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Home > Fish > 9 Best Freshwater Aquariums in 2024 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

9 Best Freshwater Aquariums in 2024 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

yellow and blue fish in a fish tank

There are so many different aquariums of all shapes and sizes, and it can be challenging to narrow down your options, especially if you’re just starting out with aquarium keeping.

Choosing freshwater fish is a great way to get started because there are fewer factors to consider when caring for them. However, even if you narrow down your options to freshwater fish, there are still so many aquariums you could potentially buy.

So, we have reviews of some of the best and most popular aquariums currently available for purchase. We also have information on how to select a good aquarium for your freshwater fish. Here’s all you need to know before you buy an aquarium.

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A Quick Look at Our Favorites in 2024

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit
  • Relatively affordable
  • Comes with essential accessories
  • Great for beginners
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Tetra LED Cube Kit Fish Aquarium Tetra LED Cube Kit Fish Aquarium
  • Very affordable
  • Comes with LED light and filter
  • Great for beginners
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Lifegard Crystal Aquarium w/Side Filter Lifegard Crystal Aquarium w/Side Filter
  • Uses low-iron glass and invisible glue
  • Inconspicuous side filter
  • Sleek minimalist design
  • Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit
  • Clean and sleek design
  • Hides filter and pump
  • Comes with sleek LED light
  • Koller Products 360 View Aquarium Starter Kit Koller Products 360 View Aquarium Starter Kit
  • Completely unobstructed view of the tank
  • LED lamp with changing colors
  • Internal filter
  • The 9 Best Freshwater Aquariums

    1. Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit – Best Overall

    Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit

    Capacity: 10 gallons
    Dimensions: 22.88”W x 12.75”D x 13.88”H
    Material: Glass

    The Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit is the best overall freshwater aquarium because it’s a high-quality tank while still being relatively affordable. It’s difficult to find a 10-gallon tank around a similar price point that doesn’t compromise quality.

    The tank also comes with the basic essentials to start an aquarium, so it’s great for beginners. The kit comes with an LED hood, aquarium cover, filter, heater, thermometer, and fishnet. Just keep in mind that accessories aren’t the most advanced. So, you’ll eventually have to replace them, especially as you gain experience while caring for your fish.

    Pros
    • Relatively affordable
    • Comes with essential accessories
    • Great for beginners
    Cons
    • Accessories aren’t advanced

    2. Tetra LED Cube Kit Fish Aquarium – Best Value

    Tetra LED Cube Kit Fish Aquarium

    Capacity: 3 gallons
    Dimensions: 10.31”W x 11.06”D x 17.5”H
    Material: Plastic

    If you’re just starting out, it can be daunting to purchase an aquarium because it can get expensive very quickly. Fortunately, the Tetra LED Cube Kit Fish Aquarium is a great budget option and the best freshwater aquarium for the money you pay.

    Although it’s made with cheaper material, it’s a good kit that’ll help you get started. It also comes with an LED light and filter. The tank is suitable for just one or two fish at a time, but this is actually great for beginners that want to take good care of a few fish before advancing to a bigger tank with more fish.

    Pros
    • Very affordable
    • Comes with LED light and filter
    • Great for beginners
    Cons
    • Cheap material
    • Small size

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    From diagnosing illnesses and providing correct treatments to proper nutrition, tank maintenance and water quality advice, this book will help you to ensure your goldfish are happy and to be the best goldfish keeper you can be.


    3. Lifegard Crystal Aquarium w/ Side Filter – Premium Choice

    Lifegard Crystal Aquarium with Side Filter

    Capacity: 14 gallons
    Dimensions: 23.62”W x 11.81”D x 11.81”H
    Material: Glass

    The Lifegard Crystal Aquarium w/ Side Filter is a beautiful premium fish tank that has a sleek and minimalist design. It uses low-iron glass, and the edges are attached with invisible glue. This results in an extremely clear view of the tank. It also allows you to see the vibrant colors of your fish and any fun accessories that you put inside.

