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30 Gallon Fish Tank | Everything You Should Know Before Setting Up |

Have you been thinking about getting a fish tank but don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning it? If so, then a 30-gallon fish tank is the perfect option for you!

These tanks are often used in offices or living rooms because they do not need as much maintenance.

This article will go over everything you need to know about these tanks and how to set them up.

30 gallon fish tank

Do 30-gallon tanks exist?

Yes. They are. The 30-gallon fish tank is a mid-sized tank, perfect as a nano tank. It is not much large or too small, making it ideal for beginners who would love to keep more than one fish.

A 30-gallon fish tank is actually not on the standard aquarium size list like the 30-gallon breeder tank, but you can buy this size from your local aquarium shop without any problem.

As a experienced fish keeper if you are looking for a versatile fish tank that can be used as a freshwater aquarium or a saltwater aquarium, then this would be the size you should consider.

Its size fits almost any corner, including your living room, office, and school, and it still can hold a considerable amount of fish without any problem.

How heavy is a 30-gallon fish tank?

30-gallon fish tanks are typically made of glass, and since it’s not much larger than a standard 29-gallon aquarium, it usually weighs around 40- 50lbs.

30-gallon glass tank is light enough to be carried by one person, but you should always have help setting it up or moving it once set up.

When the tank is fully stocked, it will weigh around 350 pounds (159 kg). So, once your tank is set up, it is not easy to move around.

However, if you buy a tank made of acrylic instead of glass, it might be a lot lighter since acrylic is much lighter than glass.

30-gallon fish tank dimensions

Since the length of 30-gallon fish tanks varies depending on the manufacturer, it’s hard to say what would be its exact height and width.

However, most 30-gallon tanks are between 13 and 20 inches wide, which makes them perfect for almost any room.

The standard size for a 30-gallon fish tank would be 36″x13″x16″. However, the measurements change in the 30-gallon breeder tank.

A breeder tank should have a more square-like bottom and a low profile for the breeders to access fish fry easily. Therefore the breeder tanks are made with lower heights with more widths.

A 30-gallon breeder tank would usually measure 36″x18″x12″. But, this tank is not ideal as a display tank because of its low height.

30-gallon fish tank in liters

A 30-gallon fish tank can hold, well, 30 gallons of water. In liters, it can hold about 113 liters.

However, you should add less than the actual water amount because the substrates, decorations, and equipment like filtration and air pump will take up some space.

30 gallons (113 liters) should be the maximum amount of water you can keep in a 30-gallon tank.

How many fish can I put in a 30-gallon tank?

The number of fish you should put in a 30-gallon fish tank is determined by your aquarium’s size and the species you keep.

It’s usually better to keep one inch of fish per gallon of water. However, it’s always better to keep less fish than more since you will need a lot of filtration and good maintenance if you keep more than one fish.

So, as per the calculation, you can keep about five freshwater species such as goldfishes that are about 6 inches long each. (5*6=30).

On another note, this condition applies to marine species in saltwater environments in the same manner.

However, this is a rough estimate, and you should consider the activity level as well as your fish’s temperament level before stocking up your 30-gallon aquarium.

Further, if you choose to fill up your tank with plants and decorations, the space your fish gets to swim around lessens dramatically. So, you should think through that factor as well.

30-gallon fish tank stocking ideas

With a fish tank this size, the options are limitless. You can keep small fish and medium to large-sized fish in a 30-gallon tank.

Be it freshwater fish or saltwater fish; you can choose any fish type for your aquarium. Just keep this simple rule in your mind “one inch of fish per one gallon.” And you are good to go.

As we think, maintaining a freshwater aquarium is much easier than a saltwater aquarium. Therefore we mainly listed freshwater fish in our stocking ideas list.

The best fish suitable for a 30-gallon tank are:Goldfish – it’s a perfect size and will add aesthetic value to your home or office.

It can also be bred in this tank easily. However, don’t put the goldfish in a tank with aggressive species because aggressive fish can attack them.

If you must, then make sure that the tank has a cover and monitor their behavior closely.

Bristlenose catfish or Ancistrus

They will keep your bottom clean of any debris and also scare away the unwanted algae from growing. They are very calm and will fit into any community tank.

