Fish tanks in the kitchen

So you want to put a fish tank on your kitchen counter?

We’ll read on for our full guide to recommended tanks, positioning and guide to keeping it clean and algae free – no one wants and algae filled mess in the kitchen!

We’re looking at fish tanks that will sit on your counter, or free standing in the kitchen space, not bespoke built in options that you need to be a footballer to afford!

Scroll down for free standing tanks 🙂

Kitchen counter top aquariums

Selecting the right tank

In most kitchens surface space is at a premium so selecting the right tank is key to the look. You don’t want something too big that means you have to squeeze around it to make a sandwich. The tanks we’re looking at are small nano tanks to fit in a dark corner and under units – around 20 litre tanks. You can go bigger if you have the space and up to 40 litres should fit on your top without any issues.

Recommended tank – Fluval spec 19L -(

[easyazon_link identifier=”B009R7D9CS” locale=”UK” tag=”small-tanks-21″]Check price on Amazon here[/easyazon_link])

Here’s my tank

Fluval Spec on kitchen counter

The Fluval Spec is, in my opinion, the best tank for your kitchen counter – here’s a quick guide why –

  1. Dimensions – Rather than a square tank, its a long rectangle so goes back against the counter and creates more to look at than a standard square tank.
  2. Easy of maintenance – This is a simple tank to setup and run, just clean the filter once a month and top up the water when its needed.
  3. Looks – It comes in a black or white option and looks sleek and contemporary. The tank, like most Fluval tanks, is built to hide the filter in a section at the end giving it a nice clean crisp look.

Where to place the tank

This is key to keeping the tank nice and clean – it needs to be away from direct sunlight. I cannot stress the importance of this! If left in direct sunlight then you’ll get lots of problems with algae, very quickly.

In the kitchen its usually easy to find a dark corner underneath the kitchen units. This is the idea spot for keeping the tank and I also think it helps to brighten up a dark corner of the kitchen too.

You’ll need to make sure it’s away from any direct heat source or this will effect the water temperature and may harm your fish. Simply put – don’t put it next to the cooker!


If you’re close to the sink then the maintenance is going to be really easy! With the smaller tanks you may find you need to top up the water once a week or so (you may need to do water changes this frequently if you’re having issues when first getting the tank up and running). Specific needs for water changes and filter cleaning will be in your tank instructions but roughly once a month will usually be sufficient depending what you keep in the tank.

3 things to consider when getting a tank for your kitchen

  1. Where will the tank go – Measure the space, or cut a cardbord box to the same size as the tank. If you’re unsure if it will get in the way then leave it there for a week and see how it goes. It’s better to do this than to buy an aquarium and find its always in the way once it’s fully setup and running
  2. What type of tank? We mainly cover tropical tanks but you could have a marine tank if you were feeling a little more adventurous. Most suitably sized tanks come with a conversion kit if you want to change them. I’d advise a bigger tank for marine though rather than a 20 litre option – especially if it’s your first tank.
  3. The look of the tank – If you’ve read any other pages on the site you’ll know that I’m always banging on about planning your tank! Get an idea of a design or layout that you’ll like before you set it up. If you have a modern kitchen its best to stick to minimal designs and add an extra element of cool! The overall effect of the tank should tie in to the kitchen itself.

Modern fish tank idea?

Modern kitchen fish tank idea

Just as a little side note I saw this and thought it would make a great modern kitchen tank. The tank is a Fluval Edge (review here) and its a tiny light gravel base, a mix of small stones and some smaller plants. The light coloured base works really well with the darker stones to make an eye catching contrast.

Best kitchen diner tanks

*Will be posted soon 🙂