Marineland Contour Vs Portrait Aquarium (NEW REVIEWS!)

When you’re picking a tank for your betta it can be hard to decide what one to choose. The Marineland Contour aquarium and portrait aquarium are both great choices. This makes it difficult to decide what one you want. In this article, the two are going to be pitted against each other. Marineland Contour vs Portrait aquarium. Find out if one is better than the other and what one you should choose!

Marineland Contour Vs Portrait

Both of these aquariums have a lot of great benefits and a couple of downsides. To make it easier here’s a helpful table to give you a quick summary and the pros and cons of each aquarium.

Product Marineland Portrait Aquarium Marineland Contour 3 Gallon Aquarium Marineland Contour 5 Gallon Aquarium
Size 5 Gallons 3 Gallons 5 Gallons
Filter 4.5/5 2/5 4.5
Lights 4/5 2/5 4
Heater Sold Separately Sold Separately Sold Separately
Overall 4.5/5 2/5 4/5

Marineland Portrait Aquarium

First up is the Marineland Portrait Aquarium. It’s a great tank for beginners and experienced betta owners alike. Along with the tank, you’re also going to get a filter and lighting system.

The Tank

First of all, the dimensions of the Marineland Portrait Aquarium are 11.8 x 11.6 x 17 inches. Which makes it the largest tank out of the three, but only by a small amount.

The tank itself has a lot of great features. One of the best features of the tank is the hidden compartment. This compartment allows you to hide your filter and heater out of sight of the main tank. This lets the tank seem less cluttered which is super important in nano tanks.

The tank is also the minimum size a betta tank should be which is good. However, it’s important to note that due to the hidden compartment your betta is going to lose some of his swim space.

And the height is going to allow you to decorate the tank in a way which other 5 gallon tanks can’t be.

One of the biggest problems with this tank is trying to clean the hidden compartment because it’s so high and narrow, it’s going to be almost impossible to get your hand right to the bottom. So you’ll need to invest in a scrubber that’s going to be small enough to get to the very bottom of the hidden compartment.

The Filter

One of the perks of the Portrait Aquarium is the filter flow. Bettas don’t like a strong current in their tank and in many aquariums the filter is too strong. However, the Portrait Aquarium has an adjustable filter flow. And when you keep the flow on the lowest setting it’s going to be perfect for your betta.

The filter itself is also nice and quiet. If you plan on keeping this tank in your bedroom you don’t have to worry about the constant hum keeping you awake. But this isn’t going to detract from how effective it is!

The filter comes with the standard 3 stage filtration. So your tank is going to be clean from chemicals, ammonia build up and detritus that could be floating around your tank!

The Lights

If you want live plants in your tank then these lights are a great starting point. While they won’t be able to support plants that need high light, they’re more than capable for low light plants like anubias, java fern, and java moss. (Learn more about plants.)

And due to the light placement, which is on the outside of the tank, it’s going to be incredibly easy to rig a stronger lighting system onto the tank!

The lights themselves come with a day time and night time mode, which means even when you’re falling asleep you can watch your betta. (You’ll just need to be careful that the light won’t cause a reflection which often happens when the inside of the tank is brighter than the outside.)


The Marineland Portrait Aquarium is a solid investment for any betta owner. The adjustable flow of the filter is going to keep your betta from getting too stressed out. And on top of this, the lights are going to be perfect for starting a low light planted tank. At some point, you will probably need to upgrade the lights, however.

  • Biggest tank out of the three.
  • Hidden compartment lets you hide the heater and filter.
  • Adjustable filter flow.
  • Quiet filter.
  • Lights can support low light plants.
  • The hidden compartment is quite small and you may have difficulty reaching into it.
  • You’ll need stronger lights for a lot of aquarium plants.

Marineland Contour 3 Gallon Aquarium

Next up is the Marineland Contour 3 gallon aquarium. I wouldn’t recommend this tank because of its small size, however, there are also some other issues with it. However, there may be times when you find it useful.

The Tank

First up is the tank. One of the good things about this tank is that the lid is very secure. You don’t have to worry about it being knocked off if you have any pets or children. Some people think that the lid can be difficult to take off, but there’s a hole you can feed your betta through anyway which isn’t a problem.

The tank itself is a nice cube shape and because of its small size, it will be able to fit in small places. But, the problem with it is its size. Bettas should be kept in tanks that are at least 5 gallons (contrary to popular belief), and after you take out some swimming space for the hidden compartment, you’re only looking at a tank that’s about 2.5 gallons in size.

The size would be good if you’re housing your betta temporarily, but you should definitely be looking for something bigger. Likewise, it would also be good for housing betta fry until they’re big enough to be put in another tank.

