Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks for a Freshwater Beginner

Looking for a great way to add some fun and relaxation to your home? Look no further than my top picks for the best 5-gallon fish tanks! These tanks are great for both beginners and experienced fish owners alike, and they come in a variety of shapes to suit your needs.

If you’re looking for a small aquarium for your desk or living room, I’ve got you covered. Here’s a closer look at the best 5-gallon fish tanks to help you make a decision.

Best 5 Gallon Fish Tanks

#1. Best Filtration: Marineland Portrait 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit

Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit, 5 Gallons, Hidden Filtration,Black
  • SLEEK DESIGN: Rounded corners and clear glass canopy allow viewing from multiple angles.
  • DAYLIGHT/MOONLIGHT LIGHTING: Bright white LEDs create a shimmering sunlight effect; blue LEDs produce a moonlit glow.
  • EASY ACCESS: Hinged LED lighting and sliding glass canopy.
  • SIZE: 5-gallon aquarium fits Marineland Rite-Size Z Filter Cartridges.
  • HIDDEN FILTRATION: Advanced, 3-stage filtration is out of sight, enhancing aquarium viewing.
  • Material: Glass
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Weight: 12 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.5″L x 9.5″W x 14″H

The Marineland 5-gallon fish tank comes with an advanced 3-stage filtration system that removes impurities and toxins, leaving you with crystal-clear water for your fish. The included filtration media is also designed to last longer, meaning you’ll spend less time and money maintaining your aquarium.

This aquarium kit comes with white and blue LEDs to give your fish the most natural environment possible. The white LED simulates sunlight, while the blue LED creates a moonlight effect.

The hinged lid design provides easy access to the inside of the aquarium, so you can quickly and easily clean it when necessary. This is a great feature if you have a busy lifestyle and don’t always have time for a thorough cleaning.

The rounded corners of this aquarium give it a sleek, modern look that will enhance any room décor. The clear glass allows for an unobstructed view of your fish, and the small size is perfect for desktops or countertops.


  • Hidden 3-stage filtration
  • Clear glass canopy
  • Sleek design with rounded corners
  • Includes daylight and moonlight effect


  • Not as durable as acrylic

#2. Best Sleek Design: Fluval SPEC 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit

Fluval SPEC Aquarium Kit, Aquarium with LED Lighting and 3-Stage Filtration System, 5-Gallon
  • SPEC Series Aquariums: The newly redesigned SPEC series now features an impressive high output 7000K LED, which generates 20% brighter lighting performance for noticeably bolder fish colors and plant growth.
  • Tank Construction: SPEC adds style and design to your aquarium set. Constructed with etched glass with high-quality aluminum trim.
  • Filtration Capability: SPEC boasts a powerful 3-stage system with oversized mechanical, chemical and biological media for unparalleled water clarity. Includes foam block, activated carbon, and BioMax bio rings.
  • Lighting System: The powerful LED lighting system has 37 LED bulbs with a total output of 821 lumens and 7000K color temperature.
  • Capacity: 5-gallon tank capacity with a water pump output of 55-80 US Gal/h (210-300 L/h).
  • Material: Glass
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Weight: 11 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 20.5″L x 7.5″W x 11.6″H

The Fluval 5-gallon fish tank is a sleek and modern take on the traditional fish tank. With its etched glass design and aluminum trim, it’s a stylish addition to any home. But it’s more than just a pretty face – the SPEC is also a top-of-the-line aquarium, with everything you need to provide your fish with a healthy and happy home.

The three-stage filter works to create and maintain pristine aquarium conditions. The foam block removes large debris, the activated carbon eliminates toxins and BioMax provides optimal biological filtration. This results in a healthy environment for your fish to thrive.

The hood of this 5-Gallon fish tank features 37 LED bulbs that emit a 7000 K color temperature, providing your fish and plants with the best possible lighting. The result is a crystal clear view of your underwater ecosystem that is sure to impress.


  • Convenient hood
  • Adjustable flow
  • Decent filtration
  • Modern and sleek design
  • long-lasting


  • No specific lighting for night

#3. Best Quiet Filtration: Tetra 5-Gallon Fish Tank

Tetra Crescent aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, Curved-Front Tank With LEDs,black
  • Aquarium KIT Curved-front crescent-shaped aquarium kit is perfect for one goldfish or up to three community tropical fish
  • INCLUDES FILTER Includes Tetra Whisper Internal Power Filter to keep your tank clean and provide a healthy environment for pet fish
  • HIDDEN LIGHTS Bright-white energy-efficient LED lights are hidden inside the low-profile black cover
  • SEAMLESS TANK Offers unobstructed viewing of your underwater environment
  • 5 GALLON TANK Small size that’s perfect for a bedroom living room or dorm room (15 inches x 9 inches x 11 inches)
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Shape: Curved Front
  • Weight: 6 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 16.6″L x 11.2″W x 13.2″H

No more listening to a constant, high-pitched bubbling noise while you try to relax. The three-stage filtration in the Tetra 5-gallon fish tank works to ensure your fish have a clean and stress-free environment. The whisper-quiet filtration process includes biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration.

Your fish will love the bright, natural-looking light with 16 energy-efficient LEDs. The bulbs are hidden inside a low-profile black cover, so they won’t take away from the look of your tank. The light creates a natural daytime effect that your fish will love.

With a curved front, you’ll never miss a moment of your fish’s underwater antics. Plus, the durable design ensures that your tank will be a fixture in your home for years to come.

This beginner-friendly fish tank is the perfect size for small tables and shelves. The tank is also very affordable, making it a great choice for anyone on a budget.


