Top 6 Best Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks | 2021 Reviews

Is it possible to have an aquarium without needing to spend a lot of your time and efforts in keeping them clean?

Yes, very much! Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks allow you to live your passion for fish keeping without the usual mess of getting to clean them all that often. So, these fish tanks are all-fun-no-mess types of tanks.

However, to get the most out of these self-cleaning fish tanks, you need to select the right quality of the product. And to choose the right quality, you need to have a lot of knowledge about all the different types of such tanks available in the market. Well, not exactly. There is another way to select the best self-cleaning fish tank. Yes, going through the expert reviews of the best fish tanks. And in this article, we will share with you exactly the same. We will review the top features, pros, and cons of some of the top-class self-cleaning fish tanks along with some important information to help you select the best aquarium for your specific purpose.

Top 6 Best Self Cleaning Fish Tanks Reviewed

  1. biOrb Flow Aquarium Self Cleaning Aquarium  – Best Overall
  2. As Seen On TV 56028 My Fun Fish Tank – Best for Budget
  3. AquaSprouts Garden – Best Premium Pick
  4. Marineland Portrait Aquarium 
  5. Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit, 2.6-Gallon 
  6. Penn Plax Self Cleaning Aquarium 

#1. biOrb Flow Aquarium Self Cleaning Aquarium  – Best Overall

biOrb Flow 15 Aquarium with LED - 4 Gallon, Black

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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Reef– One Inc.
  • Size: 5×10.2×14.8 inches
  • Weight: 7 pounds 

The biOrb Flow Aquarium is one of the most compact and strong Self Cleaning Aquariums. The best part of the aquarium is that despite having a compact design, it is equipped with all essential and many additional features, making it one of the most sought-after fish tanks for office as well home use.

The aquarium is fitted with a low voltage LED light at the top of the tank. The fitting is perfectly secure and seamless and offers the needed illumination for the aquatic pets to enjoy their stay inside the aquarium.

The tank is built with acrylic material, making it 10 times stronger compared to the glass. The acrylic also offers high clarity making it 93% transparent compared to the 70% transparency level of the glass material. Moreover, acrylic does not give a green tint which is typical of thick glass.

The biOrb Flow aquarium contains all the items needed to install and set-up the tank. It has an in-built 5-stage special biOrb filtration system that includes Biological, Mechanical, Chemical filtration, Water Stabilization, and Oxygenation. Unlike many other small tanks that use small box filters, biOrb uses ceramic media with a surface area as large as a soccer field to ensure highly efficient biological filtration. In addition to this, the tank is also equipped with a filter cartridge fitted at the base to hold excess waste. You can simply replace the cartridge once a month and replenish it with one-third of water.

For safety purposes, all the electric fittings including the light and air pump are operated at a low voltage of 12V. The unit is perfect for small fish or shrimp and can be kept in a small space on your office desk or display frame at your home. The aquarium comes with a warranty of two years giving you peace of mind against any manufacturing defect that you may observe during this long period.

Overall, the biOrb Flow aquarium is a perfect choice for those who want to have all the features of an aquarium in a small compact space.

ProsCons
Safe due to low voltageNeed to replace cartridge once a month
Very easy to maintainA shade expensive
Easy feeding system
Strong and Robust 
5-stage filtration
Compact design

#2. As Seen On TV 56028 My Fun Fish Tank  – Best for Budget

As Seen on TV 56028 My Fun Fish Tank, 4 3/4 x 6 x 10-Inch

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Specifications 

  • Manufacturer: As seen on TV
  • Size: 5×4.5×10 inches
  • Weight: 1 pound

As Seen on TV 56028 is a real fun aquarium for the children. The tank is extremely compact and uses a gravity system for self-cleaning. Almost maintenance-free, this tank is a perfect example of how such a simple technology can be used to make a perfect eco-system in a small space and at such affordable prices. 

Made of plastic material, the tank has a disposal tube inside the tank whose other end comes out of the tank from one of the sides. You just need to pour clean water inside the tank and the dirty water comes out of the disposal tube. The process of cleaning does not interfere with the movement of the aquatic pets inside the tank. The half-a gallon tank does it so quickly that in almost no time the water inside the tank is replaced by high oxygenated, pure water healthy for the lives of your pet fish.

