20 Best Fish For 5-Gallon Tank  Under 5 Inches

Jul 6, 2022

20 Best Fish For 5-Gallon Tank

My first ever tank was a 5-gallon tank. I kept a pair of goldfish. Only when the fish died an untimely death, I realized goldfish weren’t supposed to live in a tank that small. Turns out choosing the best fish for a 5-gallon tank is as tricky as it comes. 

Most beginners assume that smaller tanks are easier to maintain like I used to think. Little does one know that small tanks are treacherous. They are unforgiving. 

Therefore, you must think long and hard before choosing the right fish for your 5-gallon tank. The fish should be small in size, non-aggressive, and someone who doesn’t mind living alone. 

After hours of homework, I have come up with a list of the 20 best fish for a 5-gallon tank that are all under 5 inches. So let’s have a look!

20 Best Fish For A 5-Gallon Tank 

  • Betta
  • Endler’s Livebearer
  • Celestial Pearl Danio
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Ember Tetra
  • Emerald Dwarf Rasboras 
  • Honey Gourami
  • Clown Killifish 
  • Rosy Loach
  • Chili Rasboras
  • Scarlet Badis 
  • Least Killifish 
  • Sparkling Gourami
  • Pea Puffer 
  • Guppy
  • Molly
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnow
  • Neon Tetra
  • Harlequin Rasboras 
  • Cherry Barb

Before I explain these fish in detail, I’d like to share something with you. 

Like I said above, I once kept 2 goldfish in a 5-gallon tank, who died untimely. Back then, I didn’t know smaller tanks were trickier to maintain than big tanks. I didn’t know the water parameters would go helter-skelter without any signs. 

So, if possible, get a bigger tank. I know it’ll cost a bit more – but it also means less elbow grease to maintain the parameters and less worrying about things going haywire. 

When we choose to raise fish, we are denying them the ability to travel freely and endlessly in their natural habitat. The least we can do is provide some extra space, so the fish doesn’t have to swim around in few cubic inches of water forever. 

Okay, enough preaching! Let’s cut to the chase now.

Betta 

Betta
Credit: Eduardoblas (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Betta splendens
  • Adult Size: 2.4 to 3.1
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Diet: Carnivore 
  • Temperature: 75-81 degrees F

Bettas, also commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, is the prettiest fish you can keep in a 5-gallon tank. They’re undoubtedly the most popular freshwater fish to ever exist. 

These fish have brilliant coloration and come in all kinds of shades. The body is covered in iridescent scales overlapping like shingles on the roof. 

Male bettas have long flowy fins and tails that make the fish look almost theatrical. 

Bettas are petite fish. They only grow around 2.4 to 3.1 inches long. They have a streamlined body shape that allows them to glide smoothly and effortlessly through open waters. 

Well, these fish are called Siamese fighting fish for a reason. They really love to fight. While female bettas are more subdued and gentle, the males are known to fight even their own reflection. 

No matter how big the tank is, you should not put more than 1 male betta. You can instead keep shrimps and snails alongside bettas. 

Bettas are carnivores. They eat small crustaceans, insects, and insect larvae in the wild. So, don’t give them plant-based food in the tank. They’ll not consume it. 

Besides flakes and pellets rich in crude protein, you can give a variety of live and freeze-dried food like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. 

The ideal temperature for betta fish falls between 75-81 degrees F. The pH should range between 6.5-7.5, and the general hardness should be maintained between 3-4 dGH. 

Endler’s Livebearer 

Endler's livebearer
Credit: Zucky123 (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia wingei
  • Adult Size: 1.8 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Active and curious
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 64-84 degrees F

Fun-sized endler’s livebearers are another great option for a 5-gallon tank. These fish grow only around 1.8 inches long. They’re even smaller than guppies. 

These fish sport bright and luminous colors. You can see a patch of green, blue, yellow, orange, and more! What’s interesting is that their transparent base makes them look like they have funny shapes. 

These fish come in several color strains like White Peacock, Yellow Tiger, Red Stripe, and Flame Tail. 

If I had to describe Endler’s livebearers in 2 words, I’d say they are active and curious. You’ll never get bored of watching their antics. They are constantly exploring each corner and zipping through the water. 

Females are sometimes known to be territorial as they have a social hierarchy. But as long as you don’t overstock the tank, there should be no problem. 

