25 Best Fish For 5 Gallon Tanks – Stocking Ideas for Beginners

When it comes to choosing the best fish for 5 gallon tanks, you will definitely have a wide range of options. However, it is a bit challenging to maintain a small fish tank but it is still manageable.

Thriving small fish tanks can be a form of art and a better choice for the beginner. With proper maintenance, a small fish tank can become more successful compared to the bigger ones.

We have created a list of some best fish for 5 gallon tanks based on our experience, user ratings, and market research to make your purchasing decision easy. 

 

25 Best Fish For 5 Gallon Tanks

5 gallon fish tanks make superb aquariums. A 5 gallon tank is the perfect choice for your home to enhance the elegance of your favorite corner than a 10 gallon tank.

We have included the 25 best fish for 5 gallon tanks based on our experience. With proper conditions and maintenance, they all will live happily. 

 

1. Chili Rasbora

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 68° – 78° F

Ph Level – 5.0 – 7.0

Size – 0.7 inches

Chili Rasbora is active, beautiful, and cute. They are one of those schooling fish that are always active whenever you look at your 5 gallon tank. But keep in mind that you need to put them in a group.

Male Chili Rasbora is brightly red-colored with a sparkling black stripe. However, Female Chili Rasbora has lighter color markings than males and also has round bellies.

They grow only up to 0.7 inches and peacefully live in the tank. You can give them a protein-rich diet – tubifex micro worms, daphnia or brine shrimp can be the better choices.

 

2. Bettas

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 75° – 81° F

Ph Level – 6.5 – 7.5

Size – 2 – 3 inches

colorful betta fish

 

Bettas – are another great beginner fish and they are one of the most widely available aquarium fish all over the world. You will find around 73 varieties of the genus Betta. They have large flowing fins and vivid colors.

These fishes are intelligent and can easily learn tricks. Also, they are able to recognize and greet their owner. 

A 5 gallon planted tank with proper decorations helps Bettas to stay active and healthy. They have an attitude, intelligence, and truly look incredible for their stunning flowing fins.

 

3. Fancy Guppies

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 70° – 82° F

Ph Level – 7.0 – 8.0

Size – 2 inches

Guppies
Guppy

 

Fancy Guppies are the most famous small fish for the freshwater aquarium all over the world because of their bright color, fin shapes, and pattern combination. They are small fish. Guppies can grow up to 2 inches.

Guppies are popular for breeding a lot. So, it is better to put them in a small group of 5 males or 1 male per 3 to 4 females. 

A 5 gallon tank can be a good choice for Fancy Guppies. You should provide them with high-quality flake food, frozen brine, or micro pellets.

 

4. Endler’s Livebearers

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 75° – 80° F

Ph Level – 7.0 – 8.0

Size – 1 – 1.8 inches

Endler’s Livebearers are a small fish and one of the most popular choices among aquarium owners. They are closely related to Guppies. They peacefully live in the tank and do not require any special equipment. Endler’s have a lifespan of 2 to 3 years.

 

5. Bluefin Notho

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 68° – 75° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.0

Size – 2.4 inches

Bluefin Notho has a lifespan of 1 to 2 years. However, Bluefin Notho has a short lifespan, they are full of life, active, and energetic.

They can be a great choice for the 5 gallon tank with plenty of live aquarium plants. Bluefin Notho is widely popular for its bright color and stripy fins.

 

6. Cherry Shrimp

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 70° – 80° F

Ph Level – 6.8 – 7.5

Size – 1.5 inches

cherry shrimp
cherry shrimp

These brightly colored Cherry Shrimp are still underrated among aquarium hobbyists. Cherry Shrimps are very enjoyable to watch as they look for food. They are truly a great choice for a 5 gallon tank. These small fish can be a good choice for beginners.

 

7. Neon Tetra

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 72° – 76° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.0

Size – 1.5 inches

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetra is one of the most popular fish for the small tank. The best 5 gallon tank fish discussion will be incomplete without Neon Tetra!  

They have blue and red color markings. Neon Tetras are small-sized fish with thin bodies and they can perform better in a wide array of environments.

You need to put them in a group. But they become more active in a 10 gallon tank. However, Neon Tetra is a good choice for beginners as they do not need any specialist equipment.

 

8. Sparkling Gourami

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 77° – 82.5° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.0

Size – 1.5 inches

Sparkling Gourami has a wide range of colors in its small body. If you look closely, you will observe bright blue eyes, stripes or red, and polka-dotted fins. They are quite easy to please. 

