Good Fish For 1 to 5 Gallon Tank: What Really Does Work Best?

Are you looking for the best 5-gallon tank for your small tropical fish? Do you want to know what type of fish best fits into your 5-gallon tank? I’m going to provide a detailed answer to these questions plus bonus tips.

Check out: Best 5 Gallon Tank Filter→

As a beginner to aquarium care, space is a common concern. That’s why I recommend a 5-gallon fish tank as an excellent solution. Most 5 gallon tanks typically have a dimension of around 16″ x 8″ x 10″ and can easily fit into your office or desktop surface. Even with the little space, these tanks still safely harbor a heater and filter needed by fishes to survive and live healthily. So now, let’s start with the best 5-gallon tanks.

Comparison table of Best  5 Gallon Fish Tank

IMAGE NAME FEATURES PRICE
Editor’s Choice MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait DIMENSIONS: 11.8 x 11.6 x 17 inches.

LIGHTING: a hinged LED light with daylight, moonlight, and off settings

FILTRATION: a hidden back panel filtration with adjustable flow filter pump

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GloFish 29045 aquarium kit with blue LED light DIMENSIONS: 11.8 x 11.6 x 17 inches.

LIGHTING: a hinged LED light with daylight, moonlight, and off settings

FILTRATION: a hidden back panel filtration with adjustable flow filter pump

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Marina LED Aquarium Kit DIMENSIONS: 16″ L x 8.5″ W x 10.5″ H

LIGHTING: LED light incorporated into the canopy with natural daylight effect

FILTRATION: Marina Slim S10 clip-on filter and quick-change filter cartridges

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Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting DIMENSIONS: 11.94 x 9.79 x 11.88 in

LIGHTING: LED lighting and contemporary style

FILTRATION: Aqueon QuietFlow Filtration

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Panaview 5 Gallon Fish tank DIMENSIONS: 14.2 x 11.5 x 10 inches.

LIGHTING: Energy-efficient LED lighting with 7 dazzling colors.

FILTRATION: Powerful internal power filter at a flow rate of 45gph

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Best 5-gallon fish tank reviews

MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Review – Most Affordable Fish Tank

MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait – Most Affordable Fish Tank

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Are you looking for a tank with a silent, powerful hang-on-back filter? Try out Marina LED 5 gallon aquarium kit. This 5-gallon fish tank is one of my favorite aquarium kits because of its impeccable quality.

Wonderful features like the clear glass tank and the efficient filter make it a good choice for new fish owners who want to get started with fish keeping. The filter cartridge efficiently performs a biological filtration that eliminates nitrogenous toxins from your tank, leaving your fish with a clean and healthy environment.

I love how this 5-gallon tank has a canopy with already drilled holes where you can feed your fish and place your HOB filter. It also has space where you can install your heater which you will buy separately.

The LED light found inside the canopy brightens up the aquarium and lightens up your plants, fish, and decors. I’m not comfortable with the fact that the LED only offers white light unlike some models with blue light. But I’ve found some users said the LED light boost their aquatic plant growth.

The complete kit also includes some additives that will help you to set up and maintain your freshwater fish tank. Furthermore, the kit comes with a thermometer, fish food, fishnet, and a helpful fish guide.

Pros

  • Beautifully designed with a curved glass fronBeautifullynly a little spaces
  • Easy to maintain
  • Flow rate is adjustable to what suits a fish
  • Features white and blue LEDs

Cons

  • You have to lift the light up to clean the tank out.
  • Feeding the fish requires you remove tank cover.
  • The filter area is narrow and difficult to clean.
  • May be difficult to clean

Marina LED Aquarium Kit Review – Middle Range Price

Marina LED Aquarium Kit Review – Middle Range Price

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Are you looking for a tank with a silent, powerful hang-on-back filter? Try out Marina LED 5 gallon aquarium kit. This 5-gallon fish tank is one of my favorite aquarium kits because of its impeccable quality.

Wonderful features like the clear glass tank and the efficient filter make it a good choice for new fish owners who want to get started with fish keeping. The filter cartridge efficiently performs a biological filtration that eliminates nitrogenous toxins from your tank, leaving your fish with a clean and healthy environment.

