5 Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks (& Why They’re So Good)

Last Updated on 2024-06-05

Looking to bring aquatic life into your home or office, but don’t have much space? A 5-gallon fish tank could be the answer! In this article, we’ll explore the best 5-gallon fish tanks on the market, including their pros, cons, and features.

So, keep reading to find out everything you need to know, and more!

What To Look For In A 5 Gallon Fish Tank

A 5-gallon fish tank can be a great addition to any home or office, but it’s important to choose the right one. Look for a tank that provides ample swimming space, has a good filtration system, includes lighting, and has the necessary accessories for your specific needs. 

1. Size and Shape

When it comes to a 5-gallon tank, the size and shape of the tank are important considerations. A rectangular tank is often the best choice as it provides ample swimming space for your fish. However, if you prefer a curved tank, make sure it’s not too small or the curvature could cause issues with water circulation and filtration.

2. Filtration System

A good filtration system is essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium. Look for a 5-gallon tank that comes with a filtration system, or purchase one separately if necessary. A filter should be able to cycle the water at least three to five times per hour to ensure it stays clean and healthy for your fish.

3. Lighting

Lighting is another important aspect of a 5-gallon fish tank. Your fish will need a light source to simulate day and night cycles, and plants will require light for photosynthesis. Look for a tank that comes with a built-in light fixture or purchase one separately.

4. Accessories

When choosing a 5-gallon tank, think about the accessories you’ll need. A heater will be necessary if you plan to keep tropical fish, and a thermometer will help you monitor the water temperature. Plants, gravel, and decorations can also be added to make the tank more visually appealing and provide hiding places for your fish.

best 5 gallon fish tank

Best 5 Gallon Fish Tank

If you’re in the market for a 5-gallon fish tank, there are plenty of options to choose from. To make your search easier, we have reviewed the top 5 best 5-gallon fish tanks on the market. Our reviews are based on the general consensus of people who have used these products, rather than our personal opinion. Here are our top picks:

1. Fluval Spec 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit

The Fluval Spec 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit is a sleek and modern-looking fish tank that is perfect for small spaces. It features a powerful circulation pump, a three-stage filtration system, and an LED lighting system that mimics natural daylight. The tank is made of glass and comes with a foam mat to protect surfaces.


  • Sleek and modern design
  • Powerful filtration system
  • Adjustable flow filter pump
  • Comes with LED lighting system
  • Comes with a foam mat
  • Cover included


  • The filter can be loud
  • The LED lights may not be bright enough for some plants
  • The filter cartridges need to be replaced regularly
Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon, White
  • 5 gallon nano aquarium
  • Etched-glass tank with aluminum trim
  • Powerful 37 LED Lighting System
  • Includes foam block, activated carbon and BioMax bio rings
  • Size: 17.2 x 10.6 x 6.3 Inch

2. Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 5 Gallon

The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is a perfect choice for those who are looking for a budget-friendly option. It comes with an LED lighting system that provides ample lighting for your fish and plants. The kit also includes a hang-on filter that keeps the water clean and clear. And lastly the tank has a hinged plastic lid that makes feeding and cleaning easy.


  • Compact and elegant design
  • Budget-friendly option
  • LED lighting system included
  • Hang-on filter included
  • Hinged plastic lid for easy feeding and cleaning


  • The plastic lid may warp over time
  • The filter may not be powerful enough for some tanks
  • The plastic canopy may scratch easily
Marina 5 Gallon (19 L) LED Aquarium Kit – Ideal for Beginner Aquarists and New Fish-Keepers
  • 5 gallon glass aquarium starter kit
  • Comes with everything needed for your first fish tank
  • Use our Nutrafin Aqua Plus Water Conditioner to make tap water safe for fish
  • Marina’s Slim S20 clip-on aquarium filter keeps your water clear and uses quick-change filter cartridges
  • Long-lasting, natural daylight effect LED aquarium lighting module is incorporated into the fish tank’s canopy

3. Pen Plax Desktop Aquarium Kit

The Pen Plax Desktop Aquarium Kit offers a stunning design with a clear acrylic tank and curved front for a panoramic view of your fish and plants. It includes a cascade internal filter, LED lighting, and a hinged plastic lid for easy maintenance. Perfect for those who want a unique and convenient fish tank.


