Saltwater aquariums are very popular, and this is all thanks to the fact that saltwater fish are very colorful. Pair them with some beautiful décor elements such as an underwater castle, and you will build a fantastic aquarium that is going to blow you away every time that you look at it. However, many hobbyists make the mistake of thinking that a saltwater aquarium is easy to maintain. This is not always the case, and you need to make sure to search for the best marine aquarium to make your job easier. Here is where we come in.
Today we are going to share with you the top 10 best saltwater aquariums and list their most important features. While an aquarium that is filled with saltwater species is tricky to maintain, the effort is all worth it. You should make sure to stick around for the end because we are also going to explain what are the best features to look for in a reef tank and answer the internet’s most asked questions about saltwater fish and aquariums. Now that we got that out of the way let’s jump right into it.
|Product||Capacity (gallons)||Dimensions (inches)|
|MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit||5||11.8 x 11.6 x 17|
|Marina LED Aquarium Kit||5||6 x 8.5 x 10.5|
|Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED||16||15 x 16.8 x 17.5|
|Fluval Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit||5||20.5 x 11.6 x 7.5|
|Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium||4.14||13 x 10 x 9|
|Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium||20||21.4 x 21 x 22|
|JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium||6||16 x 16 x 11.5|
|NUVO SR-60 Pro - Innovative Marine||60||35.43 x 23.62 x 16.14|
|Reefer Deluxe Concept 170 Aquarium||34||24.5 x 20 x 20|
|Red Sea MAX NANO Rimless Aquarium with ReefLED 50||50||18 x 18 x 18|
We are going to kick things off with the budget-friendly MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. Despite the affordable price tag, this is one of the best reef aquariums that you can get from Amazon. It ships with a beautiful design that features sleek looking rounded corners and a clear glass canopy that allows viewers to admire the beauty of your saltwater fish from multiple angles. If the outstanding design is not enough to convince you that this is a premium product, then you should know that the tank is bundled with bright white LEDs that create a remarkable sunlight effect. Considering that saltwater fish have vibrant colors, the sunlight effect will do a fantastic job of helping them stand out.
The MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit is an excellent choice for beginners because it doesn’t require any additional purchases in order to function. The manufacturer has included an advanced, 3-stage filtration system that is cleverly located out of sight. You don’t have to worry that the filtration system will ruin the view. Feeding the fishes and doing all the other required maintenance for a saltwater aquarium is going to be quite easy if you choose to go for the MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. The reason why we are saying that is because this reef fish tank is equipped with a sliding glass canopy that gives you quick access.
- Sleek design;
- Rounded corners;
- Clear glass canopy;
- LEDs included;
- Sliding glass for easy access;
- 3-stage filtration system;
- Easy to assemble.
- It’s difficult to clean behind the filter due to the narrow area.
If you are just getting started with aquariums, then you can’t go wrong with the Marina LED Aquarium Kit that is available in the following models: 5 gallons, 10 gallons, and 20 gallons. The reason why we are saying this aquarium is one of the best reef fish tanks for newbies is that it ships in a package that contains everything that you need for a thriving ecosystem. Starting with clip-on filters and ending with a fishnet, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit has all the extra tools that a saltwater aquarium requires. The highlight feature of this tank is the long-lasting, natural daylight effect that is provided by the premium LED lighting module. Moreover, the LED module is incorporated into the canopy, and it will make the colors of your species stand out.
One of the biggest problems that people deal with when it comes to aquarium maintenance is finding water that is safe for the fishes. Fortunately, this is not going to be an issue if you choose to go for the Marina LED Aquarium Kit because it offers a Fluval Aqua Plus Water Condition that makes tap water safe for all fishes. Not just that, but you are also getting a Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement and Fluval Max Fish Food that guarantees your fish will be healthy. Learning the art of the craft will be super simple with this high-quality marine tank because the manufacturer is including an Aquarium Care Guide that offers essential advice on how to set up and maintain all types of aquariums, including saltwater ones.
- Ideal for beginners;
- Available in the following size options: 5 gallons, 10 gallons, and 20 gallons;
- LED module;
- Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement;
- Fish Food;
- Fish Net;
- Filter and cartridges;
- Aquarium Care Guide.
- The filter sometimes vibrates loudly.
