Are Aqueon Tanks Good for Your Aquatic Pets?

Setting up an aquarium can be exciting yet daunting, especially for beginners. With so many tank options on the market, how do you know which is right for your aquatic pets? Aqueon is one popular aquarium brand that often comes up in discussions. But how good are Aqueon tanks? Let’s deeply dive into the pros, cons, features, and other considerations.

Key Takeaways on Aqueon Aquariums

  • Well-constructed with quality glass and silicone artistry
  • Braced frames provide rigidity for larger tanks
  • Middle-of-the-road pricing makes Aqueon kits very affordable
  • Ideal for beginners starting in the hobby
  • Customization is limited compared to premium aquarium brands
  • Suitable for both freshwater and saltwater setups
  • Available widely through major pet retailers like Petco
  • Reliable when used properly, with rare leakage
  • Expected to last 5-10 years with proper maintenance

Overview of Aqueon Tanks

Aqueon is owned by Central Garden & Pet and manufactures aquariums and related equipment for freshwater and saltwater fish. The company offers glass aquariums in a wide range of sizes, from starter kits as small as 2.5 gallons to larger tanks up to 220 gallons.

Aqueon touts its products as being “reliable, innovative, and designed to bring aquatic life home.” The brand aims to make aquarium-keeping easy and successful for hobbyists of all levels. Aqueon tanks feature clear silicone seams, center-braced frames, and rimless designs for a sleek, contemporary look.

Many Aqueon aquariums now come with LED lighting systems. Options include DayWhite LEDs that provide bright, natural illumination and RGB LEDs with special effects and adjustable color modes. This lighting technology sets Aqueon apart from competitors in the same price range.

Quality and Construction of Aqueon Tanks

When considering any aquarium purchase, quality of construction is paramount. You want a tank that will withstand time without issues like leakage or bowing. So how does Aqueon measure up?

High-Quality Glass

Aqueon uses thicker, low-iron glass engineered specifically for aquariums. Low-iron glass is clearer and transmits light better than standard glass, giving your fish and plants brighter illumination.

The glass panels are precision-cut and polished at the edges. They are joined together using clear silicone adhesive.

Reliable Silicone Seams

The silicone seams between glass panes are neatly finished with no uneven globs or gaps. This meticulous seal prevents leaks and helps distribute structural stress evenly across the tank.

Aqueon says its silicone formula withstands exposure to saltwater and heat, making it suitable for freshwater and marine environments. The cured silicone does not release toxins into the water.

Durable Braced Frames

Larger Aqueon tanks feature a center brace made of plastic or aluminum that runs across the center length of the aquarium. This brace provides rigidity and prevents the front and back glass panes from bowing outward under all that water weight.

Some Aqueon models also have braces along the top rim. These sturdy frames allow you to place accessories like lights and hoods without worrying about the tank’s integrity.

So regarding fundamental construction, Aqueon delivers quality and durability at reasonable prices. Their glass fabrication and silicone artistry result in aquariums that stand the test of time.

Customization Options

While Aqueon offers well-made starter tanks, their customization potential is limited compared to high-end brands.

Pre-Drilled Holes

Most Aqueon tanks lack pre-drilled holes for installing sumps, refugiums, and other accessories. Adding these later requires carefully drilling the glass yourself. Any errors could lead to cracking and leaks.

However, some larger Aqueon models do come with pre-drilled overflow boxes. This allows you to set up wet-dry filtration without any risky modification.

Limited Sizes

Aqueon’s size range goes up to 220 gallons. For comparison, SeaClear acrylic tanks reach 500 gallons, and custom-built glass tanks can exceed 1,000 gallons. If you want a monster aquarium as a centerpiece, Aqueon won’t quite cut it.

Basic Filtration

Aqueon’s all-inclusive kits come with very basic power filters or hang-on-back filters. Serious hobbyists will want to install more advanced sump systems, canister filters, etc. This often requires replacing much of the filtration included with Aqueon packages.

So Aqueon tanks are not the most customizable on the market. Advanced aquarists may find their options quickly exhausted. But for beginners, the out-of-box offerings are quite sufficient.

Are Aqueon Tanks Suitable for Specific Fish?

When setting up a tank ecosystem, it’s vital to consider the needs of your livestock. Do Aqueon’s features accommodate popular fish species?

Betta Fish

With their long, flowing fins, bettas are prone to injuries from strong filter outflows. Aqueon’s lowest-end filters often churn out currents too turbulent for bettas.

However, their LED lighting, which comes in red, blue, and green, can spotlight bettas’ vibrant colors. The smaller tank sizes in their line, like the 5-gallon kits, also work well for these labyrinth fish.

So Aqueon tanks can suit bettas with some filtration adjustments. Go for models with adjustable or gentler flow rates.

African Cichlids

Cichlids need hardy, high-quality tanks because of their disorderly behavior. Aqueon’s thick glass construction and rugged frames can withstand cichlid chaos. The seamless front viewing panels give an unobstructed view of their stunning colors.

Just be mindful of overcrowding. Cichlid stocking density should be lower in Aqueon’s starter tanks than with premium brands.


Standard goldfish get huge and produce copious waste. They need robust filtration and frequent water changes, which basic Aqueon setups may lack. Fancy goldfish are slower swimmers that prefer gentle currents. Monitor flow rates closely with goldfish in Aqueon tanks.

Saltwater Fish

Aqueon is certainly marketed towards saltwater and reef enthusiasts. Their silicone formula is marine-safe. Many of their setups now ship with energy-efficient LED lighting that coral requires.

However, you’ll likely need to upgrade the included filtration to support marine bioloads. This added expense reduces the value advantage of Aqueon packages.

