Goldfish are beautiful fish, but they can be a challenge to care for properly. Choosing the best goldfish tank is important because it will make or break your experience as a goldfish owner.
It’s can be hard to find good information on what makes one tank better than another. We’ve researched and reviewed all of the best options for you so that you don’t have to waste time trying different tanks before finding one that works well with your lifestyle and budget!
Let’s dive into the best goldfish tank options!
Best Goldfish Tank Options:
What is the Best Goldfish Tank?
Here are our favorite goldfish aquarium options:
Best Starter: Aqueon Aquarium 20 Gallon Long
Best Value: SeaClear 40 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
Luxury Option: Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit
What to Look for in the Best Goldfish Tank:
Below are the main factors we consider when shopping for a goldfish tank.
The two most common choices for fish tanks are glass and acrylic.
Glass is the most commonly used material for fish tanks. It’s easy to take care of and can be purchased in a range of thicknesses and styles. There is obvious risks involved with glass, though, if it were to be dropped and break into individual sharp pieces
Acrylic fish tanks are often more expensive than glass. Acrylic is lighter weight – usually about half the weight of a glass aquarium – and more durable. The downside of acrylic is that it scratches easily and needs more precise cleaning care products.
Glass and acrylic are both safe options but you should avoid plastic tanks because they scratch easily and aren’t as durable.
This should go without saying but the price of the tank is important. Before you purchase a goldfish tank, have an idea of your target budget for all equipment, including filters, tanks, aquariums, cleaning supplies, etc. The aquarium itself will be a good chunk of your initial expense.
The size of the tank needs to reflect the size of your goldfish. The bigger the fish, the bigger tank you will need. And the bigger the tank, the more expensive the tank itself and its corresponding equipment.
The quality of the tank is important because you want it to last for years. Cheap materials like poor-quality glass and plastic can break, warp, or scratch very easily. Make sure all components fit well together and look at reviews from previous customers.
Like most things, you get what you pay for. Cheap options are more likely to break. Consider purchasing a used aquarium in good condition instead of buying cheaply made new tanks.
Goldfish Tanks versus Goldfish Bowls
For decades, goldfish bowls were the standard containers for pet goldfish. With more time and experience, hobbyists have come to realize there are multiple reasons to keep your goldfish in a full-sized tank versus a bowl.
Surface Area for Air Exchange
The surface area of the water is where gas exchange occurs. Oxygen is able to enter and carbon dioxide can exit the tank through the surface of the water. Goldfish need a lot of oxygen, so you want to make sure there is enough surface area for your fish to breathe when they are in their natural habitat. Tanks provide more than bowls, which makes them a better option.
Goldfish require specific water temperatures to survive. Bowls don’t allow for the heat to be regulated as well as tanks do because there is no room for a heater. Tanks allow you to control and regulate the amount of heat in the tank via equipment like heaters.
Lack of filtration
Goldfish bowls aren’t the best option because they don’t provide any filtration for your fish. A tank with an under-gravel filter provides some filtration, but it doesn’t do as good of a job as other options like hang-on back filters or canister filters.
Goldfish are high-bioload fish which means they need an aquarium with a strong filtration system.
Goldfish grow to the size of their tank, with some species easily reaching 8-10 inches. If you keep your goldfish in a bowl or too small of a tank, they will outgrow it quickly and become stressed. Stress is dangerous for fish because they are more susceptible to illness when stressed. Additionally, small bowls don’t have enough space for your goldfish to hide if stressed, further adding to the stress cycle.
Lack of Lids
Goldfish can be jumpers, especially when startled. Bowls without lids can be dangerous to your fish if they jump out and you don’t immediately notice.
Glass Vs Acrylic: Which Aquarium Is Best For You?
Both glass and acrylic are safe options for your goldfish. However, each material has its pros and cons depending on the size of the aquarium you’re looking to purchase. Below are the different factors to consider when making your choice.
Glass aquariums are less expensive than acrylic tanks because they are the most commonly manufactured, especially among normal tank sizes. For extremely large tanks, acrylic tends to be more common.
Resistance to Scratching
Acrylic scratches more easily than glass. This is a valid concern because the aquarium will be an investment and you don’t want that investment to lose its value due to scratches. Additionally, even small nicks in the acrylic can become breeding sites for bacteria if not diligently cleaned and cared for. Acrylic tanks age faster than glass tanks.
Acrylic weighs less than glass – about 1/10 of the weight of a similarly-sized glass tank. This can be important if you plan to move the tank often or if it is very large.
