Equipment Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks

Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks and Aquarium Kits for Sale in 2021

In this guide, we look at 9 of the most popular, best quality and highest rated 5 gallon aquariums available today. We review entire ‘ready to go kits’, and some plain tanks you need to add to, that will suit various needs and different price points.

The art of fishkeeping is a relaxing and mesmerizing hobby. It’s not difficult to see how easy it can be to get caught up, watching colorful fish inhabit a beautifully arranged aquarium.

If you’re just diving into the love of fish keeping, or you are looking to upgrade from a tiny bowl, you may be struggling to decide on the size of the fish tank to choose from.

We’re running a series of articles on the best tanks in various sizes, from 1 up to 55 gallons, and the topic this time is the search for the best 5 gallon fish tank.

In this article, we’ll cover why a 5 gallon tank may be suitable for you, the things that mean you might need to go bigger, what to look for when buying and some recommendations for the best 5-gallon tanks and aquarium kits for sale on the With the enormous variety of shapes and sizes available on the market, it’s important to consider a number of factors before committing to a purchase, to make sure you get the right size and shape for you.

And when it comes to fish tanks, size really does matter. We personally recommend a 5-gallon tank as the smallest anybody should consider. Let’s kick things off with a look at exactly why.

Best 5 Gallon Fish Tank – A Detailed Look at Our Choices

We understand how difficult and somewhat overwhelming it can be trying to decide which brand to purchase, especially considering all the options available.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best 5-gallon fish aquarium kits and fish tanks on the market today. Check them out below!


Marineland ML90609 5-Gallon Portrait Aquarium Kit

♔ Top Pick

This 5-gallon all-in-one kit is a stylishly curved-glass, portrait-styled aquarium.

This is an excellent aquarium for tall aquatic plants. It’s easy to access, thanks to the sliding glass canopy and the addition of the curved glass and hidden filtration system, gives you a clear view from all angles.

A highlight of this kit is the LED lighting with two settings: white for day use and blue for evenings. Because the lighting unit is flexible, it allows for simple access inside the tank to change the filter, feed your fish or to clean it.

A strong and deceptively quiet pump powers the hidden filtration system. This aquarium also boasts an adjustable flow setting, to suit the occupants of the tank, with some fish – such as betta – not enjoying strong currents, while others do.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon fish tank: 8 x 11.6 x 17 inches
  • 3-stage hidden filtration
  • Rite-Size Z Cartridge
  • Bio-foam
  • Adjustable flow filter pump
  • White LED
  • Blue LED
  • Base stand
  • Glass canopy

This is a sleek and modern design and would make a pleasing visual addition to any home or office.

Made from glass in a portrait design, it boasts a hidden filtration system and a stylish LED lighting system. It has rounded corners which allows you to see your fish from many angles.

It looks very easy to set up and maintain.

Included in the kit is an LED light bar which will not only provide light but allow for plant growth.

It’s equipped with a white light suitable for daytime use and blue light to set a tranquil atmosphere in the evenings.

The lighting creates a stimulating environment for both fish and aquarium enthusiasts.

This kit comes with a solid filtration unit and has an advanced 3 stage filtration system situated behind the dark-colored filtration panel.

The filter employs biological, mechanical and chemical filtration that will rid your tank of numerous toxins and impurities to keep your fish healthy. Included also, is all the filter media you will require to get set up.

This filter has an adjustable flow rate, to enable you to set the flow to the requirements of the occupants of the tank. It is a nice touch having the filter out of sight, as it doesn’t negate from the sleek appearance of the aquarium.

Due to the hinged lid (with an attached light), this aquarium is simple to access. It’s only a matter of lifting the top, and you have instant access to inside the tank. This also enables access to the filter.

It all makes for easy maintenance of your Marineland 5-Gallon all-in-one portrait kit.


  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Great lighting system
  • Advanced filtration
  • Looks very stylish
  • Nice manageable size for beginners
  • Everything in one kit.


