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Aquaponic fish tanks are great; you can keep fish and other aquatic animals and simultaneously keep plants in one symbiotic system. The fish waste becomes the nutrients for plants, and in return, as nature will have it, the plants help purify the water for the fish. And you get a self-cleaning fish tank and mini garden in one.

And if you start well and get things going on the right foot, you’ll have super low maintenance set up. It’s perfect as a learning tool for children too, or to grow some nice garden herbs at home.

There are some really great aquaponic tanks out on the market today, and we’ve handpicked our top 5 favorites to show you. Our reviews on those are coming up very shortly.

Please note, this article concentrates on aquaponic fish tanks for fun and decoration and not on growing fish to eat them.

Following that, we’ve then got a buying guide for you, highlighting some of the key things you might want to think about before you buy your aquaponic tank.

We’re going to top that off with a section where we provide answers to some of your most frequently asked questions.

So, without further ado…

Quick List Best Aquaponic Fish Tanks

  1. Back to the Roots Water Garden, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem
  2. AquaSprouts Garden
  3. Colmo Aquaponic Fish Tank
  4. Penn Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank
  5. Penn-Plax AquaTerrium Fish Tank

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Top Pick: Back to the Roots Water Garden, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem

Water Garden, Self-Cleaning Fish Tank That Grows Food, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem (Great Gardening Gift & Family Project)

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If you’re looking for an aquaponic system designed to enable you to grow your own garden herbs, then you need to look no further. It’s a great way to get into gardening if you don’t really consider yourself a gardener or don’t have a big backyard.

It includes everything you need to get started, except for the water and the fish. You get fast-growing organic microgreen seeds and additives to remove chlorine from your water and kickstart the nutrient cycle.

You also get special grow stones (instead of soil), which help your plants take route and access the nutrients from the water. You even get fish food and nutrient supplements for the fish!

As it’s an aquaponic tank, there’s no need for a filter, or in this instance, a water pump, and the system is entirely self-cleaning.

It’s a great educational gift for kids because it comes with a free STEM curriculum on aquaponic and hydroponic systems.

You can assemble it in just 10 short minutes, and the instructions are super easy to follow.

And you don’t have to stick with just the seeds provided – you can experiment with a range of different plants, including orchids and even bamboo.

It’s made right here in the USA, and if your plants aren’t growing as they should be, you can even claim your money back. Plus, their after-sales team is excellent, with lots of handy hints and tips.

Amazon occasionally has outstanding deals on this tank – worth a look. And they have refill kits available too!

Pros

  • Includes everything you need to get started
  • Includes free STEM curriculum
  • Easy to assemble
  • Satisfaction guarantee

Cons

  • Some customers complained about an unpleasant smell.

 

Second Pick: AquaSprouts Garden

AquaSprouts Garden

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Here’s another highly rated and best selling aquaponics tank, and it comes with some features that other aquaponic tanks simply don’t have.

First off, there’s the removable light bar to ensure that you’ll always have enough light for your plants, even if you don’t want to keep it near a window.

Then there’s the pump, which has its own timer, so you can program it to pump nutrients from the fish waste from the bottom of the tank right up into the growing media to provide that all-important nutrition for your plant growth.

And better yet, this grow media does not degrade, so never needs to be replaced. How low maintenance is that!

Speaking of the growth media, this also comes included in the price, and it serves to support the plants in their grow bed by providing plenty of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow. These bacteria then convert the fish waste into nutrients for your plants.

Despite its large 10 gallon capacity, it’s a very slimline tank that you could fit just about anywhere. It has a nice matte black outer edge, which looks good amongst most decor.

It’s straightforward to assemble, and no special tools or hardware are needed. The included instruction booklet is perfect and takes you through things step by step.

Although it doesn’t come with an educational leaflet, the Amazon page itself can be used to explain the workings of aquaponics to your kids.

We were also impressed with the after-sales support.

Pros

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Removable light bar
  • Growth media included
  • Very easy to assemble
  • Pump with integrated timer

Cons

  • Premium product at a premium price

 

Third Pick: Colmo Aquaponic Fish Tank

 

COLMO Aquaponic Fish Tank - Hydroponic Garden Planting Growing System Planting Pot Fish Bowl Compressed Soil Planting Kit Suitable for Small Fish and Planting (Kit)

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Now, this has to be one of the most affordable aquaponics tanks on the market.

