12 Different Types Of Fish Tanks: Which Is The Best For You?

different types of fish tanks

The different types of fish tanks you should choose depends on several factors, including your budget and how much maintenance you want to do. A fish tank can be the heart and soul of your home, or it can be just another thing taking up space in your basement.

No matter what type of fish tanks you choose, there are many different types to suit your every need, whether that’s something small and sleek that looks good in the living room or something large and powerful that houses more exotic species.

Many people who have an interest in fish are also interested in having their own tank, whether they intend to keep it at home or at the office. However, deciding what types of fish tank to get can be difficult if you don’t know much about the different types that are available.

Not every fish tank is created equal, and some kinds of tanks are better suited to certain kinds of fish than others. In order to set up an aquarium in your home, you will need to be familiar with the different types of fish tanks available on the market today. Each type of fish tank has its own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s important that you choose one that fits your lifestyle and budget.

If you’re just setting up your fish tank and have no idea what type of fish to get, or if you’re looking to add more fish to your tank, these 12 different types of fish tanks will help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each type so that you can choose one that’s right for you and your fish!

Different types of fish tanks

Coldwater freshwater tank

types of fish tanks

If you’re looking for a fish tank that is low-maintenance, the coldwater freshwater tank might be perfect. The water in this type of tank needs to be changed just once a week, and the temperature is not much higher than at room temperature. This can be done by adding ice cubes or putting the temperature up to a certain degree.

The coldwater freshwater tank can house tropical fish as well as other types of fish that are sensitive to high temperatures. It is also cheaper to maintain and gives off less heat than a marine tank. However, it does need more aeration because it contains less oxygenated water than a saltwater tank.

Coldwater marine tank

A coldwater marine tank is a large aquarium built for saltwater fish and invertebrates. Coldwater tanks are also known as reef or brackish water tanks, and these types of tanks require the use of live rock to maintain pH levels.

The temperature ranges from 68 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a salinity of 12-30%. These tanks can hold up to 150 gallons of water and need about 20% of the water replaced weekly. A coldwater marine tank does not have any plants in it because they do not thrive well in this environment.

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Tropical freshwater tank

Tropical freshwater fish tanks are a great option for someone who wants to set up their aquarium as soon as they get home. These tanks require less maintenance than saltwater aquariums, but they still offer the same types of animals.

They are also a good way to get started in the hobby if you’re not sure how much time or money you want to put into it. The setup is very basic and just needs to be maintained with regular water changes and filter replacements.

There are many different kinds of tropical freshwater fish that can be found in these tanks including tetras, guppies, goldfish, swordtails, and many more!

Tropical marine tank

different types of fish tanks

A tropical marine tank is a saltwater tank that contains many different types of fish and invertebrates. The main difference between tropical marine and other types of saltwater tanks is the inclusion of corals, live rock, and invertebrates.

These items are not included in freshwater or brackish setups. In addition to these items, you will also need an undergravel filter. With this type of setup, it is important to have an expert set up your tank for you because there are too many variations for us to cover them all here.

Brackish tank

Brackish water tanks are a mix of freshwater and saltwater, but the salt content is usually much lower than in a marine tank. Brackish water is most often used as an environment for freshwater fish that need a specific salinity level to live comfortably. These types of fish include catfish, cichlids from Africa’s Lake Malawi, and tilapia.

Brackish water tanks usually use three-quarters fresh water and one-quarter sea salt solution.

A brackish tank can either be set up as a separate stand-alone unit or it can be done inside another type of aquarium.

Reef tanks

A reef tank is a type of saltwater aquarium that features a natural-looking environment. The ecosystem of the reef tank is less predictable than that of other tanks and can be more difficult to maintain.

However, many people prefer the natural beauty and difficulty of maintaining a reef tank to the predictability and ease of maintaining other types of tanks. Reef tanks are typically either open or closed system setups with open systems being more popular among hobbyists.

The water in an open system is exposed to air which can cause algae buildup. Closed systems have a constant source of fresh water and do not need as much maintenance. They are also easier to keep at stable levels because they don’t depend on any outside sources for water changes. Closed systems also use less electricity for filtration purposes because the filters don’t need power from an air pump.

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Breeder tanks

different types of fish tanks

A breeder fish tank is a good choice if you’re looking to grow your own fish. A breeder tank is typically larger than a community tank, which means that it can hold more water, plus it has space for filters and other equipment that might be necessary to house the fish.

This type of tank is not always easy to find, so if you are considering buying one it’s best to do some research beforehand. Breeder tanks come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. You should also think about what type of filter system you want as well as where you plan on placing the aquarium – will there be enough room for it?

Breeding tanks are generally less costly than regular community tanks because they don’t need all of those extras. However, breeding tanks require a higher level of care and maintenance. If this sounds like something that would suit your needs then this might just be the perfect fish tank for you!