Endler’s livebearers are omnivores. They will eat just about anything they can put in their mouth. They feed on algae, plant matter, and small insects in the wild. 

In captivity, you must fortify their diet with healthy and varied foods. The staple diet should consist of dry flakes or pellets. While purchasing, choose the product formulated to improve coloration. 

Occasionally fortify the diet with high-protein foods like black worms, baby brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. 

As for water parameters, maintain the temperature between 64-84 degrees F, pH between 5.5-8.0, and hardness between 9-25 dGH. 

Celestial Pearl Danio 

Celestial Pearl Danio
Credit: Cheepshot (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Danio margaritatus 
  • Adult Size: 1 inch
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament:
  • Diet: Peaceful
  • Temperature: 73-79 degrees F

Celestial pearl danio are just as pretty as their name. These fish were first found in 2006 and have been greatly loved and sought after due to their small size, stunning appearance, and ease of care. 

As adults, they only grow about one inch in length. They will get to their maximum size at about 3 months of age. 

The fish’s base coloration is deep blue. However, as the moniker suggests, their bodies are covered in soft pearl-like spots that make their body look like a galaxy.

For the most part, these are peaceful fish. They love living in a group and exploring the nooks and crannies. But bear in mind that they don’t shoal or school. 

If there are too many males in the tank compared to females, the males will fight off each other for attention. So, be mindful of the male-to-female ratio. 

Celestial pearl danios are omnivores. They feed on algae, plants, and small vertebrates in the wild. In captivity, these fish fare well on just pellets or flakes as long as it sinks to the bottom. 

However, occasionally treat them with protein-dense live and frozen treats. 

The water temperature should be maintained between 73-79 degrees F, the pH should clock in between 6.5-7.5, and water hardness should fall between 5-19 dGH. 

Pygmy Corydoras 

Pygmy Corydoras
Credit: Carnat Joel (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Corydoras pygmaeus 
  • Adult Size: 0.75-1 inch 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Aggressive
  • Temperature: 72-79 degrees F

As the name suggests, pygmy corydoras look like scaled-down corydoras. They are teeny-weeny – females grow roughly an inch long, whereas a male is just about 0.75 inches long. 

These fish are known to have a more elongated appearance than other corydoras. But they retain the signature teardrop-shaped body with a large head. 

The upper half of the body, horizontally, has a glowing golden sheen, and the lower half of the body is colored silver. The two colors are separated by a bold black stripe that runs across the fish’s body. 

As one would expect, pygmy corydoras are very peaceful fish. They’re not known for being angry or territorial. They engage in playful fighting with one another, but it’s never serious. 

Besides that, the fish spend most of their time hiding and playing among the plants. 

Pygmy corydoras have a knack for eating algae. However, contrary to popular belief, they cannot survive on algae alone.

Besides algae, these fish do quite well on traditional pellets or flake food. But varied and nutrient-dense food is important to strengthen the immune system. 

You can give them brine shrimp, algae wafers, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms. 

Lastly, maintain the water temperature between 72-79 degrees F, the pH between 6.5-7.5, and hardness between 2-25 dGH.

Ember Tetra

Ember Tetra
Credit: Usien (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon amandae 
  • Adult Size: 1 inch
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 73-84 degrees F

An ember tetra’s appearance is why they’re so popular in the fishkeeping community. Although the fish barely grows over an inch in length, its bright and iridescent coloration makes it mesmerizing to observe in the tank. 

The entire body has orange-red coloration, complemented by iridescent scales that sparkle like glitter. The dorsal fins are tall and thin with a gradient that darkens. 

Ember tetras have the classic tetra body shape – thicker and taller in the front but thinning out towards the dorsal fin. 

They are peaceful and compatible with a wide variety of fish. They don’t pick fights with anyone or meddle in anybody’s business. However, if cranky, they are known to nip at the fins of other fish. 

Tetras are omnivores. You’d want to give them a balanced diet so they can thrive and lead long lives. A mixed diet comprising flake fish food and frozen delicacies is a great place to start. You can give them daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms for live food. 

A varied diet is important to ensure the tetra gets all the required vitamins and nutrients. 

They’re often seen snacking on plants too, but this shouldn’t be a concern. They won’t eat enough to cause damage. 

