5-Gallon fish tanks are the bare minimum we recommend for most fish pets, like the beautiful betta.
But with hundreds of options out there, it’s easy to end up with a bad product.
This is where we step in! I leveraged my experience and looked at what other betta experts suggested to come up with this list of the best 5 gallon fish tank for bettas and other fish.
Of the top 4 picks, the Fluval Spec V was the best. It has great horizontal space, good construction, and great features.
- Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit (Top Choice)
- Marina LED Aquarium Kit (Best for Beginners)
- Aqueon Minibow Aquarium Kit (Best Budget Option)
- Fluval Chi II Aquarium Kit (Best for Small Spaces)
Reviews of the 4 Best 5-Gallon Tanks for Bettas
Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit
- 37 LED lights
- 3-stage filtration system
- Long tank design
The Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit is our top choice for a 5-gallon betta tank.
This tank has a sleek design with plenty of horizontal swimming space for your betta.
It features etched glass with aluminum trim and a sturdy base. The kit includes a foam mat for keeping your tank level and protecting the surface underneath.
A stylish honeycomb pattern hides the filter and other components. The area for the filter is on one side of the tank, so it does not take away from the tank’s aesthetics.
The overhanging light fixture contains 37 powerful LED bulbs. There are three light modes: on, off, and night mode.
In night mode, two blue lights illuminate the aquarium with a soft moonlight glow.
This betta aquarium kit includes a 3-stage filtration system with a large filter sponge, bio media, and charcoal media. An adjustable output nozzle lets you direct the water flow for less water movement.
While the adjustable filter pump gives you control over the water flow, it is still very powerful. Consider placing a pre-filter sponge on the output nozzle for a slower current.
The aquarium also includes a clear plexiglass lid with cutouts for electrical cords and a large feeding hole.
This lid fits securely on the tank and prevents your betta from jumping out. It also limits water evaporation.
Since the lid is clear, this tank is perfect for viewing floating plants like Brazillian Pennywort and Amazon Frogbit.
- Tank Dimensions: 17.2″ x 6.3″ x 10.6″ inches
- Weight: 15.5 pounds
- Material: Glass
- Shape: Rectangle (long)
- Special Features: LED lights with 3 modes, 3-stage filtration system, long design, clear lid
Marina LED Aquarium Kit
- Integrated LED lighting
- Quick-change filter cartridges
- Includes a biological supplement
The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is the best choice for beginners. This starter kit includes a filter, biological supplement, and a helpful aquarium setup guide.
Long-lasting daylight LED lights are built into the tank canopy.
A Marina S10 Power Filter is included in this kit and features an adjustable flow filter pump and is self-priming for an easy start-up. The rear cut-out in the canopy makes changing the filter media easy.
Two biological filter cartridges come with the kit, and they keep your tank water crystal clear.
There are some complaints about noise coming from the vibrations of the filter. But filters for 5-gallon tanks are usually inexpensive, so upgrading to a quieter model is an easy fix.
This betta aquarium kit also includes a sample of water conditioner, a biological supplement, and a small net.
The biological supplement contains beneficial bacteria for jumpstarting the nitrogen cycle.
A helpful guide for beginners gives you step-by-step instructions on setting up your new tank.
- Tank Dimensions: 21.8″ x 14″ x 18.8″ inches
- Weight: 10.03 pounds
- Material: Glass
- Shape: Rectangle
- Special Features: Starter kit, adjustable filter, included biological supplement
Aqueon Minibow Aquarium Kit
- Bowfront design
- Quick water change nozzle
- Low-profile LED hood
The Aqueon Minibow Aquarium is an excellent low-cost option for betta owners on a budget.
A bowfront design makes this tank stand out from the standard rectangle aquariums.
This aquarium starter kit includes a filter with a unique nozzle for fast water changes. Turn the nozzle to the side of the tank and drain your water.
While this does make water changes fast and easy, there is a disadvantage to this design. By changing your water this way, your substrate does not get clean.
You must still use a gravel vacuum for cleaning debris from your substrate.
