Fluval Spec V Review – 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit

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In the world of 5 gallon aquariums that you can house betta fish in, you’d have an extremely hard time trying to find a better tank than the Fluval Spec V. Small enough to fit on a desktop or counter, yet spacious enough for your betta to swim freely, the Spec V from Fluval is a great place to start in designing your ideal betta aquarium setup!

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First Impression
This aquarium kit is the boss hog of the 5 gallon aquarium gang. Yes, that is written lightheartedly, but in all honesty, you’d really have a hard time trying to one-up the Fluval Spec 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit. I mean that to say, if you were trying to build your own to enter the aquarium market, this 5 gallon tank kit from fluval would be staggeringly difficult to beat. As a consumer though, this is the aquarium I’d finally break open the piggy bank for (and I love my pretty piggy bank). The Spec V Kit is elegant, built with functionality in mind, incredibly durable and filled with not only the right accessories, but incredibly well made accessories to boot.

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Full 5 gallon capacity
Aluminum trimmed, etched glass tank
37 Brilliant 7500K daylight LEDs
BioMax bio rings, activated carbon and foam block included
Dimensions: 17.2 x 10.6 x 6.3 inches

Fluval Spec V Detailed Review

Spec V Tank Design
Right out of the gate, what’s the first thing you notice about this aquarium? No, this isn’t a trick question. This tank is sleek! While that’s not technically going to help your favorite finned friend out any, you can’t deny that you’d rather have an aquarium that looks like it belongs in a certain Iron suited comic book characters mansion rather than… I dunno, the big green guy’s house after he gets angry (same comic reference). By now you can tell I don’t much care for professionalism in these reviews. Honesty is more intact that way anyway.

The Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit looks more than pretty. It was carefully and thoughtfully designed with the end user (that would be you) in mind. It has a remarkably small footprint which translates into you being able to fit in comfortably on your cramped for room countertop or table. Although, you shouldn’t think along the lines of “just making space” for this aquarium. You and everybody within viewing distance of it will want to look at it. I’d put it more in a category of a centerpiece accessory in a house like… a TV or a fireplace.

When people look for a new aquarium to showcase their beautiful bettas in, believe it or not, they often forget to take the tanks body construction (not simply looks alone) into consideration. I mean, some people can get sidetracked on the overall appearance of the new fishtank (like I just did) and forget to see how the tank is constructed. The Fluval stamped Spec V aquarium is engineered out of high quality, thick clear glass. Back that up… Laser Etched glass! “Trim” can be translated many different ways in today’s casual conversation, but in the case of this fancy fish frame, it means that fluval trimmed its laser etched glass with aluminum. Your fish has been asking for bling, you just don’t listen very well.


Spec V Lighting
Somebody over at Fluval had a really bright idea. “Let the people actually be able to see what’s swimming in the tank when it’s dark outside!” I can almost hear them say. The lighting on the V Spec is brilliant! I just learned that “brilliant” is a great way to describe lighting by the way. And it actually really is, I mean the lighting is really top-notch. Especially when you consider that this is a factory pre-built kit and not something that you had to pay for an upgrade on! Anybody with a hobby should know what it is to have to pay for simple upgrades.

Thirty-Seven! That’s how many individual LED’s there are in the Spec V’s lighting strip! These 37 LED’s are all housed in a, really eye-catching actually, lighting strip just above the top of the aquarium. There is one really cool feature about this particular lighting strip that really stands out from the rest of the “kits” out there. It is practically the same length as the aquarium! I don’t know how many aquarium kits you’ve looked at in the past, nor should you care at this point because you just found the best, but lighting that is lacking… this one doesn’t! There are no “dead” spots where light can hide and shadows can play. Well, except for whatever decor you decide to put in the tank in an attempt to make it look better than it already does.

All that fun chatter aside, the lighting on the Fluval Spec V was very considerately designed and provided. If you haven’t in more than 30 seconds, scroll up and look at the pic again. In fact, keep this window open (don’t leave me) and go look at the other aquarium kits out there. You’ll see what I’m talking about and why I get excited over full-length lighting! One more cool thing about the lighting before I cause you to punch your screen because I won’t let it go, the LED’s used, each and every one gives off the most inoffensive light I’ve seen in a pre-built tank kit. To me at least, LED lighting can, and usually does, have a very strange and almost ugly looking glow (LED technical article) about it. These LED’s don’t rub my eyeballs the wrong way. I actually like having the tank lights on even during the day. The light looks better than real life. I think that was what I was trying to say.


Spec V Filtration System
The filtration system in this Fluval tank kit is for most the star of the show. Yes, even more so than the lighting system I got all in a huff about. It’s really quite amazing in its ability to keep the tank clean. Simple as that. The 3 stage fluval filtration system is physical, biological and chemical. That basically means that dirty water is passing through the fluval’s filtration system is passed through 3 different types of filters that clean the water in 3 different ways. Dirty betta tank water passes through a porous foam block that catches the larger (still small though) gunk, then passes through the activated carbon filter layer grabbing yet smaller particles and then lastly passes through BioMax Bio-rings to filter away anything left behind from the last 2 filters. Really simple, really clean.

