5 Best Lowest Maintenance Tanks in 2022 – Honest Reviews

Oct 13, 2020

5 Best Lowest Maintenance Tanks

As much as we would like aquariums to be self-sustaining art decors that don’t need any care after installation, that’s not the case. Especially if you’re a new hobbyist, it’s easy to forget that fishes are legitimate pets, like cats and dogs, not just eye-candy.

That’s why I’ve curated a list of 5 best lowest maintenance tanks, featuring self-cleaning tanks suitable for beginners, or actually, anyone. 

After skimming through hundreds and hundreds of tanks cleverly advertised as low-maintenance to even zero-maintenance and self-cleaning, I’ve come with these 5 recommendations. 

5 Best Lowest Maintenance Tanks At A Glance

GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank

Tetra Complete Aquarium Kit

Marina LED Aquarium Kit w/ filter heater LED & plants

Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit with Lighting

Fluval Premium Bow Front Aquarium Kit

The assessment was carried out based on the following:

  • Enough space for fishes 
  • Durable and high-quality material
  • Reasonably priced 
  • Suitable for beginners and busy people 

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of low maintenance tanks, let me clear up something. 

Turns out that the terms’ low maintenance’ and ‘self-cleaning’ are often used interchangeably in the fishkeeping world. Now that’s not only false but very misleading. 

Low Maintenance Tanks VS Self-Cleaning Tanks 

Low maintenance tanks are designed by taking a beginner’s challenges regarding size, tools, and material into consideration. They often come equipped with an all-inclusive kit that includes everything necessary to start out. 

On the other hand, self-cleaning tanks use a gravity-based approach or water garden approach to remove the dirt and waste, or at least they claim to. 

The Truth About Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks

Advertisements for self-cleaning fish tanks are often just marketing gimmicks and don’t have much truth in them. The claims that they don’t need to be regulated or are ‘self-sustaining’ are not precisely correct. 

Here are a few things to know:

  • Since these tanks are smaller in size, the toxins build up quickly. You’ll have to change the water more frequently compared to a bigger tank. 
  • You will still have to regularly keep things like nitrate, nitrite, co2, and pH levels on check. 
  • The number/options of fishes you can keep are dramatically reduced due to size limitations. 

My Choice For Lowest Maintenance Tank

As for my pick for the best lowest maintenance tank, I’ll go with Marina Led Aquarium Kit.

It’s durable built, in addition to an equally powerful filter, makes upkeeping a breeze for any beginner. If there’s one aquarium close to being ‘maintenance-free,’ it’s definitely Marina LED Aquarium Kit. 

Now let’s check out the detailed reviews 

GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank 

Recommended Size: 20 Gallons, 24.2″ L x 12.5″ W x 16.2″ H

A beginner-friendly, low maintenance aquarium kit by GloFish, this model comes with basically everything you need to set up your first aquarium. 

It comes with:

  • 20 Gallon Aquarium 
  • Set-up Guide 
  • Fish Food and Water Conditioner Sample 
  • 3 GloFish(R) Plants 
  • GloFish(R) Yellow Anemone 
  • Tetra(R) Whisper(R) 20 Filter
  • Tetra(R) Mini UL Heater 
  • LED Hood
  • GloFish(R) 13″ LED Light Stick 

Like you can see from the list mentioned above, it includes everything from aquarium essentials to decorative pieces that will result in a fully functioning and visually-pleasing fish tank by the end of the installation. 

The blue LED hood gives a nice overall touch to the tank. You can easily adjust the settings to make it bright and dim it if you want to replicate the fishes’ natural day cycle. 

The 20-gallon size gives more room for experimentation, allowing you to show off your creativity. You can make the best out of the three fake plants they provide to beautify the tank. 

The installation process is straightforward, but since it also comes with a set-up guide and warranty, that will take care of any hiccup in the way.

Pros:

  • The filter is very quiet
  • LED Light Bar Gives a Sophisticated Look
  • The glowing LED light setting also acts as a night light 

Cons:

  • The lid is small, have to remove a part of it when cleaning
  • White light can be too bright 

Tetra 20 Gallon Complete Aquarium Kit w/ filter heater LED & plants

Recommended Size: 20 Gallons, 24.2″ L x 12.4″ W x 16.7″ H

Tetra is a well-known name when it comes to fish tanks for a good reason. Tetra’s aquarium kit comes with everything you will need to make a unique, low-maintenance fish tank with a hint of your own personality. 

It comes with:

  • 20 Gallon Glass Aquarium 
  • UL Heater 
  • Tetra Whisper 20 Filter 
  • Color Fusion Universal Color Changing LED
  • Blooming White Anemone 
  • 2 Wonderland Plant Multipacks 
  • TetraCare Guide 

This product by TetraCare is lauded as a top contender for the best lowest maintenance fish tank kit available in the market, and I’ll tell you the reasons. 

It comes with all the necessary equipment one would need to install a tank for the first time. The size is ideal for a beginner—not too big and not too small. 

The LED settings can be a tweak to display multiple colors and pause the cycle to change its appearance as you like.

And since it comes with decorative artificial plants, you don’t need to worry about spending extra money on decorations before you know your preferences. The anemones that come with the box sways with the filter current give a cool hideout for your fishes to relax. 

As it comes with a detailed guide, you can quickly get the aquarium up and running without a problem. 

Pros:

  • Easily Customizable 
  • LED light setting helps to transform the tank’s look
  • Built-in noise-free filter 
  • Comes with everything a beginner need 

Cons:

  • The hood is not sturdy enough
  • The plastic plants look tad bit fake

Marina LED Aquarium Kit 

Recommended Size: 20 Gallons, 24”L x 12.5”W x 16.5”H

Marina is a renowned brand in the fishkeeping community, and as expected, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit doesn’t disappoint either. It comes with the bare essentials one needs to set up an aquarium for the very first time. 

 It comes with:

  • 20 Gallon Glass Aquarium 
  • Marina Slim S20 Clip-on Filter 
  • Quick-Change Filter Cartridges 
  • Long-lasting, Natural Daylight Effect LED Lighting Module 
  • Fluval Max Fish Food 
  • Fluval Aqua Plus Water Conditioner 
  • Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement
  • Fish Net 
  • Aquarium Care Guide 

As you can see in the list mentioned above, from conditioner to make tap water safe for fishes to the biological supplement for a well-balanced ecosystem, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit is truly a great choice for a novice fish keeper. 

The LED lighting that gives the natural daylight effect is seamlessly integrated into the tank’s canopy, resulting in a beautiful, luminous appearance. 

The aquarium’s built is very sturdy as the materials used in it are of high quality. Likewise, Marinas S20 filter is one of the best in the market. It not only promotes biological filtration but also effectively remove toxins and pollutants. 

With a basic fish care guide, biological supplements, replacement filter cartridges, and so much more, Marina LED Aquarium Kit is the closest it comes to the lowest maintenance tank. 

Pros:

  • Solid built quality
  • Versatile Lighting 
  • Strong filtering capacities 
  • Comes with a biological supplement and care guide

Cons:

  • Doesn’t include decorative items 

Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit with Lighting

Recommended Size: 14”L x 23.75”W x 16.5”H

The only 10-gallon aquarium kit to feature on this list, Aqueon’s beginner kit for aquariums, is for those who don’t want a big tank but also don’t want to compromise on the fishes’ quality of lives. 

It comes with everything a first-timer needs to install and maintain an aquarium. Thus, installation and maintenance will be very smooth. 

It comes with:

  • 10 gallons glass aquarium
  • Low-profile LED full hood 
  • QuietFlow 10 LED PRO Power Filter
  • 50W preset heater
  • Water Conditioner 
  • Fish Net
  • Stick-on Thermometer 

The Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit comes with all the tools you need to create a completely fortified habitat for your fishes. It also comes with a guide with clear instructions that walk you through the process in a few easy steps. 

The aquarium comes with three sets of LED modules integrated into the hood that can replicate daylight and other equally cool lighting options. The quiet filter comes with a red-light indicator that glows when it’s time to change the cartridge media. 

Overall, the built quality is durable. Also, since it comes with everything you need to set up an aquarium, just add water, fishes, some plants, and you’re ready to go. 

Pros:

  • Versatile Lighting Settings 
  • The filter comes with red light indicator 
  • Lighting stimulates daylight for a natural setting 
  • Shatter-resistant auto shut-off heater 

Cons:

  • No decorative pieces included 
  • The heater is set to a specific temperature, not suited for fishes that prefer a cooler temperature 

Fluval Premium Bow Front Aquarium Kit 

Recommended Size: 45 Gallons, 36”L x 16”W x 20”H

Fluval’s Premium Bow Front Aquarium Kit is the biggest tank featured in this list. I’d recommend it for someone who’s been into fishkeeping for some time and want to transition to a low maintenance aquarium. 

It comes with:

  • Protein-rich food
  • Fish Net 
  • Thermometer 
  • Fluval C4 Filter
  • European-made, Submersible M heater
  • Care Guide 
  • Energy-efficient LED Lights 

The Fluval Premium Bow Front Aquarium is a stellar choice for a big yet low maintenance aquarium that will never fail to make an impression. The bow front adds more to the tank’s beauty by magnifying the aquarium’s view without causing any discomfort to the fishes. 

The LED lights featured in the kit produce 1470 Lumens and 8,000K capacity, making it suitable for the plant’s health inside the aquarium. You can also upgrade to a second light strip for a more customized look. 

