What Is The Best 20 Gallon Aquarium?

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In this article, we will look at some of the best options on the market today for the aquarist looking to purchase a 20 gallon aquarium. We will be focusing primarily on complete aquarium kits that include most of the accessories necessary to get your tank up and running. In our review we will point out features which may make one tank more suitable for your purposes than others. We hope to be able to help you identify the best 20 gallon aquarium kit for your needs.





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Marineland 20 Gallon LED BIO-Wheel Aquarium Kit

Included 200 Watt Submersible Heater, Fish Net, Thermometer, Food And Water Care Samples


Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank 20 Gallon Starter Kit

Included 20H glass aquarium, low profile LED full hood, Quiet Flow LED Pro Power Filter with medium cartridge, 100W preset heater, premium fish food, water conditioner, fish net, thermometer


Tetra 20 Gallon Aquarium Kit

included 20 Gallon Glass Aquarium, a LED hood, a Tetra Mini UL Heater, a Tetra Whisper 20 Filter, a artificial Boxwood Plant Mat, 4 artificial plant


Marina 20 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit

Includeed a Marina Slim S20 clip-on filter with quick-change filter cartridges


Carolina Biological Supply Company Deluxe Marine Aquarium Kit

Included 20 gallon all glass aquarium, an air pump and airline tubing, LED lights, 2 filters, under gravel filter,  A 100 watt heater,  a thermometer/hydrometer 15 pounds crushed coral.


CoralLife LED BioCube 16 Gallon Starter Kit

Right white, sparkling blue and color enhancing LEDs

Automatic 30 minute sunrise/sunset and 60 minute moonrise/moonset functions to replicate natural day cycle


Fluval Vista Aquarium Kit - 23 Gallons

Included LED lamp, An Aquaclear power filter, net, fish food, water conditioner and biological enhancer, heater and thermometer

Why Purchase A 20 Gallon Aquarium Kit?

There are many styles and sizes of aquariums that you can buy. In order to enable an easier route to getting started in the aquarium hobby, many manufacturers now offer complete kits. Hopefully you have given some thought concerning what you intend to keep in your aquarium before determining that a 20 gallon tank is the size that is appropriate. Major choices such as if you will have a planted or unplanted freshwater aquascape or a saltwater reef tank should be made before you actually buy the aquarium kit. The type and number of fish you would like to have also need to be considered.

A 20 gallon tank is sufficient to have a small reef environment or a freshwater community tank comprised of mostly small fish. You can create a stunning planted aquascape in a 20 gallon freshwater aquarium. This is a very nice size for new aquarists. Smaller tanks can be harder to maintain due to the possibilities of water chemistry issues that can more easily occur in a small tank.

Taking all these factors into account, let’s say that you have decided that a 20 gallon aquarium is what you would like to have. Now you need to find the best way to set up your tank correctly.

Aquarium kits are available from many manufacturers. These kits can greatly simplify the process of choosing the right equipment to complement the actual tank. Lighting systems that are included in these packages are designed for the specific tank in the kit. This can be easier than trying to find a light that will fit your tank and look good. Similar advantages can be obtained when considering the filtration system you will use. Aquarium kits come with a filter that is rated to adequately care for that specific size aquarium which again reduces the need to independently choose a filter. Many of the 20 gallon kits also include heaters, thermometers and other accessories like nets that are critical to tank maintenance.

Purchasing all of these components in a package often leads to substantial savings when compared to buying them individually. This can be a major factor in your decision to purchase a kit.

One potential drawback to buying an aquarium kit is that all of the components are coming from the same manufacturer. Experienced aquarists may have a favorite lighting system or filter that is not available in a kit. You may also have very specific lighting needs for the organisms in your tank that none of the packaged kits can address completely. In those cases you may want to do it yourself and just purchase a solitary tank, adding the other components that you favor to complete your system. If you are a new aquarist or just want to set up a quality tank in the simplest and most economical way, then an aquarium kit is the best way to go.

Some Of The Best 20 Gallon Aquarium Kits

We will now look at some specific 20 gallon aquarium kits. Some manufacturers make tanks that are not exactly 20 gallons but are close enough in size that we will include them in our review.

1. Marineland 20 Gallon LED BIO-Wheel Aquarium Kit

Marineland’s 20 gallon aquarium kit comes complete with everything you need to get started. Opening the box reveals a 20 gallon glass tank and hood. LED lighting integrated into the hood gives the tank a sleek, modern appearance. The lights stay firmly in place when the hood is opened for feeding or cleaning and you will never be replacing bulbs with this unit. A three position toggle switch lets you choose between bright daylight or cool blue moonlight. The hood itself is designed to allow for easy feeding and the addition of accessories such as a heater or tubing. Marineland manufactures stand alone filters featuring their BIO-wheel biological filtration system and includes one in this kit. The filter performs admirably keeping your water clear and removing toxins that are harmful to your fish.

This tank is suitable for fresh or saltwater fish though the lights will not support coral growth. It’s a fine choice for a freshwater planted tank. The kit also includes a 200 watt submersible heater, thermometer, fish net as well as food and water conditioning samples. There is also a setup guide included that walks you through installing all the components correctly. Here is a video demonstrating this aquarium.

2. Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank 20 Gallon Starter Kit

Aqueon’s 20 gallon starter kit is another complete starter kit that is suitable for a freshwater planted or unplanted tank. It can also be used for a fish only saltwater aquarium. Filtration is handled by an Aqueon QuietFlow filter that provides 4 stage filtration to ensure crystal clear water. The filter features a high flow rate and quiet operation. The kit contains a submersible preset heater, thermometer and net. Food and water conditioning samples are also included. LED lighting is incorporated into a sleek hood design but is limited to white light, not offering the moonlight option of some other LED systems. This kit is a reasonably priced entry into the aquarium hobby that offers good value for your money.

