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Personal Loans

Fish Tank & Aquarium Financing

Whether your fish are outgrowing their current tank or you’re looking to add more aquatic life to your aquarium setup, fish tank financing could help you fund your marine expansion.

From personal loans to manufacturer financing to credit cards, you have several options at your disposal. We’ll help you evaluate each one so you can decide how best to finance your new aquarium.

3 ways to finance a fish tank

Three of the easiest ways to finance a fish tank are through personal loans, manufacturer financing, and credit cards. 

Which method makes the most sense for you depends in part on how much you plan to spend, where you plan to buy, and what purchase-related perks you hope to enjoy. We’ll explore these approaches in more detail, but first, take a quick look at the best-fit scenarios for each one:

MethodBest for
Personal loansPurchases from different companies
Manufacturer financingBuying from a specific brand
Credit cardRewards and cash back

Personal loans to finance an aquarium

LenderRates (APR)Loan amounts
LightStream7.49%25.49%$5,000 – $100,000
Upgrade8.49%35.99%$1,000 – $50,000

How it works

You can get a personal loan from a bank, credit union, or online lender. Applying usually takes mere minutes, and you’ll often receive your loan proceeds within a couple of business days. 

You’ll start repaying your loan a month or so after it’s disbursed, giving you time to prepare your budget. The sooner you whittle down your principal balance, the less interest you’ll pay and the more cost-effective your aquarium purchase will be.

To qualify for a personal loan, you’ll likely need a credit score above 580, but higher scores can often get lower rates. If you’re approved, you can use your personal loan just about any way you see fit, making it a versatile funding source for your underwater upgrade.

Best personal aquarium loans

LightStream – Best for excellent credit

LendEDU rating: 4.8 out of 5

  • Rate Beat Program will beat competitors’ rates
  • $100 refund with Loan Experience Guarantee
  • No fees whatsoever

LightStream offers customized loans to match your financing needs, with funds available as soon as the day you apply. LightStream will beat other lenders’ rates for your aquarium financing if the loan terms match, and you won’t pay any fees or prepayment penalties.

However, because LightStream doesn’t allow a soft credit check to prequalify and check rates, we think the best borrowers for this lender are those with excellent credit—at least a FICO score of 740—who are confident they’ll be approved. LightStream’s minimum loan amount is $5,000, so if you’re eyeing a modest fish tank setup, it might be more than you need.

Upgrade – Best for fair credit

LendEDU rating: 4.9 out of 5

  • Choose your monthly payment and term length
  • Provides free credit monitoring
  • Ability to adjust your payment date during repayment

If you take out a fish tank loan with Upgrade, you can get funds within one day. This lender is a terrific option for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit: It has a lower minimum credit score requirement than many lenders and allows joint applications. So if you have fair credit, but your co-applicant has good or excellent credit, you could qualify for a lower rate.

With Upgrade, you can affect your rate without affecting your credit score, but you’ll pay an origination fee of 1.85% to 9.99% of the loan amount if you accept the offer.

Pros and cons of personal loans


  • Use your funds anywhere, for anything.

    With a personal loan, you’re not restricted to one store or one purchase. You can buy whatever your new aquarium calls for, as the need or want arises.

  • Large loan amounts give you more purchasing power.

    Most personal loans are at least $1,000—but are often much more, so you can buy what you need to bring your tabletop marina dreams to fruition.

  • Interest rates may be lower than other forms of financing.

    This isn’t always the case, but depending on your personal loan rate, your cost of borrowing may be lower than manufacturer financing or credit cards.


  • Lenders will run your credit.

    Personal loan eligibility is credit-based. When you apply for a personal loan, you’ll get a hard inquiry on your credit report, whether or not you’re approved. This inquiry can lower your credit score by a few points.

  • Funds are finite.

    Once your loan proceeds are spent, they’re spent. If you later realize you need more for your fish tank, you’ll either have to use cash or take on additional debt to pay for it.

Fish tank manufacturer financing

How it works

If you want to buy a particular brand of fish tank straight from the source, you may be able to use manufacturer financing. This often works one of two ways:

  1. Lease-to-own: Your fish tank company of choice may let you rent a tank and then transfer ownership once you’ve paid off your lease agreement.
  2. Third-party financing: Like what you might find at a car dealership, aquarium manufacturers may partner with outside lenders to offer in-house financing for qualified customers.

Each manufacturer has its own process, but you’ll often apply online or in-store and get a decision on the spot. If approved, you can buy what you need from the manufacturer and then pay off your balance in monthly installments.

