Stephen is an owner of several aquarium supplies shops in New York. Like no one else, he knows how to pick the perfect fish tank or any aquarium accessory from pump to artificial decorative plants.
Last updated: July 08, 2022
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Whether you’re just starting to keep fish or well seasoned, you may be interested in purchasing a 5-galloon fish tank. This is one of the smallest tanks available and is perfect for keeping small fish. Plus, it’s the ideal size beginner tank.
So why should you purchase a fish tank kit instead of buying each item separately? The first reason is it will save you money. When buying the items individually, you have to compare filters, heater, LED lighting, and other necessities. When you get a fish tank kit, all you need to purchase are the decorations.
There are a lot of fish tank kits available, and it can be challenging to choose the best one. This is especially true if you’re a beginner and aren’t quite sure what to look for. We have reviewed the 7 best 5-gallon fish tank kits to assist you with your decision.
What’s included: glass aquarium with cover, LED lighting system, low-voltage transformer, circulation pump with output nozzle, Fluval foam filter block with handle, Fluval activated carbon, Fluval BioMax
Other features: 3-stage filtration
This sleek, stylish 5-gallon nano aquarium has an etched glass modern design with aluminum leak-proof trim. It has a powerful 37 LED touch switch lighting system and 7000 K color temperature with 821 lumens. The unique honeycomb design conceals a powerful 3 stage filter system, so all you see is your fish.
We chose this as our editor’s choice because it is longer than other models offers more lumens, we love its honeycomb-shaped modern design, plus you can use the lighting at any time. It’s easy to set up, energy-efficient, and low-maintenance. Additionally, we chose this 5-gallon tank as our editors’ choice because it has one of the top filtration systems. The 3-stage system offers an oversized mechanical, chemical, and biological filter that’s concealed.
What are our favorite features?
We liked that the glass aquarium comes with a cover and filter. It has an LED energy-efficient lighting system with a low voltage transformer that's safe. The circulation pump comes with an output nozzle which doesn't clog easily plus makes installation a breeze. It has an oversized mechanical foam with carbon and biological media included. The handle on the filter makes changing it simple. Not to mention how quiet it is. If you've ever heard those filters that make the constant humming noise, they can be pretty distracting.
What could be better?
First, it doesn't come with a heater, and it can be challenging to find one that fits well that's reliable. It could use a dimmer switch for plants that need low lights, most plants in nano fish tanks need the lower light. The water flow from the pump is a bit strong for betta fish, so they may want to make a lower pump setting an option. Depending on what type of fish you have, the filtration system may suck them up. Also, the water current may cause the fish to miss their food.
What’s included: clip-on filter with cartridges, LED lightning module, Fluval Max fish food, Fluval Aqua Plus Water conditioner, Fluval Cycle Biological supplement, fish net, care guide
Other features: durable glass
This 5-gallon fish tank comes with a clip-on filter complete with cartridges that are simple to change. The Nutrafin Aqua Plus Water Conditioner makes sure that your water is safe for your fish. The long-lasting, energy-efficient LED light creates a natural daylight effect. The light is bright enough to illuminate your fish tank and yet soft enough where it’s suitable for low-light plants.
This fish tank is perfect for beginners and anyone who wants an aquarium with low maintenance and an advanced filtration system. It’s an excellent choice if you are a beginner. Its slim design makes this fish tank one of the best ones for your home or office. It’s one of the best choices for those who have Betta fish and or freshwater shrimps.
What are its best features?
We like that the water filter is powerful and yet quiet. While it is powerful, it doesn't suck up your fish. The accessories can all be set up outside the tank giving it a lot of space for your fish. The bright LED light is bright enough to light up the tank yet soft enough for plants that need lower light. One of our favorite things about this tank is that the filter flow is adjustable.
What could be improved?
We'd like it if it came with a heater, temperature indicator, and rocks included, so you don't need to go out and buy one. Some reviews complain that the filter vibrates and can be loud. However, you can correct it with some added padding or tape. Other people said that the lid/light setup made it difficult to find a heater that fits in the tank well.
Other features: dazzling light shows, for tropical fish
This PanaView one-piece leak-proof fish tank comes with an energy-efficient LED light with 7 color selections. It allows you to choose between white, blue, green, orange, red, and pink. The internal power filter filters 45 gallons per hour flow rate, which keeps your water clear and clean. It includes setup instructions, a premium filter, and a cover.
