What Are The Best Fish For Your Office (Cubicle Friendly Options)

In this article, we will go over a few of the best fish for your office.

You’ll also find a few things you should consider before you decide to set up your aquarium in your office *Hint* Your co-workers might not like fish.

Lastly, we’ll share a few stocking ideas and combos that are sure to impress everyone you work with.

let’s go.


Which Fish Are Good For An Office Or Cubicle

Not every fish is ideal for the office, where you might have less control over the surroundings, and most importantly, you will only be there to care for the fish for about seven to eight hours.

Nevertheless, certain types of fish would be ideal for your office.

Let’s look at a few that would work.

Small Fish

Small fish are an excellent option for a few reasons:

  • First, they require a relatively smaller tank, easy to fit in an office cubicle.
  • They need relatively little food, so the mess is minimum.
  • The tank stays cleaner for longer durations, requiring relatively fewer water changes.
  • Many small fish are lively, and their activity can help relieve the stress of a desk job.

Low Maintenance Fish

Low-maintenance fish are great because they are low maintenance, but there are a few other reasons.

  • You don’t have to spend too much of your work/break time caring for the fish.
  • Infrequent maintenance won’t disturb the people around you.
  • Your fish-keeping hobby will cost you significantly less.
  • You can set up an aquarium right away and learn with practice (you won’t have to spend days researching or set up a home aquarium first to learn to care for your fish)

Hardy Fish

Your office fish (unlike your office tasks) is supposed to help with your mental health, not become another stressor, and that can happen if you keep a delicate fish.

You might worry about your fish when you aren’t there and you won’t be 100% sure of their safety until you return.

This might stress you out.

Hardy fish is the answer to your fish woes. You benefit by keeping hardy fish in your office tank because:

  • They are usually low maintenance and require very little care.
  • They can survive in harsher conditions, so even if something happens while you are away from the office, you might find them “breathing” in the morning.
  • In many offices, the overall temperature conditions and the sunlight is usually not in our control, and you can only control so much in your tank. Hardy fish that can survive in very different conditions are perfect for that.

Cold Water Fish

The best reason to keep cold water fish in an office is that they don’t require a heater and a temperature-controlled environment.

They are usually fine in whatever temperature your office stays in.

They might need more space (based on the species), but the trade-off is low maintenance, which is in your favor. Also, since you don’t have to set up or run a heater, cold-water fish tanks tend to be cheap.

Another benefit is that algae don’t develop as quickly in cold water tanks as in warmer waters, so that cleanups will be infrequent and less messy.

Best Low Maintenance Fish For An Office

A few fish that will be a treat for your eyes, your perfect office companion, and would require relatively low care are:

Betta Fish

Betta is a gorgeous small fish that will stay happy in tanks as small as 2.5 or 3 gallons. You can keep a solitary male or a male with a few females. They are hardy, low maintenance, have interesting characters, and make perfect cubicle friends.

Endler Guppies

Endler guppies are small (males 1 inch, female livebearers 1.8 inches). They are active, hardy, low maintenance, and you can keep a small school (like three or four pairs) in a relatively small tank. They dwell at the top and get along with most other peaceful fish.

Ember Tetras

Ember tetras are tropical fish that can survive in a relatively wider temperature range, so buy an active heater, and you are good to go. They are eye-catching red and tiny (0.8 inches). They are active swimmers and fin nippers (so choose tank mates wisely), and they usually live happily in schools; Ember tetras would prefer a ten-gallon tank.

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios have cool zebra-style stripes and a peaceful demeanor and can grow up to two inches in size. They prefer room temperature, so that you might require a relatively small heater. They like a plant set up, which will give your office tank (ideally ten-gallon or bigger for Zebra Danios) more character. They are schooling fish so keep at least 4, 5 together.

White Cloud Minnows

These beautiful fish with a characteristic color pattern can be a delight to watch instead of a dull excel sheet. They are omnivore, not very demanding (apart from the company of few other minnows, ideally six in total), and they get along well with other fish. They also prefer a planted tank to play and hide (from becoming a meal of a bigger fish).


Snails are so low maintenance that you might find them when you are not maintaining your tank correctly. Snails are not as active as fish, but they can be exciting creatures to keep in an office tank (with or without fish). Some of them, like nerites, can help you with your algae problem since they are active algae eaters.


When they are not busy being food for fish like Betta, Goldfish, Gourami, etc., shrimp are pretty entertaining and low maintenance. They love plants like Java Moss or Najas, which allows them to hide. Most shrimp species are not very pH or hardness “conscious” and can survive in various parameters. They will eat anything your fish doesn’t and can easily survive without being fed for days, especially if you have plants.

Types Of Fish That Should Not Be Kept In An Office


While no doubt hardy, goldfish are very demanding fish. They require a large tank, powerful filtration (they are very messy), have a relatively delicate palate (they overeat and become sick). If you have a planted aquarium, they might destroy it faster than a hyper pully destroys a toilet roll.


Gourami have individual personalities, and one of the “traits” is that they are territorial and can become aggressive. Even smaller ones can grow to 4-5 inches and require a sizeable tank (30-gallons at least), which alone is enough to disqualify them as an office fish.