Leftover food and fish waste release ammonia when they decay. This creates an unhealthy environment for your betta.
I can see how this feature is handy when you are cycling the tank without a fish. But for regular maintenance on your betta tank, the nozzle is not very useful.
Still, this tank has an appealing price for everything you get. It also makes a great starter aquarium.
The tank itself is made of durable acrylic, making it less prone to leaks. But you must take care when placing your substrate or decor because acrylic can scratch more easily than glass.
A small feeding slot on the hood includes a cover, so there is no worry about your betta jumping out of the tank.
LED lights are built-in to the hood and are bright enough for plants with low and medium lighting needs.
The filter is quiet, but many owners complain it is too strong for a betta. Adding a pre-filter sponge to the output nozzle can create slower currents.
- Tank Dimensions: 14.5″ x 10″ x 13.5″ inches
- Weight: 5.25 pounds
- Material: Acrylic
- Shape: Rectangle
- Special Features: Quick-change nozzle, quiet filter, lightweight
Fluval Chi II Aquarium Kit
- Top-mounted fountain filter
- Undermounted LED lights
- Vertical design
Fluval’s Chi II Aquarium Kit is our top pick for small spaces due to its vertical portrait design.
The unique top-mounted fountain creates a gentle water flow and a simple design for changing the filter pad. There are also optional accessories for the fountain if you want a different look.
This stylish aquarium design is based on the principles of Feng Shui and creates a peaceful atmosphere in any room.
Underneath the fountain are 17 LED lights with a temperature of 7,600 Kelvins for a natural daylight appearance.
Since the light is underwater, I do not recommend floating plants for this tank.
A clear plexiglass lid surrounds the fountain and prevents your betta from escaping.
Betta fish with longer fins are not good vertical swimmers.
If you choose this tank you must provide some resting places near the top of the tank. Broadleaf aquatic plants and betta hammocks are excellent options for resting spots.
Another issue with this tank is rapid water evaporation due to the fountain. You may find yourself topping off the tank several times between weekly water changes.
- Tank Dimensions: 10″ x 10″ x 14.4″ inches
- Weight: 16 pounds
- Material: Glass
- Shape: Portrait
- Special Features: Top-mounted fountain filter, portrait design
How To Choose the Best 5-Gallon Tank for Your Betta
Shopping for a betta tank can get overwhelming.
There are a lot of options for different shapes and materials at varying price points.
So, how do you know which is the best one for your betta?
Below are some factors you must consider when shopping for a 5-gallon betta tank.
Shape and Dimensions
Think about the space you have in your home for placing a betta tank.
Most 5-gallon tanks have the classic rectangle shape. This shape is the most ideal for a betta because it provides plenty of horizontal swimming space.
The average length for a 5-gallon rectangular tank ranges from 14-22″ inches.
Portrait-style aquariums, on the other hand, have a much smaller footprint. For example, the Marina LED aquarium has a 10″-inch square base.
These types of tanks work well if you don’t have a lot of space. They can fit in a small nook or on a desk.
But there are some modifications you must make if you choose a portrait tank for your betta.
Portrait tanks have much more vertical space than the classic rectangular style. This means less horizontal swimming space for your betta.
Long-finned bettas are not well-suited to portrait tanks because they have difficulty swimming.
You must add broadleaf plants or small betta hammocks placed near the middle and top of the tank. These give your betta places for resting as it swims to the surface.
Consider getting a short-finned betta like a plakat or veil-tail if you choose a portrait tank.
Bowfront tanks are another option for a betta. The curved front of these tanks provides a bit of extra room while maintaining a small footprint.
Next, you must consider the material of your betta fish tank.
Glass is the standard material for most fish tanks. It is less prone to scratches and provides a clear view of your betta.
But a glass aquarium can crack if you do not handle it with care. Glass also adds a lot of weight to a fish tank.
The other common material option for betta fish tanks is acrylic. Acrylic is lightweight and durable, making it an excellent choice for larger tanks.
Acrylic does have a few disadvantages, though. It is more prone to scratches and doesn’t always show the clearest view.
