Simple Guide To Set-up And Maintain A 5-Gallon Aquarium 

Are you a fish enthusiast?

Do you relish in recreating the scenic underwater world at your home?

If the answer to the above questions is Yes, then check out our fantastic guide to better understand your 5 gallon fish tank, how to set it up correctly and some important tips to maintain it in the future.

A 5-gallon aquarium is a very small-sized tank with limited space for fish and decorations to keep.

If you are new to this job and do not possess any knowledge about the know-hows of aquarium world, then you may need some serious help regarding the whole ensemble and set-up process. 

Moreover, most of the 5 gallon fish tanks comes with a beginner’s kit which contains all the apparatus or equipment necessary.

So let’s get started with the procedure of setting up a 5 gallon aquarium.


Firstly, you will need a 5 gallon tank.

The fundamentals of creating a good aquarium is choosing the right tank. Your choice depends upon a lot of factors including space, fish species, maintenance, and so on. 

So the first step is to choose the right aquarium.

Here I have listed 5 of the best 5-gallon fish tanks available in the market.


Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit, 5 Gallons, Hidden Filtration
  • 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.

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you want to start with an aquarium with minimal maintenance, then this one’s for you.

This piece is ideal for beginners.

Marineland 5-gallon aquarium has a very stylish shape and design. The size of this mini aquarium is so small that it can even fit in any small space like workplace or living room. 

Moreover, the three-stage filtration system works phenomenally. It rids off your tank of all the unwanted, harmful substances, fish waste, and impurities that compromise fish health. The LED lights keeps the tank well-lit which looks very cool. 


  • Product Dimensions: 11.8*11.6*17 inches
  • Three-stage hidden filtration system
  • Fits small spaces like your desks
  • LED with natural daylight and moonlight settings
  • Easy to assemble
  • Silent filter
  • Back compartment for placing accessories

The product is available on Amazon at a great price. 


Koller Products 5-Gallon Aquarium Kit with LED Lighting and Power Filter, Ideal for a Variety of Tropical Fish
  • FUN and REWARDING: Are you looking to buy an aquarium for your children? If you are, you are going to want to look at this fish tank. Owning an aquarium can be a really fun and rewarding experience and an ideal way to teach your child the responsibility of pet ownership.
  • DAZZLING COLORS: Energy-efficient LED lighting with 7 dazzling color selections to brightly illuminate your fish, choose daylight white, blue, green, amber, aqua, purple, or red.
  • COMPLETE FILTRATION: Powerful internal power filter cleans and purifies aquarium water at a flow rate of 45 gallons per hour effectively removing organic pollutants including discolorations, odors, heavy metals, and toxic gases. Uses Koller Products S replacement filter cartridges (AQ10FC-60).
  • OPTIMUM VIEWING: Crystal-clear clarity so good that most think it's glass. Made of impact-resistant plastic providing leak-proof assurance, unlike glass tanks glued together with silicone, this one-piece tank puts to rest any worries or concerns about possible leaks.
  • TRENDY DESIGN: Unique shape allows viewing from multiple angles anywhere in the room.

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you are looking for a fish tank which is easy to assemble, then the Koller panaview 5-gallon aquarium is the right fit for you.

It is affordable and despite its small size, it gives a top-notch performance. 

As most of the 5-gallon aquariums comes with a special kit, you do not need to do the extra work or require extra tools.

The filtration system of this tank is pretty easy to install and it works great. Though small, the filter as a powerful impeller which keeps all the dirt and impurities at bay.


  • Product Dimensions: 14.2*11.5*10 inches
  • Energy-efficient LED lighting with 7 colors
  • Filter with powerful impeller
  • Outer body made in durable plastic
  • Easy to set up
  • Cost-effective

You can get this product at a very reasonable cost on Amazon


Fluval SPEC Aquarium Kit, Aquarium with LED Lighting and 3-Stage Filtration System, 5-Gallon
  • 5 gallon Nano aquarium
  • Etched glass tank with aluminum trim
  • Powerful 37 LED lighting system, 7000 K color temperature, 821 lumens
  • Includes foam block, activated carbon and BioMax bio rings
  • Pump output - 55-80 US Gal/h (210-300 L/h)

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Those who have a very limited experience in fish-keeping will be very satisfied with this piece. The Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit demands minimal supervision. Its design is compact and looks very cool.

The best part is that the filter comes pre-installed in the tank. However, it in no way hinders the fish from roaming freely inside the tank. 

The LED illumination is also very beautiful, especially at night. You can easily see all the corners and content of the tank.

In addition to this, the tank material is durable and can withstand multiple bumps without any scratches or leakage.


