When it comes to selecting the best tank for your goldfish, size is key. Goldfish are messy fish who need lots of space to swim and dilute out their waste. Even if you have a large system, the key is to keep your bioload low so your fish stay healthy and your maintenance routine minimal.
“Goldfish tanks are frequently overstocked when they are new, leading to New Tank Syndrome,” Dr. Jessica Fox, DVM and CertAqV—a certification for experts in aquatic veterinary medicine—told The Spruce Pets. “Owners can avoid this by only adding a few fish at a time or having a very large system. When setting up any tank, all fish require aeration and filtration to keep their tanks healthy.”
Don’t put your goldfish in an antiquated bowl. Despite the long association between goldfish and bowls, fish bowls are not proper homes for any fish. It is inhumane and cruel to keep your fish in a standing cup of water with no filtration.
If this is your first aquarium, check out our list everything you’ll need to keep your fish happy including a robust filter, décor, substrate and more.
We also recommend against the small, 10-gallon aquariums commonly marketed at pet stores and big box retailers. These tanks are too small for an adult goldfish, let alone multiple goldfish. Instead, your tank should provide approximately 20 gallons of water per fish. Goldfish can also grow to be quite large, and fully grown goldfish should have 50 gallons of space.
Our favorite goldfish tank is the Tetra Glass Aquarium 55 Gallon Rectangular Fish Tank, which allows for custom filtration tailored to your goldfish. For example, comet goldfish require a lot of filtration, while some species of fancy goldfish with specific swimming difficulties may need a carefully directed flow of water so they do not get pushed around the tank. We also have several other tanks we love that may work better for your specific setup.
Here are the best goldfish tanks.
Tetra Glass Aquarium 55 Gallon Rectangular Fish Tank
Easy to clean
Will work well for any type of goldfish
Only includes the tank
The 55 gallon capacity Tetra Glass Aquarium can fit up to three young comet goldfish and provides the perfect platform for a custom tank setup—this one doesn’t come with lights, a lid, filtration, or other components. Tetra offers a wide range of compatible accessories, which makes this an easy first tank to build around. Tetra also offers a kit version of the tank.
The Tetra Glass Aquarium is constructed to be wide and rectangular—it’s only 13 inches deep—which is good for any species of goldfish, as they tend to prefer shallow water and space to roam.
Price at time of publish: $211
JAJALE 260 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank
Large capacity can host multiple goldfish
Includes sump and cabinet stand
Built-in LED lighting
Durable materials for decades of use
Does not include filter media
Not suitable for beginner aquarists
The JAJALE 260 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank features low-iron ultra transparent glass, and comes with its own cabinet, available in a wide range of colors. The frame itself is all metal to prevent water damage, while the tank is sealed with biophilic silica gel that will keep this fish tank in prime working condition for decades. Beneath the fish tank is a cabinet with magnetic seal doors that contains a built-in, high capacity, water pump (capable of moving 1,717 gallons per hour) and filtration system. The tank also features built-in LED lighting in the lid.
Price at time of publish: $5,500
Best Lightweight Acrylic
Clear-For-Life 40 Gallon Acrylic Aquarium
Top cutout decreases loss to evaporation
Clear-For-Life acrylic aquariums are known for their super clear acrylic designs that are stronger and more resilient than typical glass aquariums. Rather than sealing multiple glass panels, the wraparound viewing area on this 40 gallon acrylic tank is made from a single piece of acrylic, with rounded corners that maximize viewability.
Acrylic tanks require different accessories than glass tanks, so be careful to ensure something is acrylic compatible when buying cleaning products.
Price at time of publish: $603
Midwest Tropical 28 Gallon AquaTable Aquarium Octagon
Hard to clean
Most set-ups will require additional water circulation components
Want to bring your fish into the middle of your living space? Check out the Midwest Tropical 28 gallon AquaTable, which doubles as a coffee table, allowing you to keep your fish in view at all times. This unique design from Midwest Tropical includes a built-in filtration system, blue glass gravel, and bottom-up illumination. It also comes with its own decorative aquatic plants.
The main downside to this type of design is that you’ll need to remove the tempered glass tabletop to clean or perform other maintenance tasks. Plus, given their sensitivity to sound and vibration, goldfish tanks should not be placed directly in front of TVs or sound systems. You should also consider using padded coasters with this table.