The Filter

Next up, is the filter. And the good thing about the filter is that once again it’s nice and quiet. You don’t have to worry about it constantly humming and making noise. In fact, it’s another filter that won’t keep you up if you wanted to keep it in your bedroom.

But there are some problems with the filter. One of the biggest ones is the strength. Because of how powerful it is combined with how small the tank is, it’s going to cause a strong current that will push your betta around. But, it is possible to pull the end of the filter off. So instead of shooting water back into your tank, it will trickle out instead.

The Lights

If you wanted a planted tank then these lights may struggle a little bit. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t grow anything. You can expect low light plants to grow in the tank with these lights. And if you did want stronger lights then it wouldn’t be a problem. Because of the way the tank is laid out it would be really easy to add additional lighting for plants with higher needs.


While there are a couple of good features about this tank, I wouldn’t recommend it as a permanent tank. It would be good as a fry tank or temporary accommodation, but if you wanted your betta to be happy, then you’d definitely need something bigger.

  • Secure lid.
  • Fits in a lot of places.
  • Quiet Filter
  • Able to grow low light plants
  • 3 Gallons is too small for a betta.
  • The filter is too powerful and it may push your betta around.
  • You’ll need stronger lights if you wanted to keep a lot of plants.

Marineland Contour 5 Gallon Aquarium

Last on the list is the Marineland Contour 5 Gallon Aquarium. Unlike its counterpart, this is a great tank and one that a betta could happily live in! But like everything, there are also some downsides that you should be aware of.

The Tank

The Marineland Contour 5 Gallon heats the recommended tank size for bettas which is 5 gallons, unlike its counterpart. And the tank itself is also extremely well crafted. The curves on the corners give the tank a real feeling of class and you can tell it’s solid craftsmanship.

One of the small problems with the tank is the fact you’re not supposed to put a heater in the hidden compartment. This means you have to keep it in the main part of your tank, and if you don’t pick the right one it could be clearly visible. The Tetra HT Submersible Heater is the recommended one, however, I’d avoid it. Here’s a list of the best heaters for 5 gallon aquariums.

Another nice feature is that the lid is made from glass. A lot of tanks tend to have a plastic lid, so it’s nice to see glass was used the whole way around.

The biggest problem with this tank is the same problem as the others. Because there’s a hidden compartment your betta is going to lose some swimming space. However, you shouldn’t let this bother you too much, it makes your tank look so much nicer, and your betta will still have plenty of room to swim.

The Filter

You won’t need to worry about changing the filter on this tank either. It comes with adjustable settings and on the lowest flow, your betta isn’t going to have a problem with it.

What’s really great about the filter is the extra room. Because there’s some extra space it means you can add an additional filter media if you wish. A water polisher or ammonia remover would be a great choice for this tank.

And lastly, just like the other tanks, the filter is also nice and quiet. So you can put it anywhere without it being a disturbance.

The only problem with this filter is the compartment you put it in. It’s quite thin so you’re going to have trouble reaching your hands down when you need to clean it. To overcome this issue you should invest in a scrubber with a long handle.

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The Lights

The lighting on this tank is similar to the others. It’s definitely going to be fine for low light plants but when you want to start adding plants that require more then you’re going to need additional lighting.

But once again, because of the glass top adding lighting is going to be incredibly easy and not something you need to worry about.

The lights themselves contain white LED’s, as well as blue LED’s, so you can keep them on 24/7 without affecting your betta if you like.


This tank has a lot of great features that easily outshine the small flaws of it. (And it should be stressed the flaws are very small.) It’s the best tank on the list, and if you’re looking for a new 5-gallon tank then this is definitely your best bet!

  • 5 Gallons is a suitable tank size for bettas.
  • A glass lid and good craftsmanship give this tank an air of class.
  • Extra space in the hidden compartment lets you use additional filter media.
  • Quiet filter with adjustable settings.
  • Able to support low life plants.


  • Hidden compartment is very small, so you’ll have trouble reaching your hand in.
  • You can’t put the heater in the hidden compartment, so it’s going to have to be put in the front of the tank.
  • If you want to support a lot of plant life you’ll need additional lighting.


If you’re going to pick a tank from this list then the Marineland Portrait Aquarium and Marineland Contour 5 Gallon are both great choices. The latter, however, just has a slight edge and it’s the best one out of the three.

However, the most important thing is that you avoid the Marine Contour 3 Gallon as a full-time home. While it would be good as a fry tank or a temporary home, it’s just not big enough to house a betta full time.

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About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!