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What You Need To Know When Stocking A 5-Gallon Tank

If you’re going to be setting up and stocking a 5-gallon tank you may be asking a few of the following questions:

  1. How many fish can you put in a 5-gallon tank?
  2. What are the best fish for a 5-gallon tank?
  3. The Best 5-gallon tank fish combinations?

Overall a 5-gallon tank is very small so you’re limited to what you can put in it.

Well, good news:

Below we will answer all these questions and even show you some other tiny things that you can fit comfortably in your 5-gallon tank.

Let’s begin.

A Few Small 5 Gallon Fish Tank Ideas

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Question #1: How many fish can you put in a 5-gallon tank?

The most common rule of thumb is you can fit one inch of fish per gallon in a fish tank.

But to be brutal the answer isn’t really that simple.

For example;

You wouldn’t want a 6″ Goldfish inside a tiny little 5-gallon tank.

What you should really consider is how big will my fish get when it’s fully grown and will it be comfortable in a small 5-gallon tank.

Additionally, some thought should be given to water quality.

Small tanks can become toxic very quickly. The more fish, snails, plants etc…that you have in the tank the faster it will become dirty and need a water change.

All that aside, the one inch fish per gallon rule would apply to most smaller breeds of fish like Tetras, Rasbora & Betta Fish.

Keep in mind that you can also keep shrimp and snails in your tank as well.

At the end of the day, add fish slowly and monitor your water parameters closely as well as the well being of your fish.

Question #2: What are the best fish for a 5-gallon tank?

Here are a few of the best fish for a 5-gallon tank:

  • Betta Fish
  • White Cloud Moutain Minnow
  • Honey Gourami
  • Various Micro Rasboras
  • Dwarf Puffer
  • Dwarf Frog
  • Clown Killifish
  • Least Killifish
  • Dwarf Crayfish
  • Endler’s Livebearer
  • Rosy Loach
  • Cherry Red Shrimp.
  • Ghost Shrimp.
  • Crystal Red Shrimp.
  • Nerite Snail.

5-Gallon tanks are usually the smallest size tank that I would recommend if you want to keep fish.

As I mentioned above they are very easily contaminated due to the small amount of water, so you need to pay close attention to the bioload and water parameters.

If none of the above fish species are what you’re looking for in terms of fish, then you should explore a larger tank.

A larger tank is not only easier to maintain but will provide you with the opportunity to keep a wider selection of fish.

Question #3: What Are The Best 5-gallon tank fish combinations?

In most cases five gallons isn’t suitable for multiple fish apart from micro rasboras but here are a few options you can try:

  • 1 x Betta fish, 1 Amano Shrimp, 1 Nerite Snail
  •  2 x killifish

Or you could also try setting up a snail tank or a shrimp tank if you just wanted to leave out the fish. For this use:

  • 10 Cherry Shrimp
  • 5 Nerite Snails.

Shrimp come in many colors and breeds and do quite well in a small planted tanks!

Lastly, if you’re a beginner you could try setting up a nice planted tank with a few live plants.

This will help keep the water quality in check and prevent spiking.

Some great beginner plants are;

  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Anubias

In a 5-gallon tank try;

  • 1 x Java Fern
  • 2 x Anubias
  • 1 x Java Moss Ball

At the end of the day, a 5-gallon tank is not for beginners so make sure you know what you are getting into.

It’s important to understand the nitrogen cycle and how to maintain healthy water conditions for your fish.

Need more ideas for a bigger tank? Try these articles: