Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

7 Best Saltwater Aquariums in 2024 – Reviews & Top Picks

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

Fluval Sea Evo V Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit feat Saltwater aquariums can be an intimidating thing because of the additional care and maintenance they require over freshwater tanks. If you’ve been looking into what it takes to set up and run a saltwater aquarium, you may have also started looking into saltwater aquariums.

To help decrease how intimidating and confusing starting up a saltwater aquarium for the first time can be, we’ve put together reviews of the best saltwater aquariums this year. Whether you’re looking for an entire tank setup or just a tank with no equipment, there’s something here to meet your needs. Setting up a saltwater aquarium should be a fun learning experience, not an overwhelming experience!

aquarium plant divider

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2024

Rating Image Product Details
Best Overall
Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit
  • Holds 10 gallons of water
  • Low-profile hood
  • Includes filter with LED filter-change alert
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium
  • Holds 20 gallons of water
  • Low-profile hood
  • Built-in color-changing LED light
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium
  • Available in 16 and 32-gallon sizes
  • Rounded corners provide a modern look
  • Hinged lid with built-in LEDs
  • Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium
  • Futuristic
  • sleek look with bowfront
  • Holds 6 gallons of water
  • Hidden filter slot
  • Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit
  • Modern design
  • Includes 3-stage filtration system
  • Touch operated LED light
  • The 7 Best Saltwater Aquariums

    1. Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit– Best Overall

    Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit

    The best overall saltwater aquarium is the Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit because it’s a comprehensive kit to get you started with a small saltwater tank. This tank holds 10 gallons of water and includes a low-profile hood.

    This kit includes an Aqueon QuietFlow LED Pro Power Filter which has an LED light that alerts when it’s time to clean or change the filter cartridge. It also includes your first filter cartridge, a 50-watt heater preset to 78˚F, a stick-on thermometer, and samples of water conditioner and tropical fish flake food. The plastic hood has a built-in LED light with cool lighting.

    This kit is intended to be a starter kit, so all of the included equipment is basic and easy to use. You may need to upgrade the equipment as time goes on, but if your tank is not overstocked and your fish and plants do not have specific filtration or current strength needs, then this kit may keep you going for a long time. The LED light cannot be replaced once it burns out.

    • Holds 10 gallons of water
    • Low-profile hood
    • Includes filter with LED filter-change alert and first filter cartridge
    • Includes heater, thermometer, net, and samples
    • Hood has built-in cool-toned LED light
    • Includes everything needed to get started
    • Heater is preset and cannot be adjusted
    • LED light cannot be replaced

    2. Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium – Best Value

    Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit

    For the best saltwater aquarium for the money, the Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium is a great value. This tank is made from glass and holds 20 gallons of water. This kit includes a low-profile hood.

    The hood of this aquarium has a built-in LED light with multiple colored lighting options. The kit includes a Tetra Whisper 20 Filter, filter media, a fish net, a sample of Tetra AquaSafe, a preset heater, two fake plant multipacks, a fake blooming anemone, and a guide to setting up a successful tank.

    This is a comprehensive kit of basic supplies that may need to be replaced if your tank has specific needs with water flow or temperature. The LED light is built into the tank hood and cannot be replaced.

    • Holds 20 gallons of water
    • Low-profile hood
    • Includes filter and filter media
    • Includes heater, fish net, success guide, and samples
    • Built-in color-changing LED light
    • Includes everything needed to get started
    • Heater is preset
    • LED light cannot be replaced
    • Fake plants are not a good option for some fish

    3. Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium– Premium Choice

    Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium

    The Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium is the premium choice for saltwater aquariums because it carries a premium price tag but also includes a lot of features. This tank is available in 16- and 32-gallon sizes. This tank is made from glass with rounded corners on the front.

    This tank kit includes a tank with a hinged lid and a built-in LED light. The hood features a digital display for easy setting of the LED light, which can be set to white, blue, or color-enhancing, which is a combination of red, blue, and green. The LED light also has built-in 30-minute sunrise and 60-minute moonrise settings to help replicate a natural day/night cycle. This tank includes hidden chambers in the back for filtration equipment and comes with a submersible pump, dual intakes, and adjustable return nozzles.

    Biocubes are made to use consistent products, so all Biocube accessories will fit this tank model. The LED lights in the hood are made to last a long time but can be replaced if needed or if your tank needs higher lighting than what the default product provides.

