If you’re new to the world of fishkeeping, you may be overwhelmed by the number of products on the market, which seem to change on an almost daily basis.
One of the best places to start is with an aquarium kit—the most cost-efficient way to get all or most of the products you’ll need to start without 10 trips to the pet store.
But not all aquarium kits are created equal! We’ve compiled reviews of our favorite aquarium kits, including our best overall pick, best value pick, and best premium kit.
A Comparison of Our Favorites for 2023
|Best Overall||Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Aquarium Kit||
|Best Value||Koller Products Tropical Aquarium Starter Kit||
|Premium Choice||Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit||
|Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit||
|Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit||
The 10 Best Fish Tanks for Beginners
1. Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Aquarium Kit – Best Overall
The Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon kit is our pick for the best overall aquarium kit for beginners. This 3-gallon tank is lightweight acrylic and features 180-degrees of seamless views at a reasonable price point. Acrylic is much lighter and clearer than glass and it does not have the visual distortion sometimes seen with glass tanks. The tank measures just over 12 inches at the longest point and the half-moon shape means the tank can conveniently sit flush against a wall.
This kit comes with a filter, filter cartridge, lid, air pump and tubing, and submersible air curtain with built-in LED lights. The filter and air curtain ensure adequate filtration and oxygenation while the lights automatically rotate through a rainbow of colors. The lights and bubbles together create a lovely effect and if you have the space, this tank can be a calming addition to a workspace. The lid is clear plastic and features a small, open feeding window.
The size of this tank makes it perfect for beginners who are interested in keeping goldfish, bettas, or small fish like guppies and tetras. For goldfish, this tank can comfortably hold 1-3 small fish but may require frequent water changes.
2. Koller Products Tropical Aquarium Starter Kit – Best Value
The Koller Products Tropical Aquarium kit is the best aquarium starter kit for new fishkeepers for the money because of its low price point and energy efficiency. It is available in 2-, 3-, and 6-gallon kits. This tank includes 360-degree seamless viewing of your fish through clear, lightweight plastic that is designed to be impact-resistant. At its widest, the 3-gallon tank is just over 10 inches wide and almost 15 inches tall.
This kit includes a low-profile, black hood with built-in color-changing LED lights. The lights can be set to one of 7 available colors or can be allowed to rotate through its colors. The hood is heavy enough to deter most other pets from attempting to open the tank. The included filter sits on the tank through a pre-cut notch, allowing the lid to close fully.
Since this kit is available in three sizes, it is a good option for new fishkeepers of many types of fish, including goldfish, Corydoras, tetras, and bettas. Goldfish may outgrow the 2- and 3-gallon tanks quickly, but the 6-gallon design allows room to grow before needing to graduate to a larger tank.
3. Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit – Premium Choice
The Fluval Spec Aquarium kit is our favorite premium aquarium kit for beginners. The design is sleek and can be an artistic addition to many types of spaces, including offices, kitchens, and hallways. The 5-gallon glass tank measures 20.5” x 7.5” x 11.6” and features views from three sides and a clear, low-profile lid with a cut-out on top for ease of access.
The frame of the tank is edged with aluminum and the included over-arching light is aluminum wrapped. The LED light can be set to white or blue light, making it ideal for both day and night use. The white light can help stimulate plant growth. This kit includes a 3-stage filtration system, helping to improve water quality. The filter is hidden in a separate section at the back of the tank.
This 5-gallon design is large enough for many types of fish, but it’s an excellent option for small goldfish because goldfish often prefer long, narrow tanks. The high price point of this kit makes it more of an investment than many other kits.
4. Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit
If you have more space for a starter tank, the Aqueon LED Aquarium kit is a great place to start. This 10-gallon glass tank is approximately 20” x 10” x 12” and comes in a kit containing everything you need to get started except décor and fish.
This kit comes with a filter, filter cartridge, lid with built-in cool-toned LED lights, a heater, a stick-on thermometer, mesh fishnet, aquarium setup guide, and a sample of fish food and water conditioner. The filtration of this kit is somewhat strong, so may not be a good choice for poor swimmers like bettas and many invertebrates. The addition of a heater in this kit, which reaches up to 78˚F, makes it a great starting point for keeping a semi-tropical tank. In fact, the fish food sample in this kit is specifically for tropical fish!
The tank’s size means you can either start with more fish or give your fish adequate room to grow without having to upgrade to a larger tank for a long time, giving you plenty of time to get settled into the fishkeeping hobby. This set is a great price point for the number of items and size of tank you receive.
If you're new to the world of goldfish or are an experienced goldfish keeper that loves to learn more, we recommend you check out our best-selling book, The Truth About Goldfish, on Amazon.
From diagnosing illnesses and providing correct treatments to ensuring your goldies are happy with their setup and your maintenance, this book brings our blog to life in color and will help you to be the best goldfishkeeper you can be.
5. Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
The Marineland Portrait Glass Aquarium kit is a nice tank option if you have more space for height than length and can invest in a kit at a moderate price point. The tank measures approximately 11” x 11” x 17” and features three sides of viewing space with a black background on the back wall. This is a 5-gallon tank with rounded edges and an included base.
The kit has a filter with 3-stage filtration, all hidden behind the back of the tank, keeping the filter setup out of sight. The LED light can be set to white for daylight or blue for moonlight. The light is hinged so it can easily be moved out of the way to access the tank. The unique tank lid is made of glass that slides on and off instead of having to be lifted from the tank.
6. GloFish 29236 Aquarium Kit
The GloFish Aquarium kit is a good, low price point choice for smaller fish and invertebrates. The kit comes in 1.5- and 3-gallon options and is made from plastic with a clear plastic tank hood. The 1.5-gallon tank measures 7.25” x 8.5” x 11.5” and sits on a black pedestal base. The tank is made from seamless plastic and includes a solid black background.
This kit includes a 2-stage filtration system and an easy-access hood that opens on a hinge and has built-in LED lights. Like most GloFish tanks, it features blue LED lighting to bring out the bright colors of GloFish, but will also create the same effect with goldfish, guppies, tetras, bettas, and other types of colorful fish and invertebrates. This lighting effect makes this tank creates special interest and the tank is small enough to sit on a desk, in a hallway, or even a bathroom.
7. Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium Kit
The Hygger Horizon aquarium is an 8-gallon, curved front tank made of glass. The kit comes at a high price point, but the unique appearance of the tank will create an interesting conversation piece in your home. The kit measures 19” x 11.8” x 9.6”.
This kit includes an adjustable, removable LED light with different settings for colors, brightness, and time. The light adjusts up to 19 inches and can be used on another tank if you choose. The kit also includes a 2-stage filtration system with a waterfall-like output. The filter output combined with the overhead LED lighting creates a natural, pond-like appearance. The background of the tank features a built-in, faux rock wall.
This tank does not have a lid, so it may be a poor choice for homes with children and pets. Between the faux rock background and the open lid, this tank only holds around 6 gallons of water.
8. Marina Betta Starter Kit
The Marina Betta Starter kit is a ½-gallon plastic aquarium that measures approximately 6” x 6” x 6”. There are different background options to choose from and the tank sits on a raised base. The tank allows for three viewing sides and has rounded edges and a solid white lid.
This kit includes the tank with background, a small amount of gravel, betta food, and water conditioner. Due to the small size and lack of filtration, this aquarium is not a good option for fish long-term, although snails and other invertebrates may do well in it. Ensure anything you put in this aquarium does not require active filtration.
9. Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium
The Coralife Biocube is a tank with bells and whistles, and the price tag to match. It is available in 16- and 32-gallon sizes, both of which are a cube. The 32-gallon tank is approximately 21” x 21” x 21”. This tank is made of acrylic and features rounded edges and three seamless sides for viewing your fish.
This kit features a hinged hood with built-in LED lights that can be set on a day/night timer that also creates a 30-minute sunrise and sunset to avoid surprising your fish with bright light. The analog display makes setting the lights easy. This tank has a compact filtration system built into the back and can be used for freshwater or saltwater setups. The LED lights will support plant and coral growth.
Some reviewers of this product note that it has unexpectedly cracked without known damage and that the filter canister can be difficult to access. Replacement parts are available for this tank, but they are very expensive.
10. Penn Plax Betta Fish Tank
The Penn Plax Betta tank kit is a plastic, rectangular tank that measures approximately 8.5” x 6” x 9.5”. It features rounded edges and four sides for viewing your fish. It has a raised black base and clear hood. This kit includes a 3-stage filtration system, a filter pad, and a one-colored LED light built into the tank hood.
Some reviews mention difficulty getting the suction cups on the filter to stay stuck to the interior of the tank. The filtration does have a slow output, which makes this a good option for bettas, small fish like neon tetras, and invertebrates. However, this tank only holds 1.5 gallons of water, so it should not be a long-term solution for most fish. Many fish are happiest and live the longest with more space. This tank has minimal space for plants and décor to improve your fish’s comfort. For long-term use, this tank is best suited for small shrimps and snails.
Related Read: 15 Low-Maintenance Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Buyer’s Guide: Selecting Your First Tankmate
What aquarium kit do you think is best for you to get started in the world of fishkeeping? Fishkeeping is an exciting and rewarding hobby but can be overwhelming at times. These reviews will make it easier for you to find the perfect fish tank for beginners for your life.
The beautiful and fun Tetra ColorFusion Half Moon Aquarium Kit is our favorite overall aquarium kit, but we also found the Koller Products Tropical Aquarium Starter Kit to be a great value. If you’re in the market for something more expensive and artistic, then our premium kit pick, the Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit, is a great starting point for you!
Start by determining what kind of space you have available, what type of fish you want, and how many fish you want, then find the aquarium kit on this list that fits your needs best. You’ll be ready to bring your new fish home before you know it!
Featured Image Credit: Tide-Oo, Shutterstock