The unit also includes an LED light and an aquatic plant. Besides, it also contains riverbed stones and two numbers of Lithium batteries.

Overall, My Fun Fish is one of the most affordable self-cleaning fish tanks that can add a lot of value to your kid’s learning and at the same time can offer a great environment to your pet fish with almost no maintenance needed to keep the tank working.

ProsCons
Low maintenance requirementSuitable only for a single fish at a time
Easy to set-up and use
Extremely compact
Highly affordable
Ideal for kids
Also Read:  Top 7 Best Aquarium Heaters | 2021 Reviews (Hygger)

#3. AquaSprouts Garden  – Best Premium Pick

AquaSprouts Garden, Self-Sustaining Desktop Aquarium Aquaponics Ecosystem, Fits Standard 10 Gallon Aquariums

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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: AquaSprouts
  • Size: 28×8×17 inches
  • Weight: 24 pounds

If you are looking for a fish aquarium that genuinely uses a self-sustaining Aquaponic system, AquaSports Garden is one of the best fish tanks you will find in the market. The ultimate design of the aquarium makes it look like a miracle. You can observe the aquatic plants growing inside the tank using the fish waste and in turn providing the best environment for the fish to enjoy their stay inside the tank most naturally. An ideal way to experience, learn, and teach the perfect eco-system of nature- and all of this from the comfort of your home.

Using AquaSprouts Garden, you can convert your 10-gallon aquarium into a self-supporting system of water garden cum fish tank in quick time. The garden has been designed in such a way that makes the whole system virtually maintenance-free and very easy to set-up and use. You do not need to use any chemical fertilizers to grow the plant inside the tank. The fish waste can be perfectly used to grow the plant and purify water at the same time making it a liveable environment for both the plants and the fish. You can grow multiple types of vegetables, sprouts, and herbs inside the tank. Besides, you can also grow house plants just for decoration purposes.

Overall, AquaSprouts Garden is one of the most versatile and extremely useful aquariums that can be used to grow a wide variety of edibles while offering the best environment for your aquatic pets to enjoy their movements inside the tank.

ProsCons
A perfect example of using aquaponics principlesProduces a bit of noise
Use the natural system for water filtrationQuite heavy
Very easy to set-up, use and maintainExpensive
Wonderful eco-system learning tool
High premium quality

#4. Marineland Portrait Aquarium 

Marineland Portrait Glass LED aquarium Kit, 5 Gallons, Hidden Filtration

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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Marineland
  • Size: 8 ×11.6 ×17.1 inches
  • Weight: 12 pounds

If you want to take home a wonderful blend of natural ecosystems and beauty, Marineland Portrait Aquarium offers you a great choice. You can use the tank to enhance the beauty of your interior decor and at the same time observe the wonder of nature caused by the self-sustainable eco-system.

The tank is designed so neatly that you will not find any filtration system visible from the outside. The 3-stage filtration system is not only discreetly fitted inside the tank but also offers a very effective filtration. The LED lights are also designed in such a way that they glow the tank in two distinct settings of daylight and moonlight.

To make it more visually appealing, the tanks have been designed with rounded corners. The transparent glass canopy allows you to feed the fish very comfortably. Besides, it also allows you to view the tank and the aquatic life inside the tank from many different angles.

The 5-gallon tank comes equipped with a Rit-Size Z cartridge, and special Marineland Bio-Foam. It also contains a filter pump with adjustable flow and a 3-way switch to select between no light, daylight, and moonlight setting.

ProsCons
Portrait design allows for more vertical growth to the plantsDirt clogs at the back of the filter system
Very easy to clean and maintainThe back portion is made of plastic
Occupies less space
Dual illumination
Beautiful design

#5. Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit, 2.6-Gallon 

Fluval SPEC III Aquarium Kit, Aquarium with LED Lighting and 3-Stage Filtration System, 2.6 Gallon, White, 10517A1

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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Fluval
  • Size: 15 x 13.5 x 16.3 inches
  • Weight: 4.85 pounds

Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit is one of the most simple-looking-feature-rich aquariums in the market. Compact in size, you can keep these tanks in a small space on your desktop or your home display cabinet.

