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Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review and Product Guide

Nano aquariums or nano fish tanks are becoming more popular for keeping pet fish. These compact fish tanks are ideal for creating a healthy habitat for small fish like Bettas, guppies and other nano fish species.

Nano aquariums are also characterized by their compact construction and design. They can fit on countertops, desktops or even a bedside table, depending on the tank’s size and capacity (10 gallons and smaller).

They’re the ideal fish tanks for homes with small or limited space. They’re also the most practical for those taking care of a small number of nano fish.

Nano fish tanks are also easier to maintain and clean, compared to regular fish bowls and larger tanks. That’s why they’re popular for those who are always busy but still want to keep a pet at home.

The only challenge in buying a nano aquarium is knowing which would be right for your fish and home. There are many aquarium kits to choose from, so it’s hard to tell which works best without trying them out first.

That’s why we tested out one of the most popular nano aquariums available: the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit (5 Gallon). In this Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit review and product guide, you’ll learn about its important features so you can decide if it’s right for you and your nano fish.

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Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review: The Product Features

The Spec V is a 5-gallon nano aquarium by Fluval. It is made of laser-etched glass with aluminum trimmings.

Its compact structure is particularly designed to fit in small areas. It combines functionality with modern elegance so that your fish will both feel and look good living in it.

The Fluval Spec V has the following product features and specifications:

  • 5-gallon full capacity
  • 37 (35 white and 2 blue) 7000K LED lighting system
  • 3-stage filtration system with mechanical, chemical and biological media
  • Powerful circulation pump with an adjustable output nozzle
  • Size/Dimensions of 17.2 in x 10.6 in x 6.3 in (display area)
  • Comes in black color

It is also important to note that the Spec V tanks have been upgraded and the old version has been phased out in 2016. However, there are still a few of the old versions available online and in pet stores.

The old version’s features and specifications are:

  • 5-gallon full capacity
  • 37 7500K LED lighting system
  • 3-stage filtration system with mechanical, chemical and biological media
  • Powerful circulation pump with an adjustable output nozzle
  • Size/Dimensions of 17.2 in x 10.6 in x 6.3 in (display area)
  • Comes in black or white color

Based on the feature lists, the only significant difference between the old and new versions of the Spec V is the new lighting system design. The new version uses 7000K LEDs (compare to the old 7500K) that cast brighter light.

Based on construction and physical design, the new version now comes only in black color. The lighting enclosure also looks slimmer but sturdier. And the glass silicone used is now black instead of translucent.

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review

In this section, we take a closer look at the Spec V’s performance as a nano aquarium.

Aquascaping Potential

Video: “HOW TO: Rescape Fluval Spec V Aquarium (Cinematic)”

In terms of creating an enjoyable aquascape for your fish, the Fluval Spec V holds a lot of potential.

Other 5-gallon nano tanks are shaped like bowls or cubes. This makes the surface area and swimming area smaller.

You’ll have less space for freshwater plants and aquarium decors, so your aquascaping design will be limited. Instead of being able to put in 3 to 5 kinds of plants with several decors, you’ll be forced to stick with just two plants and a few decors.

Your fish will also have less space to swim around in bowl-shaped or cube-shaped tanks. This is because the sides of the tank are equally distanced. Since your fish swims horizontally (not vertically) most of the time, it’s pretty easy for them to reach the ends of the tank in just a few shakes of their tails.

On the other hand, the Fluval Spec V’s design maximizes the potential of a 5-gallon tank. The Spec V’s dimensions provide a wider stretch of surface area so you can design your aquascaping more creatively. Your fish will also be able to swim happily for longer between the two far ends of the tank.

That’s why dimensions matter a lot in tank size, not just the capacity.

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review: Design and Construction

Fluval is known for their high-end fish tank technology and sleek design. And that reputation is held true by the Spec V aquarium.

At a glance, the whole tank looks modernly elegant. It looks like it was designed with stylish homes in mind. On top of that, it looks and feels compact so you know that it’s constructed well and would, therefore, last a long time.

The tank is made with five laser-etched glass panes—four glass sides and one glass bottom—with a plastic frame for support. Laser-etched means that the glass is smoothly cut with laser cutters so they don’t easily chip or crack from the edges. The glass panes are attached together using high-grade silicone.