With aquariums as small as 5 gallons, the weight difference between glass and acrylic is not much.
Choosing between glass and acrylic is a matter of personal preference.
But for a long-term setup, consider a glass tank. Acrylic can degrade after a few years if you are not careful.
What kind of special features do you want in a betta fish tank? Maybe you want dimmable lights or a certain type of filter.
Consider which features are the most important to you and what works best for your betta.
Some aquariums have special lighting or filtration systems.
With built-in components, upgrading them later is a challenge.
If you decide the built-in LED lights are too dim or too bright for your needs, you may have a hard time changing them.
You might find a tank you like but then discover the new filter you’ve been eyeing won’t fit.
Many 5-gallon aquarium kits come with subpar equipment. The included filter, lights, or heater may not last or can have other defects.
This isn’t true for every 5-gallon aquarium kit. But it sometimes happens with inexpensive setups.
Ensure the tank you choose can accommodate your long-term needs.
Your budget is another factor when choosing the right 5-gallon betta tank.
There are several affordable betta fish tank options in this size range.
Expensive doesn’t always mean better. But a more expensive tank may come with better equipment or special features.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a great home for your betta and get started in the aquarium hobby.
Choose the best tank and equipment within your budget.
Reading reviews on betta tanks can help you a lot with your research.
Reviews can tell you more about the pros and cons of a fish tank from real-life experiences.
You may get a better idea about how a tank functions from the initial purchase to long-term usage.
Some reviews even offer helpful tips on modifications to make the tank better.
Always read the good and bad reviews so you get a well-rounded view of what the tank is really like.
Other Items You Need for a 5-Gallon Betta Fish Tank
Your quest for the perfect tank for your betta doesn’t end after buying an aquarium.
There are a few other items you need to create the ideal home for your betta.
Substrate is a vital part of your betta’s ecosystem.
A substrate anchors plants, traps waste, and provides a surface for the growth of beneficial bacteria.
There are a variety of substrate options, including:
The type of substrate you choose depends on the type of aquascape you want to create.
Aquarium gravel is a universal substrate for many different types of aquascapes. It anchors plants well and comes in several colors and sizes.
Gravel does not provide nutrients for root-feeding aquarium plants. But, you may add supplemental nutrients through root tab fertilizers for healthy plant growth.
Sand is another great option, but anchoring plants is a bit more difficult. Avoid coral sand, as it can leach calcium into the water column and cause issues with your water quality.
Aquarium soil provides essential nutrients for root-feeding plants. But it can sometimes get a bit messy.
A thin layer of gravel over aquarium soil keeps the mess to a minimum.
Flourite is a porous clay gravel with time-released nutrients for aquatic plants. This type of substrate can supply nutrients to plants for up to 10 years without disturbing your water parameters.
Whichever type of substrate you choose, give it a good rinse before adding it to your betta tank. Rinsing removes dust and prevents your aquarium from getting cloudy when you add water.
Bettas are tropical fish, so they need warm water temperatures.
This means you need an aquarium heater for your betta tank. Ideal temperatures for a betta are between 78-80° degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27° C), which is much warmer than ambient room temperatures.
Aquarium heaters come in different sizes and wattage outputs. A good rule of thumb is 3-5 watts per gallon of water.
For a 5-gallon aquarium, a 15- to 25-watt heater works well.
In addition to an aquarium heater, invest in a quality water thermometer.
Most aquarium heaters have built-in thermostats, but they can fail sometimes.
A separate thermometer helps you ensure the water temperatures are optimal for your betta.
An aquarium filter is another much-needed accessory for a betta tank.
Filters help oxygenate the tank water and remove harmful bacteria.
Choose a high-quality filter with an adjustable flow setting for creating slow currents. Bettas cannot swim well in strong currents due to their flowy fins.
Filters have a rating of gallons per hour, or GPH. This indicates how many times the filter can circulate all the tank water in one hour.
A filter’s GPH must be at least 4 times the size of your tank. An aquarium with a GPH rating of 20 is a great choice for a 5-gallon betta tank.