    • Available in 16 and 32-gallon sizes
    • Rounded corners provide a modern look
    • Hinged lid with built-in LEDs
    • Digital display for setting lights to white, blue, or color-enhancing
    • Preset sunrise and moonrise for the day/night cycle
    • Kit includes hidden filter chambers, a submersible pump, dual intakes, and adjustable returns
    • All Biocube accessories will fit
    • Premium price
    • LEDs may not be strong enough for corals
    • Built-in filtration chambers mean you are limited in customization

    4. Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium

    Hygger Horizon 8 Gallon LED Glass Aquarium Kit

    The Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium is an 8-gallon bowfront aquarium with a futuristic, sleek look. There is not a hood for this aquarium, but the glass tapers upward so the opening to the tank is not as wide as the full width of the tank.

    This tank kit includes built-in faux rocks that can be used to attach mosses and other plants. The rocks do take up some tank space, so this tank actually holds around 6 gallons of water. The kit also includes a hidden filter slot with a 2-stage filtration system that can be used with water levels as low as 2 gallons. It also includes a non-mounted LED light with extendable brackets up to 19 inches. The LED can be set to white, blue, or blue, white, and red. There is an attached controller that allows you to make adjustments to the light, including the brightness and the length of time the light stays on.

    The filter included with this kit may be too strong for small fish or fish that prefer slow currents, like bettas. It is also not suitable for fry or shrimp.

    • Futuristic, sleek look with bowfront
    • Faux rocks that can be used to grow mosses and other plants
    • Holds 6 gallons of water
    • Hidden filter slot
    • Filtration system can be run with as little as 2 gallons in the tank
    • Removable LED light with brackets up to 19 inches
    • Attached controller adjusts light color and timing
    • Faux rocks are not detachable
    • No hood
    • Filter is too strong for fry, shrimp, and fish that prefer slow currents
    • 8-gallon tank but only holds 6 gallons of water

    5. Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit

    Fluval Sea Evo V Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit

    The Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit is a high-quality glass tank available in 5-gallon and 13.5-gallon options. This tank includes an aquarium hood with built-in LED light and an easy feeding door.

    This tank has clean lines and a honeycomb pattern to hide the waterline and the enclosed filter compartment. The filter compartment is made to be easy to access. This kit includes a 3-stage filtration system with filter media. The LED light is touch operated and has daytime and nighttime settings. This kit is made with the intention of serving as a saltwater tank and the LED light is bright enough to encourage coral and plant growth.

    This kit does not include a heater. The LED light is made to be waterproof but can have some waterproofing issues. The tank itself is long and narrow and while it is intended for countertop use, the 13.5-gallon tank is too large for many countertops.

    • Two sizes available
    • Includes hood with built-in LED light and feeding door
    • Modern design
    • Includes 3-stage filtration system in a hidden compartment
    • Touch-operated LED light with daytime and nighttime settings
    • LED light is bright enough for corals
    • Filter compartment allows for minimal customization
    • Does not include heater
    • LED light can have waterproofing problems
    • Too large for many countertops
    • Premium price

    6. Landen Rimless Low Iron Aquarium

    Landen 60P 17.1 Gallon Rimless Low

    The Landen Rimless Low Iron Aquarium is a rimless, glass aquarium that is available in five sizes. This tank is made from low iron aquarium glass, which means it has a higher clarity level than other types of glass. This glass is 6 millimeters thick and has 91% clarity.

    This tank does not include any equipment for tank setup, but it does come with a foam leveling mat. Keeping tanks level is important but keeping rimless tanks level is especially important since they are held together only by aquarium glue or silicone and do not have a rim to support the glass. This tank has the Landen logo on the front of it, but it can easily be removed with a razor blade or scraper.

    • Available in 5 sizes
    • Glass is 6mm thick and has 91% clarity
    • Includes foam leveling mat
    • Clean, attractive look
    • Does not include equipment
    • No hood
    • Rimless so needs to be kept extremely level
    • Landen logo on the glass
    • Premium price

    7. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium

    SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo

    The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is made of sturdy acrylic and is available in multiple sizes, from 15–50 gallons, and at least three shapes. Acrylic is clearer than glass and considerably lighter. This tank is made with “invisible” seams, providing a clean look with ultra-high clarity. Acrylic is shatterproof but is still able to crack. It is also available with two reflector colors, black and cobalt, and clear-backed.