3. Tetra 20 Gallon Aquarium Kit

Tetra has long been a name associated with quality products for the aquarist. The 20 gallon aquarium kit they offer is another complete starter kit ideal for setting up a new tank. The kit includes all the accessories you need with a heater, thermometer and net. Samples of TertaMin fish food and Aquasafe water conditioner are included. The standard setup has an LED lighting system built into the hood that creates a shimmering daylight effect. There are no color options with the standard Tetra kit. It is energy efficient and you will never be replacing bulbs. The Whisper filtration system will keep your water clean and healthy by performing full three stage filtration employing filter floss, activated carbon and Biofoam. Tetra also offers a ColorFusion 20 gallon aquarium that allows cycling through different colors of LED lights or allows you to pick one and stop the cycling.

4. Marina 20 Gallon LED Aquarium Kit

Hagen has been a respected name in the aquarium hobby for many years. They produce this Marina 20 gallon kit. It features an LED lighting system built into the hood that produces light simulating natural daylight. A Marina Slim clip-on filter that incorporates a quick change filter cartridge is included. Rounding out the package is a fish net and samples of Hagen’s Nutrafin Max fish food and Nutrafin Plus water conditioner. A feature not found in other packages is the inclusion of Nutrafin Cycle which will get your tank off to a good start by introducing beneficial bacteria to your tank before you stock it. Unlike some of the other products we have looked at this kit does not come with a heater but does have a thermometer. This means there is at least one piece of equipment that you will need to add if keeping tropical fish. This is another kit adequate for starting a new aquarium.

5. Carolina Biological Supply Company Deluxe Marine Aquarium Kit

Here is a kit specifically designed for those aquarists specializing in saltwater aquariums. The company also has a freshwater kit but we will concentrate on the saltwater version as it contains everything that you need for setting up a saltwater tank with the exception of the marine organisms you will be keeping. In addition to a 20 gallon all glass aquarium an air pump and airline tubing is included. LED lights built into the hood will allow you to create a small reef environment in this tank. Two filters are included in this package. In addition to an in tank filter it also has an under gravel filter. A 100 watt heater and a thermometer/hydrometer round out the accessories. An extra bonus to get you started is the inclusion of 15 pounds crushed coral for substrate and enough sea salt mix to give you 20 gallons of saltwater for your tank. This company does not manufacture all of the components as we see in some of the other packages but rather has chosen what it sees as the best accessories to include in its kit. It is quite expensive in comparison to other 20 gallon starter kits but does provide more additional accessories than most competitors. A good choice for those saltwater aquarists who are not on a tight budget.

6. CoralLife LED BioCube 16 Gallon Starter Kit

Another option for the saltwater aquarist is the BioCube line from CoralLife. Though this tank is a little smaller than a 20 gallon tank it has some features that make it stand out from the crowd. It is designed to maintain a small marine reef environment. The integrated filter system that is built into the back of the tank will meet all your filtration needs giving full three stage performance and oxygenating your water before returning to the tank. You can customize the filter with your own choice of media if you wish. The tank is very appealing to the eye with a sleek, modern hood design that houses an excellent LED lighting system. White, blue and color enhancing LED bulbs give you a sparkling blue nighttime light and a bright daytime option. An integrated timer lets you program it to create a 30 minute sunrise/sunset and a 60 minute moonrise/moonset simulation. A quiet, submersible pump with an adjustable return nozzle rounds out the package. You will need to purchase a heater, thermometer and other accessories as this kit is all about the tank lights and filter. While this tank will work for a freshwater planted aquarium, it is designed primarily as a saltwater tank and is more expensive than other starter kits.

7. Fluval Vista Aquarium Kit - 23 Gallons

The Fluval Vista aquarium kit is a trifle larger than a 20 gallon tank but deserves mention due to its distinctive appearance and plentiful features. It features a seamless panoramic display that will show off your aquascape to great effect. The lighting system employs a soft start LED lamp that will slowly reach full brightness minimizing daily shock to your fish. An Aquaclear power filter and media are included the package ensuring clear, clean water. Other accessories included are a net, fish food, water conditioner and biological enhancer to promote healthy bacterial growth. The kit also comes with a heater and thermometer. This tank is recommended for use only as a freshwater aquarium. Fluval also makes stands specifically designed for this aquarium.

What Is The Best 20 Gallon Aquarium?

Now back to our original quest to identify the best 20 gallon aquarium. As you can see there are many options available to you. You can always use the D.I.Y. method and choose components from various manufacturers to get the look and performance you want. This is not really necessary with the quality of starter kits now available. You can find one that suits your budget and space and enjoy the convenience of purchasing an all-inclusive aquarium package.

If you are determined to keep your tank size to exactly 20 gallons then I would recommend the Marineland BIO-Wheel aquarium kit. Its high quality filter and lighting system make it an excellent choice. It comes with everything you need to get your tank up and running except the gravel, plants and fish. Those who can squeeze a little more space to house their aquarium might want to go with the Fluval Vista. The distinctive panoramic view and soft start lighting are features that stand out from the competition and will let you create a striking freshwater aquascape. Have fun choosing your aquarium and much luck with your future aquascape!

3 thoughts on “What Is The Best 20 Gallon Aquarium?

  1. Thanks for this post!

    Question: Are there any clear, grey, or white 20 gallon tanks/kits out there? I can’t find any, and I’ve been searching and searching.

    The room where I’m putting my fish has all white and grey, and the typical black lids and outlines you see in all these tanks wouldn’t go well with the rest of the room.

    I so want to get a 20 gallon, but I just haven’t had luck finding a non-black rimmed/hooded one!
    Please let me know if you have suggestions for me.

    Thank you!!

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