  • Product Dimensions: 6.3*17.2*10.6 inches
  • Etched glass tank with aluminium trim
  • Powerful 37 LED lighting system
  • Filter works silently
  • Foam block, activated carbon, BioMax bio rings included
  • 3-stage mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration

Get it on Amazon at a reduced price. 


Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 5 Gallon
  • 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

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Every aquarium hobbyist demands a tank which is affordable and reliable. If this is the case with you, then this is an ideal pick for you.

 You can learn a lot about fish keeping and aquarium maintenance with this tank. 

You will be surprised to know that it works better compared to its larger counterparts. The 3-stage filtration is very powerful and efficient.

It does not allow any dust particles, harmful substances, impurities, fish waste, to hamper the smooth working of the tank. 


  • Product Dimensions: 18.5*10.8*13.3 inches
  • All-inclusive starter kit
  • Filter with 3-stage filtration
  • LED lights with natural daylight effect
  • Impressive LED lights over the canopy
  • Nutrafin Aqua Plus Water Conditioner to dechlorinate tap water

You can buy this aquarium from Amazon at a low cost. 


Tetra Crescent aquarium Kit 5 Gallons, Curved-Front Tank With LEDs
  • 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)

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Those who want to buy a reliable aquarium that does not require a lot of maintenance, should go for the Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium. 

This 5 gallon tank is portable and its filtration system which removes all the waste particles from the tank, keeping the water crystal clear at all times.

It is adjusted graciously inside the tank covering minimal space and letting the fish float without disturbance. 

The lighting effect is magnificent, thanks to the LED lights available with the tank.


  • Product Dimensions: 16.6*11.2*13.2 inches
  • Powerful chemical and mechanical filters
  • Energy-efficient LED lights
  • Made of durable acrylic
  • Easy to set-up
  • Portable 
  • Filter works quietly

You can purchase this fish tank on Amazon at a reasonable cost. 


You should know that as much as it is important to choose the right aquarium, a tank stand too demands a thorough research.

Without a right stand, a tank would be prone to many mishappenings, especially if you have kids or animals around.

An aquarium stand is used to provide a firm, and powerful support to your tank, keeping it at a safe distance from any disturbance.

Moreover, the storage spaces or cabinets available can be used to keep all the fish supplies, equipment, and decorations.

If you want to make your own fish tank, check our website for more information on the DIY work. 

Amazon Best Seller Aquarium Stands

SaleBestseller No. 1
Aquatic Fundamentals 55 Gallon Metal Aquarium Stand, Black
  • Stand Holding Capacity: 55 Gallons, 550 LBs
  • Stand Dimensions: 48. 3"L x 27. 8"H x 12. 5"W
  • Powder Coated Modern Black Finish, Steel Construction, Moisture-Resistant
  • Easy to assemble
  • Tank not included
Bestseller No. 2
Petco Brand - Imagitarium Preferred Winston Tank Stand - for 29 Gallon Aquariums, 12.5 in
  • Attractive way to showcase the beauty of your aquarium or terrarium
  • Solid construction for added durability
  • Adjustable shelf for convenient storage
  • Rich espresso stain finish
  • For tanks up to 29 gallons
SaleBestseller No. 3
Petco Brand - Imagitarium Newport Wooden Tank Stand - for 20 Gallon Aquariums, 24.75 in
  • Clean modern design
  • Fish tank stands assemble quickly with easy to follow instructions
  • Adjustable protective nylon leveling feet
  • Size : 24.75in W * 12.75in D * 30.25in H
  • Weight capacity : 180lbs(20 gallon)

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Apart from the aquarium and the tank stand, the other important equipment required for setting up an aquarium are aquarium heater, filter, and hood. 


As the fish are very delicate creatures, they require steady temperature at all times; or they will die.

A heater helps in doing that by maintaining a constant water temperature, thus preventing the fish from getting sick or dying. 

For a 5-gallon fish tank, a less powered heater of 50 Watt will work fine. 

Check out the best 5-gallon tank heater –

Aqueon Pro Adjustable Heater, 50W
  • Adjustable heat setting 68 to 88°F, Electronic Thermostat accurate to +/- 1°
  • Shatterproof and nearly indestructible
  • Fully submersible; Auto Shut-Off when over-heats, resets when it cools down
  • LED light is always on: red when heating, green when not heating
  • Limited Lifetime warranty

