If you have kids who want fish, or are just a beginner aquarist yourself, you might want to start out with a relatively small fish tank and a common size option is 5 gallons.
Today we are here to talk about some options which we feel are contenders for the title of the best 5-gallon fish tank (this is our top pick). Let’s get right to it!
A Quick Look at Our Favorites of 2022
The 9 Best 5-Gallon Fish Tanks Are:
Let’s first take a look at our top pick that we personally feel is the best 5-gallon tank. This particular option comes with pretty much everything you need to get started and have a nice little aquarium setup.
1. Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit
If you are looking for a nice looking 5-gallon fish tank, the Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit is a decent option to consider for several different reasons. Let’s go over all of the features and aspects that come with this option so you can know just a little bit more about it.
The Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit comes with a decent filtration unit. It features an advanced 3-stage filtration system located behind a black filtration panel. This filter engages in all three major types of filtration including mechanical, biological, and chemical, filtration.
It will remove all manners of impurities and toxins from the water to help your fish be happy and healthy. Also, it comes with all of the filtration media you need to get started.
This filter is more than powerful enough to turn over the water in the tank several times over every single hour. It does actually have an adjustable flow rate so you can match the flow to the needs of your aquarium inhabitants.
We do like how the filter is located behind a blacked out panel because it helps preserve the nice look of this particular 5-gallon aquarium.
The Marineland Portrait Aquarium Kit comes with an LED light bar for illumination and some plant growth. It features both white and blue LED lights.
The white lights are great for the daytime and plant growth, while the blue lights are awesome for some slight nighttime moonlight simulation. It’s a great way for your plants and fish to feel at home!
This aquarium is fairly easy to access. It comes with a hinged lid, to which the light is attached to. All you have to do is open the top up like a lid and you have access to the interior of the aquarium. At the same time, this also makes it fairly easy to gain access to the filter for easy maintenance.
Look & Build
This aquarium looks very nice in our opinion. The square shape of it with the clear sides and corners offers you an unparalleled view of the interior. Everything that can be clear on this aquarium is clear, which is something we really like.
We do also like how this aquarium is fairly small and easy to manage, making it ideal for beginners and children alike.
2. Marina LED Aquarium Kit
This is another one of our favorite 5-gallon tanks. It is another one that comes with pretty much everything you need to get going.
It even includes water conditioner, fish food, and a biological agent to start cycling the aquarium. It even includes a fish net for soft finned fish as well as a fish care guide too.
The Marina LED Aquarium Kit comes with a neat integrated LED light system. It is small and not that powerful, but more than enough for a 5-gallon tank.
The light is integrated into the canopy for easy access, plus it is on a hinge too. This gives you a great long lasting daytime light effect. It’s good for plants that don’t need too much light.
This kit comes with a clip on filter. The filter and all of the media comes included, which is convenient. We like the clip on back variety because it does not take up room inside of the aquarium, this saving space for your fish. It is a very efficient 3-stage filtration unit.
The cartridges are quick change cartridges, which helps make maintenance much easier. The filter itself has more than enough power to process the water in the tank several times per hour, plus it engages in all 3 major types of filtration.
Size & Build
This is a 5-gallon tank that comes in at 16″L x 8.5″W x 10.5″H, making it ideal for beginners and children alike. It is a good option for any small or tight space such as a small shelf, table, or nightstand too. Bigger is not always better.
We do like how the Marina LED Aquarium Kit is made of real glass. Some people like acrylic, but we like the sleek and classy look that real glass brings to the table.
3. Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit
This acrylic aquarium has a really neat shape, it is fairly durable, and again comes with pretty much everything needed to get started.
The Tetra Crescent Kit comes with whisper quiet 3-stage filtration. It engages in mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration for really clean and clear water. It is a very quiet filter, something which we can all appreciate.
The cartridges for the media are very easy to change, which is a big bonus, plus the filter itself can turn over the water in this 5-gallon tank several times per hour.
The filter is located in the rear behind a panel so that the aquarium still looks really nice. This filter uses superior activated carbon, a great mechanical filter, and really advanced biological filtration for some of the cleanest water around.
This kit comes with an environmentally friendly 16 bulb LED light. The light is durable, easy to use, and it will easily light up the whole aquarium for a nice daytime shine. Illumination is not a problem here.
Some people do like how the Tetra Crescent is an acrylic tank. Yes, most say it does not look as nice as glass, but it is extremely durable, doesn’t scratch easily, and is lightweight, too. The fact that the aquarium wall, the front, is curved, helps add some depth and a sleek look to things.
It is definitely a nice looking aquarium in our opinion, but nice things can also be durable too.
The aquarium itself is an ideal size for small shelves, small tables, beginners, and first time aquarium owners alike.
