Best Saltwater Aquariums: Our Top Picks

Best of Saltwater Aquariums
Best of Saltwater Aquariums

While saltwater aquariums were once reserved for dedicated hobbyists, they are now more accessible and easier to keep than ever. With all of the new information and resources that allow beginners to keep saltwater aquariums, more and more people are entering the hobby with the goal of creating a system they can be proud of. With the major increase in manufacturing unique aquariums, there has never been more options on the market for individuals to create a tank that suits their space, personality, and goals. While all of these options entering the market are ultimately great for the hobby, it has also made it overwhelming for new entrants to find an aquarium that makes sense for their needs. 

Within this article we will attempt to bring some clarity and interesting aquarium options to light. More specifically, we will make recommendations for tight spaces, a creative workspace, and an aquarium that is outside the box. We will also take a look at aquariums for the “modern minimalist”, “the go big or go home crowd”, and those who can’t decide between a salt and freshwater aquarium. While we do highlight a bunch of aquariums within this piece, there are plenty of other models that may be a better choice for you. If you are looking for something more specific or if you have any questions, our customer care team would be happy to assist you. 

Summary:

For the Dorm, Apartment, or Space Starved Hobbyists: Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 10 Pro: “The small footprint of 11.8” x 15” X 13” makes the tank relatively easy to add on a desk, small table, or even a nightstand”

For the Creative Workspace: Innovative Marine Nuvo Concept Peninsula 20 Pro: “This tank still fits under the nano category but its unique “drop-off” like appearance is a really amazing way to create a beautiful aquaspace”

For Those With a Different Perspective: Lifegard Aquatics Full View Aquarium Line: “The main feature that makes these aquariums so unique is their front panel which is slanted outward”

For the Modern Minimalist: Waterbox Reef 70.2: “Waterbox is one of the newer entrants to the aquarium manufacturing scene but their starphire glass and sharp edges have caught the eyes of thousands of hobbyists”

For the Go Big or Go Home Crowd: Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900: “At 240 total gallons, it might seem overwhelming to get this tank up and running but, Red Sea makes it quite easy with their included sump and plumbing kit”

For Those Who Can’t Decide: Innovative Marine Nuvo Concept Encore 20 Pro: “The Nuvo Concept Encore 20 is the first of its kind with two aquariums built into one”

For the Dorm, Apartment, or Space Starved: Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 10 Pro:
NUVO Fusion 10 Pro
NUVO Fusion 10 Pro

Having an aquarium in a small apartment or dorm room used to be nearly impossible. However, with the recent improvements and interest in nano aquariums, squeezing an aquarium into a tight space is now more realistic than ever. Innovative Marine is one of the leaders in the manufacturing of nano tanks and their Nuvo Fusion 10 Pro is one of their most popular models. The small footprint of 11.8” x 15” X 13” makes the tank very easy to place on a desk, small table, or even a nightstand. This aquarium also includes the return pump, filter sock, filtration caddy, screen top, and magnet cleaner. The only items that would need to be added would be a light and a heater and the aquarium would then be all ready to be filled with sand, rock, and water. This aquarium is capable of keeping freshwater, saltwater, and reef species with the proper equipment selection and husbandry. Additionally, a one year manufacturer warranty is included with the purchase of this tank. While this aquarium is a great choice for a tight space, it is also one of our favorite tanks to recommend to beginners for its simplicity and numerous uses. For all of these reasons, the Innovative Marine Nuvo Fusion 10 gallon is one of our best saltwater aquariums for the hobbyist who is lacking space. 

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For the Creative Workspace: Innovative Marine Nuvo Concept Peninsula 20 Pro:
NUVO Concept Peninsula 20 Pro
NUVO Concept Peninsula 20 Pro

In recent years, more and more unique aquariums have entered the market and Innovative Marine’s Concept Peninsula 20 pro is no exception. At a slim 20 gallons, this tank still fits under the nano category but its “drop-off” like appearance is a really amazing way to create a beautiful aquascape and present an aquarium that would look amazing in any workspace. Similar to the Nuvo Fusion 10 Pro, the return pump, filter sock, filtration caddy, screen top, and magnet cleaner are all included. We really like to pair this tank with the Life Rock Shapes from CaribSea to create a colorful and detailed aquascape to show off some beautiful corals. The return pump that is included within this kit is also fully controllable and features a feed mode which is a truly great value for the cost of the kit. All Innovative Marine tanks are built with ultra clear low iron glass that really allows the color, and vibrancy of your aquarium to pop. With all of these features packed into a reasonably priced package, the Nuvo Concept Peninsula 20 Pro is our choice for one of the best saltwater aquariums for a creative workspace. 

