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The 10 Best Self-Cleaning Goldfish Tanks

Being an aquarist means knowing how to take care of your fish tank. Self-cleaning tanks can save you time and money by eliminating the need to regularly clean the water and replace the filters.

Self-cleaning aquariums use fish waste to feed the plants growing above, and the plants, in turn, provide oxygen to the tank. In a smaller tank, you can retain goldfish for a short period of time before transferring them to a larger aquarium.

BestForPets (bestforpets.org) looked at the best self-cleaning goldfish tanks on the market and put up reviews of our eight favorites.

How to Choose the Best Self-Cleaning Goldfish Tanks for Your Home

Using self-cleaning tanks may save you both time and money, but some types are more trustworthy than others. If you’re considering getting an aquarium, keep reading for some advice that might sway your choice.

A Goldfish Breeder

Our search for a big self-cleaning tank for a goldfish yielded no results, even though some fish may grow up to 18 inches long. You can only maintain a healthy goldfish in a tiny tank for a short period of time if you want it to live to be near to 20 years old.

It’s possible to raise goldfish in smaller tanks, but if you have a 75 to 100-gallon tank, they’ll have longer and healthier lives. In majority of our recommended aquariums, however, baby goldfish and other tiny species can be accommodated.

In general, half-gallon and 1-gallon aquariums can be used for guppies and bettas.

Considerations for Space

We looked at a number of desktop tanks, but the ones with enormous growth areas take up a lot of room.

The types that require indirect light to keep the plants alive may be too large to position in front of a window or door if they are equipped with grow lights. If you can’t locate a bright area in your house, you may need to invest in an aquarium grow light.

Choosing a Plant

Microgreens and herbs can only be grown in tiny tanks, although lettuce and other vegetables can be planted in bigger tanks.

Plants with vast root systems and heights of more than a few feet should be avoided at all costs. It’s important to keep in mind that the weight of the plant and the fruit it produces might lead the lid to sag over time.

A tiny aquaponic tank is not a good place for tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or melons since they are too heavy. Non-vining plants like sweet peppers and lettuce can also be used.

In a self-cleaning tank you should avoid all types of mint, but basil is an excellent choice. Mint’s roots can get too big for tiny aquariums, and it’s an invasive weed even in the garden.

Garden Center Specimen Plants

On top of the aquarium, you may sow seeds or transplant seedlings you’ve grown elsewhere. Any young plant from the nursery or garden shop must be added with caution, though. Chemical fertilizers and insecticides are commonly used to cultivate them.

However, even organic fertilizers might have an adverse effect on the tank’s water chemistry. Rinse the plant and roots well with cold water after removing them from the potting soil at the garden center to eliminate any chemical residues.

Sunlight Access

If you can’t put the tank in a sunny spot, a grow light may be necessary to ensure the health of your plants. It’s possible to grow plants in a tank near a window that gets a lot of light, but it can also boost the water’s temperature.

Temperatures below 70°F are ideal for cold water fish, and you should monitor the tank’s temperature to make sure the sun isn’t raising its temperature enough to kill your marine life. The self-cleaning technology will not be able to remove algae from tanks that are exposed to too much light.

Refueling of the Tanks

With or without a gravity-cleaning mechanism, your tank will need your help to remain clean. While self-cleaning tanks might make cleaning easier, you’ll still need to remove algae from the glass and monitor the water’s temperature and alkalinity. Fish excrement should be the primary source of fertilizers for plants in an aquaponic system.

If you don’t replace any dying plants right away, the water’s chemistry might alter suddenly, which could put the fish in risk. When it comes to maintaining a self-cleaning tank, the makers tend to simplify things.

t’s not difficult, though, if you keep an eye on the plants and fish daily.


Aquaponic systems provide fresh herbs and greens for your kitchen while self-cleaning tanks allow you to go weeks without changing the water.

The Back to the Roots Water Garden Fish Tank came out on top in our reviews, despite the fact that BestForPets (bestforpets.org) looked at some of the the best self-cleaning goldfish tanks available. Seeds, growth medium, fish food, and even a voucher for a betta fish are all included in the easy-to-set-up kit.

The biOrb Classic LED aquarium was the best value for the money we could find. With its 5-stage filtering technology and tiny size, it’s ideal for use in a kitchen.


Back to the Roots Water Garden Fish Tank – Best All-Around


  • Size: 8.31″ L x 12.12″ W x 12.25″ H
  • Weight: 10 gallons
  • Color: White

The Back to the Roots Water Garden Fish Tank is a great location to begin learning about aquaponics. It’s the greatest self-cleaning tank on the market, and it comes with everything you need to get started. To beautify your home, you may cultivate succulent houseplants or microgreens, which can be used in salads and sandwiches.

