A 40-gallon breeder tank is an ideal choice for hobbyists who are more interested in creating a thriving ecosystem rather than to decorate their homes. Usually, smaller aquariums are more difficult to manage because there is a lot of work that goes into maintenance. However, this is all worth it because a 40-gallon breeder aquarium has a lower profile than traditional tanks, and this gives the breeder easier access to fish.

There are many factors that you need to take into consideration when searching for the best 40-gallon breeder tank, and we are going to help you with that. We will present to you the top six choices for small breeder aquariums. Not just that. We will also go over a buying guide for beginners and answer the internet’s most asked questions on breeder tanks. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set4036" x 15" x 16"
Clear-For-Life 40R Clear-For-Life 40R4036" x 15" x 16"
NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons4024" x 20" x 19"
R&J Enterprises White Grain Fusion R&J Enterprises White Grain Fusion40-
Fluval 45-Gallon Bow LED Aquarium Starter Kit Fluval 45-Gallon Bow LED Aquarium Starter Kit4536" x 16" x 20"
SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit4036" x 15" x 16"

The first that we want to highlight when it comes to the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is that this is a combo set. This means that the aquarium ships alongside a reflector and an electric 24″ light fixture. Those are essential tools that you would otherwise have to purchase separately, and therefore, you are getting a great deal. The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium is safe for both salt and freshwater. This is thanks to the fact that the aquarium uses acrylic instead of glass, which is impact resistant, and it’s difficult to chip or crack. Using acrylic is the way to go for small aquariums because it’s not only durable but also lighter.

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium weighs in at only 20 pounds when empty. This means that you won’t have to find someone to help you carry it in order to find the perfect spot or purchase a special 40-gallon breeder tank stand. We also want to highlight that this beautiful 40-gallon breeder aquarium is available in three colors: Cobalt Blue, Clear, and Black. Using the Cobalt Blue background will bring the colors of your fish to life! The product’s dimensions are 36 x 15 x 16 inches.


  • Great price;
  • You get a free a reflector and an electric 24″ light fixture;
  • It is available in three colors;
  • Light and durable acrylic;
  • Safe for both salt and freshwater.


  • There aren’t any.

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The Clear-For-Life brand is a household name in the aquarium industry, and there is a good reason for that. This manufacturer only produces high-quality products, and Clear-For-Life 40R is the perfect example of that. Clear-For-Life 40R is a premium 40-gallon breeder tank, and what makes it unique is the beautiful design that it ships with. The sapphire black panel ensures that your fish will look mesmerizing when placed in this stunning tank. Your fish will be proudly displayed, and they will become the focal point of your living room.

A beautiful design is not the only thing that you will get by choosing the Clear-For-Life 40R. Instead, you are also getting a safe place where you can house your fish. The glass used by this aquarium is special. It has been enhanced to be stronger, lighter, and more durable. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that the manufacturer is offering a limited lifetime warranty against leakage. You will be able to use this tank for breeding fish for decades! The dimensions of the Clear-For-Life 40R are 36″ (L)x15″ (W)x16″ (H).


  • Reputable brand (great customer support);
  • Sapphire black panel;
  • Strong and durable glass;
  • Limited lifetime warranty against leakage;
  • It’s ideal for beginners.


  • The aquarium ships without any extra items.

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If you are searching for a product that is both affordable and of great quality, then you can’t go wrong with the NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons. We want to highlight that this breeder tank is built from the footprint of award-winning aquariums designed by NUVO. The footprint incorporates innovative features such as all-glass overflow and a safety drain system. Thanks to these features, the NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons provides 100% room for unobtrusive aquascape. Doing maintenance work is never going to be a tedious task if you choose this 40-gallon fish tank. Also, worth noting is that the NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons is designed for customization.

One of the biggest problems that aquarium owners have to deal with is background noise. The draining systems of aquariums may not be loud during the day, but you will certainly hear them during the night when everything else is quiet. Fortunately, this is not a problem that NUVO-EXT 40-Gallons owners need to deal with. The reason behind this is that this 40-gallon aquarium ships with a Herbie style drain system that works in tandem. Therefore, noise is reduced. The dimensions are 24″x20″x19″.

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The R&J Enterprises White Grain Fusion is bundled with a high-quality stand, and this makes it a great choice for beginners. The stand often gets overlooked by new aquarium owners, and this can lead to bad experiences. While smaller breeder tanks are not too heavy, keeping them on a regular piece of furniture is not a good idea. A normal table will break if the aquarium starts getting heavy. Here is where the stand comes in and saves the day. Moreover, the stand that is included in the R&J Enterprises White Grain Fusion package is stylish, and it will help you decorate your home.

This beautiful aquarium features a rectangle shape, and it is rimless. This design is going to help highlight the color of your fish and leave all your guests in awe the first time that they see it. Thanks to the rectangle shape, you will not have a difficult time finding the perfect spot for the aquarium. You will also get a free dual return pump filtration with 200-micron socks and a prefilter sponge. The last thing that we want to mention is that the cabinet is 34″ tall and that the aquarium features 1/2 “thick rimless opti-pure glass.


  • Rimless design;
  • It ships with a stylish cabinet;
  • You will get a free dual return pump filtration with 200-micron socks and prefilter sponge;
  • Opti-pure glass;
  • Safe for both salt and freshwater.


  • It weighs 260 pounds.

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If this is the first time that you are purchasing a smaller aquarium, and you are not sure what extra tools and devices you will need, then you might want to pick the Fluval 45-Gallon Bow LED Aquarium Starter Kit. As the product’s name implies, this is a starter kit, and it includes all the extra accessories that you would usually have to purchase separately. You will get a clip-on filter, ultra-bright LED light, efficient submersible heater, and all the other tools that an aquarium ecosystem requires to thrive.

The clip-on filter that is included in the Fluval 45-Gallon Bow LED Aquarium Starter Kit is perfect for breeding tanks because it features a 5-stage cleaning process. You can say goodbye to spending hours on maintenance. The filter will do that for you. We also want to mention that the starter kit comes with food for tropical fish. Therefore, the fish tank is ready to use, and you don’t need to spend money on other expenses. Additionally, the dimensions are (L x W x H): 36 x 16 x 20 in (91 x 40.5 x 51 cm).


  • It’s perfect for beginners;
  • The kit includes lots of extra devices;
  • Food for tropical fish;
  • Aquarium Canopy;
  • Filter with a 5-stage cleaning process.


  • The stand needs to be purchased separately.

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SeaClear is a leader in the industry that is renowned for manufacturing durable products. The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit is not an exception to that rule because it uses acrylic. For those who are not familiar with acrylic, they should know that this material is 17 stronger than the regular glass that is used on typical 40-gallon aquariums. SeaClear specializes in building acrylic tanks without degradable sealers. The seams are molecularly bonded and heat polished.

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit includes the following tools: hood and fluorescent fixture, thermometer, fishnet, natural lava rock, plastic plants, and a 50-gallon power filter. Decorating this 40-gallon fish tank is going to be super easy because you are getting a bunch of decorative items from the get-go. Moreover, the acrylic material is going to give you a super clear view. The dimensions for this tank are 36 x 15 x 16 inches, and it weighs in at only 20 pounds!


  • It uses durable acrylic material;
  • This is a starter kit and it ships with multiple tools;
  • You will get decorative items;
  • It weighs in at only 20 pounds;
  • It offers a clear view.


  • The fluorescent fixture doesn’t ship with a 24″ light bulb.

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Aquarium Buying Guide

It’s not uncommon for new aquarium owners to have bad experiences when they first start. Setting up a 40-gallon aquarium the right way is not an easy task, but we are going to help you with that. Here are the top 4 factors that you should consider when searching for the best aquariums.

The Size

When you start thinking about buying an aquarium, the first thing that you need to do is decide what size do you want it to be. This is an essential factor because it determines how much money you will need to spend, how many fish you can keep, and also how much maintenance work you will need to do. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but smaller tanks such as 40-gallon breeder aquariums are actually more challenging to maintain. The reason behind this is the water gets dirty faster. This is why it’s a great idea to purchase an aquarium such as the Fluval 45-Gallon Bow LED Aquarium Starter Kit that is bundled with a 5-stage cleaner filter.

Glass vs. Acrylic

If you paid attention to our reviews, you probably noticed that there are two types of aquariums. Glass and acrylic. They both have pros and their fair share of cons. Let’s go ahead and check them out.

– Glass

Glass is the most popular option, and there is a good reason for that. Glass aquariums are much cheaper than acrylic, and they don’t get scratches. However, there is one significant downside that you need to know about. Glass is not very durable, and it shatters easily. In addition, glass is only available in rectangular and square shapes.

– Acrylic

What makes acrylic unique is the fact that, as previously mentioned, it is 17 times stronger than regular glass. You will never have to worry about leakage or shattering the surface of the aquarium. Acrylic aquariums also offer a clear view of the fish. The downside to choosing acrylic is that it can get scratched.

The Weight of the Tank

One factor that is often overlooked is the weight of the tank. Even though tanks are light when they are empty, you will quickly find out that they become an immovable object once they are filled with water. Take, for example, the small 15-gallon aquariums that weigh more than 200 pounds when they are filled with water. If you don’t want to worry about weight, then you should consider purchasing a special stand that can withstand it. Stands are a bit expensive, but they are worth it in the long run.

Filtration Equipment

When you are getting ready to purchase a new aquarium, you should also set some money aside for all the extra tools and devices that you will need. Your best option is to buy a starter kit that includes filtration equipment. Otherwise, you will rely on third-party filtration equipment, and you might need to customize your tank by drilling holes and doing cable management.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finding the right 40-gallon breeder tank is not an easy task, and if you have any questions left unanswered, then you should check out the FAQ below.

What is a breeder tank?

While most people choose to purchase a big aquarium where they can store tens of fish, some people like to go for smaller aquariums that limits them to a small number. This type is called breeder tanks, and they are usually around 40-gallons. What makes them special is that they give the breeder easier access to the fish.

What fish are good for a 40-gallon tank?

The small volume of a 40-gallon breeder tank is going to limit the number of fish that you can keep. Fortunately, the variety that you can pick and choose from is wide. Here are the most popular choices: guppies, cory catfish, betta, zebrafish, goldfish, convict cichlid, banggai cardinal fish, and three spot gourami. Guppies are an excellent choice for smaller aquariums because you can fit 20 to 30. They are also active and colorful.

What is the best lighting for a tank?

Most fish will be happy with little light. You can also just choose to use the ambient light that comes from the surrounding room. The most popular option when it comes to aquarium lighting systems is LED. This is thanks to the fact that LEDs are durable, and they will not overheat.

Is sunlight bad for fish tanks?

Generally, an aquarium needs only 5 hours of artificial light per day. However, this is no longer the case when it comes to direct sunlight. If you keep your aquarium next to a window, then you should know that the sunlight will help alga growth. This is never a good thing, and you should try to use a curtain to block out the sun.

Does a fish tank filter need to be on all the time?

The short answer is yes! Keeping the fish tank filter on at all times is required because it helps the good bacteria (which is aerobic) to thrive. The bacteria need a constant flow of water, and the filter provides that. Additionally, the only time that you should turn off the filter is when you are doing maintenance work, such as cleaning out the tank.