If you take yet another look at the picture of the Fluval Spec V aquarium, you’ll notice that at the rear of the tank there is an area that isn’t made for swimming fish. That would be the filtration system. The filter’s pump is also located in that back area as well. What’s really, really nice about its built-in location back there is that it makes filter maintenance incredibly easy. Everything about the filtration system of the Spec V is designed and made for convenience (the foam filter even has a handle!) while still somehow leaving a nice sleek look to the overall appearance to the aquarium. If you’ve fussed around with traditional aquarium filtration systems before, you should know that keeping filters, hoses, pumps and wires nice and tidy is not the easiest thing in the world to do.

Filtration pumps can be noisy. I mean that in a general sense for the majority of pumps manufactured. Especially the kinds of stock filtration pumps that come pre-equipped in betta fish tank kits. Not so here in the case of this fluval 5 gallon aquarium kit. The filter pump that comes shipped with this kit is quiet! Your betta fish may end up being noisier than this pump! Ok, yes that’s a stretch, but you get what I’m saying. In a typical household environment, you will hear noise pollution like the fridge turn on, the TV in the background and the music from headphones on someone else’s head before you notice the quiet hum of this filter pump doing its thing. Seriously. It’s a pleasant change from the norm.

The water return output from the filtration system is also near the back end of the Fluval 5 gallon Spec V. Actually, it’s located about an inch from the top left of the back of the tank. Anyway, the water return end has a small and adjustable nozzle end to it. This is a really, really neat feature for betta owners. Because of this adjustable nozzle, you can aim the water flow pretty much anywhere you want it to go. In the case of many 5 gallon Fluval Spec V owners, the nozzle is pointed sharply at the near side wall of the aquarium. Pointing the water flow in this direction causes the force of the water to dampen itself as it deflects off of the tank wall.

Now, the filtration system itself is adjustable. Adjustable meaning that you can choose how fast and furious the water gets pushed through the filter and returned. Betta fish really don’t like a strong current. Actually, bettas don’t much like hardly any current at all. So, having the option to select how much current is being pushed through the filter is a really nice option to have when you have a betta fish. Having the filtration system set to low while at the same time having the water output nozzle pointed at the back wall makes for a very calm aquatic environment while keeping things inside the tank nice and tidy.


Fluval Spec V In Use
The overall capacity of the Spec V aquarium is 5 gallons. If you’ve seen other 5 gallon tanks in the store, or have one yourself, you may think you know how big that is. Nuh-uh. No, you don’t. The particular design of this tank makes 5 gallons seem like an Olympic sized swimming pool to a betta fish. If your betta beast can normally do 20 laps in his current 5 gallon tank, he’ll be out of fishy fuel before he hits 5 in this aquarium. Yes, I know, that’s another stretch but, come one! Look at how this tank is laid out! The Spec V aquarium is looong and deeeep! See, that’s how tanks should be designed in my honest opinion. Give the cramped betta an airport runway to get his cardio up if he so chooses, rather than an “equal on all sides” box or ball shaped tank where he swims, but doesn’t really get anywhere fast.

Have you wanted to try out aquascaping in your betta tank? Maintaining live plants in the fluval spec V is not a hard thing to do at all. In many ways it’s almost scary how easy it is. I only say that because I have a notorious black thumb when it comes to growing anything green, and I’m afraid of jinxing any current success I may be having right now. Again, because of how this tank is designed, lining the plants up or staggering them are now possibilities. Yes, you may think you can do that with any 5 gallon tank, and you’d not really be wrong, but you can’t do it so perfectly in other tank designs as you can in this one. I’m a perfectionist and like things just so. Lining up certain plants in my tank and offsetting others just right are something I get a bit picky (I had another word in mind but can’t use it here) about. You can have free roam to be as “picky” as your heart desires when decorating this aquarium. To many reading this, you must think I’m kinda “off” about going into detail about this to such an extent. I may be, but to the few that understand where I’m coming from, this kind of detain is really important. Moving on.

Ok, here’s a little known feature of this aquarium. Unknown, that is, unless you’ve actually had a Spec V in your home. There is a secret compartment (ok, maybe not so secret) in the back next to the filtration system. Why is this a cool feature you ask? Because, this secret compartment is just the right size for a submersible aquarium heater to slide right in! This may not sound all that jazzy to you at first, but when you go to set up your tank and have all of your plants and accessories in order, you will be left staring at an ugly heater right inside there in plain view. Wait, I worded that poorly. You can put your aquarium heater in the provided compartment therefore hiding the unsightly aquarium heating device! The compartment is also conveniently located just before the water return so… it heats the water as it circulates! Yes, this is something worth getting excited about!

If you have read even just a small amount of what is written up above, you’ll know where this conclusion is going. This tank is always on my personal wish-list and will always be added again to it even after I hit the checkout. I don’t think a person can have too many of these tanks. That being said, everything about the Fluval Spec V 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit including the deep and long design, to the filtration system, to the lighting, to the options you have in decorating this tank is way above par in the aquarium kit market. I think the only thing I can say to sum up this tank as a whole would be that once you have it set up and your betta swimming inside, there won’t be a time when you regretted seeing it in the first place. This aquarium doesn’t leave you with any buyer’s remorse. There will be no “I wish I got the other tank instead” because this is that tank!

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