Cichlids are somewhat hardy, aggressive, have over 3,000 species, and can live up to 15 years. However, they are also a bit on the larger side (between 3 and 8 inches). They also require a particular temperature range to survive and thrive. So a larger tank and more care mean Cichlids are out too as far as an office tank is concerned.

Video: Amazing Ideas For Small Aquariums

This video from KGTropicals has a  bunch of great ideas if you are thinking of setting up a small aquarium in your office or even in a small room at home.


Can You Put A Fish Tank On Your Desk?

You can put a fish tank you your desk. However, you need to consider the tank size.

For larger tanks, it’s always recommended that you get an appropriately sized, sturdy stand that can easily hold the tank up when it’s full of water because it can get quite heavy.

But there are other factors to keep in mind, like whether or not you have electronics and paper documents on your desk?

They can get damaged in case of a spill.

A tank would also take up space, and if you have minimal room to spare, it can be challenging. Also, a large tank can be too heavy for an office desk when it’s full of water.

How Heavy Is A Fish Tank When Full?

Glass tanks are significantly heavier than acrylic tanks, but they are also relatively more expensive. Therefore, the weight of the empty tank would be given alongside other product specifications.

The easiest way to find out the weight of the entire tank is by adding the weight of the empty tank to the weight of the water (based on its capacity).

One gallon of water weighs 8.34 lbs or 3.785 kg. Saltwater is heavier (8.54 lbs). 

If you want to make things a bit more complicated, you can add the weight of the gravel to the equation as well, but in most cases, the weight of a tank filled with water will give you a good idea of whether or not your desk can hold it?

Take three-gallon tanks, for example. They come in a wide variety of weights, from 1 lb to 4.4 lbs. So if you have a 3-gallon tank weight 4 lbs (empty), it will weigh about 29 lbs when filled (8.34*3).

Here are some standard tank sizes with their weights (when filled):

  • 3 Gallon: 29 lbs
  • 5 Gallon: around 62 lbs
  • 10 Gallon: around 111 lbs

And that weight will be on your desk permanently. So if it can handle it and you have no trouble feeding the fish, changing water, or scrubbing the tank on your desk, then you can keep it on the desktop.

Keeping Fish In An Office – What You Should Consider

There are a few things you should think about before you ask a fish (or a few fish) to move in with you in your office cubicle.

Workplace Rules

The most important consideration is whether or not it’s allowed in your office? Even if they are, you need to check for the rules and regulations like what size tank is allowed, and you are permitted to “borrow” office power for your tank.


Fish are non-invasive pets and don’t trigger any allergies, so it isn’t very likely that your co-workers might mind. But if it takes up shared space and the tank placement, maintenance, or even the tiny sound of your aquarium pumps might bother your co-workers, you should consult them before setting up a tank.

Access To Power

You need power for filters, pumps, lights, bubblers, etc. If the office doesn’t allow you to use power or cut down after hours, your fish might meet an early demise.

Access To Water

Ideally, you would require access to running water, but you can drain and fill up the tank using a bucket, though you’d have to carry it around.


There are a few things you’ll need to keep at hand, like fish food, chemicals, sampling kits, etc. If you can’t keep them in your cubicle/room, office storerooms, or another place, it might be challenging to keep the fish.


Fish maintenance requires partial water changes, vacuuming, scrubbing clean the aquarium walls, feeding the fish, etc. If you can do all this work during your break, you’d be fine after or before working hours. However, maintaining your aquarium during office time might not sit well with your managers.

Access During Off Hours

If you have a fish that requires daily feeding, what will you do on the off days? Is your office close enough to drop by (if you are allowed to), or can someone else do it on your behalf? These are the questions you’ll have to answer before buying the fish.

Beautiful Office Fish Tank Ideas And Stocking Options?

Below are a few stocking ideas and combos for some of the tanks sizes you’re likely to use in your office.

For each tank size below, we have provided three options you might want to consider.

3 Gallon

  1. Single male betta in a planted and decorated nano tank/with a few Amano or ghost shrimps
  2. Up to ten cherry shrimps and one or two nerite snails
  3. Three enders’ livebearers (one male two females)

5 Gallon

  1. Ten cherry shrimps and five Nerite snails (you can beautify it with plants and decorations)
  2. 6 or 7 pygmy rasboras (with a few dwarf shrimps)
  3. 3-5 zebra danios or 4-5 white cloud minnows (well-planted tank)

10 Gallon

  1. 12 ember tetras
  2. Three guppies or 6-8 green neon tetras
  3. One male betta + 5 harlequin rasboras + 1 nerite snail

Our Recommendation For The Best Fish To Keep In Your Office?

The best fish to keep in your office is the White Cloud Minnow. This fish is one of the hardiest fish you can find; it won’t mind cold water conditions if you can’t use a heater. It has nice red fins and is very active.

Oh, and most importantly, small enough to fit into one of the tank sizes that you are likely to keep on your desk.

Our Recommendation For The Best Office Fish Tank

Before you go check out our list of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish you can use in your next aquarium.

Jack Dempsey
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