Ember tetras like their water on the warmer side. It should range from 73-84 degrees F. The pH should be maintained between 5-7, and the water hardness should clock between 5-17.

Emerald Dwarf Rasboras 

  • Scientific Name: Danio erythromicron 
  • Adult Size: 1-1.5 inches 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 70-75 degrees F

Emerald dwarf rasboras are the most underrated fish on our list today. These fish are gorgeous, peaceful, and super easy to care for. So I don’t understand why they are not popular yet. 

An adult emerald dwarf rasbora grows between 1 and 1.5 inches in length. Since they don’t grow too big, they’re an excellent choice for a nano tank. 

Although these fish are small, their bodies are covered with beautiful details that catch the eye. The body is long and slender, and the gill plates and fins are semi-transparent. 

The fish’s body color is usually orange or coral pink, which stands out beautifully against a dark backdrop. The base color is decorated with several emerald green stripes that sometimes appear blue or purple.

Emerald dwarf rasboras are peaceful shoaling species. When kept in groups, they’ll swim in cohesion from time to time but also go off and do their own thing. 

These fish are highly social and thrive the best in the company of their own kind. They’re quite active, too – exploring the tank curiously at all times. 

They are omnivores that accept most kinds of commercial pellets or flake food. They’re also passive algae-eaters, but don’t rely on them to solve your tank’s algae woe. 

Dry food should be the primary source of nutrition. You can look for certain formulas that bring out these fish’s natural colors and vibrancy. 

While they do accept dry food, they can sometimes be picky. So, occasionally give them high-protein snacks like bloodworms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp. 

The water temperature for emerald dwarf rasboras should be between 70-75 degrees F, the pH should clock in between 7-8, and general hardness should be between 2-15. 

Honey Gourami 

Honey Gourami
Credit: Caroline CCB (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Trichogaster chuna
  • Adult Size: 2 inches 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 72-82 degrees F

Honey gouramis are definitely some of the most stunning freshwater fish available in the hobby. Couple that with their hardy nature, and you have a fish that can be raised easily by hobbyists of all experience levels. 

These fish are petite. They only grow around 2 inches in length as adults. The females tend to be slightly bigger than the males. 

The color is the most obvious thing to mention when describing a honey gourami’s appearance. For instance, the entire body of adult male gouramis is a shade of orangish-yellow except for the throat and the fins. 

Females are equally beautiful with luminous silver bodies and gray fins. 

Their temperament is just as good as their looks. These are active yet peaceful fish. They seldom pick fights and cause trouble in the community aquarium. However, they’ll dart around like a flash to investigate what’s going on. 

As a matter of fact, they are quite skittish. They easily get scared in the company of big or aggressive fish. 

Honey gouramis are omnivores. In the wild, they snack plenty on insects and insect larvae. Therefore, you need to feed them protein-rich food like tubifex, brine shrimp, and blood worms from time to time. 

That being said, algae-based flakes will make a good and consistent source of nutrition. 

The water temperature should be between 72-82 degrees F, pH should fall between 6-7.5, and water hardness should be maintained between 6-13 dGH. 

Clown Killifish 

Clown killifish
Credit: Andrew Bogott (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Epiplatys annulatus
  • Adult Size: 1.2-1.4 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 68-79 degrees F

If you want to populate a nano tank with fun and colorful fish, look no further. Clown killifish, one of the smallest killifish around, might just be the right choice for you. 

These fish only grow around 1.2-1.4 inches long as adults but still manage to look spectacular and steal the show. 

Clown killifish look like tiny rockets and are even sometimes called rocket killifish. The body is shaped like a torpedo, and the tail is like a spade.

These fish get their name from their loud colors that look like a clown’s makeup. The body is covered with bold stripes in black and yellow, whereas the tail is colored red with blue stripes. 

Clown killifish are peaceful fish. However, don’t go by their size – they are predators. But instead of chasing their prey, they wait near the water surface for the right moment. 

Also, these fish are quite shy. So you should at least aim to keep 6-10 of them together. And by the way, they have a knack for jumping. So you’d want to put a tight lid. 

Although puny, they are carnivore fish. Thus, you must supplement their diet with frozen and live meaty protein-dense food. You can give them small daphnia, brine shrimp, copepods, microworms, walter worms, and blood worms. 

