bow front aquariums with angelfish and plants

Best Bow Front Aquariums: Buyer’s Guide in 2022

Are you in the market for a new aquarium? If so, you may be wondering if a bow front aquarium is the right choice for you. In this buyer’s guide, we will take a look at some of the best bow front aquarium options available and help you decide if a bow front aquarium is right for your home. We’ll also provide tips on how to care for your new aquarium and keep it looking its best. If you want just want to read about our favorite bow front aquarium, check out the Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit, Black, 15 Gallon. So read on to learn more about bow front aquariums and find the perfect one for you!

Best Bow Front Aquariums:

What is the Best Bow Front Aquarium?

Our favorite bow front aquarium depends on the size of the tank you’re looking to keep. For a smaller tank, we love the Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit, Black, 15 Gallon. It has a beautiful, sleek design with a tank that is large enough for a small school of tetras. For a larger tank, we love the SeaClear 46 gal Bowfront Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 16.5 by 20″, Clear. It is a beautiful acrylic tank that can be a great option for an eye-catching community tank.

What is a Bow Front Aquarium?

A bow front aquarium is an alternative tank style to the rectangular aquariums you grew up with. The front of the aquarium curves outward to create an arched shape that allows you to appreciate all of your beautiful fish from nearly every angle.

The convex shape of the bow front functions as a magnifier from the outside, helping you better see your aquatic creatures. From the fish perspective, the concave reverse of the glass creates additional distance between you and them, giving them more perceived space and helping them feel safer.

Because of the way these aquariums are designed, they will come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are slightly different than your standard rectangular tanks. Look for an option that is as close to the rectangular size you would need for your fish. If possible, we recommend sizing up if it is a close call, because your fish will always appreciate more space.

What Sizes of Bow Front Aquariums are Available?

Bow front fish tanks come in different sizes than your standard rectangular aquariums. You’re not going to see the common figures like 20 and 55-gallon tanks. Instead, average bow front aquarium sizes include:

  • 5 gallon
  • 8 gallon
  • 9 gallon
  • 15 gallon
  • 16 gallon
  • 26 gallon
  • 36 gallon
  • 46 gallon
  • 72 gallon

Bow Front Aquariums versus Flat Front Aquariums: Which one to choose?

Bow front aquariums are a great alternative to flat front tanks. They offer a unique viewing experience and have some benefits over standard rectangular fish tanks. Purchasing an aquarium is not cheap so make sure you think through your options before making a decision. These are the factors we would consider when making the choice:

Shape

The bow-front design provides an attractive alternative to traditional tank designs. It gives your aquarium a feeling of depth and lets you create different aquascapes than you could with a flat-front traditional rectangular tank. It also tends to be more of an interior design showpiece in your home and we find that guests are more likely to comment on and view your tank. Rectangular tanks are well-known and loved for a reason. Aquarium equipment fits them easily, making them a good, reliable option.

Viewing Your Aquarium

Bow front aquariums use a convex glass piece on the front of the tank that is curved outwards towards the viewer. This creates additional depth in the tank and provides different viewing angles than traditional rectangular tanks. Some people find viewing a bow front tank to be more beautiful, as the multitude of viewing angles makes the experience more special.

Taking Photos

One downside of bow front tanks is that it is more difficult to take pictures of your aquatic critters. The curved glass bends the light and distorts images. The added depth of the tank due to the convex front surface also makes it more difficult to get non-blurry images. The water in the aquarium compounds this effect in both regular and bow front aquariums. However, the effect is more pronounced in bow fronts.

If you’re planning to tank a ton of photos of your tank, you may want to go with a rectangular tank that is longer, rather than deeper. This will minimize the curved front distortion and depth distortion.

Support & Stand

Depending on the size of your aquarium, you will definitely need to purchase a specialized aquarium stand. Aquariums get extremely heavy when filled with water and you don’t want to risk destroying furniture and spilling the tank contents on the floor.

Because most aquariums are rectangles, most aquarium stands are built for them. Bow front aquariums won’t typically fit on standard rectangle aquarium stands without the front curved glass hanging off the front, which is not a very stable or secure idea. If you purchase a bow front aquarium, we recommend purchasing an aquarium stand specifically built for your size tank.

Is the Bow Front Aquarium Right for You?

