Best 20 Gallon Fish Tanks for Beginners

 . in Fish Tanks

Colorful fish with longs fins, swimming in a heavily planted fish tank

Fishkeeping is a great hobby that will keep you busy and also bring you relaxation. But before you get to discover the therapeutical effects of having fish in your home, you need to set up the aquarium. Preparing a great environment for your fish can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. There are so many things you need to consider, but the fish tank is on top of the shopping list. And for a beginner, a 20-gallon tank is the best choice.

It’s not easy to decide which 20-gallon aquarium is better. We’ve been there! Reviews are sometimes contradictory, and you can get even more confused. And there are many different offers on the market. But after closely looking and comparing, we narrowed it down. These are the best 9 options for 20-gallon fish tanks for beginners. 

Best 20 Gallon Fish Tank Reviews 2020

People usually advise against buying an aquarium kit, especially if you are a beginner. But that doesn’t mean all the kits on the market are bad. In fact, this one seems to be quite a crowd-pleaser. The Tetra 20-gallon tank is a high-quality product, made in the USA. The glass is scratch-resistant, which is very important for your first aquarium, especially if you have a large family. A tank that scratches easily won’t survive kids or a pet very long.

The lights included in this set are great, you won’t need to upgrade them, especially if you stick to the artificial plants. The color fusion LED will create a very natural and attractive atmosphere. But the most important thing is that all the features of this tank work together to create a safe and relaxing environment for your fish.

Another great feature of this tank is the efficient Whisper Filter. It’s important to have a filtering system that does the job well and at the same time brings no discomfort to the family. And this three-stage filtration system keeps the water clean and is really silent. It could be a bit bigger and stronger, considering the size of the tank, but if you don’t have too many fish in it, it will be ok for a while.

The set includes artificial plants, which can be a better choice for a first-time aquarist. The fact that you also get a heater is a big plus. That means you have more freedom when it comes to choosing different types of fish. And the heater actually works well, so there’s no need to upgrade it.

Here are the most important aspects of this fish tank that you need to consider before making a decision:


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What’s in the Box?​

20-gallon glass aquarium, artificial plants, decor, tetra-LED hood, Whisper filter, Tetra HT 20 heater, AquaSafe Sachet, TetraMin Sachet, TetraCare Brochure, Digital Thermometer, 37 inch Frame Hinge, Adapter, 4 inch Fish Net.

Our Verdict​

The general opinion on this 20-gallon fish tank is that it’s well above average. Apart from the filter, which is its biggest flaw, the thing to keep in mind is that you will probably have to replace some items after a while. That happens with starter kits, but if you’re buying your first tank, it’s a good option.

#2 – Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit 20H Black


Aqueon is one of the most reputable brands, so if you decide this set best matches your needs, you can trust that you are buying a quality product. But don’t expect everything to be perfect because that rarely happens with something as fragile as fish tanks, and especially with starting sets. However, this tank has many great features that make it worth buying.

First of all, it has pretty much everything you need to get started. And all the items are of good quality. That’s particularly important for the filter, and this one keeps the water very clean and even tells you when you need to change it. It filters everything and does it very quietly, so it won’t disturb even the more sensible members of the family.

The light fixture is also a positive aspect of the Aqueon aquarium. It works great, and you don’t have to add more LEDs to enhance the beauty of the environment you create. The only thing to keep in mind when choosing the fish for this tank is the preset heater. Since you cannot adjust the temperature, there are only certain types of fish you can have without changing the heater.

Here are the most important positive and negative points, according to people who have already used such a tank:



What’s in the Box?

20-gallon glass aquarium, low profile LED full hood, QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter with a medium cartridge, 100W preset heater, premium fish food, water conditioner, fish net, stick-on thermometer.

Our Verdict

This is a really good fish tank. You get everything you need to set it up, and even if some parts will need replacing in time, it’s still a good investment. Plus, the seller usually includes some extra items to help you get started, and every expense you can save matters.