I love how this 5-gallon tank has a canopy with already drilled holes where you can feed your fish and place your HOB filter. It also has space where you can install your heater which you will buy separately.

The LED light found inside the canopy brightens up the aquarium and lightens up your plants, fish, and decors. I’m not comfortable with the fact that the LED only offers white light unlike some models with blue light. But I’ve found some users said the LED light boost their aquatic plant growth.

The complete kit also includes some additives that will help you to set up and maintain your freshwater fish tank. Furthermore, the kit comes with a thermometer, fish food, fishnet, and a helpful fish guide.

Pros

  • Power filter is quiet and works efficiently
  • Adjustable flow rate for small tropical fishes
  • High-quality filter cartridge
  • Bright LED light for live plants
  • Features helpful additives

Cons

  • Not include blue light

GloFish 29045 aquarium kit with blue LED light Reviews

GloFish 29045 aquarium kit with blue LED light

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Would you love to stock your new aquarium with Glofish? I’ll recommend the GloFish 29045 aquarium kit with blue LED light, 5 gallons. The fine plastic aquarium is uniquely designed to unleash the beauty of your Glofish. I love how I can place the tank just about Anywhere; thanks to its compact design. The filtration system purifies your tank water and helps your fish live healthily.

Blue is Glofish’s favorite color. That’s why this tank features a unique blue LED lighting that beautifies the decor and allows you to view the beauty of your fish.

Do you own Goldfish like the Tetra,Tiger Barb, or Zebrafish? Feel free to keep them in the GloFish 29045 aquarium kit with blue LED light, 5 gallons. I tried using the filter and I noticed that it is not as effective as the Marineland ML90609 5 gallons. But that’s not a problem. It’s still good. Alternatively, you can buy a new filter.

Pros

  • Glofish loves the Blue LED light
  • Highly durable
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Inefficient filter
  • The lid is unclear

Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting Review

Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting

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This 5-gallon tank packs everything you need to set up your aquarium in the right away. The kit comes with a heater, lighting, fish food, thermometer, fishnet, and a water conditioner on the go. Are you just starting out with fish keeping and hate to start from scratch? Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting is your best bet.

Unlike most 5-gallon tanks, Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting comes with a heater preset at 78°F which is perfect for most small tropical fishes like bettas. You may be careful to add fishes that prefer it hotter or colder.

Also, the LED lighting illuminates your tank by connecting with a cord switch for easy ON/OFF switch. Your filter is adjustable so you have complete control over it. For example, if the current is too high, kindly adjust the settings. There’s also a red light alert that flashes whenever it’s time to change your filter cartridge.

I noticed a few downsides to this 5-gallon tank and its mostly on the LED lighting. The LED may get too hot for the tank and overheating the water. Furthermore, the LED lights may be too bright for your Betta and other small tropical fish. The good news is you can change the lights to a moderately functional one. Apart from the LED lights, everything else is fine. If you want a durable, high-quality 5-gallon tank that comes with everything you need to get started, then go for Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting.

Pros

  • Features everything you need to start right away
  • Easy to set up
  • LED features an Organized ON/OF switch system.
  • Comes with a preset heater
  • Comes with a filter that can be adjusted to suit the fish inside

Cons

  • Preset 78°F temperature is deal for betta fish but may not be the same for other fishes
  • You may have to remove the lid in order to perform a water change.
  • The LED lighting may become too hot and overheat the tank

Panaview 5 Gallon Fish tank

Panaview 5 Gallon Fish tank

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Are you a beginner looking for a valuable aquarium? I’ll recommend the KollerCraft 6.5 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Internal Filter and LED Lighting. These 6.5-gallon aquarium kits allow you to have a taste of quality fish care accessories. There’s a filter that thoroughly cleans the tank at 45 GPH flow rate to produce cleaner water.

I love how the Tetra Whisper X filter cartridge thoroughly purifies the water and remove odors and discolorations. I love how you can choose from different colors of the LED lighting( unlike most tanks with one or two LED colors).

The Aqua, Amber, and the typical blue are a few of the many colors of the LED lighting.

The KollerCraft 6.5 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Internal Filter and LED Lighting is easy to set up. The complete kit comes with everything you need to get started with your freshwater aquarium.