What type of aquarist are you? Knowing your space can help you make the right decision.

Beginners

Beginning fishkeepers can definitely successfully keep a bow front aquarium. Some bow fronts come in all in one kits, making it easy to get started with everything necessary already included. This is also a good way to keep your start-up costs low.

If you have time to do a little more research, you can still purchase the tank and all of the filters, lights, and canopy individually. Your local aquarium store staff will be more than happy to guide you.

Advanced Aquarist

If you are an experienced aquarium keeper, the bow front is a great choice. With more experience taking care of fish, performing tank maintenance, and keeping water parameters in check, you can easily apply these transferrable skills to your new curved tank.

The bow front tank will provide a different perspective into your hobby and give an interesting look to your set-up that will definitely get your guests’ attention.

Distinctive Design

If you are looking to make your home or office more interesting and beautiful, a bow front aquarium can be a great way to do that.

Bow front aquariums are distinctive conversation-starters in our experience. People will be enthralled by your aquarium’s design and want to know more about it.

Tight budget

Because they’re more unique, bow front aquariums can often be a little more spendy. If you don’t have a very big budget, you might want to stick to a rectangular tank to save your money. Or you could downsize to a nano tank.

However, if your budget will only support a small gallon bow front tank, we recommend buying a slightly larger and cheaper rectangular tank. Small tanks are not easier to care for, so purchase the biggest aquarium you can afford and have the space for.

Best Bow Front Aquariums

Aqueon LED MiniBowâ„¢ Kit with SmartCleanâ„¢ Technology Black 5 Gallon 

This Aqueon Mini Bow Front Aquarium is a great choice for first-time and experienced fishkeepers looking for a small tank in an all-inclusive kit. Because of their small size, this option is great for bedrooms, living rooms, and home offices. This option comes in sizes as small as 1 gallon, but we recommend 5 gallons as the minimum size.

This tank is made out of acrylic. Acrylic plastic is good option because it is lightweight, extremely clear, and impact-resistant. However, it can scratch easily so you need to make sure you clean it with the appropriate tools.

This tank also includes a small LED light in the hood. While this light is sufficient for basic lighting, it is not strong enough for plant growth.

The tank also includes a small, quiet filter. Given the size of the tank, you can likely guess that this isn’t the strongest filter on the market but because you’re working with such a tiny tank, it is ok. The filter uses simple media cartridges that are easy to replace.

Features:

  • Acrilyc tank
  • 5 gallons

Pros:

  • Full kit is great for beginners
  • Filter cartridges are easy to change
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Light is not strong enough for plant growth
  • Small tank

Hygger Horizon 8 Gallon LED Glass Aquarium Kit for Starters 

For an interesting and unique small aquarium kit, this Hygger 8-Gallon LED kit is a great choice. This tank has a wide curve on the front glass, creating lots of easy viewing angles and a beautiful, interesting fish tank.

The kit comes with an 8-gallon glass fish tank, one 7W 110GPH internal power filter pump, one colored LED aquarium light, and a decorative 3D rocky mountain background. The 3D background really makes the whole set-up pretty fancy, especially for such a small tank. Although it removes some of the depth of the tank in the back, the super-wide bow front counterbalances the background. T

The power filter pump is good enough for a tank of this size and it is built into the tank so it won’t be a distracting eyesore. The multi-colored LED light can be programmed for 3, 6, or 12 hours with 5 adjustable brightness levels. You can shift the colors of the lights, in order to create light that simulates day or night.

Features:

  • 8-gallon glass tank
  • Includes power filter pump, LED aquarium light, and rocky background

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Beautiful design

Cons:

Fluval Flex Aquarium Kit, Black, 15 Gallon

This bow front tank option is affordable yet contains some really great high tech features. It is a little larger than the previous options on this list, giving your fish some additional swimming room.

This kit comes complete with LED lighting and a multistage filtration system built-in. The 7500K LED lamp supports plant growth with fully adjustable lights for endless color blends. It also has some interesting effects like fading cloud cover and lightning bolts to simulate natural lighting conditions.

The multistage filtration system helps keep your water parameters in check for your tank inhabitants through a process of mechanical (foam), chemical (carbon) and biological (Biomax) filtration stages. The filtration system is enclosed in the back of the tank so it won’t be an eyesore when viewing your beautiful aquarium.