If you are making a plan for sparkling gourami, then you should not forget about the plants. These small fishes can be a better choice for beginners.

 

9. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

General Features:

Care – Beginner-Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 64° – 72° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 8.0

Size – 1 ½ inch

White Cloud Mountain Minnow
White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White Cloud Mountain Minnow is another popular small fish for the 5 gallon tank. They grow up to 1 ½ inches. The male white clouds are more bright and colorful compared to the females.

However, white clouds can live in warm conditions temporarily but these fishes prefer cool conditions. Living in warm waters in the long term can reduce its lifespan.

 

10. Molly Fish

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 75° – 80° F

Ph Level – 7.5 – 8.5

Size – 4 – 4.5 inches

black molly
black molly

Molly fish is a classic freshwater fish for small gallon tanks. They are available in a wide variety of colors and a few of them have different designs that definitely give you an aesthetic vibe. You can easily handle your 5 gallon tank with a group of about 5 male molly fishes.

 

11. Honey Gourami

General Features:

Care – Intermediate-Expert

Tank Temperature – 71° – 82° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.5

Size – 2 inches

Honey Gourami is pretty similar to the standard Gourami. But Honey Gourami has a different color. It has an orange-red color which makes it different from the standard ones.

They are quite small as they grow up to 2 inches – which makes them a popular choice for a small gallon tank. Honey Gourami fishes are very peaceful and they can become timid around the super active fishes.

They are very easy-going fish and you can put them in a group, pair, or single. But they are more enjoyable to watch if you keep them in groups of 4-6 individuals. 

 

12. Scarlet Badis

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 72° – 79° F

Ph Level – 6.5 – 7.5

Size – 0.8 inches

Scarlet Badis can easily and comfortably live in a small aquarium. Scarlet Badies adult females can grow up to half an inch and adult males can grow less than an inch long. 

You can not deny the beauty of these tiny fishes. Handling the Scarlet Badis can be a bit more challenging for the beginner. Their natural behavior makes them more challenging compared to other freshwater fish. However, it can a good choice for the intermediate. Scarlet Badis are shy and timid in nature.

 

13. Dwarf Pea Puffer

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 74° – 82° F

Ph Level – 7.2 – 7.5

Size – 1.5 inches

In recent times, these adorable small Dwarf Pea Puffer has gained high popularity. And everyone knows the reason behind it! The bright yellow belly, tiny fins, shimmering gold swirls, dense, and stout body make Dwarf Pea Puffer more stunning and eye-catchy.

Dwarf Pea Puffer is a common choice for 5 gallon tanks. However, they are not the most powerful swimmers but they can move freely and actively a lot. They can swim through the vegetation.

 

14. Pygmy Corydoras

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 72° – 79° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 8.0

Size – 1 inch

Cory Catfish

 

Pygmy Corydoras are also known as dwarf cory catfish. Many aquarists are friendly with the standard-size corydoras. These tiny creatures are one of the popular choices for a small tank. They keep the signature cory shape. 

The large eyes, bulbous body, and under-turned mouth make them look stunning. They are not only perfect for 5 gallon tanks but also pretty beautiful for their bright and colorful design. Their stunning thin body makes them an incredible and eye-catchy fish.

 

15. Celestial Pearl Danio

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 73° – 79° F

Ph Level – 6.5 – 7.5

Size – 1 inch

Danios
Danios

These adorable tiny creatures have a deep blue body and cream-colored patches dot. They have bright red fins and black striping. 

The exceptionally beautiful combination of color and pattern makes this tiny fish different from others and also makes it one of the most stunning fish around.

Taking care of celestial pearl danios is quite easy and straightforward. Though, you need to be more aware of the conditions. These fishes need many hiding spots, appropriate conditions, and a balanced diet to stay healthy.

 

16. Least Killifish

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 66° – 75° F

Ph Level – 7.0

Size – 1.4 inches

The Least Killifish can survive in rough conditions that other species can not. These fishes can easily adapt to a rough life. They love to live peacefully and mind their own business.

 

17. Harlequin Rasbora

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 73° – 82° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.5

Size – 2 inches

Harlequin Rasboras
Harlequin Rasboras

 

However, Harlequin Rasbora might not be the bright-colored fish, but they know how to grab attention. Its diamond-shaped body and triangular black patch make it more attractive.

They love to live peacefully and like their privacy. But sometimes they can become a target to big fish if you do not monitor properly and carefully. They are hardy fish so that they do not get ill frequently. 