  • Unique and eye-catching design
  • Cascade internal filter included
  • LED lighting system included
  • Comes with a plant and gravel


  • The curved front may make it difficult to clean the corners
  • The filter may be too strong for some fish
  • The tank may scratch easily
Penn-Plax Water-World Vertex Desktop Nano Aquarium Kit with Multi-Color LED Light – Perfect for Shrimp and Small Fish – 5 Gallon Tank
  • CONVENIENT FOR SMALL SPACES: The Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit is perfect for small or unused spaces: a desk, dresser, or even on top of the old file cabinet that hasn’t been touched in years. This frameless tank is made from finely constructed bent glass that’s 1/8” thick. At the front, it features 2 curved corners, allowing for unobstructed views from all angles.
  • COLOR CHANGING LED LIGHT: You asked, we listened! This model of the Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit comes with a touch-controlled LED light! But it doesn’t end there! The LED light offers 5 vibrant color settings, plus an automatic rotation! Colors = Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, and White.
  • GREAT FOR BEGINNERS: The Vertex Desktop 5 Gallon Tank Kit makes for a simple and easy introduction to aquarium ownership. This kit is ideal for adults and children alike, and offers almost everything you need in 1 package!
  • CONTAINS ALMOST EVERYTHING YOU NEED: This aquarium kit includes the following: 5 Gallon Glass Tank, Multi-Color LED Light, Hinged PVC Lid, Cascade 20 Power Hang-On Filter (20 GPH), Therma-Temp Full-Range Digital Thermometer, and Quick-Net Fish Net.
  • MEASUREMENTS: Overall = 10.5” (W) x 9.75” (D) x 12” (H) / Tank Water Volume = 5 Gallons

4. Tetra Crescent Aquarium Kit

The Tetra Crescent Aquarium Kit is another budget-friendly option that is perfect for beginners. The tank has a curved front that provides a unique view of your fish and plants. The kit comes with a Whisper internal filter that keeps the water clean and clear, and an LED lighting system that provides ample lighting. The tank also includes a cover to prevent fish from jumping out.


  • Budget-friendly option
  • Curved front for a unique view
  • Whisper internal filter included


  • The filter may be too strong for some fish
  • Some users reported issues with the LED lights burning out quickly
Tetra Crescent aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, Curved-Front Tank With LEDs,black
  • Aquarium KIT Curved-front crescent-shaped aquarium kit is perfect for one goldfish or up to three community tropical fish
  • INCLUDES FILTER Includes Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter to keep your tank clean and provide a healthy environment for pet fish
  • HIDDEN LIGHTS Bright-white energy-efficient LED lights are hidden inside the low-profile black cover
  • SEAMLESS TANK Offers unobstructed viewing of your underwater environment
  • 5 GALLON TANK Small size that’s perfect for a bedroom living room or dorm room (15 inches x 9 inches x 11 inches)

5. Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit

The Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit is a beautiful and elegant fish tank that is perfect for showcasing your fish. It features a curved glass design, an LED lighting system, and a hidden three-stage filtration system. The tank comes with a hinged light and sliding glass canopy.


  • Beautiful and elegant design
  • Curved glass design
  • LED lighting system
  • Hidden three-stage filtration system


  • The filter may not be powerful enough for some users
  • Some users reported issues with the pump being too loud
MarineLand Contour 5 aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, Rounded Glass Corners, Includes LED Lighting, Multi-Color, 5-Gallon (ML90611)
  • SLEEK DESIGN: Rounded corners and clear glass canopy allow viewing from multiple angles.
  • DAYLIGHT/MOONLIGHT SETTINGS: Bright white LEDs create a shimmering sunlight effect; blue LEDs produce a moonlit glow.
  • EASY ACCESS: Hinged LED rail light and sliding glass canopy.
  • DIMENSIONS: The Marineland Contour 5 aquarium measures 9.
  • included components: 1 x Contour 5 aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, Rounded Glass Corners

What To Avoid In A 5 Gallon Fish Tank

A 5-gallon fish tank can be a great option for beginners or those with limited space. However, there are things to avoid to ensure your fish’s health and happiness. Avoid overstocking and overfeeding, maintain good water quality through regular water changes and testing, and choose appropriate tankmates for your fish. 

1. Overstocking

One of the biggest mistakes people make with small aquariums is overstocking. It can be tempting to add more fish than your tank can handle, but a 5-gallon tank can only support a limited number of fish. Overstocking can cause stress and illness in your fish, as well as poor water quality.

2. Overfeeding

Overfeeding is another common mistake that can lead to poor water quality and health issues in your fish. Only feed your fish what they can eat in a few minutes, and avoid feeding them more than once or twice a day. Uneaten food can quickly decompose and create toxins in the water.

3. Lack of Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for maintaining a healthy aquarium. In a 5-gallon tank, you should aim to change about 25% of the water every week. Neglecting water changes can lead to a build-up of toxins and waste products, which can be harmful to your fish.

