The Best Small Fish Tanks

The Best Small Fish Tanks: Our Top 5 Picks of 2019 Reviewed

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.

Best Small Fish Tanks

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 5 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.

Five Amazing Small Aquarium Compared

Name
Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit
Best Overall
MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit w/Rail Light
Seapora Rimless Cube Aquarium
Best Saltwater
Fluval Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit
Hygger Horizon Glass Aquarium Kit
Preview
Penn Plax Vertex Aquarium Kit for Fish and Shrimp with Filter, Thermometer, Desktop Size 2.7 Gallon
Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light, 3-Gallon
Seapora 52198 Rimless Cube Aquarium, 4 Gallon
Fluval 10528A1 Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit, 5 gal
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
Gallons
2.7 gal
Available in 3 gal & 5 gal
4 gal
5 gal
8 gal
Filtration
Hang-on-back Power Filter
Hidden 3-stage
N/A
Hidden 3-stage
7W 110GPH Internal Power Filter
Lighting
N/A
Adjustable LED
N/A
High-output 11000K LED
18W Adjustable LED
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
-
Name
Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit
Preview
Penn Plax Vertex Aquarium Kit for Fish and Shrimp with Filter, Thermometer, Desktop Size 2.7 Gallon
Gallons
2.7 gal
Filtration
Hang-on-back Power Filter
Lighting
N/A
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
-
More Information
Best Overall
Name
MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit w/Rail Light
Preview
Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light, 3-Gallon
Gallons
Available in 3 gal & 5 gal
Filtration
Hidden 3-stage
Lighting
Adjustable LED
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
More Information
Name
Seapora Rimless Cube Aquarium
Preview
Seapora 52198 Rimless Cube Aquarium, 4 Gallon
Gallons
4 gal
Filtration
N/A
Lighting
N/A
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
More Information
Best Saltwater
Name
Fluval Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit
Preview
Fluval 10528A1 Evo V Marine Aquarium Kit, 5 gal
Gallons
5 gal
Filtration
Hidden 3-stage
Lighting
High-output 11000K LED
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
More Information
Name
Hygger Horizon Glass Aquarium Kit
Preview
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
Gallons
8 gal
Filtration
7W 110GPH Internal Power Filter
Lighting
18W Adjustable LED
Customer Ratings
Prime Benefits
More Information

Last update on 2019-11-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Features to look for in a small desktop aquarium kit

best desktop aquarium
  • Size: The first consideration is size. Make sure the dimensions of the aquarium match the location where you want to place the tank. Be aware that water weighs about nine pounds per gallon. That means even a small 3-gallon aquarium will weigh at least 30 pounds in addition to the weight of any gravel, ornaments, filter, light, and the fish tank itself. Be sure the location where you plan to set-up your small aquarium will be able to safely support it.
  • Filter: Your aquarium will need a filtration system to keep the water clean and clear. Most nano and smaller aquarium kits include a built-in filter. A submersible water pump circulates water through the filter media and back into the aquarium. The filter also provides water circulation that helps oxygenate the water.
  • Heater: Freshwater tropical fish, marine fish, and reef invertebrates require warm water with a stable temperature. A heater will prevent the water temperature from falling too low. While goldfish thrive in cooler water, it’s a good idea to use a heater to reduce water temperature fluctuations. You may have to purchase a separate aquarium heater if the kit does not include one.
  • Lighting: Aquarium lighting will show-off your fish’s beautiful colors. It also highlights the aquarium gravel and ornaments. If you plan on keeping marine invertebrates like corals, you’ll need brighter “reef lighting.” Most live aquarium plants also don’t like dim lighting. Look for a small fish tank kit that comes with more than a minimal lighting system. Today’s aquarium kits almost always use modern LED lighting technology. LEDs run cooler, use less energy, and last for many years. The other benefit is that LED aquarium lighting can be customized for reef tanks containing corals and live freshwater plants.
  • Gravel and Ornaments: Most small aquarium kits don’t come with gravel and ornaments. That’s OK because it gives you the opportunity of selecting the color and type of gravel you want. There are also thousands of live plants and ornaments to choose from, so you’ll be able to create a truly one-of-a-kind fish tank!

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 5 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.

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 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 favorite or if you have any other small tanks that you like!


Everyone loves looking at an aquarium but not everyone has room for a large fish tank. We\'ve found and reviewed the 6 best small fish tanks of 2019. Each of these aquariums would make a great addition to any home, office, or desktop! These nano aquarium kits are beautifully designed and most of them come complete with everything you need to get started with your new aquarium hobby.