7 TOP Aquaponic Fish Tank Reviews: An Aquarium With Plants On Top

Want a fish tank with plants on top…? It’s an aquaponics fish tank you’re after!

Aquaponic fish tanks (sometimes known as Eco Fish Tanks or Hydroponic Fish Tanks) are special tanks with plants on top.

The fish waste can be made to fertilize and support the growth of healthy plants, while the plants are cleaning the tank.

They can be considered lower maintenance fish tanks but it does take a bit of practice and patience to get plants growing well on top of the tank.

Best Aquaponic Fish Tank

Back to the Roots Water Garden

  • 3 gallon tank
  • Grow microgreens in as little as 10 days
  • Complete kit with everything INCLUDING a betta
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VIVOSUN Aquaponic Fish Tank

  • 3 gallon aquarium
  • Only suitable for a single fish
  • Affordable eco fish tank
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AquaSprouts Garden Aquarium

  • 10 gallon aquaponic fish tank
  • Only includes the setup - no tank
  • Requires 20" x 10" x 12" tank
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Why is an aquaponic fish tank so great?

Here are a few of our favorite points:

  • The plants clean the fish tank
  • The fish waste is turned into fertilizer for the plants
  • Plants aerate the water for the fish

Microgreens can be ready to harvest from an aquaponics fish tank, like those listed below, within 10 days.

Herbs and other plants will take longer to be ready for harvest, but half the fun is in watching this fish tank with plants on top!

1. Back to the Roots Aquaponic Fish Tank

best aquaponics fish tank

This Back to the Roots Aquaponics Starter Kit is indeed a great way to get started in fish tank aquaponics.

Back to the Roots was started by a couple of guys just out of college, who have a passion to reconnect families with food through indoor gardening kits.

This tank is made for Betta fish but can be used for other small fish as well. The general rule is 1 gallon of water for 1 inch of fish.

In this 3-gallon tank, you could have up to 3 very small fish (like male guppies) or 1 slightly larger fish (such as a Betta).

You can grow a range of plants from the top of this tank. The kit comes with plenty of wheatgrass and radish sprouts to get you started.

These plants are good starter plants – they grow quickly and easily, and don’t need a lot of light.

Included with the kit:

  • 3 gallon fish tank (12″H x 11″L x 8″D)
  • A coupon for a Betta fish from PetCo
  • Wheatgrass and radish sprout seeds to begin sprouting
  • A 40 GPH (gallons per hour) submersible water pump
  • Sponge filter
  • Grow-stones & grow-bed
  • Decorative gravel
  • Natural fertilizer and water treatment product

Fish food is really the only thing not included.

2. Penn-Plax Aquaponic Betta Fish Tank

aquaponics aquarium

This Penn-Plax eco fish tank is a smaller option than the one listed above.

It can be bought in either a 0.5-gallon size or 1.4 gallons.

I recommend getting the larger size as this will be best for your fish. 0.5 gallons is a very small amount of water and even a very small fish may quickly outgrow this tank.

The 0.5 gallon tank really is too small to keep any fish, in my opinion. A betta fish will spend all its time flaring in anger!

Seeds are not recommended for use with this aquaponics fish tank, you will need to purchase a houseplant with good roots.

Recommended plants include:

  • Bamboo
  • Chinese evergreen
  • Lettuce
  • Peace lilies

The water in this tank will need to be changed and treated every so often.

If you live in a cool climate, a Betta will need to be transferred to a heated tank during the colder months. The best temperature for a Betta fish tank is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

This fish tank looks great even without fish in it, it is still a very unique set-up as it’s not every day you get to see a plant’s roots like this (unless you have this tank of course!).

Included in the kit:

  • Plastic fish bowl (0.5 or 1.4 gallon)
  • Plant bedding bowl
  • Ceramic planting media

Not included:

  • There are no fish
  • No fish food
  • No plant or seeds

3. VIVOSUN Aquaponic Fish Tank Hydroponic

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This eco fish tank is the same size as the ‘Back to the Roots’ tank, but it is a cheaper alternative.

It’s a 3-gallon nano fish tank that would be suitable for 2 or 3 small breed fish such as neon tetras or mollies.

The fish shown in the picture is not likely to be to scale so should not be used as an accurate portrayal of the capacities of the tank (some may even be salt water fish that could not be used in this freshwater tank).

This is another good tank for getting started with fish tank aquaponics, but you are not going to feed the world, or even yourself, with the growth.

It might be good for growing a few microgreens for a salad, but it’s more about the cool aesthetic it brings to your counter-top.

Included in the kit:

  • Water pump
  • Thermostat
  • Tank and cover
  • Filter sponge
  • Charger

Not included:

  • No fish or food included
  • No plant or seeds

4. AquaSprouts Betta Fish Aquaponics

glass aquaponics fish tank

The AquaSprouts Garden eco fish tank is next up on the list. 