4. GloFish Aquarium Kit with Blue LED light
This is a unique aquarium kit to go with for several different reasons. While some look great during the day, this one looks it’s best during the night! It’s a nice 5-gallon fish tank for children’s rooms thanks to this glow in the dark feature.
The LED light system included here is definitely unique. It is a blue light glow in the dark LED lighting system. Now, it is not the best for the daytime because it is blue light, so it does not simulate sunlight very well.
However, the blue light is ideal for recreating a soft moonlight glow, plus it will make everything in the aquarium glow in the dark too. It definitely looks very neat when the blue lights are on.
The GloFish Aquarium Kit comes with a pretty standard yet useful 3-stage filtration system. It is not the biggest or best filter out there, but it does engage in all three major types of filtration to ensure crystal clear and clean water on a daily basis.
It comes with most of the filtration media already included. It’s not the best filter in the world, but it does its job just fine. It does turn over the water in the tank several times per hour, which is always a good sign.
Look & Build
This tank has a curved front, which helps add some depth and a neat look to the aquarium. It makes it look bigger than it really is. People usually refer to this shaped aquarium as a crescent aquarium.
The clear plastic canopy and clear walls lets you get many vantage points on your fish. The fact that this thing is made of acrylic is a bonus for many. It looks nice, it is extremely durable, lightweight, and will last for years to come.
5. Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit
A sleek looking option, the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit is 5 gallons in size, comes with pretty much everything you need to get started, and makes a good choice for a study or office.
The Look & Build
Many people really like this aquarium because it offers a great view of the interior. The walls of this aquarium, except for 1 side wall, are all clear, which lets you see everything going on in the interior. It’s a really sleek and professional looking option great for any office or desk.
It is made of etched glass, which is very durable and very nice looking too. The Fluval Spec V comes in at 17.2″L x 10.6″W x 6.3″H, making it an ideal size for most spaces. The glass itself is fairly tough, which is another bonus.
This aquarium kit comes with a powerful advanced 3 stage filter. It comes with a foam block, bio rings, and activated carbon included with the package, so it does cover all three major types of filtration.
The filter can turn over the water in this 5-gallon tank several times per hour for some very clean water.
Also, the filter is located behind a blacked out panel on a side wall, therefore maintaining a very nice look. The output for the filter comes with an adjustable nozzle that can be adjusted for flow amount and direction.
The Fluval Spec V kit comes with a hood that features a 37 LED bulb lighting system. This is great for providing this 5-gallon tank with maximum illumination on a daily basis.
It is good for fish and for plants too. The light is fitted on an easy to remove hood, making maintenance and access to the aquarium’s interior very easy.
This one looks nice, has a good filter, and a really cool lighting unit too.
Look & Build
The look of this aquarium is very cool indeed. It has a rounded front so you can see inside from all 3 sides. The panoramic view is definitely really cool. The front and sides of this aquarium has no seams, which makes it look great.
This is an acrylic aquarium, which means that it is very tough, lightweight, and scratch/impact resistant too. It comes in at 14.2″L x 10″W x 11.5″H, making it ideal for virtually any small space.
Now, while the API Panaview Aquarium Kit is not the best for daytime lighting and plant growth, it definitely has a neat lighting system. It comes with a 7 color LED light which includes amber, aqua, blue, green, purple, red, and white.
It illuminates the fish and plants in the tank and gives them a really cool colorful glow. The light is located on the interior of the hood, which is very easy to take off for easy access and quick maintenance.
This aquarium kit comes with a great 3-stage SUPERCLEAN 10 filter with a bio-chem filter, plus it also engages in mechanical filtration.
The filter is located behind a blacked out panel to help maintain the charm and great look of this 5-gallon tank. It has a flow rate of 45 gallons per hour, which is very impressive, plus it is efficient and really does a great job.
7. Fluval Chi II Aquarium Set
If you want a neat looking and relaxing 5-gallon aquarium, this is certainly a good option to keep in mind.
Look & Build
This is a glass aquarium, which is something we really like. It looks simply stunning and its elegant shape makes it a great choice for any professional and casual setting. It looks really nice in Yoga studios, meditation centers, healing places, and other such locations.
The glass itself is fairly durable, but the best quality is its awesome look. It’s a cool option because all four sides are clear for a great view from 360 degrees. Serenity is a word we would use to describe the Fluval Chi II Aquarium Set. It does come with a good lid so no cats can get to the inside!
The Fluval Chi II Aquarium Set comes with a nice 17 bulb LED light set for great daytime illumination and for decent plant growth.
The lights are good for a few fish and smaller plants. What is cool is that there also a light facing upwards for a soft glow and some nice contrast too.
This kit comes with efficient 3-stage filtration. The filter is located at the top center of the tank, built right into the middle of the hood.
