The Best Fish Tanks for Small Fishes | iPetCompanion

Best Fish Tanks for Small Fishes

It is quite natural to think you should opt for a small fish tank if you're a first-time buyer because it will keep your expenses low. However, the truth is that there's nothing much to define the size of a tank to consider it "small", as it is quite relative. But, in most cases, you're going for a small fish tank if it holds no more than 10 gallons of water.

If you're looking for the best small fish tank, you can choose from a variety of nano and small-sized aquariums, which not only work fine but also look good in relation to any décor.

Here are some of the best fish tanks you can buy if you have limited space and the size of the tank matters a lot to you.

Tetra 29049 Fish Tank

BEST Budget

  • Easy to maintain
  • Lightweight

Rated by: Amber

Marineland ML 90609


  • High Quality & Durable
  • Easy to maintain
  • Filtration system added

Rated by: Amber

Penn Plax WW113K

Best for goldfish

  • Good water capacity
  • Nice filtration system
  • Movable LED lighting

Rated by: Amber

The Best Small Fish Tanks: Our Top Picks

1. Tetra 29049 Fish Tank

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

You're surely going to find this small tank quite fascinating, as it's just perfect for beginners. It has a tank capacity of 1.1 gallons only. Yes, it gives your fish little room to swim, but it also means it is going to take less space in your home.

It is also a good choice for people looking for a fish tank that is lightweight. It is made from durable plastic, which helps keep its weight on the lower side too. With an overall weight of around 1.4 gallons, you can easily move it around.

As the unit is not that large at all, it doesn't cost you much too. In fact, it is one of the most affordable small fish tanks available on the market today. Even though it's small, it still comes with an LED light system. You can reposition that LED lighting system with ease.

 Some other features include a black plastic base, a half-moon shape, and a black feeding-hole cover. The only drawback is that it doesn't come equipped with any filtration system.


  • It is relatively easy to maintain
  • It is lightweight and portable
  • It comes with LED lights


  • It doesn't have any filtration system included

2. Marineland ML 90609

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

If you're looking for a small tank with a capacity of 5 gallons, you will just love this offering from Marineland. It looks quite attractive with its glass construction and LED lights. Quite interestingly, LED lights can create moonlight and daylight effects.  The rounded corners of this fish tank further add to its overall beauty and give you an unobstructed view of your pets from different angles.

The fish tank has a 3-stage filtration process involving chemical, mechanical, and biological filtration. It means that the tank is capable of cleaning its environment, which is why you can easily keep saltwater and freshwater fish.

Overall, you're surely going to love this fish tank, but do keep in mind that because it's made of glass and contains 5 gallons of water, it might feel a bit heavy to move around easily. It weighs around 12 pounds, but it surely offers more space to accommodate fish.


  •  It has rounded corners for good views
  • It uses an LED light system for pleasing views
  • It relies on a   3-stage filtration process


  • It may be a bit on the heavier side

3. Penn Plax WW113K

Quick Summary

Rated by: Amber

If you're after a small tank specifically for goldfish, Penn Plax has the solution. This tank with a capacity of 10 gallons is just enough to keep goldfish happy. 

The aquarium looks quite attractive with its bent glass design.  Because of that design, it looks seamless and frameless at the same time. You also get an unobstructed view of your playful goldfish. Another good feature is the addition of a 3-stage filtration system. This internal filter stays inside the tank and delivers a solid performance.

 It also offers adequate light with the help of a movable LED light. It has a clip that can be used to attach it anywhere you like. Overall, it serves as a great option for people looking for a medium-sized tank, but keep in mind that it is going to take up a lot of space.


  • It comes with a good filtration system
  • It has good water capacity
  • It contains movable LED lighting


  • It requires a lot more space

FAQ - A Buyer's Guide

What is the Best Small Fish Tank?

You need to consider a number of points to be able to select the best fish tank for sale. For instance, you need to decide on the types and number of fish you want to keep. It will help you figure out how small your fish tank can be.

In case you're going for betta fish, you may get away with a fish tank containing 2 gallons of water. However, you will need a larger tank in case you're interested in keeping goldfish. A single goldfish would need a tank with a capacity of 10 gallons of water. Remember, a fish tank with almost 10 gallons of water is still considered small, but it all comes down to the types and number of fish you like.

Moreover, the best small fish tank is the one that suits the space you have to keep it. If you have very limited space, you just can't opt for large aquariums. Similarly, the overall weight of the tank matters as well. If you want a small tank that you can move around with ease, you may have to opt for something with a capacity of no more than 3 gallons. Even a small aquarium with 3 gallons of water may weigh up to 30 pounds or more depending on the weight of any ornaments, gravel, light, or filter you're using.

Even when buying a small tank, it is a good idea to consider what type of aquarium kit you're getting with it. Smaller units come with an efficient aquarium kit that has a built-in filter. The quality of the filter matters a lot because it provides your fish with the kind of environment they need to survive. An aquarium kit with filters is also important for water circulation, which in turn will help oxygenate the water. You should also ensure that the tanks you're buying are capable of handling good filters that provide better biological filtration as well as chemical filtration.