  • Not the most robust of choices in 5-gallon tanks

The Marineland portrait aquarium kit is a sleek and modern design. It is a perfect tank for beginners, for both price and manageability.

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Tetra Crescent 5-Gallon Acrylic Fish Tank Kit

♔ Runner Up

Ideal for keeping smaller sociable tropical fish, the Tetra Crescent 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit is the perfect addition to any home or office area.

The kit has everything you need to get started on your new hobby or upgrade your existing passion, including a mechanical filter and dual-sided mesh to collect the debris and waste from your tank.

All you need to do is add your own personal touches for the décor, water, and fish.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon aquarium: 16.6 x 11.2 x 13.2 inches
  • Black cover
  • Base frame
  • LED lighting
  • Low voltage power adapter
  • Tetra Whisper internal filter
  • Bio-Bag

This is a sturdy looking desktop aquarium from a reputable company with over 50 years of industry experience.

The seamless modern look is aided by a curved front design and LED lighting for your viewing pleasure.

The acrylic structure ensures its durability and makes it a perfect tank for families, students, and busy offices. It boasts a great looking wide and flat shape for your little swimmers; is difficult to scratch and is very lightweight.

You will have no issues achieving adequate lighting with this environmentally friendly, 16 bulb LED light.

Simple to use and long-lasting, you’ll experience lovely daytime illumination to ensure a great view of your chosen inhabitants.

The three-stage filtration included is exceptionally quiet, you’ll hardly notice it working.

Fitted at the back of the tank, the filter is out of sight so as to not obstruct your aquarium view. It utilizes all three of the possible biological, mechanical and chemical filtration systems. This means you’ll be getting lovely clean water circulated at all times.

Even as a novice, they’ve made it so you’ll have no problem changing the cartridges for the media should you wish to do so, or when it comes time to replace them.

With the use of premier activated carbon, combined with the mechanical filter and advanced filtration, your fish will be swimming in exceptionally clean water.

This aquarium is simple to access via the hinged canopy, which also enables access to the filter. You should have no issues accessing your aquarium with the Tetra Crescent 5-Gallon Acrylic Aquarium Kit.


  • Extremely sturdy tank
  • Excellent filtration system
  • Nice modern look
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Easy to use LED lighting system


  • No adjustable flow rate
  • Only one light mode

A good, basic tank that is easy to set up, from the ubiquitous and trusted quality brand Tetra, this aquarium would make a great gift or addition to any room in your home.

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Fluval Spec v 5-Gallon Aquarium

♔ Great Value

The Fluval Spec v 5-Gallon Aquarium is a slim-line, modern design which is perfect for displaying on your kitchen bench top or study area.

The glass structure and aluminum edge, combined with its sleek shape make for the ideal choice when considering both function and aesthetics.

Sporting a lot of features, this 5-gallon glass tank comes with 37 LED lamps overhead to light up the entire inside.

Included is a three-stage filtration system with a great pump sporting an adjustable output nozzle.

You can access your filtration and pump in a separate section at the rear of the aquarium – making maintenance simple.

The porous foam block, activated carbon and Bio-Max bio rings ensure your filtration system will produce the cleanest water possible to keep your fish happy and healthy.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon Nano aquarium: 17.2 x 10.6 x 6.3 Inches
  • Powerful 37 LED Lighting System
  • Foam block
  • Activated carbon
  • Bio-Max bio rings

The slim-line view is very appealing, especially if you are short on space. Due to its shape, you can almost see the interior from every angle. The glass appears to be quite sturdy and would look great in any home or professional environment.

The hood of the Fluval Spec V kit is attached with 37 LED bulb lighting system. It enables this particular 5-gallon tank to project a constant supply of light, which fish love and is great for plant growth. You will have no problem with illumination when you purchase this kit.

With this kit, you’ll get a hefty 3-stage filter to cover all three main types of filtration: chemical, biological and mechanical. Included is activated carbon, bio rings and a foam block with a handle.

