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These are the best fish tanks for beginners that people rave about

When you first decide to become a fish parent, you need to get a lot of things ready. You want your fish to remain happy and healthy, which means setting up a tank with filters, plants, gravel, and accessories. By far, the biggest investment will be the aquarium itself, and they come in all shapes and sizes. It can be tricky to select the perfect one, so we’ve helped you narrow it down to these top fish tanks for beginners. 

Gold fish looks at camera from his aquarium

Tetra Aquarium Kit, Fish Tank with Filter & Lights

The perfect tank for a small school or a single betta fish, this kit actually comes with a filter and lighting system. That makes it great for any newbie who doesn’t yet feel confident buying each piece of the ecosystem individually. Some reviewers mention bringing it to work, as the curved design fits nicely on a desk or in an office. Remember, while a lot of the extras come with this one, it doesn’t include a heater or gravel — or the fish of course. 

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, Includes LED Lighting and Decor

Taking it up a notch, a 20-gallon tank allows you to keep a whole ocean of fish inside, living in harmony (not literally though). You’ll get a filter, light, and plants with this one, so you won’t need to do much beyond investing in fish. A happy user mentions, “The Awesome Tank has Hinges on Its Hood!!!” noting that this makes it far easier to clean. While 20 gallons is a lot bigger than the last tank, this will still only hold about 10 fish and many species breed quickly. 

GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank with LED Lighting and Filtration Included

There’s no other way to describe this tank besides cool, or as one happy customer says, “Beautiful, quiet, and easy setup!!” The glow effect actually comes from a blue light that is included. It also includes a filter, though some users mention that they upgraded to give their tank a bit of extra help. You can add brightly colored plants, gravel, and fish to complete the look — neon tetras would be amazing here for example. 

Fluval 13.5 Gallon Evo XII Marine Aquarium Kit

This is the best tank for first-time saltwater aquarists, although we highly recommend starting with a basic freshwater tank first and then upgrading to this when you feel comfortable. It comes with a 3-stage filtration system, though you might want to add more depending on your preferred setup. A couple of clownfish would surely enjoy this tank.

Alan 15 Gallon Scape Hexagon Alanrium Kit

On the high end, check out this vertical aquarium, ideal for those who like to swim up and down, like seahorses. It’s specifically designed to complement the decor of a room and can go anywhere in your house that’s near a power source. One user comments, “Love this aquarium, fills our triangular niche nicely,” so it will nestle perfectly into a corner and contribute to your display. 

If you get into aquariums, you’ll likely start with a beginner tank and wind up with a house full of them. The good news is you can try out different setups, species, and decor to make each one fit into a different part of the house. In addition to a basic tank, you’ll also want to make sure to stick with easy animals at first. Start with the tetras and guppies until you feel secure handling more challenging fish.

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Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
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The easiest fish to take care of
Neon Tetras
These beauties are well known for being hardy and easy to bring into your aquarium. Carefully source your pet because you don't want to wind up with an illegal wild-caught animal. Instead, seek out one of the 1.5 million that are imported into the U.S. every month. A few good things about neon tetras: they're colorful, small, and social. You should keep a little school in a tank with other animals. Lastly, don't bring this tetra into a new tank since they won't do well while they're settling in (changes in things like pH and nitrates will hurt them).
These little janitors eat up the garbage that no one else wants, like algae and sometimes leftover food. Plus, it's not too difficult to care for them, but they do require a lot of space – at least a 20-gallon tank. Carefully select tankmates too since you don't want to introduce a large, predatory beasties to scare away this gentle creature. Lastly, and most fun of all, plecos want extra snacks and you can drop in a few veggies to satiate them. Try spinach, carrots, sweet potatoes, and zucchini once or twice a week. 
Guppies come in all sorts of colors and sizes, allowing you to pick whatever type you want. You can mix them with other types of water-lovers or create one aquarium just for them. And you might need all the space you can get. This fish reproduces like bunnies and can fill a tank with their babies quickly. Get a big aquarium if you plan to allow this to happen or separate out males and females once they reach maturity (you can spot the boys because they have an extra fin on the bottom). Still, taking care of them will be a breeze and help you gain confidence in your skills. 
Another schooling fish, this excitable species prefers slightly cooler temperatures and so will work well for a newbie who hasn't graduated to heated tanks yet. They can even live with neon tetras to help get the tank ready. However, danios like to hang out at the surface and you should plan your setup accordingly. Keep a few tall and a few floating plants around for them to enjoy and hide in. While easy to care for, they're tricky to breed and you might not have much luck raising the babies. For best results, separate the fry right after they hatch. 
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