Aquarium equipment

30 Gallon Fish Tank: Our Top 5 Choices

Last Updated November 17, 2020
30 Gallon Fish Tank

Sharing is caring!

One of the most common aquarium sizes available today is the 29 gallon (109.8 L), but maybe you have space for just one more gallon and you can allow for a 30 gallon (113.6 L) setup instead. A 30-gallon aquarium is enough space to have a large diversity of freshwater or saltwater fish, plants, and corals. Right-sized equipment can be easy to find across multiple brands, making setup a breeze when compared to having to find items for other more custom fish tank sizes.

In this guide, we’ll go over some of the different ecosystems you can house in 30-gallon aquariums and which product is best for you!

What are some good fish for a 30-gallon tank?

While 30-gallon aquariums aren’t huge, these tanks are much bigger than most hobbyists start out with and can allow for a decent amount of biodiversity. The first decision you will want to make is if you want a freshwater or saltwater aquarium. Then, you will need to decide if you want aggressive fish that will need more space to themselves or if you want to keep easy community fish that can comfortably school and interact in the given space.

Freshwater

If you’ve decided to go with a freshwater setup for your 30-gallon fish tank, then there are many different species that you can choose from that will feel right at home. You will need to decide if you want more aggressive freshwater fish or community fish.

Keep in mind that aggressive fish will need more space to themselves while community fish will most likely need to be kept in schools or pairs. While aggressive fish might provide more biodiversity, community fish will allow for more numbers of actual fish in the tank.

Aggressive

An aggressive freshwater tank can be just as beautiful as a community tank. While you won’t be able to have as many fish like that in a community tank due to different behaviors and space requirements, each aggressive freshwater fish tends to hold its own interest. Some recommended species are:

Note that some of these fish might do better in brackish water tank conditions; some of these fish have also been kept in community tanks, though caution should be taken if planning on introducing more docile species with them.

Community

A tank filled with community fish is also a great and easy way to bring color and movement to a 30-gallon tank system. Most community species are very easy to keep and don’t require much extra tank maintenance other than good water parameters and regular tank maintenance. It is important to research each species you plan on getting for your tank before going to buy a school as some species do better in small groups versus large numbers. Some recommended easy species are:

Saltwater

If you’ve decided to go with a saltwater setup, you will need to plan out your livestock very carefully as saltwater species tend to be more aggressive and territorial overall. Because of this, saltwater fish tanks cannot be as fully stocked as freshwater ones as territories will need to be more clearly defined; water parameters will need to be kept extremely stable.

Like freshwater fish tanks, saltwater tank setups can be stocked to be aggressive or as a community setting.

Aggressive

Some of the coolest saltwater species available tend to have more aggressive behaviors. These fish will need plenty of room to themselves, so it is always better to understock than overstock. Most of these fish are not considered reef safe either, but care is pretty easy once the tank is established.

Many saltwater fish are sold while they are still small. It is important to note that saltwater fish tend to get much larger than freshwater species and even dwarf lionfish will quickly outgrow a 30-gallon tank. Here are some ways to stock your aggressive saltwater tank:

  • Puffers: saddle valentini puffers, mimic saddle puffers
  • Damsels: three spot domino damsels, three stripe damsels, blue damsels
  • Eels: dwarf morays (Gymnothorax melatremus) with caution

Community

A community saltwater fish tank can look absolutely stunning, especially if it’s a reef. However, these species are still from saltwater environments and will need to be given plenty of room to establish territories and swim around. Though these fish are labeled as ‘community,’ few exhibit true schooling behaviors; most notably, clownfish will pair up as opposite sexes and move together throughout the tank.

It is also important to note as ‘community’ does not automatically mean that the fish is reef safe; angelfish are especially known for picking at corals.

  • Clownfish: ocellaris clowns, snowflake clowns, percula clowns
  • Firefish (Nemateleotris genus)
  • Cardinals: Banggai cardinals, pajama cardinals
  • Gobies/blennies: yellow watchman gobies, neon gobies, bicolor blennies, algae blennies

Note that tangs/surgeonfish are community fish as well, but should never be placed in anything under a 100 gallon (378.5 L) tank! Flame angels and coral beauties are also popular choices for nano tanks, but usually do best in 55 gallons (208.2 L) aquariums and bigger to allow for both extensive rockwork and more open water.

Our top 30 gallon fish tanks

Here is our list of five of our top 30-gallon fish tanks based on quality, customizability, price, and customer reviews.

Aqueon 30 Gallon Frameless Aquarium

The Aqueon 30 Gallon Frameless Aquarium is a sleek and simple framework for keeping a mini-ecosystem. This glass tank measures 30.25 L x 12.5 W x 18.75 H inches (76.84 L x 31.75 W x 47.63 H); the front/back glass panes are 5/16 inches thick while the end panes are 1/4 inch thick. The polished edges are left without a rim for a seamless open-top design.