This filter is able to turn over the water in the aquarium many times an hour – yielding very clean water.

By placing the filter in the black panel in the short-end of the tank, you have nothing to distract from the visual experience and the adjustable nozzle for the output filter is a nice bonus feature.

The hood of the Fluval Spec v 5-Gallon Aquarium is simple to remove and provides easy access to clean and maintain the aquarium’s interior.


  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Great all-day LED lighting
  • Easy to remove hood
  • Sleek and professional looking
  • Great for small spaces
  • Has adjustable flow
  • Easy access for cleaning
  • Solid and durable


  • Only has one mode of lighting

This is possibly the best 5 gallon aquarium kit for people with limited space, who want a stylish tank that is easy to set up and maintain. The Fluval Spec v 5-Gallon Aquarium would make an excellent gift for a student’s desk, in addition to brightening up any office space.

Small on size and big on features – see it on Amazon now!

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Marina LED 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit


This is a fantastic kit for anyone just starting out in the world of aquariums. When you purchase the Marina LED 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit, you’ll be getting practically everything you’ll need to dive headfirst into the delights of fish-keeping.

Included in this kit is an LED lighting system to portray the effect of natural daylight, fish food, water supplements and conditioner, a handy aquarium net and a comprehensive guide to aid you in setting up and caring for your tank.

All you have to do is provide the water and fish!

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon glass tank: 16″ L x 8.5″ W x 10.5″ H
  • Marina Slim S10 clip-on filter with quick-change filter cartridges
  • LED light
  • Fish food
  • Aqua plus water conditioner
  • Cycle biological water supplement
  • Net
  • Aquarium care guide

This is a standard and stylish landscape design, made of glass and great for small spaces.

It would be an ideal kit for novices and those with young families, as it can easily be placed on a bookshelf or tabletop. The quality looks good and would look fantastic in any setting.

The LED lighting is built into the canopy, which allows for easy access.

The lighting system has adequate power for a 5-gallon tank and projects a natural all-day effect.

This would be a good light option for plants don’t require a lot of light.

Rather than take up room in your tank, the Marina LED 5-Gallon aquarium kit comes with an external clip-on filter and cartridges.

The beauty of this is it leaves a lot more room for your fish and plant life inside the tank.

For easier maintenance, you have the convenience of the quick-change filter cartridges to remove ammonia, debris, and other pollutants.

It has a very effective 3-stage filtration system and the powerful filter will turn the water over many times per hour.

This 5-gallon aquarium comes with a removable hood for easy access to your interior for cleaning and maintenance of your tank.


  • Integrated natural day-time LED light system
  • Nice design
  • Ideally size for novices
  • Hard Wearing glass
  • Handy hood
  • Easy access
  • Space-saving filter
  • Quick-change cartridges to reduce mess


  • No evening light effect
  • Unhinged hood

If you’re brand new to the world of fish-keeping or are too busy to purchase everything to get started, this comprehensive kit may be the solution you need.

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GloFish 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit with Blue LED Lighting


This is a great looking tank, likely to be popular with teenagers and young children.

Made from durable acrylic, this makes the Glofish Aquarium Kit a perfect choice for having around kids – as opposed to a more breakable glass structure.

It will, however, run the risk of being scratched a little more easily.

The blue LED lighting system is extremely visually pleasing – especially in the evening when the lights enhance the brilliant colours of the inhabitants of your tank, giving them that bright glow appearance.

The filter is very effective at cleaning the water and is described as reasonably quiet by current owners.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon acrylic tank: 11.2 x 16.6 x 6.7 inches
  • Medium-sized bio-bag
  • 15 blue LEDs
  • Microfilter
  • Medium-sized filter cartridge
  • Instruction manual
  • Detachable hood

This 5-gallon tank is wide and flat with a nice curve at the front, giving it quite a unique appearance.

The design of this aquarium gives the impression that it’s bigger than it actually is. You can see your fish from many angles which is great, and due to the acrylic structure, it looks solid and long-lasting.