But what we really like about this one is how it’s effectively a plant pot with a difference. It would look great on a desk or a coffee table, or even a dining table.

It comes with (almost) everything you need. This includes compressed soil, which expands once water is added, is very fertile for easy planting, and has great water retention.

There’s also special water-absorbing pottery to aid the passing of the nutrients from the fish waste up into the plants’ roots via the soil. There’s a real symbiosis that takes place when it’s up and running, which avoids the need for any filtration system.

It comes with full instructions and even a small shovel for your planting. It’s also straightforward to pour in extra water as and when required.

It’s almost an exact cube in shape, 14 cm by 15.5 cm. Because of its condensed size, you have to be careful about what size fish you can safely include. You can include up to 10 fish, so long as none of them are bigger than 4 cm long at most.

This aquaponic fish tank is a relatively new release, and this is why there aren’t too many reviews around for it on the net just yet. Despite the tank’s relative newness, though, it has made Amazon’s bestseller list for the category.

Great little tank.

Pros

  • Smart appearance
  • An Amazon bestseller
  • Plant pot with a difference
  • Comes with everything you need

Cons

  • Not many customer reviews on the net just yet.

 

Fourth Pick: Penn Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank

Penn Plax Aquaponic <a class=Betta Fish Tank Promotes Healthy Environment for Plants and Fish 1.4 Gallon Capacity – APON2″ />

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If you’re just looking for something small and affordable, then this would make a great choice.

It’s aesthetic is rather minimal, simple, and very fitting natural-looking.

This tank is just 1.4 gallons in size and is not intended to house a great deal of fish. But if you were to have a Japanese fighting fish in there (one of the recommended fish for this tank), then you probably wouldn’t want anything obstructing your view of it.

Other recommended fish for this tank include White Cloud Minnows, Danios, Guppies, and Tetras.

As for what plants are recommended for it, you’ve got Chinese evergreen, English ivy, mint, watercress, bamboo, chives, or any leafy lettuce.

There’s no filter or water pump required at all, and it’s self-cleaning, so it’s very low maintenance.

Although there are no seeds included (seeds are not recommended), you do get ceramic planting media included, which retain water and support your chosen plant’s root growth.

In addition to being quite small, it’s also quite lightweight, so you move it to anywhere you happen to be in the house.

And it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee.

Amazon occasionally has terrific deals on this tank – worth a look.

Pros:

  • Minimal & natural
  • No filter or water pump required
  • Great for Japanese fighting fish
  • 100% money back guarantee

Cons:

  • Only certain fish and plants recommended

Final Pick: Penn-Plax AquaTerrium Fish Tank

Penn-Plax AquaTerrium Fish Tank (REPTT1R) – 2 Chambers, 1 Biological Ecosystem – for Aquaponic, Refugium, and Freshwater Aquarium Setups – 8.4 Gallons, Glass

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Now, this is really something.

First off, it has a terrific aesthetic going, especially once you get the waterfall going.

And second, you get 2 separate and protected living environments using a combined filtration unit. And you can customize this set up as you please.

You can use it as an aquaponic fish tank or as a refugium.

The tank includes an integrated internal filter and a submersible water pump. The filter comprises a net bag, coarse sponge, carbon filter media, and bio media balls. All of which are readily available on Amazon when it comes time to replace them.

It’s a big tank, with the shorter front tank can hold 3.8 gallons of water, while the taller rear tank can hold 4.6 gallons, making a total of 8.4 gallons.

You could have smaller aquatic life in the front tank, like crabs and shrimp, and then keep the rear tank for goldfish, guppies tetras and mollies, and submerged aquatic plants.

It’s straightforward to set up; follow the instructions on the video available on the Amazon page.

It’s quite a niche product, which explains why there aren’t too many customer reviews on it, but what feedback there has been impressively positive. When writing this article, the average Amazon customer rating was coming out at a full 5 stars out of a possible 5.

