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Which 5-gallon fish tank is best? 

Five-gallon fish tanks are the perfect size for aquarists of all skill levels. They’re small enough for beginners to handle and experiment with yet large enough for veteran aquascapers to have a good deal of fun with. 

Five gallons may not seem like a lot of space, but it’s the perfect size for either a betta or a small community tank. With a 5-gallon fish tank, you’ll have a lot of options when it comes to how you aquascape the layout and which inhabitants you choose for your tank community. 

The Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit is a quality aquarium from a trusted brand in fish tanks. 

What to know before you buy a 5-gallon fish tank 

Filtration system 

One of the most important aspects of any fish tank is the filtration system. This is essentially what keeps your tank clean and your fish healthy. Most reputable fish tank brands make their own filters that are specifically meant to be used in conjunction with their fish tanks.

Consider this before you decide on which 5-gallon fish tank to buy. It might be worth looking into the price of each brand’s filters and products beforehand. 

Heating system 

Since 5-gallon fish tanks are still considered nano-tanks, most don’t come with a built-in heating solution. Remember, it’s a myth that fish can live happily and healthily in small spaces, such as a bowl or cold water. For some fish, even room temperature water is too cold. 

Betta fish in particular need a water heater, as they’re tropical fish. If your tank doesn’t come with a built-in heating system, be sure to buy a water heater along with the tank. 


Aquascaping is the art of designing your aquarium and concerns a few different elements such as hardware, live or fake plants and substrate. 

Aquarium hardware can be anything from statues to driftwood. When choosing the hardware for your tank, look for pieces that your tank’s inhabitants in particular will enjoy. For example, betta fish like to have hiding spaces, so consider buying a piece of driftwood or a hut for them to hide under. 

Whether or not you decide to use live or fake plants is up to you, but keep in mind that live plants can help maintain a healthy aquarium environment for your fish. When placing live plants, make sure they don’t block the surface or the filtration system. 

The substrate you choose for your fish tank can have a huge impact on the health of your aquarium. Some substrates, like gravel, can look attractive but actually harbor harmful bacteria. Sand or stratum is a great substrate for smaller aquariums since it can help filter the water while also providing some nutrition for any live plants. 

What to look for in a quality 5-gallon fish tank 

Hooded design and LED lights 

Having a hooded aquarium is best, especially if you have inhabitants like goldfish or betta fish that are known to be frequent jumpers. 

Most 5-gallon fish tanks come with LED lights built into the hood of the tank. LED lights are beneficial to both fish and live plants, as they can mimic the natural day and night cycles that all living things are accustomed to. 

Design and aesthetic 

Pick a fish tank that matches your home’s décor and aesthetic. A 5-gallon fish tank is small enough to be put on a desk, shelf or counter. 

Hidden filtration system 

Speaking of design and aesthetic, having a hidden filtration system can elevate the overall style of your fish tank. There are a lot of options for 5-gallon fish tanks that keep their filtration systems hidden from view. 

How much you can expect to spend on a 5-gallon fish tank 

A 5-gallon fish tank can range in price from around $40-$100. 

5-gallon fish tank FAQ

What fish can I keep in a 5-gallon fish tank? 

A. Remember that in a 5-gallon fish tank, less is more. You could either opt for one betta plus a few snails or shrimp, two goldfish or a small school of guppies. Each fish has its own particular needs, so make sure you’ll be able to provide the fish with their ideal environment before you purchase them. 

How do I cycle a fish tank? 

A. Cycling a fish tank can be an easy process. With most fish tanks, you just need to set it up and let it run for about a week before introducing any inhabitants to the tank. If you believe you’re having problems with cycling the tank, consider buying supplemental bacteria or a quick-start for your aquarium. 

What’s the best 5-gallon fish tank to buy?

Top 5-gallon fish tank 

Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit

Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit

What you need to know: This fish tank from Fluval is perfect for anyone and comes with everything you’ll need in order to cycle the tank. 

What you’ll love: Fluval is known for having superior filtration systems and this tank is no exception. 

What you should consider: Some users have reported that the water evaporates quickly from this tank, but this is extremely common and not cause for worry, nor is it the fault of the tank. It’s normal to have to top off any fish tank regularly with treated water. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top 5-gallon fish tank for the money

Koller PanaView 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit

Koller PanaView 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit 

What you need to know: This fish tank from Koller is great for anyone looking for a no-nonsense tank with a sleek design. 

What you’ll love: This tank comes with powerful LED lights and crystal-clear glass to make for a beautiful viewing experience. 

What you should consider: The built-in filtration system is not the best quality. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit 

What you need to know: This tank stands out due to its unique portrait orientation and low-profile design. It’s perfect for aquarists looking for something a little bit different design-wise. 

What you’ll love: This tank is thoughtfully designed with its hinged LED lighting system and sliding glass hood. Its vertical orientation is perfect for aquascapes that have taller pieces of hardware. 

What you should consider: Some users have complained that the pump can be a bit noisy. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Addison Hoggard writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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