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cobalt Aquatics Flat Neo-Therm Heater with Adjustable Thermostat (Fully-Submersible, Shatterproof Design) from 25W to 300W
  • Super-flat design. Fully submersible, modern design for energy efficient Aquarium and terrarium heating. Includes reversible holster/bracket, which allows heater to face inward or outward. See the product images to determine the best neo-therm size for your tank.
  • Accurate, one-touch system. Simply set temperature between 66-96°f with one touch and the neo-therm electronic thermostat will maintain Tank temperature within +0.5°F. Led displays both set temp and actual temp, simultaneously.
  • Ultimate safety and reliability. Integrated thermal protection circuitry prevents heater from overheating. If you forget to turn it off, the neo-therm will automatically shut it down.
  • Virtually indestructible. Unlike cheap, glass heaters, the neo-therm is a resin/thermoplastic heater with a shatterproof outer-casing. Made in Poland and includes a 3-year warranty.
  • Manufacturer You can trust. Most manufacturers rate their heaters on the ability to raise an aquarium 2-3°f above ambient temperatures. This is unreliable and misleading, as the average home fluctuates 2-3°f or more throughout the day. Cobalt rates The neo-therm on the ability to raise a tank 11°f above ambient temperatures, so you will never have to worry about overworking the neo-therm or it keeping up!

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

EHEIM Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 50W
  • Fully submersible
  • Thermo safey control protects against running dry
  • Will automatically turn off when water level dips too low
  • TruTemp dial recalibrates the heater for precise temperature regulation
  • Made of shock resistant and shatter proof glass for fresh or marine water

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

FREESEA 50W Mini Aquarium Heater Fish Tank Submersible Heater with LED Temperature Display
  • ★ Temperature range: 59°F~94°F, display Fahrenheit °F, this heater is designed for1~10 gallons tank.
  • ★ Automatic constant temperature function, when water temperature reaches to specified temperature value, heater will automatically stop heating, when water temperature is lower than the set temperature, heater will automatically start heating.
  • ★ Touch button, cyclic adjust temperature , easy to use and Safety.
  • ★【Note】:this heater is 100% submersible use only, during its heating time, heater must be 100% submerged into the water.
  • ★【SATISFACTION GUARANTEED】Gain the confidence to go hard with us! Our Aquarium Heater is built with durability in mind and safety for every design, In the remote possibility that you’re not satisfied with our product, just contact us, and we will gladly give you a new Aquarium Heater replacement. 12 Month Warranty and 24 Hour Professional After-sales Service.

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


It is very important to maintain clean water in the aquarium for a healthy fish life. A tank filter does all the work for you by removing the contaminants from the water and purifying it simultaneously.

A 5-gallon fish tank does not require a big filter. Some kits already have incorporated filters into the aquarium, while with others you need to buy one separately.

Here are my top 4 picks in the 5-gallon aquarium filters –

Tetra Aquarium Filter (AQ-68056),Up to 4-Gallons
  • FOR 4 GALLON aquariums: This Whisper Internal Power Filter uses small filter cartridges and adjusts easily to high or low water levels.
  • 27 GPH PUMP: The internal 27 GPH pump cycles a 4 gallon aquarium more than 6 times per hour.
  • TWO FILTERS IN ONE: Cartridge floss catches debris and fish waste, while Ultra-Activated carbon removes odors and discoloration.
  • SPACE-SAVING DESIGN: Your aquarium can be flush to the wall with the internal filter designed to clip on your tank wall and be hidden by décor.
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS INCLUDED: This pack contains the hinged lid, tank clip, internal filter and filter cartridge.

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AquaClear, Fish Tank Filter, 5 to 20 Gallons, 110v, A595
  • Aquarium filtration system that offers superior contact time with filter media and energy efficient pump lowers operating costs
  • Quick and easy installation, we recommend that you clean aquarium filter every 2 weeks for maximum operation and efficiency
  • Provides optimal mechanical, chemical, and biological filtrations
  • Comes equipped with AquaClear Foam, Activated Carbon Filter and BioMax and Cycle Guard for superior water quality
  • Filtration volume is up to 7 times larger than comparable fish tank filters

Last update on 2021-12-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

AZOO Mignon Filter 60
  • Small compact design
  • Queit performance
  • Ease of maintenance

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aqueon QuietFlow E Internal Power Filter Extra Small - 3 Gallon
  • Efficiently cleans and filters water
  • Easy to install using suction cups and/or hanging clips
  • Auto-start pump requires no priming, automatically restarts if power is interrupted and restored
  • On average, change filter cartridge every 4 weeks
  • Carbon Cartridge included for chemical filtration; removes odors and discoloration from water

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Complete vigilance on your part at all time is kind of impossible, therefore, you need something to prevent the fish from jumping off the aquarium. A hood does the exact thing for you.

It also reduces the amount of water that evaporates from the tank as it seals it completely, except the filter and heater section. 