The aquarium is made with etched glass and aluminum trim, making it one of the most classical looking fish tanks. The 2.6-gallon tank has a very high functionality considering the compact size of the tank. The simple yet attractive design of the tank includes a highly attractive LED system. The system consists of 31 highly powerful LEDs hanging above the tank to provide fascinating illumination for aquatic plants. 

Apart from the bright illumination, the tank also includes a very effective filtration system which consists of a highly effective circulation pump, adjustable nozzles, and special filters to provide clean and clear water inside the tank. The filtration system performs effective mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration using all the necessary filtering media required for the respective filtration. This includes a highly porous foam block, activated carbon, and BioMax to trap large particles, absorb bad odor, discoloration, grow favorable bacteria and add nutrients in the water.

Overall, the Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit is one of the most classical and effective fish aquariums that are designed to offer the most efficient self-cleaning systems.

ProsCons
A highly effective filtration systemNo exclusive place for fitting heater
Compact and occupies less spaceA little pricey
Very easy to set-up and clean
Very easy to set-up and clean
Attractive features

#6. Penn Plax Self Cleaning Aquarium 

Penn Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank Promotes Healthy Environment for Plants and Fish 1.4 Gallon Capacity - APON2

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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Penn Plax, Inc
  • Size: 8×8×10 inches
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Want a highly simplistic yet highly functional self-cleaning fish tank? Penn Plax Self Cleaning aquarium will be a wonderful choice for you. It is a 1.4-gallon tank that works on the principle of aquaponics and is a great tank for a variety of fish including betta fish, goldfish, and bloodfin tetra, etc.

The aquarium is made with high-quality plastic material. It uses the natural eco-system to grow the aquatic plants and provide clean and clear water for the aquatic pets. The tank with its ceramic substrate can help grow a variety of vegetables, sprouts, and herbs without using any chemical fertilizers. Many of the varieties that can be grown in this small compact tank include English Ivy, mint, or leafy lettuce, etc.

ProsCons
Ideal for small plants and a variety of fishSuitable only for a single fish at a time
Can be stored in a little spaceFrequent changing of water required
Simple yet highly functional
Almost maintenance-free
Very affordable

Top Pick- biOrb Flow Aquarium Self Cleaning Aquarium

biOrb Flow 15 Aquarium with LED - 4 Gallon, Black

The biOrb Flow Aquarium is a highly compact and robust Self-Cleaning Aquarium. It is made of acrylic material that makes the aquarium very strong and durable. Besides, it also provides a high level of transparency to the tank. The tank is fitted with low voltage LEDs offering perfect illumination while ensuring the safety of the overall system. The tank deploys a special 5-stage biOrb filtration system to provide very high-quality clear and clean water for the aquatic pets. The self-cleaning tank is extremely easy to set-up, use, and clean and offers almost maintenance-free services.


What are Self Cleaning Aquariums?

Self Cleaning Aquariums are the tanks that use the principle of Aquaponics to grow plants in the same tank used to keep fish and other water animals. It is a wonderful example of sustainable living where plants are grown using fish waste as fertilizer and inhaling the CO2 released by the fish for their photosynthesis process. Plants, in turn, provide a favorable environment to grow bacteria to remove nitrates and nitrites present in the water. The whole process helps to filter the water and keep it clean for the fish to enjoy a healthy life in the tank. The biological self-cleaning process also prevents aquarists to spend their valuable time cleaning and maintaining the aquarium.

In the tanks where the biological cleaning concept is not used, they use a gravity pump to remove impure water from the tank and fill fresh water to keep the tank clean all the time.

So, in either of the above two methods, self-cleaning fish tanks have automatic cleaning mechanisms that help users to reduce the manual cleaning of the tank and save their valuable time and energy.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Self Cleaning Fish Tanks

Advantages

The biggest benefit of self-cleaning fish tanks is that they reduce the efforts needed to frequently clean the tank. Even the simplest traditional aquarium too will require you to remove hose, filters, and empty the water in a bucket, and so on. The whole process can be quite cumbersome in some of the more complex set-ups.

