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If you’re just getting your first aquarium, it’s probably not a good idea to get something too large. Then again, you don’t want something that is too small either.

Many people make the mistake of starting out with a 10-gallon aquarium or smaller, but you can’t really put enough fish in a tank of this size to make it enjoyable.

A smaller tank can make it difficult to maintain good water parameters.

The best way to start out is with a 20-gallon tank.

That way, it isn’t too large that it will be difficult to maintain, but it will be large enough to have a nice selection of fish, plant life and one beautiful centerpiece fish.

Let’s look at five of the best 20-gallon aquariums, and give you the ins and outs of each one.

Our Top Picks

1. Best Basic Aquarium – Aquarium Tank, Glass, 20 Gallons

If you’re looking for a basic fish tank with no extras, this is a great deal. You will receive an all-glass, 20-gallon aquarium.

The bottom and sides are made from triple-strength, clear glass, which is “welded” together using silicone rubber. This means that the aquarium is totally leakproof, and will hold up for many years.

2. Best for Turtles – Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit

Everything you need to set up a habitat for a pet turtle is included with this aquarium.

Max Algae Control
The 2HR Aquarist APT Zero

Award-winning aquascapers' choice.

The smart one. Lean but powerful. APT Zero contains the full potency of APT Complete, but without nitrates and phosphates. It is specially designed for tanks with significant fish load and for hobbyists looking to replicate the renowned ADA dosing system. Its leaner dosing approach provides maximum algae control.

You will receive a decorative filter, cartridges, heating lamps, a screen top, a basking platform, and a boxwood plant mat. There are two dome lamps in the screen to provide warmth and light for basking.

3. Best for Aquarium Beginners – Marina LED Aquarium Kit

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is the ideal set up for the beginning aquarium enthusiast. You will get everything you need to start enjoying your new hobby right away.

The aquarium is made from glass, and features LED lighting that provides a natural daylight effect.

4. Best Acrylic Aquarium – SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

If you’re looking for an impact-resistant aquarium that is safer to have around children and pets than a glass tank, the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is an option to consider.

It is 17 times stronger than a glass aquarium, but it weighs half as much. This tank is ideal for both freshwater and saltwater.

5. Best Aquarium for Reptiles and Amphibians – Amphibian or Reptile Tank, 20 Gal

Are you considering getting a snake or other type of reptile or amphibian to keep as a pet?

If so, you are going to need the right environment to keep it in. Check out the Amphibian or Reptile Tank from Carolina.

This all-glass tank has a lid and is ideal for amphibians and reptiles, including smaller snakes.

Best 20-Gallon Aquarium Reviews

The purpose of this article is to show you some of the best aquariums for beginners, and for anyone who doesn’t have enough space for a huge aquarium. Some are aquariums only, while others are kits for both fish and reptiles.

1. Aquarium Tank, Glass, 20 Gallons

Aquarium Tank, Glass, 20 Gal
List Price:$73.75
Price Disclaimer

Carolina brings you a simple aquarium that is ideal for beginners. The Aquarium Tank is a 20-gallon tank that is made from super-strong glass and held together with silicone rubber welding. This is a strong aquarium that is not going to leak and can be used with freshwater and saltwater.


  • Designed for a recessed cover
  • Bottom and sides made from triple-strength, clear glass
  • Can be used for saltwater fish


  • Problems with aquarium cracking
  • Silicone on the glass
  • Some reports of not getting the tank that was ordered


The 2HR Aquarist Fertilizer APT Complete

Award-winning aquascapers' choice.

The all-in-one wonder. Richer Colours. Less Algae. Faster Results. 10X more potent1 that conventional fertilizers, and carefully balanced to limit algae. Unlock the true potential of your planted tank today!

This aquarium from Carolina is guaranteed to be free of any manufacturer defects. If you have any problems with this tank, you can contact customer service for a replacement, refund, or credit with no hassles. This is a great tank for beginners or anyone who needs a smaller tank.

2. Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit

A 20-gallon tank is ideal for turtles, and the Tetra Deluxe Aquatic Turtle Kit has everything you need to create the ideal environment for your pets. The tank measures 30” X 12” X 12”, so there is plenty of room for at least two small turtles.


  • Includes all the accessories you will need
  • Includes two 5.5” dome lamps, a 60-watt heating bulb, and a 13 watt 5.0 UVB bulb
  • Includes ReptoMin Baby Floating Food Stick and AquaSafe samples


  • Problems with heating light not working properly
  • Problems with the pump not working at all
  • Check to make sure everything is in package


This aquarium kit is ideal for the beginning turtle enthusiast and a great environment for small pet turtles. The filter even creates a waterfall, which gives the turtles a basking area where they can relax, and it provides three-stage filtration.

3. Marina LED Aquarium Kit

Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 20 gallon
List Price:$96.99
Price Disclaimer

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit comes with everything the beginner needs to set up a beautiful fish habitat.

It even comes with the little things, such as Fluval Max fish food, Fluval Aqua Plus Water Conditioner, and Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement. The Aquarium Care Guide will help you set up and maintain the tank.


  • LED lighting module provides a natural daylight effect
  • Comes with fish food, water conditioner, and more
  • Uses Marina Slim S10 or S20 clip-on filters with quick-change filter cartridges


  • Problems with light not working
  • Complaints of tank leaking
  • Not packaged well, may arrive cracked or broken


If you are looking into getting your first aquarium, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit is a good option. You will have to purchase the decorations, rocks, etc., but the important things are there, including the right water conditioner and healthy food for your fish.

4. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set includes the aquarium, a reflector, and an electrical 15-inch light fixture. Because it is made from acrylic rather than glass, not only is it stronger, it is clearer, so you get an even better view of the aquatic life inside.


  • Safe for saltwater and freshwater fish
  • Stronger than glass, but half the weight
  • Impact-resistant and not prone to chipping or cracking


  • Problems with tank leaking
  • Reports of acrylic top warping
  • Poor design is difficult to clean


If you have children and/or pets, and are worried about your aquarium being knocked over and broken, causing injuries, your best bet is to get an acrylic tank, such as the one in the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set.

It is stronger and safer, and a great way to introduce your kids to the world of aquariums.

5. Amphibian or Reptile Tank, 20 Gal

Amphibian or Reptile Tank, 20 Gal
List Price:$90.25
Price Disclaimer

Carolina is a well-known name in the world of aquariums, delivering quality products with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. This aquarium is ideal for reptiles and amphibians.

It measures 24” X 12” X 16”, so it can even be used to house larger lizards or even a small to a medium-sized snake.

Max Plant Growth
The 2HR Aquarist Estimative Index

Designed to exceed the maximum estimate of plant-growth requirements, the famous nutrient dosing approach pioneered by Tom Barr is now available in a ready-to-use concentrate that removes the guesswork from trying to recreate this powerful and sometimes elusive formula.


  • Unconditional guarantee for replacement, refund, or credit
  • Made from glass and has a lid
  • Can also be used for fish and other aquatic life


  • Top screen is not hinged
  • Tank received may not be the same as the tank ordered
  • Have to move the light to feed pets


When you buy a Carolina aquarium, you know that you are getting a quality product and that if you have any concerns or questions, they will be there to help. This aquarium is made from glass and has a lid that can easily be removed (doesn’t have hinges).

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, a novice doesn’t have to go out and spend a lot of money to get a decent aquarium setup, whether it is for fish, reptiles, or amphibians.

The aquariums we have discussed today are all high quality and can be used for a variety of animal life but there is one that stands out and that is the Marina LED Aquarium Kit. You get a 20-gallon aquarium with accessories which makes this ideal for fish-keeping.