7 Best Aquaponic Aquariums in 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide


Aquaponics is a rapidly growing niche market that allows you to grow your own food while making use of all the waste your goldfish produce. Aquaponics involves a special tank setup that pushes water from your tank up through growing containers that hold plants. The plants help remove waste products from the tank, and then the water is returned to the tank.

This allows you to grow water-loving foods, like lettuce and herbs, and some types of houseplants. For a successful aquaponics setup, you need all necessary components that make the system function correctly. These reviews of the best aquaponic aquariums have rounded up the best of the best to help you get a great aquaponics system up and running.

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A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

The 7 Best Aquaponic Aquariums – Reviews & Top Picks 2021

1. Kingro 5-in-1 Indoor Garden Ecosystem – Best Overall

Kingro 5-in-1 Indoor Garden Ecosystem

Gallons: 5
Grow Medium Included: Yes
Lighting Included: Yes
Special Features: Built-in light timer

The best overall aquaponic aquarium is the Kingro 5-in-1 Indoor Garden Ecosystem. This product is considered 5-in-1 because it allows for hydroponics, aquaponics, soil gardening, self-watering, and a light that supports plant growth. The tank itself holds approximately 6.5 gallons of water and includes a built-in water filter pump. It uses a wicking system that self manages for the soil gardening subsystem.

This system requires minimal maintenance and only requires your attention every 10 days or so. This system can support the growth of approximately 20 plants at a time. There is a feeding window in the lid of this system for you to drop food in for your fish without disturbing the entire system. The light includes a timer, so you don’t have to turn it on and off daily.

This aquaponics system does not come with written instructions and requires you to watch a setup video online, which may make setup very confusing.

Pros

  • 5-in-1 functions
  • Holds around 6.5 gallons of water
  • Includes pump and grow light
  • Self-managing for approximately 10 days
  • Can grow up to 20 plants
  • Feeding window
  • Light includes a timer

Cons

  • No written instructions
  • Confusing setup

2. Elive AquaDuo 10 Aquaponics Filter – Best Value

Elive AquaDuo 10 Aquaponics Filter

Gallons: NA
Grow Medium Included: Yes
Lighting Included: No
Special Features: Attaches to almost any tank

The best aquaponic aquarium product for the money is the Elive AquaDuo 10 Aquaponics Filter. This product isn’t a tank itself, but it sits on the rim of a tank like a HOB filter and can be used on almost any tank. It filters 80 gph and can function as a primary filtration system for a tank up to 10 gallons. This product allows you to make any tank an aquaponics tank and allows you to place plants in the back of the filter.

This product includes a filter cartridge, filter media bag, and hydrocorn, which functions as a growing medium for the plants and allows for the colonization of beneficial bacteria for your tank. The intake includes a filter shroud that prevents fish from being pulled into the filter.

The intake of this filter is very tall and may take up the full height of a normal 10-gallon long tank. This filter doesn’t come with a light, but you can separately purchase a light that is made to connect to this product to help with plant growth.

Pros

  • Best value
  • Filters 80 gph
  • Can provide filtration for a 10-gallon or smaller tank
  • Can be used on almost any tank
  • Includes filter cartridge, media bag, and grow media
  • Intake includes a cover to protect fish

Cons

  • Very tall filter
  • Light must be purchased separately

3. Ecolife ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System – Premium Choice

Ecolife ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System

Gallons: NA
Grow Medium Included: Yes
Lighting Included: Yes
Special Features: Adjustable height grow light

The premium pick for an aquaponics system is the Ecolife ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System. This kit does not include the tank itself but is made to sit on a standard 20-gallon tank. It includes grow media and pots and an energy efficient LED light. The light has four different growing settings and includes a remote control that makes adjusting the light easy. The light also has a built-in clock and can be set to a timer. The lid contains a window that can be opened to feed the fish and that is large enough to clean the tank.

This product is a premium price and while effective, it doesn’t include the tank, so this needs to be purchased separately.

Pros

  • Fits a standard 20-gallon tank
  • Includes grow media and grow pots
  • Includes energy efficient LED light
  • LED light has multiple settings
  • Includes remote control for the light
  • Access window allows for feeding and cleaning

Cons

  • Premium price
  • Doesn’t include a tank

4. Penn Plax Second Generation AquaTerrium

Penn Plax Second Generation AquaTerrium

Gallons: 8 + 4.6
Grow Medium Included: No
Lighting Included: No
Special Features: Two separate tanks in one

The Penn Plax Second Generation AquaTerrium is a great option for an aquaponics tank or a double tank. This tank includes an upper and lower portion. The upper portion holds 4.6 gallons of water and the lower portion holds 3.8 gallons. There is an integrated filtration system that filters the water through the upper and lower portions. For an aquaponics setup, plants can go in the upper portion of the tank and water from fish in the bottom portion is filtered through the plant area. The lower tank sits at a much lower height than the upper portion, allowing you to see directly into both sections of the tank.

This tank does not include a light, so this must be purchased separately. While the upper tank has a lid that can cover it, the lower tank section does not have a lid. It does not include any grow media.

Pros

  • Can be used for aquaponics or as a double tank
  • Two separate tank sections
  • Includes an integrated filtration system
  • Over 8 gallons of total water volume space
  • Can view both tank sections at one time

Cons

  • Light must be purchased separately
  • No lid on the upper tank
  • No grow media

5. Boutique Betta Aquaponics Planter Kit with Rimless Glass Tank

Boutique Betta Aquaponics Planter Kit with Rimless Glass Tank

Gallons: 1
Grow Medium Included: Yes
Lighting Included: No
Special Features: Includes fish care, water care, and plant care supplies

The Boutique Betta Aquaponics Planter Kit with Rimless Glass Tank is a great option for a nano aquaponics setup. This rimless tank holds 2.1 gallons of water, making it a good option for some very small nano fish. This tank has a partial hood that includes grow baskets. It comes with grow media and an instruction manual to help you get growing. It also comes with beneficial bacteria, water conditioner, fish soothing product, a fish net, betta food, lava rock gravel, and cleaning supplies.