Harlequin rasbora

This is a beautiful fish that can help you control the pH level in your aquarium. They are the perfect choice for goldfish tanks since they are small yet active enough to make your tank look good. They are very peaceful but prefer live foods rather than freeze-dried ones.

Cory catfish

This is one of the best fish for your tank because they are small, fun to watch, and are very active swimmers. They are also great with goldfish because they won’t nip at their fins or tails.

Cherry barb

This colorful fish has an energetic personality, and they’ll love to swim around in your aquarium. They are very peaceful in nature but will need live food to survive.

Neon tetra

They’ll add a beautiful splash of neon colors to your tank, which will attract attention. However, make sure that they don’t get eaten by the other fish.

Corydoras paleatus

They can help reduce the ammonia level in your aquarium by eating up the leftover food that falls to the bottom of the tank. They are also fun to watch because of their unique swimming habits.


These are very peaceful and hardy fish that you can keep in your community tank. They are also easy to breed, so they’ll be your good pets for life. 


They are colorful fish that prefer to stay in schools, which is interesting when they’re schooling together in the open water.

Zebra danios

They are one of the most peaceful fish you can keep in your tank. They won’t nip at any fish’s fins or tails and will even eat from your hand, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

Since the maximum amount of fish you can put in your tank depends on the activity level of each fish, for example, if you have really active fish, you can put only one or two in this tank. A good rule of thumb is to put only one to two active fish in a 30-gallon tank.

However, if your budget permits, you can fill your tank with as many fish as you can.

But make sure you have a powerful filtration system and try to provide your fish with proper space for swimming and resting.

Just remember the rule of thumb, i.e., one inch of fish per gallon of water, and you will be fine.

How much would a 30-gallon tank cost?

The price of a 30-gallon tank varies depending on the

  • material
  • shape and design and
  • included equipment.

There are mainly two materials from which a 30-gallon tank can be made – glass and acrylic. Both materials have their pros and cons.

Acrylic tanks are lighter in weight, but on the other hand, they are more expensive than glass ones.

An acrylic tank can also be easily scratched and may develop cracks after a few years of use, which makes it useless.

Glass tanks, on the other hand, are very durable, but they are heavy and not the best option if you want to replace your tank often.

A simple rectangular shaped 30-gallon glass fish tank would cost you around $300 to $500. On the other hand, a 30-gallon acrylic tank will cost you more than $600 per piece.

The shape of a 30-gallon tank also determines its price. Rectangular or hexagonal tanks are the cheapest, while round and bow-fronted ones are the most expensive tank in this category.

Finally, the design of the tank also affects its price. A basic 30-gallon tank is cheaper than a high-tech one that comes with advanced filtration systems.

The 30-gallon tanks are not very expensive to buy, but you will have to spend more money on the filtration system and equipment. 

Some tanks come with a basic equipment kit that will help you in getting started. The kit includes lighting, a filter, a pump, and a heater.

This kit will cost you an extra $50 to $100 but, it is worth buying if you are new to this hobby.

Finally, if your budget is tight, you can always consider buying a second-hand one. A used 30-gallon tank would cost you around $200 or less.

The condition of the tank also matters so you should check it thoroughly before buying.

30 gallon fish tank

What to consider when buying a 30-gallon tank?

When setting up an aquarium, you can not just buy a tank and place it wherever you like. There are some things to consider before buying your fish tank.

Aquarium Placement

The positioning and placement of your aquarium will determine the health of your fish. There are many things to consider for this, such as:

  • The amount of direct sunlight your fish tank gets
  • The air condition in your room
  • Your noise levels and risk of an earthquake
  • The temperature of your room
  • Whether or not your walls are insulated etc.

Mainly the place you choose should be a calm, cool place that doesn’t get direct sunlight as sunlight causes heavy algal growth.

Fish tank shape

Once you have decided on a place for your aquarium, the next thing you should consider is the shape of your tank.

The most common shapes are rectangle, hexagon, or bow front. A rectangle is the cheapest one but if you want to create an active environment for your fishes, then go for bow front or hexagonal aquarium.

Fish size

If you are planning to buy a 30-gallon tank, you definitely need to consider the size of your fish.

If you are not sure about how large or how small your fish will grow, you should be prepared to change the size of your tank in the future.

You can avoid this by buying one that is slightly bigger than you need. However, keep in mind that a tank that is too big will make maintaining it difficult.