    The tank has an inconspicuous side filter that doesn’t stick out awkwardly, so you can easily place the aquarium anywhere in the house. However, it’s pretty heavy, so make sure that the surface can adequately support the tank after it’s filled with water, substrates, and accessories.

    Pros
    • Uses low-iron glass and invisible glue
    • Inconspicuous side filter
    • Sleek minimalist design
    Cons
    • Relatively heavy

    4. Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit

    Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit

    Capacity: 5 gallons
    Dimensions: 20.5”W x 11.6”D x 8.7”H
    Material: Glass

    The Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit is a substantial 5-gallon tank that provides a clear view and safe environment for your fish. It has a compartment that hides the filter and pump from view and a sleek LED light that makes the entire tank look clean and sophisticated.

    The tank is just 5 gallons, so it can hold one or two small fish. While it’s small, it fits perfectly on top of desks and small tables, making it a great ornamental tank. Overall, this aquarium kit contains everything you need to keep your fish healthy, so you just have to focus on decorating the inside and creating a fun home for your fish.

    Pros
    • Clean and sleek design
    • Hides filter and pump
    • Comes with sleek LED light
    Cons
    • Small size

    5. Koller Products 360 View Aquarium Starter Kit

    Koller Products Tropical 360 View Aquarium Starter Kit

    Capacity: 6 gallons
    Dimensions: 11.3”W x 11.3”D x 19.3”H
    Material: Plastic

    If you’re looking for a fun and decorative aquarium, the Koller Products Tropical 360 View Aquarium Starter Kit is a great option. Its round shape provides a completely unobstructed view of your aquarium, and it helps you keep an eye on your fish’s condition.

    The tank comes with a fun LED lamp that can change into seven different colors. It also has an internal filter, which eliminates the worry of trying to hide a bulky filter. The tank may be made with cheaper material, but this makes it extremely lightweight. So, it can safely rest on most surfaces. Since it doesn’t take up a lot of horizontal space, it can even be a good desk accessory.

    Pros
    • Completely unobstructed view of the tank
    • LED lamp with changing colors
    • Internal filter
    • Lightweight
    Cons
    • Made with plastic

    6. Marina LED Aquarium Kit

    Marina LED Aquarium Kit

    Capacity: 20 gallons
    Dimensions: 24”W x 12”D x 16.5”H
    Material: Glass

    The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is one of the more affordable options for larger aquarium kits. This 20-gallon tank is made with high-quality glass and provides a clear view of your fish and aquarium accessories. The tank is a great size if you’re interested in caring for small community fish.

    The kit includes an LED lamp that does a great job of mimicking sunlight and shines a nice natural light throughout your aquarium. Another notable accessory is the slim clip-on filter that mostly stays out of sight and is also very easy to replace. The kit also includes fish food, water conditioner, and biological supplements.

    While this aquarium kit comes with a lot of good basic essentials, it doesn’t come with a heater. So, it’s best for fish that are fine with colder water.

    Pros
    • Good for small community fish
    • LED lamp mimics natural sunlight
    • Slim clip-on filter
    Cons
    • No heater included

    7. Cobalt Aquatics Microvue Aquarium Kit

    Cobalt Aquatics Microvue 30 Aquarium Kit

    Capacity: 8 gallons
    Dimensions: 11.5”W x 11.5”D x 14”H
    Material: Glass

    The Cobalt Aquatics Microvue 360 Aquarium Kit is an ideal choice for small freshwater fish. It’s made with glass that doesn’t affect how you see colors, and the edges are connected with a clear silicone sealant that creates a minimally obstructed view of the tank.

    The kit includes a 6-watt LED lamp and an internal filter. It’s very fast and easy to set up, so you can have new fish ready to settle inside relatively quickly. The fish that are best suited for this tank are betta fish, guppies, and small goldfish. It’s not a good option for any fish or marine animals that can jump or crawl out because there’s no lid that will keep them contained.