Lastly, the water temperature should be between 68-79 degrees F, pH should be maintained between 4-7, and water hardness should clock in between 7-10 dGH. 

Rosy Loach 

  • Scientific Name: Tuberoschistura arakanensis
  • Adult Size: 1.4 inches 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 68-78 degrees F

Rosy loaches are absolutely stunning little fish that will make a perfect addition to a freshwater nano tank. They come all the way from Myanmar. 

Like all fish mentioned in our list today, these fish are fun-sized. Even as adults, they only reach 1.4 inches long. 

The males have a pale orange body that darkens during spawning. Females, on the other hand, have a light gray body. Irrespective of color, their appearance is characterized by tiny dark dots on the upper half of the body (horizontally) and a bold black line that extends all across the body. The fins and tails are a beautiful shade of semi-transparent orange. 

Rosy loaches are described to be peaceful but surprisingly bold for their size. However, they will still be outcompeted for food by a much bigger tankmate. 

These fish are highly gregarious and should be kept in a group of at least 8-10. Of course, the more, the better. 

Unlike most loaches, they spend plenty of time in the open water, hovering in midwater and exploring all corners of the aquarium. 

Rosy loaches are micro predators that feed mainly on small insects, crustaceans, worms, and zooplankton. 

In the tank, they should be offered daphnia, microworms, insect larvae, and staple dry food. While they do graze on algae once in a while, they cannot eradicate it entirely. 

The temperature should be set between 68-78 degrees F, the pH should be maintained between 6.5-8.0, and the water hardness should clock in between 4-12. 

Chili Rasboras 

Chili Rasboras 
Credit: JoKrimmel (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Boraras brigittae
  • Adult Size: 0.7 inch
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 68-82 degrees F

Chili rasboras are tropical freshwater fish that have caught the attention of the aquarium community for quite some time now. These fish are super tiny and easy to care for – no wonder they’re so popular. 

A typical chili rasbora is just about 0.7 inches long. It’s a lovely nano fish. 

Speaking of appearance, take one look at the fish, and you’ll know why they are so loved. Their most defining characteristic is flaming red coloration. 

The entire body is covered in varying shades of red. In addition, a neon red and a bold black horizontal stripe run across the length of the body, creating a beautiful contrast. 

Males have bright red spots on the dorsal, anal, and tail fin. 

Chili rasboras are peaceful fish that make a great addition to any community tank. They’re quite skittish in their new environment but will explore the tank and swim around more once they feel comfortable. 

These fish stick to the upper half region of the tank and seldom venture down. These are schooling fish that thrive in big groups. Therefore, you should plan to keep at least 6-10 of these fish. 

Chili rasboras are micro-predators. In the wild, they hunt down microscopic protein sources like insects, worms, and plankton. 

In the tank, they’ll eat pretty much everything you offer. For staple meals, give fish flakes or tiny pellets. And since they love their protein, you also need to provide microworms, tubifex, brine shrimp, and daphnia every once in a while. 

The water temperature should be maintained between 68-82 degrees F. Aim for 74 degrees F if possible. The pH should clock in between 4-7, and the general hardness should fall between 1-6 dGH.

Scarlet Badis 

Scarlet Badis 
Credit: Atuin-hek (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Dario dario
  • Adult Size: 0.5-0.8 inch
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 72-79 degrees F

Scarlet badis are uber-popular freshwater fish and one of my favorite nano fishes available in the hobby. Thanks to their beauty, activity, and behavior, they’re a treat to observe. 

They must be the tiniest fish on our list today. The males are barely longer than eight-tenths of an inch, whereas females are closer to half an inch in length when fully mature. 

Despite their small size, these fish have beautiful intricate patterns and colors, making them the jewel of any aquarium. 

The main color of scarlet badis is either orange or red. The body is covered with vertical stripes that begin from the eye and end near the dorsal fin. These stripes are spaced out evenly and are either orange or light blue, depending on the fish’s primary color.

Speaking generally, scarlet badis are gentle and peaceful fish that only mind their own business. They usually steer clear of bigger fish to play it safe. 

Therefore, you must add plenty of plants and hiding spots in the tank for them to feel safe. When they’re not tucked away among the plants, you will see them moving through the bottom half of the tank. 

Like chili rasboras, scarlet badis are micro-predators. In the wild, they usually hunt down zooplankton, insect larvae, and crustaceans. 

