Goldfish. One of the most natural, easy-to-care for fish on the planet. Right?
They’re chill, cute little fish who blow kisses and ask for food when it comes feeding time. They’re fun to watch and kids can take care of them. They’re all around a great pet.
But goldfish, like all other animals, have specific needs. One of the biggest ones is the environment they live in – aquariums.
So, if you’re ready to start up a new fish tank with some goldies, you need to find the right one.
It’s not quite what you might think, though, so I’ve given you some tips below on how to find the best goldfish tank, along with some reasons why you’ll want to consider specific goldfish tank reviews over others.
Best Goldfish Tank Quick-Find Table
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What to Look for in the Best Goldfish Tank
Goldfish are freshwater, cold-water fish that were first domesticated during the Sung Dynasty in China in between 970 and 1278.
They’re a part of the carp family, which means they’re naturally thriving in small stagnant bodies of water where insects and edible plants occur in abundance.
Because of this natural lifestyle of slow-moving streams and ponds, goldfish have been given the false reputation of doing well in tiny, empty goldfish bowls. This isn’t a good thing, though, because they really don’t do well in such conditions.
To find the right goldfish aquarium, you need to think through some of the natural aspects of what a goldfish needs. The most important things include size – we’ll talk about this more extensively below – quality of the tank, and a few other things. Let’s take a look.
Most aquariums come in either glass or acrylic.
Though there isn’t really a “better” option as far as actual care of your goldfish goes, there may be a better option for you.
Acrylic is naturally lighter weight – usually about half the weight of a glass aquarium of the same size – and is more durable than glass.
However, acrylic scratches far more easily and needs more precise cleaning care products to avoid scratching or otherwise damaging it.
Of course, your budget is a big factor in finding the right fish tank.
Before you start shopping, look at the various pieces of equipment you need and the price of the goldfish you want to stock, and examine these prices together to determine what a justifiable budget is for your plans.
The aquarium itself will most likely be the most expensive aspect of this, but if you get a good kit, much of the rest of the costs will also be included.
Quality of Make
Finally, you want to make sure that the tank you’re getting is high-quality.
Generally, this means shopping with well-known, trusted brands that have a reputation not only for high-quality products but great customer service, in case you happen to get a lemon.
What Size Tank Does a Goldfish Need?
Goldfish are notorious jumpers. One of the reasons for this is that often people think those novelty fish tanks and bowls are the way to keep their goldfish.
But those are only good for keeping jellybeans for a counting contest.
And this is the reason I wanted to take an entire section and dedicate it talking about the right size tank your goldfish needs.
Commonly, folks tend to think that because goldfish start out small and inexpensive, they don’t need a real aquarium – a small goldfish tank is more than sufficient.
Those cute little decorative goldfish bowls are attractive and easier to care for than a real aquarium, too…which hasn’t helped goldfish in captivity a lick.
Goldfish actually need a much bigger tank than most people give them credit for.
In fact, most species of goldfish require a minimum of twenty gallons.
Others, like comet goldfish, need 50-gallons or more.
Yet others – fancy goldfish like shubunkin, for example – need a minimum of 75-gallons.
The decorative bowls usually come as less than 5-gallon goldfish tank – and often only 1 or 2. That’s a huge difference from what they really need.
Be sure to study up on your goldfish species before buying the aquarium tank, just to make sure you’re getting the actual necessary minimum size tank.
Should You Get Plants for Your Goldfish Tank?
Another common misconception that some folks have about goldfish is that they don’t need aquatic plants. But there are several things that live plants do for your goldfish aquarium.
They Offer Shelter for Your Goldfish
Goldfish like to dodge around and hide among things. This includes plants.
In their natural environment, they actually spend a good bit of life just chilling in patches of duckweed and other freshwater plants, so it’s natural that in captivity they’d also do well in the same.
They Offer Sustenance for Your Goldfish
Since goldfish are omnivores, they also need plant matter for a healthy digestive system.