So, if you are busy and cannot spend time cleaning the tank and still want to live your passion for fishkeeping, no-clean fish tanks offer a wonderful alternative. You may still have to clean the tank manually once in a while yet the frequency of such cleaning requirements would be too low to cause any discomfort.

Disadvantages

Though most of the reputed brands of self-cleaning fish tanks offer auto cleaning mechanisms. Some of them may lack the features claimed while selling the product. So, it is very important to know some of the flip sides of the no-clean tank, as well.

Self-Cleaning Aquariums Need Cleaning

Though less as compared to the traditional ones, self-cleaning tanks still require cleaning. To know the exact cleaning and maintenance requirement, you need to refer to the manual of the particular product that you select.

The tanks using biological methods of water cleaning help in growing the beneficial bacteria. This process may get uncontrolled in case there is excessive growth of algae in the tank. And if you do not have enough algae-eating pets, you may find the water inside the tank extremely dirty and toxic. It may eventually force you to clean the water immediately to provide a safe environment to the fish in the tank.

In the aquariums fitted with the gravity pump, if the pump does not remove all the fish-waste, the tank will get filled with excessive toxic substances, not quite healthy for the fish to survive. In such situations also, you may need an emergency cleaning of the tank.

And mind you, as the tanks are not particularly designed for manual cleaning purposes, it is much more difficult to clean these tanks compared to the traditional ones.

Quick Toxins Build Up in Small Sized Tanks

Many aquarium tanks have sizes up to 5 gallons. The waste generated by even a few fish in such small tanks can increase the toxicity of water to dangerous levels in a quick time. The bio-cleaning tanks absorb the ammonia from the water to keep it clean. However, tanks with gravity pumps do not have this feature. Even the bio-cleaning tanks have a limited capacity to clean the toxins in the initial stage.

Changing Water Quality

As the self-cleaning tanks are designed for auto cleaning of water, they do not have traditional filtration systems or have a very basic filter to remove dirt. So, if the growth of favorable bacteria is restricted due to any reason, it will become very difficult to remove toxins from the water. Even in the most efficiently controlled tanks, if the water quality deteriorates and becomes cloudy or has high algae growth in it, it becomes extremely difficult to maintain the right quality of water.

This situation is particularly problematic in the water garden tanks which depend solely on the plants to absorb toxins. The quality of water may undergo significant changes with changing crop conditions, as well, and may pose serious threats to the aquatic life in your tank.

Lack of Oxygenation

It is not only removing the toxins that are important for the healthy growth of the aquatic animals but the dissolved oxygen in the water also plays an important role in providing them a healthy environment. Gravity base tanks give more problems related to low oxygen levels as they do not have any water circulation system. This causes water to stagnate and grow harmful bacteria that can be very dangerous for your pets. From this aspect, water gardens are better compared to the gravity pump types of arrangements because they deploy pumps and some of them even use filters.


Getting the Best Self Cleaning Aquarium- Buyers Guide

So, we reviewed here the top 6 best self-cleaning aquariums. You can select the one that best suits your specific needs after going through the detailed buyers guide provided below.

Type of tank

There is broadly two types of self-cleaning fish tanks viz. gravity-based and water-garden type of fish tanks. They are differentiated by the maintenance system each one of them adopts.

The gravity-based system uses a pump to remove dirty water. You can collect the used water in a container and replenish the tank with clean water. The pump is strong enough to remove water but not too strong to take out fish along with the water.

The water garden arrangement as the name suggests has a garden at the top of the water inside the tank. The fish waste generated in the tank is used as fertilizer to grow the plants.

So, to find out which of the above two options is better for you let us consider them one by one.

Gravity-based

You should select the gravity tank in the following situations:

  • If you want to change the water quickly and easily.
  • You are fine with doing maintenance of the tank once or twice a week.
  • If you have a garden or plants where you can use the spent water of the fishbowl.
  • If you want a simple fish tank/bowl for your kids without any complex system.
  • If you don’t want any mess during cleaning or maintenance.
  • If you want to connect many small tanks with the sump filter.

