Recently I bought the Marineland 5-gallon portrait tank.
I’ve had it set up for a while and want 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.
For the price, the Marineland 5 Gallon Tank is an overall solid beginner-friendly aquarium. The biggest annoyance is that there’s no handle on the lid and the light isn’t suited for live plants. Because it was fair priced and easy to set up, I would recommend it to beginners.
First, let me briefly go over…
I wanted an aquarium that could fit on my work desk. I don’t have a lot of room, so this 5-gallon portrait worked perfectly.
I love its 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.
After observing their behavior, they seemed somewhat aggressive. I now know that Neon Tetra need at least 10 gallons and a minimum of 6 for a colony. I’m in the process of moving them to a larger tank.
Aesthetically this tank looks awesome.
But from a functionality standpoint, there are some things that are frustrating.
First, let’s start with…
Well, it comes in this nicely packaged box.
Inside you’ll find…
- 5-gallon glass aquarium
- LED strip panel
- Bottom stand
- Filter slide
- Pump w/ tube
Since this was one of my first tanks, I ran into some setup issues. If you’re curious I dedicated a full post to how to start a live planted tank.
Below are the pros & cons I’ve noticed after using it every day.
Pros & Cons
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 set up right next to my computer and it looks so cool.
As I briefly mentioned above, the setup was fairly easy. This was my first aquarium and I was able to figure it out without any issues.
Alright, now let’s move on to the cons.
If you plan on having live plants, the light that comes with this tank won’t work well. It killed most of my live plants because it wasn’t powerful enough. You can see in the image below, that it consists of a small LED strip.
My solution was to replace it with a Fluval LED Nano light from Aquarium Co-op. That light allows you to automatically program a circadian rhythm, which is vital to help your live plants grow.
How the heck are you gonna sell a lid you need to remove every day to 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. Sure, you could buy sticky clips on Amazon but they should already come with some.
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.
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.
To put it simply, this tank has a lot of room for improvement. But mine is still going strong and for the price, I can’t really complain. Because it’s fairly priced and was an easy setup, I would recommend it for beginners.