The Best 5 Gallon Tank Fish Combinations and Setup

Fish are beautiful and make great decorations for your home. If you want to set up a 5-gallon tank, you’ll want to have the right fish combinations in place. Proper set up and focus also important to keeping everyone healthy and happy.

Ready to get started? Here are some of the best fish and some tips for how to set up a healthy tank for everyone to enjoy.

Best fish for 5 gallon fish tank

  1. Betta Fish: Beautiful and rich in colour as it swims around, this little 6” fish is a great loner fish if you want to start off easy. Since these guys are known for being semi-aggressive, they like to be alone. However, this is a great starting point to your aquarium and will certainly attract the eye.
  2. Dwarf Puffer: Most fish lovers know what a puffer fish is, and a dwarf puffer is going to be the exact same thing in a miniature size. These little guys range from 1 to 24” and offer up a way for fish tank owners to really adapt to taking care of these high-maintenance fish. While aggressive, their hunting behaviours are certainly remarkable to watch.
  3. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata): When you want action, these beautiful inductive fish are great. Every time someone walks past the tank, these will start to swim around frantically, following your actions. Since they procreate like crazy, you’ll want to look at keeping only males in your tank to make sure that it isn’t overtaken by baby guppies!
  4. Harlequin Rasbora: As with some of the other smaller fish, these are going to want to be in groups as well. With this particular kind of rasbora, you’ll want to choose a large number to make sure that their comfort and health isn’t compromised. Social and sensitive to the amount of companions they have, this is important.
  5. Least Killifish: A tiny little guy that is usually 1.2” at the most, the least killifish is peaceful and easy-going. A great option for those that are just starting out with fish, these love to hang out in conditions with lots of vegetation and slow, lazy water flow. With a unique body colour that allows them to hide, they’re great to have around.
  6. Neon Tetras: This is another example of a social fish that is going to require lots of companionship. You’ll want to have around 8 of these in your tanks. They’ll love to live in their little groups and explore around the tank within small schools. They’re beautiful to look at and can be mesmerizing.
  7. White Cloud Mountain Minnow: These are very calm fish and measure to be about 1 1/2” or so. A 5 gallon fish tank size allows you to have about 6 of these comfortably in your tank. Peaceful and sure to get along with everyone, these do best in group settings and especially enjoy very cold water. This makes their colour show up a bit more.

What are the best 5-gallon tank fish combinations?

When you want to know what options are out there for 5 gallon tank fish combinations, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Limit schooling fish: When it comes to schooling fits such as minnow or rasbora, you need to have space for the entire school. The smaller your tank, the less space you have for large numbers. If you’re looking for information on how many tetras in a 5 gallon tank, you have to make sure that you have enough space for at least 8! Many experts don’t recommend schooling fish in 5 gallon tanks for this reason.
  • 2 least killifish: More specifically, you’ll want to have 2 least killifish in with your other fish. They enjoy mixing and mingling with other fish. They can also be great for keeping your space use to a minimum while giving you great visual detail.
  • Betta fish should not be combined: Betta fish are very aggressive, especially with other kinds of betta fish. If you want to protect everyone make sure that you allow betta fish to be the lone options in your tank. If not, be prepared to babysit!
  • Leave everyone room to move: For example, when asking yourself how many guppies in a 5 gallon tank? You have to remember that they love to dart around and be energetic. Will your other fish still have room to move around comfortably without getting ran over?

How to set up a 5-gallon fish tank

  • Don’t overload your tank: The most common question here is how many fish in a 5 gallon tank? Remember that overloading a 5 gallon tank is going to be very easy to do. It can lead to quick destruction of your tank’s water system as well as cause distress and harm to any and all of your fish. If you want more fish, get a bigger tank!
  • Clean it regularly: Another detail in setting up your tank is that hygiene will be very important. You will need to keep your tank clean as much as possible and remember to clean it regularly, too. Before long, waste and other byproducts can build up and create a problem for your fish’s small ecosystem.
  • Go with compact plants: As well, make sure that you rely on compact micro plants for your small aquarium! While many fish love the idea of darting in and out of them, you don’t want to end up with an aquarium of just plants. Not only will it not look nice, it will be hard to find your fish! Not to mention it can also clog up your tank.


Choosing the right fish for your 5 gallon tank is about understanding temperament and making sure that everyone has space to swim and breathe and generally enjoy life. These tips will help you to make that a reality for your own aquarium without having to learn the hard way. With these tips, your 5 gallon aquarium will look amazing!

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