Substrate-based fish tanks

different types of fish tanks

One of the most popular types of fish tanks is the substrate-based tank. It’s called substrate because it’s built on a bed of sand, gravel, or other types of dirt that provides an attractive home for your aquatic friends. This type of fish tank is good for those who want to add plants to their environment and keep a natural look and feel.

They are also typically cheaper than other types, making them a great choice for beginners or those without much room in their homes. These tanks do require more maintenance though as you’ll need to regularly clean out the dirt, replace old pieces of gravel and check water quality on a regular basis.

Substrate-based fish tanks can come in many different sizes depending on what you’re looking for so there’s sure to be one that fits your lifestyle.

Sump-based fish tanks

A sump-based fish tank is a variation of the traditional aquarium. A sump-based fish tank typically has three chambers: an aquarium, a filtration system, and a sump. The water cycles through the different chambers to maintain perfect water quality.

In most cases, the filtration system is located in the sump which allows for more space in the aquarium without sacrificing filtration power. A sump-based fish tank can be used in both freshwater and saltwater environments. Sump-based tanks are best for people who want a higher degree of customization. They’re also ideal if you have limited room because they don’t need as much of it as other types of tanks do.

Small biotope fish tanks

A small biotope fish tank is the perfect choice for anyone who is looking to keep a low-maintenance aquarium. It is also a great option for beginners because they are more affordable and easier to maintain than larger tanks.

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A small biotope fish tank can be used to house any type of freshwater or saltwater species, but it is best suited for smaller fish, like guppies or tetras. Since these types of tanks usually have less water, you will need to do weekly water changes and make sure your filtration system is properly maintained. These smaller tanks are also less likely to breed disease so if you don’t want to deal with disease-prevention chemicals you might want this type of tank.

Large tropical public fish tanks

If you love to be around fish and have a large living space, public fish tanks are the perfect option for you. They offer a wide variety of species and sizes, so there is always something new to see.

Ocean bio parks and marine life sanctuaries

One of the most popular types of fish tanks is an ocean bio park or marine life sanctuary, which is a tank with a variety of saltwater fish. Some things to think about before purchasing one of these are how big your aquarium needs to be for the type of fish you want, what kind of filtration system will be needed to maintain clean water, and whether or not you want live plants.

If you plan on including a wide variety of different species in your ocean bio park, it might need to be quite large so that there’s enough space for all the different kinds of animals and more space between them in case they fight.

Many people opt for using a sump filter as their filtration system because it can take care of mechanical and chemical cleaning.

Common types of fish tanks requirements


The type of lighting you use can make a huge difference in your fish tank. Some tanks require specific types of lights, like LED lights. These lights are brighter and more energy efficient than other types of aquarium lamps, like fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. Plus, LED lights provide a more natural look for your tank because they simulate sunlight.

There are also full-spectrum bulbs that come with the different wavelengths of light that plants need to grow. LED lights typically last longer too, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often. Lighting is an important factor when it comes to choosing a tank so be sure to do your research before purchasing anything!


Different types of fish tanks require different kinds of filtration. Some common filters include undergravel, sponge, and bubble filters. Sponge filters are best for saltwater aquariums because they won’t be affected by the high salinity levels.

Bubble filters are good for freshwater setups because they create a lot of surface agitation and oxygenate the water well. Undergravel filters are usually used in both fresh and saltwater tanks to keep dirt from getting into the gravel where the fish live and eat food from.

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These can either be powered or gravity driven. If you want more information on the kind of filter that would work best for your specific type of tank setup, then you’ll have to research it further on your own or talk to someone who is more knowledgeable about these things like an employee at your local pet store.

Heaters/heating equipment

Heaters are used to maintain the water temperature in your tank. They come in a variety of styles and wattages, but all do the same job of heating the water. The most popular style is a submersible heater that is hidden inside the tank and connected to an external power source.

A heat lamp can also be used as a supplemental heater if needed. Be sure to measure how much wattage you need by figuring out how much surface area needs to be heated. Most people choose between 75-150 watts per gallon of water depending on their needs.

Water pumps

Most fish tanks need to be equipped with a water pump that circulates the water. This is usually done by a small propeller or impeller, but there are other options as well. The most common type of pump is powered by an external power source and it can be noisy and energy-intensive, but they are also the most reliable.

Internal pumps that use aquarium air pressure to move water through pipes are quieter and easier on your electric bill, but they require more work in setting them up. If you’re looking for something completely silent and self-contained, then you may want to try an air pump instead.

Water conditioners

In addition to the water conditioners on this list, you can also use other fish tank water conditioners on the market. However, always follow the instructions and make sure that it is safe for your type of fish.

This will keep them healthy and happy for years to come. If you don’t want to wait around for a while before they start looking their best, then you should get a water changer. They only need to be changed every three weeks or so depending on how many fish are in the tank and how often they are fed.