5 Gallon Tanks: 21 Answers You Should Know (for Beginners)

Owners that have small animals for pets would often buy tanks for their little ones, and the first tank size that comes to mind would be 5-gallon tanks.

Although this may seem like a rational thing to do, some animals may actually not be compatible with 5-gallon tanks.

What Geckos Can Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

Sphaerodactylus, Stenodactylus, Pachydactylus, and Diplodactylus are some examples of geckos that can live in 5-gallon tanks. Other baby and juvenile geckos can also live in 5-gallon tanks, however, they will quickly need to be rehomed in a much larger tank once they become adults.

Several gecko owners advise against keeping geckos in tanks that are smaller than 10 gallons because these tanks are too small to keep reptiles in.

It may sound like a great idea to keep small reptiles in small tanks, but that isn’t the case. Although other small animals can live comfortably (alone) in a 5-gallon tank (e.g. small frogs like the African Dwarf Frog), they aren’t the same as small reptiles, so that makes their tank requirements different from each other.

If you still plan on getting geckos as pets, then it would be best to opt for a larger tank than 5 gallons.

Can Two Small Goldfish Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, two small goldfish can’t live in a 5-gallon tank because this would be too small for two fish.

Small goldfish are also referred to as dwarf goldfish, and these types of fish usually include breeds such as Ryukin goldfish, butterfly goldfish, Tosakin, and others. These tend to grow from 6 to 12 inches and that isn’t suitable for a 5-gallon tank.

With that being said, a single small goldfish can’t live in a 5-gallon tank, let alone a pair of small goldfish. The ideal tank size for a small goldfish would be 75 gallons, so if you have plans on getting a pair of small goldfish, you would have to upgrade to a much bigger tank.

Can A Comet Goldfish Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, a Comet goldfish can’t live in a 5-gallon tank because it’ll be too small for them. The ideal tank size for a single Comet goldfish would be 75 gallons.

Ideally, no breed of goldfish can comfortably live in a 5-gallon tank and remain healthy for the rest of their lives in that kind of tank size.

Even the smallest goldfish isn’t suitable for a 5-gallon tank because it’s just too small for a fish. The average size of a small goldfish would be from 6 to 12 inches, so the appropriate tank size for them would be 20 gallons or more.

Can A Pacman Frog Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, a Pacman frog can’t live in a 5-gallon tank. The ideal tank size for a Pacman frog would be a minimum of 10 gallons.

This beginner-friendly frog can grow up to 8 inches and should live alone in a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. Anything smaller than 10 gallons would make them stressed out and unhealthy overall.

Moreover, you can’t stuff in all the necessary things that a Pacman frog would need inside a small 5-gallon tank. Pacman frogs need live plants, branches for them to hide in, and a shallow bowl of water where they can sit.

Can You Put Live Plants In A 5 Gallon Tank?

Yes, live plants can live in a 5-gallon tank. However, this would mostly be based on what type of plant they are.

Some plants that can be placed inside 5-gallon tanks are Java Fern, Anubias, Java Moss, Micro Sword, Moss Balls, Anacharis, and Cabomba.

The plants aforementioned are beginner-friendly plants, mostly compatible with various kinds of fish, and their light level requirements are not too complicated.

Can You Have Two Snails In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, two snails in a 5-gallon tank would be too cramped for them, no matter what size they are. The ideal size for two snails would be at least 10 gallons.

The only instance where more than two snails can be put inside a 5-gallon tank is when the tank itself has an algae infestation. Other than that, there can’t be two or more snails inside a 5-gallon tank.

Can I Put An Airstone In A 5 Gallon Tank?

Yes, you can put an airstone in a 5-gallon tank.

There are several air stones that can be placed inside a 5-gallon tank, although airstones aren’t a complete necessity for tanks, it is highly recommended to have one due to the benefits it provides for a tank.

You can check this airstone out since this is suitable for a 5-gallon tank

Can I Keep A Betta Sorority In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, a Betta sorority can’t be kept in a 5-gallon tank.

It’s a common misconception that Betta fish can be kept in groups inside a single tank, why? Well, a lot of commotion would come from this kind of tank setup. A few examples would be:

  • Betta fish get stressed easily. There are instances wherein female Betta fish don’t show signs of being stressed, watch out for this because this is usually alarming. This means that a female Betta is being submissive and submissiveness equates to excessive stress.
  • Betta fish are aggressive and will hurt other kinds of fish or their own kind as well.
  • Betta fish can get sick easily and spread it to their co-habitants.
  • When your Betta fish gets injured or sick this would cost a lot in terms of funds for their medications.

Can 3 Female Betta Fish Live In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No, three female Betta fish can’t live in a 5-gallon tank. These fish would most likely end up hurting or killing each other because they are aggressive.