#3 – Aqueon Aquarium 20 Gallon Long


As we said, Aqueon is a trusted brand, so it’s no wonder two of their products have made it to the list. This is a cheaper option, but keep in mind that it’s not a set, you will have to buy the other items separately. It’s a bit stressful for a beginner, but you can end up with a much better ensemble than if you had bought a kit.

The tank is actually the most important element, and this one is very well built. The glass is high quality and scratch-free, so you can enjoy your aquarium for years without worrying about it bending or leaking. Aqueon aquariums come in different shapes, but the rectangular one is particularly efficient.

It’s also a great option both for marine and freshwater set-ups. You may think the price is a bit high since you still have to buy the rest of the items separately, but it’s important to start building your hobby on a solid base, and that’s what a high-quality tank is.



What’s in the Box?

Just the aquarium because this isn’t a set.

Our Verdict

As you can see, there aren’t any major complaints about this tank. The bottom line is that this is a basic tank and does the simple things it’s supposed to do. And when you are just learning about fishkeeping, it’s best to keep things basic. You indeed have to go through the hassle of choosing the rest of the items, but the result will be worth it. 

#4 – GloFish Aquarium Kit Fish Tank with LED Lighting and Filtration Included


The GloFish Aquarium kit is one of the best options on the market. You get all the essential elements at a really good price. Apart from the gravel, it’s all there.

The blue LED light will give your aquarium a very attractive glow and highlight the beauty of your fish and of the décor you choose. You will get a modern neon look.

The rest of the items are also high-quality and easy to set up. The heater and the filter work very well and quietly.  The pipe of the filter could be a bit longer, but that won’t necessarily be a problem. The gravel is not included, but that won’t cost much. And it gives you the possibility to choose whatever you want to complete the overall look.

This is a great option for a new aquarist. As you will see from the list below, it has no major negative aspects, so overall it’s a good tank to start with.



What’s in the Box?

20-gallon glass aquarium, LED hood, Tetra mini UL heater, Tetra Whisper 20 filter, GloFish 13″ LED light stick, 1 GloFish yellow anemone, 2 plant multipacks, fish food, and water conditioner sample and a set-up guide.

Our Verdict

It’s totally worth the money, even if you decide to replace the filter. For the necessities of a first-time fish keeper, it’s a solid option.

#5 – SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set


If you decide to get an acrylic tank, the SeaClear rectangular aquarium combo is a good option, especially since it’s a set. It may seem like a bold choice to start your fish keeping hobby with an acrylic tank, because people usually choose a glass one. But it’s actually a good idea.

This is a light tank, so it will be even easier to set it up, even without help. Once it’s filled with water, you’ll still be able to lift it, and it won’t break, even if you drop it. Accidents happen, especially in the beginning.

Not only is it strong, but it looks great. It’s clear, and the rounded corners give it a nice aspect and also make it safer. And you can use it both for fresh and saltwater without any problems.

The SeaClear tank is easy to clean. You won’t have problems with algae building up on the sides, but you have to make sure you use the right pad to clean it, so you don’t scratch it.

The lights are good as long as you don’t want your aquarium to be too bright during the day. The night mode could be better, but it’s not that bad. The top is another aspect that can be improved, since its openings are rather small.

It’s not perfect, just like the others, but the list below will help you make up your mind:



What’s in the Box?

Aquarium, reflector, and electrical 15″ light fixture. For more details, take a look at this video:

Our Verdict

We love the look of this tank; it’s so clean and modern. As for the few negative aspects, they’re not so important for a beginner. These are things that experienced aquarists who have complex tanks complain about. For a first tank, it’s worth buying.

#6 – Marineland (Aquaria) Biowheel Aquarium Kit with LED Light


This is a great tank manufactured in the United States. Apart from the main features, there is a cool detail that we particularly liked. This is one of the few companies that take such pride in the way their products are made that they add an assembly sticker. It tells you when that particular Marineland fish tank was made and also has the initials of the person who made it. It’s a nice touch on a tank that already looks pretty great.

The LED lights are one of the reasons this aquarium will look awesome. It has a quality light fixture, and the result will be a very attractive tank that is bound to be admired no matter where you place it.

