Game Changer: How Self-cleaning Fish Tanks Saved My Weekends

Alison Page

Alison Page


self-cleaning fish tanks

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Although a fish tank makes a beautiful focal point in any room and can be an absorbing and fulfilling hobby, there is a downside; you have to clean it every week!

Keeping your aquarium clean is essential if you are to enjoy a healthy, thriving population of fish. In fact, many fish diseases are caused by poor water conditions and dirty tanks, so tank cleaning is a necessary evil!

In this article, we take a look at the rise of the self-cleaning fish tank. We’ve taken time out to track down and review six of the best self-cleaning aquariums currently on the market so that you can choose the best setup for your circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  • Self-cleaning fish tanks offer a convenient solution for fish enthusiasts looking to minimize maintenance efforts, such as weekly cleaning and filter changes.
  • Although marketed as self-cleaning, these tanks still require occasional maintenance tasks, including partial water changes and filter media replacements.
  • The six self-cleaning fish tanks reviewed vary in features, such as the inclusion of LED lights, aquaponics systems, and decorative elements, suiting different preferences and needs.

Summary Table

Here’s an at-a-glance overview of the six super self-cleaning fish tanks we reviewed in this guide!

Product NameFeaturesProsCons
As Seen On TV My Fun Fish TankSelf-cleaning, LED lights, includes decorative items.Very affordable, low maintenance, all-inclusive kit.Tricky self-assembly and weekly water changes are still needed.
Back to the Roots Water Garden3-gallon tank, water pump, aquatic supplies, seeds, grow pots, fish food.Power cord connection points, educational tools, and low water changes are required.Occasional partial water changes are required.
EcoQube AquariumHandmade aquaponics filter, one-year warranty.Minimal maintenance, perfect size for desktops, beautiful design with LED lights.Customer support is untested; check the latest edition before purchase.
biOrb Aquarium KitAcrylic construction, five-stage filtration, LED light.Filter replacement is only every four weeks.Small fish risk, filter replacement cost, and challenging maintenance for some.
ECO-Cycle Aquaponics KitFits a 20-gallon tank, LED lights, and a filtration system.Low maintenance, easy setup, quality components, excellent customer support.Tricky automatic feeder installation, complicated tank cleaning, fish tank sold separately.
AquaSprouts GardenGarden bed, light mount, submersible pump, timer for cycles.One-year warranty, high-quality media, excellent customer support, and cost-effectiveness.Noisy, 10-gallon tank not included.

Our Top Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks

Now, let’s take a look at our six favorite self-cleaning fish tanks. We’ve included links to the relevant page on so that you can read the full specifications for each product, together with reviews left by other buyers. Once you’ve found your perfect self-cleaning tank, simply place your order!

As Seen On TV My Fun Fish Tank

As Seen on TV My Fun Fish Tank
  • It's the aquarium that cleans itself
  • A great gift for first-time pet owners
  • Just pour clean water in and watch as dirty water pours out through the disposal tube
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My Fun Fish Tank is a gravity-operated setup that’s suitable as an attractive decoration piece for your desk at work or at home in your living room.

The tank is very small, measuring just 4.5 x 4.5 x 10, so it would only be suitable for a single betta fish or a few tiny tetras. The tank has LED lights (batteries included) and comes complete with an artificial plant and decorative rocks.

To clean the tank, simply add clean water and watch the dirty water running out through the attached tube.

What we like:

  • Very affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Comes with everything you need

Room for improvement:

  • Requires tricky self-assembly
  • Still requires weekly water changes

Back to the Roots Water Garden

Back to the Roots Water Garden
  • CONVENIENT AND EASY: Harvest organic microgreens from your aquarium in just 10 days;
  • THE PERFECT LIVING HOME DECOR OR GIFT: Each Back to the Roots Water Garden Duo comes with a free STEM curriculum on aquaponic and hydroponic systems to encourage your kids to learn more about it;
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The Back to the Roots Water Garden is a sustainable, self-cleaning tank. With this aquarium, you can create your very own mini-ecosystem that uses aquaponics to grow its own food.

The aquarium kit comes with everything you need, including a 3-gallon tank and water pump, all-natural aquatic supplies, organic seeds, five grow pots, fish food, and a discount coupon that enables you to buy a betta fish for the aquarium.

The plants use the fish waste, which would otherwise create nitrates that would damage the water quality, as fertilizer. So, once the garden is established, you don’t need to carry out water changes, as the plants do that for you. All you need to do is remember to feed your betta fish with the food that comes with the tank.