The tank comes with a foam leveling mat that helps protect the bottom of the aquarium and ensures that weight is equally distributed. However, the Aqueon 30 Gallon Frameless Aquarium does not include any other accessories and all filtration, lids, lights, stands, and other equipment will need to be bought separately.

What we like:

  • Sleek, rimless glass tank design with open-top systems in mind
  • Included foam leveling mat
  • Total room for customizability for a saltwater or freshwater tank system

Room for improvement:

  • Drilling breaks warranty
  • Does not include added accessories
  • Some customers have experienced poor silicone jobs
  • Average price

SeaClear 30 Gallon Rectangular Show Aquarium Combos, Clear

The SeaClear 30 Gallon Rectangular Show Aquarium Combos, Clear is a good acrylic alternative to the traditional glass tank if you’re wanting something with more clarity and durability. Acrylic fish tanks tend to be much sturdier and lighter than glass, but also scratch more easily.

These aquariums measure 36 L x 12 W x 16 H inches (91.4 L x 30.5 W x 40.6 H cm) and are molecularly bonded and heat polished at the seams for protection against leaks and cracks. These fish tanks have also been designed with an already installed lid with a cutout for gas exchange, filtration, and access to the interior. A fluorescent light fixture is included, though the required bulb does not come with the original product. An aquarium stand is also not included.

What we like:

  • Acrylic tank design for durability and clarity
  • Seamless corners with little to no risk of leaks
  • Included fluorescent light fixture

Room for improvement:

  • No additional accessories or equipment included with the original product
  • Limited access to the interior due to pre-cut lid
  • Above average price

SeaClear 30 Gallon System II Aquarium Combo, Black

The SeaClear 30 Gallon System II aquarium Combo, Black is similar to the SeaClear 30 Gallon Rectangular Show Aquarium Combos, Clear but is more inclusive with an all in one product. These fish tanks are also made from acrylic and have molecularly bonded and heat polished seams for a seamless and water-tight finish. They also include a fluorescent light fixture that can house a T8 or T12 24″ fluorescent tube and have the same cutout lid design.

These acrylic aquariums also measure the same at 36 L x 12 W x 16 H inches (91.4 L x 30.5 W x 40.6 H cm), with some of that space being allotted to an internal filtration section. This filtration allows for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration and even has space for a SeaClear Protein Skimmer (not included) if desired. An aquarium stand is not included.

What we like:

  • Acrylic tank design for durability and clarity
  • Seamless corners with little to no risk of leaks
  • Included fluorescent light fixture
  • All in one internal filtration design

Room for improvement:

  • Limited access to the interior due to pre-cut lid
  • Limited internal filtration space
  • Space from main display taken away for internal filtration
  • Some customers find that the included return pump product is low quality

Clear Mini 30

waterbox tank
Waterbox

The Clear Mini 30 from Waterbox Aquariums matches the minimalist design of the Aqueon 30 Gallon Frameless Aquarium but with higher quality precision. These fish tanks use 8 mm Starphire Ultra-Clear Glass for extra high clarity and measure 23.4 L × 17.7 W × 17.7 H inches (59.4 L x 45.0 W x 45.0 H cm). The seams have been neatly sealed with straight-edge silicone.

These glass fish tanks also include a self-leveling foam mat to better evenly distribute weight to reduce tension. A white, black, or oak stand may also be purchased for an additional cost

What we like:

  • High-quality minimalist design with ultra clarity
  • Included self-leveling foam mat
  • Matching stand available

Room for improvement:

  • No additional accessories included
  • Above average price

Fusion Pro 30 AIO Aquarium [Midsize]

Marine Tank
Innovative Marine

If you’re looking for an all in one 30 gallon system, then the Fusion Pro 30 AIO Aquarium [Midsize] could be just what you’re looking for in a glass tank. These fish tanks measure 35.43 L x 14.96 W x 12.99 H inches (89.99 L x 38.00 W x 32.99 H cm) and have 8 mm low iron glass with polished edges.

These fish tanks are considered all in one because they feature an internal filter, prepared for mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. The built-in overflow wall is made from acrylic for extra durability and has two areas for overflow slots and two respective return nozzles for wide water flow. These aquariums also include a mesh screen pro lid to prevent fish and invertebrates from jumping out and from equipment falling in, as well as a micro mag magnetic glass cleaner to clean the inside of the glass without having to manually scrub from the inside. A leveling rubber mat is already preinstalled.

In terms of start-up filtration, these tanks include:

  • (1) – Removable 200 Micron Filter Sock
  • (1) – Midsize CustomCaddy Media Basket w/ PurityPack Filter Media (2 – Mechanical Fiberball, 2- Premium 0.8 ROX Carbon Pack, 2 – High Capacity Coarse GFO Pack)
  • (1) – MightyJet 22W/24V 538 GPH DC Return Pump w/ Controller
  • Includes: Flexible Hose, Return Elbows and Dual Directional Flow Nozzles

An aquarium stand is not included.