Another important aspect is the durability. It’s a strong tank, the glass is high-quality, and it’s unlikely you will manage to scratch it, even with pointy objects. It doesn’t leak and it’s built to last. The submersible heater works well, but it may be a bit hard to set in the beginning. The three-stage filtration also does a great job, so overall you should be very pleased with your purchase.

Finally, since it’s a set, you get pretty much everything you need, except for plants and gravel. But you can buy them separately without adding that much to the final cost. And you will have the freedom to personalize the aquarium however you want.



What’s in the Box?

Aquarium, updated hood and LED lighting, Penguin bio-wheel filters and rite size filter cartridges, thermometer, fishnet and sample sizes of fish food, and water conditioner.

Our Verdict

There’s no doubt Marineland aquariums are a good choice. The two cons are really not that important, especially when you are buying your first tank.

#7 – Aquarium Masters 20 Gallon Long Aquarium for Marine Fish, Invertebrates and Tropical Fish


If you don’t opt for a set and decide to buy all the necessary items separately, this tank is a good option for many types of fish.

People usually use this as a breeding or hospital tank, but it’s also great for setting up your first aquarium. When you are just starting, it’s better to keep things simple. Just get a solid tank and make sure the other elements work well.

This 20-gallon aquarium is built to last, so once you are ready to move on to the next level you can keep it as a side tank. It won’t scratch or leak, so it’s a good investment. If you have kids or pets, you can rest assured they won’t damage it. Nor will they get hurt, because the tank has polished edges so it can be used safely.

The main issue with this tank is the missing lid. You will have to buy it separately to make sure fish don’t jump out of it. Other than that, the tank has the ideal size and shape for the fish to swim comfortably and stress-free.

Here are the factors to consider:



What’s in the Box?

Only the aquarium, as this is not a set.

Our Verdict

The tank checks most of the important boxes, so even if it’s a bit pricier, it’s worth buying. We hope it will be available from sellers soon.

#8 – Aq Ascent LED Kit 20G


We mentioned before that Aqueon is a quality brand. Well, here is one more of their products that made it to the list. We have compared it to the other two as well as the rest of the list, and here are the main facts.

After closely observing it, it’s clear that this tank is well built and safe. Not only do you get all the necessary elements, but they are high-quality and work very well. The aquarium is designed with the user’s safety in mind, as you can see from the lights fixture. The polished edges and corners are also a nice touch to keep your kids from getting hurt. It’s also safe for your fish, there is no way they can jump out or get hurt.

The filter does a very good job and is quiet, which is very important. It may not be sufficient if you want a lot of fish, but if you’re just getting started overpopulating the tank is not a good idea. In time, you may want to change the filter, though.

Overall, this is definitely a great option. Not many kits on the market offer so many items. You even get fish food and extra cartridges for the filter. There is also a very useful guide included. Basically, with this set, Aqueon gives you all the help you need to get started.

Here are the top things to consider:



What’s in the Box?

A frameless aquarium with black backing and floating base, QuietFlow power filtration, Aqueon filter cartridge, premium fish food sample, water conditioner sample, and set-up guide.

Our Verdict

This is another example of a good tank from Aqueon. It’s well built and equipped and also looks great. Once your passion and experience grow, you may want to go to the next level, but when you are just starting, it’s a solid option. These are without a doubt some of the best aquariums on the market.

#9 – Elive Aqua Duo 20 Gallon LED Kit Aquarium Starter Kit


This another great choice that many buyers recommend for a beginner or for someone who wants an additional tank. It’s a glass aquarium, so it’s solid and scratch-free. That makes it suitable both for your office and your home, as it will be safe even around kids or pets.

The LED system is particularly efficient. And if you still feel you want more, you can add more LEDs. We don’t think that’s necessary, the existing lights do a great job, but it’s nice to have options.

But the most amazing thing about the Elive Aqua Duo is the filtering system. You can either go with a standard cartridge or aquaponics filtration. That means you will use a live plant to filter it naturally. This is a great proof of thinking outside the box. Why keep changing filters when you can use the waste as nutrients for the plants? The water will be clear, and you will have one less thing to worry about.