Pros

  • Nicely shaped aquarium
  • Simple set up process
  • LED lighting for attraction and better visibility

Cons

  • Only good for certain fish type

How To Set Up A 5-gallon Fish Tank?

Prepare your equipment

To set up your fish tank, you generally need the following equipment.

Filter

Make sure the filter is right for your tank and the fishes. If your 5-gallon tank already comes with a filter like the Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits with LED Lighting, just make sure it’s good for your fish.
A filter with a powerful current may blow away your betta fish. I’ll suggest an adjustable filter which can allow you to change the filter settings to suit your fish.

Heater

You’ll need a heater in your 5-gallon fish tank to ensure that your fish maintain a good temperature. Temperature is very important for Topical fishes like a betta fish. You can set your heater from somewhere between 70-80°F ( depending on what fish you keep).

LED Lights

Good lighting illuminates your aquarium and gives your fish the feeling of a natural environment. Lighting systems are usually enclosed in LED lights to give your fish the day and night effects.

Blue is the typical color of most 5 gallon tanks. However, some brands like the KollerCraft 6.5 Gallon Aquarium Kit with Internal Filter and LED Lighting packs colors like Amber, Aqua, blue, to name a few. A lighted 5-gallon tank is also attractive and boosts the overall decor of the aquarium.

Substrate

Substrates are like the ground in your tank. They can be either gravel or sandy depending on the type of aquarium you buy. Both are great for a 5-gallon tank- Choose your preference.
Plants

Make sure you keep the right type of plant in your 5-gallon tank so that it won’t appear overcrowded. I recommend adding live plants because your fish will be able to access oxygen emitted by the plant for a healthier living.

Setting up your 5-gallon

Firstly, make sure all equipment for set up is fully ready. An aquarium kit comes with all the equipment. You may only need to purchase inefficient ones.

Remember that making changes to your tank can be difficult once you complete the setup. So be sure everything is set up. Here’s a step by step guide on how to set up your 5-gallon tank.

Step 1 – position 5-gallon rightly and sturdily

Get your aquarium stand or cabinet positioned rightly. Make sure it is strongly positioned because it will weigh more when the tank is full. Also, make sure it is positioned in your choice of location.

Step 2 – place your tank on the stand

Carefully clean your tank with clean water. Now position your tank and keep it well balanced on the stand.

If your filter is the HOB type, hang them on your tank to ensure you have enough space for filtration.

Step 3 – Add your sand or gravel to the tank

Pour your sand or gravel into the 5-gallon tank. Keep the level between 1/4 to 3/4 full.

Now, use a hose to spray water on the gravel till it reaches about 3/4 full.

Use your hand to stir up the gravel and take-off the dirty water. Continue this process until you achieve clear water. This is done to prevent our water from becoming cloudy.

Step 4 – Rinse your plants and decorations

Rinse your plants and decorations inside the tank into your choice of location. Make sure your decorations are not populated in the middle of the tank. Remember your fish also needs plenty of space to swim.
This part requires your creativity and it’s fun.

Step 5 – Fill your aquarium with water and add water conditioner

Add water to the rest of your aquarium. I’ll recommend using a vacuum hose because it controls the water pressure during spray.
When adding water, Keep the water pressure under control to prevent your decorations or live plants from damage. Treat your aquarium water from water conditioner to eliminate chlorine and other contaminants.

Step 6 – Install other equipment

Let’s start with the filter. Plug your filter and place them in the right position.
Set up your heater

keep a moderate temperature of heater for your fish. Tropical fish do well between 74-80°F. Placing the heater close to the filter keeps an even heat flow.

Install other equipment such as the air pump and LEDs system. And that’s it, your aquarium is ready to accommodate beautiful fishes.

10 Best Fish For 5 Gallon Fish Tank

I’ve carefully selected a few of the best fish that is perfectly suited for your 5-gallon aquarium. I also added some crabs because aquatic life is more than just a fish. I hope you’ll find your favorite fish. I also included some basic info and requirement to further help your decision making. Let’s get started:

Betta Fish

Bettas are remarkable small tropical fish, bred in different beautiful colors and fin shapes. That’s why fish keepers from all over the world love to keep them. This amazing multi-colored tropical fish needs a temperature-controlled, landscaped designed, and properly-filtered tank to survive. You shouldn’t keep them in a tank of fewer than 5 gallons.