What we like:

  • All in one quality design
  • Well-planned and spacious internal filtration
  • Included filtration media, plumbing, and pump
  • Reasonable price

Room for improvement:

  • Stand not included
  • Internal filtration takes significant space from the total display area

FAQ

Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you go out and buy a 30-gallon fish tank!

How big is a 30-gallon tank?

Since a 30-gallon fish tank isn’t a standard size for aquariums to come in, exact dimensions cannot be given. However, you can expect your fish tank to measure around 36 inches (91.4 cm) long, 13 inches (33.02 cm) wide, and 16 inches (40.64 cm) tall.

These aquariums tend to be slightly longer and wider than standard 29-gallon tanks, which should be considered when planning livestock; some fish will do better with a larger footprint while other fish need the height to allow for finnage or other water column activity.

How many fish can be in a 30-gallon tank?

How many fish you can put into a 30-gallon fish tank depends entirely on the species you plan on keeping: freshwater (aggressive or community) or saltwater (aggressive or community).

As we mentioned before, freshwater aggressive fish need a lot of space for themselves and usually can’t be kept in big numbers. While still a larger tank, 30 gallons is not huge and can only house some select species of freshwater fish. In general, you will be able to keep one or two aggressive freshwater species in a 30-gallon fish tank.

For a community freshwater tank, you will have a lot more freedom to choose from a variety of species; however, most freshwater community species need to be kept in schools, which means that biodiversity might below but you can still have a lot of fish in the tank.

Saltwater planning can be a little more difficult as these fish are less likely to get along and need to be able to establish their own territories. Aggressive saltwater fish will especially need a lot of space and a 30-gallon fish tank might be too small for a lot of species. However, there are a few that will work if first planned ahead of time.

Community saltwater fish might be a little easier to plan out and will usually allow for more fish in a 30-gallon fish tank. Since they are still saltwater species, they will still need to be added to the tank with care to make sure that the most aggressive species go in last so that previous additions have time to establish their own place in the tank. In general, a 30-gallon fish tank will allow for five or six community saltwater fish.

Can Oscars live in a 30-gallon tank?

Oscars are a very popular fish to be kept alone as a showpiece due to their size and colorations. Unfortunately, not too many beginner hobbyists take the time to truly research or appreciate just how big these fish can get and/or have plans of upgrading their tank when they buy their first oscar.

Oscars (Astronotus ocellatus) are native to the Amazon Basin throughout much of South America, including Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru. They like to stay in slow-moving water under fallen branches and trees with a silt floor. They have been observed eating smaller fish, insects, and some vegetation. In the aquarium, they learn how to ‘beg’ and will usually ask for food whenever there is a movement by the tank.  

Now the important thing to consider is their possible size; these fish can live for a long time and can get very large. Many varieties can easily reach a foot (30.5 cm) long and live to be 20 years old. If placed in a standard 30-gallon fish tank (assuming that the oscar didn’t become stunted due to too small of a tank), that would mean that this fish could take up more than a third of the length of the tank and almost the entire width when turned sideways.

While Oscars might be small when you buy them, their voracious appetite lets them reach extreme sizes. It is not recommended to house an oscar in anything less than a 125 gallon (473.2 L) fish tank. Also, remember to never buy any livestock with the hopes of upgrading to a bigger tank in the near future; too many times plans don’t work out and the fish is stuck in a tank that is too small or ends up being returned to the pet shop.

Another factor to consider is that Oscars are very messy fish. They love to dig in the substrate and kick up detritus that has gotten stuck. On top of this, they are very messy eaters and create a lot of waste that can quickly affect water parameters. Because of this, they need high levels of filtration, usually much more than can be supplied on a simple 30-gallon tank. Even on 125-gallon aquariums, regular water changes and good tank maintenance is essential for keeping water parameters stable enough for the best health of the oscar.

In short, no, a 30-gallon fish tank is not large enough to keep a foot long oscar that can live to be 20 years old.

Conclusion

30-gallon aquariums might not be the biggest tanks available, but they’re a good size to get started in the aquarium hobby. It is important to consider if you want a glass or acrylic aquarium; glass tends to be easier to find, especially in smaller sizes, but acrylic is more lightweight, clear, and overall more durable. You will also have to decide what kind of filtration you want, internal or external, as some 30-gallon aquariums have filters preinstalled or are already predrilled.

You can still choose from an assortment of freshwater and saltwater species that are either aggressive or community-friendly that will fit fine in this size tank. It is always important to first plan out the type of aquarium you want to have and which fish will fit best into that plan; it can be very easy to impulse buy when you go to the pet store, but always have a plan!

If you have any questions about 30-gallon aquariums or have kept a tank of this size before, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Sharing is caring!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

shares