Glass aquariums tend to be simple rectangle designs, whereas acrylic is a more moldable material which means designs can be more creative. Acrylic does not bend light in the same way that glass does, so you’re more likely to have better fish views from multiple angles with acrylic.
UV rays in the sunlight can degrade acrylic over time. The degradation won’t happen immediately if your tank stays indoors, but it can start to happen after months or years. This will cause the acrylic to become yellow and brittle.
Glass is more likely to chip or shatter from a sudden impact. If this occurs, you could suddenly be dealing with a leaking aquarium on a nice hardwood floor. Something to consider.
What Size Tank Does a Goldfish Need?
Goldfish need a lot more space than people realize. Gone are the days when you buy a little goldfish from the store and plop them in a 1-gallon bowl or 5-gallon tank.
Depending on the species, most goldfish grow to about 6 to 12 inches long, meaning small tanks are entirely too small for happy and healthy fish.
The other thing to consider is that goldfish are messy. They produce big bioloads (aka waste) and they’re messy eaters. This means you need a higher water volume to dilute these factors, or else you’re going to have water parameter issues.
Some goldfish species are more active than others. For example, comet goldfish swim rapidly all day, meaning they need a lot of space to get their exercise in. For active goldfish species, such as comets, common goldfish, and shubunkin, plan on 40 gallons per fish.
Fancy goldfish, such as fantails, orandas, and bubble eyes, don’t get as large as comets and common goldfish. They’re also calmer and don’t swim as much. However, they still need space so plan for at least 20 gallons per fish.
Goldfish Tank Set-up
Besides the tank, there are a number of other elements to consider when setting up their tanks, such as filtration, lighting, decorations, and substrate. Let’s explore each element below.
Plants in your Goldfish Tank
A common misconception around goldfish is that they don’t care if they have a natural environment. Wrong! Goldfish, like all freshwater aquarium fish, appreciate when you try to create a natural environment for them, complete with living plants.
Plants offer a number of benefits, including places to hide when your fish are feeling stressed, cleaner water parameters, and a light snack if they’re feeling hungry.
Equipment in your Goldfish Tank
Before you start shopping, plan your budget. This will help you stay in line with your financial goals. Also, remember you’re not just purchasing fish and a tank; there are lots of other pieces of equipment you’ll need!
Many of the best aquariums for goldfish come in kits, so you’ll have some pieces of equipment already built into the price. Make sure you understand what’s included in the kit so you can plan accordingly.
Goldfish are messy. Because they produce so much waste, you need to make sure you’re using a filter that can handle the bioload. Because of this, we recommend using a canister filter if possible.
The substrate is what sits at the bottom of your tank. It can be gravel, sand, glass beads, or completely bare. Some people like bare tanks because it is easier to keep the tank clean.
As mentioned above, goldfish do best in planted tanks, and planted aquariums need substrate to anchor their roots.
Goldfish need light; they will not thrive in a completely dark tank. Additionally, planted tanks need a certain amount of life as well in order to survive.
Although goldfish are considered cold-water fish, they still can’t inhabit chilly waters. Depending on your local climate and the time of year, you definitely could need a heater to keep your waters in the appropriate range between 65 and 72 degrees Farenheight. Check out our aquarium heaters guide for more information.
Same idea here. You want to make sure you’re keeping your aquarium at the correct temperature, which means an aquarium thermometer will be extremely useful. Plus, they’re cheap! It is an easy way to make sure you’re taking good care of your fish. Check out our aquarium thermometer guide for more details. You can even add in a temperature controller if you want to add another layer of automation to your aquarium set-up.
Make sure to test your water on a regular basis to keep track of pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates. This will help ensure your fish stay healthy. We recommend testing kits by API. If you’re looking for more information, check out our best aquarium testing kits guide!
Best Goldfish Tank Options:
- Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 10 gallon
- Aqueon Aquarium 20 Gallon Long
- SeaClear 40 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set
- Coralife Fish Tank LED BioCube Aquarium Starter Kits, Size 16, Black
- Tetra 55 Gallon Aquarium Kit
Use the Marina LED aquarium kit to create a beautiful aquarium for your home or office! This 10-gallon tank features an innovative design with LED lighting built into the hood. This kit also includes fish food, water conditioner, and cycling biological supplements. This kit comes in a variety of sizes. 10-gallons works well for a single goldfish (and knowing that you will need to upgrade your tank as your fish grows) and 20-gallons works best for starting out.