This aquarium is an excellent choice for people who want to raise tropical fish. It comes complete with everything new fish enthusiasts need to start raising fish. The unique shape of the tank allows individuals to view the fish no matter where they’re sitting. Its low cost makes this one of the best value fish tanks on our list.
Why is it special?
We love the shape of the tank. It comes with 7 different lighting choices that make the tank look beautiful no matter what color you choose. The strong filter keeps the water clean and clear, plus the filter cartridges are also easy to change. The filter itself is relatively quiet. It's a great way to teach your children about being responsible. The high-grade plastic that the tank is made of prevents leaks. For the price, you can't go wrong with this choice.
What are the flaws?
While it comes with most things you need to start keeping fish, it could come with additional accessories such as a heater and temperature indicator. Many things that come with others on our list don't come with this one. The filter produces a loud hum which can bother some people. There were some complaints about the light not staying on long enough, and you can't add a timer to it.
Other features: durable glass, relaxing moonlight glow
This 5-gallon fish tank has a curved glass design. The bright white energy-efficient LED light has three settings white, blue, and off. You can easily switch between the 3 for your preferred setting. In addition to the settings, this 5-gallon fish tank also has a 3-stage hidden filtration with Rite-Size Z cartridges with an adjustable flow.
We chose this Marineland model because of its sliding glass design. This feature allows you to feed your fish and clean the tank easily. It’s small enough to fit anywhere from your home office to your bedroom. This is perfect for 1-2 Betta fish because of the adjustable pump; you don’t have to worry about them struggling with the current.
What makes it special?
We loved how this 5-gallon fish tank looked; its seamless edges are great. We also love that the filtration unit is hidden, and the heater and Co2 diffuser easily fit behind it. The tank is easy to clean with the flippable light and sliding glass lid. The plastic tank is durable and sturdy. The filter motor is quiet, so you don't have to worry about the annoying humming.
What cons did we find?
The inlets on the filter are too big for dwarf shrimp. The filter housing is narrow, making it difficult to clean, plus it has sharp edges. If the filter housing isn't as solid as we'd like, the back cover makes it hard to fit cords. The light that's included makes it difficult if you want to grow real plants. The water pump may often clog if you have real plants because of dead plant materials.
Lightning: full coverage hood with bright white LED lightning
What’s included: aquarium vessel, hood, power filter, filter cartridge, fish food, water conditioner, setup guide
Other features: durable glass
The MiniBow 5-gallon kit features SmartClean Technology and is fantastic for both first-time and experienced fish keepers. They are great for bedrooms, home offices, and apartments. The fish tank comes with everything you need to set it up. The SmartChange technology makes cleaning the tank fast and easy, taking less than 2 minutes. The full-coverage lid comes with white LED lighting.
We chose this one as our best feature fish tank because of the SmartClean Technology, ease of setup, and full LED lighting. It’s lightweight at 25lbs, and a one-piece acrylic tank helps prevent leaks. It’s ideal for small tropical fish and other small fish. We chose this tank over other models because this tank is excellent for many types of fish. Other choices were geared towards Betta fish and comes with SmartClean Technology.
Why did it make our list?
We like the features of this product, and we can't say enough positive things about the SmartClean filtration system. We also appreciate its full-coverage hood with LED energy-efficient lighting. The water conditioner makes sure that the water is safe for fish. It also comes with free high-quality food. This aquarium has a compact design with an elevated base. It also comes with a 90-day warranty, so they will replace your tank free of charge if there is anything wrong with the tank.
What is not ideal about it?
The filter is too strong for Bettas, and they can easily be sucked up into the tubing and killed. When choosing the type of fish for this tank, make sure they're strong enough to stay out of the filter. A few customer reviews said their tank leaked in a short amount of time or arrived broken. Another complaint we found on a few reviews is that the filter gets clogged with algae and makes a loud noise when this occurs.
Lightning: hidden inside bright white energy-efficient LED lights
What’s included: curved front aquarium, black cover, base frame, LED lighting, power adapter, water filter with Bio-Bag, filter cartridge
Other features: dual-sided mesh
The Tetra curved-front design is perfect for goldfish or tropical fish. It includes the Tetra Whisper Power Filter that keeps your tank clean and provides the best environment for your fish. The energy-efficient LED lights create a bright white light hidden inside the black cover. The tank is a seamless tank which reduces the chance of leaks. The crescent design makes the tank easy to view at many different angles.