Therefore, regular dry pellets or flakes may not work with these fish. Experienced owners five a mix of live and frozen food like mysis, daphnia, cyclops, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. 

Finally, the water temperature has to be maintained between 72-79 degrees F, pH should clock in between 6.5-7.5, and water hardness should fall between 10-20 dGH. 

Least Killifish 

Least Killifish 
Credit: Wikimedia (CC LIcense)

  • Scientific Name: Heterandria formosa
  • Adult Size: 1.2 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Active
  • Temperature: 64-78 degrees F

Least killifish, also known as dwarf topminnow or midget livebearer, is one of the smallest vertebrates known to science. The males reach 0.8 inches in length, whereas females clock in at about 1.2 inches when mature. 

They are indigenous to the southeastern United States, but the ones available in the hobby are mostly captive specimens. 

The entire body is covered in a beautiful shade of olive, with a dark horizontal stripe running through the center of the body. There’s a pretty dark spot on the dorsal fin, and females also have a dark spot on the anal fin. 

Temperament-wise, these fish are peaceful yet inquisitive. Once they feel safe in the tank, they will go around exploring different corners. Since they school/shoal, you need to keep them in groups of at least 6-10. 

They find safety in numbers. 

Least killifish are omnivores. In the wild, they routinely snack on invertebrates like crustaceans and worms, besides eating plant matter. You can give them meaty food like bloodworms and brine shrimp in captivity.

However, the diet should be varied and contain plenty of vegetable matter as well, especially algae. 

The water temperature for least killifish should fall between 64-78 degrees F, the pH should be maintained between 7-8, and general hardness should clock in between 7-10 dGH.

Sparkling Gourami 

Sparkling Gourami 
Credit: BEDO (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Trichopsis pumila
  • Adult Size: 1.5 inches 
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 76-82 degrees F

Sparkling gouramis, also known as pygmy gouramis, are one of my favorite freshwater fish of all time. However, I think they’re quite underrated. 

The fish is beautiful to look at and super easy to care for – two qualities we always look for, right?

The average size of an adult sparkling gourami is no longer than 1 and a half inches. They’re pretty small and don’t need a huge tank to thrive. 

With these fish, there’s so much color and vibrancy packed into their small bodies that you’d be taken aback if you’re seeing them for the first time. 

Their bodies are long, thin, and streamlined. The body is the thickest right where the ventral fins are located and tapers down steeply afterward. The body color is a beautiful mix of blue, light green, and brown. And there’s a bold maroon stripe that runs from the pectoral fin to the base of the caudal fin. 

Hobbyists describe sparkling gouramis as peaceful and gentle fish. They keep to themselves, don’t cause any trouble, and often avoid conflict with bigger tankmates. 

Although small, the fish is highly active and is a treat to watch. They spend plenty of time in the top half of the aquarium. Since they are shoaling fish, they love to stay in groups and find safety in numbers. 

Although omnivores, sparkling gouramis mainly snack on insects and zooplankton in the wild. Therefore, in captivity, they need to be given enough protein in the form of live and frozen treats. 

Artemia, bloodworms, and daphnia make great sources of protein. But it’s best to supplement their diet with veggies occasionally. You can give flake food specifically made for gouramis for a staple meal. 

The water temperature should range between 76-82 degrees F, pH should clock in between 6-7, and general hardness should be between 4-15 dGH. 

Pea Puffer 

Pea puffer
Credit: Starseed (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon travancoricus
  • Adult Size: 1.5 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Diet: Carnivore
  • Temperature: 72-82 degrees F

Pea puffer is definitely one of the cutest freshwater species on the earth. I absolutely love their look, especially their eyes. Hailing from India, these fish are quickly making their way into the homes of more and more hobbyists as of late. 

These fish are tiny – growing only about 1 and a half inches in length when fully mature. You see, they’re not too big – their name was chosen aptly, don’t you think?

The fish looks like a chunky pea floating in the water. Although small, the body is quite thick and dense. The front starts with a pointed mouth and gets widest near the middle region before tapering sharply towards the tail. 

As far as their color goes, the body is covered entirely in yellowish-green color and dotted with evenly sized spots spaced out quite consistently. 

They have puppy dog eyes that I find absolutely adorable. 