- Measures: 20″ L x 10″ W x 12.5″ H
- Comes with aquarium care guide that includes advice on how to set up and maintain your aquarium
- Great kit for beginners
- High-quality construction
- Some users report cracking issues
This 20-gallon long aquarium is perfect for both freshwater and marine applications, although in the case of your goldfish, only freshwater. This is a long 20-gallon tank, which means it is longer than it is tall. This gives your goldfish more room to swim.
The all-glass construction makes it very durable. This tank includes one center brace to help prevent bowing in the middle of the tank, which keeps it looking good over time. This is a good starter tank for your goldfish. We recommend one single fancy goldfish in a tank this size.
- Measures: 30.25″ x 12.5″ x 12.75″
- Made of glass
- Great for single fancy goldfish
- Can double as a turtle tank
- Some users report broken glass from shipping
The SeaClear 40-gallon Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set is a great option for a quality beginner kit. The tank is made of acrylic, so it is less likely to shatter than glass fish tanks. SeaClear set the standard for aquariums creating nearly invisible seams along with polished edges and corners. The Seaclear’s patented Clean Look LED lighting system combined with its impressive impact-resistant acrylic provide a clear view into your fish’s aquatic environment.
- Measures: 36″ x 15″ x 16″
- Made of Acrylic
- Kit includes aquarium, reflector, and 24″ light fixture
- Great intro tank for beginners
- Appropriate for active goldfish like Comets or Common Goldfish
- Some users report replacing light fixture because of quality issues
This tank is a great size for anyone looking to keep a goldfish. The hood is sleek and won’t take up too much space on top of the tank. The lighting will make your fish look even more beautiful and provide the correct lighting patterns (daytime, nighttime, and color-enhancing modes) to maintain plant life. You can’t go wrong with this choice! It is a great starter aquarium.
- Measures: 27.5″ x 25.5″ x 27″
- Compatible with all BioCube Accessories
- Glass tank
- Great intro tank for beginners
- Pump is quiet when running
- Some users report cracking and leaking issues
Goldfish are a fun and easy pet, but it can be difficult to find the right tank for your home. This Tetra 55-Gallon Tank Kit is perfect for any goldfish owner because you get everything that you need in order to keep your fish healthy and happy. The kit comes with a lot – a filter, water conditioner and dechlorinator, fish net, stick-on digital thermometer, hinged hood, 2 plant multipacks, and a boxwood plant. It also includes an LED lighting system which makes viewing the tank much more enjoyable! This is our favorite option due to the space you’re providing your goldfish. So if you can swing the larger tank, this is your best bet. If you get this large size of a tank, make sure you have a proper aquarium stand for holding the weight.
- Measures: 51.9″ x 24.4″ x 16.4″
- Compatible with all BioCube Accessories
- Glass tank
- Great size for goldfish
- Includes everything you need to get started
- Some users report noisy motor on the pump
Goldfish Tank FAQs
How many goldfish can I have in a tank?
The answer depends on the type of goldfish and size of your tank. For fancy goldfish, we recommend one fish per every 20-gallons. For more active goldfish, we recommend one fish per 40-gallons. Goldfish need big tanks!
How long do goldfish live in a tank?
There are a lot of variables that go into how long your fish will live – tank size, water quality, food, personality. As a general rule of thumb, goldfish have a lifespan of about 10 years.
Can goldfish live in tap water?
Goldfish can live in tap water as long as you use a dechlorinator. Using a dechlorinator will remove any chlorine or chloramines from the water. Also, make sure to check for pH levels and temperature of your tap water before adding it to your aquarium.
Can goldfish live with other fish?
Goldfish are generally not aggressive. This means that they can be kept with most community fish, as long as the other fish are larger than the goldfish’s mouth. You will need to make sure there is temperature and water parameter compatibility between your species. Goldfish tend to inhabit colder waters than a lot of other tropical fish so this can be an issue.
What is the best Comet Goldfish tank size?
Comet goldfish are active, athletic fish that can get pretty big. Therefore, they need a big tank. We recommend 40-gallons as the minimum size for a single Comet goldfish.
Conclusion – What are the best goldfish tanks?
Goldfish are popular pets, but they require a lot of space to keep them healthy and happy. If you’re new to the world of goldfish care, it can be difficult to decide what size tank is best.
In this guide, we have covered how to select the right goldfish aquarium for your situation. We also recommend that before choosing any aquarium, make sure that there is good quality water filtration because these fish produce a lot of waste. What do you think is the best size for a goldfish tank?