On the third spot, we have the amazing looking Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED fish tank. As we can see in the image featured above, the manufacturer has equipped the reef aquarium with a sleek modern hood that is paired with colorful LED lighting that makes saltwater environments pop out! The outstanding design is not the only thing that you will be getting if you choose to go for this tank, and instead, you will also receive an integrated 24-hour timer. The timer features three independent channels that display a natural blue color. Another impressive feature that you are going to love is the automatic 30-minute sunrise/sunset. That’s not all. You can also set the function to display a 60-minute moonrise/moonset in order to replicate the natural day cycle.
No matter if you are planning to set up a medium or large saltwater aquarium, the Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED tank is always the best choice. The manufacturer is offering the aquarium in the following size options: 16 gallons and 32 gallons. Furthermore, the saltwater aquarium is bundled with a compact built-in filtration system that is easy to set up. To make things even better, the filtration system is customizable so that you can find the perfect set up. The last thing that we want to mention about the Coralife LED Biocube Aquarium LED tank is that it contains a free submersible pump with dual intakes and adjustable return nozzle to make the maintenance work more manageable.
- Available in the following size options: 16 gallons and 32 gallons;
- Built-in filtration system (easy to set up and customizable);
- Submersible pump with dual intakes and adjustable return nozzle;
- Colorful LED lighting system;
- Modern design;
- 24-hour timer;
- The lighting system replicates the natural day cycle.
- The tank uses acrylic.
Fluval is a leader in the aquarium industry, and the Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit is one of its bestselling products. This is all thanks to the fact that this is not a simple saltwater aquarium, and instead, it is a full kit that contains all the tools that you usually need to purchase separately. You can get the marine aquarium in the 5 gallons or 13.5-gallon size options. The 5-gallon choice is perfect for saltwater fish, but we do need to mention that a smaller fish tank requires more maintenance work. Nonetheless, the Sea Evo Saltwater Fish Tank Aquarium Kit comes with a unique honeycomb design that conceals the filter in order to put your species in the spotlight and not take away their beauty with tubes that go in the filtration system.
Since we previously mentioned the built-in filtration system, we want to highlight that the fish tank is equipped with a 3-stage system that features oversized mechanical, chemical, and biological Fluval filter tools. You will never have to worry about purchasing a third-party filtration system. The case is built from lightweight and durable waterproof aluminum that is paired with a LED system with day and night illumination modes. The LED system features a high-output of 11,000K, and it is equipped with a touch-start system that makes it easier to enable the day and night modes. Additionally, you will be getting a circulation pump with an output nozzle.
- Available in the following size options: 5 gallons and 13.5 gallons;
- 11,000K LED system (day and night mode);
- Circulation pump with an output nozzle;
- Built from waterproof aluminum (durable and lightweight);
- 3-stage filtration system;
- Stylish honeycomb design;
- Fluval activated carbon insert;
- Multi-functional canopy.
- The base contains plastic parts.
Are you searching for a budget-friendly saltwater aquarium that is great for beginners? If that is the case, then you might want to give the Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium a try. The fish tank is available in multiple size options, and it includes a back filter that is hidden behind a black panel. Therefore, your saltwater fish will always be in the center of attention. Even though the marine reef aquarium might look like it features a simple design at first glance, this is doesn’t do it justice. The manufacturer used an ultra-clear 45-degree precision cutting system to create the simple, yet sophisticated design of the Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium that is all tied together with invisible glue joints.
If the crystal-clear clarity of the saltwater aquarium is not enough to impress you, then you should know that the manufacturer included the following accessories in the bundle for free: a submersible pump, carbon media, top drain, bottom drain/plug, bio balls, bottom insulation pad, and sponge filters that transform maintenance work into a pleasant pastime activity. In fact, you can use the bottom drain or plug to adjust the directional flow to make it much easier to clean the water. The all-black design of the back panel is also worth a mention because dark colors do a fantastic job of helping colorful fish stand out even more.
- Available in the following size options: 4.1 gallons, 9.98 gallons, and 24 gallons;
- Built-in filtration system;
- Ultra-clear glass;
- Stylish design;
- All-black back panel;
- Adjustable directional flow;
- Easy to maintain;
- It contains lots of useful accessories (sponge filters, bio balls).
- The pump rate is kind of low.
Whether you are interested in setting up your first saltwater tank or want to upgrade, 10 gallons is always a good choice because it’s easy to manage. The Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium fits in the “nano tank” category, and it features a sleek rimless design that is paired with a built-in filtration system and all the technology that you need for a thriving ecosystem. Nano tanks are all under 10 gallons, and despite common opinion, the maintenance work that goes into a smaller marine reef takes longer. The reason behind this is that smaller saltwater tanks get dirty faster. On the bright side of things, the manufacturers in charge of the Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium have made sure that maintenance is never going to be a problem. They bundled the tank with their latest reef-keeping technology that includes filtration and circulation systems.