The lighting system included in this kit is one aspect that helps to separate it from other 5-gallon fish tank kits.

It provides a blue LED light set up that is ideally designed for night time use, as it enables the entire interior to glow in the dark and create a calming moonlit atmosphere.

The blue light, however, does not work well as a sunlight simulator, so isn’t the best for light-loving live plants.

Included in this kit is a 3-stage filtration system which does enlist the three main filtration types: mechanical, chemical and biological; to ensure clean and clear water every day to keep your fish healthy.

It’s not the best filtration system on the market, but it will adequately turn the water over in the tank numerous times an hour, which you would want in any kit you purchase.

The canopy hood easily lifts off to provide simple access to the interior of your tank.


  • Great size for children’s bedrooms and playrooms
  • Unique shape
  • Long-lasting, tough acrylic build
  • Awesome glow in the dark LED lights


  • Lighting option not ideal for daylight stimulation

This is a unique-looking, durable 5-gallon aquarium that offers an additional glow-in-the-dark feature that is perfect for enhancing the beautiful colors of your fish.

Ideal for most spaces – check it out on Amazon today!

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Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit


This modern looking, pure glass and seamless (no black seams!) aquarium is possibly the best 5 gallon fish tank for those who will be placing their fish in a central area in their home, where it will be viewed from all sides. It features a lovely curved edge and is made with high-quality glass to enable the reflection of light and colors inside.

Included in the kit is an internal filter to ensure your tank remains clean and free from debris and pollutants by way of the three-stage filtration system. This filter is both efficient and quiet which can be a significant bonus to some aquarium lovers.

You can place the LED light anywhere along the back side of the tank to spotlight any area you choose, and it provides a clear daylight-stimulating light source.

The hinged lid ensures easy access to the interior of the aquarium for feeding and cleaning.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon glass tank: 4 x 14.5 x 11.2 inches
  • Internal cascade filter
  • LED light
  • Hinged plastic hood

This is made from high-quality solid glass, shaped in the classic rectangle style. The utilization of a three-piece construction with rounded front corners ensures it looks built to last.

The frameless design makes for an unobstructed view from every angle – the top included, which enhances the ability to reflect light.

The added feature of the LED light being positioned anywhere at the back of the tank means you have the freedom to spotlight any area of the interior you choose, which is a nice touch.

This aquarium kit comes with a powerful and environmentally-friendly LED light attached to the hinged plastic hold of the tank.

It’s straightforward to mount on the back of the tank and provides sufficient illumination during both the day and night.

Simply move it to from one side to the other when you want to enhance certain areas of your aquarium.

Included in this 5-gallon kit is a powerfully quiet internal cascade filter which incorporates the main three-stages of filtration to keep your tank clean and your fish healthy.

This filter has two modifiable chambers: the base chamber utilizes a sponge-made filter for the mechanical aspect, while the center chamber employs a cartridge featuring a carbon filtration.

The filter has a three-setting outlet flow which if you own betta fish, should be set to low.

The transparent plastic hood not only enables light to come through every angle but is hinged for secure attachment and easy access for feeding and cleaning.


  • Suitable for a wide range of fish
  • Unobstructed view from every angle
  • Powerful but quiet filtration system
  • Adjustable LED white light
  • Easy access
  • Easy to maintain


  • The light source needs to be switched off at the plug

This a very stylish, yet practical 5-gallon tank. The glass clarity and durability is top of the range in quality.

The ability to view the inhabitants from every angle, including the top, makes it an excellent purchase for any enthusiast. See for yourself here…

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Marineland Contour Glass Aquarium Kit with Rail Light


This Marineland aquarium kit is a great way to begin your fish-keeping adventure. This sleek, portrait-designed aquarium has a modern curved glass feature, and a striking rail light with white and blue LED illumination to experience both day and evening settings.

This tank will always produce a clean and healthy environment for your fish with the help of the advanced 3-staged filtration system and the inclusion of one Rite-Size Z Cartridge.