This is a much larger set-up than the two listed above, having the capacity to hold a 10-gallon tank.

However, the 10-gallon tank is not included with the purchase – this is just the frame and a few other bits and pieces.

This size is better for those with more space and who want to experiment a bit more. You can add a few more fish, decorations, and even real aquarium driftwood.

Included with the kit:

  • AquaSprouts garden
  • Submersible 9.5 watt pump
  • Grow media – special aquaponic clay
  • Great set-up guide and support

Not included:

  • Hydroponic lighting not included
  • Fish tank not included
  • Fish not included
  • No fish food
  • No plants

Again, it is important to realize that this kit does not come with a tank or grow-lights.

Here are the products that are most commonly bought with the AquaSprouts Garden:

1. The Marina 10 gallon Aquarium Kit is a quality glass aquarium that fits the AquaSprouts Garden.

It includes LED lighting, fish food, water conditioner, supplements, a fish net, filter, and a care guide.

2. Hydroplanet’s 2-foot fluorescent bulbs for indoor gardening fits the Aquasprouts Garden light bar.

Any 2-foot lighting will fit and be compatible with the aquaponic set-up. Hydroplanet’s lights are a quality product and have been highly rated.

5. AeroGarden Hydroponic Tank

hydroponic tank


An alternative to the aquaponics fish tank is a hydroponic setup like this one.

This is especially for growing herbs and other leafy greens in the kitchen, but it does not take fish.

This cannot be used with fish, it’s only for the growing herbs.

Plants can grow up to 12 inches high with this kit, and you can have up to 6 growing at a time.

That might be what many of you are looking for, as it takes away some of the worries and/or hassles of fish keeping in such a small tank.

It also means you can have good grow lights on the plants that are not going to negatively affect the fish – it could be a way of providing fresh treats for rabbits!

Included with the kit:

  • Genovese Basil, Curly Parsley, Dill, Thyme, Thai Basil, and Mint seeds
  • LED grow lights
  • Helpful control panel

Fish Tank Garden

Here are two other hydroponic fish tanks to consider – these cannot grow edible food, however.

wall hanging fish tankThe Sweetsea wall-mounted tank is a small, cheap aquaponic fish tank.

It holds very little water, having two size options: 0.5 gallons or 1 gallon. It is only suitable for 1 small fish, and the larger tank is the best choice.

This is a really unique fish tank that will wow your visitors and makes them go ‘by golly’, though it is not for growing food.

fish tank with waterfallThe Penn-Plax AquaTerrium Planting Tank is different again – it’s a fish tank garden!

Like the one above, this one is also not for growing food.

It comes in 3 sizes; small, medium, and large. It is an open tank with the plants growing at the back and it has its very own waterfall!

Aquaponics FAQs

aquaponic fish tank reviews

Is an aquaponic aquarium worth it for food production?

Growing lettuce and other leafy greens using an aquaponic system is not uncommon in the commercial section. It’s a good way of growing more food in less space.

Aeroponics is another hydroponic method of food production where “the root zone is fed with a pressurized mist of nutrient-rich water” – you can read more in this post on aeroponics vs hydroponics. However, this method is also being used a lot more commercially, even to grow in cities.

Aquaponics with fish is less common on a large scale, except for perhaps some locations in Asia. It’s mostly done at home using the small kits we’re sharing here.

If you spend the time to learn how to do it well, it is worth it for growing fresh food at home. However, many people do give up on it before getting it to work well.

What size tank do I need for aquaponics?

As you can see from some of the tanks shared above, you do not need a large tank.

For the sake of your fish, it’s good to get one as large as you can, but you can make this work in as little as a couple of gallons of water. Some people have very large aquaponic fish tanks in which they also grow fish for food.

What kills fish in aquaponics?

What usually kills fish in these setups is ammonia build-up.

It’s important to do semi-regular water tests to ensure your parameters are good for both fish and food. The API freshwater test kit is worth checking out.

Hydroponic Fish Tanks

That’s everything we have to share on aquaponics fish tanks, but let us know if you have any other questions down below.

These fish tanks with plants on top can make for a really cool talking point in your kitchen. It’s always fun finding new ways to grow things, especially if it involves a new pet as well.

The small aquaponics fish tanks can work really well as pets for apartment dwellers or those who are wanting low-maintenance animals.


2 thoughts on “7 TOP Aquaponic Fish Tank Reviews: An Aquarium With Plants On Top”

  1. I really like the look of the back to roots tank you shared first, but it’s a shame it’s only a 3 gallon tank. I wish they did one in 5 or 6 gallons.

    • Yes, I know what you mean Wendy! However, I think the product is meant as a small kitchen counter tank to teach kids about aquaponics, or as a bit of a novelty for us older folk. I don’t think they designed it for a major growing operation. You could also check out the ECO-Cycle Aquaponics Indoor Garden System which is not on our list above.


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