Bettas love calm, peacefully aquarium with other tank mates and plants. Betta thrives more in the standard aquarium gravel. Moreover, they are easier to maintain. Male bettas are the most common and you can easily find them in pet stores. They are easily recognized by their big, colorful fin.

Female bettas are not as colorful as the male bettas. You might even mistake them for a male small-finned betta. Bettas have an enormous love for food. Just make sure they are not overfed. I’ll advise you to sometimes skip a day of feeding as it helps with overall health.

Bettas love space. I’ll strictly warn you not to keep two bettas in a tank together. Generally, a 5-gallon tank should never take more than one betta fish.

Least Killifish

The olive-colored fish is calm and peace-loving (unlike the betta fish). She has a dark stripe which runs on both sides of the body.
Least Killifish is resilient in nature. I’ll advise you to house them with plenty of plants around and an adjustable filter kept at a low water flow. Killifish can feed on both animal sources and plant matters. Make sure you feed them with a varied diet combo of vegetation and invertebrates. As I said earlier, killifish are calm but that doesn’t qualify them as a community fish. Because of their small size, other fishes can easily eat them. So it’s better to keep your killifish together. A 5-gallon fish tank can take at least 2 killifish.

Dwarf Puffer

Dwarf puffer is an active fish that love to have enough space to explore. They cannot grow more than 1 inch. Expect to see them fight any tank mate that comes in their way. A typical Dwarf puffer has different colors like brown, green, or darker spots which are determined by their mood.

The Dwarf puffer does not fit into the community tank because of their aggressive nature. They usually chase and attack themselves. So it’s better to keep them separate. The dwarf putter can feed on snails, blackworms, blood worms, and mosquito larvae. They won’t eat the pellet. You can add live plants like the easy-to-grow java miss and java fern into your draw puffer aquarium. They can survive with any substrate but they appear to do better in the sand.

Dwarf Crayfish

Dwarf crayfish is a peace-loving fish and fits into the community tanks. Dwarf crayfish resembles a miniature lobster.

Like the betta fish, dwarf crayfish don’t like heavy filtration. Just do a small filter to eliminate particles and clean the water. I strictly advise you not to stock your draw crayfish without recycling your tank. These brown-stripped fish are easily prone to nitrates and Ammonia. The bottom-feeders love to play around in small tanks, especially if they can hide, or play around rocks, plants, and wood.

The Dwarf crayfish can eat just about anything, from the peas to algae pellets to frozen bloodworms and mosquito larvae. They are peaceful creatures and can share their tank with fellow species. A 5-gallon tank can house two dwarf crayfish, although this depends on the size. However, don’t forget the fish per gallon rule.

Bumble Gobies

Bumblebee Gobies is a special species of fish considering they can survive in both brackish and freshwater tanks. Although they have a smaller 1.5 inches size, these little fish are generally bold in nature. They love to dominate the other species, so I’d advise you not to put more than one bumblebee Goby in your aquarium. Bumblebee Gobies does not ferociously compete for food, unlike most fishes. So always keep a hawk eyes on them to ensure they eat enough.

Endler’s Livebearers

Endler’s Livebearer is a small freshwater fish popular for its regular breeding. Get ready for some offspring any time soon.

Apart from their regular breeding quality and amazing colors, Endler’s livebearers are extremely easy to keep. They easily adapt to any water conditions. I’ll recommend them for beginners. They are omnivorous so you can get them a mix of flake food and some meaty snacks.

Crystal red shrimp

Crystal red shrimp is not a real a fish but can inhabit with other fishes.

They are beautiful, flow with other tank mates, and can survive in 3-5 gallon tanks.

Unfortunately, Crystal red shrimp may become the next snacks if kept with larger dishes. Crystal Red Shrimp loves aquarium with many driftwood and live plants.

Red Cherry Shrimp

Do you want to set up a shrimp tank? Red Cherry Shrimp is your ideal option. These little shrimps are very calm and reproduce faster.

I’d advise you not to keep them with fish or they may become the next snacks.

Celestial Pearl Danios

Dani exists in different sizes and shapes and Celestial Pearl Danios is one of them. This tiny freshwater fish is very colorful and friendly which is why many aquarium owners love it.

