10 Best Fish For 5 Gallon Tank | Things To Consider

Last updated on December 24th, 2022 at 11:05 am

There are several types of fish for 5 gallon tank that can live in communities and show normal to aggressive behavior. Usually, a breeder tank carries an enormous capacity to help you raise small fishes.

You can use a different combination of fishes that lives in communities to raise livestock. But beware of the fishes that like single life and don’t like neighbors.

Many fishes can live in a breeder tank. The best fish for 5 gallon tank includes betta fish, guppy, molly, pea puffer, chili rasbora, and honey gourami. These fishes live and breed inside the breeder tank without any issues unless you don’t follow their breeding manuals.

These fishes are not suitable for small tanks. They usually do not survive in a tank with a smaller height and get injuries on their fins. A famous example of these fish is the angelfish which usually survive in an aquarium more than 20 inches.fish-for-5-Gallon-Tank

Things To Consider When Keeping Fish For 5 Gallon Tank

When stocking a 5 gallon fish tank, you need to consider several things to select the suitable varieties.

Best Aquarium Heater and Filter System:

Besides the 5 gallon tank dimensions, certain things need consideration before keeping fish. Heater for 5 gallon tank is an essential component for maintaining the water’s temperature, especially for tropical species. Before placing fish into the aquarium, always maintain the right temperature.

The waste material from the food leftover and fishes leads to lower-quality water in the tank, and toxins accumulate. For preventing this situation, a filtration system is essential for continuously filtering the water. Water cleaning promotes positivity in fish behavior and prevents them from sickness.

Size of Fish:

Fish for 5 gallon tank need to be of small size because of the tank dimensions. Fish species have different sizes, so before choosing the species, always look for the best fish for small tanks.

The behavior of Fish:

Do not ignore the fish’s behavior and living pattern before keeping it in the small tank. Fishes have different natures. Some fishes are peaceful, while few are aggressive. So avoid placing them together if you are putting multiple species in the small aquarium.

Look for Their Growth Pattern:

Fishes grow quickly and can reach a size larger than 10 inches in one year. When you visit a breeder shop, you buy baby fishes that are usually smaller at that stage of life. Later on, they can increase in size and can have issues living in a smaller fish tank.

Single fish vs Community:

Fishes for 5 gallon tank are usually small and are vulnerable to stress if kept solely. In the captive environment of the tank, larger fishes can survive on their own without community.

Some fishes like to live in a community of 5-6 individuals. Without a group, they cannot live and can die early due to getting the stress of being alone.

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How Many Fish in a 5 Gallon Tank?

Generally, keeping fish in the 5 gallon aquarium takes one fish per gallon of water. This is a general idea and can differ depending on the fish’s swimming space and temperament.

For best results, test according to your fish species by adding fishes gradually in the tiny 5 gallon tank. Check the water quality and sanitary conditions daily to better estimate the number of fishes per gallon of water.

Top 10 Fish For 5 Gallon Tank

According to the species’ nature and their behavior in the smaller tank, we have listed the best fish for 5 gallon tank.

Betta Fish (Betta Splendens)

  • Origin: Thailand
  • Family: Osphronemidae
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Size: 2 to 2.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 Years
  • Temperament: Aggressive

Betta fish

Betta fish is one of the widely used fish species in home aquariums. They are native to Thailand and also found in Cambodia, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia.

Betta fish are easy to keep for beginners because they are low maintenance freshwater fish. They are often called Siamese fighting fish due to their behavior. They show aggressive behavior, and before the civilized era, they were breeding for fish fighting.

Due to their beautiful body characters, they are listed as unsafe species in the wild. They are one of the most beautiful tropical fish species and have a colorful body with large and majestic fins.

The color range of the fish can vary from two to three-color combinations. The pattern on the skin can marble, speckle, or solid.

Guppy (Poecilia Reticulata)

  • Origin: South America
  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Diet: Omnivores (flakes, freeze-dried and live foods)
  • Size: 0.6 to 2.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 2 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful


Guppy fish has 300 varieties and is native to South America. They are freshwater and tropical fishes that come in different types of shapes, colors, and sizes.

Being peaceful, guppy fish prefer to remain in groups. They are motile in the aquarium and move around all the time. Guppies are the best pet fish for beginners.

Sometimes they are also known as Rainbowfish because they come in every imaginable color combination. Most of the guppy species are paler in color on the upper body, while the lower part has a much brighter and vivid color.

Some varieties have a metallic look due to the presence of a particular cell, “Iridophores.” These cells do not have any color and reflect the light to give them a metal-like appearance.

You will also like this: Guppy Grass Care

Endler’s Livebearer (Poecilia Wingei)

  • Origin: Venezuela
  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Care Level: Easy to moderate
  • Diet: Omnivores (Flake food, frozen food, and live food)
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Endlers Livebearer

The Endlers Livebearer is a subgroup of Livebearer and thought to be just a color variant of guppy fish. It is still under discussion that it is true or not. Due to their nice-looking color and appearance, they are near too extinct in the wild.

There are no special requirements to keep this fish in the aquarium, and very easy to keep in the small area. They need slightly alkaline water conditions in the tank for survival.

Endlers Livebearers are cool-looking and pretty fishes that are omnivores and can feed on flakes, frozen food, and small pieces of live food. They like clean water and produce a lot of babies in a good environment.