There is a wheatgrass and radish seed pack in the Back to the Roots package as well as a water conditioner and a voucher for a fish included.

Children will learn about sustainable ecosystems and their kitchen will always have fresh greens thanks to this package. However, customers complained that the pump’s suction may harm weak swimmers, which the manufacturer acknowledged.


  • Setup and maintenance are a breeze.
  • There is a beta voucher included with the seed package.
  • Fits on a kitchen counter or a computer workstation.


  • Even with lesser fish, the tank’s pump is just too strong.


The biOrb CLASSIC LED Aquarium – The Best Value


  • 13″ x 12.875″ x 12.75″ H
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Black and white

It’s not exactly self-cleaning, but the innovative 5-stage filtration technology of the biOrb CLASSIC LED Aquarium ensures that you only need to replace the water every three or four weeks.

BiOrb was awarded the best self-cleaning tank for the money, and it’s the perfect tank for compact areas. To eliminate trash and keep water pure, the filtering system makes use of mechanical, chemical, biological, oxygenation, and stabilizing processes.

With the biOrb, you may utilize freshwater and saltwater tanks at the same time. There are ceramic rocks, a low-voltage pump, and a long-lasting LED light. An under-the-tank filter cartridge collects and stores fish waste. Unlike standard self-cleaning aquariums, which do not require a filter, you will need to replace the filter every four weeks.


  • Waterproof in both fresh and saltwater
  • Tank made of long-lasting acrylic
  • A five-stage filtering process is employed.


  • Every four weeks, the filter should be replaced.


Aquarium with Hydroponic Garden and Fishes in Huamuyu


  • Capacity: 3 gallons
  • Dimensions: 12.5 L x 11.7 W x 7.9 H
  • Color: White

You can save room with the Huamuyu Hydroponic Garden Aquarium Fish Tank. Plant-growing media and a water pump are included in the package, which can hold fish up to 3 inches long.

An herb garden, flower garden, or small vegetable garden can be grown in the tank’s upper section with waste from that tank.

The Huamuyu’s pump proved too strong for some customers’ fish, despite the tank’s tiny size. Clogs can cause water to overflow if the pump is entirely obstructed by a decoration or large pebbles, as the manufacturer recommends.


  • A desktop computer’s sleek appearance is perfect.
  • Lower number of water changes required
  • Every two minutes, the oxygen in the air is recycled.


  • It’s too forceful of a pump’s suction.


The ECO-Cycle Aquaponics and LED Lighting Indoor Garden System


  • 25″ long by 13″ wide by 10 “high
  • Capacity of tank: ten gallons
  • Color: Black

The ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System has a huge light bar to keep the plants flourishing, unlike other self-cleaning tanks that rely on natural sunshine to develop their plants.

The built-in timer ensures that your plants get the right amount of light, and the remote control lets you adjust between four LED grow-light settings. Eco-top Cycle’s piece can contain 17 plant pots, making it one of our largest self-cleaning devices.

The ECO-Cycle, on the other hand, can hold lettuce, vegetables, and bigger houseplants, unlike most smaller units. We adore aquariums, but maintaining one is too pricey for the average home hobbyist.


  • There are four LED grow modes.
  • Includes a light dimmer switch on the included remote control.
  • 17 pots of plants may be stored in this one.


  • Expensive


Aquarium for Kids, as Seen On T.V. 56028


  • The dimensions are 4.5″ L x 4.5″ W x 10″ H.
  • A 0.5-gallon storage tank is required.
  • Color: White

The As Seen on TV tank uses a gravity-cleaning mechanism to remove fish waste from the water, unlike other self-cleaning tanks that use an aquaponics system. Filtering is accomplished by using a spout at the top of the aquarium to discharge filthy water.

If you are looking for an easy way to clean your fish tank, this is a good option. One aquatic plant and riverbed stones are included in this low-cost kit. However, the types of fish you can catch are few and far between.

You could maintain a few guppies in the half-gallon aquarium for the time being, but larger fish would be out of place.


  • Affordable
  • A single aquatic plant is included together with the LED light.


  • Small enough for only a few fish to squeeze through.
  • A filter is not compatible with the tank.

Author Image

Dr. Barry Buttler

Dr. Barry Buttler, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is an experienced veterinarian who specializes in the care of small animals, specifically dogs. Dr. Barry K. Buttler is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and holds multiple certifications in small animal emergency medicine and geriatric pet health.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Barry Buttler


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