The Best Fish Tank for Small Aquaponics Systems

The selection of the right fish tank is an important decision that influences the success and sustainability of a small-scale aquaponics system. In this article, we will delve into the process of choosing the best fish tank for small aquaponics setups. From size considerations of material choices, compatibility with aquaponics components, and the specific needs of different fish species, we'll explore the essential factors contributing to a thriving aquatic environment.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Fish Tank for Small Aquaponics Systems

The fish tank is the heart of every successful aquaponics system. It is the home of fish and the foundation of the entire system. The choice of a fish tank is critical, because it holds the fish and the water that circulates through the system. The tank's size, material, and design directly impact the system's efficiency, sustainability, and overall well-being.

Benefits of Small Aquaponics Systems

Here are the benefits of small-scale aquaponics systems.

1. Sustainability:

  • Aquaponics efficiently use the resources in a closed-loop system.
  • Reduced reliance to fertilizers and pesticides.

2. Space Efficiency:

  • Ideal for urban and limited-space environments.
  • Enables cultivation in small balconies, patios, or even indoors.
  • Maximizes productivity in compact areas.

3. Low Maintenance Requirements:

  • Simplifies routine tasks due to smaller scale.
  • Less time and effort for cleaning and upkeep.

4. Natural Nutrient Cycling:

  • Eliminates the need for synthetic fertilizers.
  • It enhances soil fertility and promotes robust plant growth.

5. Diverse Fish and Plant Options:

  • Allows for the cultivation of various fish species.
  • Accommodates a wide range of plants, including vegetables and herbs.
  • Provides flexibility for experimentation and personalization.

6. Year-Round Cultivation:

  • Extends growing seasons, especially in controlled indoor environments.
  • Allows for continuous food production irrespective of external climate.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Small Aquaponics Fish Tank

Here are the factors to consider when selecting a fish tank for your small aquaponics setup. 

1. Size Requirements for Small Aquaponics Systems: The size of the aquaponic tank is a crucial consideration for small-scale aquaponics systems. Evaluate the available space and choose a tank that aligns with the available space and the intended size of the system. Ensure that there is enough room for both fish and plants to thrive while fitting seamlessly into the designated area. 

2.  Material Considerations (Glass, Acrylic, etc.): The choice of material for the aquaponic tank contributes to its durability, aesthetics, and overall performance. Common fish tank materials include glass and acrylic. Glass tanks are transparent, scratch-resistant, and can withstand UV exposure. Acrylic tanks, on the other hand, are lighter, more impact-resistant, and offer greater design flexibility. Consider weight, clarity, and potential impact when selecting the material. 

3.  Ease in Maintenance: Look for a compact fish tank that offers features to facilitate easy maintenance. Consider tanks with built-in filtration systems, which can help remove waste and maintain water quality parameters. Additionally, features like easy access to the tank for cleaning, removable lids, and convenient drainage systems can make routine maintenance tasks more manageable.

4.  Shape and Design: The shape and design of the fish tank can impact the efficiency and aesthetics of your aquaponics system. The common fish tank shapes are rectangular, square, circular, and cylindrical. Rectangular or square tanks are often preferred because they maximize the water volume and provide better space utilization. Consider the design features that facilitate water flow and optimize the fish and plants' space. Look for tanks with built-in dividers, overflow systems, and appropriate inlet and outlet placements. 

5. Cost-effective: It is important to check the cost-effectiveness of the chosen fish tank. Compare the price of the tank with its quality, durability, and included features. Consider the long-term benefits and potential savings the tank can offer.

6. Compatibility with Other Components (Filters, Pumps, etc.) Ensure the tank is designed to accommodate essential components, such as filters, pumps, and aeration systems. Check for fittings, connectors, and outlets that align with your water pump, grow beds, and other equipment requirements. By choosing a fish tank that is compatible with other components, you lay the groundwork for a system that operates cohesively and effectively.

Top Features to Look for in a Fish Tank

Choosing the right fish tank for a small aquaponics system involves considering a range of features that directly impact the system's longevity, functionality, and adaptability. Here are key features to look at when selecting a fish tank.

1. Durability and Longevity

Look for tanks that are made from sturdy materials such as tempered glass or high-quality acrylic. These materials not only withstand the pressures of water weight but also resist scratches and other wear over time. A durable tank ensures the stability of the aquatic environment and prevents leaks and structural issues that could compromise the well-being of fish and plants.

2. Adequate Water Capacity

The tank's water capacity is a fundamental consideration, as it directly correlates with the system's overall stability. Ensure that the tank has sufficient volume to accommodate the intended number and size of fish while providing a suitable environment for plant growth. 

3. Easy Access for Maintenance

Efficient maintenance is key to a successful aquaponics system, and the design of the fish tank plays an important role‌. Opt for a tank with easy access points for cleaning, water testing, and general maintenance. 

4.  Compatibility with Different Fish Species

When selecting a fish tank, consider its compatibility with various fish species. Some species may have specific habitat or water parameter requirements. A tank accommodating this diversity allows for experimentation and adaptation, enabling aquaponics practitioners to explore different combinations of fish and plants.