We chose Tetra Curved-Front Tank design over Tetra’s ColorFusion Bubbling Aquarium kit, plus the one we decided on also offers the Bio-Bag, filter cartridge. However, the ColorFusion tank is excellent if you’re looking for a kit that provides various color-changing lights. This kit is perfect for keeping one goldfish or three tropical community fish.
Why did it make our list?
We liked the clear, unobstructed view this tank offered. It's beginner-friendly and easy to set up, and you'll quickly get used to how to work it. This is the perfect size for beginners because it doesn't stress your fish. While not overly large, this tank will allow you to explore a variety of fish so you can choose the one that works best for you. This small tank is a perfect size no matter where you want to put it. It's ideal for a desk, a countertop, or a small apartment. With all that you get with this tank, you'll be pleasantly surprised with its low cost.
What is not ideal about it?
While the large filter does an excellent job of keeping the tank clean, some people believe it may be too large for the 5-gallon tank. Some reviews thought the filter was too strong for some fish; however, this issue is easy to rectify by adding a few plants that slow down the current. We think this tank would benefit from an adjustable filter flow rate and variable light modes.
What’s included: crescent-shaped tank, water filter, filter cartridge, black canopy, LED lightning
Other features: fluorescent look
GloFish 5-gallon aquarium tank is made of an all-in-one single clear, high-quality plastic that helps prevent leaks. The black acrylic top houses and the blue LED light to create the optimal environment for small fish. It also enhances the fluorescent brilliance of GloFish. The Micro Filter pulls water from the tank and then pushes it through the cartridge at a rate of speed to filter out waste and debris, ensuring that your tank is kept clean for optimal fish health.
Like all Tetra products, we expected excellence, and we got it. This fish tank is the best for beginners and will keep your kids entertained and engaged while learning about marine life. This kit’s simple yet straightforward instructions are easy to follow, getting you started with your new hobby in no time.
What stands out?
We like the clear plastic canopy with the blue LED overhead light. It uses a 3 stage filtration system that keeps the tank clean and clear. The durable acrylic build makes it durable and difficult to scratch or crack. It's easy to clean, so you can teach your children how to clean it so they can start doing it. The curved design gives the tank a look of depth, making it look larger than it is. It's the perfect size for any room in your home, including your child's room.
What cons did we manage to find?
The biggest downside that we found is it doesn't have a daytime light option. This can make it difficult for your aquatic plants to grow. Some people would prefer to have an option for a clear cover instead of only a black one. A handful of complaints said that the light doesn't attach to the top easily, while others said it was simple. Another complaint is that the lid isn't greats, falls into the tank, and is too small to feed the fish. We would have liked to see it with an additional heater and temperature gauge items.
Things to Consider
One of the best things about 5-gallon fish tanks is that they are large enough for fish and small enough, so they are easy to clean. This does not mean running out and buying the cheapest one you see. There are things that you need to consider before buying a 5-gallon aquarium.
What You Need in a Starter Kit
For the most part, fish are simple pets that require very low maintenance. These are perfect for teaching children responsibility and require much less care than a new puppy. Purchasing the essentials for housing a fish is inexpensive, and you can get it all quickly and sometimes in a kit. When looking for a fish tank kit, you want to make sure the kit comes with all you need.
A 5 gallon tank is perfect for some small freshwater species like bettas, GloFish, mollies and guppies.
It makes sense that this is the most important part of purchasing fish. There are a lot of sizes you can choose from 1.5 gallons on up. When first starting, a 5-10 gallon tank is perfect. It will give your fish enough room to swim around and yet not so large it’s difficult to care for.
A filter is essential to keep your water clean and the fish healthy
Trusted SourceWhy You Need An Aquarium Filter | PetMDIf you have a fish, or are thinking of becoming the proud owner of a fish (or even a school of fish), then you may be wondering if you should get a filter for your aquarium. The short and definitive answer is yes!
. There are many different styles and types available to choose from, which can be pretty difficult to choose the right one. When purchasing a kit, it will come with a filter, and it will work well for your size tank. If you want to have small fish, you probably want to make sure that you can change the settings on the filter, so your fish don’t get sucked up. Our pick for editor’s choice has one of the best 5-gallon fish tank filters because of the handles and how easy it is to change. In less than 2 minutes, you’ll have the old filter off and the new one on.
