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Top 5 Small Home Aquariums for Bettas and Other Cool Freshwater Fish

Updated on June 17, 2014

When it comes time to choose the best small home aquariums for your freshwater fish there are literally thousands to pick from. The following are the top 5 newest, cleanest, and most streamlined small aquariums available.

The Marineland Eclipse Acrylic Aquarium

The Marineland Eclipse Acrylic Aquarium is a five gallon hexagon tank that is perfect for the beginning aquarist. The set-up is extremely easy with a built in bio-wheel filtration system. The only maintenance on this tank is the monthly water change and a check and change of the physical media filter. The top has a built in fluorescent lighting system that provides brilliant illumination of your fish. Aesthetically it is a unique shape and adds a bit of interest just due to its look. The five gallon tank is best used for a few small fish (tetras, neons, etc.) or a single specimen fish. A great look in either a child’s room or on a front office desk and cheap as well, It's one of the best small fresh water aquariums out there.

Umbra FishHotel

If you are looking for a modern addition to an entryway or office space the Umbra FishHotel is just the thing. The tank holds just under a gallon of water so it is suited for Bettas. These magnificent fish look stunning in the stark white, asymmetrical windows of the tank. Multiple tanks can be stacked on top of each other to create the “Hotel” look but the unit looks just as good as the centerpiece of a mod display. The only drawback to the tank is removing the bowl from the outer case for cleaning. There also is no lid but, since this tank is only for housing Bettas, there is no fear of them jumping out. If you happen to have a cat though, you might want to find a small Plexiglas top for it.

8 Gallon BioOrb

The eight gallon BioOrb sphere gives the viewer a 360 degree view of the tank so it can be placed at the center of a table and viewed by everyone seated around it. The clean silver accent color gives it a clean, modern feel that would be at home in a doctor’s office or a rustic cabin. The five stage filtration system mixes a mechanical, biological and chemical filtration for an almost effortless tank upkeep. The only maintenance is changing the filter media every two months making it an obvious choice for one of the best small fresh water aquariums around.

The major complaint about this tank is the cost. The initial set up costs a shade over $100 with filters running $10.99 each. The cost for the first year is almost $200. For an eight gallon sphere this is a bit pricey. The space is limited to five to ten fish, depending on size and nature. Also, the tank does not include a heater so if you are thinking of keeping tropical fish, you’ll need to pick up the BioOrb heater to maintain the aesthetic of the tank.

Fluval Chi

The Fluval Chi is a five gallon setup that is really intended as a single fish display tank. It could possibly house up to three guppies or neon tetras. Any more than this and the filtration system just simply can't hold up. The tank itself is gorgeous. The open top design is unique and adds both visual and audible interest to any environment. The low level LED lighting makes this one of the best small fresh water aquariums for use in a bedroom or kitchen area. As with the BioOrb there is no heater in this tank so if you want to keep tropical fish in it you’ll have to purchase one. If you don’t want the cluttered look a heater can bring, it would be the perfect home for an Oranda. The Oriental feel of the tank makes a goldfish the perfect choice. The Chi is worth every penny.

Fluval Edge

This is absolutely one of the best fresh water aquariums available. If you are looking for style, Fluval’s got it. Just one look tells you everything you need to know about this tank. The entire tank is enclosed, top as well, for a seamless modern look. All of the equipment is stored in a behind the scenes enclosure. The tank doesn’t come with a heater but if you do purchase one the cord can be run through the same hidden area in which the other wires for the filtration and lighting systems are housed. The halogen light covers most of the tank (and with a slight modification of the bulb housing legs can cover the whole tank). The pump on this six gallon tank is actually too strong for the tank itself and is best set at half power unless you are keeping particularly dirty fish (like goldfish). Strictly for looks, this is the one to go with -- it’s a statement piece.

Fluval has raised the bar when it comes to aquarium design making it hard to beat as one of the best small fresh water aquariums available for consumers. Both the Chi and Edge incorporate clean contemporary designs with flawless utility. The BioOrb, although a bit more expensive in the long run, is a striking choice with very limited maintenance needs. With choices like these there is no reason to bring the style of your room down with a standard, ten gallon, black edged, rectanglular tank.

The best small home aquarium for you is going to depend on the style you are looking for. Each of these tanks works well for Bettas or for a small group of schooling fish like cardinals or neons. If you are looking for a way to feature one or more special species, get a series of the same tank and line them up on a desk or shelving unit.


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