They are schooling by nature so you can equally keep them in groups.

These omnivores fish love to eat foods with plant and meat-based combo. They are generally not picky in nature and enjoy algae wafers, flake foods, freeze-dried blood worms, and brine shrimps.

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

The White Cloud minnow is a green color fish with a red fin. They are typically up to 1 ½ inches long. The male fish is slightly bigger and colorful than the female. These friendly fish cruise from around the mid to the top area of the tank. They are stylish and flow with other small fish.

FAQ

We’ve compiled a list of your frequently asked questions. I hope you find your answer here.

How many fish in a 5-gallon tank?

The general rule is to put one inch of fish in one gallon.

But that’s just not all. For example, you cannot fit a 5-inches goldfish in a small 5-gallon tank. You should consider how big your fish might become in the future. Can it survive the space in your little 5-gallon tank? Also, only small fish species such as Tetra or betta fish can fit into the general one inch fish per gallon rule. Alternatively, your 5-gallon tank can also house snails and shrimps.

What are the best fish for a 5 gallon tank

Typically, having a multiple fish in a 5-gallon n tank may be uncomfortable for the fishes. However, you can try the following combo:

  • 1 x Betta fish, 1 Nerite, 1 Amano
  • 10 x Cherry shrimp
  • 2x Least killifish
  • 5 x Nerite snail

How many tetras in a 5 gallon tank?

The small size of the tetra fish might mislead you into thinking that keeping so many of them in a five-gallon tank as practicable. We would be looking at two main factors that make this a very bad decision to make.

Size. The principle that should be adopted when it comes to keeping small fishes like the tetra is the one inch per gallon rule, this means that one inch of the tetra fish is estimated to occupy one gallon in the tank (keep in mind that this rule is only applicable to small fishes below 3 inches in size) With the average length of most tetra fishes being about 1.5 inches, it is not ideal to keep more than 3 of them in a gallon.

Shoaling fishes. Shoaling fishes are simply fishes that live in groups which are referred to as schools, for social and safety reasons. A tetra is a good example of fishes that live in ‘schools’. Although they are a relatively peaceful species, they can easily get agitated or scared when they are few.

A school of tetra is ideally made up of 6 member tetras. A five-gallon tank allows you to keep only 3 fishes which is less than the ideal number of fishes that makes up a tetra school, this technically means you need a 9-gallon tank for one school.

How many glofish in a 5 gallon tank?

The tetra Glofish possesses the same attributes as the natural tetra, which also includes living together in ‘schools’, so it is advisable to keep about 5 of them together.

This means that you require a tank that is at least 10 gallons in size for you to be able to create an optimum environment that would allow your Glofish to thrive without any stress.

If they are few, they might become lonely.  Some Glofish tetras have been noticed to become aggressive once they are not in schools.

How many guppies in a 5 gallon tank?

Just remember that you should not keep more than 1 inch, or 1.5 inches at most, of fish per gallon of water. Therefore, in a 5-gallon tank, keeping more than 3 or 4 guppies is not recommended!

Conclusion

A 5-gallon tank is the n ideal option for people who w5-galloneep small fishes. With this comprehensive list of the best 5-gallon tanks for fish, you can easily pick a quality home for your small fish. I hope you’re going to help your fish live happily in a 5-gallon tank. Go ahead and pick the best tank that perfectly suits your need and budget. Good luck!

View Comments

    • The betta is suggested to be kept in at least a 2.5 gallon tank though I recommend twice that much for a single betta

      Provided you do all necessary requirements to keep a betta happy and healthy, you can make a 4 gallon work for the betta. Remember though that the smaller the tank, the more often you have to change the water in the system.

      The old answer is below, due to the nature of the question, I'm not going to go into detail of how to care for betta or fish in general but there are other questions on quora that have answers for that. I am also not trying to say you must keep a betta in a small tank, that is up to you as the fish keeper to decide what size tank to get for your fish (just make sure it fits at least the least recommended size and maybe even then some).

      This will not fit very many fit healthy. You could get a betta in just fine (the other answers don't consider this but bettas are best kept in smaller tanks as they are air breathers.) Most other small fish are schoolers and so you need to have multiples of them which makes it hard to choose any of them. Guppies are probably another good choice as well.