Here at the Strategist, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve written about everything you’ll need to start an aquarium — including one that’s ’80s-inspired — here we’ve rounded up the best fishbowls and aquariums, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
This five-gallon fish tank gets top marks for being easy to clean and relatively quiet with excellent lights. As one reviewer explains, “If you are looking for a beautiful 5-gallon tank that has a nice built-in filter and great lighting, look no further than this beauty.” Another reviewer calls this, “a beautiful aquarium for the price. In fact, I ordered another one because I loved the first one so much!!! For a small aquarium it has a big visual presence. I have a similar 10-gallon marine aquarium by a ‘bigger name’ and paid A LOT more for it because of the hidden filtration, but this little aquarium far surpasses that one.” There’s also a “false wall in the back that hides the filter and pump,” explains another reviewer, a feature that only adds to the aesthetics. Most reviewers mention this tank being ideal for a betta fish, although reviewers caution that the highest flow setting on the filter may be too strong, and the filter should be set to low before putting your betta in the tank. “Overall, the aquarium is well protected from the outside and there is no risk of fish jumping out or cats jumping in,” concludes one reviewer.
Best-rated (less expensive) fishbowl
“I was doubtful at first that it could look like the picture but darned if it doesn’t,” admits one satisfied customer, who adds, “Mine looks great and even came with the rocks and little tacky plant. I added a live plant to the top before adding my betta who is very happy.” Other reviewers make mention of this bowl being surprisingly easy to clean, since they can fit their hand through the top. “Takes only 10 to 15 minutes,” says one reviewer, noting that this option is “Best for people do not want to deal with cleaning up all the filter equipments, pipes in the regular tank.” Most reviewers note that it is made of acrylic and not glass, but that’s ideal for one reviewer who brings this fish tank on the road: “I purchased this fish tank to use inside my Airstream and absolutely love it! I hang it on the wall using heavy duty command strips. I have a fish and snail that reside in here.” Another reviewer writes, “This item is SUPER Cool! It was easy to hang and looks awesome on the wall.” (And even if you don’t have a fish, this wall-mounted fishbowl also makes a great storage device for all your clutter, according to writer Molly Young.)
And now for some micro-picks for every type of fishbowl or aquarium you might be looking for.
Best aquarium kit for beginners
Reviewers seem to agree that this tank is worth the purchase for two reasons: it’s great for beginners and the LED light is optimal for growing live plants. “The 5-gallon kit is EXCELLENT! Found this thinking it will be your standard new fish owner kit,” admits one reviewer, who notes, “I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box to find a net, stick-on thermometer, FULL-SIZED bottles of water conditioner and bio treatment, AND a jar of general-use fish flakes!” Though most reviewers opted for the 10-gallon tank, this kit in a 20-gallon option if you prefer to give your fish a bigger environment. Dozens of reviewers also appreciate the LED lights. As one explains, “The LED lights work beautifully for the plants (they are growing very quickly!) and the betta fish colors really pop under these lights.” And one reviewer finds the LED lights are so good for growing plants, ““I have been removing all fake plants as the real ones spread. I am so happy this has worked for live plants because it makes the whole aquarium experience more rewarding and fun.”
Best aquarium with rail lights
For many reviewers, this tank’s modern design is a big selling point, which many chalk up to the curved glass corners. “Sleek design means you won’t be embarrassed to put it in the living room, and small enough that you can tuck anywhere for a beautiful splash of color and interest,” one writes, adding, “This is plenty of volume to create a beautiful and interesting environment for your fish, and they really enjoy themselves in here.” Other reviewers gush about the quality of the LED rail light saying it will “make any blue on your fish POP.” Another reviewer remarks, “Little Bettafish Sir Lancelot loves his new home and is not at all bothered by it. Visitors don’t notice it, and it doesn’t cause me any trouble.”
Best aquarium for the office
Several reviewers brought this aquarium (and a fish) to their work, letting both live on their desks. One notes that it’s “easy to move (I’ve switched desks twice) and the LED lamp adds a beautiful touch. It’s very modern-looking and fits right in to the modern office space, and I get lots of compliments and cubicle visits from other co workers on the tank.” Another reviewer says, “The size and look are attractive for my study desk. I also like that all the equipment is hidden behind the black panel and out of sight.” Several five-star reviewers note that there’s no heater, so they opted to purchase one separately to go with the tank, but otherwise, set-up seemed to be relatively easy. And though it can fit several fish, for some, just one is enough. “They say one inch of fish (without fins) per gallon,” one reviewer explains, “But my betta cannot get along with any other fish, and in turn, they nip at him. So this is his dedicated luxury palace.”
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