Most of the time, the light will come right with your lid. There are a few different types of lighting available such as incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, mercury, vapor, LED, etc. The majority of aquarium kits come with energy-efficient LED lights. One of the biggest reasons people choose LED lights
Trusted SourceLED Lighting for Your Freshwater Aquarium Pros and ConsLight-emitting diode (LED) lighting is becoming popular for both saltwater and freshwater aquariums. See the advantages and disadvantages of it.
, especially when they’re just starting, is that the light doesn’t transfer heat, lasts longer, and is energy-efficient.
You’ll want a kit that comes with a net of good quality with one that has a long enough handle that should be proportionate to the size of your aquarium. You don’t want to have to get your entire arm soaked just to catch your fish.
We were highly impressed with our premium pick for its Aqua Plus water conditioner. Unless you have aged, it has to be dechlorinated before your fish can safely live in it. A water conditioner takes care of any chlorine, ammonia, or other heavy materials in your tap water. It should be used in tap water when adding it to your tank and during its monthly cleaning.
A Setup Instruction
All tanks should come with instructions on setting them up. Without instructions, you can’t be sure if you’re setting it up correctly, which may potentially harm or kill your fish. Do not buy a fish tank kit that does not include setup instructions.
Food for Fish
They do well on a staple of flake food, but also like nibbling algae wafers.
Each of our best 5-gallon fish tanks comes with some type of high-quality food for your fish. Often, the food may be sample size and only enough to feed them for a few days, so you’ll want to make sure you purchase more food soon.
Things To Consider When Choosing the Best 5-Gallon Fish Tank
When choosing the best 5-gallon fish tank kit, you want to make sure that it includes a few things. First and foremost, you want to get the one that’s not too small for the amount of fish you want. The majority of lights that come with fish tank starter kits are LED. Fish tank kits typically don’t come with heaters, but some 5-gallon fish tanks work better with heaters than others. So make sure the one you choose has a place that easily incorporates some type of heater.
Fish tank kits come in various sizes ranging from 1 gallon up. When looking for the best aquarium, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. One of the main things to consider is your budget. The amount of maintenance required to take care of the fish tank properly is another thing to consider when determining the size of the tank you want. This is especially important depending on how much experience you have raising fish. Where you are placing your tank is essential. If you’re putting it in your home office, you need a smaller one than if you’re placing it in your living room. Many people agree that 5-gallon fish tanks are the best choice because they have enough room for multiple fish yet are simple to take care of. Plus, they look great in any room.
All of the 5-gallon fish tanks on our list included high-quality filters, LED energy-efficient lighting, set up instructions, and a full cover for the top. Our editor’s Fluval SPEC freshwater aquarium kit is one of the best 5-gallon heated fish tanks. While it doesn’t come with a heater, it’s hard to find a kit that will, they are easy to choose, and you can purchase them as an accessory.
Most freshwater aquarium lights are rated between 5,500 and 8,000 Kelvin.
There are two of our best 5-gallon aquariums that include lights that stand out to us. It’s our best value pick, Koller PanaView. It features 7 different colors to choose from, and our best for beginners choice, the GloFish Aquarium Kit because it’s specific for GloFish and features LED lighting that brings out the colors of the fish. If you’re growing live plants in your aquarium, make sure the light is not too intense for them – both of the ones listed above work for growing live plants.
You want a filter system that is strong enough to make sure the water is clean and clear. Two of our Best 5-gallon fish tanks have filters that do this. First, we love our premium choice clip-on filter that is great at keeping the tank clean, and our favorite filter is our best feature pick because of its SmartClean Technology.
Number of Fish
With 5-gallon tanks, you can have one to 4 fish, depending on the type you choose. You can have two, while with the GloFish tank that’s best for beginners, you can have 3-4. If you keep Betta fish, we recommend our tank best for small faces because of its curved shape.
All of our top 7 best 5 gallon aquariums are easy to set up, and the filter fits easily onto the tank. When choosing a fish tank kit, make sure that it includes setup instructions that are easy to follow, and you can do the setup within just a few minutes.