It would be best to not keep more than one Betta in a 5-gallon tank because it would lead to a lot of problems in the future. This is why Betta sororities aren’t recommended in the first place.

If you would like to save the lives of your female Betta fish, then it’s best to keep them separated and provide them with their own individual tanks, ideally, the minimum tank size for a single Betta fish is 5 gallons.

Is My Betta Happy In A 5 Gallon Tank?

A Betta fish would be happy living inside a 5-gallon tank, provided that they have the tank all to themselves, along with some live plants and a few decorations.

A 5-gallon tank would suffice in terms of providing enough swimming space for a Betta fish while allotting a bit of extra space for several elements such as live plants and decorations.

Although there won’t be that much variety of live plants that can fit inside a 5-gallon tank, some plants that you can opt for are; Java Moss, Marimo Moss Balls, Anacharis, Anubias Nana, Cryptocoryne Parva, and Duckweed.

In addition, you can also add a few tank mates for your Betta fish. A perfect example of tank mates would be cherry shrimp, ghost shrimp, and snails.

How Many Corydoras Are In A 5 Gallon Tank?

Corydoras or Cory Catfish can’t live in 5-gallon tanks. Despite being small fish, their minimum tank size should be 10-gallon for a single Corydoras.

A Corydoras fish may be a small fish that ranges from 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches, however, they would need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. A 10-gallon fish tank would suffice for a single Corydoras, but the thing is, who would keep only one Corydoras fish?

It’s not recommended to own only a single Corydoras fish because these are a type of fish that should be kept in groups. Groups of five would be enough to keep them all happy and the appropriate tank size for this many Corydoras would be 20 gallons.

Moreover, you can also keep Corydoras with other types of fish as tank mates. Some examples are:

  • Mollies
  • Gouramis
  • Neon Tetras
  • Platies
  • Angelfish
  • Fancy Guppies
  • Swordtails
  • Danios

Under no circumstances should Corydoras be kept with Cichlids and Barbs in the same tank because they will surely attack and cause stress to Corydoras.

How Many Goldfish Can You Have In A 5 Gallon Tank?

You can’t have any goldfish in a 5-gallon tank, no matter how small that goldfish may be, they won’t have a comfortable life in a 5-gallon tank.

If you plan on purchasing a fish tank for your goldfish, then consider larger ones. Dwarf goldfish must be kept in a minimum tank size of 20 gallons, larger goldfish on the other hand must be kept in tanks of 55 gallons and above.

The more goldfish you have, the larger the tank must be. The general rule of thumb in tank capacity for additional goldfish would be 10 gallons (per fish).

How Many Endler Guppies Can I Put In A 5 Gallon Tank?

You can’t keep any Endler Guppies in a 5-gallon tank. The ideal tank for Endler Guppies is 8.8 gallons.

Endler Guppies guppies are small, so you can also keep them in nano tanks. However, the best tank size for them would be 8.8 gallons since it’s recommended for Endler Guppies to be kept with a school of fish. Also, an 8.8-gallon tank would be the ideal size if you have plans on breeding them.

You can also put in other tank mates with Endler Guppies, so long as these will be small non-aggressive fish. Some examples would include:

  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Ember Tetra
  • Swordtail
  • Cherry Barb
  • Panda Cory
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Emperor Tetra
  • Glowlight Tetra
  • Kuhli Loach
  • And more

How Many Platies Can I Put In A 5 Gallon Tank?

No Platies can live in a 5-gallon tank since the minimum tank size for them would be 10-20 gallons.

Platies usually come in sizes of 2 to 3 inches while Dwarf Platies measure an inch. Despite their small size, they need to be kept in a 10-20 gallon tank. Five adult Platies can comfortably live in 10-gallon tanks while eight OPlaties can be kept in 20-gallon tanks.

How Many Plants Can I Put In A 5 Gallon Tank?

The amount of plants that can be placed inside a 5-gallon tank depends on what type and size of fish are being kept inside the tank as well as what type of plant you’re planning to get.

Some examples of plants that you can keep in a 5-gallon tank are; Anubias, Cabomba, Java Fern, and Anacharis. These plants are fairly easy to take care of and can be considered low-maintenance plants.

Just remember, the number of plants would depend on three factors; the type of fish, the size of the fish, and the type of plant to be used.

5 Gallon Tank V.S. 10 Gallon Tank

5-gallon tanks (nano tanks) and 10-gallon tanks each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, however, it’s best to opt for a larger tank of 10 gallons rather than choosing a 5-gallon tank.