For Those With a Different Perspective:  Lifegard Aquatics Full View Aquarium Line:
Lifegard Aquatics Full View
Lifegard Aquatics Full View

Lifegard Aquatics has achieved what we once thought was impossible in a nano aquarium with their creation of the Full View Aquarium Line. The main feature that makes these aquariums so unique is their front panel which is slanted outward. This gives a really unique and magnified view of the tank. These aquariums come in a five and seven gallon size and can be purchased with or without a built in filtration section containing a return pump. The model with the filter also includes all of the mechanical filtration needed to get started. These aquariums make awesome nano reefs as well as freshwater planted aquariums. This is also an excellent aquarium line for children who will greatly benefit from getting up close to the life inside of the tank due to the angle of the front panel. This tank line is also a great budget aquarium that doesn’t compromise on quality. Each of these benefits make the Lifegard Aquatics full view aquariums one of the best saltwater aquariums for a unique perspective. 

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For the Modern Minimalist: Waterbox Reef 70.2:
Waterbox Reef 70.2
Waterbox Reef 70.2

Waterbox is one of the newer entrants to the aquarium manufacturing scene but their starphire glass and sharp edges have caught the eyes of thousands of hobbyists. The 70.2 model is one of our favorite tanks from Waterbox as it is quite near perfect for a beginner as almost everything needed to get started is included. The few accessories you would need to purchase separately would be a light fixture, heater, and a protein skimmer. What is included however is a comprehensive plumbing kit which removes the headache that can often come from trying to get the aquarium plumbed. When this tank is paired with the included white stand, the system can become the highlight of a modern living space. The size of the aquarium also makes it a great beginner tank as it is not too big to the point where doing water changes becomes difficult but, it is also not too small where any minor swing in parameters can have a harsh effect on the tank inhabitants. One of the greatest features of this setup is the professional grade reef sump that includes an auto top-off that will dramatically reduce your weekly maintenance. While this aquarium is packed full of features, the simple outward appearance of this aquarium makes it our choice for the modern minimalist. 

For the Go Big or Go Home Crowd: Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900
Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900
Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900

If you have already gone through all the upgrades and you’ve gotten the approval of a significant other to upgrade one more time, look no further than the new Red Sea Reefer 3XL 900. This model has the same great attributes that have been proven and loved by hobbyists for a number of years. With the dimensions of 79” X 25.6” X 25.6”, there are very few species that you would not be able to keep in this system. At 240 total gallons, it might seem overwhelming to get this tank up and running but, Red Sea makes it quite easy with their included sump and plumbing kit. Our team would be happy to help guide you through the light, protein skimmer, and return pump selection process if you need any assistance. Speaking of the sump, it is on its third iteration and has some pretty incredible features such as an adjustable water height skimmer chamber and two well built filter cups. Like all other Red Sea aquariums, a two year manufacturer warranty is included where Red Sea can help you quickly sort through any potential issues. Overall, this is what we consider to be one of our best saltwater aquariums for those who are looking for a big and bold addition to their home. 

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For Those Who Can’t Decide:  Innovative Marine Nuvo Concept Encore 20 Pro:
NUVO Concept Encore 20 Pro
NUVO Concept Encore 20 Pro

Like many other aquarium hobbyists, I started off with freshwater aquariums before gaining the courage to dive into saltwater. From time to time I get the itch to jump back into freshwater with a planted aquarium. Thanks to Innovative Marine, we no longer have to choose. The Nuvo Concept Encore 20 is the first of its kind with two aquariums built into one. With two completely divided sections of this tank, the possibilities are endless. This system really lets the hobbyist get creative and create an awesome combination of aquariums. Like Innovative Marine’s other pro models, all of the filtration, algae cleaning, and return pump needs are already included with the kit. Whether you want to do a planted shrimp aquarium next to a nano seahorse tank, or a mixed reef next to a betta tank, almost any two creations can be achieved without having two separate aquariums. Each tank will operate completely separate from the other one and therefore, proper husbandry will need to be performed on each aquarium independently. The flexibility, and creativity with this aquarium makes it our ideal choice for anyone who has trouble picking between their aquarium desires.        

Final Thoughts:   

With the plethora of aquarium options on the market, trimming down our list to just six selections was very difficult. We still believe that the presented options provide a wide range of choices for many different types of hobbyists and new entrants to the aquarium family. Whether you are putting the finishing touches on your new modern apartment or, you are dedicating an entire space to fill with a massive tank, Marine Depot has the aquariums you need to bring your unique space to life. We pride ourselves on offering some of the most well built, visually appealing, and durable tanks on the market in order to allow for our customers to achieve their tank goals. While selecting the proper system for your space is one of the most important steps, finding the ideal equipment to operate on the aquarium is just as important. If you are needing any suggestions, or if you have any particular questions, our customer care team would be happy to assist you.

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