Marineland 5 Gallon Tank Review (Bought & Tested)

By Billy | Updated: December 29, 2021

Recently I bought the Marineland 5 Gallon Portrait Aquarium Kit.

I’ve had it set up on my desk for over 4 months and wanted to share my experience.

The good, bad and the ugly.

Honestly I was a little hesitant to buy it because I couldn’t find any reliable reviews. Sure, there were plenty on Amazon, but it’s always tough to know if they’ve been manipulated.

While this tank averages close to five stars on Amazon, there are some annoying things you should know.

First, let me briefly go over…

My Setup

This is my first aquarium, so I went with something small. Five gallon is the perfect starter size.

I love it’s shape because it doesn’t take up too much space and it’s aesthetically pleasing.

I stocked it with some live plants and a colony of Neon Tetras. If you look close enough, you can see a few of the Tetras in the bottom right corner.

marineland 5 gallon tank

Aesthetically this tank looks awesome.

But from a functionality standpoint there are some things that are frustrating.

First, let’s start with…

What’s Included?

Well, it comes in this cool looking box.

Inside you’ll find…


Pretty straight forward.

Since this was one of my first tanks, I ran into some setup issues. I’ll share some tips below.

Setting It Up

Setting it up was pretty easy. Although I definitely ran into some noob mistakes that I want to share, so you can avoid them.

Wipe It Down

There were a lot of styrofoam pieces inside the tank. Get a wet rag and wipe down the inside. Make sure to remove any packaging debris.

Water Pour

This was my first time setting up a tank with live plants. And boy, oh boy did I mess it up.

The biggest tip I could give you is to spread your soil, then lay down a plastic bag or saran wrap on top of the soil.

The reason for this is so when you pour the water in, it doesn’t stir up the soil and make it murky. Fill the tank about half way, slowly remove your plastic bag and then you can start arranging your live plants.

The first time I laid the soil, planted the live plants and poured the water. This was a mistake because the water immediately unrooted all the plants and make everything super murky.

Let It Cycle

After I set it up, I ran it for only a day and went to the pet store. When the pet store employee asked me if my tank was cycled, I was clueless what that meant.

Typically you want to let your tank get seasoned with bacteria. There are solutions you can buy that will speed up this process, but if you can wait for it to cycle, you should. Cycling depends, but it should take a few weeks.

Pros & Cons

Below are the pros & cons I’ve noticed after using it everyday.

Starting with the pros…


I love the look of this aquarium. The fact that it sits vertical and doesn’t take up as much space as a normal tank is so nice. I have it setup right next to my computer and it looks so cool.

Easy Setup

Like I briefly mentioned above, the setup was fairly easy. This was my first aquarium and I was able to figure it out.

Glass Lid

How the heck are you gonna sell a lid you need to remove every single time you feed your fish, WITHOUT A HANDLE.

Look, I’m sure from a shipping perspective, a handle could easily break, but come on. It’s super frustrating to carefully pull the lid off by the sides. I’ve had several times where I accidentally dropped the lid and it made a mess.

Having no handle is probably my biggest frustration with this aquarium.

marineland lid

Pump suction cups

The suction cups for the pump are on the bottom and work well. But the annoying part is there’s barely any space in the back to see if you actually suctioned the pump properly.

It’s sort of a pushing it down and hope it sticks method.

pump suction cups

Pump Attachment

The pump tube that attaches at the top often slides off because algae builds up on the connectors. I wish there was a better way to secure it because almost every week I have to go in, wipe it down and reconnect it.

I've had a fascination with aquariums since a young age. I watched my dad build tanks from 10 gallons, all the way to 150 gallons. Recently, I built my own 5-gallon freshwater aquarium with Neon Tetras and live plants.