Best Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks: The Ultimate Review Guide

If you are in a hurry and just want the fast answer for the best self-cleaning fish tank, we loved the Back to Roots Water Garden fish tank.

Self-cleaning fish tanks sound like a dream. Whether you travel a lot or you have a young one that wants fish, self-cleaning fish tanks are handy.

They do some of the work for you, so that leaves you to feed the fish. Don’t get us wrong, you still have to change out the water. It can’t do all the work for you.

And keep in mind, self-cleaning fish tanks only come in smaller sizes. They work best for someone with only a fish or two.

You don’t want too many fish in a small tank. There won’t be enough oxygen for them to survive.

So, they’re not for everyone. But they’re for anyone who needs a little more time.

If you’re new to self-cleaning fish tanks, don’t fret. There’s a lot out there to consider when you’re looking for a self-cleaning tank.

We have all the information you could ever need to know to find the right one. And we’re going to share our 8 favorite self-cleaning fish tanks. Welcome to our ultimate guide. 

In this article we will review the following self-cleaning fish tanks: 

Benefits of a Self-Cleaning Fish Tank 

There are more benefits to a self-cleaning tank besides the fact that it can clean itself.

  • Self-cleaning fish tanks are gorgeous. Between your fish and the plants, one of these tanks will spruce up a room. You can get bright tropical fish and bright plants. Or you can stick to neutral colors. Whatever fits with your décor.
  • These fish tanks give you a fun way to grow plants, including herbs you can use in your kitchen.
  • Self-cleaning fish tanks save you time. Since you don’t have to clean the tank as much, you get extra time for yourself.
  • They always clean the water when it’s needed. It’s not going to forget or put it off a few days. Things most of us have done once or twice. This keeps your fish healthy. It prevents diseases and an ill fish that’s been swimming in waste.
  • Self-cleaning tanks produce less waste than your usual pet fish tanks. Since they clean themselves, you don’t have to empty them as much as you normally would. Plus, when the waste fertilizes the plants, there’s less waste hanging out in the water.
  • These tanks also use less energy. You don’t need pumps or other added accessories for these tanks. So, your fish tank isn’t going to take up even half the energy used by a regular tank. This pertains to aquaponics type of self-cleaning fish tanks.

Negatives of a Self-Cleaning Fish Tank 


Types Of Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks

There are always disadvantages to something, no matter how shiny it is. This includes self-cleaning fish tanks.

  • Self-cleaning tanks are expensive. These fish tanks have a high price tag on them since they have such a unique ability.
  • Not all self-cleaning fish tanks are created equal. There are duds out there and with some of them, you might not even know it’s not working until it’s too late. Worst case scenario, your fish die.
  • As we discussed earlier, self-cleaning fish tanks are pretty small. There shouldn’t be more than two fish in most of them. So, if you’re wanting several fish, you’re going to have to settle for a traditional fish tank.
  • Another disadvantage due to the small size has to do with your fish’s growth. When a fish is in a tank that’s a limited size, it won’t always grow to be full-sized. Of course, this depends on the type of fish you have.

Types of Self-Cleaning Fish Tanks 

There are two types of self-cleaning fish tanks. Which one you pick is up to you and your preferences.

The most common type of self-cleaning fish tank works by what’s called aquaphonics. Aquaphonics is a mix of raising fish and using hydroponics to grow plants.

You can’t forget the bacteria. All three of these things creates a perfect balance.

The waste from the fish fertilizes the plants, which is helpful since the plants don’t have soil.

Bacteria get rid of ammonia and nitrate in the water. In other words, the bacteria is purifying the water for the fish. This is the bacteria going through the nitrogen cycle.

Gravity tanks are the other type of self-cleaning fish tanks. This tank uses a pump a pull out all the bad, icky water. It sucks it out the waste and debris.

All you have to do is replace the dirty water with clean water.

These fish tanks do make you give more effort than the aqua-phonics tanks. 

What to Look For in a Self-Cleaning Fish Tank 

So, what do you look for in a self-cleaning fish tank? It’s not quite the same as other tanks but there are a lot of similarities.

Size of Self Cleaning Fish Tank 

The size of a fish tank is based on gallons, like any other tank.

What size you need depends on how many fish you have and what type of fish you have. Bigger fish need bigger tanks.

On a normal basis, per inch of a full-grown fish needs at least a two-gallon fish tank. This gives them appropriate room to grow to full size and to roam.

When a fish is stuck in a tank that’s too small, they feel closed in. This makes an unhappy and unhealthy fish.

Maintenance of Self Cleaning Fish Tank

Maintenance Of Self Cleaning Fish TankWhen we speak of the maintenance of a self-cleaning fish tank, we’re referring to how often you have to change the water.

The maintenance can differ from tank to tank, from brand to brand.

Some of these fish tanks have very little maintenance. Other self-cleaning fish tanks need more attention.

Most fish tanks will advertise low maintenance. But the best way to tell how easy it is to care for (or hard), is to check out customer reviews.

Design of Self Cleaning Fish Tank 

The design of a self-cleaning fish tank can make a big difference for some people. And every self-cleaning fish tank differs.