 

18. Amano Shrimp

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 64° – 80° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 7.5

Size – 2 inches

Amano shrimp is always fun to watch as they move around the tank. They eat anything edible.  These tiny aquatic creatures can be a cute addition to your small fish tank. They can be good for the beginner. Amano Shrimp need better-quality plants and decor. 

 

19. Dwarf Crayfish

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 60° – 75° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 8.0

Size – 1.6 – 2.0 inches

Dwarf Crayfish is an interesting addition to your 5 gallon fish tank. They look like a miniature form of a lobster. They are pretty easy to manage. Eating all the unfavorable stuff, they keep the tank healthy. 

If you are setting up your fish tank for Dwarf Crayfish, then it is important to add plenty of decor, plant, or rock.

 

20. Kuhli Loach

General Features:

Care – Expert

Tank Temperature – 75° – 86° F

Ph Level – 5.5 – 7.0

Size – 2.0 – 4.0 inches

Kuhli loach
Kuhli loach

 

For the aquarium enthusiast, who want to buy some tiny fishes for their small tank – Kuhli Loach can be a good choice! But they are not recommended for the beginner. Because they follow a strict diet and you need to select their food very carefully.

Most of the daytime, Kuhli Loach hides and becomes active at night. they always stay at the bottom of the tank. It is important to have some hidden spots for them.

 

21. Salt And Pepper Pygmy Cory catfish

General Features:

Care – Expert

Tank Temperature – 72° – 79° F

Ph Level – 6.2 – 7.2

Size – 0.75 inches

They are also a very popular choice for the 5 gallon tank. They are smaller in size compared to guppies. These fishes are very peaceful and they act just like the corydoras fish.

 

22. Black Skirt Tetra

General Features:

Care – Intermediate

Tank Temperature – 70° – 85° F

Ph Level – 6.8 – 7.0

Size – 2.0 inches

It is a bit hard to recognize a Black Skirt Tetra because of its exceptional color and unique outlook. But their color will change once they become mature. The dark color begins to blur and become pale as time flows.

They have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years and they do not prefer to live alone. It is better to keep at least two. They require clean water to live. So, it is very important to keep your fish tank water clean with proper filtering.

 

23. Platies

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 70° – 80° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 8.0

Size – 2.5 – 3.0 inches

Platies
Platies

Platies are a perfect choice for beginners. They are very easy to take care of and handle. These small fishes come in a wide range of colors options such as orange, red, blue, etc. 

 

24. Small Barbs

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 75° – 80° F

Ph Level – 6.8 – 7.8

Size – 2.0 inches

Small Barb
Small Barb

Small Barbs should be put in a group in the 5 gallon fish tank because keeping them in a small number can cause aggression. For that, it is better to keep them at least five. You will find different categories of small barbs. 

 

25. Bloodfin Tetras

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 70° – 80° F

Ph Level – 6.0 – 8.0

Size – 2.0 – 2.5 inches

 

Bloodfin tetras

Bloodfin tetras are eye-catchy and good-looking tiny creatures. They do not prefer to live alone. These active tiny fishes can live up to 10 years with proper care and treatments.

Read more: Best fish for 2.5 gallon tanks

 

Fish Not to Keep in a 5 Gallon Tank!

You should not keep the following fishes in your 5 gallon tank –

  • Goldfish: Though goldfish is beautiful creature, they are not suitable for the 5 gallon tank. They are a big waste producer.
  • Angelfish: This beautiful fish is larger for a 5 gallon fish tank. So, you should not keep them in your small fish tank.

Read more: Best heater for 5 gallon tanks

 

What Can You Keep in Your 5 Gallon Tank Other Than Fish?

Besides fishes, you can also put different varieties of tiny creatures in your fish tank such as –

 

1. Nerite Snail

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 72° – 80° F

Ph Level – 7.0 – 8.0

Size – 1 inch

Nerite snails are easy-going as they eat so much of the greenery so that you do not need to provide additional supplementary food. A well-maintained aquarium has all the required organic food. 

Nerite Snails come in a wide range of colors and varieties. However, the most common features – muted yellow and black shells. You can also observe some high-contrast pattern designs such as stripes and spots.

 

2. Zebra Snails

General Features:

Care – Beginner

Tank Temperature – 70° – 80° F

Ph Level – 7.5 – 9.0

Size – 0.5 – 1.0 inch

Zebra snails
Zebra snails by sandron.life

They are a popular choice and commonly used for small fish tanks. They are peaceful. But they can not reproduce in the freshwater.