    Pros
    • Very clear glass and silicone sealant
    • Includes LED lamp and filter
    • Easy setup
    Cons
    • No lid included

    8. GloFish Aquarium Kit

    GloFish Aquarium Kit

    Capacity: 5 gallons
    Dimensions: 11” W x 11” D x 16.25” H
    Material: Glass

    The GloFish Aquarium Kit is a great basic kit with a low-maintenance tank for low-maintenance fish. It’s a great size for betta fish, neon tetras, and other small freshwater fish.

    The kit comes with a filter cartridge and LED lighting system. The light has a combination of blue and white lights that make your fish and tank accessories look more fluorescent and vibrant.

    The entire back of the tank is black, so you don’t have a completely unobstructed view. However, the black backdrop does help your aquarium look cleaner and make plants and corals stand out well.

    Pros
    • Easy setup
    • Unique LED lighting system
    • Easy to spot fish
    Cons
    • Doesn’t provide a completely unobstructed view

    9. Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit

    Marineland Portrait Blade Light Aquarium Kit

    Capacity: 5 gallons
    Dimensions: 11.81” W x 11.62 D x 17.05” H
    Material: Glass

    The Marineland Portrait Blade Light Aquarium Kit contains a sleek tank that’s great for displaying all your fish and aquarium accessories. Even though this tank is on the smaller side, it’s pretty heavy. However, it still has some great features that make it a great display tank.

    The kit contains a LED lamp that switches from blue to white to provide fun and different ambiances to your tank. The tank also has a sliding glass canopy so it keeps your fish safely inside and also enables you to easily feed your fish. It also contains a hidden filtration system and pump, so the overall display looks clean and tidy.

    Pros
    • Sleek and clean appearance
    • LED light switches colors
    • Sliding glass canopy makes feeding easy
    Cons
    • Relatively heavy
    • Tank size runs on the smaller side

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    Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Freshwater Aquarium

    Finding the right aquarium can be difficult and challenging, especially for beginners. There are many things you have to consider before bringing any new fish home. Along with doing your own research on the species of fish you’re interested in purchasing, you’ll have to make sure you can set up a tank that will help them thrive.

    Here are some factors to consider when looking for a new aquarium tank.

    Capacity

    The general rule for selecting tank size is to add a gallon to every inch of fish that you have. So, if you have two fish that are 2 inches long, you’ll want a tank that’s at least 4 gallons.

    However, these rules don’t apply if your fish species is particularly active and requires a lot of room to swim. So, it’s best to determine the type of fish you want first before purchasing a tank.

    Shape

    Tanks come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are tall and cylindrical while others are stouter and wider. In general, wide aquariums are the most ideal for fish. They provide enough space for fish to swim without fighting for space, and they also have better oxygen flow.

    Material

    Most tanks are either made out of glass or acrylic. The benefit of glass is that it’s usually more affordable and scratch-resistant. It also provides the clearest view of your aquarium.

    Acrylic is lighter than glass and more durable, and you can also make quick repairs. However, it can yellow and get cloudy over time.

    Koi in aquarium tank
    Image by: soohyun kim, Shutterstock

    Accessories

    Many aquariums come with some accessories, such as water filters and LED lights. Most of these accessories are suitable for beginners who are just starting and learning a lot. However, as you gain experience, you’ll notice that you’ll most likely have to upgrade these accessories.

    So, aquarium kits with many accessories are great for beginners but not so great for more advanced aquarists.

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    Conclusion

    Overall, the Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit is the best freshwater aquarium because it’s durable and also comes with useful accessories for beginners. The Lifegard Crystal Aquarium w/ Side Filter is a great investment for more advanced aquarists because it uses high-quality materials and is more expensive than basic tanks.

    It’s important to take your time selecting an aquarium because it’s difficult to replace once your fish move in. However, it’ll be worth your time because the right tank will help you have an easier time caring for your fish successfully.


    Featured Image Credit: Alexander AV3RKIN, Unsplash

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