To maintain the modern look of the design, the kit hides the filtration behind a black panel at the rear of the aquarium. The stylish glass canopy is hinged to provide easy access for feeding and maintenance.

What do You Get?

  • 5-gallon tank: 8 x 11.8 x 16.8 inches
  • LED lights blue and white
  • 3-stage hidden filtration
  • Rite-Size Z Cartridge
  • Adjustable flow filter pump

This 5-gallon tank offers a change from the traditional landscape design with a stylish portrait take on contemporary aquariums.

The rail light is a nice touch to give it more of a wow factor – providing both day and moonlit settings.

It is simple to use, making it ideal for new fish owners, with an easy to access, hinged canopy for feeding and cleaning.

The glass structure provides a crystal-clear view of the tank’s occupants, and the build looks very solid.

The filtration is nicely hidden behind a black panel at the back, with room for a small heater.

Included in this kit is an energy-saving LED lighting system of white and blue LED lights to create two modes of atmosphere in your aquarium: bright white for daylight and blue for a moonlit appearance.

The lighting system is attached to a rail hinged over the lid of the tank – enabling simple access to the interior. The lighting system works beautifully at showcasing your fish.

To provide a clean and healthy environment, this kit comes with 3-stage filtration and an adjustable flow filter pump.

The mechanical, chemical and biological system will clear out dirt and debris, remove odors and impurities, while eliminating toxic levels of ammonia and nitrite.

It has more than enough power to turn the water over several times an hour, but you may need to adjust the flow for fish who do not like currents.

The glass canopy is simple to use. You only need to slide it back to find a gap to feed your fish through and clean your aquarium.

The glass top gives you a full view of the interior. However, it may be a little challenging to deal with if you have small children and the placement is within their reach.


  • Great tank for new fish-keepers
  • Good filtration system
  • Great design
  • Back panel hides filter and potential heater
  • Blue and white energy-saving LED lighting system
  • Great for small spaces


  • Portrait design may be restricting for fishless room horizontally

A good-quality tank with a pleasing visual aspect, from a highly reputable and popular brand. The rail light is a great touch on an already lovely design. This is sure to brighten any room. Have a look at your options here…

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Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light


This is the best 5 gallon fish tank for those with an eye on contemporary design, being one of the more stylish and ‘different’ looking tanks on this list. It is an innovative 6-gallon, six-sided, glass design. It would make a fabulous addition to any trendy home or office space.

The incorporated cover enables you to eliminate the visible water line, ensures there is very little water evaporation, and you’re able to fill the tank up to the brim.

This kit will provide you with a beautiful visual experience from every viewpoint and rather than the classic canopy, this stylish model boasts a small lighthouse panel containing 21 LED bulbs. The 18 white and three blue environmentally friendly bulbs can be controlled via toggle switch for full illumination or low for a moonlight atmosphere.

The LED light is clipped to the top, and you can simply lift the lighthouse panel up whenever you need to access the interior.

Brilliantly hidden behind the narrow back section of the tank is the filter. This is a quietly powerful filter that with the aid of mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, will keep your water clear and clean. The flow outlet can be controlled, which further adds to the appeal of this kit.

What do You Get?

  • 6-gallon tank: 7 x 17 x 14.3 inches
  • Filter with cycle guard
  • Cycle and water treatments
  • Powerful bright white 7600K high luminosity
  • LED lighting with 3 deep blue night-time light

This tank really does have the wow factor when it comes to innovative design. Priding itself as the world’s first 3D water cube aquarium, it looks durable despite the glass sides and top.

Being sealed at the top of the aquarium ensures that very little evaporation occurs – meaning it will require less maintenance than other models.

Everything is cleverly hidden in the narrow top panel and down the back end of the tank, keeping the look steam-lined and tidy. The LED lighting produces a glow on the water while also serving as a light source to your room.