The filter that comes with this kit provides 5-stage filtration, easing the burden for a newbie who is not much aware of the filter regulations. Likewise, the heater, made with shock-resistant glass, uses mirror technology to seamlessly blend with the environment. 

By now, you probably know that not only the aquarium but the products that come inside it are also solidly built. The tank itself is large enough for a couple of goldfish, few other creatures, and thriving water plants. 

Pros: 

  • 5-stage filtration 
  • Shock-resistant heater technology 
  • Capable of maintaining a healthy ecosystem by itself
  • Energy-efficient Lighting 
  • The bowfront shape on the front 

Cons:

  • Decorative items not included 

Related Articles:

5 Best 5-Gallon Fish Tank Filters In 2022 | Honest Reviews

5 Best Wall Mounted Aquariums in 2022 – Buyer’s Guide

5 Best Bowed Front Fish Tanks In 2022 – Buyer’s Guide

Before you go, you may want to skim through a few pieces of information that will be useful while choosing the best lowest maintenance tank in 2020. 

Pros of Low Maintenance Tanks 

  • They’re easy to maintain
  • Saves time

They’re Easy To Maintain 

These tanks are tailored for new hobbyists and low-maintenance people. Moreover, they come with the required products to keep the aquarium up and running. Thus, you’ll only end up doing the bare minimum that should be done from your side, and the aquarium would still be in good condition. 

Saves Time 

If you’re someone who’s always on the go, with a busy schedule and frequent traveling, a low maintenance fish tank can be a great option. They’ll do well even if you can’t dedicate long cleaning sessions every time.

Note: Despite the too-good-to-be-true claims, there’s always a chance that these products don’t always work as they’re claimed to. If you count on them too much and turns out they don’t work exactly as said, you could be digging an early grave for your fish. 

What To Avoid In A Low Maintenance Fish Tank?

  • Don’t overpopulate the tank
  • Don’t overfeed
  • Don’t buy a small tank

Don’t Overpopulate The Tank

The more the fishes, the more will be the waste. Going overboard with the numbers is directly proportional to the frequency of cleaning you’ll have to do! Also, look for fishes with a good lifespan, eat algae, and get along in a group. 

Don’t Overfeed 

Overfeeding is a foolproof recipe for dirty water. It won’t only lead to more waste production, but the leftover food will also make the water foul and toxic for your underwater buddies. 

Don’t Buy A Small Tank 

Contrary to popular belief, actually, big tanks are more comfortable to look after. The greater water volume means the chemistry between water and temperature is more stable. Likewise, a bigger tank will function more readily as a mini-ecosystem and will clean itself to an extent. 

So, What Kind Of Fishes Are Best For A Low Maintenance Tank?

  • Platies
  • Cherry barbs
  • Swordtails
  • Siamese algae eaters
  • Black mollies
  • Blackfin tetras

Platies

  • Have a passive personality 
  • Eat algae grown in the fish tank
  • Get along well with other passive fish types 

Cherry Barbs 

  • Love to live in a community 
  • Grow only up to 2 inches 
  • Omnivorous and not picky eaters

Swordtail

  • Come in a range of bright colors 
  • Have a long lifespan 
  • Have a passive demeanor 

Siamese Algae Eater 

  • Are peaceful in nature 
  • Control the flatworm population 
  • Can eat and control different kinds of algae 

Black Mollies 

  • Can adapt to saltwater, freshwater, and brackish water
  • Love to live in a group
  • Have passive and friendly personalities 

Bloodfin Tetras

  • Can live up to 10 years 
  • Don’t require a frequent water change 
  • Thrive when in a group 

Lowest Maintenance Tank – Who Is It for?

Practically, everyone! 

Yes, who wouldn’t love a low maintenance aquarium, right? 

If you religiously look forward to cleaning your aquarium and love doing that, more power to you! 

On the other hand, a low maintenance aquarium is suitable for you if:

  • You’re new to the fishkeeping hobby 
  • You’re gifting it to a child or teenager who can be neglectful at times
  • You don’t enjoy the cleaning process much or keep forgetting about it

So, yes. It’s basically for everyone. 

Conclusion: 5 Best Lowest Maintenance Tanks in 2022

Frankly, there’s no 100% self-cleaning aquarium in the market today—at least at the time of this writing—despite what some brand claims. 

Fishkeeping demands timely and consistent commitment—some more than others. The aquariums that have been listed above are all low maintenance tanks that are capable of functioning on their own with minimal regulation. 

I’m not indicating in any way that these tanks should be left to their own devices. It’s just that there’s a bit room for error. Nonetheless, as a responsible fish keeper, always make sure that you prioritize your fishes’ quality of life—they’re more fragile than you’d think.

Recommended Readings!

What To Do When Your Fish Is Dying? Try These 5 Things!

How To Save Dying Fish After Water Change? Do These 6 Things!

Fish Laying On Bottom Of Tank? 13 Reasons Why

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.