Best Aquarium Kits for Beginners

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If you love the idea of having a beautiful aquarium to admire in the comfort of your own home, you’re not alone! The aquarium hobby is becoming increasingly popular and it is a very beginner-friendly hobby if you take the time to research your options. When it comes to starting a beginner tank, the best place to start is with an aquarium kit. An aquarium kit comes not only with the tank itself but also with essential accessories to help you get started.

Not all aquarium kits come with absolutely everything you need, and some are better than others when it comes to the quality of the things included. To help you choose the best aquarium kit for your first tank, we’ve compiled a list of the best aquarium kits for beginners.

If you’re ready to start shopping for your first tank, congratulations! Starting a fish tank is an exciting thing, but you also need to reign in your excitement and think practically when it comes to choosing your tank and your equipment. To help you get the best start possible, consider one of our top picks for the best beginner aquarium kits below:

  1. Editor’s Pick: GloFish Aquarium Kit with LED Lighting

This LED Aquarium Kit from GloFish gives you the choice of five size options, the most popular being the 20-gallon sealed glass kit. It features a seamless design for optimal viewing and is equipped with powerful bright blue LEDs hidden away where the filter is located. All you need to supply is your choice of decorations and accessories and you’re good to go! There’s a reason this mini aquarium is a top-rated Amazon’s Choice product, and thousands of customer reviews attest to this easy-to-use beginner’s kit.

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2. Runner Up: Marina LED Aquarium Kit

This aquarium kit comes in three sizes – 5, 10, or 20 gallons – and comes with everything you need to get started. It comes with the Marina Slim clip-on filter that takes quick-change filter cartridges and it is equipped with an LED light fixture. It also includes essentials like fish food and water conditioner.

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3. Best for Betta: Marina CUBUS Glass Betta Kit

When you need just a corner of serenity to help you escape from the stresses of your life the Marina CUBUS Glass Betta Kit will bring that calming element to you without taking up much space. This 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 modern cube has been constructed with a small pedestal base to keep surfaces from being damaged. The .9-gallon aquarium has a built-in breathing hole so there is no need for a bubbler. The kit contains everything you need to keep your bettas in the stylish modern cube. It even includes an energy efficient flexible clip-on light with 3 powerful LED lights that will enhance the colors of your betta fish.  It is so compact and yet complete it makes the perfect gift for an office mate, as it will fit on a tiny corner of his desk, or for a child heading off to college so they can bring a dorm approved pet along.  

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4. Best Basic: Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit

Start your first tank simply with this 20-gallon aquarium kit. It comes with a 20-gallon glass tank with a low-profile LED full hood, a QuietFlow filter, and a 100W preset filter. This kit also comes with essentials like fish food, filter media, water conditioner, and a fish net.

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5. Best Design: MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit

You don’t necessarily need to go big with your first tank. If you decide to keep it small, choose from a 3-gallon or 5-gallon size in this stylish aquarium kit. It features an attractive modern design with an LED rail light for illumination. It also comes with a hidden 3-step filter with adjustable flow.

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6. Best for Kids: Koller Products Panaview 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit

View your fish from all angles with this panaview tank. It comes with energy-efficient LED lighting as well as a powerful internal filter to keep your tank water clean and clear. This aquarium kit is made from impact-resistant plastic and offers crystal-clear clarity for optimal viewing.

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7. Best for Offices: Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit

Another small aquarium kit is this 2.6-gallon tank that comes with a powerful 3-stage filter and an LED lighting system. This aquarium features an etched-glass tank with aluminum trim and it comes with the filter media you need to get started.

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8. Best for Reefs: Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium

Perfect for reef tanks or marina nano tanks, this 32-gallon tank comes with a sleek modern hood and vibrant LED lighting. It comes with an integrated 24-hour timing with automatic sunrise and sunset settings as well as a compact built-in filter.

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9. Best All-In-One: Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit

Choose from four different sizes in this curved corner glass aquarium kit – 3.4, 5, 7.5, or 10 gallons. This kit comes with a high-quality glass tank as well as an LED light and cascade internal filter. All you need is fish and decorations!

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10. Best Unique: Tetra Bubbling LED Aquarium Kit

This compact aquarium kit features a unique hexagonal shape and is perfectly sized. Its clear canopy has a convenient hole making feeding time easy, and this is another great option for betta fish. If you’re looking for all the essentials for successful fish-keeping but are unsure where to start, this kit is ideal for beginners.

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Remember, choosing the right aquarium kit is only half the battle. You also need to take the time to research the basics about setting up and maintaining an aquarium. For example, if you’re wondering where in your home to put your aquarium, you might want to position it somewhere you can easily keep your eye on it. In the living room against a wall is a great suggestion, as long as it’s away from electrical cords and also direct sunlight (so as not to overheat the water and create algae). Fortunately, we have plenty of resources available to help you decide exactly what you need in your beginner’s kit.

When shopping for an aquarium kit, you need to think about a few things ahead of time. What size tank do you want? What type of inhabitants do you intend to keep? Are you looking for an all-in-one aquarium? The answers to these questions will help you shop smart for an aquarium kit.

Here are some general things to look for when you’re ready to start shopping:

  • Size of tank. Generally speaking, larger aquariums are easier to maintain than very small tanks because they’re less affected by subtle changes in water chemistry. A good beginner size is about 20 gallons.
  • Tank materials. Most aquariums are made from glass or acrylic, though some are made from plastic. Glass is more prone to breaking while acrylic is prone to scratching, so keep this in mind when deciding between sturdy materials.
  • Included equipment. Any aquarium needs a filter to thrive, but you can sometimes get away without a heater if you live in a very warm climate. Lighting is less essential for fish-only tanks and very important for planted tanks. To install equipment such as heaters that aren’t included in your kit, these should be positioned at the back of the tank or on the side walls (making sure to keep it away from the gravel or pebbles you may have at the bottom).
  • Quality of the product. It may be tempting to purchase the cheapest aquarium kit that meets your basic requirements, but keep in mind that cheap aquarium kits may not include high-quality equipment and you’ll end up spending more money down the line to replace it.

Some aquarium kits include essential pieces of equipment like filtration and lighting systems, while others come with décor elements and things like water conditioner or fish food. Depending on your needs, the best ones are usually the all-in-one kits that don’t require you to buy extra pieces to set up your aquarium.

Here are some specific features to look for when purchasing your aquarium kit:

  • Cover or Lid – Many aquarium fish have a tendency of jumping out of the tank, so make sure the aquarium kit you purchase comes with a cover or a lid.
  • Filtration System – Though not all aquarium kits come with an integrated filter, many do. Just make sure it offers 3-stage filtration (mechanical, chemical, and biological).
  • Heating – Many aquarium kits under 10 gallons don’t come with heaters, but some do so be sure to look for this piece of equipment.
  • Lighting System – In a 10-gallon tank or smaller you do not need a lot of lighting, but many aquarium kits come with light fixtures. LED lights are a great choice because they are bright but energy efficient.
  • Additional Accessories – On top of the tank itself and any starter equipment, look for an aquarium kit that comes with add-ons like decorations, water conditioner, or fish food.

Now that you have a better understanding of aquarium kits and why they can sometimes be a better option than purchasing everything separately, you’re ready to start shopping! Take what you’ve learned here and put it to use in choosing the best aquarium kit to suit your needs.