Betta fish need a day and night light cycle. This helps your fish regulate its eating and sleeping habits.
Aquarium lights also promote healthy growth in live aquarium plants.
LED lighting is the standard for freshwater aquariums because this type of lighting does not produce a lot of heat.
Bright or harsh lighting can cause stress in your betta. Look for lighting with soft white or blue LED bulbs.
Bettas need a consistent lighting schedule of 8-10 hours of light per day.
Consider adding a light timer for creating a regular light schedule for your betta.
Plants and Decorations
Bettas thrive when they have enrichment activities in their tank.
Plants and decorations provide an adventurous betta with places for hiding, exploring, and resting.
Live plants act as natural filters and help oxygenate the aquarium water. Aquatic plants also create a more natural environment for your betta.
Some excellent beginner aquarium plant options for betta fish include:
- Java moss
- Amazon frogbit
Provide plenty of hiding places so your betta feels more secure. Driftwood, smooth rocks, and ceramic caves make greater hiding spots for bettas.
Betta hammocks are also popular because they create resting places for your fish near the surface.
Avoid artificial plastic plants and decorations with sharp edges or rough textures. These types of items increase the risk of fin tears.
Silk plants are much safer than plastic ones because they do not have sharp edges.
There are a few small essential items you need for maintaining your betta tank.
A small net helps you transport your betta to a quarantine tank.
You need a gravel vacuum and a clean bucket for partial water changes.
But one of the most important items you need for your betta tank is an aquarium test kit. This testing kit lets you check your water parameters for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
Test tube kits are a better choice over test strips because they are more accurate.
A Closer Look at Our Top Picks for 5-Gallon Betta Tanks
Our top choice for the best 5-gallon betta tank is the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit. The 3-step filtration system is top-notch and it has an awesome LED lighting unit.
The peninsula-style setup of the Fluval Spec V also gives your betta extra space for swimming.
For beginners, we like the Marina LED Aquarium Kit. This kit comes with quality components and almost everything you need for a complete setup.
Add a heater, substrate, and some plants and decorations for a cozy and comfortable home for your betta.
If you are on a budget, the Aqueon Minibow Aquarium Kit is an excellent choice. This kit has a unique bow front design and includes most of the accessories you need at an affordable price.
Frequently Asked Questions About 5-Gallon Betta Tanks
Are 3 or 5-gallon tanks better for betta fish?
A 3-gallon tank is much too small for a betta fish. This small environment does not give the fish enough room for swimming, and you are very limited in plant and decor options.
The smallest recommended tank size for a betta is 5 gallons. With this size, your betta has adequate space for swimming and exploring.
There is also more space for aquatic plants and hiding spots.
If you have a plakat betta, consider getting a 10-gallon or larger aquarium.
Plakat bettas have short fins and are more active swimmers than their long-finned counterparts.
A 10-gallon tank gives a plakat betta extra space for showing off its superior swimming abilities. In a smaller tank, a plakat betta may become bored or stressed.
Can I put 2 female betta fish in a 5-gallon tank?
A 5-gallon tank is not large enough for two female bettas.
Besides this, putting only two female bettas together can lead to disaster.
You need at least 5-6 female bettas for a sorority, and they need a much larger tank to get along with each other. If the females are not from the same spawn, there is an even greater risk of aggressive behavior.
The smallest tank size for a betta sorority is 20 gallons.
Even in a larger tank, betta sororities do not always work out. You must have plenty of plants and hiding spaces for preventing aggressive behavior and fighting.
Betta sororities are best for more experienced betta owners.
What type of filtration system is suitable for a 5-gallon betta tank?
A hang-on-back filter is the best type of filter for a 5-gallon tank.
These filters do not take up a lot of space and are usually inexpensive when compared to other filter types.
Filters with a 3-stage filtration process help keep the water clean between water changes and support beneficial bacteria.
Look for a filter with an adjustable flow rate. This lets you create a slow current for your betta.
Can I keep other fish or aquatic creatures in a 5-gallon betta tank?
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