And since goldfish are also kind of, well, the sort of fish who eat anything they come in contact with, it’s important to give your goldfish some plants that they’ll enjoy grazing on.
Part of their normal diet in the wild is made up of algae and live plants. So if your goldfish tank has the right ones, they’ll add some healthy, natural nutrition to your goldfish’s diet without any extra effort on your part.
Plants you may want to consider getting for your goldfish tank:
- Java Fern
- Parrot Feather
- Indian Water Fern
- Amazon Sword Plant
- Water Wisteria
What Equipment Does Your Goldfish Tank Need?
Before you start shopping, keep a couple things in mind on your budget and be prepared for all the equipment you’ll need to get started.
Many of the best aquariums for goldfish come in kits, so you’ll have some of these provided for you that way, but you’ll still likely have at least a few other things to purchase.
No matter how tasty your tap water is to you, it’s not pure enough for your fish.
Goldfish need a certain pH balance and minimum of various metals and such in their water to be healthy and thrive. The right filter will remove these unnecessary things that make fish ill.
Substrate is pebbles, sand, glass beads, or some other form of “bottom” for your aquarium.
Goldfish do best in planted tanks, and planted aquariums need some form of substrate to anchor in.
As mentioned above, your goldfish needs some plants to have a happy, thriving environment. Not only do they love dodging in and out of plants, but they eat them for added nutrition.
Be sure to get some plants for your goldy, but make sure they’re safe for the species.
Some nice decorations can really add to the overall quality of your aquarium. Sometimes plants are enough, but some driftwood, caves, or other décor items can add a lot to the quality of life and beauty to your goldfish aquarium.
Goldfish need some light to live well. The plants they love need light to grow. Plus, you, the observer, need light in the aquarium for your enjoyment of watching these guys swim around.
Be sure to get a full spectrum LED lighting system for the best possible lighting setup.
Thermometer and Heater
While your goldfish is a cold-water fish, he still needs certain water temperatures.
Be sure to have a water heater and thermometer to make sure you keep the tank between 65 and 72-degrees Fahrenheit.
Because your fish needs a certain pH balance – among other aspects of the right water quality – having some testing kits will help you keep him healthy and happy. You also need to test ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels.
Water changes that put these things out of balance can cause terrible health issues for them. Get kits for these to ensure your little fish doesn’t have burning gills.
Finally, you’ll also need a hood or canopy for your goldfish tank.
These guys are notorious jumpers – largely due to unhealthy water conditions or too small an aquarium – and a hood can help keep them in while keeping cats and falling particles out.
Reviews of the Best Goldfish Tank Setups
The Fluval Premium Bow Front Aquarium Kit is a stellar option for housing your goldfish.
It’s 45-gallons, so it’s large enough for a couple of goldfish to happily swim and live in vibrant live plants with other naturally safe creatures.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Tank size: 45 gallons
- Dimensions: 36” L x 16” W x 20” H
- Made of: Glass
- Comes with: 5-stage filtration system, heater, light, hood, water conditioner, fishnet, care guide, thermometer, sample fish food
The first thing we love about this kit is that it genuinely comes with nearly everything you need to start a goldfish tank.
For beginning aquarists, this is a super easy way to start your fishkeeping hobby right.
The heater, light system, filter, thermometer and conditioner for keeping the aquarium healthy, and hood are all necessary and beneficial for folks getting started.
I would just pass on the goldfish food sample, as it’s not necessarily a great option for goldies. Go with some gel food instead to reduce unhealthy fillers. (Check out our goldfish food reviews here for more info.)
The stellar glass aquarium is high-quality and won’t leak. The shape and design of the aquarium is also incredible – that bow front shape makes for amazing viewing of your little goldies as they swim around among the beautiful plants they love to nosh on.
The low-profile canopy LED light is another powerful reason to consider this aquarium kit.