The heater isn’t one of the strengths of this aquarium. It works well, but it’s preset, and that means you will have limited options when choosing the fish. So, in time, you may want to think about changing it.

But all things considered, this starter kit is really worth the price. Apart from the amazing aquaponics filtration system, all the other items are high-quality, and you get free surprises in the package to help you get started in no time.



What’s in the Box?

Aquarium, dual-purpose aquarium filter, integrated hidden LED lighting, hydro corn bio-media and media bag, easy setup guide.

Our Verdict

The negative points aren’t deal breakers for a first-time buyer. You won’t start with tropical fish and a lot of plants, so you won’t have any serious problems with it.

Things to Consider Before Buying your First Fish Tank

All the tanks above are great options for new fish enthusiasts. But since they all have both positive and negative aspects, like any product, it’s still pretty hard to make a decision. You may personally lean towards a certain tank, but make sure it checks all the important boxes. To make things easy, we made a list of those as well.

The size and shape

Theseare very important. This is one of the first things you need to decide on. You have to make sure the tank fits well in the room so anyone can admire the fish. But at the same time, the size is also important for the fish, as they need enough room to swim even after you have placed the plants. On top of that, a larger aquarium is actually easier to maintain. The 20 gallon-tank has the ideal size for a beginner, and you won’t have to clean it that often. If you choose one that’s rectangular and not very deep, even better.

Where to put it?

This is one of the reasons the 20-gallon aquarium is great for a first fishkeeping experience. It will pretty much fit well in any room. But make sure you have a wide and unrestricted view of the fish, so you don’t miss out on the therapeutical effect these beautiful creatures have. You also need to choose a solid stand because the tank will be pretty heavy once it’s full. And you must choose an area where the water won’t do any damage to the surrounding area. That’s important because you are bound to spill or splash some water around at some point.

Glass or acrylic aquarium?

There’s no obvious answer to this question, as both options are very popular. Tanks were originally made of glass because it made them solid and resistant to scratches. Glass doesn’t turn yellow in time, it looks great and clear. But it’s also heavy and harder to handle and set up. It also increases the chances of receiving a damaged package if you order it online. Just to get a clear idea on the weight difference, a glass tank can be ten times heavier than an acrylic one of the same sizes.

And then there’s the 20-gallon acrylic tank, which has gained a lot of popularity over time. It’s much lighter, has higher impact resistance, and is very easy to set up, even by yourself. You’ll also clean it easily, and if you use the right type of pad, it will last a long time without looking dated. Many aquarists will tell you that if you do the maintenance right, an acrylic tank will look awesome for decades. Still, if you have to use certain medications for your fish, it may turn the tank yellow in time or haze it.

If you have a large family, including children and pets, you probably should choose a glass tank to make sure nobody can scratch it. You may be extremely careful cleaning it with the right pad, but external scratches do as much damage and are harder to avoid in a busy house.

Acrylic tanks come in many sizes and forms, but the large tanks are usually made of glass because it doesn’t bend in time and is more resistant. However, a 20-gallon piece has no restrictions, it will look great in both variants.

There is one more aspect that may lean the balance towards the glass tank. If you are using aquarium UV lights to make the plants grow faster, it could damage the acrylic tank, in time. Some types of acrylic aquariums claim to be UV-resistant, but even those wear off eventually and get discolored.


You may find aquariums to be more expensive than you had expected, regardless of the material. The fact is fishkeeping isn’t a cheap hobby. You need to be aware of all costs because you will have others along the way as well. The reason for the high price is that fish tanks aren’t mass-produced, so the individual cost is higher. But shipping is usually what increases the price, a tank is not that easy to pack and transport safely.

The good news is that 20-gallon aquariums aren’t that expensive, and as you’ve seen above, there are many options to choose from. But when you compare prices, make sure you add all the items and accessories to get the right final price.

You can also try to get a used tank if you cannot afford or simply don’t want to pay for a new one. But it’s not that easy to find a used tank that’s still worth buying. It’s also not easy to test, you have no warranty and chances are it won’t last very long, and you’ll end up buying a new one anyway.