My nephew has one of these tanks, and he absolutely loves it! He keeps a betta fish in his Water Garden with a couple of snails that help to create a balanced, healthy environment that needs very little maintenance or cleaning. I was skeptical at first, but I can say this is an excellent aquarium that does exactly what the manufacturers claim!

What we like:

  • The setup comes with four power cord connection points that can be used for heaters, lights, etc
  • The tank makes a great educational tool and gift idea for kids

Room for improvement:

  • Partial water changes are still required occasionally

EcoQube Aquarium

EcoQubeC Aquarium - Desktop Betta Fish Tank
  • Best aquarium on amazon handmade beautiful living decor for office desk, cubicle, or home
  • Low maintenance aquaponics techn makes your betta fish tank a clean self-sustained ecosystem
  • 1 year warranty we've got your back, if anything breaks contact us & we'll replace it for free

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The EcoQube self-cleaning aquarium is the perfect choice for you if you’re looking for an aquarium that requires minimal maintenance.

The aquarium is designed for a betta fish and makes a beautiful and novel decorative piece for your office or home. The aquarium is marketed as the lowest maintenance tank of all time! Actually, that could be pretty close to the truth, as this system works via a unique aquaponics filter that basically does its job without any help from you.

All you need to worry about is feeding your fish up to six times per week and topping off the water a couple of times each month. There’s no requirement for you to carry out those dreaded time-consuming, messy filter or water changes at all.

What we like:

  • The perfect aquarium kit for anyone who loves fish but can’t cope with the time and expense of maintenance
  • The small size makes the aquarium ideal as a desktop or coffee table decoration
  • Beautiful quality. Handmade, clear acrylic panes give you the perfect view of the fish
  • LED lights with push-button pre-settings that simulate a cloudy sky, sunny day, or even stormy weather are included
  • Quiet operation so it doesn’t disturb your work environment or TV viewing

Room for improvement:

  • The manufacturer is a startup, so customer support is untested
  • Older versions of the aquarium kit are being sold by some suppliers, which don’t contain all the accessories that you get with the latest edition. Check before you buy it!

biOrb Aquarium Kit

biOrb CLASSIC 15 Aquarium
  • Constructed Out of Acrylic- 10 times stronger than glass, 50% lighter and 93% clearer
  • True 5 Stage Filtration - Biological, Mechanical, Chemical, Water Stabilization and Oxygenation
  • Low Voltage - All biOrb aquariums operate from a 12V Transformer
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The biOrb Aquarium Kit looks just like a traditional fishbowl and comes in a variety of sizes from four to 16 gallons to suit different environments, from homes to office desks.

The classy-looking bowl-shaped tanks are trimmed with silver for a chic, eye-catching look. Despite its old-school appearance, this aquarium has a built-in filtration system that uses a five-stage self-cleaning mechanism, which employs mechanical, biological, and chemical filters.

Everything you need is included with this tank, as well as detailed instructions on how to use and maintain it. There’s also a nice LED light included to complete the kit.

Things we like:

  • The filter only requires replacing every four weeks
  • You don’t need to change the water every other day as you would with a normal fishbowl

Room for improvement:

  • Small fish can be sucked into the filtration system
  • Four-weekly filter replacement can be expensive
  • It can be quite challenging for children or adults who don’t have the time to learn about aquarium maintenance

ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Kit

ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System
  • Grow fresh organic produce all year long on your 20 gallon fish tank with no water changes
  • Fish fertilize the plants. Plants clean the water for the fish in this closed loop, sustainable system
  • Advanced, programmable LED lights help your plants grow faster using less energy. 4 grow settings, remote control, and built in timer give you the most efficient, easy to use system available
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The Eco-Cycle Aquaponics Kit is designed to be used by teachers for educational purposes. The tank can be kept in the classroom, enabling kids to learn about the principles of water gardening and fish care. You can email for the STEM K-12 curriculum.

To start with, you’ll need to buy a 20-gallon aquarium or one that has at least a 12? x 14? footprint. The bare tank is then transformed by the aquaponics kit into a productive garden. The setup works on the principle that you can raise plants and fish together, using the waste products from one to provide nutrients for the other, and vice versa.

