30 Gallon Fish Tank

Complete 30 Gallon Fish Tank Guide: Cost, Setup, Dimensions, Decoration and Maintenance

30 Gallon Fish Tank
30 Gallon Fish Tank

Getting a fish tank or any tank at all is a big decision. You’re in luck because here is a complete 30 Gallon Fish Tank Guide.

Chances are once you’ve placed it, moving it around won’t be so friendly for the fishes or the setup and this means you have to make your decision wisely. In this post, we’ll cover all you need to know about getting your 30 gallon tank and making it the perfect ecosystem for your sea friends.

Is a 30 Gallon tank a good size?

30 gallon tanks strike the perfect balance between big tanks and nano tanks. It is big enough to transform the look of your room and it is small enough to get a budget-friendly and fun setup and maintenance.

It is also a perfect size for beginners who are enthusiastic about gaining fish-keeping experience. A 30 gallon tank can accommodate a larger number of fishes and species and this way you learn and understand keeping diverse species.

However, the choice of different species will depend on factors like temperament and activity. Ideally, aggressive fishes will need more space than community fishes. If you also intend to breed your fishes, then you should bear in mind that there is a variation of 30 gallon tanks made for that purpose.

30 Gallon Fish Tank Dimensions and Variations

Although they are medium-sized, 30 gallon fish tanks give you all the fancy benefits of nano tanks. They come in different variations of shapes and sizes.

The different shapes include rectangle, hexagon, and cube. They also come in specialized variations like high, wide, and breeding tanks. Because of these variations, 30 gallon tanks do not have a one-size-for-all dimension. Nonetheless, a typical 30 gallon fish tank will measure 36″ x 12″ x 16″. (L x W x H). Also, a breeder tank will measure 36″ x 18″ x 12″. (L x W x H)

One thing to note is that, despite the different variations or shapes the tank may come in, they all usually share a common length but the difference comes in their width and height.

What Kind of Fish Can Go in a 30 Gallon Tank?

As mentioned earlier, a 30 gallon tank empowers you with many options and choices. While you stock up your tank, consider how big they can grow, the care level, water parameters, temperament, and activity of the fish you want in your tank. This way you make informed choices of fishes that can cohabit healthily and peacefully together.

Once you’ve decided whether you want aggressive and territorial fishes or community fishes then you can start stocking up on both fish or non-fish tank mates to create the perfect sea ambiance.

Dwarf Gouramis, Crayfish, small Cichlids even a Senegal Bichir are good options if you enjoy aggressive or territorial animals. On the other hand, Lemon Tetras, neon tetras, black neon tetras, tiger barbs, mollies, platies, and corydoras catfish are good choices for a community tank.

Other options you could consider include:

  • Catfish species (Corys, Plecos, and Otos)
  • Rainbowfish
  • Guppies
  • Chili Rasbora
  • Angelfish
  • Goldfish
  • Clownfish
  • Clown Goby
  • Banggai cardinalfish

Aside from helping to create a sea atmosphere, some non-fish tank mates are also known to help prevent the growth of algae in fish tanks. A few good options for non-fish tank mates would include:

  • Crabs
  • Shrimps(Cherry shrimps, Amano shrimps)
  • Snails

Algae are known to grow in small aquariums and these non-fish tank mates are great helpers with getting that trouble off your hands.

If you are considering other aquarium options for you, perhaps a coffee table aquarium is perfect for you.

Complete 30 Gallon Fish Tank Guide 1
Setup and Decoration Ideas for 30 gallon fish tanks

Setting up your tank perfectly is very important if you want your fish to thrive. Deciding what kind of fish you want and your purpose for fish keeping will give you a good jumpstart on how your tank should be set up and decorated.

Check out some of the trending aquarium background ideas.

Tank Setup Ideas

Nano reef tank: Reef tanks are a delight to look at. The pop of colors from corals can capture anyone’s attention and become the talk of the room.

If you’re going with this setup, you should note that to thrive, coral reef life needs saltwater, and the ratio of salt to water must be just right. Hence, you should also consider stocking it with saltwater aquarium fishes like Firefish, Tangs, Mollies, Damselfish, and Clownfish.

Also, Candy Cane Coral, Ricordea Florida, and Hammer Coral are three excellent starting corals for your reef tank. With these corals, some fishes, and outstanding anemones, we could be talking about a show-worthy nano reef tank.