In fact, fish keeping isn’t really that expensive, it’s just that you have to pay a pretty big sum upfront. If you think about what it costs to have any other pet, over time, you’ll see that fish aren’t that pricey.

The type of fish you want to have

There are two major options when it comes to aquariums and the type of fish they hold: marine or freshwater. Both the glass and the acrylic are suitable for these options. However, since we are talking about starting aquarists, it may be better to stick to freshwater. Marine fish are more spectacular, but they also need higher maintenance.

You also have to make sure you don’t overcrowd your aquarium, so the number of fish must be appropriate to the 20 gallons your tank has. Don’t forget the plants will also take up space, make sure your new pets have the best environment to thrive in. As for the size of the fish, smaller is better. So, when you research them, look for nano tank options.

The 20-Gallon Aquarium

We’ve already mentioned the 20-gallon tank is a great choice for a first fishkeeping experience because of its size. It’s large enough to look amazing but small enough to be easy to display in most rooms. But let’s take a closer look at these tanks and see what their particularities are.

You may be tempted to begin with a small tank, but that would be a mistake. A large one is much easier to clean. The waste will accumulate faster and cloud up the water in a small aquarium. Imagine you spill some ink in a glass and a bathtub. The water will turn completely blue in the first one but not have that much of an impact in the second. If you don’t have that many fish, as should be the case when you begin, 20 gallons are more than enough to have a beautiful tank that you don’t have to clean too often.

As an average-size tank, the 20-gallon is also affordable. You can create great scenery in it without investing that much, especially if you stay away from tropical fish. For a starting fish enthusiast, it’s a good choice because it can hold a nice bunch of medium size fish. And as you get more experienced, you can still use this tank in more advanced ways. You can breed fish in it, turn it into a 20 gallon betta community tank, and when you become a really specialized aquarist, even make a hospital tank out of it.

Setting up the Tank

Once you decide on the 20-gallon tank you want, you need to get ready to put it all together and turn it into a welcoming home for your future friends.

First of all, make sure you have all the necessary items. Whether you have opted for a set or bought them individually, in the end, this is what you need to have:

  •        The tank (glass or acrylic)
  •          Filter
  •          Air pump
  •          Heater (if necessary)
  •          Lights (usually LED)
  •           A water tester kit
  •          Gravel
  •          Plants and other decorative elements
  •           Water conditioner and a biological filter.

There are other things you will need when you start using it, so make sure you include them in the shopping list as well: a thermometer, a fishnet, extra cartridges for the filter, an aquarium vacuum.

Setting up the aquarium takes a while, and you cannot rush through the steps to make sure you get a great result. The water needs to be set aside for a couple of days before filling the tank, where it can settle without any disturbance.

First, you need to clean the tank extremely well. Then place it on the stand, but make sure there is a polystyrene sheet under the tank. Before you go any further, it’s a good idea to plan every step and all the details of the landscaping, like the substrate, the plants, and decorative elements.

All the aquarium rocks and other ornaments you want to place inside must be rinsed first. Just use hot water, maybe a strainer, to make sure no residue will affect the water quality.

Place the gravel on the bottom of the tank. As a suggestion, a thick layer of aquarium sand is a great choice. Add the decorations carefully so that you don’t hit and crack the bottom of the tank. Pour the water that has already rested for a few days. Some aquarists suggest you only pour half the water first, set all the decorations and then add the rest to fill the tank. Don’t rush when you pour because that will disturb the gravel, and you’ll have cloudy aquarium water.

The next step is setting the filter, the air pump, and the heater and priming them. At this point, you also need to install the lights.

The water in your aquarium needs to be tested. You can use a kit or take a sample and go to a good pet store to check its quality. Then you’ll have to add the treatments and biofilters to create good bacteria for the fish. Remember to test the water again a few days after the fish are placed in the tank, to make sure the aquarium bacteria have removed the unwanted ammonia.