The LED lighting in this kit provides a visual delight. Included is a 21-bulb illumination system made up of 18 white bulbs for vivid daytime effect which is also great for your growing plants, and three blue bulbs to create a tranquil moonlit atmosphere.

The lighting system comes with a handy three-toggle setting.

The Fluval Edge Aquarium with LED Light is equipped with a hidden 3-stage filter system. The water will be clear, providing a healthy environment for your fish due to powerful dynamics of chemical, mechanical and biological filtration.

This filter will have no problem turning the water over several times an hour.

The small lighthouse panel on top of the tank provides access to the interior. It’s not too small, but it may prove a little inconvenient to clean.


  • Beautiful modern design
  • Great views from every angle
  • Good filtration
  • Visually stunning 21 LED system
  • Easy to use lighting
  • Easy to operate for beginners
  • Designed to be filled to the top – great for displaying anywhere


  • Smallish access

If you want to add some design to your life, the Fluval Edge Aquarium kit is for you. Purchase this architectural-inspired aquarium here…

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Carolina’s Aquarium Tank, Glass 5-½ Gal


As one of the most durable fish tanks on the market, the Carolina’s Aquarium is big on quality and small on price. Made from triple-glass and sealed with silicone, this a great tank for any fish hobbyist looking who knows exactly want they’re doing.

It’s lightweight and can be easily relocated to any place in your home or office. This classically shaped rectangle aquarium is leak-proof and will stand the test of time. It is also suitable for saltwater.

It does not come with a lid so depending on the fish you want to keep, you’ll need to find a suitable one through the same company, or perhaps 3rd party elsewhere.

What do You Get?

  • 51/2-gallon all-glass tank: 16 × 8 × 10″ H

This is a basic fish tank, rectangular in shape and made with triple-strength glass. It’s lined with black silicone around the top and base edges. It looks very durable, and if you know what you want in the way of lighting and filters to buy separately, this is a great buy – not only for the price but for the quality.

If you’re interested in keeping saltwater fish, this 5-1/2-gallon tank is perfect as it is non-reactive to seawater. The manufacturer has been in business since 1927 in the field of biological supplies, so you can rest assured of the quality of their products and reputation for excellence in customer care.

This is an excellent option for anyone who prefers the freedom of choosing their own accessories.


  • Inexpensive
  • Leakproof
  • Very strong and sturdy – this is built to last
  • Easy access
  • Great tank for experienced fish-keepers
  • Non-reactive to saltwater
  • Perfect for those wanting to design their own tank


  • No accessories
  • Not suitable for beginners

As one of the most inexpensive tanks on this list, this 5-1/2-gallon tank is expertly made with triple glass and silicone rubber. If you know exactly what you’re doing and just need an aquarium that is built to last – you can’t go past this simplistic model. Have a look here…

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The Benefits of a 5-Gallon Tank Over Other Sizes

Essentially, a 5-gallon tank is the smallest size you should consider for a number of reasons. It is not huge, but it is large enough to ensure you can fill it with enough beautiful fish and a decent amount of plants and ornaments, to achieve both a visual and tranquil environment for the whole family.

Choosing a 5-gallon model is the perfect starter for a new fish keeper.

It’s lightweight, easy to clean and unlike smaller tanks, it’s large enough to be able to ‘establish a cycle’ (nitrogen cycle) whereby communities of friendly bacteria establish themselves in your tank, that feast on fish waste and change it from incredibly toxic chemicals to far less dangerous ones.

With a smaller aquarium, it’s far more challenging and often impossible to complete a nitrogen cycle, making maintenance far more labor-intensive, with almost full water changes needed on a very regular basis. It’s easier to uphold a high quality of the water in a 5-gallon or larger tank.

Furthermore, the beauty of a tank of this size is that it’s big enough to allow for the fish to entertain themselves and roomy enough to mimic some natural behaviors (depending on species kept), but is still small enough not to take up too much space in your home or workplace.

Buying Guide / What to Consider Before Purchasing

There are a number of considerations to make before purchasing a 5 gallon tank to make sure you get not only the one want but also that it’s the one you need.

