Best Saltwater Aquariums - An Aquarium Buyer's Guide
A modern saltwater aquarist is no longer reliant upon custom tank manufacturers to build professional-quality tanks, suitable for a saltwater reef. You can literally choose from hundreds of different aquariums of all shapes and sizes, and have one shipped to your doorstep within just a few days. From all-in-one tanks and nano-cubes to much larger show tanks complete with an overflow box and sump.
Not only has the selection improved drastically in the last 10-20 years, but we have also seen features like low-iron glass, aluminum-framed tank stands, and advanced filtration really elevate the commercial aquariums available to home aquarists.
The reality is, if you want to achieve long-term success, you need to choose the aquarium that is right for you and your lifestyle. This helpful Buyer's Guide will help match you to the tank that best suits your aquarium goals. You can also shop by tank size or brand when browsing our entire catalog of aquariums. If you really want to make things easy, check out the tank wizard to build a complete bundle.
The Perfect Desktop Tank
Eshopps DeskMate 3.8 Gallon
A flashy pico tank that is built for saltwater enthusiasts and sure to liven up your workspace. The Eshopps DeskMate looks great and is small enough to fit virtually anywhere.
It features multi-compartment life support filtration, a neon orange acrylic base, and includes both the return pump and reef-capable LED light.
The small size makes it easy to stock and get that flourishing reef vibe, without having to go overboard with livestock. With just a few fish and a handful of corals, the entire display will look lively and vibrant in no time. Better yet, the neon orange acrylic glows under the near UV and blue LED light for extra flare. You can purchase the tank by itself or choose to go with our bundle which offers the best value and includes everything you need to get started.
For the Bedroom or Dorm
JBJ 10, 15, & 20 Nano Rimless AIO
Affordable, functional, and looks great too! The JBJ Rimless Nano Series aquariums hit all the major points when your just looking for a small aquarium for your bedroom or small living space. The AIO filtration makes it easy to maintain while saving space and the rimless design maintains a sleek profile.
The AIO filtration has three compartments that you can customize to your liking. The filter wall has a built-in overflow and directional return nozzle and it includes a return pump.
The tanks are available in three sizes, 10, 15, or 20 gallons so you can choose something to fit your particular space. They are small enough to sit atop a sturdy piece of furniture but you can also purchase the matching black cabinet stand.
AIO Starter Tank
Innovative Marine NUVO Fusion Pro 2
Innovative Marine has been setting the standard for high-quality all-in-one style aquariums since their inception and the NUVO Fusion PRO 2 bundle is their best offering yet. Not only do you get one of the nicest AIO aquariums on the market, but IM has bundled the tanks with a ton of accessories and upgrades so you can build a hot rod aquarium, right out of the box.
You can choose from over 11 different tank sizes so no matter what kind of space you have, there is a tank to fit.
In terms of accessories, each Pro 2 bundle includes the CustomCaddy Media basket with a full set of replacement media, filter sock, foam leveling mat, dual return nozzle, magnet glass cleaner, screen lid, water level risers, and the MightyJet Adjustable DC return pump.
You can also purchase with confidence because Innovative Marine is the best-selling AIO aquarium brand on our website and they have been a leader in developing AIO tank solutions for over 10 years.
AquaMaxx Low Iron Rimless
Simple yet sophisticated, the AquaMaxx low-iron rimless tanks exemplify what it looks like when quality meets value. These tanks feature thick, ultra-clear low iron glass with clean seams and beveled edges.
These tanks can be used for just about anything you desire in the world of small aquatic pets but really look sharp when built into a minimalist reef. All you need is a hang-on or internal filter, a small heater, and a slim profile light of your choosing to create a fully functioning aquarium. These tanks make a great platform for species-specific tanks, biotopes, macroalgae/display refugiums, and dare we say it, even freshwater plants!
The AquaMaxx Low-Iron aquariums max out at 22 gallons and are available in five rectangular sizes. We especially like the long-style tanks that are great for mounting on a bookshelf but you can also get a more traditional shape.
For the Frag Farmer
WaterBox Aquariums FRAG
By the time you are ready to build a frag farm of your own, you're probably pretty serious about this reefing game. If this is you, look no further because WaterBox Aquariums are most certainly built for the serious reefkeeper.
The FRAG series from WaterBox is the perfect shape for growing out tons of frags to trade with friends or sell at frag swaps. The long lowrise shape makes them easier to penetrate with high output lighting and provides plenty of space for frag racks. Being a complete tank package with filtration included, the frag system can stand alone and won't need to be tied into your main display.
If growing frags isn't your goal, don't worry because there are also the Waterbox REEF and INFINIA series aquariums which are available in more traditional rectangular show tank sizes and built using the same standard of quality.
All WaterBox Aquariums include a rimless aquarium with built-in overflow, plywood cabinet stand, glass sump, and easy-to-assemble plumbing. The tanks themselves are packed with premium features including low-iron glass, beveled polished edges, black silicone, and an internal overflow with a glass weir and cover. The baffled sump is spacious to fit the equipment of your choice and the plumbing can be installed in a matter of minutes, no gluing required.
The Ultimate Reef Experience
Red Sea Reefer Deluxe G2
Turn your reef aquarium dreams into a reality with the Red Sea Reefer Deluxe G2 series aquariums. These tanks have everything: low iron glass, super easy plumbing, a laminated cabinet stand, a glass sump, gravity ATO with freshwater reservoir, and even top-notch LED lighting from AquaIllumination.
The Deluxe G2 series from Red Sea is the second generation of the Red Sea Reefer aquariums and are built upon the already wildly successful Reef-Spec infrastructure. The new features include thicker glass, improved plumbing connections and valves, an extra-fortified wood stand, and a ReefMat-ready glass sump.
There are 10 different tank sizes to choose from starting with the smallest Reefer 170 at just 33 gallons all the way up through the Reefer-S 1000 at 210 gallons.
While the Reefer tanks are an all-inclusive package that has been configured specifically for a successful reef aquarium, you still have flexibility. The spacious sump is ready for the life support equipment of your choice and you can even customize the plumbing using metric or US standard PVC.