Community tank: A community aquarium setup would be ideal for your 30 gallon tank. Community tanks are mostly freshwater and made specifically to house multiple fish species. Your 30 gallon tank affords you the luxury of that. It is excellent for beginners and would cost you less than setting up a saltwater tank.

Some wonderful additions to this tank would include a range of species such as Asian gouramis, Brazilian angelfish from Brazil, Mexican swordtails, and Zebra Danios.

Species-only tank: If you’ve gained satisfactory experience with keeping other species and believe it’s time to go all out for your favorite fish, a species-only tank would be a perfect setup for you. This way you get to keep only one specie.

Goldfishes are an excellent choice for a species-only tank since they have unique personalities and add color to the tank.

With a species-only tank, you don’t have to deal with any complex care routine since you have only one type of fish, and your work is less and more straightforward.

Paludarium: A paludarium is a hybrid tank setup that gives both sea and land settings. It is an aquarium and also a terrarium. It’d enjoy all the vibrant sea colors and nature with a mix of the calm land life. 

Many semi-aquatic species, like turtles and frogs, can be kept in this tank setup. A lot of freshwater fish can also thrive in this tank. If you’d like to try keeping more than fish, then this is a great choice for your nano tank.

Equipment for a 30 Gallon Fish Tank

Before you think of decorating, there is some equipment needed to help create the right temperature, lighting, and setting. This equipment are necessary if you want a blossoming aquarium. Essential equipment for your 30 gallon fish tank includes:

Heaters: You don’t need to buy a strong heater for a 30 gallon tank but a heater is required to recreate the temperature in the sea for your fish especially if they aren’t cold water species. A medium-powered heater will suffice, and it could be automatic or adjustable. Heaters will help to regulate the temperature of the tank regardless of the weather in the room. Also, your choice of heater can be dependent on the size of your tank.

Filters: Without an adequate nutrient distribution in the water tank, your fishes may lack a balanced habitat and suffer from malnutrition. Filters are important in aquariums because they house the majority of the helpful bacteria that remove hazardous substances from the water and make it safe for the fish by distributing the helpful nutrients like Calcium.

Calcium is a very important nutrient for saltwater systems and it can be found in hard water which the fishes will absorb through their gills. External, internal, or substrate filters will suffice as long as they can pump enough water into the tank.

Light: Some hobbyists think lighting up their fishing tank is only for aesthetic purposes but it does more than that. Although lighting does beautify your tank by highlighting the color of your fish and other decorations your plants need light for a more important reason – Plants need light for their growth. But using artificial lighting will lessen the rate at which you have to expose your tank to direct sunlight and this will significantly reduce algae growth.

You have a wide range of lighting options for your 30 gallon tank. From LED lighting to external aquarium lamps and incandescent bulbs. However, incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat and can affect the stability of the water around them. This means the water temperament of the species you’re keeping would have a place in determining your choice of lighting.

Other equipment that can help you make the best of your fish-keeping experience will include a stand to keep your tank well placed and stable and a lid to ensure your fishes aren’t jumping out of the tank.

Decorating Ideas for a 30 gallon fish tank

Like any other fish tank, decorating your 30 gallon fish tank is up to your creativity. However, since you’re dealing with more space here, you should be mindful of how you place your decor and manage the area.

Decorations are on often on attractive display at the pet store and you may be tempted to buy way more than you need and even more tempted to use it all and overstuff your 30 gallon fish tank.  Overstuffing is a bad idea cause it could make cleaning more difficult (we’ll show you how to clean your tank as you keep reading). For now, let’s go over the decoration process.

Step 1: Start with the substrate

The substrate is the ground layer for your tank. You can use sand, stones, gravel, or glass pebbles to form your substrate but your final choice will depend on the type of fish you want to add to your tank.

If you intend to stock fish with very soft skin that is prone to scratching, then using glass pebbles or gravel won’t be the wisest choice except if you want to keep the fish away from the substrate, and this is practically impossible.

Make sure you carefully rinse and remove any dirt, dust, or objects that could be hiding inside your sub rate and could be harmful to your fishes.

Step 2: Adding Your plants

While some plants can stay on the surface, some need to go into the substrate. With these plants, you can put them in the substrate and cover the bottom with sand or gravel to hold them in place. Plants are a good addition to your tank because they can add color to it and also give it the ideal underwater feel.

