhance dayglo colors of GloFish, 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 betta.
The aquarium measures 14.1” L x 13.6” W x 12.2” H.
Ultum Nature Systems 20C Clear Rimless Cube
Rimless glass aquariums are very popular with nano aquarium enthusiasts.
The beveled glass edges make the appear to be made from a single piece of glass.
The Ultum Nature System rimless cube aquariums feature 45-degree beveled edges. The mitered edges are sealed with high-quality German silicone for super strength.
The special high clarity glass gives the cube a crystal appearance and makes viewing fish, plants and other aquatic live enjoyable.
The 2.1-gallon cube measures only 7.9 x 7.9 x 7.9 inches.
Ultum Nature Systems offers rimless cube tanks in 2.9, 4.1 and 7.1 gallon sizes also.
Each aquarium comes with a nano-foam leveling pad. The pad is placed in between the aquarium and stand, providing a smooth, level surface that reduces stress on the aquarium.
The rimless aquarium does not come with a filter, heater or lighting system.
Ultum rimless cube aquariums are intended for DIY nano tank enthusiasts who want to design their own aquarium system.
The crystal clear, rimless design is 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.
Vepotek Nano Aquarium Kit
The Vepotek nano aquarium has a four-gallon capacity in a cube configuration.
The glass aquarium uses traditional square edges with clear silicon sealer.
The aquarium is reinforced with a plastic base and plastic tabs and the top of the tank.
The tabs slip over the corners of the glass and provide structural support.
The kit does not include a lid. Some fish, like hatchets and other “jumpy” species will require a piece of glass to cover the aquarium.
A clip-on LED light is included in the kit. The light is programable and provides white and blue light.
An internal filter provides water movement and filtration. The filter mounts to the glass with suction cups. It has an adjustable flow rate.
The spray bar will agitate the surface of the water for aeration.
The filter can also be placed completely submerged under water.
The submersible filter has a filter sponge that removes particulate matter. No activated carbon is included in the filter.
The Vepotek nano aquarium kit does not include a heater.
The small aquarium is ideal for a beta tank or a few small tropical fish, provided a heater is added to the aquarium.
The LED light has not enough power for keeping marine invertebrates like corals and clams.
Low-light live plants can be kept in the aquarium.
No gravel or ornaments are included with this aquarium kit. The Vepotek nano aquarium measures 10” x 10.5” x 10”.
All of these aquariums provide an easy way to set-up a small tank. If your desire is to have a small reef aquarium, the Fluval EVO V has just about everything you’ll need to get started.
It’s designed specifically for marine and reef keeping, especially soft corals.
If you’re looking for a budget aquarium for a few freshwater tropical fish or a betta, the Tetra Aquarium Cube is a small tank that will fit anywhere. Just add a heater and you’re ready to go!
For a higher-end appearance, the Vertex Desktop Aquarium has sleek, bent glass for a modern aquarium look.
Let us know in the comments which one is your favourite or if you have any other small tank.