If you are using a mini-sized aquarium of 5 gallons, use one of these hoods to seal your tank from the top-

Tetra LED Aquarium Hood 16" X 8"
  • Designed for long life and comfort for your pet
  • Quality parts and designed used. Common size 5.5 gallons

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Deep Blue Professional ADB31608 Standard Glass Canopy Set, 16 by 8-Inch
  • Standard glass canopy set
  • Comes with a clear "cut-to-fit" back splash, hinge and clear lid handle, allowing maximum illumination of the aquarium
  • Measures 16-inch length by 8-inch width

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Tetra Perfecto Aquarium Hood Led, 24" (NV33149)
  • aquarium HOOD WITH LEDS: Low-profile, hinged hood houses white LED lights that create a natural underwater shimmer effect.
  • ENERGY EFFICIENT: Built-in LEDs – no bulbs to replace.
  • FILTER COMPATIBLE: Cutouts in the back of the hood can accommodate a variety of filters.
  • RANGE OF SIZES: Tetra LED Hoods are available in multiple sizes to accommodate most rectangular tanks.
  • SIZE: Measures 24 inches wide by 12 inches deep.

Last update on 2021-12-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


Adding water to the tank doesn’t mean that you add it directly to the tank. You need to keep a lot of things in mind before pouring the water.

The first step is to clean the tank. Do not use soap, shampoo or other harsh materials to clean it as it might kill the fish.

The next thing to be careful about is to dechlorinate the water as tap water may contain chlorine which could be harmful for the fish.

Keep in mind to maintain a recommended pH level. 

Even after following the above steps, you need to add the water in portions.

To learn more about the water addition process, check out our other article dedicated to the 5-gallon tank set-up process on our website. 


Just like the addition of water demands a lot of care, the introduction of fish to the water too requires special attention. 

You cannot be too reckless about adding the fish as even the subtlest of changes in the surrounding environment may kill it. 

To learn more about adding fish and other creatures into the tank, check our website. 

A 5-gallon fish tank may be small, but you can still add a variety of fish to it without any problem. 

Here are some fish species which you can buy- 

Fish combinations recommended for a 5-gallon tank-

  • 1 Betta Fish, 1 Amano Shrimp, 1 Nerite Snail
  • 2 Kill Fish
  • A bunch of Micro Rasboras

For snail tank or shrimp tank-

  • 10 Cherry Shrimps
  • 5 Nerite Snails

You can keep multiple:

  • Tetras,
  • Rasboras, and
  • Betta Fish in the fish tank as they all are small-sized species. 

Fish species which you can easily keep in a 5 gallon fish tank are:

  • Betta Fish, White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Honey Gourami, various Micro Rasboras, Dwarf Puffer, Dwarf Frog, Clown KillFish, Least KillFish, Dwarf Crayfish, Endler’s Livebearer, Rosy Loach, Cherry Red Shrimp, Ghost Shrimp, Crystal Red Shrimp, and Nerite Snail.


Last but not the least is the proper maintenance of the tank. It is not a very difficult task to maintain a small 5-gallon fish tank.

Thanks to its micro size, the maintenance time and procedure is comparatively very less complicated. 

The important things to keep in mind are to feed the fish regularly, check that all the equipment are working properly, follow the changing behavioral patterns of the fish and take action as soon as you detect any negative changes, clean the tank at regular intervals, cycle it to continue the growth of good bacteria for fish nourishment, etc. 

Let me know which fish tank you purchased and what kind of marine animals have you kept or are thinking of keeping in you 5 gallon aquarium.

Apart from that, if you want any other help, just reach me on the website. I will assist you immediately.


What is the typical size of a 5-gallon fish tank?

The typical size of a 5-gallon aquarium tank is 16 X 8 X 10 inches.

Can I keep gecko in my Koller Panaview 5-Gallon Aquarium? 

No. A gecko requires a size of at least 10- gallons. A 5-gallon aquarium size will be too small for creatures like gecko. 

Will a marine fish be adequate for my Marineland ML90609 Portrait Aquarium, 5-Gallons?

Yes, you can keep marine fish in the fish tank as it does not require a protein skimmer.


[Revised and Updated for July, 2019]
Sign up to our newsletter to enjoy quality aquarium information and techniques in your email. As an added bonus you will also get Freshwater Aquarium Guide worth $99 for Free
Written by Debra Hutchinson, founder of FishXperts

Similar Posts

One Comment

  1. My son has a 5 gallon tank with a male betta, 4 neon tetras, 2 rocks, 2 fake plans s and 1 real plant. We vaccumed the gravel a week ago and changed 50% of the water. It’s so cloudy, has algae, and only 7 days later. Can I get some shrimp to help with algae? I’m afraid that’s too much for the tank. This 5 gallon has required so much maintenance that I’m considering going up to a 10 gallon. But will that size be easier to maintain?
    Thank you,

    Sarah Walker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *