So you want an aquarium. You might remember the phrase “bigger is better.” But in this case, bigger is not always better, and smaller also has its disadvantages. This may be confusing, so I will explain the best tank size for beginners.
Well, the main advantage of a smaller tank is the price. For a 10 gallon, you can expect to pay around $200. However, saltwater tanks are about $400, and even the most basic soft coral reef tank is $600. The smaller tank has less water to handle and when doing water changes, there is less heavy water to haul around. Shown below is a decently priced, high-quality starter kit.
A 20 gallon is the perfect compromise for people who don’t want to spend a fortune but don’t mind buying used. For a 10 gallon, you generally don’t save more than $100, so it’s worth it to buy new which you know the condition and that it’s never been used before.
On the other hand, a 55 gallon can cost you upwards of $600. Again, it is about $1,000 for a saltwater tank that size, and that basic reef will cost up to $1,500. While that 55 gallon is expensive, it lets you have a larger amount of fish and a wider variety of fish. It is also easier to care for your fish in a larger tank because the waste products are spread out more evenly through the larger volume of water.
Ultimately, a 55 gallon is a good compromise between tiny tanks that are harder to maintain and larger tanks that are more expensive. However, if you are on a tight budget a 40 gallon, 30 gallon, 20 gallon, or 10 gallon will all work. Shown below is a very cheap 55-gallon starter kit of decent quality.