You may refer to the bullet list below to find out each tank’s advantages and disadvantages:

5-Gallon tank


  • Easy to maintain. The substrate, plants, and filter can be cleaned easily. The water can be replaced by just using a cup or a pitcher. Also, it doesn’t take long to clean a 5-gallon tank compared to a 10-gallon tank.
  • Some types of fish can be kept in 5-gallon tanks like the Betta fish. Take note that only one Betta can be kept in a 5-gallon tank.
  • 5-gallon tanks are cheap on the get-go.
  • 5-gallon tanks are great for temporarily keeping baby fish. Also, 5-gallon tanks can be used to quarantine fish, this is usually done when a fish gets sick.


  • Water quality will lessen over time. This tends to happen in a small tank since the waste that a fish releases will cause nitrate levels to increase and that would affect the quality of the water inside the tank.
  • There are limited stocking options for 5-gallon tanks.
  • Only a limited number of fish can be kept in 5-gallon tanks, so there aren’t many options for people to choose from if they decide to get a 5-gallon tank.

10-Gallon Tank


  • 10-gallon tanks would be cheaper in the long run because people can get 10-gallon kits that are the same price as 5-gallon tanks that don’t come in kits.
  • 10-gallon tanks are the minimum tank size for several fishes like Celestial Pearl Danios, Golden Dwarf Barbs, Neon Tetras, Pygmy Corydoras, Guppies, Dwarf Gourami, and Bettas.
  • There are a lot more stocking options for 10-gallon tanks compared to 5-gallon tanks.
  • A 10-gallon tank is great for beginners who are just getting started with owning fish. It’s manageable and can be placed on top of furniture, so it’s not necessary to purchase a separate stand for these tanks.
  • Aquarium maintenance is quite easy and straightforward.
  • 10-gallon tanks make great quarantine tanks.


  • Water parameters will be harder to maintain in a 10-gallon tank compared to larger tanks.
  • 10-gallon tanks have fewer stocking options compared to larger fish tanks.

In conclusion, a 10-gallon tank is a clear winner. It offers more variety compared to a 5-gallon tank.

Should I Cycle A 5 Gallon Betta Tank?

You should cycle a 5-gallon Betta tank in order to keep your Betta fish healthy.

The recommended cycling method to do is called the fishless cycle. Fishless cycle refers to a method where a fish is removed from the tank, then a bacteria supplement is added to the tank, and then fish food is also added to increase ammonia.

The increase in ammonia and nitrate levels will increase as soon as the fish food begins to rot. The bacteria supplements added will balance out the ammonia and nitrate levels. Once that’s done, you can safely put your Betta fish back in the tank.

How Often Should You Change A 5 Gallon Fish Tank?

A 5-gallon fish tank should be cleaned weekly.

Small tanks like a 5-gallon one would require more frequent cleaning and changing of water since nitrate build-up will happen faster due to the small capacity of the tank.

Luckily, changing the water in a 5-gallon tank is a fast and easy process, so weekly cleaning wouldn’t be as demanding as it sounds.

Can I Put A 3 Gallon Filter In A 5 Gallon Tank?

You can put a 3-gallon filter in a 5-gallon tank, so long as you frequently change the water inside.

A 3-gallon filter can be used in a 5-gallon tank, however, do keep in mind that since this is a small filter, it can’t maintain a 5-gallon tank’s cleanliness for long. This is why you should frequently change the water inside the tank so that issues will be prevented.

How Long Does It Take To Cycle A 5 Gallon Tank?

It would take 2-3 weeks to cycle a 5-gallon fish tank, however, the cycle could be longer if you’re not using a bacteria supplement.

If you want a faster cycling time for your 5-gallon tank, then it’s recommended to use bacteria supplements. Bacteria supplements help in speeding up the process of cycling, however, they aren’t necessary.

If you have the patience to wait for your 5-gallon tank to complete its cycle, then by all means go for it.

Marineland Portrait Glass Aquarium, Tetra-Curved Aquarium Kit, and Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit are the best 5-gallon tanks in the market.

All three of these tanks have received good ratings and they are purchased as kits as well. Kits are the best option to go for when purchasing fish tanks because you get to buy them at a cheaper price compared to buying the accessories of a tank separately. 

Marineland Portrait Glass Aquarium

This tank is great for beginners, it uses a three filtration system, and it contains a hidden compartment for the filter and heater. The only downside of this tank is it lacks horizontal space for swimming. Check them out here

Tetra-Curved Aquarium Kit

This tank is ideal for beginners since it already comes with lights and a filter. The downside of this tank is the material it’s made out of, which is acrylic. Acrylic tanks are prone to scratches, are expensive, will become yellow over time, and are porous (this will enable chemicals to be absorbed). Check them out here

Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit

This 5-gallon tank includes an advanced filtration system, LED lights that are capable of supporting live plants, and a hidden compartment to keep the tank neat. The look of this tank is great overall, the only downside would be the tank’s adjustable pump. The pump has a tendency to be too strong for a fish. Check them out here




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