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5 Best Fish For a 1-Gallon Tank (with Pictures)

Lindsey Stanton Profile Picture

By Lindsey Stanton

green betta

Many new fish owners are going to want to start out with a smaller tank, something like a 1-gallon tank. If you are new to the game, you might want to start small because it does take less work to take care of, plus it is going to cost you less money too but what are the best fish for a 1-gallon fish tank?


The 5 Best Fish For a 1-Gallon Tank

Just because you have a small tank does not mean that it can’t look nice or that you can’t have some cool fish in it either. Here we have a few great suggestions as to what the best fish for a 1-gallon tank are.

1. Betta Fish

blue betta fish
Image credit: Unsplash

One of the very best options that you can go with for a 1-gallon tank is the Betta fish. The Betta fish is usually a very aggressive fish that has a hard time getting along with others, especially other Betta fish. It is recommended that you keep these guys on their own regardless of tank size. This makes them ideal for a 1-gallon tank, because they are fairly small and like to be solitary anyway. Moreover, they do like some plants and a nice substrate, which will fit into a 1-gallon tank perfectly fine.

Also, they are fairly resilient fish, so as long as you clean the tank regularly and do regular water changes, you don’t even really need a filter for them. Furthermore, these guys have a labyrinth organ, which means that they can breathe air from the surface, and thus they do not require any kind of water oxygenation system either. These guys are easy to take care of, are not picky eaters, don’t require any special equipment, and will be perfectly happy by themselves in a 1-gallon tank or even a slightly larger tank like these.

2. Guppies

Image Credit By: Zucky123, pixabay

Guppies are another great fish option to go with for a small 1-gallon tank. This is mostly due to the fact that they are very small. Guppies will only grow to around 1.25 inches long, meaning that several of them can easily fit in a 1 gallon tank. Now, there is a fine line between community and overcrowding when it comes to these guys. They are community fish, so being alone is not an option, but you also can’t put too many in a small tank either. That being said, you should be able to put around 3 or 4 of these small guys in a 1-gallon tank without issue.

Guppies are friendly with each other and friendly with other fish species as well, so there should be no problem in terms of housing them with a different small fish. What does need to be mentioned is that these guys do like fairly heavily planted aquariums, so you are going to want to add some plants into the mix. You will also need a small filter, an external one in order to keep the water clean. They make for some really active and nice looking additions for any 1-gallon tank.

3. White Cloud Mountain Minnows

white cloud mountain minnows
Image Credit: Grigorev Mikhail, Shutterstock

Another good small fish option for your 1-gallon tank is the white cloud mountain minnow. These guys are also schooling fish, just like guppies, so you will need to add 2 or 3 into the mix in order to keep them happy. White cloud mountain minnows grow to a maximum length of 1 inch, so you can have 3 or 4 of them in a 1-gallon tank with no issues. These guys are freshwater fish and they are very hardy, so having exact and constant water parameters is not a big deal.

Also, they are easy going in terms of feeding. They will eat practically anything that can fit in their mouths. Moreover, they do like planted aquariums, just like guppies, so some plants are necessary to make them feel at home. These guys make for the perfect starter fish because they are very easy to take care of, they are inexpensive, and fun to watch too.

4. Tetra Fish

x ray tetra
Image Credit: Andrew Williams, Shutterstock

Tetras are another cool option to go with for your 1-gallon tank. These guys are very hardy type of fish that do great in little schools. They don’t grow much over 1 inch in length, so having them in a small space is no issue. You can easily keep 3 or 4 of them in a small 1 gallon tank without running into any issues.

Moreover, they are very peaceful and docile fish that rarely get into confrontations or territorial disputes with other fish, especially of the same species. There are many different kinds of Tetra fish, so you will want to look out for the smaller ones, as the larger ones will not be ideal for a 1-gallon tank. Many people love these fish because they are really stunning and beautiful to look at, plus easy to take care of as well.

5. Goldfish

ryukin goldfish
Image Credit: JuanCarlosPalauDiaz, Shutterstock

Ok, so we don’t like the idea of having a goldfish in a bowl, like many people have at home, but having them in a 1-gallon tank is just fine. Most people have bowls that are little over 0.5 gallons in size, so a full gallon will do 1 goldfish just fine. They are very hardy and resilient, they don’t really require special water care, they do fine in normal room temperature water, and are easy to feed and look after as well. You won’t be able to put more than 1 goldfish in a tank, but a single goldfish will do well in a 1 gallon tank.


The bottom line is that there are not many fish that can comfortably live in 1-gallon tank, even the above options may run into some issues. That being said, fish such as Bettas, guppies, minnows, tetras, and goldfish are all decent options for a 1-gallon tank though it’s really a good idea to consider just getting a bigger tank even like a 5-gallon+.

Feature Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

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