Cost and Value of Aqueon Products

In the aquarium world, you often get what you pay for. Aqueon offers a solid middle ground of functionality at modest prices.

Affordable Entry-Level Kits

Aqueon’s all-in-one starter bundles are very competitively priced. For example, a standard 55-gallon kit costs around $250. Comparable kits from other major brands approach $400 or more.

This favorable pricing makes Aqueon products ideal for beginners who are not looking to break the bank. Those with smaller budgets can still enjoy the aquatic hobby.

Shortcomings for Experts

Seasoned aquarists may find Aqueon equipment lacking. As mentioned, their tanks offer limited customization compared to premium alternatives.

Serious hobbyists may need to replace lighting, filtration, and other components to create their dream aquascape. This diminishes the value of Aqueon’s starter bundles.

So Aqueon delivers bang-for-your-buck for aquarium newbies. But expect to invest more if pursuing advanced setups.

Reliability and Leaks

No aquarium owner wants to deal with a disastrous leak. How leak-prone are Aqueon’s products?

Rare Manufacturing Defects

Aqueon tanks are produced in high volume, so a few lemons can slip through quality control. Defective silicone or frame joints may leak right out of the box or shortly after setup.

Thankfully these cases seem to be uncommon. Always fill and test a new tank outdoors for at least 24 hours to catch any leaks immediately.

Glass Strength

The glass thickness and artistry is sufficient to avoid cracks or bowing over time with proper use. Don’t limit stocking or water capacity; perform maintenance to avoid undue stress.

User Error Risks

Most leakage issues arise from improper setup rather than tank defects. For example, overtightening fittings or allowing substrate obstructing the bottom frame’s support pads.

So when used responsibly, Aqueon aquariums are generally reliable. Leaks predominantly result from flawed installations, not inherent product weaknesses.

Expected Lifespan of Aqueon Tanks

With routine maintenance, Aqueon tanks can last years of faithful service. Here are some tips to maximize their lifespan:

  • Inspect silicone seams and frames annually for any wear or damage. Reseal at first signs of trouble.
  • Use tank stands and supports specifically designed for aquarium use. Never place directly on carpeting or uneven surfaces.
  • Avoid moving or excessively jostling tanks when filled. The weight of water puts immense stress on structures.
  • Use aquarium-safe decor. Don’t place overly abrasive rocks or driftwood directly against glass.
  • Maintain proper water parameters through filtration, partial water changes, and testing. Don’t allow pH, ammonia, or other factors to fluctuate.
  • Control algae buildup. Letting it run rampant
  • Control algae buildup. Letting it run rampant can compromise viewing, gas exchange, and overall tank health.
  • Upgrade filtration components as needed. Don’t allow flow rates or turnover to lag behind tank size and bio-load.
  • Use aquarium covers to prevent jumping fish and reduce evaporation. Don’t allow water levels to dip too low.
  • Clean exterior glass with proper algae scrapers, magnetic scrubbers, or microfiber cloths. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Examine any router cutouts or modified areas for cracked edges or silicone leaks. Reseal as necessary.

An Aqueon tank should last 5-10 years or more with proper care and maintenance. Their construction standards ensure longevity given responsible use.

Factors that may shorten lifespan include:

  • Excessive lighting causing high heat and algae growth
  • Undersized filters allowing waste accumulations
  • Absence of glass tops leading to fast evaporation
  • Poor water quality deteriorating silicone and seals
  • Overstocking with incompatible or aggressive fish

So monitor tank conditions vigilantly and address problems promptly. This will help your Aqueon aquarium thrive for years to come.

Aqueon’s Relationship with Petco

Petco is one of the largest pet retailers carrying the Aqueon brand. But Aqueon products are by no means exclusive to Petco.

Strong Petco Presence

Walk into any Petco store and you’ll see Aqueon tanks prominently displayed. They feature Aqueon’s full aquarium line spanning all sizes and configurations.

Petco also stocks Aqueon’s filters, heaters, decor items, water care supplements, and foods. This makes outfitting an Aqueon package seamless.

Other Major Retailers

While Petco may showcase Aqueon most visibly, you can also purchase Aqueon products through PetSmart, Amazon, Chewy, Walmart, and local fish stores.

Aqueon maintains a wide retail distribution network beyond just Petco. Shopping around can often reveal deals on specific tank sizes or bundles.

So Petco offers convenience but shouldn’t limit your shopping options. Aqueon tanks are widely accessible both online and offline.

How Aqueon Compares to Other Aquarium Brands

Aqueon provides a solid mid-range option between premium and bargain brands. Here’s how they stack up:

Premium Brands

High-end manufacturers like ADA and Red Sea offer unmatched quality and customization freedom. But their lofty pricing alienates casual hobbyists.

Bargain Brands

Cheap tanks from no-name suppliers carry obvious construction risks. Their low cost comes with too many quality compromises.

Aqueon’s Middle Ground

Aqueon strikes an appealing balance for hobbyists seeking legitimate aquariums on modest budgets. You make some trade-offs for the savings but get fundamental reliability.

Among the major brands carried in chain stores, Aqueon aquariums likely offer the top value. They outclass Tetra’s and Top Fin’s entry-level kits while costing significantly less than advanced Oceanic and Marineland setups.

So Aqueon hits a pleasing sweet spot between tank quality and affordability. That makes it a favorite among beginners and intermediate aquarists.


For aquarists seeking an inexpensive yet well-built starter tank, Aqueon remains a recommended brand. Their products make aquarium ownership accessible for everyone. Aqueon delivers respectable quality considering the budget-friendly pricing.

Just don’t expect wild customization potential. Graduating to a premium tank offering greater flexibility as skills grow may be wise. But Aqueon’s fundamental construction will provide years of fishkeeping enjoyment for casual hobbyists.