I hear a the majority of advice that goes something like, “for theprice the a 5 gallon tank you can get a 10 gallon and also have an ext fish.”

And that is often true.

But, sometimes, a 5 gallon tank is the much better option for your apartment or home and may look better, aesthetically, than a an easy 10-gallon tank.

You are watching: Good fish for 5 gallon tank answers

And, in my experience, a smaller sized aquarium forces you come make much more meaningful choices about design and which fish come keep.

So, if friend think a 5 gallon tank is appropriate for you, don’t listen to the naysayers and read on to find what I think about some the the finest fish for a 5 gallon tank.

Also, permit me suggest out that many schooling fish are not“ideal” because that a 5 gallon.

The issue is that schooling fish feel an ext stressed when alone or in a tiny group.

And in a 5 gallon tank, small schools (typically 4-5 fish) arepretty lot the maximum you deserve to have unless you desire to risk an ammonia spike.

But, I have actually still contained some schooling fish ~ above this list of finest fish for a 5 gallon because, in mine experience, they space beautiful and more than happy to live in a 5 gallon if provided the proper conditions.

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Table that Contents

1. Betta Fish (Betta splendens)


Recommended Temperature

78–80 levels Fahrenheit (25-27 degrees Celsius)

Betta fish, both males and also females, are truly several of myfavorite fish.

They have attitude, they stare at you inquisitively, andthey watch stunningly beautiful.

They likewise hate various other betta fish, and a many other aquariumfish too, so having them in their own 5 gallon is perfect.

Female betta fish should additionally be a serious factor to consider foryour 5 gallon aquarium.

Female betta fish, specifically koi bettas, are just as feisty together male bettas but have shorter fins, which offers them an agile and streamlined look, like a vivid torpedo.

If you want to learn an ext about the differences between female and male bettas, inspect out my article on mrs vs masculine betta fish.

A betta fish is my height pick for a 5 gallon aquarium since you get personality, looks, and also intelligence every in one fish.

The Gear

Betta fish are fairly easy.

A heater and a sponge filter (betta fish execute not like currents) along with a irradiate is all they need to flourish in a 5 gallon tank.

The equipment listed below is what I usage in my own betta tanks:

a. Cobalt Heater

b. Sponge Filter

c. Hygger LED irradiate (for a full review ~ above aquarium lighting, check out my article here)

2. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)


Recommended Temperature

74-80 levels Fahrenheit (23-27 levels Celsius)

A tank of around 4 masculine guppies will develop a flurry of activity during feeding and also flashes of color every time you walk by.

Guppies room much much more energetic 보다 betta fish and also arebetter because that those who want to watch fish swimming against the glass with excitementfor their next meal.

Male guppies come in a huge selection of colors, native bright redtails to panda-like coloring.

While female and male guppies deserve to be preserved together there is no aggression, her 5-gallon tank will quickly become filled v baby guppies (trust me, they make a lot of babies!).

If your arrangement is to have actually a display tank or planted tank, stick through a team of her favorite males.

Guppy Gear

a. Cobalt Heater

b. Sponge Filter

c. Hygger LED Light

3. Cherry Shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)


Recommended Temperature

72-80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 levels Celsius)

Cherry shrimp space still underrated in the aquarium hobby.

These freshwater shrimp room colorful and extremely enjoyableto watch together they find for algae and also food.

Unlike fish, cherry shrimp execute not produce a large bioload, definition they perform not develop much waste and also so her water top quality will no degrade as much when you add new shrimp.

This means that you have the right to have 15-20 cherry shrimp in a5-gallon tank there is no worrying around the sudden ammonia spikes that the samenumber that fish would create.

So, cherry shrimp space really one of the ideal “fish” for a 5gallon tank.

Also, cherry shrimp are for beginners; nothing let who tell you that they are for intermediary aquarists only.

Cherry shrimp grow under the exact same parameters and also care as betta fish or guppies and are hardier 보다 you might think.

I usage tap water because that water transforms in my cherry shrimp tanks and also they perform not mind that at every (no RO water vital for cherry shrimp).

4. Mollies (Poecilia latipinna/Poecilia sphenops)


Recommended Temperature

76-80 levels Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius)

Mollies are a standard freshwater aquarium fish and also have beenin the hobby for a long time.

They are additionally livebearers favor guppies and also will create babymollies at an great rate.

Balloon mollies, red one in particular, are lively and also fullof personality.

A 5 gallon tank can conveniently handle a group of around 5 male mollies.

The tank setup you require for mollies the basically the sameas because that the other fish in this article.

A heater, sponge filter, and light space the main essentials.

5. Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus)


Recommended Temperature

74-79 degrees Fahrenheit (23-26 levels Celsius)

Corydoras or cory catfish are small bottom dwellingfreshwater catfish.

Cory catfish choose to be in schools and 5 gallon tanks don’t provide most varieties of corydoras with sufficient room.

But, thankfully, a nano types of cory catfish exists.

Corydoras habrosus,Corydoras hastatus, and also Corydoras pygmaeus space three varieties ofcory catfish that only reach about an customs in length.

But, they may be tough to uncover as these nano fish have actually becomeincreasingly popular.

Keeping 5 of this cory catfish in a 5-gallon tank is doable however make certain you administer frequent water alters to protect against waste buildup and also potentially destructive ammonia spikes.

These minature cory catfish room truly funny to watch as they zoom roughly the bottom of her tank. And also

They make great addition to any type of planted tank and can be among the finest fish for a 5-gallon tank if you maintain their water quality and avoid overfeeding.

A sponge filter is appropriate for these small cory catfish due to the fact that these filters execute not produce solid suction or water currents.

6. Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)


Recommended Temperature

74-80 degrees Fahrenheit (23-27 levels Celsius)

Neon tetras look like a scientific research experiment involving jellyfish and minnows.

But, the color and also glow that the neon tetra is natural and helps this fish stand the end in the muddy waters of their indigenous environment, the Amazon basin of south America.

For a 5 gallon planted tank, consider a college of no morethan 5 neon tetras.

Neon tetras space tend to be nervous fish and definitelythrive in larger tanks, however actually make terrific fish for a 5 gallon ifgiven plants and also some décor for hiding.

The bright color ofneon tetras will comparison especially well through a dark substrate and deepgreen leaves, prefer those that Anubias plants.

If you plan on getting more than 5 neon tetras, considering upgrading come a larger tank, favor a 20 gallon long.

7. Harlequin Rasbora (Rasbora heteromorpha)


Recommended Temperature

74-82 levels Fahrenheit (23-28 degrees Celsius)

Harlequin rasboras have an orange hue and also a striking black mark about halfway down their body.

Harlequins make excellent display fish because that planted tanks and also aquascapes due to the fact that they include contrast come a tank and also visual appeal.

But, Harlequin rasboras, prefer neon tetras, favor to swim in thick schools.

This renders Harlequins less than ideal for a 5 gallon tank but, with regular maintenance and also water changes, a small school that no an ext than 4 fish can be kept happily.

If you plan on keeping much more than 4 Harlequins, considerupgrading come a 20 gallon lengthy as the water top quality in a 5 gallon will certainly degraderelatively quickly.

Fish Not to have in a 5 Gallon Tank

1. Goldfish

Goldfish space beautiful creatures however a 5-gallon tank is toosmall.

Goldfish are huge waste producers and also water top quality can conveniently reach a risk zone in a 5 gallon tank.

If you desire to keep goldfish, think about keeping them in asmall patio pond or get yourself between a 20 gallon and 40 gallon tank.

2. Angelfish

Angelfish room stunningly beautiful but become far too largefor a 5 gallon aquarium.

Angelfish favor being near other angelfish yet will fight each other without enough space.

They additionally tend to be nippy toward other fish.

3. Various other Cichlids

Cichlids, prefer Oscars, Jack Dempseys, eco-friendly Terrors, and also countless others, make poor residents because that 5-gallon tanks due to the fact that they grow large and tend to be very active.

Also, most cichlids room territorial and also need extra room if preserved together in a tank.

If you know you want to it is in a cichlid keeper, certainly skipthe 5-gallon tank and also go right to a 20 gallon or larger.


A 5 gallon tank is for someone who likes a challenge.

With minimal space, choosing the ideal fish, plants, anddecorations becomes a video game of chess.

Putting too many fish in a 5 gallon can quickly lead come a tank crash and also the demise of her fish.

But, a growing 5 gallon aquarium is a occupational of art.

If you desire to learn around aquascaping a small tank, inspect out mine step-by-step guide on developing a 5 gallon cavern aquascape.

Larger tanks, choose a 20 gallon lengthy are likewise fun, particularly if you desire to save multiple varieties of fish, however if friend crave the difficulty of building a vibrant and also intricate ecosystem, consider getting a 5 gallon aquarium and filling it through plants.

For an ext information about plants that can thrive in a 5 gallon tank, check out my article on nearly unkillable aquarium plants.

And, examine out my write-up on the best freshwater birds eaters, every fish keeper encounters algae at some point.

If you want to find out about setup up an even smaller tank, check out my step by step overview to aquascaping a 3 gallon betta bowl.

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The price of small tanks originates from the effort and also care weput right into them.

As always, continue to be zen aquarists.