Pros and cons 


  • You might get discounts or promotions.

    Manufacturers sometimes extend special offers to incentivize financing. For example, you might get 0% interest or no payments for 90 days. Ask your sales rep about available deals and how to qualify.

  • You won’t need to look for your own lender.

    The biggest draw of manufacturer financing tends to be convenience. You can apply, shop, and spend all in the same place.


  • You’re limited to a single company.

    Manufacturer financing is only good for that manufacturer’s inventory. One fish tank maker won’t let you use its in-store financing to shop with another.

  • Interest rates could be much higher.

    Even if you qualify for an introductory offer, manufacturers’ interest rates can still be higher than you’d get elsewhere.

  • You might only have one chance to use your funds.

    Some manufacturer financing is only good for one purchase. You might feel pressured to spend more for the sake of using up your financing.

Financing a fish tank with a credit card

How it works

Credit cards give you continuous access to funding as long as you make your monthly payments. That could come in handy if you anticipate making multiple purchases over time to buy and deck out your fish tank rather than getting everything all at once.

If you already have a card, you need only relegate your available credit line to your aquarium. You could also contact your card issuer to request a credit increase. 

If you don’t yet have a credit card or want to get a new one for your aquarium, compare several options before applying. You might get an instant credit decision once you apply, but you may need to wait a few days for your card to arrive before you can use your credit line.

Pros and cons


  • You might get cash back, reward points, or airline miles.

    Swiping your credit card to purchase your new fish tank could land you added perks you won’t get with other forms of financing.

  • You’ll free up funds with every payment.

    You can spend and respend your credit line as you pay down your balance. Plus, you’ll still have access to your credit card when your fish tank financing is complete.

  • Credit cards often have enhanced borrower protections.

    If you buy a product that doesn’t work as intended and the seller offers little recourse, you may be able to dispute the charge with your card issuer. Most card issuers also won’t hold you responsible for fraudulent or unauthorized purchases.


  • Interest charges can add up fast.

    These charges could put you over your limit faster than you think. If you don’t stay on top of your payments, you risk winding up in a debt cycle that’s difficult to break.

  • Your monthly payment may be inconsistent.

    Most credit cards have variable rates, which can make it harder to budget for your payments, especially if your balance changes month to month as well.

Should you finance a fish tank?

Paying with cash is almost always the cheaper route, but financing a fish tank isn’t necessarily a bad idea. Here are a few situations when financing makes sense versus when it doesn’t:

If you…Consider…
Have enough cash on hand💵 Paying cash
Don’t want to dip into savings🏦 Financing
Don’t want to run your credit💵 Paying cash
Can qualify for low rates🏦 Financing
Don’t want a new monthly payment💵 Paying cash
Can’t wait to save up the funds🏦 Financing

The main drawback with financing is that it often results in paying more than you need to. And if you don’t stay on top of your debt, you could compromise your credit standing. 

Still, if you need to build a positive payment history or have your cash earmarked for other purposes, financing may be a wise move.

Our expert’s advice

Erin Kinkade


Consider whether this is a flexible goal you can meet when you have the funds to pay for it without incurring debt you can’t immediately pay off. This approach will reduce any negative financial impact. It’s important to acknowledge that this can certainly bring joy and satisfaction, but unless it’s for a business purpose and will generate income, I would advise against borrowing funds to reach this goal. Instead, consider adding a line item in your budget and earmarking an interest-bearing savings account to deposit savings for your aquarium purchase. You could invest the funds if it’s a time horizon of greater than two years with an asset allocation appropriate to meet the desired goal amount.

As you decide whether to finance your fish tank or pay for it outright, consider your current resources and money management habits:

  • Will using cash deplete your hard-earned savings?
  • Will paying out of pocket throw your retirement planning or investment strategy off course?
  • Can your budget handle an extra expense? 
  • Can you resist the urge to overspend if you qualify for a higher loan or credit limit than you need?

Consider, too, how urgent your new aquarium is. If your fish need separate homes or if your current tank is damaged, financing may be necessary.

Of course, you could always take the balanced approach: You can finance your aquarium and use a portion of your cash reserves to pay down your principal balance immediately. 

That way, you get the credit-building benefits of a financed purchase without depleting your savings. Plus, by making early strides to get ahead of your debt, you’ll preserve your budget and save on interest. It’s a win-win situation for you and your fish.

Recap: Best personal loans for fish tank financing

LenderRates (APR)