This beautiful marine tank ships with essential features such as a Prime HD LED lighting system that supports Wi-Fi control options. Therefore, you will be able to change the lighting modes of your saltwater aquarium without ever having to get out of the couch. You are in total control. Furthermore, the manufacturers are including an automatic top-off unit and an easy-access power center. Despite the small size, you still need to find a safe spot to place the Red Sea Max Nano Aquarium because it measures in at 21.4 x 21 x 22 inches, and it weighs in at 60.9 pounds without water.
- 10 gallon aquariums are easy to manage;
- Nano tank;
- Rimless design;
- Prime HD lighting system;
- It supports Wi-Fi control;
- It includes the latest reef-keeping technology;
- Filtration and circulation systems.
- It uses non-standard 2” filters.
If you are planning to build a reef inside your saltwater aquarium, then you need to get ready to be faced with lots of challenges. Reef fish tanks are tricky to maintain, but the payoff is all worth it. The JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium is designed to help you build a healthy and beautiful ecosystem, and it will make all the challenges much easier. For example, the JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium is equipped with a 3-stage filtration system. This means that you will never have to worry about setting up filtration to keep your saltwater fishes and reef healthy. That’s not all. The JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium also comes with a transparent filter basket.
You can get the JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium in 6 gallons or 12-gallon options, and this size is ideal for beginners. You don’t want to buy a 25-gallon marine tank and become overwhelmed with all the tasks that you need to do. Moreover, this is one of the best saltwater aquarium options on the market because it features a really cool looking design that provides a dynamic panoramic view of your species. No matter where you are sitting in the room, you will always have a good view. Also, JBJ Nano Cube LED Aquarium comes with a high-intensity LED illumination system.
- Available in the following size options: 6 gallon and 12 gallons;
- Dynamic panoramic view;
- 3-stage filtration system;
- Transparent filtration cube;
- Unique design;
- High-intensity LED illumination system;
- It weighs in only 24.8 pounds (without water).
- There is only one plug for night or day lighting modes.
If you are not new to saltwater aquariums and you are looking to upgrade to something bigger, then we highly recommend the NUOVO SR-60 Pro. The fish tank supports 60 gallons, and it incorporates a minimalistic design that is paired with ultra-thick polished glass. Your view is always going to be crystal clear. The massive size of the reef aquarium makes the tank perfect for hobbyists who want to add more species to their ecosystem or go crazy with the decorations. There is more than enough room. However, the size is not the best thing about the NUOVO SR-60 Pro, and instead, it is the fact that it sells as an all-in-one package.
The reason why the NUOVO SR-60 Pro fish tank is categorized as an all-in-one package is that it contains everything that you a big saltwater aquarium requires. Starting with tools for maintenance such as an innovative Marine MightyJet DC return pump (538 GPH) and ending with a customizable filtration system, the NUOVO SR-60 Pro offers it all. The 60 gallons aquarium also ships with a Mesh Screen Pro Lid, pre-installed rubber leveling mat, magnetic glass cleaner, and a 200-micron filter sock. The last feature that we want to highlight is the fact that the NUOVO SR-60 Pro is made from anodized aluminum that is not only lightweight but also durable and corrosion-resistant.
- It supports 60 gallons;
- Minimalistic design;
- Ultra-thick polished glass;
- Integrated hardware;
- Customizable filtration system;
- Marine MightyJet DC return pump (538 GPH);
- All-in-one premium package.
- The price is high
The biggest mistake that beginners make is that they don’t think about where they are going to place the fish tank. This might come as a surprise to some of you, but it’s not a good idea to put it on a regular piece of furniture. Even though the aquariums weigh only 20 pounds when empty, they can easily go over 100 or even more (depending on the gallons) when it is filled. Fortunately, the Reefer Deluxe Concept 170 Aquarium is here to save the day. This is one of the best reef fish tanks that you can get because it looks downright amazing, and it also ships with a cabinet stand. The cabinet stand features an elegant design, and it offers multiple shelves where you can store all your maintenance tools such as fish food, for example.