  • Durable and long-lasting material
  • Advanced filtration system
  • Energy-efficient LEDs
  • Beginner Friendly


  • The flow rate is not adjustable

#4. Best with Water Conditioner: Marina 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit

Marina 5 Gallon (19 L) LED Aquarium Kit – Ideal for Beginner Aquarists and New Fish-Keepers
  • 5 gallon glass aquarium starter kit
  • Comes with everything needed for your first fish tank
  • Use our Nutrafin Aqua Plus Water Conditioner to make tap water safe for fish
  • Marina's Slim S20 clip-on aquarium filter keeps your water clear and uses quick-change filter cartridges
  • Long-lasting, natural daylight effect LED aquarium lighting module is incorporated into the fish tank's canopy
  • Material: Glass
  • Shape: Rectangular
  • Weight: 10 Pounds
  • Dimensions: 21.8″L x 14″W x 18.8″H

Tap water can be harsh on fish and make them sick, which is why the Marina 5-gallon fish tank includes a water conditioner to make it safe for your fish. You’ll also get fish food, a fish net, and a fish care guide included, so you have everything you need to get started.

The integrated natural daylight effect LED creates a bright and inviting environment for your fish. The LED not only looks great, but it also provides the perfect amount of light to keep your fish healthy and happy.

The Marina fish tank comes with a clip-on filter that has a space-saving 3-stage filtration unit. This unit will help keep your fish tank clean and healthy. The tank is super easy to maintain! The quick-change cartridge system is perfect for busy people who still want to enjoy a beautiful aquarium!

The small size is perfect for beginners, and the sleek design takes up minimal counter space – making it a great option for small apartments or homes.


  • Easy maintenance with quick-change cartridges
  • The clip-on filter doesn’t take inside space
  • Natural daylight effect LEDs
  • Perfect for beginners


  • No option for the nightlight

#5. Best Look in the Dark: GloFish Crescent 5-Gallon Fish Tank

GloFish Aquarium Fish Tank Kits, Includes Fish Tank Decorations and LED Lighting, Tetra Filter and Water Conditioner 5-gallon crescent kit
  • INCLUDES ALL THE ESSENTIALS: This 5 gallon kit includes a seamless, crescent-shaped tank, Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Filter Cartridge, black canopy with convenient feeding hole and energy-efficient blue LED lighting.
  • BLUE LED LIGHTS: Hidden blue LED lights are incorporated into the hood, giving your GloFish fluorescent fish an exciting and uniquely fluorescent look.
  • INTERNAL FILTRATION: The filter pulls water from the aquarium and pushes it through the filter cartridge, where the dense, dual-sided mesh catches debris and waste.
  • INCLUDES HOOD: Sleek black hood reduces evaporation and helps keep fish from jumping.
  • EXPERIENCE THE GLO: GloFish fluorescent fish and products create a complete underwater fluorescent experience.
  • Material: Acrylic
  • Shape: Semicircular
  • Dimensions: 11.25″L x 16.56″W x 6.71″H

GloFish Aquarium Kit is the best way to achieve a fluorescent look in your home. The hidden blue LED lights create a unique atmosphere that is perfect for dark places, or as a fun and unique night light. Plus, the crescent-shaped compact size is perfect for small spaces.

The 3-stage filtration system powerfully cleans your aquarium while the included filtration media gets rid of even the tiniest particles. This results in a clean and healthy environment for your fish, which is vital to their health and happiness.

The unique curved front and clear plastic canopy create the illusion of a much larger aquarium, while the durable acrylic construction ensures years of enjoyment. The GloFish 5-gallon aquarium kit is the perfect way to make a statement in your home.


  • Blue LED lights for the night glow effect
  • Powerful filtration
  • Unique shape
  • Durable construction
  • Lightweight


  • Light system only suitable for nighttime

Tips for Keeping a 5-Gallon Fish Tank

The average person does not know how to properly maintain a fish tank. This often results in the fish dying prematurely. Here are some tips on how to maintain a small fish tank:

  • Change the water regularly: Fish produce a lot of waste and it can build up in the water, making it unhealthy for them. The most important thing to remember is to keep the water clean. This can be done by performing regular water changes and using a filter.
  • Fish Food: Another important aspect is to provide the fish with the proper food. It is important to consult with a pet store or veterinarian in order to determine what type of food is best for your particular fish.
  • Don’t overfeed your fish: It’s important not to overfeed your fish as this can cause water quality issues and make your fish sick.
  • Keep the tank clean: In addition to changing the water, you should also be cleaning the tank itself. Use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the inside of the tank and remove any algae build-up.
  • Temperature: It is also important to maintain the proper temperature in the fish tank. Most tropical fish do best in water that is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

What are The Best Fish For a 5-Gallon Tank?

The best fish for a 5-gallon tank are those that are peaceful, able to thrive in small spaces, and do not produce too much waste. Some good options include:

  • Betta Fish
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Mollies
  • Guppies
  • Common Goldfish

Each type of fish has different requirements in terms of water temperature, pH level, and diet. So be sure to do your research before making a purchase.

You can read my detailed guide on the fish selection for a 5-gallon tank.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a fish tank and an aquarium?

There are a few key differences between fish tanks and aquariums:

  • First, fish tanks are typically much smaller than aquariums. This is because they only need to accommodate a few fish, whereas an aquarium may need to accommodate many more.
  • Second, fish tanks typically do not have filtration or aeration systems, which are necessary to keep the water quality high in an aquarium.
  • Finally, fish tanks are usually not decorated as elaborately as aquariums.

How Many Betta Fish Can I Put in a 5-Gallon Tank?

A good stocking density for a betta fish is 1-2 fish per 5 gallons of tank space. The rule of thumb for fish stocking is 1 inch of fish per gallon of water. This means that, for a 5-gallon tank, you could theoretically keep 1-2 betta fish.