Their temperament is one of the most commonly misunderstood aspects of pea puffer care. Many new owners think these fish are harmless, thanks to their puny size and adorable appearance. 

However, they are as feisty and aggressive as they come. They have no issue picking fights with other species or their own kind. Therefore, it’s never a good idea to cram them too close to each other. 

Besides being fierce, these fish are also quite active. They are inherently curious and can’t resist inspecting different corners of the tank. 

As you can guess by their temperament, dwarf pea pufferfish are carnivores despite their cute appearance. They primarily snack on small insects, algae, and larvae in the wild. 

In the tank, you should feed them protein-rich food with a mix of variety. With these fish, you can’t get away by providing just pellets and flakes. They love a meaty diet. 

You must give them frozen and live food like bloodworms, tubifex, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. 

The water temperature should range between 72-82 degrees F, the pH should fall between 7-8, and hardness should be maintained between 4-10 dGH. 

Guppy 

Guppy
Credit: Vincent Eisfeld (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia reticulata
  • Adult Size: 2-2.5 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 64-84 degrees F

Guppies are only second to bettas when it comes to popularity. Beginner-friendly and low-maintenance, there’s so much to love about this species. 

As far as size goes, males are about 2 inches long, whereas females are slightly bigger – reaching nearly 2 and a half inches in length. 

The most fun aspect of guppies is their appearance. They’re best known for their gorgeous tailfins, an explosion of color. The body is muted, but the tail is absolutely gorgeous. It is painted in all shades of the rainbow. 

Guppies have a minnow-like profile with an upturned mouth and a pointed snout. The fins are shaped like a fan and are considerably larger than the rest of the body. 

For the most part, guppies are peaceful and easy-going fish. The only sign of aggression you may notice is fin-nipping. These fast swimmers are often known to nibble on the fins of slow-moving fish like bettas. 

These are social animals at heart. They prefer sticking together and exploring the tank as a group. But bear in mind that they’re not strictly schooling species. 

When it comes to feeding guppies, it’s a piece of cake. These freshwater omnivores will eat just about anything that fits in their mouth. 

In nature, wild guppies snack on small morsels of food and plant detritus. If lucky, they also get to feast on mosquito larvae and insects. 

In captivity, you should offer a balanced diet with a bit of variety. While the primary source of food should be high-quality pellets or flakes, you also need to provide high-protein snacks like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae from time to time.

For guppies, the water temperature should fall between 64-84 degrees F. The pH should clock in between 7.5-8, and the water hardness should be maintained between 8 to 12 dGH. 

Molly 

Molly
Credit: Gerardeen92 (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Poecilia sphenops
  • Adult Size: 4.5 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 72-78 degrees F

It wouldn’t be wrong to say molly fish are a staple of freshwater fishkeeping. They have been popular among aquarists for several decades now. 

These fish are best known for their low-maintenance care requirement and wide selection of strains to choose from. 

As far as the size goes, mollies grow around 4 and a half inches as adults. However, the sailfin varieties are a couple of inches bigger – reaching lengths closer to 5 or 6 inches. 

In terms of appearance, mollies have a flat body with a triangular-shaped head. The body is wide at the mid section and tapers down to a narrow point at the snout. 

Keeping it short, you will come across a spectrum of interesting-looking mollies in the aquarium trade. They can be jet black, a splatter of black and white, vibrant yellow, and so much more.

Overall, mollies are easy-going and peaceful fish that do extremely well in a community tank. As shoaling fish, they find safety in numbers. Therefore, you should keep at least 4 of these fish together. 

Mollies often group to explore the tank and swim around as one unit. It’s quite fun to watch. However, they’ll go off and do their own thing every once in a while. 

Also, ensure the females outnumber the males, so the latter’s aggression and harassment are spread out. 

Mollies are omnivores, but they especially love to snack on plant-based food. So although they’re not avid algae eaters, they do snack on it every once in a while. 

Besides algae, mollies are known to enjoy blanched veggies like spinach, zucchini, and lettuce. For occasional high-protein snacks, you can offer live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. 

The water temperature for mollies should range between 72-78 degrees F, the pH should clock between 7.5-8.5, and water hardness should fall between 15-30 dGH. 