How to Set-up a 5-Gallon Fish Tank
While setting up your 5-gallon fish tank is simple, and you can do it within a few minutes, you want to make sure it’s done correctly to make sure your fish live a long time. The first step is assembling the tank and then filling it with water. To successfully raise tropical fish, you have to make sure to change the water at least every two weeks and feed them daily.
Assembling the Tank
First, you need to wash out your tank. Only use plain water, don’t add any type of soap or cleaners. You’ll also need to purchase the correct type of heater and temperature gauge for your tank. If your tank comes with an under gravel filter, you’ll want to set it up before adding any decorations. Choose the best place to set up your 5-gallon aquarium once you wash it.
Filling with Water
When you fill it with water, you have two different choices you can fill it and then wait a few days to age to help remove the chlorine or add a water conditioner. The water conditioner comes with two of our best-5 gallon picks. Our premium pick and our best feature pick have water conditioners, so you don’t have to let your water age.
Installing the Filter
When you install your filter, you should also install the heater. All of our best 5-gallon fish tanks work well as heated tanks. The filters are simple to set up. Most charcoal-based filters recommend wetting the charcoal before placing it in yours.
Adding the Decorations
Among the stones safe for use in aquariums are natural lava rock, natural slate, natural quartz, natural river rock and petrified wood.
When adding rocks, you’ll need to thoroughly rinse them off with plain water to remove anything that may harm your fish. Depending on your decorations, you’ll also need to wash them. If you’re using live plants, make sure the light isn’t too intense for them.
Adding the Light
Most of the lights of our top 7 best 5-gallon aquariums have light in the hoods. For those who don’t simply follow the setup instructions, plug it in.
When adding your fish, you want only to add one or two at a time. You’ll also need to allow the bags to set in the tank for about 15 minutes before adding them to your tank. After 5 minutes of floating in the bad add a little bit of the aquarium water for less stress. If fish are too stressed, they will likely be sick or dead.
Yes, you can place between 1-4 fish in most 5-gallon fish tanks, depending on their size. Some types of fish tanks, such as our editor’s choice, premium choice, and best value, are perfect for adding shrimp and snails. If you have Betta fish and want to add either of these, make sure the Bettas aren’t aggressive. To find out, add the shrimp first and see how the Betta reacts. If you do add snails, the excellent news is they’ll help keep your tank clean because they eat algae.
Our best for beginner tank is best for GloFish and the only type recommended. There are many types of fish that work great with this size tank.
Betta Fish – these fish do the best in smaller aquariums. One thing to remember is that Betta fish aren’t social and can be aggressive. They are excellent choices for beginners.
Guppy Fish – These are the best known and work great for well-seasoned fish keepers and beginners alike. They are easy to raise and don’t need much space, mainly because they are small.
Clown killer fish – these fish do well in shallow water, but it’s essential to know they are micro predators. They like to eat insects and tiny organisms. They don’t care about plants, but they do like the cover. These work well for individuals who are beginners and intermediate.
Neon Tetra is the fish we recommend for our best beginner tank. These fish have a torpedo-shaped body with bright blue and red accents. They work well in small tanks. These fish are best for beginners.
Chili Rasbora – These are little fish racing about 0.7″ in size. The fish are red and black. These are excellent for beginners.
Many others are available, including shrimp, snails, crayfish, and more.
Yes, you need a heater for your fish tank. It’s essential for your for your fish’s health. The best-heated 5-gallon fish tank we recommend is the Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium and Marina LED Aquarium Kit. Both of these 5-gallon fish tanks work with most heaters, and they easily fit on the tanks. Our premium pick also features a unique honeycomb design that hides the filter and heater, so you get an unobstructed view of your fish.
One thing to know about 5-gallon aquariums is you don’t want to overload them. Make sure to place the recommended amount of fish in there, which is generally between 2-4; otherwise, you may cause disease.
No matter which of our best 5-gallon fish tanks you choose, you can be sure it will bring a lot of joy to your life. From novices to experienced, fish tanks are great ways to relieve stress and bring nature into your home. The best thing about a 5-gallon fish tank is it can fit in all homes, no matter the size of your living area.
Why You Need An Aquarium Filter | PetMD
If you have a fish, or are thinking of becoming the proud owner of a fish (or even a school of fish), then you may be wondering if you should get a filter for your aquarium. The short and definitive answer is yes!