Along with considering the size you need, it is equally important to consider if you want to invest in a glass or acrylic aquarium. Both glass and acrylic aquariums are popular and have their own pros and cons. If you're looking for an aquarium that is difficult to scratch and quite sturdy at the same time, you may want to buy a glass tank. Another good thing is that glass aquariums are going to maintain their clarity for long. On the other hand, acrylic aquariums are much more lightweight than glass ones, and the added benefit of going for acrylic is that it's less susceptible to breaking or cracking.

Finally, you need to consider the size of the aquarium in relation to its weight. Again, you need to understand that even if you opt for a small glass tank, it is going to be much heavier than the acrylic tank of the same size. If you'd be moving it around quite often, be sure to go for a lighter tank.

What Fish Can You Keep in a Small Tank?

Both large and small fish tanks are available, and how different people define small varies greatly. If it contains less than 10 gallons of water, you're going for fairly small fish tanks. For this size, you will have to consider the types of fish you can buy.  Betta fish are quite popular but even they won't feel happy in a small one-gallon tank. If you're at least going for 5-gallon fish tanks, you will have more options and some are mentioned below.

  • Betta Splendens: For a small tank, you can always choose to keep a single male Betta. Just ensure that the size is large enough to add some decorations where your fish could hide in and swim through. Also, ensure you use the right pump to manage the current, which shouldn't be too strong at any time.
  • Fancy Guppy: For your small aquarium, guppies may also be a good candidate. To keep them, you'd at least need a 5-gallon tank. You may have to use a filter pump to keep the water clean – a heater is sometimes necessary to keep the water warm.
  • Neon Tetras: Tetras may also do well in a small aquarium with an aquarium kit and filter. Neon Tetras can be quite sensitive, so you have to be very careful and take measures to keep the water clear. Using a freshwater test kit is also a good way to ensure a healthy environment in the fish tank. Keep in mind that water in your small tank can go dirty so quickly, so you need to have the right aquarium kit available to avoid any unexpected situation.
  • Zebra Danio: Another great candidate for a 5-gallon tank is the Zebra Danio. Though they're quite tough, you still can't ignore tank management. Using the right filter and pump will help provide your fish with the best possible living situation.
  • Dwarf Gourami: Gouramis may be an option for a small tank with a capacity larger than 5 gallons. If you're going for dwarf gourami, be sure to take steps to keep the water clean and warm.

In addition to these fish, you can also choose small critters for your small glass tank. Two popular options include the African dwarf frog and ghost shrimp.

What is the Best Starter Fish Tank?

Today, you can easily find fish tanks as per the space you have available and other unique preferences you may have. There are small glass aquariums with LED lights and a powerful aquarium kit. And there are aquariums with fancy design and rail light to keep a variety of fish. But, if you're buying a tank for the first time, you should avoid the misconception that going smaller is the better option.

If you think you can keep betta fish in a one-gallon tank, you're wrong. Most people think so because they're anabantids, which means they're capable of breathing air from the surface. Even then, they won't survive in less-than-ideal conditions. Moreover, a very small tank will have poor filtration, which means the water will get polluted quickly and ultimately putting your fish at risk.

If you're looking for the best starter fish tank without having to spend a lot of money, you should opt for a glass aquarium of at least 5 gallons. No matter what fish types you're choosing, you should give them enough space to swim. The design should also be roomy enough to support a filter and pump as well as a small heater.

Going for relatively larger tanks is the best thing to do even if you're looking for a starter tank because they're easier to maintain and will help turn you into a successful aquarium owner.

What Size Fish Tank is Easiest to Maintain?

As mentioned already, many first-time aquarium owners are under the impression that maintaining a smaller tank is the easiest, but that's not true. Ideally, the tank should be large enough to help you use the related supplies. You will have to use the pump, filter, etc., and that needs space. Also bear in mind that the water chemistry will quickly go bad in a smaller tank as compared to a larger tank. For instance, ammonia level takes more time to rise in larger tanks, and you will have some time to react. That won't be the case with a smaller tank.

  • Going for an average-sized tank is the best option, but you should still take steps to maintain the aquarium environment more efficiently. For instance:
  • Consider adding an algae eater. You can opt for plecos, Siamese algae eaters, and some types of catfish to maintain the aquarium in a more efficient way.
  • Avoid overstocking the tank. Irrespective of the size of your tank, overstocking it would lead to all sorts of maintenance problems. Avoid it.
  • Stay away from overfeeding. Understand that overfeeding is only going to lead to more waste for your fish, as leftover food will affect the water chemistry in a bad way.

The Best Small Fish Tank of All

There's no denying the fact that having a small fish tank is much better than having no fish aquarium at all. But, it's also true that just because you're a first-time buyer, you need to stick to the small fish tank, as maintaining a larger one is easier and it provides ample space to use the filter, heater, and other equipment. If you're really interested in starting small, Marineland ML 90609 is probably the best bet. Go ahead and give it a shot!

About the Author Steven