You can also choose between real or fake plants for your 30 gallon tank. Fake plants can be found in a variety of colors and are low maintenance, hence why they are a popular choice.

Real plants contribute to adding nutrients to the water, can provide hiding spaces for the fish, and if the fish finds it tasty, they can take some bites when they’re feeling up to it. This means you have to replace them every now and then and also ensure the plants don’t decompose in the water when they die.

Step 3: Placing Decorations

When it comes to adding decorations to your 30 gallon tank, you can finally bring all the creative ideas you have to life. You can get those cute mermaid toys and giant fork with a throne if that’s what you want but you have to ensure that whatever decorations you get are made of materials that are safe for your fishes and won’t become harmful when they are kept in water for a long time.

Rocks, driftwood, corals, treasure chests, and ships are some of the most popular decoration choices. However, there are no limits to this as long you keep the materials and the safety of your fish in mind.

Also, don’t overstuff your tank with decorations. You want to maintain a good balance between decorations and the space in your tank so the fishes can have enough room for activity and not get into one another’s space.

Avoid having too many large pieces in your decoration. One centerpiece and other small items to complement it would do.

How to Keep Your 30 Gallon Fish Tank Clean
How to Keep Your 30 Gallon Fish Tank Clean

Once your aquarium has reached a steady-state then your maintenance routine becomes much easier. There will be no need to go over cycling the tank each time you want to change the water. The number of fishes and plants in the water would be able to supply the needed nutrients and create the perfect ecosystem for themselves.

Let’s go over some tips to keep your 30 gallon tank in good shape to have complete 30 Gallon Fish Tank.

Maintaining the setup: You mustn’t stress your fish by moving them too often. When you leave them in their spot for about two to three months without making any changes in the setup, your aquarium will stay cleaner for longer than you imagine.

Keeping it clean: There are tiny mistakes in your daily routine that can affect how clean your tank can be. For instance, avoid putting too much food in the tank because when the fish don’t eat them all, remnants will dissolve and add dirt to the water. Another possibility is the fish can overfeed and poop too much causing excess ammonium in the water and leaving a brown color. Cleaning your tank is essential to remove all these waste products.

Checking the equipment: As you go over your routine, also ensure that all equipment in your tank are working properly. Heater, filter, and lighting are all important in the recreated ecosystem.

Removing inorganic compounds: Algae do not belong in your tank. You can use your scraper to get this and other uninvited inhabitants out regularly. Plastic decorations also get dirty quickly, so you can clean those too each time you do a water change.

In summary, every aquarist’s dream is to get to a place where they have a steady tank, but before you get there, you have to regular water changes. Saltwater tanks will require a weekly 10% water change and freshwater tanks will require at least a 20% biweekly water change.

Things to Look Out for when Buying your 30-gallon Fish Tank
Things to Look Out to have a complete 30-gallon Fish Tank

Things to Look Out for When to a Complete 30-gallon Fish Tank

Before you head to the pet store, you need to have some expectations and an idea of how to get the best fish tank for yourself. If you’re considering buying a 30 gallon tank, here are some things you should look out for:

Budget: People always want to know how much a 30 Gallon tank will go for and asking the right questions is a great place to start. The size of your budget will determine whether you should go for a new 30 gallon tank or a second-hand tank or go for a 30 gallon tank at all.

New tanks cost about $120-$130 and used tanks will cost about $70-$100. Note that buying the tank is only one of the things you’ll be spending on. Feeding, equipment, decorations, and utility bills also cost money, so keep this in mind when planning your budget.

Material: 30 gallon tanks come in both glass and acrylic. The major difference is in their weight. Glass aquariums can sometimes weigh 10 times more than their acrylic counterparts.

Space and shape: What shape of 30 gallon tank do you have room for? A rectangle, cube, or hexagon? Keep this in mind before bringing home a tank you don’t have a good area for.

Fish: What kind of fish do you want to keep in your tank? Are you looking to expand your fish specimens and colony? Or you are a one-fish-at-a-time kind of aquarist? You should consider the purpose of your fish keeping before buying any tank.


A complete 30 gallon tanks are the new ‘black’. They’re popularly loved because they give enough space but can also come in fancy forms.

As long as you have the room for it, then you shouldn’t be hesitant at all. We have addressed everything you need to know from purchase to setup, stocking and maintenance and this information can guide you in and out of the pet store. Feel free to share your 30 gallon tank decoration with us in the comment section.