White Cloud Mountain Minnow 

White Cloud Mountain Minnow 
Credit: Josh More (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Tanichthys albonubes
  • Adult Size: 1.5 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 64-72 degrees F

White cloud mountain minnows are striking little fish coming all the way from the rivers of China. These are beginner-friendly fish that are not messy and easy to care for. 

A school of these fish would make a superb addition to a nano tank. 

White cloud mountain minnows are tiny fish, reaching a maximum length of just 1.5 inches as adults. 

Their bodies are shaped like darts, with pointed snouts and slim, streamlined bodies. The ventral and dorsal fins are almost perfect triangles.

In terms of color, white cloud mountain minnows have beautiful green and silver scales with iridescent pink and black stripes along the lateral line. The snouts and caudal fins are tinted red, with a perfect black dot at the base of their tails.

There are basically 3 popular white cloud mountain minnow varieties. The Hong Kong variety has pale gold scales, the Golden Cloud variety is colored iridescent cream, and the Meteor minnows deeper shades of yellow and red. 

They are peaceful and can be kept in community tanks with other friendly and similarly sized fish. 

Like some fish featured on the list today, white cloud mountain minnows are micro predators. They feed on small invertebrates found in the water column. 

They also eat brine shrimp, insect larvae, and zooplankton in the wild. Also, they have a big appetite for algae. 

In captivity, the ideal diet includes an equal balance of flake or pellets, greens, and live prey. Brine shrimp and water fleas imitate the natural zooplankton colonies these minnows would find in the wild. 

The pellets or flakes you feed them should be high in vegetable and protein content. If the tank doesn’t have enough algae, you can use alginate tablets to ensure they eat enough greens. 

Water temperature should fall between 64-72 degrees F, the ideal pH should range between 6-8, and water hardness should fall between 18-22 dGH. 

Neon Tetra 

Neon Tetra 
Credit: SOK (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Paracheirodon innesi
  • Adult Size: 1.5-2 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 70-81 degrees F

Thanks to their hardiness and low care needs, neon tetras are one of the most popular choices for beginner fishkeepers. The fish are pretty, easy to look after, reasonably active, and quite peaceful – making them a popular choice for hobbyists of all levels. 

When it comes to size, neon tetras are quite tiny. In the wild, they’re known to reach about 2 and a half inches in length. However, the fish seldom gets larger than 1 and a half inches in captivity. 

The body is narrow and shaped like a torpedo. Most of the head is taken up by pretty, beady eyes.

The most striking aspect of neon tetra is its color. As the moniker gives away, the fish has noticeably bright color patterns like red, white, and blue splashes.

If you are searching for a peaceful fish that can play around with other fish, neon tetras make a great choice. These are schooling fish and need to be in the company of many other neon tetras. 

The tetras will stick together and swim in the middle of the water column for safety. Overall, these fish are peaceful and non-aggressive. However, they may nip at the fins of other fish.

Neon tetras aren’t finicky eaters by any means. They are omnivores and accept a wide range of food. In the wild, they fill their stomachs by feeding on organic matter in the water like tiny crustaceans, insect larvae, and dead vegetation. 

In captivity, standard pellets or flake food should make up most of their meals. Occasionally, feed them brine shrimp, bloodworms, cyclops, and copepods. 

For temperature, aim somewhere between 70-81 degrees F. Keep the pH between 5 to 7, and never allow the hardness to exceed 10 dGH.

Harlequin Rasboras 

Harlequin Rasboras 
Credit: Billyhill (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Trigonostigma heteromorpha
  • Adult Size: 1.75 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 72-80 degrees

Harlequin rasboras are one of the most known schooling fish in the world. They are loved by aquarists of all experience levels because of their ease of care and beautiful appearance. 

The maximum size harlequin rasboras can reach is about 2 inches in length. However, in captivity, they often clock in at just 1.75 inches. 

These fish are shaped like diamonds. They are considerably larger in the middle. The head and backend taper to small points.

In terms of color, the fish has a distinct orange or light pink hue. The exact shade differs from specimen to specimen. Even more, the color can change in response to the water condition. 

Harlequin rasboras are super peaceful fish. They don’t show any signs of aggression – not even nipping on the tails of other fish. 

As a matter of fact, they’re more likely to be targets of harassment and aggression rather than causing it. These fish find strength in numbers. They’re schooling fish that group up and spend their time exploring every corner. 

