Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tank, Setup & Stocking Ideas

If you're considering taking your hobby to the next level by breeding your own fish, a 40 gallon fish tank is the ideal size to start playing matchmaker for your finned friends!
3 Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tanks
3 Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tanks

I’ve successfully bred many fish over the years, it’s super rewarding watching them go from tiny fry to fully grown fish.

I’ll review the 3 best 40 gallon fish tank options and weigh up the pros and cons of each, so you can find the perfect one for you and your budget.

I’ll also be giving you the lowdown on how to set up a 40-gallon breeder and give you some ideas of the types of fish you can breed in it, even if you’re a complete beginner.

If you’ve already got a tank and are looking for some great eye-catching 40 gallon tank stocking ideas for single species or community tanks, skip past the reviews and head straight to the end of this post. 👇

40 Gallon Breeder Tank – Top Picks

Here are the 3 best 40-gallon breeder tanks available: 👇

What Is A 40-Gallon Breeder Tank?

A 40-gallon breeder tank is a slightly different size than a regular aquarium, it’s generally longer and not as tall. As the name suggests it is designed for breeding fish. 

An aquarium of this size also makes a great display tank, I’ve listed some great fish stocking ideas below.

Glass vs Acrylic

40-gallon breeders are available in either glass or acrylic, to decide which is the best option for you I’ll go through some pros and cons of each.

Aesthetics – I prefer the look of a glass aquarium, acrylic aquariums can look a bit cheap unless you buy a decent quality one, but that’s just my preference.

Clarity / Distortion – If you like taking photos of your fish, acrylic is the best option as it doesn’t distort the photos like glass can. Many glass tanks have a green tint to them due to the iron content in the glass.

Durability – An acrylic tank is much more impact resistant glass (great if you have kids) but the downside is it will scratch much easier than glass if you’re not careful when cleaning it. If you’re one of those people who will be driven nuts by a scratch on your tank (me!!), glass is the best option.

Insulation – Acrylic tanks hold heat much better than glass, so you will use less power to heat the water.

Price – Where glass tanks have a clear advantage over acrylic is the price point. Acrylic aquariums tend to be more expensive in comparison unless you’re looking at buying one of the newer low-iron rimless glass tanks.

Weight – A glass 40-gallon breeder will weigh around 55lbs when empty, whereas an acrylic tank will weigh in at about 25 lbs, making acrylic over 50% lighter, so it will be much easier to move around.

What Are The Dimensions Of A 40 Gallon Breeder Tank?

The typical dimensions of a 40 gallon breeder aquarium are:

  • Length: 36″
  • Width: 18″
  • Height: 16″

There are of course some slight differences from manufacturer to manufacturer.

40 Gallon Tank vs 40 Gallon Breeder Tank

Generally available in 3 configurations:

Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tank Size Comparison
40 Gallon Aquarium Size Comparison

The idea of the extra width of a 40-gallon breeder is to give you better access to your fish and their fry.

Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tank Reviews

I’ve gone over the pros and cons of the top 3 40 gallon breeding tanks available, so you can be sure to pick the best one that suits you and your budget.

1. LANDEN Rimless 44 Gallon Low Iron Aquarium Tank 🥇

Landen Rimless 44 Gallon Tank
  • Gallons: 44
  • Dimensions: Length 35.4″ x Width 17.7″ x Height 17.7″
  • Weight (Empty): 85.8 lbs
  • Material: Low Iron Glass


  • Rimless
  • Extremely well made
  • Well packaged for shipping
  • Made 3/8″ thick heavy-duty crystal clear glass
  • Foam leveling mat included


  • Heavy
  • Not the cheapest option

Although this tank is not classed as a true 40 gallon breeder, the dimensions are very similar.

The Landen Rimless 44 gallon low iron aquarium is a very well made top quality tank and the best option if you are wanting a 40 gallon rimless aquarium that really looks the part.

The build quality is second to none with nice neat siliconing in the corners. The 3/8″ thick low iron glass allows more natural light to pass through and reduces the greenish tint found in other glass aquariums giving you a much clearer view of your fish.

The included foam leveling mat may not line up fully with the tank when it arrives, but when you fill the tank with water the weight makes the mat stretch outwards to the tank edges.

The addition of a hinged mesh screen cover stops your fish from escaping from the tank.

Lights wise the NICREW Classic LED Gen 2 Aquarium Light would fit nicely.

Check out some of the reviews on Amazon and see for yourself just how well packaged for shipping this tank is.

I own a couple of Landen tanks and can vouch for the excellent build quality and they look fantastic.

2. SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set 🥈

SeaClear Acrylic 40 Gallon Aquarium
  • Gallons: 40
  • Dimensions: Length 36″ x Width 15″ x Height 16″
  • Weight (Empty): 20 lbs
  • Material: Acrylic


  • Lightweight
  • Clearer than glass aquariums
  • Light fixture and reflector included
  • Stable water temperatures
  • Seamless corners


  • Light bulb not included
  • Poorly designed lid
  • Difficult to clean

The SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo is the best 40 gallon acrylic aquarium I have found, but it has a couple of minor niggles.

It is much lighter than a glass tank at only 20 lbs and it’s hard to put in words just how much clearer it is to see through, it’s like having a 4k fish tank!

Being acrylic it is much more durable and 17 times more impact resistant than glass, ideal if you have children or boisterous pets, it also offers much better water temperature stability (compared to glass), and because it’s a single molded piece there are no ugly joins in the corners.

Now for the not so good…

You get a light fixture with this combo kit, but you don’t get the bulb included. You’d think for the price they could manage to include a bulb!

The lid design could be better. It’s there to add extra support to the rim, but the access holes make it a little awkward to clean the inside of the tank.

When you remove the lid for cleaning, the rim bows outwards and it’s quite tricky to get it back on again, not a huge issue, but something to be aware of.

You could buy a hinged mesh screen cover to replace the lid with for easier access, all in all, it’s a good tank if you are set on choosing acrylic over glass and you can live with a couple of small niggles.

3. Aqueon Standard Glass Aquarium Tank 40 Gallon Breeder 🥉

Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tank
Aqueon Standard 40 Gallon Breeder
  • Gallons: 40
  • Dimensions: Length 36.19″ x Width 18.25″ x Height 16.94″
  • Weight (Empty): 58 lbs
  • Material: Glass


  • Great value for money
  • Well made
  • Braced for extra strength
  • Suitable for freshwater or saltwater
  • Glass lid and stand available


  • Potential silicone issues

The Aqueon 40 gallon breeder offers great value for money and is a great option if you’re on a tighter budget.

Made from glass with silicone edges and black bracing around the edges to give the tank extra strength.

There are some reports of issues with the silicone, so be sure to do a thorough inspection before adding water as it can be hit or miss if you get a good one or not! It’s a shame Aqueon has skimped on the silicone, as this tank would be my no.1 recommendation if it didn’t have this issue, you get what you pay for I guess!

Before adding any fish I’d test that it is fully watertight (in a location that won’t spoil if it gets wet!) by adding a small amount of water each day and monitoring it closely.

If you would like a lid to prevent your fish from escaping and reduce water evaporation, the Aqueon Versa Top 36″ X 18″ Hinged Glass Aquarium Top is designed to fit this tank.

A suitable sturdy stand for this aquarium that has great reviews, is the Imagitarium Brooklyn metal tank stand. Available to buy at Petco or Amazon.

Equipment For A 40 Gallon Breeder Tank

You must have the correct equipment for a 40 gallon breeder tank as fry and young fish are very sensitive to environmental changes, even more so than adult fish.

If you’re considering getting into the fish breeding hobby I advise not skimping on equipment if you want to give your fry the very best chance of survival.

Some essential equipment you will need in addition to a tank is:

  • Filter
  • Heater
  • Lights
  • Lid
  • Tank divider or breeding box

Best Filter For 40 Gallon Breeder Tank

Fish need good filtration. It removes harmful toxins from the water and maintains a balanced nitrogen cycle, and also creates water flow through the tank which keeps the water oxygenated.

Canister filters and HOB filters work best for a 40-gallon breeder tank in my experience. You could also add a sponge filter as they’re very good for colonizing beneficial bacteria to help remove harmful toxins from the water.

Make sure you get a filter with an adjustable flow rate so you don’t create too much current as the fry could get swept up in it.

I highly recommend you fit the filter intake with a pre-filter sponge as an extra precaution to stop your fry from being sucked in.

The best canister filter for 40 gallon breeder tank is the Fluval 207 fitted with the Fluval Edge Pre-Filter Sponge.

Fluval 207
Fluval Edge Filter Sponge

The best HOB filter for a 40 gallon breeder is the Fluval C3 Power Filter, also fitted with the Fluval Edge Pre-Filter Sponge.

Fluval C3
Fluval Edge Filter Sponge

Best Heater For 40 Gallon Breeder

Fluval E200 Heater
Fluval E200 Heater

Different species of fish require different water temperatures for breeding. A high-quality adjustable water heater is one of the must-have items when breeding fish.

When it comes to heaters I swear by Fluval. I’ve used them for years and have always found them to be ultra-reliable and accurate.

I recommend the Fluval E200 Advanced Electronic Heater.