When everything is set, you need to let the aquarium cycle for at least a few days before you get the fish. It’s a good idea to add some fish food in it to get the bacteria working. And when it’s time to populate it, don’t add too many fish at once.

How to Clean a 20-Gallon Tank

You need to have a schedule for cleaning your tank, to make sure it doesn’t accumulate residue. Nobody wants a cloudy fish tank. The frequency depends on how effective your filtration system is, on the type of fish you have, and whether you also have scavengers helping with the cleaning. But under no circumstance should you let more than 3 or 4 weeks pass without cleaning the aquarium.

Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Prepare the water you are going to place in the tank, add the necessary treatments.
  •  Make sure you have all the supplies you will need, like the algae scraper, the gravel-vacuum, and the solution you will use to clean the glass.
  • Move the fish along with part of the water into a container large enough for them to have enough space to swim while you take care of the cleaning.
  • Take most of the water out of the tank, as well as the accessories. You can remove the gravel as well or just leave it in and vacuum it.
  • Clean the sides of the aquarium with the special pad. If it’s an acrylic tank, be extra careful and make sure it’s a scratch-free pad. Then rinse them to remove any algae.
  •  Vacuum the gravel to remove as much of the waste or food as possible. If you have algae eater fish in the tank, you won’t have to vacuum that often.
  •  Clean all the accessories, as algae tend to stick to those as well.
  • Pour the clean water you have prepared,   but don’t fill the tank, as you’ll also be adding the fish and the water in the container.
  • Put the rest of the items back and keep an eye on the water for a few hours to make sure it stays clear.
  •  You don’t have to change the filter every time, but once a month it would be ok.

Essential Tips for First-Time Aquarists

  1. Don’t rush into adding the fish! Once everything is in place, and you finished setting up the tank, be patient! Even if you were told, you can get the fish after 24 hours, wait for a week. A healthy environment isn’t created overnight, it takes at least a week if you want it to be as close to the natural one as possible.
  2. Only shop in a place where the staff is well-prepared. Do your research and test their knowledge with a few tricky questions. You want to know that you can rely on their expertise.
  3. Read all you can on the Nitrogen Cycle, you will avoid many mistakes rookie aquarists make.
  4. Don’t overfeed the fish!
  5. Do your research on the fish you want and make sure they are compatible and don’t end up eating each other.
  6. Make taking care of the fish a family activity. If your kids are old enough to take part, it will do wonders for their development. It’s a relaxing way to increase their creativity and responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions


What are the best fish for a 20-gallon fish tank? If you’re a beginner, it’s better to start with a freshwater tank and keep things as simple as possible. Don’t overcrowd it, choose a few fish you like and make sure they can coexist peacefully. Here are the best fish for you to try:

  •           Zebra danios. An adult one will be 2 inches long, and they usually live in schools of 5+
  •           Guppies will be 1.5 inches long
  •           Neon tetras – 1 inch-long, living in schools of 5+
  •           Cory catfish are about 2 inches long
  •           Rubber-lip plecostomus is 5 inches long
  •           Ghost shrimps are 1 inch long, and adding a few to your tank will make it easier to clean.

How much does a 20-gallon tank weigh once filled with water? First of all, that depends on what the tank is made of, whether it’s glass or acrylic. But here’s a fact not everybody knows, it also depends on the temperature of the water. Warm water weighs slightly more than cold water because the latter is denser. The difference isn’t that big, but when you have a 20-gallon fish tank, it’s noticeable.

Also, saltwater weighs more. But since we have established freshwater tanks that are better for a beginner, your 20-gallon tank will weigh about 175lbs. That includes the water at normal temperature and the tank itself.

Are fish tanks noisy? There is no such thing as a completely silent fish tank, but if the equipment is working well, then the noise shouldn’t bother you. To keep the sounds to a minimum, you need to make sure the aquarium pump and the filters are high-quality. You will still hear the air bubbles breaking when they reach the water surface, but that’s a pleasant sound that contributes to the whole aquarium experience.

Which are better, live plants or fake ones? Live plants are more useful because they absorb the nitrates, helping the nitrogen cycle. But you also need to take care of them, make sure they have enough light. For your first tank setup, you can also use artificial ones, until you get used to your new hobby.