The tank is also cleverly decorated with aluminum trims on outside the four corners, topped with black plastic corner pads. These help hide any algae that normally grow over time in between the glass.

And since the new version of the tank now uses black silicone, it does an even better job at hiding those unwanted yet inevitable stains.

Pump and Filter Sections

Another plus is how the glass around the filter and pump sections are patterned with a black honeycomb design. This discreetly hides the pump and filter from direct view, making the tank more inviting to look at.

Inside the glass tank, the pump and filter sections are separated from the display section with black plexiglass dividers. The dividers are etched with holes for the overflow and outlet nozzle.

At the bottom of the filter section, there is a horizontal baffle that keeps the filter foam block from touching the bottom to allow filtered water to collect. This helps keep a steady stream of water for the pump to suction and let out.

The translucent lid cover is made with frosted plexiglass, with a rectangular hole in the middle to allow air into the tank. The frosted design helps hide water stains that slowly develop over time.

The edges of the rectangular hole are also raised in a manner that prevents bugs and foreign objects from crawling or rolling into the tank.

The light’s bar-shaped enclosure is also slim and compact. In fact, the new version’s light bar is even slimmer and more durable than the old version’s. The new lighting also uses a small touchpad to switch the light to on, off and night mode.

Size and Portability

Being a 5-gallon nano fish tank, it is small enough to fit in a cramped space. Whether you place it on your desktop, countertop, coffee table or side table, the Spec V can squeeze itself perfectly on top of it.

However; even if it’s slim and compact, you still need to consider how much space you should make for the tank. The product description may tell you that the tank’s size and dimension are 17.2 in x 10.6 in x 6.3 in, but it only applies to the display section where the fish actually lives in.

Overall, the whole tank measures a bit more. The area where the filter and pump sections are located roughly measures 2.1 in x 6.3 in. That makes the glass’ total length longer.

The overall height, including the plastic frame and light bar, constitutes a total of 12.8 in. The overall length and width, including the plastic frame, constitute a total of 20.5 in x 7.5 in.

With that in mind, the space you should make for the tank should measure at least 22 inches in length and 9 inches in width. You also need to make sure that other objects located above the tank should hang at least 15 inches away from the top of the surface area.

Pumping and Filtration

The pump and filter media included in the Spec V’s package are made exclusively by Fluval, so they’re sure to be made of high-quality materials.

The pump uses a small electric motor and connects directly to the outlet tube with the outlet nozzle. The pump is a fairly simple device when you look at it. After connecting the parts together, you just submerged it into the pump compartment and attach the outlet nozzle through the hole on the side of the divider.

The outlet nozzle, as advertised, is adjustable. But the adjustments you can make are fairly limited because the hole is not large enough to allow it to be twisted in wide angles.

Nonetheless, any degree of adjustment, no matter how small, is enough to change the direction of the water flow.

The amount of water output or flow rate can also be manually adjusted. On the side of the water pump, there is a switch or notch that you can slide to increase or decrease the water flow.

It’s important to note that the flow rate adjustment is purely based on physical control of water passage.

The switch doesn’t tune up or down the pump’s motor. It only adjusts the size of the opening of the pump inlet to control the amount of water that passes through it.

3 Stage Filtration System

The 3-stage filtration system is also a fairly simple concept. The water is filtered by means of mechanical (filter foam), chemical (activated carbon) and biological (BioMax rings) media.

The filtration system is there to help keep the water clear of pollution, not purify it.

The activated carbon and BioMax rings are inserted into a carved compartment in the filter foam block. This makes the filtration process automatic.

The filter foam separates visible gunk and algae from the water. And as water flows down to the part where charcoal and BioMax rings are, it is detoxified before reaching the bottom. The filtered water is then pumped back to the top of the tank through the outlet nozzle.

The foam block even has a plastic handle so it’s easy to remove when you need to replace the filter inserts or clean the tank.


Perhaps the most attractive upgrade made to the new Spec V is the lighting system. From 7500 K LEDs, the new version now sports 7000 K high-performance LEDs that shine brighter without using up more energy.

The new lighting system still uses 37 LEDs. 35 of them are white LEDs that mimic daylight, and two are blue LEDs that work as a nightlight.

