Fish are a low-maintenance and cost-effective starter pet, perfect for kids who aren’t quite ready to take on the responsibility of a dog or a cat. The most important thing your new fish will need is a tank, and fortunately, there are plenty of kid-friendly options to choose from. Here are the seven best fish tanks for kids.
The Best Fish Tanks for Kids
1. Aqueon Betta Bowl Kit Blue .5 Gallon
(Best value — $)
Why it’s great: This half-gallon aquarium can accommodate up to two betta fish. It even comes with a divider to keep their living spaces separate. Low-maintenance and economical, this fish tank is easy to set up and easy to clean. Praised by customers for being the perfect starter tank, this aquarium kit comes with an aquarium plant and gravel as well as samples of betta food and water conditioner.
Keep in mind: It’s recommended that customers purchase an Aqueon Mini Heater or Flat Heater to use with this aquarium.
Good for: Smaller fish as this tank can only hold a half-gallon of water.
2. GloFish Aquarium Kit with LED Lighting and Filtration Included
(Easiest to assemble — $$)
Why it’s great: This five-gallon aquarium kit comes with all the necessary essentials to care for your new fish, including a highly efficient Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Filter. Available in sizes ranging from 3 gallons to 20 gallons, this seamless, crescent-shaped tank is made of thick, high-quality plastic. Its sleek black hood is designed to reduce evaporation and features hidden blue LED lights, which provide a unique florescent aesthetic inside the tank.
Keep in mind: Some customers say it’s worth investing in a bigger filter than the one this tank comes with.
Good for: Families looking for a fish tank that can double as a nightlight.
3. Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit
(Highest quality — $$$)
Why it’s great: One of the more expensive fish tanks on the market, this Tetra aquarium is popular with customers for its high-quality construction and soundless filtration system. Made from scratch-resistant glass, this fish tank comes with a premium water heater as well as a Whisper Filter that’s both quiet and powerful. A hinged LED hood provides bright, natural lighting intended to mimic daylight while five artificial plants add to the natural feel of this tank’s underwater environment.
Keep in mind: Some customers say this fish tank’s filter is tricky to install and won’t work properly or quietly unless it’s connected correctly.
Good for: Families looking to add more than one fish to their aquarium as this tank is on the larger side.
4. MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light
(Best filtration system — $$)
Why it’s great: This three-gallon MarineLand aquarium kit is popular for its sleek design and professional-grade features. With rounded corners and a glass sliding canopy, this fish tank will easily fit in most places in your home. This fish tank also includes a three-stage mechanical filtration system with an adjustable flow filter pump. Additionally, this tank’s unique hinged light rail projects vibrant blue and white LED lights for a shimmering viewing experience.
Keep in mind: Some customers say the LED lights are not as bright as they expected.
Good for: Families looking for a more advanced aquarium set-up as this fish tank comes with lots of premium features.
5. Aqueon Princess Castle Aquarium Kit
(Easiest to clean — $)
Why it’s great: This Princess Castle Aquarium is perfect for beginning fish fans and is praised by parents for being easy to assemble and easy to clean. This tank’s acrylic pink and purple castle lid provides a touch of whimsy, making it the perfect addition to a child’s bedroom. Designed to accommodate a single fish, this half-gallon tank comes with decorative gravel, a small plant, and two flags as well as samples of betta food and water conditioner.
Keep in mind: This fish tank doesn’t come with a filter or heater.
Good for: Younger kids who will appreciate this tank’s princess aesthetic and practical design.
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6. Tetra Bubbling LED Aquarium
(Best for beginners — $$)
Why it’s great: This Tetra aquarium comes with lots of fun features, including an auto-changing LED bubbling disk, which makes for a spectacular viewing experience. Made from clear and durable plastic, this fish tank also has a transparent cover with a convenient feeding hole. Sold with an air-driven Whisper internal filter, Whisper Bio-Bag, and a specialized air pump, this aquarium is designed to house one Betta fish or two community tropical fish.
Keep in mind: This fish tank is not recommended for goldfish.
Good for: Families looking for a fish tank that offers a fun viewing experience as this aquarium features a bubbler with changing LED lights.
7. Lightahead Artificial Mini LED Aquarium
(Best artificial aquarium — $)
Why it’s great: This multi-colored LED aquarium is a great option for families who don’t want to take on the responsibility of caring for a real fish. Sold with three artificial fish, customers only need to add water and 2-4 drops of dish detergent to bring this aquarium to life. The gentle rhythm of the swimming fish paired with the colorful LED lights make this fish tank the perfect soothing nightlight. Best of all, this alternative aquarium is AC-powered, though it can also run on 3 AA batteries.
Keep in mind: This is not a real fish tank but rather a sensory nightlight for kids.
Good for: Kids with autism of ADHD as this fish tank is designed to reduce stress and anxiety.
FAQs about Fish Tanks for Kids
1. What should I consider when shopping for a fish tank for kids?
The first thing you’ll want to consider is what kind of fish will be living in your tank. Different breeds require different filtration and heating systems to stay alive. The size and quantity of fish will matter as well since that will determine how big of a tank you’ll need. You’ll also want to think about what features you want included in your fish tank. LED lights or bubblers provide an immersive viewing experience while a silent filter can make all the difference when it comes to the noise level in your home. Some fish tanks are sold as kits and include gravel, artificial plants, and even food samples. Budget is always an important factor, but fortunately, fish tanks are sold at a wide range of price points.
2. How big should a fish tank be?
This depends on the number of fish you plan to have as well as their size and breed. For one small betta fish, you may only need a half-gallon tank. For goldfish, it’s recommended to use a tank that can contain at least three gallons of water. Before you purchase a tank, you’ll want to do a little research on your future fish’s breed as this will no doubt inform your decision about what tank will be best. You’ll also want to consider the space in your home where you plan to put your fish tank. Always take measurements to ensure the tank you purchase will fit in its designated spot.
3. How often does a fish tank need to be cleaned?
This can vary depending on how many fish you have and how messy they are. In most cases, you’ll want to clean your tank once every two weeks. Cleaning should include changing out the water, wiping down the glass or plastic walls, removing any debris or uneaten food, and checking to make sure the water filter is working properly. In some cases, you may need to change or clean the filter separately. Always check the instructions that come with your fish tank for specific guidance on best practices for keeping your fish tank clean.
4. What age is best for a fish tank?
A fish tank is great for all ages. Babies can benefit from the visual stimulation a fish tank provides, especially those with bubblers or LED lights. Older kids will be able to help care for their pet fish by contributing to feedings and tank cleanings. Not only will this help your little one learn how to be responsible but it can also serve as practice for a more labor-intensive pet down the road.
5. What fish are best for kids?
The most popular fish for kids include betta fish, neon tetras, rosy red minnows, and goldfish. These fish are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of expensive supplies. That being said, you should always do your research before bringing a fish home as different breeds require different care and maintenance.
“Adopting” a fish can be a great way to teach kids how to be a responsible pet owners. While there aren’t a lot of things your new fish will need, you’ll definitely want to invest in a high-quality aquarium. Fish tanks are available in a variety of sizes and can include a range of features. Which fish tank is right for you will depend on the breed, size, and number of fish you plan to house in your tank. Aquarium features like LED lights and artificial plants can add to a fun underwater aesthetic while premium water filters and heaters can improve the quality of life for your fish. Fish tanks will provide hours of entertainment for kids of all ages but remember, it’s recommended that you clean your tank on a biweekly basis!