Features:

  • 15-gallon bow front aquarium
  • Includes LED lighting and multi-stage filtration system

Pros:

  • Honeycomb wrap at top of tank conceals water line and sides of rear compartment
  • Beautiful design

Cons:

  • Actual tank volume is slightly less than stated 15 gallons

SeaClear 46 gal Bowfront Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 36 by 16.5 by 20″, Clear

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo set is an excellent option for a bow front aquarium that will give your fish significantly more room to swim than the previous options on this list. This kit includes a beautifully designed, acrylic bow front fish tank and a reflector and light fixture built into a partial hood for your aquarium lighting needs.

Acrylic tanks are generally more durable than glass and can be great options if you have young kids or clumsy pets around. This tank works great for both saltwater and freshwater set-ups.

The downside of this kit is that the light fixture isn’t the best option out there so you’ll likely want to purchase an LED lighting set-up for your tank, especially if you want to grow live plants in the tank (which we recommend!).

Features:

  • Acrylic construction
  • 46 gallon tank

Pros:

  • Wider range of stocking options because of tank size
  • Acrylic is clear and lightweight

Cons:

  • Will likely want to replace lighting
  • Acrylic can scratch easily

Penn-Plax Water World Luxury Large Bow Front Acrylic Aquarium – 360° View – 58 Gallons

If you’re looking for a showstopping bow front aquarium, this option is the best pick on this list. This 58-gallon acrylic aquarium is a beautiful vertical bow front tank and includes a matching glossy black base and top cover. The filtration and aeration systems are built into the black base and cover so your viewing experience won’t be ruined by a bunch of equipment. Additionally, this tank contains a storage compartment at the base for the electrical power strip and air pump.

This tank is tall and minimalist and blends well with a lot of different home styles. This tank can be used for both freshwater and saltwater set-ups. The shape of this tank provides a 360° view of the aquarium. It is perfectly suited to vertically inspired aquascapes.

Features:

  • Acrylic tank
  • 58 gallons
  • Vertical tank

Pros:

  • Includes filtration and aeration systems
  • Storage compartment to hide fish food and supplies below tank
  • Acrylic is lightweight and great for viewing

Cons:

  • Some users report shipping issues with broken parts

How to Set Up a Bow Front Aquarium

A bow front aquarium is an exciting addition to any home, and can create a bold visual statement. Besides the actual tank, you will need a few pieces of key equipment so your fish can thrive.

Filter

Filter choice will be driven by your tank size and stocking decisions. High-bioload fish such as goldfish or Oscars will require more filtration power than Neon Tetras and Black Skirt Tetras.

Your basic choices are sponge filters, HOB filters, or canister filters, in order from weakest to strongest filtration choice and least to most expensive filtration.

Heater

Again, your need for warm water will be driven by your local climate and conditions where you keep the tank and fish and shrimp species that you’re stocking. If you are stocking tropical fish, it is likely you will need an aquarium heater. For set-ups, this model – Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater â€“ is a great choice.

Thermometer

Maintaining a consistent environment is important. It helps keep your fish’s stress levels down and promotes a healthy growing environment for plants. We recommend using a thermometer so you can easily do temperature checks in the tank. Some super experienced fishkeepers can wing it and feel the water by experience but we don’t recommend this. Human intuition is prone to error. Some thermometers also have temperature controllers so you have automated control over your heater (and put in safety measures to turn off the heater if the water warms up too much). Our aquarium thermometer guide covers options or you can just purchase our recommended thermometer.

Lighting

We recommend an LED light for your tank. Depending on the light you choose, you can often program it for day and night lights, plant growth settings, and fish color contrast. We love this Finnex Planted+ 24/7 HLC Aquarium LED Light.

Water Parameters

Water parameters are an extremely important component of aquarium health. Water parameter consistency helps your fish stay unstressed and happy. We recommend regularly checking your water parameters using an Aquarium Water Test Kit so you can get ahead of any negative impact before you end up with stressed or dying fish.

Conclusion

If you’re considering a new aquarium and are intrigued by the idea of a bow front, we encourage you to give one a try! They can be a beautiful addition to any home or office and can really add some interest to your fishkeeping experience. Have you had a chance to set up a bow front aquarium? Tell us all about it in the comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

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