Why do fish tanks smell? Fish tanks shouldn’t normally smell. If they do, they need to be cleaned. The smell comes from the residue, like uneaten food or fish waste. These release ammonia and the result is not only unpleasant but actually dangerous for the fish. To make sure your tank won’t smell, clean it at the right intervals, don’t overpopulate it, and don’t overfeed the fish. It’s also a good idea to check the filter from time to time to make sure it works properly.

How many hours a day should the aquarium lights be on? It’s best to keep the fish tank lights on for 8 hours a day. You can go as far as 12 hours, but the longer they are on the algae will grow faster.

How do I know my fish are stressed or sick? You may think your fish are having an awesome time, just swimming around in a pretty environment, eating, and socializing. But they can get stressed too, so you need to know the signs in order to help them. Watch out if they’re gasping at the surface, lose their appetite or start swimming in a weird way. Stress can be caused by an environmental factor, like the aquarium water temperature, or the medication you added to the water, but it can also be because they simply aren’t getting along with their tank-mates.

A sick fish usually has white spots appearing on its body or other types of sores. If you notice anything, contact your vet. Even stress alone, without other sicknesses, can lead to their death.

Fish Keeping Questions You’re Embarrassed to Ask

Taking up something as complex as fish keeping isn’t easy, and you will have a lot of questions. It would be great to have a friend that already knows the drill to guide you and answer even the questions you think are silly. If you don’t have such a friend, we’re here! Because there are many questions that you may be embarrassed to ask, but they are, in fact, normal and useful. And you will learn even more interesting things about your future companions.

Here is our selection of straightforward questions:

Can fish see out of the tank? That’s actually a very good question. It’s great to try to see things from their perspective so you can provide them with the best care. Fish definitely see what goes on outside the tank, and they sometimes react quite energetically if it’s something that spikes their interest. Or they may try to get you to notice them, for instance, if they want you to feed them.

Do fish recognize their owners and form a bond? You may not interact with fish the same way you would with other pets, but they do recognize you. If you think about it, it’s truly amazing. It’s a creature that lives in an entirely different environment and has a whole other perception of the world than we do, and yet it knows your face and even bonds with you. So, your fish doesn’t just blankly stare at you, they remember your features and react to your presence.

They get excited when they see you because they know you’re the one who feeds them and plays with them. It’s really heartwarming to get such a reaction from a pet you cannot physically touch.

Do fish like watching TV? They obviously don’t follow the action or wait for the next episode, but some fish do find the TV interesting. They are curious creatures and are probably intrigued by the moving colors.

Can I play with my fish? Most fish will follow your hand if you move it against the tank. Some of them take playtime even further. And you don’t need expensive chew toys to entertain them. You can simply put a ping pong ball in the tank, and they will have fun poking at it at moving it around. But don’t leave it in for too long, because not only will they get bored, it can actually stress them eventually.

Betta fish are particularly playful and are a great option for a 20-gallon aquarium. You can place a mirror against the tank, and they will have a lot of fun with their reflection. Or you can draw something colorful on the side of the tank using an erasable marker, and they will come to check it out. A post-it on the exterior side of the tank will also do the trick. Basically, any new addition to the environment will make them curious, and you can enjoy watching them explore.


Fishkeeping is a really interesting and fun hobby, and if you’re going to start, a 20-gallon tank is an ideal choice. It has the best size for your fish to have enough room and for you to have an impressive aquarium to show your friends. It will take a while to get the hang of everything, but if you follow the suggestions above you will become a pro in no time.

Choosing the tank is one of the most important aspects, so go through the list and see which one best fits your desires and budget. If you have a problem at some point, get help! There are many aquarists one click away ready to share their experience with you.

And most importantly, make the most you can out of this experience! Fish are intelligent and fascinating creatures, and you will have more fun with them than you expect. You’re not just setting up a tank, you’re creating something awesome in your home. It’s an entire environment, completely different from yours, where your pets need to live a fun and carefree life.

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