We’ve put together a comprehensive buying guide below to steer you toward the best 5-gallon fish tanks on the market – saving you the hassle of doing all the research or any guesswork yourself.

Do You Have Room for a 5 Gallon Tank?

Before you go out and purchase your new 5-gallon fish tank, you must ensure you have space for it.

The first thing you want to do is decide where you’re going to put it. You may want to consider a wall mounted aquarium, especially if space is an issue or you want to keep it out of reach from young children. They will, however, prove more challenging to clean than a tank on a stand.

Typical dimensions of a 5 gallon aquarium are 16″ x 8″ x 10″.

With that in mind, once you know where it will go in your home or office, take a measuring tape and be sure it will fit in that space.

Don’t just rush out and buy your tank thinking it’s bound to fit, by ‘winging it’ you will only cause yourself unnecessary frustration.

What Type and How Many Fish Can Go in a 5-Gallon Tank?

Now that you’ve sorted out where to put the tank, next you need to consider what kinds of fish and how many of them will go in it.

Not all fish types can live in harmony together, so it’s important you research which fish can happily live together in a community tank if you wish to mix species.

The species you choose will also impact the amount of fish you can fit in your 5-gallon tank – not to mention the shape of it. For instance, for bottom-dwelling species, you may need to purchase a low, flat model. If you want tall plants, you will need to buy a taller and narrower one.

Fish Suitable to Inhabit a 5-gallon Tank Include:

  • Betta Splenden (Siamese fighting fish): This fish should not be kept in any space less than 2.5 gallons, so the 5-gallon is perfect for this feisty fish. Betta fish can live with bottom feeders but should not share a tank with other male bettas as they fight. For this fish, you will require a low and wide tank and a filter with adjustable flow. A ghost shrimp or the harlequin rasboras may be an ideal tank mate but proceed with caution regardless.
  • Endlers livebearer: This is a passive fish and a cousin of the Guppy. Due to their small size, you could comfortably fit four, possibly five male Endlers in a planted, 5-gallon tank. Female Endlers tend to grow larger than their male counterparts. If you want to breed these fish, you will need a bigger tank. They are beautiful and peaceful to watch, interacting with their environment and require a wide and flat tank to swim actively.
  • Pea puffer (or dwarf puffer): It’s recommended you only have one pea puffer fish in a 5-gallon aquarium as they are very territorial. They are active little swimmers. Therefore, they require a wide and flat shaped aquarium.
  • Rosy Loach: About five inches in size, they make great scavengers and it’s possible to breed them in a 5-gallon tank. They swim down low and are fascinating to watch. These fish live well with others so are suitable to place in a variety of community tanks.
  • Neon Green Tetra: These little green beauties only grow to be around 1 ½ inches long, so four or five together in a 5 gallon tank is perfect. The Neon Green Tetra will only live in harmony with Rosy Loaches and do well in heavily planted tanks. As they swim in the middle to upper levels of the water, they need to be in tall and thin fish tanks.
  • Golden White Cloud: These striking fish have blue eyes, red fins, and a gold body. They are inexpensive to buy and are very easy to keep. They don’t need any heating and can survive almost any PH and will eat almost anything. The perfect fish for beginners, they are best suited in a group of five. As they generally swim at the top, they require tall and thin or wide and flat aquariums.
  • Scarlet Badis: Very territorial. They don’t like each other – let alone other fish species – therefore, it’s not recommended you keep more than one in a 5-gallon tank. They prefer live food so when you initially buy them you will have to gradually (six months or longer) transition them to dry food.

This is not an exhaustive list of fish suitable to keep in a 5-gallon tank, that list could fill a book. However, it does give you an idea of what you can work with and how to get started, and for more great ideas you can check out our article on the best fish for a 5 gallon tank.

Will You Be Keeping Live Plants?

The next factor to consider is whether you want to keep live plants in your 5-gallon tank? If so, it’s important to look at the lighting you will be using inside. Whatever you choose, the lighting must be suitable for live plants.