Water-gardens

Water gardens are recommended in the following situations:

  • If you want to grow plants utilizing the waste generated by the fish. 
  • If you are interested in learning/teaching the recycling system of nutrients and want to do a small-time DIY project.
  • If you want a compact plant cum fish tank in your small office space.

Tank Capacity

Having finalized the type of tank, the next step is to decide the size of the aquarium that you would like to select for your purpose. It will depend on the type, size, and a number of aquatic pets you plan to house inside the tank. As a rule of thumb, each one inch of a fish should have one gallon of tank capacity.

Further to this, you should also keep space for the necessities like heaters, filters, air stones, and plants, etc. The tank shouldn’t be too small. It should allow for the free movement of the aquatic pets inside the tank. So, ideally, for fish, the tank size should never be less than 5-gallons while for other pets like snails, etc, less than 5 gallons may also be quite appropriate.

Overall Volume or Space occupied

If you have space constraints, gravity-based systems are highly preferred options. They do not take up a lot of space. The water gardens, on the other hand, can be quite large considering the plants, pods, and the lighting system as a part of the overall arrangement. Select the size that best fits in the location where you plan to place the aquarium.

Selecting the Right Fish/Pet

This is one of the most important criteria in setting up your self-cleaning fish aquarium. Fish requiring a high amount of maintenance may be troublesome for you to manage in the no-clean tanks. You should go for the species requiring minimum to no maintenance like a guppy, betta or goldfish, etc. Apart from the type of fish, you should also study the kind of environment suitable for these types of fish and whether you will need a heater to maintain the right temperature for them. Besides, you should also learn about the kind of food for each type of fish and also the quality of water for their healthy growth.


Final Words

So, these were the top 7 best self-cleaning fish tanks along with the factors to consider before buying the best one for your purpose. Getting the right no-clean tanks can be a great experience for you and your kids if you get the most appropriate one for your space.

We hope that this article was helpful for you in selecting the best aquarium for your office or home purpose. In case you are not able to finalize one single aquarium, we will recommend you to go for our top pick i.e., biOrb Flow Aquarium Self Cleaning Aquarium. With its highly user-friendly features, this aquarium is one of the most sought-after tanks in the market. However, in case you have some budgetary constraints and wish to have a low-cost reasonable aquarium, you can go with 56028 My Fun Fish Tank by As Seen On TV. This tank offers all the essential features of an aquarium at a highly affordable price. However, if you want to buy the most premium self-cleaning fish tanks, go confidently with AquaSprouts Garden for its highly powerful features and great aesthetics.

So, why wait? Evaluate your requirements and get home the most suitable self-cleaning fish tank and be free from the worries of cleaning your fish tank every other day. 


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Do Self-cleaning Aquariums Need Cleaning?

A: Self-cleaning aquariums do need cleaning, though much less compared to the traditional ones. Apart from time-to-time cleaning, it is essential to change the water of the tank regularly and also keep the exterior neat and clean through regular dusting.

Q: Do We Need to Treat the Water to be Used in the Aquarium?

A: Yes, it is recommended to treat the water before adding it to the aquarium. The quality of tap water may not be good enough to keep your fish healthy. Bad quality of water can even kill your pets.

Q: Can I Use Aquatic Plants in the Fish Tank?

A: Yes, you can surely use aquatic plants in the fish tank. Certain fish like betta fish love to be in such an environment. However, to decide between a real plant or a plastic one, you must consider your experience with the fish aquarium. If you are a novice and using the aquarium for the first time, it is better to go with the plastic plants as the real plants will also require their part of care for proper growth and nourishment. It may be quite complicated for you to deal with both the living organisms in the beginning. 

Q: Can I Eat Plants Grown in A Water Garden?

A: Though many aquarium brands claim it to be safe to grow sprouts or herbs in the fish tanks, it is not the best idea to consume these items as a healthy food alternative. The fish waste is used for fertilizers and it is good for their growth. However, the same debris if remained on the plant surface may cause serious health repercussions. So, it is best to grow houseplants in the water garden fish aquarium.


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