Price at time of publish: $805
Best for Small Spaces
Penn-Plax 58 Gallon Front Acrylic Aquarium Cylinder Tank
Good for small spaces
Cabinet stand included
Bottom drain simplifies cleaning
Built-in LED light system
Separate feeding compartment
Too deep for fancy goldfish
Have to deal with heavy lid for any deep cleaning
If you’re looking for a goldfish tank to fit in a smaller space, The Penn-Plax 58 Gallon Front Acrylic Aquarium provides a 16-inch deep habitat for fully grown goldfish, in a cylindrical design that will fit well in corners or other cramped areas thanks to its vertical design.This tank also has a built-in, customizable LED light system and a glossy black base cabinet with gold trim.
Price at time of publish: $1,399
Best Goldfish Pond
Pennington Aquagarden Pond Kit
Large enough for big goldfish
Portholes for underwater viewing
Various fountain options
Not ideal on indoor carpeting
At just under 100 gallons, the Pennington Aquagarden Pond Kit is an all in one system that is great for goldfish, giving them lots of space to play without the hassle of having to dig out a hole in your backyard. This pond setup has fun portholes to give your fish an underwater view of the world around them (or you a view in). Available in a half moon or octagon size, this pond is the ultimate home for larger goldfish needing more room to swim.
Price at time of publish: $580
What to Look For
When it comes to goldfish, the more water, the better. Goldfish have low feed to mass conversion, meaning that they eat a lot and don’t put on much mass. This means that there is a lot of food wasted in your tank. This can cause lots of issues with your water chemistry, so the larger volume of water to dilute everything out, the easier maintenance will be. Goldfish can grow up to 12-inches long, so although they may start small, plan for your fish to get a lot bigger!
Narrow aquariums may fit your home, but they are not the best choice for goldfish. Being larger fish, you want to make sure your fish can turn around easily whenever they like. If they are forced to turn in tight spaces, you may see spinal disorders. If caught early and moved to a larger system, these can be corrected.
Fancy goldfish in particular are prone to buoyancy disorders. This can be aggravated by a lot of water pressure on top of them from a very deep tank. For fancy goldfish, a tank depth of 18 inches or less is best to manage their buoyancy.
Aquarium tanks come in two materials: glass or acrylic. Glass is more traditional, but can be delicate and heavy. Acrylic is lighter and more durable, but often not as clear as a glass tank. How you clean your aquarium depends significantly on what type of material is present in your tank.
Never use glass cleaning supplies on acrylic since it will scratch the material. This includes any metal algae scrapers.
Although these recommendations focus on tanks, there are lots of other components you will need for your goldfish tank. A strong filter is a must, unless you have lots of fancy goldfish that are blown around by a strong current. Goldfish will need a substrate and décor items to complete their tank setup. Goldfish are temperate fishes, so you won’t need a heater unless your home gets very cold.
How big of a tank does a goldfish need?
As per our introduction and recommendations, goldfish need a lot more room than you have been led to believe. These fish are messy and grow very large and will therefore need at least 20-gallons PER FISH just to start. As they grow bigger, you may need 50 or even 100 gallons for large comet goldfish.
Can goldfish be in a tank with other fish?
The biggest consideration in choosing fish to be in a goldfish tank is their temperate nature. This means the like non-tropical temperatures around 65-75F. Good choice for goldfish companions includes other goldfish, zebrafish or minnows. Try not to mix long bodied goldfish, such as comets and shubunkins, with fancy varieties, such as orandas, ranchus, black moors, etc. Long-bodied goldfish easily out swim and out maneuver fancy varieties, hogging the swimming space and the food.
Can I keep my goldfish in a bowl?
Absolutely not. Bowls are not a humane choice for any fish. All fish deserve filtered, flowing water.
Why Trust Us
Dr. Jessie Sanders has worked as an aquatics-only, pet fish veterinarian for more than ten years, and has encountered countless goldfish tank setups. While there are many ways to correctly put together an aquarium tank, when it comes to goldfish, space is key. Extra dilution makes their messy world so much easier to manage. I instruct all my clients to give their goldfish as much space as possible to ensure they live long and healthy lives.