The LED lights disperse 1470 lumens which is amazing for your planted aquarium and happy goldfish. The lights will grow your plants and give Fishy the light he needs to thrive. Plus, if you really want more, you can actually upgrade the system to have a second light strip.
The filter that comes with the kit is one of the other big highlights. The Fluval C4 power filter uses industry leading 5-stage filtration to get that water clean and clear quickly and easily.
The heater that comes with the kit is also top-notch. A European made M heater that’s fully submersible and made from shock resistant glass and mirror technology for the ultimate in keeping Goldy in the right temperature zone.
Our Verdict on the Fluval Premium Bow Front Aquarium Kit
This goldfish starter kit comes almost as complete as anything could.
With lighting that you can adjust (by upgrading to a second line of lights), 5-stage filtration for the ultimate clean water, a great heater, a fabulous tank.
It’s just an all-around winner in our books. The kit is great for beginner aquarists and seasoned pros looking for an easy setup.
If you’re like me and love unique shapes and odd spaces, you’re going to love the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit.
This goldfish tank setup kit comes with an aquarium that’s a tall hexagon “tube” and several pieces of equipment you need to get started.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Tank size: 20 gallons
- Dimensions: 15” W x 15” L x 24” H
- Made of: Acrylic
- Comes with: Filter, hood, light, lava rock, plastic plants, thermometer, fish net
This goldfish tank with filter kit is a nearly complete kit, which makes it another one of the best beginner aquarist kits. It’s only 20-gallons, though, so it’s not designed for multiple goldfish.
The acrylic material is a high-quality choice used by SeaClear and makes the tank virtually leak-proof. The hood on top helps to keep goldfish in as well, and the whole setup is just, well, fun.
Okay, clearly my favorite aspect of this aquarium is the fun-factor.
It’s great for kids’ rooms, office spaces, or even kitchen counters if you want to keep the fish close at hand and enjoy watching them frequently.
The size also makes it convenient for keeping a few of them around if you’ve got the space.
Our Verdict on the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit
All in all, the SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Junior Executive Kit is my favorite for a fun installation of a goldfish aquarium in the home.
It’s got a smaller base, which makes it convenient for placement, the fun shape gives it a uniquely classy-but-quirky feel at once, and the acrylic the tank is made from is high-enough quality that you won’t worry about leaks ever springing.
The filtration system is pretty good, too, so you really just have to add a heater, and the basics like substrate and plants.
When you’re ready to get more than just one or two goldfish – or prefer a species that needs a bigger tank – the Tetra 55-Gallon Aquarium Kit is a great choice. It has a nearly complete kit and looks beautiful in any space.
The lighting system adds some natural daylight feels to your goldfish aquarium environment. The hinged hood makes cleaning and feeding easy. The stick-on thermometer makes keeping everything sound and healthy convenient.
All in all, the kit is super easy to setup and use.
Here’s the breakdown:
- Tank size: 55 gallons
- Dimensions: 51.9” L x 16.4” W x 24.4” H
- Made of: Glass
- Comes with: EasyBalance Plus, sample fish food, AquaSafe, fish net, 200-watt heater, WPF 60 filter, stick-on digital thermometer, hinged-hood, 2 plant multipacks, boxwood plant
The Tetra 55-gallon aquarium kit really is an awesome option for larger spaces.
It’s extra-long, which is great for an elegant look or low-hanging nook, but you do need to be careful to make sure there’s enough air clearance at the top for your goldfish who eat at the surface.
Our Verdict on the Tetra 55-Gallon Aquarium Kit
For those looking for a large aquarium for goldfish, you can stop looking.
Tetra is a well-trusted brand in fishkeeping products all around, and their 55-gallon kit deserves that equal trust. The kit comes with almost everything – add fish and substrate and you’re set! – and is easy to setup.
The lighting system provides more natural lighting than many other options, and the hood is incredibly easy to use, thanks to that hinge.