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Starting a saltwater aquarium is a lot more complicated than winning a fish at a carnival and finding a small glass tank to store it in. You need to find an adequate tank that is going to create an environment where your fish or other marine life will flourish and live for a long time. While tanks come in a variety of sizes, it's best to start off with a 10-gallon tank. Starting an aquarium can also be rather pricy, but fortunately, many of the best 10-gallon tanks come with some of the other gadgets you need to keep your marine life healthy.
To find the best aquarium tank for your needs, here are the top 10-gallon fish tanks on the market.
Best Overall: Marina LED Aquarium Kit
Creating a safe and healthy environment for your fish is easy when you have the right tank. Our top pick for 10-gallon saltwater tanks is the Marina LED 10-Gallon Aquarium Kit. It's a beautifully designed tank that also has an LED lighting module that simulates daylight. Light is a crucial part of an aquarium because it provides oxygen for its inhabitants and stimulates the growth of plant life. While many tanks require you to purchase a light separately, this tank includes it as part of the set. Here, the lighting is built into the tank’s canopy, with a natural look that accentuates the colors of your fish and aquatic plants. Plus, it's energy-efficient!
Measuring 22" x 12" x 15", the tank also includes a clip-on filter with quick-change cartridges for easy upkeep. Customers say that the lighting ensures plant life grows quickly and fish stay healthy, adding that it’s the perfect setup for a novice. It’s also a breeze to put together, with clear and easy instructions.
Best Design: Penn-Plax Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit
Even without any marine life, the Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium is beautiful to look at. True to its name, this aquarium features a curved design that’s contemporary in style, with a smooth, frameless edge that’s not as boxy as a regular tank. Best of all, the seamless glass makes for unobstructed viewing. The tank measures 17" x 11" x 12" and includes an LED light, internal filter, mat, and hinge-style plastic lid.
Customers say this Penn Plax tank is absolutely stunning, with clear, sturdy glass and a top-of-the-line design. It’s built with the kind of quality that delivers on its good looks.
Best for Beginners: Aqua Culture 10-Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit
If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of fishkeeping or looking for the perfect aquarium to surprise your science-loving child, the Aqua Culture 10-gallon tank is the way to go. This starter kit has nearly everything you need to get your aquarium up and running, including a hood, energy-efficient LED, internal filter, and some fish food to get you started. The affordable price also earns extra points in our book.
Reviews say that this tank is just right for starters, combining an affordable price with an array of tools that can add up if bought separately. While some customers say the lid is on the flimsy side, the filter is quiet and the price makes it a worthwhile starter tank.
Best for Warm Water Fish: Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kits with LED Lighting
If you care for fish that are native to warm, tropical waters, you’ll need to invest in a heater for your tank. The good news: some aquariums come with one included, like this Aqueon Aquarium starter kit. While it’s a bit more expensive than the starter kit from Aqua Culture, the heater provides a major benefit. It comes preset at around 75 degrees F, making it perfect for popular tropical fish, like bettas. The tank also includes an LED hood, fish food, and a filter that flashes when it's time to change the cartridge. It measures 20" x 10" x 13".
Customers say the tank couldn’t be easier to assemble, and the heater keeps the water perfectly acclimated for their tropical fish. The tank is also well suited to marine life of any kind—just don’t use the heater if you’re keeping goldfish.
Best Tank with Hood: All Glass Aquariums AAG09009 Tank and Eco Hood Combo
An aquarium hood serves several important purposes. Most importantly, it prevents the water from spilling and fish from jumping out of the tank. But it also keeps evaporation in check, saving you the trouble of repeatedly topping off your tank. This tank from All Glass Aquariums comes with a hood included—a perk that makes it a particularly economical choice (hoods can often run you an extra $40-50). This hood can accommodate two fluorescent bulbs, making it easy to control the light inside the tank. Altogether, it measures 20” x 20” x 24”.
Customers say the All Glass Aquarium is a great product at a great price, although some advise that it’s not a complete kit (it just includes a tank and hood). However, users found it easy to put together, which makes it great for children.
Best Filtration System: Marina Power Filter
A filter keeps your aquarium clean, removing food, waste, and other particulate matter, ensuring your fish stay healthy and happy. While many starter tanks come with a filter included, it’s worth investing in a higher quality one that you won’t have to worry about or replace. The Marina Power Filter is a smart and affordable choice, with quiet operation and adjustable controls that allow you to change the level of flow inside your tank. It requires no priming and is designed to prevent fish from accidentally catching their fins in the intake. It’s compatible with any 10-gallon tank.
Customers say this filter is so effective it’s left their tank clearer than two other models combined. They also love that you can customize it with any type of media (an insert that changes the quality of your tank’s water).
Best Accessory: AquaSprouts Garden
Want to outfit your aquarium with an accessory that’s both stylish and sustainable? Check out the AquaSprouts Garden, where a bit of ecological magic takes the place of the typical mechanical filters. This mini-garden fits directly over a 10-gallon tank—the plants grow as they’re fertilized by the fish, while the plants themselves serve to clean the water. It’s not just a great way to keep fish—it’s a great way to grow herbs and veggies indoors.
The kit includes the garden itself, a light bar that hangs overhead, a pump to bring water and waste up into the grow bed, and “grow media,” or a specialized clay-based soil that converts that waste into nutrients. Customers rave that this is more than a toy—it’s a great project and the perfect introduction to the field of aquaponics.
What to Look for in a 10-Gallon Saltwater Tank
From aquarium hoods to lights to filters, there are many different parts that come together to make the perfect tank for fish. Since 10-gallon saltwater tanks are great for beginners, many of them come in kits that include some of the tools needed to maintain an aquarium. This is a great option to find, especially if you're looking to save money.
Glass vs. Acrylic Tanks
Aquarium tanks are either glass or acrylic. Glass is generally more durable, as it is scratch-resistant and won't turn color and crack over time. Glass tanks are also a lot cheaper than their acrylic counterparts. However, acrylic is lighter and has better impact-resistance. If you need to move your aquarium around or are worried about bumps and crashes, acrylic may be a better option.
Types of Fish
Different fish and marine life thrive better in larger aquariums rather than smaller ones. While a 10-gallon saltwater tank can hold a diverse set of marine life, they are usually small in size. If you're looking to host bigger fish and corals, this is not the right size aquarium for you.