Harlequin rasboras are omnivores. They are quite opportunistic and will eat pretty much anything they can fit in their mouths. Thus, it’s quite easy to plan their diet. 

The general practice in the hobby is to use tiny flakes or pellets as the foundation of their diet. However, these fish have little mouths that aren’t always able to get around common fish food. 

Supplement the diet every once in a while with live and frozen treats like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. 

The water temperature should fall between 72-80 degrees F, pH should be maintained between 7-8, and general hardness should fall between 2-15 dGH.

Cherry Barb 

Cherry Barb 
Credit: Suzy (CC License)

  • Scientific Name: Puntius titteya
  • Adult Size: 2 inches
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Temperature: 73-81 degrees

If you’re looking for a fish to pretty up your 5-gallon fish tank, cherry barbs might be the fish you want to look into. They’re beautiful, easy to look after and feed, and super hardy – making them a great choice for beginners. 

I don’t want to sound vain, but a cherry barb’s appearance is the first thing about the fish that draws you in. As the name suggests, they are painted red from head to tail. The males have a more vibrant color than females. 

A dark line runs through the middle of their sides – from the mouth to the caudal fin. The body is long and thin, allowing them to be quite speedy and hydrodynamic. 

The maximum length cherry barbs can reach is 2 inches when they’re fully grown. However, it’s not uncommon for the fish to stop growing at 1 inch based on genetic factors and level of care. 

Cherry barbs are quite active fish that spend a good portion of their time exploring different corners of the tank. Since they’re schooling fish, you’ll often see them swimming together. They find safety in numbers. 

A cherry barb’s diet in the wild is varied. They’re omnivores and not picky about the food they eat. In the tank, it’s best to give high-quality flake food as a staple diet. 

Every once in a while, you can fortify the diet with protein-rich treats like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. 

The temperature for cherry barbs should range between 73-81 degrees F, pH should be maintained between 6 to 8, and the water hardness should clock between 5-19 dGH.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Before we end this article, here’s a look at some of the most frequently asked questions on this subject. 

Can Goldfish Survive In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Unfortunately, no – goldfish cannot survive in a 5-gallon tank. The itty-bitty 2-inch goldfish you brought home can grow over 8 inches long in a year. Some will grow even larger. 

Goldfish are best kept in ponds, but the minimum recommended tank size for an average goldfish is 20 gallons. As the fish grows over the years, you’ll need to upgrade to a 50, 75, or even 100-gallon tank, 

Also, bear in mind that goldfish are very social. So living alone with no company can be extremely hard for them. 

Angelfish In A 5-Gallon Tank – Is It Possible?

The minimum recommended tank size for a single angelfish is 30 gallons. These fish start off as cute 1.5-inch babies but soon grow up to at least 6 inches in height. 

Angelfish need a big and tall tank. But unfortunately, a 5-gallon tank is neither big nor tall. 

Can 2 Fish Live In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Definitely. 2 small fish that aren’t over 3 inches long can live happily in a 5-gallon tank. For instance, you could raise a couple of endler’s livebearers, guppies, and neon tetras. 

How Many Fish In A 5-Gallon Tank With A Betta?

Experts recommend allocating at least 5 gallons for a single betta fish. Therefore, there’s no wiggle room for any other fish. 

Some may suggest adding tetras alongside. But tetras are schooling fish that need to be in groups. Also, they’re known for nipping fins. So, you don’t want to add tetras and betta together in a small tank. 

What Are The Best Fish For A 10-Gallon Tank?

All the fish mentioned in our list today are suitable for a 10-gallon tank. You can keep bettas, mollies, guppies, gouramis, rasboras, and so many more – not together, of course. 

How Many Fish In A 5-Gallon Tank? | 5-Gallon Stocking Ideas

You can keep either 7-10 chili or dwarf rasbora, 7-10 pygmy corys, a single pea puffer, or a scarlet badis. Once again, not together.

Recommended Readings!

Chinese High Fin Banded Shark Care Guide | Everything You Should Know

Small Sharks For Fish Tank | Ten Sharks Under 10 Inches 

How To Add Calcium To Freshwater Aquarium? 12 Proven Ways!

Redtail Catfish Care Guide | Everything You Should Know

How Much Work Is A Saltwater Tank? Real Answers Only!

How To Quarantine Saltwater Fish? 11-Step Guide

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.