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In this article, we’ll share some of the best fish you can keep in a one gallon tank.

You’ll find a list of stocking ideas, fish to avoid, what you should consider before you buy a tank, and few other helpful tips.

Let’s go.

Best Fish For A 1 Gallon Tank

Just because you have a one-gallon tank doesn’t mean you can’t have some pretty fish in your tank.

Here are the ten best fish for your one-gallon tank.

Betta Fish

One of the best options for a one-gallon tank is the Betta fish. They are resilient and easy to take care of as long as you regularly clean the tank and change water from time to time.

Known for their aggressive and fighting skills, Betta fish have a hard time getting along with other fish, especially other Betta fish. However, since they are highly territorial, they make up one of the best fish choices for a one-gallon tank.

Aquarium Maintenance Checklist [Free Guide]

Moreover, Betta fish have a unique breathing organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface. Hence, they do not need any particular water oxygenation system. Furthermore, Betta fish are not picky eaters, so it’s easy for you to take care of them.

However, like a tropical fish, your Bettas require the water temperature to range between 75 and 80oF. If you live in a region where the temperature is always at least 75oF, then your fish can survive and thrive without a heater. But in case the temperature drops below the range, your Betta will need a heater to regulate the water temperature.

Endler Guppies 

Another fish suitable for a one-gallon tank is the Endler Guppies. They only grow up to a maximum length of 1.4 inches, making them ideal for a small container, such as a bowl or a one-gallon fish tank. Moreover, as a schooling fish, it’s best to have a few of them together in your one-gallon fish tank.

In terms of water conditions, the Endler Guppies are pretty easygoing. A temperature between 72 and 78oF and a water pH range between 6.7 and 8.5 works best for these small fish. However, they may not survive in an unheated fish bowl or tank if the temperature drops below 60 degrees F.

Sparkling Gourami

The tiny fish with a distinct color pattern is also one of the best fish choices for a one-gallon tank. Like most other small fish, Sparking Gourami enjoys company, and it’s best to keep a few of them together in your one-gallon fish tank.

Sparkling Gourami also has a lung-like organ that allows them to survive in fish bowls and tanks with poorly oxygenated water.

Ember Tetras

With a fun personality, a petite size, and a strikingly distinct color, Ember Tetras can be another excellent addition to your one-gallon fish tank. The fiery red aquatic pet reaches a length of 0.8 inches, making it a perfect fish for a one-gallon tank.

Add a few floating plants, and you will see your little fish thriving and in still water bowls. However, they are pretty sensitive to changes in water temperature, acidity, and lighting.

Zebra Danios

The marine look-alike zebra, the Zebra Danio, is another excellent choice of fish for a one-gallon tank. They are hardy, active, and easygoing. They are not picky eaters and can survive on commercially available fish food. However, do not overfeed them as it can change the dynamics of the water and eventually kill your fish.

You need to know that Zebra Danios are pretty fertile and can quickly multiply. Hence, it’s best to keep separate tanks for opposite sexes.

White Cloud Minnows

Perhaps, the easiest fish to take care of in a bowl or small fish tank is White Cloud Minnows. It’s small (grows up to a maximum of 1.5 inches) and hardier than most small schooling fish, and can withstand most of the mistakes by novice fish caretakers. The only exception is copper medication.

Hence, they can be a perfect addition to your small bowl or fish tank. However, make sure you do not add more than three fish to your one-gallon tank to avoid overcrowding.

Pygmy Corydoras

You can find several types of larger cories, but only the Pygmy corydoras are small enough to fit in well in your one-gallon fish tank. With a silverfish black appearance, this friendly fish can be a great addition to your one-gallon fish tank.

Pea Pufferfish

The super small Pea Pufferfish has recently gained popularity as a nano tank species. Unlike their larger cousins, marine pufferfish, Pea Pufferfish only live in freshwater with a pH ranging between 7 and 7.8. Moreover, they thrive in water temperatures ranging between 73 and 84OF.

It may be challenging to maintain the ideal water conditions for your Pea Pufferfish, but it’s still one of the marine species that do well in a small fish tank.

Six-ray Corydoras

The small Six-ray Corydoras is a peaceful fish that can do reasonably well in a small fish tank. However, they are shoals and prefer to live in groups. However, their sharp rays can lead to accidents in your fish tank.

Moreover, the Six-ray Corydoras thrive in specific water conditions with a pH ranging between 6 and 7.2 and water temperature from 72 to 77oF, which may be challenging to maintain.

Scarlet Badis

Last on the list is the Scarlet Badis, which quickly gains popularity as a nano tank fish as they are easy to care for. Initially, they may be and will need many hiding places initially, but as they get used to the environment, they swim calmly and enjoy their surroundings.

However, Scarlet badis are naturally territorial, so you cannot keep more than one male in your one-gallon fish tank.

Apart from the ten best fish for a one-gallon tank, you can add some other types of creatures to your small tank as well. Some of the animals that you can consider adding to your one-gallon tank include:

Snails

One of the best small creatures for a one-gallon tank as they are small, easy to take care of, do not require strict water parameters, and are readily available at pet stores at a reasonable price.

Shrimp

You can also consider adding shrimps to your one-gallon fish tank. Like snails, they are small, easy to take care of, and do not need specific water conditions.

Types of Fish That Should Not Be Kept In A 1 Gallon Tank

While some fish are an excellent choice for a small, one-gallon tank, there are a few types of fish that you should not keep in a one-gallon tank.