Pros:

  • 100% customizable
  • Use as an aquaponic or refugium tank
  • Includes an internal filter
  • Includes submersible water pump

Cons:

  • Premium product a premium price
  • Not many customer reviews on the net
  • Only intended for submerged plants & fish

 

Best Aquaponic Fish Tanks Buyers Guide

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And, here’s your buying guide as promised.

Why you should go for a store-bought aquaponic tank

Aquaponic fish tanks are designed to be low maintenance, but creating one yourself from scratch stops it from being such low maintenance.

You have to buy all the parts, do all your own research into which plants work well with which forms of aquatic life, find the best pump, put all that time in, and hope for the best.

In contrast, with a store-bought aquaponic type, there is no such burden. Everything is already done for you, and it is good to go. All you have to do is get the water, the plants, and the fish.

Low maintenance

One of the primary reasons aquaponic fish tanks are popular is because they’re so low maintenance. You generally don’t have to buy a filter or a water pump; you don’t have to change the filter sponge or clean the tank walls regularly. You can sit back and watch nature take care of itself.

Out of our top 5 picks, the ones that require the least amount of maintenance include our number 3 pick, the Colmo Aquaponic Fish Tank, and our number 4 pick, the Penn Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank.

Aesthetically Pleasing

If you pick a tank that you really like the look of, it can really help your enjoyment. We think all of the tanks in our top5 picks are quite aesthetically pleasing, but we don’t blame you for having a favorite tank!

Educational

Having an aquaponic fish tank at home is a great way to teach your kids about symbiotic living environments.

In our number 1 pick, the Back to the Roots Water Garden, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem, there’s included educational material to help teach your kids about aquaponics.

Size

Your aquaponic tank’s size will directly affect how many fish or other forms of aquatic life you can keep in there. The same goes for your plants.

So if you have plenty of space for a large tank, you can house many fish and plants, but if you’re limited for space, then perhaps something a little smaller might suit you better.

Easy to set up

All of the aquaponic tanks in our top 5 picks are quite easy to set up and come with detailed step by step instructions.

Perhaps the most difficult one to set up would be our number 1 pick, the Back to the Roots Water Garden, Mini Aquaponic Ecosystem. But that’s only because it comes with so many parts to help get you started.

Availability of replacement parts where applicable

Most of the aquaponic tanks in our top 5 picks don’t require much replacement of parts, except for our number 5 pick, the Penn-Plax AquaTerrium Fish Tank.

However, everything you’ll ever need for it is readily available online on sites like Amazon.

Budget

Ready-made aquaponic tanks are available at a wide range of prices, with some costing little more than $20 and others costing over $150. The lower-priced varieties are not necessarily any worse than their more expensive counterparts, and it’s not a case of costing more = better.

In our top 5 picks, we were careful to select some for different budgets, but if you are looking for a bargain, then the most affordable option in our top 5 picks is the.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand of fish tank is best?

There are many brands out there selling fish tanks, but aquaponics is still quite a niche market, and there aren’t really enough players in the market for there to be one that really dominates said market.

However, we can assure you that all of the tanks that made our top 5 picks come from great brands.

Why are my fish dying in my aquaponics?

Keeping fish in any tank can be somewhat of a balancing act. Everything has to be just right: pH, ammonia levels, temperature, and so on. We recommend that you test your tank water regularly if not frequently, to check that everything is running smoothly.

You can buy stick tests that can test for several things at once, which we recommend.

As for why your fish might start dying in your aquaponics, there is usually one typical main cause. And that is overfeeding, which leads to excess ammonia in the tank – too much for the plant/s to absorb adequately. You only need to feed your fish every other day.

Do I need to change the water in aquaponics?

Aquaponics systems are generally very low maintenance and require very little intervention. The plants and aquatic life live in harmony together.

However, some water over time gets lost. This is partly due to simple evaporation and partly due to the plants taking up the water by transpiration.

So, yes, you will need to add water on occasion when you can see that the water levels have, in fact, dropped a little bit. However, it would be best if you did not have to do any regular or frequent water changes like a regular fish tank.

Are aquaponics safe for fish?

Yes, we can confirm that aquaponics is most certainly safe for fish, and in many ways, is preferable to conventional fish tanks.

It is known for small fish to get sucked up into the fish tank filters.