The other important things to consider when buying a tank are the filtration system, heater, and lighting.

When purchasing an aquarium, you should never forget that the tank size, filtration system, heater, and lighting are different components of the same whole.

Lighting is more important than you think. The lighting must be adequate so that algae will not grow excessively in the aquarium.

You should also buy a filtration system that is easy to maintain. Too complicated filters are difficult to operate, so you should always go for simple ones.

Don’t forget about the heater. Buy a good quality heater that can maintain the temperature of your tank without any fluctuations.


Nothing will work as you expect if you have a low budget for an aquarium.

Not only the cost of the fish tank, equipment, and fish, you should also consider the monthly cost of running the aquarium.

You will have to spend on electricity, water and cleaning supplies, water testing kits, food, and medications monthly basis, and it will make your budget go over if you are not ready for it.

Benefits and drawbacks of a 30-gallon fish tank


  1. A 30-gallon tank is a perfect beginner-friendly tank with enough space to experiment with plants, decorations, and even different fish species.
  2. You can build a completed aquarium in a 30-gallon fish tank with a limited budget. Often, larger fish tanks require expensive equipment to maintain optimal water conditions. However, if you keep smaller fish or coldwater fish species in your 30-gallon tank, the cost of running the aquarium remains low.
  3. 30-gallon tanks are often compatible with most filter units. So if you want to upgrade your filter units in the future, they will fit your 30-gallon fish tank.
  4. 30-gallon tanks are easier to maintain than larger tanks. Since these tanks hold fewer amounts of water, the time to maintain the tank takes less time.
  5. 30-gallon tanks are not expensive to set up when compared to larger aquariums. These tanks are less costly when it comes to the initial setup.
  6. 30-gallon fish tanks come in different styles and shapes. So, you can find a fitting shape for any corner of your room.
  7. As this is a mid-sized tank, it can fit into any aquarium setup. Be it either saltwater or freshwater aquarium, a 30-gallon tank has enough space for both aquarium setups.


  1. You can not house large fish species in a 30-gallon tank. (But, considering you are a beginner, you don’t want that risk of keeping large fish species right away.)
  2. When stocked up, the tank can be too heavy to move around.
  3. The tank affects the temperature of your room. If you live in a colder area, the aquarium will make the room colder than usual.
  4. You can not fit in larger decorations such as caves and other structures in the tank.

Setting up a 30-gallon fish tank

As a 30-gallon tank is a versatile fish tank, you can build a freshwater tank, reef tank, or paludarium. Setting up a 30-gallon fish tank is relatively straightforward.

The first step is to wash the substrate and decor you chose with running water. After removing all the dust, you are ready to fill up your tank.

How much gravel do I need for a 30-gallon tank?

You will need approximately 44 pounds of gravel for a 30-gallon fish tank. Usually, we should add a two-inch layer of the substrate to any fish tank.

So, for a 30-gallon tank, you will need about 44 pounds of substrates to cover a two-inch layer.

After filling up the tank with the substrate, it’s time to fill the tank with water. Your hand should be clean at this time because you will have to put the hand inside the tank to add decorations.

If you plan to add live plants, fill up only three-quarters of the tank. Then install the filter, heater, lights, and any other equipment in the tank.

Best 30-gallon fish tank filter

If your pocket allows, go for a canister filter. Otherwise, a sponge filter will do fine. But it will require fairly more manual cleaning than the canister filter.

What type of lights is good for a 30-gallon tank?

Since this is not a much larger aquarium, a standard fluorescent light or an LED light will be more than enough to light up the aquarium.

After setting up all the equipment, you can decorate it with decorations of your choice. However, be sure to leave enough space for your fish to swim around, and it will be fine.

Before adding your fish, you MUST cycle the tank for at least two weeks to build up beneficial bacteria. After cycling the tank, check for water parameters with a water testing kit.

The Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate readings should be 0ppm to add your fish. If the readings are fine, you can introduce your fish to your new aquarium.


The 30-gallon fish tank is a versatile, budget-friendly, and easy-to-maintain option suitable for aquarists with any experience level.

Since this is a mid-sized tank, it perfectly fits a beginner aquarist. As 30-gallon tanks come in several shapes, you can choose any shape you wish.

Credit to: Jackson Peeples
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About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.