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 7 best saltwater aquariums in 2021. 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!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2022
The 7 Best Saltwater Aquariums Are:
1. Aqueon LED Fish Aquarium Starter Kit– Best Overall
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.
2. Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium – Best Value
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.
3. Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium– Premium Choice
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 hinged lid and 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.
4. Hygger Horizon LED Glass Aquarium
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 to. 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.
5. Fluval Sea Evo 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 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.
6. Landen Rimless Low Iron Aquarium
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, 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.
7. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium
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. This is a premium-priced product.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Pick the Best Saltwater Aquariums
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.