What’s great about the Reefer Deluxe Concept 170 Aquarium is the fact that it takes full advantage of the cabinet stand, and it hides the filtration system behind its doors. Your saltwater aquarium is never going to look better. Furthermore, the Reefer Deluxe Concept 170 Aquarium is equipped with an all-new Reef LED lighting system that features a combination of ultraviolet, violet, and blue lights to create a homogenous light. To make things even more impressive, the lighting system offers an 8,000 Kelvin white channel. We also want to highlight that the fish tank is equipped with a single optical-glass and that it supports Red Sea’s ReefBeat app for smartphones that has multiple uses such as creating random clouds, a lunar cycle, and more.
- It supports 34 gallons;
- Elegant cabinet stand;
- Filtration system;
- A top-up system with a reservoir;
- Ultra-clear glass;
- Rimless design;
- Self-assembly kit;
- Reef LED lighting system;
- Reputable company.
- The price is high.
We are going to end our list with the best reef fish tank from Red Sea. This company established its name as a household brand by producing some of the best fish tanks available on the market, and the Red Sea MAX NANO Rimless Aquarium with ReefLED 50, which supports 20 gallons is the perfect example of that. The Red Sea MAX NANO Rimless Aquarium with ReefLED 50 uses 8mm ultra-clear glass on both panels that are paired with smart beveled edges top and bottom to provide the viewers with a jaw-dropping experience. The saltwater aquarium ships with a next-generation LED lighting system that supports Wi-Fi to give you access to multiple functions. You can change the appearance of the aquarium right from the comfort of your couch.
The highlight feature of the Red Sea MAX NANO Rimless Aquarium with ReefLED 50 is the high-performance filtration system. The European Eco Pump provides a power of 240 GPH, and it can circulate the entire water volume 12 times in a single hour. Now, this is impressive! Talking about water filtration, we want to note that the manufacturer has equipped the fish tank with an automatic top-off unit that is hidden behind the back panel. Maintenance is not going to be annoying anymore if you choose to go for this product. Another feature that stands out is the beautiful cabinet stand that sports weatherproof doors and multiple shelves where you can store the fish food and other tools.
- It supports 20 gallons;
- Cabinet stand with weatherproof doors;
- Ultra-clear glass;
- Beveled edges (top and bottom);
- The LED lighting system works with Wi-Fi;
- Highly efficient European Eco Pump;
- Automatic top-off unit;
- Rear sump;
- Powerful Filtration system.
- The price is high.
Aquarium Buying Guide
If you are new to aquariums, then finding the best one might sound like a daunting task. However, you don’t need to worry because we have your back. We are going to present the top three most important features that a saltwater aquarium needs to feature to be considered a premium product.
Glass vs. Acrylic
The first thing that you need to do before searching for the best marine aquarium is to ask yourself if you want glass or acrylic. Glass is the cheaper option, and it doesn’t get scratches quickly. However, there is a downside. Glass will shatter pretty easily. On the other hand, we have acrylic that is more expensive but also very durable. In addition, acrylic aquariums come in various shapes.
The Weight of the Aquarium
What you should never overlook when deciding what aquarium to buy is the weight. Even though a 10-gallon fish tank might weigh in at only 20 pounds when empty, it can quickly go over 150 pounds when filled with water. This is why you might want to consider going for one that is bundled with a dedicated stand. The Reefer Deluxe Concept 170 is an excellent choice here.
Filtration and Maintenance Tools
If there is one thing that you want to avoid when setting up a new saltwater aquarium, then this has to be finding a sound filtration system and getting all the extra maintenance tools that you need, such as a pump, for example. Therefore, we highly advise you to go for premium saltwater aquariums that ship with their own filtration system and maintenance tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to start a saltwater aquarium?
The cost of setting up a saltwater aquarium depends on your plans. Do you want a big aquarium that can hold up to 20 species? If that is the case, then you are probably going to spend somewhere between $600-$1000 for a high-quality fish tank. You can always go for something smaller and pay $200-$500.
Can saltwater tanks use tap water?
Even though tap water goes through a purification process so that we can drink it, it’s not safe for saltwater tanks. The reason behind this is that the purification process doesn’t get rid of all the chemicals that can harm fish. We want to mention that fish tanks such as Marina LED Aquarium Kit are equipped with special tools to make tap water safe.
How small can a saltwater tank be?
Generally, the saltwater tank can be as small as you want it to be. However, it’s always better to go for a bigger tank. This is thanks to the fact that a large marine ecosystem will do a better job of handling the daily fluctuations in water quality. Not just that, but a larger saltwater tank doesn’t require too much maintenance work. You can do it only once per week.