In daylight mode, all 37 LEDs light up to create a pseudo-sunshine effect. In nightlight mode, only the two blue LEDs are lighted up to create a bluish moonshine.

LED lights are also good for nano aquariums because it can provide adequate light without influencing the water temperature. Though you might need to warm the water using a heater during cold days, it normally needs to stay cool most of the time.

Other positive lighting upgrades are the sleeker enclosure and the smaller power transformer. The new enclosure design seems to contribute to the way the light is cast on the water, so you can see the colors more vividly. The power brick or transformer is also less bulky and can be easily detached from the lighting’s power cord.

Pros and Cons


  • Easy to set up; beginner-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Made of high-quality materials
  • Sleek design and construction
  • Great pumping and filtering performance
  • Ideal for keeping various nano fish species


  • No heater included
  • Manual adjustment of pump flow rate can be a hassle sometimes

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Video: “Fluval Spec 5 Gallon – Start to Finish”

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review: The Product Guide

The Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit is a beginner-friendly fish tank system that comes complete with the following parts:

  • Glass tank/aquarium with lid cover
  • Overhead LED lighting
  • Low-voltage transformer
  • Circulation pump with nozzle
  • Foam filter block
  • Activated carbon insert
  • BioMax insert

All parts are proprietary products made by Fluval. This ensures that you get Fluval-quality technology for your aquarium needs in one neat package. The aquarium is also easy to set up and operate so there’s little risk of putting the wrong parts together.

All you need to do is learn how to correctly use and set up the fish tank so your fish can get the most out of it.

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review: How to Set it Up

From the box, you’ll get all the parts mentioned above. Those are all the basic parts you need to get the tank running. However, you can also buy other accessories that can help improve the fish’s living condition.

An important accessory you should consider is a submersible water heater, which can help keep the water warm for your fish during cold weather. Just be sure to buy only those that are recommended to use with the Spec V.

To begin setting up, first you need to prepare the space where you’ll be placing the fish tank. You can do the setting up right at that spot if there’s enough space. That way, you wouldn’t have to carry or move the tank from a distance and risk dropping it or spilling the water.

Otherwise, you can set it up somewhere else first before placing it on its designated home. What’s important is that you should have enough space to work around the tank as you put the parts together.

Then, starting with the glass tank, assemble the parts based on the instruction manual.

You can do it in this sequence:

1Place the glass tank on a flat surface and place the other parts nearby. Notice that there are three main divisions in the tank: display, filter and pump sections.
2In the pump section, set the pump system in place. Connect and secure the pump, outlet tube, and outlet nozzle as instructed. You can adjust the pump’s flow rate before securing the pump system in place. Just slide the switch that’s on the side of the pump inlet.

In the filter section, insert the filtration media accordingly. Make sure to unpack the charcoal and BioMax rings from the plastic so they can actually filter the water. Place them in the compartments inside the foam block.

4Place the lid cover on. Notice that there small pegs under the corners of the lid. They help keep the lid in place so make sure that the lid is placed with the pegs inside the tank’s rim.
5Set the lighting in place by sliding its forked end into the bracket located on the end side of the tank.

Now, your Spec V tank is ready for use. The next thing to do is fill it with water and connect the transformers to test if the pump and lights are working.

When everything is assured to be working properly, you can set up the aquascape of your nano fish with the appropriate plants, gravel/pebbles, and decors.

The Spec V is primarily designed for creating a freshwater habitat for nano fish species. So the aquarium’s environment or aquascape is typically arranged with freshwater plants. However, the Spec V can also be modified to create a sea reef habitat for saltwater fish.

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Overall, as you can see from our Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit Review it’s a great performing nano fish tank. However, you must consider the pros and cons carefully before deciding to buy.

Compared to other nano fish tanks, the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit puts on a better show at performance, livability and aquascaping potential. The Spec V is an excellent proof that not all nano fish tanks are created equally. Some are great, like the Spec V, and some are so-so.

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Aaron Boyd
Aaron Boyd

Hello, I’m Aaron Boyd, the proud owner and author behind Aqua Movement. I hope my article was able to answer your questions. If you want to learn more about me, click the home icon above.

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