4. Poor Water Quality

In a small aquarium like a 5-gallon tank, it’s important to test the water regularly for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Use a water conditioner to remove chlorine and other harmful chemicals from tap water before adding it to your tank.

5. Inappropriate Tankmates

Not all fish are compatible with each other, and it’s important to choose tankmates that have similar requirements for water conditions and temperament. Avoid adding aggressive or territorial fish to a small tank like a 5-gallon, as they can cause stress and harm to other fish.

What Can You Put In A 5 Gallon Fish Tank?

A 5 gallon fish tank may not be suitable for most fish, but it can still make a great home for some small aquatic creatures. Here are some examples of fish that can be kept in a 5 gallon fish tank, along with their preferred water parameters, size, and lifespan:

​​Malaysian Trumpet Snails

malaysian trumpet snail care sheet

Malaysian Trumpet Snails are freshwater snails that can help keep your tank clean by eating algae and leftover food. They are peaceful and social, making them a great addition to a 5 gallon tank. 

  • pH: 7.0-8.0 
  • Temperature: 70-79°F 
  • Size: 1.5 Inches
  • Lifespan: 1Year

2. Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp Care Sheet Big

Cherry shrimp, also known as Sakura shrimp, are popular freshwater shrimp species for small aquariums. They are easy to care for and add a vibrant pop of color to any tank with their bright red appearance.

  • pH: 6.5-8.0 
  • Temperature: 72-82°F
  • Size: 1.25 Inches
  • Lifespan: 1-2 Years

3. Ramshorn Snail

ramshorn snail care sheet

Ramshorn Snails have a unique spiral-shaped shell that can range in color from brown to red or even blue. They are also peaceful and will not harm other tank inhabitants. Ramshorn snails are easy to care for and require minimal attention.

  • pH: 7.0-8.0 
  • Temperature: 70-80°F
  • Size: 1 Inch
  • Lifespan: 1 Year

4. Nerite Snails

nerite snail care sheet

Nerite Snails have a round, spiraled shell that can range in color from black to brown or even yellow. One of the most interesting facts about nerite snails is that they are able to move in both freshwater and saltwater environments, which makes them versatile and adaptable to various tank setups. 

  • pH: 7.0-8.0 
  • Temperature: 72-82°F
  • Size: 0.75 Inches
  • Lifespan: 1-2 Years

5. Betta Fish

betta care sheet

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a popular freshwater fish species that are known for their vibrant colors and long flowing fins. Betta fish are solitary fish and can thrive in a small tank as long as it is properly filtered and heated. Betta fish are also hardy and can tolerate a range of water conditions.

  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Temperature: 76-80°F 
  • Size: 3 inches 
  • Lifespan: up to 5 years

(Find out the best tanks specifically for bettas.)

6. Guppies

guppy care sheet

Guppies, also known as millionfish, are another popular freshwater fish species that are great for 5-gallon tanks. They are small, active, and have a wide range of colors and patterns. Guppies are also known for their live-bearing reproduction, which means that they give birth to live fry instead of laying eggs.

If you are going to keep guppies in a 5 gallon tank, aim to keep 2 females and 1 male guppy.

  • pH: 6.8-7.8
  • Temperature: 74-82°F 
  • Size: 2.5 inches 
  • Lifespan: 1-3 years


How Many Fish Can You Keep In A 5 Gallon Fish Tank?

In general, it is recommended to keep only one fish in a 5-gallon tank due to the limited space and potential for overcrowding. However, some small tank mates such as the ones mentioned earlier (cherry shrimp, ramshorn snail, nerite snail, and bettas can be kept in a 5-gallon tank with proper care and maintenance.

Can You Keep Fish In Anything Smaller Than 5 Gallons?

It is not recommended to keep fish in anything smaller than 5 gallons as it can lead to poor water quality and stress for the fish. Smaller tanks can also be more difficult to maintain a stable environment for the fish.

Is A 5 Gallon Tank Good For Bettas?

A 5-gallon tank can be a good option for a single betta fish as they are small, solitary fish that do not require a lot of swimming space. However, it is important to ensure that the tank is properly maintained, filtered, heated, and decorated with places for the betta to hide and explore.


Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned aquarium enthusiast, a 5-gallon fish tank is a great option for keeping aquatic life. Just remember to consider your needs, preferences, and the type of fish or invertebrates you want to keep. With our guide, finding the perfect 5-gallon fish tank for your space and budget will be a breeze. Get ready to create a beautiful underwater world in your own home or office!

Ultimate Betta Fish Care Guide
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