Best budget aquarium

Fish & Reptile Supplies

Always do research on the specific needs of each fish you intend to keep. When starting an aquarium on a budget, the best option is finding fish that don’t have many special needs.

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Which budget aquarium is best? 

Budget aquariums are a great way to bring life and energy into your space without spending much money. Of course, it’s important to consider other factors and things you will need to be a successful fishkeeper. Still, normally, the most expensive thing when starting a new aquarium is the actual tank itself. The good news is that when it comes to budget aquariums, several solid options come as a starter kit and contain everything you need to get started. 

Even though you’re looking for an aquarium on a budget, don’t fret over having to sacrifice style. Our top pick, the MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit, is a 5-gallon tank, perfect for budding aquarists and fishkeepers.

What to know before you buy a budget aquarium

What else you need to buy 

The most common problem with budget aquariums is that they normally won’t have many built-in features. While some features are a given, such as a light system, filtration system and hood with a feeding door, some other important features will need to be bought separately. 

You will likely have to purchase a heater, especially if you plan on keeping a betta fish as well as anything that you want to create your aquascape, such as live or fake plants, hardware or driftwood and the substrate of your choice. 


Most budget aquariums will be smaller, making them a great choice for kids, kitchen counters or office spaces. You can expect to find budget aquariums that are 5 gallons at the largest and 1-2 gallons at the smallest. 

If you plan on having a community tank or a tank with multiple fish, be prepared to spend a bit more money on a larger tank. Betta fish will need a lot of space in order to be healthy and happy, although they are not community fish.

Budget aquariums vs. high-end aquariums 

The main difference between these two classifications, outside of the price point, normally shows itself in the size and built-in features of the aquarium. It is always recommended to start small when it comes to fishkeeping, so buying a budget aquarium is a solid move for novice aquarists. 

What to look for in a quality budget aquarium 


The most important thing to look for in a budget aquarium is what features it comes with. Most standard budget aquariums will at least come with a hood, a filtration system and LED lighting. If an aquarium does not come with these features, steer clear of buying it. Instead, finding a budget aquarium that comes loaded with more than just the standard features is best. 

Aquarium starter kits 

Most budget aquariums are designed with novice aquarists in mind and will come with everything you need in order to get started. However, do not be misled, as not all aquarium starter kits are made equal. 

For example, the Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium is advertised as a kit even though it only comes with things you need for the tank’s filtration system. Other kits may include things such as substrate and a few tank decorations. 

Aesthetic and style 

Even when shopping for an aquarium on a budget, always consider how the look and aesthetic of the aquarium will work with your space. Most budget aquariums will incorporate plastic into their design, such as the Tetra Crescent Aquarium or the Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium. If you are looking for a tank with a more minimalistic design, consider an aquarium made mostly out of glass, like the Tetra LED Cube Aquarium.

How much you can expect to spend on a budget aquarium

Budget aquariums are about $40-$60.

Budget aquarium FAQ

Which fish are good to be kept in budget aquariums? 

A. Most budget aquariums that are 3-5 gallons in size can accommodate either one betta, one goldfish or up to three small community fish. 

Do you have to buy a heater for your aquarium? 

A. This will depend on the type of fish you choose to keep. Bettas and other tropical fish need a heater to stay healthy. Goldfish and guppies are hardier and don’t mind colder water, so they don’t need a heater. 

What’s the best budget aquarium to buy?

Top budget aquarium 

MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit 

What you need to know: This stylish tank is unrivaled as a budget aquarium. Its sleek aesthetic is perfect for use in a modern home or office setting. 

What you’ll love: The kit comes with everything you will need for the filtration system, and the LED lights are powerful enough to give live plants and fish the light they need. 

What you should consider: If you plan on keeping shrimp, you need to cover the inlets to the filter. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top budget aquarium for the money

Tetra LED Cube-Shaped Aquarium

Tetra LED Cube-Shaped Aquarium 

What you need to know: This 3-gallon aquarium is beautifully designed and is particularly great for betta fish. 

What you’ll love: The cube, minimalist design is very attractive and will look beautiful no matter where it’s placed. 

What you should consider: The filter is very strong and may be dangerous for small fish or fish with long fins, such as male bettas. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Worth checking out

Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light

Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light 

What you need to know: This 3-gallon cube aquarium is sleek and has a minimalist design. Perfect for use in offices. 

What you’ll love: The cube design is great for aquascapes that feature one large piece of hardware, such as driftwood or an aquarium statue. 

What you should consider: Some users have stated that the LED lights are not bright enough to keep live plants, but this can be avoided by placing the tank in a place where it can get some natural sunlight. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 


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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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