    An aquarium light fixture is included with the tank, but a bulb is not included with the light. This tank does not have a hood and no other equipment is included with this tank. Also, this is a premium-priced product.

    • Available in multiple sizes and shapes
    • Ultra-clear acrylic with invisible seams
    • Shatterproof
    • Three backings available
    • Acrylic is able to crack and chip
    • Light fixture does not include a lightbulb
    • No hood
    • No other equipment included
    • Premium price

    Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Saltwater Aquariums

    • Your Intended Purpose: What you’re wanting to use your saltwater aquarium for should be one of your top considerations when it comes to picking one. If you intend to install a reef, then you may want to choose a different size or shape tank than you would for a tank full of schooling fish.
    • Size: How many items or animals you’re wanting to put into your tank should have a direct impact on the size of the tank you choose. If you want a lot of fish or intend to get fish that require a large amount of space to stay healthy and stress-free, then you’ll want a large enough tank to house them. A nano saltwater tank is possible, but it does limit the number of fish, plants, or décor you can put into the tank.
    • Included Equipment: You can find saltwater tanks sold individually or sold as a kit that includes everything you need to get started. Some people are comfortable choosing the products they will need to get a tank set up and running, while other people are far more comfortable having all the equipment needed included with the tank, so nothing gets left out. You can pick whichever you prefer, and everything in between. Many tanks and tank kits include lighting, but corals and some plants will require higher lighting than what is usually included as the default for included lights.
    • Replaceable Parts: How long you intend to keep your tank can help you decide which tank to choose. Some tanks have parts and equipment that can be replaced if they break or stop working. Filters, heaters, thermometers, and filter media are usually replaceable parts. Some lights are built into tank hoods and are not able to be replaced, which means the entire tank or hood will require replacement. However, LED lights are intended to last upwards of a decade, so this should not be an issue with an LED lighting setup. That is assuming, though, that the light or hood doesn’t become damaged by water or rough handling, in which case it may require a full replacement.
    • Customization: Some tanks have built-in sump setups that allow for customization of filter media while others do not have space for customization. How much customization power you want in your tank will help you choose a product. A tank with a built-in reflector or décor will give you less space for full customization of the tank while a tank that is more of a “blank slate” will allow you to set the tank up however you envisioned your tank being set up.
    Glass or Acrylic? What You Need to Know:
    • Glass: Glass is the classic material for aquariums due to its strength and sturdiness. Glass is prone to chipping and will crack or shatter if dropped, but it is able to withstand many hundreds of pounds of water pressure. It is resistant to scratches and can be repaired if cracks or chips occur. Glass aquariums are usually held together at the seams by aquarium silicone, which can be stripped and replaced to maintain the integrity of the tank. If the seams are cared for, glass will last a lifetime. However, glass is heavy and cracks, and even when repaired, this will permanently damage the integrity of the glass itself. Glass also can create some visual distortion, especially when attempting to view water through it. Many manufacturers have begun making tanks with low iron glass, which is usually 91% clear or more and decreases the visual distortion commonly seen with glass.
    • Acrylic: Acrylic is a strong type of plastic that is shatterproof and less resistant to chipping and cracking than glass. Acrylic is clearer than glass and it doesn’t create the visual distortion frequently seen in aquarium glass. Acrylic also allows for unique tank shapes and sizes and can be made almost completely seamlessly. Acrylic is over 15 times lighter than glass. However, acrylic scratches easily and these scratches are usually not able to be buffed out like they often can with glass. Acrylic is more difficult to repair than glass, also.

    aquarium plant divider

    Final Verdict

    The sheer number of aquariums on the market can make finding the right tank for a saltwater aquarium extremely confusing. These reviews are intended to help you narrow down your list of options to the best products available, so you end up with a high-quality product you love.

    The best overall saltwater aquarium is the Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit because it’s a complete setup kit with everything you need to get started and it holds enough water to set up a nano reef. The best premium product is the Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium because it’s got everything you need to get started packed up in a high-quality, attractive product. If a high-value product is more within your price range, then the Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium includes everything you need for a great price.

    Once you get your new saltwater aquarium home, you’ll be able to focus on getting your new tank up and running so you can get your aquatic friends into it as soon as possible.

    Related Articles

    Further Reading

    Vet Articles

    Latest Vet Answers

    The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database