 

3. African dwarf frogs

They can be an amazing choice for 5 gallon fish tank. Also, they are the most perfectly-sized vertebrate for the small aquarium.

 

4. Dwarf seahorses

They can be an interesting addition to your small fish tank. 

 

How to Set Up a 5 Gallon Tank – in Easy 7 Steps!

Keeping small fish is always a fun task. Here are a few easy steps to set up your 5 gallon fish tank.

Thing’s You’ll Need:

  • 5 gallon fish tank
  • Lighting
  • Water conditioner
  • Fish food
  • Filter
  • Substrate
  • Air pump or heater 
  • Decor
  • Fishes
  • Fishnet
  • Container

 

Steps to Follow:

Step – 1.  At first, you need to put 5 gallons of water in a container and keep it for 1 or 2 days.

Step – 2. Now you need to add the background, substrate, and decors to the 5 gallon fish tank. Try to keep all the decorations natural. You can use driftwood as they look beautiful and natural.

Step – 3. With the help of a colander or a plate to pour half of the water from the previously prepared water container in the fish tank. So that, it doe not destroy the arrangement of your fish tank decorations.

Step – 4. Then install the air pump, heater, and filter. Few fishes do not need a heater. But you need filters to keep your fish tank clean and fresh.

Step – 5. Now arrange the live plants and then pour the rest of the water into the fish tank.

Step – 6. Then add a few drops of water conditioner. You can follow the instructions on the bottle. You should cycle your tank for at least two weeks. It is important because it helps to form some useful bacteria. These helpful bacteria will dissolve later the ammonia from the fish feces.

Step – 7. Now it is time to add the small fishes into your 5 gallon fish tank. And, you should feed them twice a day.

 

Few Exclusive Tips

  • Always keep in mind your fish’s needs and requirements.
  • Do some research and buy only the fishes that are suitable for your 5 gallon tank.
  • Few fishes do not require an air pump if you have a filter.
  • Always wash off your decorations before adding them to the water tank.
  • Always remember, different fishes need different pH and temperatures.

 

Some Warnings to Remember

  • Never clean the decorations with soap or detergents.
  • Never combine the aggressive fishes with the other fishes.
  • Do not stock your fish tank with fish that will grow large and different in size. 

 

6 Easy Fish Tank Maintenance Care and Tips!

Here are some easy fish tank maintenance care and tips for you –

  1. Before adding fish, you need to cycle your fish tank.
  2. Use a water testing kit to monitor the water parameters (levels of ammonia, nitrates, or pH factor)
  3. Frequently change water to maintain freshness.
  4. Do some research before adding the fish into the fish tank.
  5. You should not overfeed your fish.
  6. Try to manage light in and around your fish tank.

 

Things to Consider While Buying a 5 Gallon Tank:

A 5 gallon fish tank can add a stylish and elegant look to your apartment. However, you will find several 5 gallon fish tanks in the market. But it is essential to consider while purchasing the best 5 gallon tank. 

  • Proper Filtration

It is important to buy a fish tank with proper filtration to ensure fresh and clean water. While selecting a filter, you should not choose a too strong filter otherwise your fish will stuck.

  • Lighting

Lighting is an additional factor. Never use a radiant bulb as it will stop you from controlling the water temperature.

  • Fish Size

As you are going to purchase a small fish tank, fish size is also an important considerable fact. You should buy the larger fish for your 5 gallon tank.

  • Temperature

To maintain proper temperature, you need to have a good heater. It is very important for tropical fishes to keep the temperature warm.

 

FAQs

1. How many fish can you keep in a 5 gallon tank?

You can put around 4-6 fish in a small tank. Each fish should not be larger than 2 inches. You can follow the rule of one-inch fish per gallon. Fish that can grow larger are not suitable for the 5 gallon fish tank.

2. Is a 5 gallon fish tank is difficult to maintain?

It is not a very hard task to maintain the 5-gallon fish tank. Its micro size, maintenance time, and method – make it comparatively less difficult to maintain.

3. How often should I clean my 5 gallon tank?

You should clean your 5 gallon fish tank weekly. In case, you have a bigger fish tank then you need to clean it once or twice a month.

 

Conclusion

Fishkeeping can be a great source of enjoyment. As an aquarist, it is very delightful to watch these tiny, active, and colorful creatures move around in the small aquarium.

Nano tanks are an art of work that can be a beautiful addition to your home. With the creative stuff, selecting the appropriate fish, plants, fish gears, decorations, and proper maintenance – you will become a game of chess!

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