What we like:

  • The low maintenance aspect of this kit is great
  • The kit comes with lights and a filtration system, and setting it up is easy
  • Looks stunning at home, in the workplace, or in the classroom
  • All the components are very well made and of high-quality
  • Excellent customer support

Room for improvement:

  • The automatic feeder can be tricky to install
  • Cleaning the tank can be very complicated and fiddly, as you need to disassemble the grow bed area first
  • You have to buy the fish tank separately

AquaSprouts Garden

AquaSprouts Garden, Self-Sustaining Desktop Aquarium
  • Self-sustaining aquarium & garden
  • Transform any 10-gallon aquarium (20" x 10" x 12")
  • Grow your favorite veggies, herbs and greens anywhere, all-year-round
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The AquaSprouts Garden is ideal if you have a 10-gallon tank that you want to convert to an aquaponics setup.

The setup features a garden on the top of the tank that’s fed by the fish waste beneath. The plants keep the water clean, enabling the fish to thrive and removing the need for intensive, time-consuming tank cleaning. This aquarium planter system includes a garden bed that simply snaps together with its supporting legs, and the black matte finish looks great.

The garden has a removable light mount that accommodates any two-foot grow light. The submersible pump produces a powerful 160 gph flow rate. There’s a mechanical plug timer with adjustable 15-minute increments, which control the drain and flood cycles.

What we like:

  • The water garden comes with a one-year warranty
  • The durable growing media does not downgrade
  • Excellent customer support service
  • Low price, yet the setup works superbly

Room for improvement:

  • The sound of water splashing from the garden back into the aquarium makes this one of the noisiest self-cleaning tanks out there
  • The 10-gallon tank isn’t supplied with the kit

Benefits of a self-cleaning fish tank

If cleaning your aquarium is not your idea of a fun pastime, self-cleaning fish tanks will bring you several benefits, including:

  • Time-saving
  • You won’t need to do a messy job regularly
  • Children can enjoy their pets without having to worry about cleaning the tank

That said, you do still have to do some cleaning of self-cleaning fish tanks. That could mean removing some dirty water, replacing it with clean water, and cleaning the inside of the aquarium glass. Also, most filtration systems do require you to replace the filter pads every so often, which you will need to remember to do.

When replacing water in self-cleaning tanks, you’ll need to remember to treat tap water with a de-chlorinating additive or risk killing your fish. Although such treatments are not expensive to buy, that is an additional expense for you to consider.

What About Heating, Lighting, and Tank Decoration?

Most self-cleaning fish tanks do not have a heater supplied with them. So, if you want to keep tropical fish species in your tank, you will need to buy a heater. If you have a small tank, make sure that the heater has a thermostatic control so that the water doesn’t get too warm for the fish.

Most self-cleaning aquariums come with LED lights as standard. The LED light can be very bright, which might not be ideal for all fish species.

That means that you must make sure to turn the lights off at least overnight. Fish don’t have eyelids, so they can’t close their eyes to cut out the light, and exposure to continual bright light will stress your fish. Also, some fish are nocturnal hunters and feeders, so you must turn the lights out when you go to bed, remembering to feed your fish first.

Many self-cleaning setups come with pebbles and other decorations, but you can add your own too.


In this part of our guide, we answer some of the questions that are commonly asked by people who are considering buying a self-cleaning fish tank.

Q: How do you clean a self-cleaning fish tank?

A: Even though a tank is described as self-cleaning, you will still need to change some of the water fairly regularly. Also, depending on the style of the aquarium, you might have to clean or replace the biological filters every so often.

Q: What is the easiest fish tank to maintain?

A: Of the two styles of a self-cleaning fish tank that we’ve discussed here, the aquarium planter, water garden style is probably the easiest to maintain. The plants in the garden do the job of removing the fish waste from the aquarium water, effectively cleaning it for you. That said, depending on the system that you choose, you may need to carry out some maintenance tasks periodically.

Q: How often do you need to clean a fish tank?

A: A regular fish tank should be cleaned every week. You need to clean the substrate, using an aquarium vacuum, to remove any fish waste, uneaten food, and other debris that would otherwise decompose and produce nitrates that will damage the water quality and eventually harm your fish. Also, a partial water change of between 25% and 50%, depending on the needs of the fish species you have in your tank, must be carried out every week.

Biological filters must be washed through or replaced every month or so, again, depending on the type of tank and filtration system that you have.

Final Thoughts

If you want to enjoy the beauty and relaxing vibe of a fish tank but don’t want the hassle of cleaning one, a self-cleaning aquarium could be just what you need.

Remember that even fish tanks that are advertised as self-cleaning do require a small amount of maintenance. Generally, you’ll need to make sure that you change some of the water every couple of weeks and periodically rinse and change the filter media, depending on what kind of system you choose.

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