Goldfish

Goldfish are commonly found in a small fishbowl, but they are not fish for confined spaces and limited water. Goldfish can grow up to 12 inches in length, and hence it’s not a tiny fish. Moreover, it has a significantly colossal appetite, which ends up in a lot of waste, creating havoc in a one-gallon fish tank.

Gourami

Gourami is a shoaling fish and prefers to stay in groups, and your one-gallon fish tank is certainly too small to accommodate a few Gouramis together.

Cichlids

Some of the more minor variations of Cichlids may grow up to 2 inches, but the larger ones can reach up to 36 inches and is not an excellent choice for a one-gallon fish tank.

What Kind Of Fish Can You Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

While I have already talked about some of the best fish for your one-gallon tank, you should also know what characteristics make a fish suitable for a one-gallon tank.

Here are some of the kinds of fish you can keep in a one-gallon tank.

Small Fish 

Size is of the utmost consideration as you choose a fish for your one-gallon tank. Therefore, only fish that are small in size (ideally those that grow up to one inch) can best for your one-gallon fish tank.

Hardy Fish

Hardiness is another characteristic that’s critical for fish in a one-gallon tank. Hardy fish can survive in tough conditions. Moreover, they are easy to maintain in a small tank or fishbowl commonly found at homes.

Cold Water Fish

Coldwater fish thrive in cooler water temperatures, and they are a good option for a one-gallon tank as they can survive without a water heater.

How Many Fish Should You Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

As a rule, fish need one gallon of water per inch of their body length, so only the fish that grows up to 1 inch (or slightly more) is best for your one-gallon fish tank.

Keeping this rule in mind, you can calculate how many fish you should keep in a one-gallon tank. Ideally, your one-gallon tank is perfect for a single small fish that grow up to an inch or is slightly longer.

However, before you add more fish to your one gallon, it’s best to know your fish’s behavior and companionship needs.

Keeping Fish In A 1 Gallon Tank – What You Really Need To Know

In a natural environment, such as a lake, river, and ocean, nature plays its role and maintains the right environment for the fish.

But keeping fish in a one-gallon tank is an entirely different ballgame. It requires you to pay attention and schedule regular maintenance so your fish can enjoy the right environment.

Here is what you need to know about keeping fish in a one-gallon tank.

Things You Need 

While there are tons of gadgets available at a pet store, know that a one-gallon tank is too small for everything but a few essential equipment that you may need to include.

A Tank Top: Having a tank top will reduce the rate of evaporation and will help keep your small fish tank clean.

A Nano Filter: You can find nano filters for your nano fish tank. But keep in mind there are fish that can live without a filter.

An Air Pump: That constantly maintains the water flow rate, which is essential to maintain the balance of gases in your small fish tank.

Gravel and Other Décor: Try adding gravel and water plants (you can find a list in the section below). They not only add decorative elements but also provide filtration as well as offering a homely environment to the fish.

A water heater: You may find aquarium heaters that are appropriate for a one-gallon fish tank. However, it’s best to avoid them in such a small space.

How Often Should You Change the Water?

Ideally, you need to change at least 25% of your tank water once every week.

You will also need to clean all the decorative items, such as gravels, artificial plants, and ornaments, to ensure no waste is built up in the tank.

If the water appears yellowish or is smelly, you need to change the water and replace your old filter cartridge immediately.

Moreover, as you intend to replace the water in your one-gallon tank, make sure you treat it first. Since most tap water contains chlorine and other minerals, adding untreated tap water to your one-gallon tank may be harmful to your fish.

Beautiful 1 Gallon Tank Ideas And Stocking Options

Here are some of the one-gallon tank ideas and stocking options for your one-gallon tank.

  1. A small Betta fish with a few live plants.
  2. A single snail in a one-gallon tank with plants and gravel.
  3. 2-3 Ember Tetras with a few floating plants.

You can choose any of the ten best for a gallon tank, especially the naturally territorial ones or snails and shrimps for your one-gallon tank.

What Aquarium Plants Can You Add To A 1 Gallon Tank?

Here are a few live plants that would work well in a one-gallon tank.

  • Sagittaria
  • Java Moss
  • Anubias
  • Java Fern
  • Green Hygrophila
  • Moneywort
  • Waterwheel Plant
  • Sunset Hygro
  • Rotala Indica
  • Rotala Rotundifolia
  • Hornwort

Our Recommendation For The Best Fish To Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

Perhaps, the easiest fish to take care of in a bowl or small fish tank is White Cloud Minnows. It’s small (grows up to a maximum of 1.5 inches) and hardier than most small schooling fish, and can withstand most of the mistakes by novice fish caretakers. The only exception is copper medication.

FAQs 

How Many Guppies Can You Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

You can keep one guppy in a one-gallon tank as an adult guppy needs around one gallon of water.

How Many Tetras Can You Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

You can keep around 3-4 small tetras in a one-gallon tank as they don’t grow much and are hardy fish.

How Many Goldfish Can You Keep In A 1 Gallon Tank?

None. 

Goldfish are large fish and are not recommended for a one-gallon tank.

Is A 1 Gallon Tank Big Enough For A Betta Fish?

Betta fish is small and hardy. Moreover, it’s aggressive and prefers to live alone. Hence a one-gallon tank provides enough space for a Betta fish if kept clean.

Can Cherry Shrimp Live In A 1 Gallon Tank?

Cherry shrimps can live well in a one-gallon tank.