You want to like the fish tank you have. You want an appealing fish tank if it’s going to the office with you. You want it to match your home decor.

Don’t settle for an ugly design because you feel you have to. You have choices.

Material of Self Cleaning Fish Tank 

Any fish tank material can be important. For most fish tanks, including self-cleaning tanks, there are three main materials.

First, there are plastic self-cleaning fish tanks. These are on the cheaper end of the spectrum.

Depending on the company and type of brand used, plastic is usually not a great choice. Which is why it’s the cheapest choice as well.

The next type of material of self-cleaning fish tanks is acrylic. Acrylic isn’t a bad choice, though it’s not the best choice.

Acrylic is lighter than glass. But it’s easy to scratch and these tanks yellow over the years. It’s also more expensive than glass.

Last is glass. We think it’s the best material for fish tanks. The thick glass used for fish tanks is thick and tough.

It doesn’t scratch and it keeps its’ clarity for years and years.

Self-Cleaning Fish Tank Kits 

There are two main types of self-cleaning fish tanks. And which you choose depends on your needs.

There are self-cleaning fish tank kits that include everything you could need. You get a tank and an area that holds the plants.

Some even include extra features like LED lights or seeds. These kits are best for anyone who’s starting from scratch and anyone who’s a newbie to the system.

The other type only includes an add-on to attach to a tank you already own. These add-ons are often more advanced than the whole kits so they’re more expensive.

But these self-cleaning fish tank kits are perfect for tanks that are 10 to 20 gallons. Whereas, the whole kits are usually much smaller. 

Our Favorite 8 Self Cleaning Fish Tanks 

1. Back to Roots Water Garden Fish

Type: Aquaponics

Size: 3 gallons

Weight: 3 pounds

Other Features

  • It comes with organic micro-green seeds. They’re great for starter crops and for children to grow.
  • Alongside the seeds, you get D-Klor to remove chlorine and improves a fish’s protective coating. You also get Zym-Bac keeps both ammonia and nitrate at healthy levels.
  • There are grow stones. The stones allow your plants to take root.
  • Did we mention the kit also includes fish food? Plus, you get a coupon for a betta fish for the tank.
  • There are four slots on the tank that let you hook up anything extra, from heaters to grow lights.
  • You clean this self cleaning fish tank 50% less than traditional fish tanks.
  • It’s super easy to set this fish tank kit up.
  • This fish tank is affordable. You won’t break the bank.
  • This aquaponics kit happens to be a perfect addition to a science classroom.
  • Whenever the company sells one of these kits, they donate one to an elementary classroom you choose.



2. Vivosun Aquaponic Fish Tank 

Type: Aquaponic 

Size: 3 gallon 

Weight: 7 pounds 

Other Features 

  • This fish tank and planter work well with over 150 types of hydroponic plants.
  • The self-cleaning fish tank has an automatic siphon system. This makes the water level on the surface like a tidal fluctuation. Because of this fluctuation, the roots of the plants immersed in water.
  • Another benefit of the fluctuation is that the oxygen supply circles within a mere two minutes.
  • The mini pump moves the dirty water to the planter on the surface. The fish waste fertilizes the plants. The now clean water returns to the fish tank.
  • The mini pump has a switch that lets you control the water flow. Plus, it’s super quiet.
  • There’s a thermostat attached that lets you measure the water’s temperature. It makes keeping the correct temperature easier on you.
  • It includes a USB charger, sponge filter, and siphon cover as well.



3. Penn Plax Aquaponic Fish Tank

Type: Aquaponic 

Size: 1.4 gallons 

Weight: 2 pounds 

Other Features 

  • This fish tank is a high-quality plastic tank perfect for smaller fish like bettas.
  • It has a unique cylinder design.
  • Whenever you need to, you can remove the planter without struggling. This makes cleaning the tank easy when you need to.
  • You can even use the planter for several types of plants, including for reviving dry plants.
  • It comes with ceramic planting media. Ceramic planting media retains water and assists in the root growth of your plant.
  • The tank doesn’t take up much space since it’s so small.
  • This self-cleaning fish tank kit is super affordable.
  • Set up for this fish tank is very easy.
  • It also includes a plastic lid for the tank as well as a planter lid.



4. Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit 

Type: Gravity/Pump 

Size: 3 gallon 

Weight: 8 pounds 

Other Features 

  • This self-cleaning fish tank has a cool design that you won’t see anywhere else. It uses rounded corners and a clear glass canopy. You can see everything going on in the tank.
  • There’s also a hinged LED light rail and sliding glass canopy.
  • The sliding glass canopy makes it so much easier to get into the tank to clean or feed your fish.
  • The canopy helps maintain the temperature of the fish tank and stops fish from hopping out.
  • It comes with white LED lighting that creates a shimmering sunlight effect. It also comes with blue LED lighting that creates a nighttime feel and a moonlight glow. There’s a toggle switch to go back and forth.
  • The LED lights are energy efficient. They’re not going to run up your energy bill.
  • It has a 3 stage filtration and comes with a Rite-Size TM Z cartridge. And you get an adjustable flow filter pump. The filter gets out all that gross debris and waste so you don’t have to.
  • The filter also goes through chemical filtration. It removes strange odors and discoloration.
  • The filter hides from sight so it’s not making an ugly add-on to the fish tank.
  • There’s a molded ribbed back for max water-to-carbon contact.
  • It comes with Marineland BioFoam. This foam creates a large 3-dimensional area. In this area, aerobic bacteria cultivates. You don’t have to replace the BioFoam.
  • It’s a low maintenance tank. You have to put in very little effort to keep your fish healthy and comfortable.
  • This self-cleaning fish tank is super easy to set up despite its’ advanced design.
  • It’s super affordable, especially for such a high-quality fish tank kit.



5. Hagen HG Fluval Flex Freshwater Aquarium 

Type: Aquaponics 

Size: 15 gallon 

Weight: 30 pounds 

Other Features 

  • The self-cleaning fish tank is made of durable and tough glass.
  • The curved front and interesting design make the fish tank seem larger than it is.
  • There’s an infrared remote sensor that’s already integrated. You can get access to this sensor through the canopy of the tank.
  • There are 48 white and six RGB 2450 lux LED lights that illuminate your fish. These LED lights are adjustable to your liking. There are special effects options. You can get creative and help your plant out at the same time.
  • A flexpad remote controller comes with so you can change the LED light settings.
  • The 7500K LED lamp promotes the growth of your plant.
  • The self-cleaning fish tank has a three-stage filtration system. For this system, there are media included for all the stages. These stages include mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration.
  • The multi-directional 132 GPH dual output that lets you adjust the water flow.
  • The add-ons are all hidden in a rear compartment. It has a Honeycomb wrap.



6. AquaSprouts Water Garden

Type: Aquaponics 

Size: 10 gallon 

Weight: 24 pounds 

Other Features 

  • A fish tank doesn’t come with this kit. Instead, it’s a planter kit. You can add this to any 10-gallon tank.
  • This kit allows you to grow herbs or veggies. Almost any plant you want, you can grow.
  • It comes with a special clay media. This clay lets the roots take hold and grow. They make a surface area for bacteria cultivation. This media doesn’t degrade.
  • There’s so much that comes with this self-cleaning kit. First, there’s a light bar. The light bar is removable if you’d rather use your own grow lights. It’s also adjustable. Making sure the light hits your plants has never been easier.
  • The 24 hour timer included can be set for 15 minute intervals.
  • The pump that comes with this kit is 9.5 watts and submersible.
  • This kit is low maintenance. You don’t have to do much to keep everything going.
  • This kit is super easy to put together.
  • It comes with a specialized teacher curriculum for the classroom.



7. biOrb Flow 30 Aquarium 

Type: Gravity/Pump 

Size: 8 gallon 

Weight: 7 pounds 

Other Features 

  • This self-cleaning fish tank is made of durable and tough acrylic. It’s ten times stronger than glass. It’s also 50% lighter.
  • It has a 93% transparency rating.
  • There’s a true five-stage filtration. This is biological, mechanical, chemical, water stabilization, and oxygenation.
  • It comes with LED lighting with 16 preset colors and brightness adjustments. The lights include a remote controller. You can make your self-cleaning fish tank look fun and funky. You have tons of choices on colors.
  • It also comes with a filter cartridge that fits all biOrb aquariums. You only have to replace the filter cartridge every four or five weeks.
  • Plus, it has two pounds of ceramic planting media. The media retains water.
  • There’s a feed hole on the top of the tank, making feeding the fish that much easier.
  • It has an extra gap that’s used for a heating cord.
  • There’s very little effort that goes into caring for this fish tank.
  • It’s easy to set the fish tank up. You won’t need any help with this one.
  • Also included with tank are an air pump, an air stone, water conditioner, and bacteria liquid. 



8. ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System 

Type: Aquaponics

Size: 20 gallons

Weight: 17 pounds

Other Features 

  • A fish tank does not come with this kit. Instead, it’s a plant and LED set made for any 20-gallon fish tank. So, you already need a tank to use this.
  • You use up to 90% less water using this ecosystem kit. The plants grow 25% with this kit than they do in soil.
  • The gallon size of this kit is awesome. You don’t see kits this big often at all.
  • This self-cleaning fish tank kit comes with programmable LED lights. The LED lights help your plants grow healthily. After all, you don’t want to stick a fish tank in the sun. It’s not healthy for your fish and will likely result in death.
  • These LED lights have four grow settings, a remote controller, and a built-in timer.
  • The LED lights use very little energy so your electricity bill won’t grow using the tank.
  • The self-cleaning fish tank kit is super easy to put together, as easy as the smaller kits. There are even instructional videos if you need help.
  • It also includes a teacher curriculum if you need one for your classroom. 



Final Thoughts 

Self-cleaning fish tanks are a great invention. They’re perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to clean a tank all the time. But they want the enjoyment of fish life in their home.

Read more about fish tanks: 

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