The Best Fish Tanks for Small-Scale Aquaponics Systems

Several options are available when selecting the best fish tank for small aquaponics systems. Here are five recommendations that offer durability, functionality, and compatibility for your aquaponics setup.

1.  Best Overall: AquaSprouts Garden


AquaSprouts Garden Fish Tank


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Review Summary  Pros  Cons  Great for
  • Sleek and modern design

  • Easy to set up

  • Efficient use of space with an integrated fish tank and grow bed

  • Includes a filtration system for clean water and healthy fish

  • Suitable for small to medium-sized spaces

  • Enhances the aesthetic appeal of any living space

  • Limited capacity 

  • Not suitable for commercial production

  • Requires regular monitoring and adjustment of nutrient levels

  • Fish tank size may limit the number and size of fish that can be kept

  • Home aquaponics systems

  • Small-scale aquaponics projects

  • Individuals with limited space for aquaponics setups

  • Those seeking an aesthetically pleasing aquaponics solution for their living space


Our Review

The AquaSprouts Garden  fish tank is a game-changer in the world of aquaponics. Its sleek design and easy setup make it perfect for beginners and experienced enthusiasts alike. Setting up the AquaSprouts Garden was a breeze, thanks to clear instructions. The tank's size is ideal for small to medium spaces, making it versatile for home or office use. The AquaSprouts Garden's integrated design maximizes space by utilizing the fish waste to nourish the plants. Continuous nutrient-rich water keeps the plants thriving, with minimal maintenance required. Maintenance of this AquaSprouts Garden is hassle-free because the system includes a filtration system that keeps the water and fish healthy.

In short, the AquaSprouts Garden fish tank simplifies aquaponics and brings natural beauty into your surroundings. It's a must-have for anyone interested in sustainable farming.

2.  Best Value: Penn-Plax Aquaponic Planter and Aquarium

Penn-Plax Aquaponic Planter and Aquarium for Betta Fish


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Review Summary 



Great for

  • Compact design, perfect for small spaces

  • Easy setup and assembly

  • Suitable for beginners

  • Self-sustaining ecosystem 

  • Low-maintenance system

  • Limited capacity for larger fish 

  • Not suitable for commercial production

  • The small planter size may limit the number and variety of plants that can be grown

  • Requires regular monitoring and adjustment of nutrient levels

  • May need additional lighting for optimal plant growth 

  • Small-scale aquaponics projects

  • Home or office aquaponics setups

  • Beginners or those with limited space for aquaponics systems

  • Individuals seeking a visually appealing and self-contained aquaponic solution


Our Review

The Penn-Plax Aquaponic Planter and Aquarium is an innovative and compact solution for aquaponics enthusiasts. Its easy setup and dual functionality bring the beauty of a self-sustaining ecosystem to any small space. The system's ingenious combination of an aquarium and planter creates a mutually beneficial relationship between fish and plants. The planter provides ample space for various plants, allowing you to create a mini indoor garden. The integrated filtration system ensures clean water, supporting healthy fish and optimal plant growth.

While the aquarium's capacity is limited to smaller fish species, the Penn-Plax Aquaponic Planter and Aquarium still offer a visually appealing display, adding a touch of tranquility to any environment. It's perfect for beginners or anyone with limited space, bringing the wonders of a self-sustaining ecosystem into your home or office.

3.  Best for Size: All Glass Aquarium Fish Tank


All Glass Aquarium Fish Tank


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Review Summary Pros


Great for

  • Durable construction for long-lasting performance
  • Practical design 
  • Transparent glass provides an unobstructed view of the aquaponics ecosystem
  • Can accommodate various fish species and plant types
  • Offers customization options 
  • Requires additional components for setup
  • Limited capacity for larger-scale aquaponics projects
  • Requires regular monitoring
  • Beginners and experienced aquaponics enthusiasts
  • Small to medium-scale aquaponics projects
  • Those seeking a durable and customizable tank for their aquaponics setup
  • Individuals looking to enjoy the visual appeal of a transparent glass tank


Our Review

The All Glass Aquarium Fish Tank is a versatile and durable option for aquaponics enthusiasts. Its practical design and various sizes provide an ideal foundation for creating your aquaponics ecosystem. This fish tank is built to last, ensuring long-term performance and reliability. Its transparent glass design allows for an unobstructed view, adding aesthetic appeal to your space.

While the All Glass Aquarium Fish Tank doesn't come with integrated aquaponic features, it offers flexibility for customization. You can easily add components like a grow bed, filtration system, and water pump to create your desired aquaponics system. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced aquaponics enthusiast, this tank provides a solid base for cultivating a thriving and visually pleasing aquaponics setup.

Runner Ups for Best Small Aquaponics System Fish Tank

1.  Vivosun 3-Gallon Aquaponics Fish Tank


VIVOSUN 3-Gallon Aquaponic Fish Tank


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Review Summary Pros Cons  Great for
  • Compact size, perfect for small spaces

  • Easy setup and assembles

  • Integrated filtration system for maintaining water quality

  • Included grow bed for cultivating a variety of plants

  • Visually appealing, 

  • Lightweight and sturdy construction 

  • Limited capacity for fish and plant selection

  • Requires regular monitoring of water quality and nutrient levels

  • Not suitable for larger-scale aquaponics projects

  • Additional lighting may be needed

  • Small-scale

  • aquaponics projects

  • Home or office aquaponics setups

  • Beginners or those with limited space for aquaponics systems

Our Review

The VIVOSUN 3-Gallon Aquaponic Fish Tank is a compact and efficient solution for aquaponics enthusiasts. With its easy setup, integrated filtration system, compact design and included grow bed, it offers a convenient and visually appealing way to create a small-scale aquaponics ecosystem. The VIVOSUN 3-Gallon Aquaponic Fish Tank is an excellent choice for compact aquaponics systems.

2.  Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit


Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit


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Review Summary



Great for

  • Spacious 55-gallon capacity

  • Comprehensive kit with a sturdy glass tank

  • Versatile design for customization 

  • Reliable filtration system

  • Roomy enough to accommodate larger plants and fish species

  • Provides a visually impressive display in any setting

  • Additional customization may be required

  • Requires careful monitoring and maintenance of water quality and nutrient levels

  • May not be suitable for limited spaces or smaller-scale aquaponics projects

  • Experienced aquaponics enthusiasts

  • Those seeking a larger-scale aquaponics setup

  • Individuals with ample space

Our Review

TheTetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit is a top choice for aquaponics enthusiasts seeking a versatile and roomy setup. Its large size and comprehensive kit provides ample space and essential components for a thriving aquaponics system.

The 55-gallon capacity offers flexibility in fish selection and plant variety. The included filtration system and water pump ensure optimal water quality for fish and plants.

While additional customization may be required, the Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit provides a solid foundation for creating a personalized aquaponics setup.

DIY Alternatives for Fish Tanks

Explore do-it-yourself (DIY) alternatives and upcycling options for fish tanks to save costs. Consider repurposing containers such as large plastic bins, barrels, aquaponics aquatiums or even unused bathtubs as fish tanks aquaponics. With proper modifications and waterproofing, these containers can provide a budget-friendly alternative to traditional fish tanks. Additionally, DIY fish tank projects can offer satisfaction and customization while reducing expenses.

Tips for Setting Up Your Small Aquaponics System

Setting up a small aquaponics system is an exciting endeavor that requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here are essential tips to ensure a successful and thriving aquatic garden:

1. Proper Placement of the Fish Tank

  • Sunlight Exposure: Choose a location with adequate sunlight for the plants, but avoid direct sunlight on the fish tank to prevent algae overgrowth and excessive water heating.
  • Stability: Ensure that the chosen surface can support the weight of the fish tank when filled with water. A stable platform prevents potential structural issues and promotes the safety of the entire system.
  • Accessibility: Place the tank in a location that allows easy access for maintenance tasks. Consider factors like proximity to water sources, electrical outlets, and convenience for routine checks.
  • Temperature Considerations: Avoid extreme temperature fluctuations in the chosen location. Sudden changes can stress both fish and plants. Aim for a stable environment conducive to the well-being of your aquatic ecosystem.

2. Water Quality Management

  • Filtration System: Invest in a reliable filtration system suitable for the size of your tank. Proper filtration ensures the removal of waste and maintains water clarity.
  • Testing and Monitoring: Regularly test water parameters such as pH levels, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. Monitoring these levels helps prevent imbalances that can harm fish and plants.
  • Water Changes: Perform regular partial water changes to maintain optimal water quality. This practice helps replenish essential nutrients for plants and reduces the accumulation of harmful substances.
  • Biosecurity Measures: Implement biosecurity measures to prevent the introduction of diseases. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main system to avoid potential health issues.

3. Monitoring and Adjusting System Parameters

  • pH Levels: Keep a close eye on pH levels, aiming for a range suitable for fish and plants. Adjustments can be made with pH buffers if necessary.
  • Temperature Control: Maintain a consistent water temperature within the preferred range for your fish species. Consider the use of aquarium heaters or cooling devices as needed.
  • Oxygenation: Ensure proper aeration to maintain sufficient oxygen levels for fish and promote healthy plant root development. Consider using air stones or surface agitation to enhance oxygen exchange.
  • Nutrient Levels: Monitor nutrient levels in the water to ensure that plants receive essential elements for growth. Adjust fish feeding rates if necessary to prevent nutrient imbalances.

By carefully considering the placement of the fish tank aquaponics, implementing effective water quality management practices, and diligently monitoring and adjusting system parameters, you lay the foundation for a successful small aquaponics system.


Choosing the right fish tank is essential for its success in small-scale aquaponics systems. The fish tank is more than a container—it is the center of a dynamic and interconnected aquaponics ecosystem.

The tank size that matches available space and the needs of the chosen fish species sets the stage for balance within the aquaponics system. The material of the tank shapes not only its durability but also its resonance with the broader components of the setup. Considering the important factors discussed in this article, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your budget and requirements and confidently embark on your small-scale aquaponics journey.


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