Best Lights For 40 Gallon Breeder

NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light

Again, different types of fish have different lighting requirements.

The NICREW Classic LED Gen 2 Aquarium Light has fully adjustable mounting brackets that will fit both rimmed and rimless aquariums. Its light level is adjustable from 5%-100%, it has day and moonlight modes, and 3 timer durations.

Whatever fish you keep you’ll be able to provide the correct lighting requirements with this awesome light.

Lid For 40 Gallon Breeder Tank

Many fish will leap out of the water if they become stressed.

Fitting a lid or a screen top to your tank will keep your fish contained within the tank and safe, it will also help to reduce water evaporation.

Where possible I have included a suitable lid within the tank review sections above.

Tank Divider

Some types of fish can become aggressive towards each other when they breed.

A tank divider allows both the male and female to know each other are there so they can prepare to breed while keeping them separated so you have peace of mind that they’re not going to fight and injure each other.

You can leave a small gap across the bottom of the divider which will allow the female to spawn her eggs and the male to fertilize them without them having to come into contact with each other.

The Penn-Plax Fish Breeding Grass is an ideal product for this breeding method. Once they’ve spawned you can return the parents to their regular tanks and wait for the eggs to hatch.

Breeding Box

Capetsma Fish Breeding Box

This is optional and is best suited to fish that are egg layers, or livebearers such as guppies, mollies, swordtails, and plays.

Many fish eat their eggs and young so you need to provide them somewhere safe for them to hatch and grow.

The capetsma Fish Breeding Box is great for this.

For egg-laying fish species, you can keep the male and female separated in the top half until they’re ready to breed. The fertilized eggs will fall through to the bottom half of the box where they can stay until they hatch, keeping them safe from being eaten.

Once the eggs hatch the fry can swim through slots in the side of the box and access the main tank.

For livebearers, place the female inside the upper level of the breeding container when she is about to give birth to her young.

The fry can then swim through the slots in the sides to access the main tank which keeps them safe from Mom making a snack out of them!

What Fish Can I Breed In A 40 Gallon Tank?

There are many types of beautiful fish you can breed in this size tank.

Some of the easiest freshwater fish to breed include:

Betta Fish (Top Left), Snakeskin Guppy (Top Right), Glowlight Danio (Middle Left), Three Stripe Corydoras (Middle Right), Platy (Bottom Left), Mbuna Cichlid (Bottom Right)
  • Bettas
  • Cichlids
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Danios
  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platys

Some of the best saltwater fish to breed in a marine tank include:

Banggai Cardinal (Top Left), Pajama Cardinal (Top Right), Orchid Dottyback (Bottom Left), Clownfish (Bottom Right)
  • Cardinalfish
  • Clownfish
  • Dottybacks
  • Neon gobies

You can also breed shrimp if you want to try something a little different, cherry shrimp are the easiest to breed for beginners.

40 Gallon Breeder Tank Setup

Setting up a breeder tank is different from setting up a standard fish tank, depending on the type of fish you’re wanting to breed and their method of spawning.

Bubble Nesters

Some fish, such as bettas and gouramis are bubble nesters. The male sucks in air at the water’s surface and then blows it out slowly to create air bubbles beneath a floating plant or large leaf.

Once they spawn, one or even both of the parents will place the eggs inside a bubble until they hatch. With bettas, it tends to be the male who does this.

If you’re interested in breeding bettas, check out my betta fish care guide, where I have gone into much more detail on breeding them.


Livebearers such as guppies are so easy to breed that you may as well say it’s difficult to stop them from breeding!

Livebearers may eat their fry so many of them never get to grow up and become adults.

You could use the breeding box I mentioned previously, or provide them with lots of plants and caves so the fry has places to hide in until they’re too big to be eaten.

I have an in-depth section on breeding guppies in my guppy fish care guide.

Egg Layers

Egg layers have many varying requirements. Some need plants, some need rocks, and others need a sand or gravel substrate.

Be sure to check what requirements the particular species of fish you are breeding prefer and provide that for them, to have the best chance of success.


Not an essential part of a breeder tank, but decorations with holes in them provide hiding places where the fry can hang out and feel safe until they’re too big to be eaten by other fish in the tank.


Plants play an important role in a breeding tank. They provide places for fertilized eggs to nestle, places for fry to hide, boost the tank’s filtration by removing harmful toxins, and help with keeping the water oxygenated through photosynthesis.


Unless you have egg-laying fish that bury their eggs, you don’t need a substrate. Not having a substrate is one thing less that you have to keep clean and tidy.