It is a very efficient filter, one with a cool rock waterfall look and that trickling noise that some people really like. It comes with all three major types of filtration and is very easy to maintain.
8. Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kit
This is a very simple aquarium starter kit that comes with everything you need for a small population of fish.
The Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kit comes with an integrated semi-submersed filter. This filter engages in all three major types of filtration, it is easy to maintain, and it barely takes up any space in the water. It is integrated right into the aquarium hood for ease of use and maintenance.
Look & Build
What we like about the Aqueon LED MiniBow Kit is that it features four clear walls for an unobstructed view from any angle. It definitely looks very nice.
This is an acrylic tank, making it very durable and scratch resistant too. When it comes down to it, the look of this aquarium is stunning, plus it is small enough to fit into virtually any space.
This kit comes with a very sleek and low profile energy efficient LED lighting system. It is not too bright, but more than good enough for a few fish and plants that do not require too much light.
9. Marineland Nook Aquarium Kit
This might the final option here, but it is definitely not the worst!
The Marineland Nook Aquarium Kit comes with a cool energy efficient LED lighting system. No, it’s not the brightest, but more than good enough for a few small fish and plants. It is integrated right into the hood for easy access, stability, and durability.
Build & Look
This tank is made out of extremely durable acrylic to ensure that it will last for a very long time to come. It features a curved front with a panoramic view, which provides you with great and stunning visuals every single time. The aquarium is of an ideal size for most small areas and beginners alike.
The Marineland Nook Kit comes with a good 3 stage filtration unit integrated into the back. It is hidden behind a blacked out panel so you can’t see the hardware.
It is very efficient, has an adjustable flow rate, and it works great.
5-Gallon Aquascape Tips
If you have a 5-gallon aquarium, it means that you have a fairly small tank with very limited room to work with.
Here are some great 5-gallon fish tank aquascape tips so you can make the most out of the limited space at your disposal.
Plant Growth Rate
One of the most important things to pay attention to here is the type of plants you want to put in the aquarium, specifically in terms of the growth rate.
It is recommended to get aquarium plants with slow growth rates, so they don’t grow too fast, and therefore require minimal maintenance.
On that same note, you do also want to pay attention to what maximum size your aquariums plants will grow to.
In a 5-gallon tank, you really don’t have much room, so smaller plants are the ideal way to go.
Speaking of aquarium plants, another big aquascaping tip here has to do with their placement. The largest plants should be placed at the rear, with the smallest plants at the front.
This will help create the impression of a larger space, and it won’t cause big plants to eat up valuable real estate. Carpeting plants are always good plants for small aquariums.
Commonly Asked Questions: 5-Gallon Tanks
What Are The Best Fish For 5-Gallon Tanks?
Just keep in mind that the rule of thumb is to have no more than 1 inch of fish per gallon of water in the tank. This is generally the minimum tank size requirement for any fish.
Should I Get A 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit, or Just The Tank?
Well, this really depends on what your needs are and how much money you are looking to spend.
On one hand, getting the tank alone is great if you have enough cash to purchase all accessories separately, especially if you want to customize your setup and get very specific lights, filters, and all of that other stuff.
However, this way is usually not all that cost effective. If you want to make life a lot easier, you don’t want to spend too much cash, and you aren’t too picky about the specific equipment you get, or even if you have kids that want a fish, by all means go for an all in one kit.
How Many Betta Fish Can I Put In A 5-Gallon Tank?
Realistically you can only put 1 single betta fish in a five gallon fish tank. Now, betta fish do only grow to around 2.25 inches long, so based on minimum tank size requirements (1 inch of fish per gallon of water), you could technically fit 2 of them in a 5-gallon tank but please don’t do this.
You need to keep in mind is that the 1 gallon per 1 inch of fish rule is an absolute minimum, not the ideal level. The ideal is more like 2 gallons of water per inch of fish.
Even if you are working with the minimum tank size requirements, betta fish are ferocious fighters and they really do not get along well with each other, so having 2 of them together, even in a 10 or 15-gallon tank can be a challenge.
Does A 5-Gallon Fish Tank Need A Filter?
Yes, absolutely a 5-gallon tanks needs a filter. The more fish you have in the tank, the better of a filter you will need. In fact, most would agree that you actually need a better filter for a smaller tank than for a larger one.
Things like ammonia will build up faster in a smaller tank, compared to a larger tank, and therefore it also requires a high quality filter to keep that ammonia down, as well as other unwanted substances too.
We hope that our reviews have been able to help you find the right 5-gallon tank (the MarineLand Portrait is our top pick), there are a lot of different options out their but we felt the above nine was some of the better ones from our experience and research. Good luck with your search and we hope we have helped.
Featured Image Credit: Ja Crispy, Shutterstock