Also, as opposed to using plastic plants where anything will work, you need to factor in the substrate the plants will grow in. Ensure that whatever you decide, whether sand, gravel or soil, that it will support your intended plants.

Are You Considering Saltwater or Freshwater?

One of the major decisions you will make in regards to options will be whether to use fresh or salt water. A freshwater aquarium is usually recommended for beginner fish owners as they are less expensive and a lot easier to maintain.

Freshwater tanks offer a lot more variety when it comes to size and structure whereas although saltwater tanks are more expensive and difficult to maintain, they do provide a more visually stunning array of marine life.

At the end of the day the decision is your own but be aware that certain tanks and their accessories such as filters, will only be compatible with either fresh or saltwater, so choose wisely.

Features and Accessories: A Kit or Just an Aquarium?

A full aquarium kit is generally a good option for beginners as they come fully equipped as a starter pack. Included with your tank is a hood, a filter and the necessary lighting.

In some instances, your aquarium kit will come with food, an aquarium water conditioner and the substrate for the bottom of the tank, too. Keep in mind, however, should you opt for an aquarium kit, you don’t have the luxury of choosing those extras yourself.

As a more experienced fish enthusiast, you may prefer just to buy the tank with no accessories, avoiding kits altogether, and personalize it yourself with the necessary accessories.

Materials and Build Quality

When considering the quality of your tank and the materials used, you have two options:


The acrylic 5-gallon fish tank is a light and less expensive option. It comes in various shapes and is resistant to scratches. However, acrylic is not suitable for a stand and must be fully supported at the base – on your kitchen counter for instance.

Acrylic tanks are a lot lighter than glass models and this makes moving them (once the water is out) much less of a hassle. The majority of weight does actually stem from the contents of the tanks as opposed the actual structure.

One benefit of an acrylic tank is they are less likely to crack than glass, so they may be more suitable for a large family with young children.

Do be aware though that an acrylic tank will lose its shine and clarity over the years from scratching and rubbing while cleaning, giving it a somewhat cloudy look.


A glass tank is a lot harder to scratch and would require a considerable amount of pressure with something very solid.

One appeal of a glass fish tank is its ability to look brand new for many years after you’ve bought it, remaining clear and a good medium through which to see your fish for year after year.

Due to its structure, you’re able to use a stand without having to support the whole base, and it is generally less expensive to buy than an acrylic model.

However, it does weigh significantly more than its acrylic counterpart, so the stand needs to be built to handle the weight.

Over time you can expect some bowing of the tank, anything too excessive has the potential to split the seams or crack the glass, but this is incredibly rare.


Obviously how much you can afford to pay for your 5-gallon tank will play a significant role in your decision-making process.

Before going shopping, set yourself a clear budget to avoid over-spending. Keep in mind, however, that in regards to the quality and longevity of your tank, you generally get what you pay for.

Paying a little more upfront for good quality may save you money in replacement tanks in the future.

Brand Recognition and Customer Support

Ideally, you should only purchase your 5-gallon tank from a reputable manufacturer that provides excellent customer service.

Look for brands you recognize and offer warranties and a solid returns policy.

For your peace of mind, we compiled a list of only the best 5-gallon tanks on the market so you can have confidence purchasing any of those listed in our guide.


We hope that our search for the best 5-gallon fish tank has simplified your decision-making process and equipped you with everything you need to purchase a great tank most suited to your needs.

Be sure to let us know if you have owned any of these products in the past as we would love to hear your feedback.

If you have any questions or comments regarding any of the products mentioned or regarding 5-gallon aquariums, please feel free to add them to the comment section below, we will answer every comment and look forward to hearing from you.

Jeremy is the founder and chief editor of this site. A fish keeping hobbyist and enthusiast for over 23 years now, he started Happy Fish Care to share his knowledge with others, to help them enjoy their fish keeping while helping them ensure their fish lead happy and healthy lives.

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