Celestial Pearl Danio (Danio Margaritatus)

  • Origin: Myanmar
  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Care Level: Medium
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Size: Up to 1 inch
  • Lifespan: 3 to 5 Years
  • Temperament: Peaceful


The Celestial Pearl Danio is native to South East Asia. They are fantastic freshwater fish and are found in small ponds.

When placed in the tank, they prefer vegetation and colorful scenery. Due to their friendly nature and peaceful behavior, they can live together in communities full of Mollies, Tetras, and Guppies.

They feel comfortable in the small tanks and a good fish for 5 gallon tank.

Males have a distinctive body that is thinner and have vibrant colors. The color gets more vibrant near the tail. On the other hand, females look more round and dull than males.

Molly Fish (Poecilia Sphenops)

  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Diet: Omnivores
  • Size: Up to 4.5 inches
  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful


Molly fish, often called mollies, are native to America but can be found in other places.

Mollies usually have a peaceful temperament and remain calm in the tank. But upon agitation by the tank mates or in a crowded place, they show more aggression. So before sorting out mollies on the fish list for a 5-gallon tank, make sure that they have compatible tank mates.

Many varieties of molly fish, mainly the differences in them, are based on colors and patterns. Some types of mollies can have different shapes and sizes than others.

A common molly fish have a body that is flattened. It has a caudal fin that can be colored or transparent.

Chili Rasbora (Boraras Brigittae)

  • Origin: Indonesia
  • Family: Characidae
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Diet: Omnivore/Micropredator
  • Size: 0.6-0.8 inches
  • Lifespan: 6 to 8 years
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Chili Rasbora

The Chili Rasbora are native to Indonesia and live happily in the groups and communities. These are some of the most attractive fish for 5 gallon tank and have notable personalities.

When in the groups and school, they are peaceful and are very amazing to watch. They can live with other invertebrates having a peaceful temperament.

Chili Rasbora has red bodies with dark stripes alongside their beautiful bodies. The stripes are in contrast with the red color giving them an impressive look.

Males are different from females, and both vary from fins having different vivid colors.

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon Innesi)

  • Origin: South America
  • Family: Characidae
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Size: 1.5 inches
  • Lifespan: 8 Years
  • Temperament: Peaceful

Neon Tetras

The Neon Tetra are beautiful fish that are native to South America and live in freshwater. They are peaceful fish with non-aggressive behavior because they live in communities. They generally spend most of the time busy in the middle of the tank.

The Noen Tetra lives in a school of 15 members, and they live peacefully without any threat.

They are bright-colored freshwater fish having a turquoise blue line from the eye to the adipose fin. Besides the blue color, they have a red ribbon in the middle of the body. This unique color combination makes them recognizable easily out of other fish.

Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis Pumila)

  • Origin: Southeast Asia
  • Family: Osphronemidae
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: Up to 1.6 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 5 years
  • Temperament: Relatively peaceful


The Sparkling Gouramis are native to South East Asia and have a more petite body with a life span of 5 years. The lifespan can vary with the aquarium condition. If provided with suitable conditions, they can live more than their average lifespan.

They are relatively non-friendly and can get aggressive to other males. They mark their territory and show aggressiveness to retaining.

Gouramis show a unique breathing behavior that forces them to swim near the upper level of water. They enjoy swimming through the plants and enjoy time swimming and looking for hiding spots.

Another notable character of this fish is its unique color pattern. Each fish carries a unique combination of the well-organized black line and small blue colored dots all over the body. Even within the same species, they all have a unique appearance.

Pea Puffer (Carinotetraodon Travancoricus)

  • Origin: Southwest India
  • Family: Tetraodontiformes
  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Diet: Mainly carnivorous
  • Size: 1.4 inches
  • Lifespan: 4 Years
  • Temperament: Territorial and aggressive


The Pea Pufferfish are native to southwest India in the states of Kerala. These species can grow up to the size of 1 to 1.4 inches. The popularity of Pea Puffer increases in the last few decades.

Male Pea Puffer also shows territorial properties like Sparkling Gouramis males. They show aggression towards the other males. So when keeping this fish for 5 gallon tank, consider only one male with several females to avoid aggressiveness.

Both male and female of Pea Puffer have dark patches on their bodies. Males have a prominent thick ribbon from the pectoral to the caudal fin. Females have tiny dark spots on their bodies.

Honey Gourami (Trichogaster Chuna)

  • Origin: Northern India and Bangladesh
  • Family: Osphronemidae
  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: 3 Inches
  • Lifespan: 4 to 8 Years
  • Temperament: Peaceful


The Honey Gourami is native to Bangladesh, Nothern India, and some parts of Nepal. They entirely depend on freshwater for their survival.

These fishes are shy and may take time to get comfortable in the new tank. In the wild, they catch their prey by squirting water from the mouth. When they splash the water at their prey, it suddenly drops down and gets preyed on by them.

Males and females have different colors, and they show shades of silvery grey, yellow, and light brown stripes. The stripes extend from the eyes to the caudal peduncle.


That’s all for the best fish for 5 gallon tank and related information regarding keeping them. There are several things to consider, like fish size, behavior, and their ability to live in a small space. You can find more information regarding keeping snails and shrimps or decorating the tank with small plants.

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