This kit does not include filtration or lighting, so these items will need to be purchased separately. This tank is too small for many types of fish, so it’s important to carefully choose fish for a tank this size.

Pros

  • Good option for nano aquaponics setup
  • Includes acrylic partial hood that holds grow baskets
  • Includes grow media and water care supplies
  • Includes fish food
  • Instruction manual included

Cons

  • Light must be purchased separately
  • No filtration
  • Too small for many types of fish

6. VIVOSUN Aquaponic Fish Tank

VIVOSUN Aquaponic Fish Tank

Gallons: 3
Grow Medium Included: Yes
Lighting Included: No
Special Features: Includes thermometer

The VIVOSUN Aquaponic Fish Tank holds 3 gallons of water and features a full coverage hood that supports aquaponic plant growth. This kit includes clay pebbles for grow media. It also includes decorative pebbles for the tank, a sponge filter, siphon, filter pump, and a thermometer to help you monitor the water temperature closely. There is a small feeding window in the tank hood to prevent you from having to remove the hood for feeding.

This kit does not include a light, so you will need to purchase this separately. The smaller clay pebbles may clog the drain tube, causing the tank to flood. The siphon cap can help prevent this from happening.

Pros

  • Hood holds plants across the entire lid space
  • Includes grow media
  • Includes filtration, decorative pebbles, and thermometer
  • Feeding window makes feeding fish easy

Cons

  • Light needs to be purchased separately
  • Clay pebbles may clog the drain and create flooding

7. Sheebo 2.5 Gallon Modern Aquarium Kit

Sheebo 2.5 Gallon Modern Aquarium Kit

Gallons: 5
Grow Medium Included: No
Lighting Included: Yes
Special Features: USB DC power supply included

The Sheebo 2.5 Gallon Modern Aquarium Kit is a nice nano tank option if you are only interested in growing one or two plants. The tank hood only has one small basket for a plant and does not include grow media. It includes a filtration system with adjustable flow and a LED light built into the tank hood. The LED light has 7 setting options and is controlled by a one-touch button. There is a feeding window, so you don’t have to remove the hood for feeding. This tank includes a rechargeable power bank that can run the tank for up to 15 days in case of a power outage.

This tank is too small for most fish, so only very small nano fish or possibly a single betta will do well in this tank. It does have limited growing space and while it does include gravel for the grow basket, it doesn’t include grow media.

Pros

  • Good option for nano aquaponics setup
  • Includes filtration system and built-in LED light
  • LED light has multiple settings and is controlled by the push of a button
  • Feeding window makes feeding fish easy
  • Includes a power bank that can run up to 15 days without charging

Cons

  • Too small for many types of fish
  • Limited to growing 1-2 plants
  • No grow media included

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Buyer’s Guide

How to Choose the Right Aquaponics Kit for Your Home

  • Available Space: Consider the available space in your home where you’re intending to set your aquaponics kit up. Some kits are made for small spaces, like kitchen countertops, and others are made for larger spaces, like where you would set up a full-size aquarium.
  • Number of Plants: What are you hoping to grow with your aquaponics setup? Some people choose to grow one or two houseplants, but others prefer to use aquaponics to grow produce. The amount of growing space your kit provides you will have a significant impact on the number of plants you can grow at a time, so choose a kit that matches your needs.
  • Type of Fish: The type of fish you intend to get should be the main decision-making factor when it comes to choosing an aquaponics aquarium. The majority of fish should not be kept in environments smaller than 2-3 gallons, although some require 5 gallons or more. Be prepared to set the aquarium up like you would a normal aquarium with plenty of enrichment and safe spaces for your fish.

What are the Necessary Components of an Aquaponics Aquarium?

  • Filtration: In order for an aquaponics system to function correctly, there needs to be some type of filtration and pumping mechanism to move the water so that it reaches the plants before returning to the tank.
  • Nutrients: For plants to survive in an aquaponics system, there has to be nutrients available in the water for the plants. When you have fish in the tank, the waste from the fish provides nutrients to the plants. In the absence of fish, like in a hydroponics system, you must supplement the water with nutrients.
  • Lighting: Plants can’t grow and thrive without proper lighting. The light doesn’t have to be anything extra fancy or special, but it should be powerful enough to support plant growth. If your aquaponics aquarium will be located in a sunny room, you may be able to get away with not having a tank light.
  • Grow Media: Your plants will need some type of growing medium that supports root growth and development. Depending on the setup of the aquaponics aquarium, this can be clay pebbles, soil, and various other growth media that will not leach dangerous chemicals into the water with your fish.
  • Food: If you are keeping a hydroponics system, then you don’t need this. If you have an aquaponics system, then you are keeping fish or invertebrates of some sort. Contrary to popular belief, the plants in aquaponics do not feed the animals. You will still need to provide food to the animals.

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Conclusion

The best overall aquaponics aquarium is the Kingro 5-in-1 Indoor Garden Ecosystem, which includes everything you need to get started for a fair price. The best value product, the Elive AquaDuo 10 Aquaponics Filter, and the premium product, the Ecolife ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System, are both great options if you have a tank available that you want to convert to an aquaponics aquarium.

Aquaponics seems overwhelming at first, but it’s really a very simple concept. These reviews brought together some of the best products available for aquaponics in the home. You don’t have to spend a fortune getting an attractive aquaponics setup going in your home, so don’t be afraid to take the leap and give it a try!

Featured Image Credit: Amazon



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