If you have fish that will eat their own eggs you could place a fine mesh over the bottom of the tank. The fertilized eggs can fall through the mesh and be kept out of harm’s way.

Water Parameters

The water pH level is the same for both adults and fry, so be sure to check out the requirements for the fish you are going to breed in the tank.

Most fish prefer slightly higher temperatures than normal for breeding. Again, be sure to check out what your particular species require.

Keeping the water temperature and pH level consistent is essential.

Fish can become stressed by sudden fluctuations which can lead to ich, swim bladder disease, popeye, dropsy, and many other stress-related illnesses.

Water Changes

Water changes much more important with fry than adult fish due to them being far less resilient to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates.

I recommend performing a 25% water change and vacuuming the tank bottom daily.


When it comes to feeding fry, live food such as Ultra Fresh – New Born Fish Micron Shrimp Patties in small quantities several times per day is much better than feeding a large amount once per day.

Not only will the fry have less chance of overeating, but it helps with keeping the water clean as it reduces the amount of leftover food that you then have to remove from the water.

What Fish Can I Put In a 40 Gallon Tank? Awesome Stocking Ideas

Single Fish Stocking Ideas – Red Cap Oranda Goldfish (Top Left), Blue Jack Dempsey (Top Right), Super Red Dragon Flowerhorn (Bottom)

Best Fish For A 40 Gallon Breeder Tank

You don’t have to use a 40 gallon breeder for breeding, you can create a stunning display tank too. It’s a great size tank to be able to have plenty of fish without it taking up too much space.

When it comes to 40 gallon breeder stocking ideas there are a ton of options available to you.

Whether you want 1 single fish, a group of the same species of fish, or a community aquarium, I’ve covered all options.

Here are some of the best fish for 40 gallon tank setups….👇

40 Gallon Single Species Stocking Ideas

  • 1 Flowerhorn cichlid (Tank will need upgrading when fully grown)
  • 1 Jack Dempsey (Tank will need upgrading when fully grown)
  • 1-2 Fancy goldfish
  • 2 Electric blue acaras
  • 2 Firemouth cichlids
  • 8 Turkana jewel cichlids
  • 10-12 Mbuna African cichlids
  • 10-12 Tiger barbs

40 Gallon Community Tank Stocking Ideas

I’ve included centerpiece, community, schooling, bottom dwellers, and algae eaters in each option to create a stunning display that will have fish at every level of the water column and help keep your tank clean.

You can mix and match from the different options below to get the look you are after, if you stick to the following arrangement you’ll have a good mix of fish.

  • 1-4 Centrepiece fish (dependent on size and personality)
  • 4-6 Community fish
  • 8-12 Schooling fish
  • 6 Bottom dwellers
  • 1-2 Algae eaters

Option 1:

  • 1 Pearl gourami
  • 4 Florida flag fish (1 male per 2-3 females)
  • 12 Silver or marble hatchet fish
  • 6 Julii corydoras
  • 2 Clown plecos

Option 2:

  • 2-4 German blue rams
  • 4-6 Peacock gudgeons
  • 8-12 Tetras (8 large, 12 small depending on the type)
  • 6 Yoyo Loach
  • 1 Bristlenose pleco

Option 3:

  • 1 Angelfish
  • 4-6 Swordtails (1 male per 2-3 females)
  • 12 Harlequin rasbora
  • 6 Kuhli loach
  • 1 Bristlenose pleco

Option 4:

  • 2 Apistogramma
  • 4-6 Mollies (1 male per 2-3 females)
  • 8 Dwarf neon rainbows
  • 6 Panda corydoras
  • 2 Clown plecos

There are so many combinations to choose from, the list is endless, just make sure the fish you choose are suitable for a community tank setup and require similar water parameters.

For me the coolest fish for a 40 gallon tank are Apistogrammas. They look amazing with their bright colors and have an inquisitive nature, making them one of my all-time favorite fish to keep.

I’ve also done some stocking ideas for a 37 gallon aquarium, which has some different options that are suitable for stocking a 40 gal breeder.

Check out my best freshwater fish article for more fish ideas and inspiration.

Final Thoughts On The Best 40 Gallon Breeder Tank….

As you can see, there isn’t much choice when it comes to picking a tank of this size, but that’s not a bad thing…I find if I’ve got too many choices it takes me forever to choose!

I own a couple of Landen rimless tanks, the build quality is excellent and they look amazing, so I can vouch for them.

Have fun picking the fish you want to breed and be ready to feel like a proud Mom/Dad when those little guys are born.

If you’re still undecided, here’s a quick recap of my top picks:

Check out the equipment section for more in-depth reviews and guides like this, and the aquarium health section for guides on keeping your aquarium in tip-top shape.