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Is a 5-gallon Tank Good for a Betta? (Answered)

Are you wondering if a 5-gallon tank is suitable for a betta fish? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Keep reading to find out!

A 5-gallon fish tank is a great size for a betta. Fish need room to swim around and explore to be happy. Tanks smaller than 5 gallons get dirty much faster and require more frequent maintenance and water changes that most people can’t keep up with. It’s best not to go smaller than 5 gallons.

Now that you know you can keep your betta in a 5-gallon tank, you may wonder how to set one up.

Continue scrolling as I’m going to tell you how to set up a 5-gallon tank step-by-step.

Why Is A 5-Gallon Tank Good For Betta Fish?

A 5-gallon tank is good for betta fish for many reasons.

A 5 Gallon Tank Provides Enough Room for Betta Fish

Firstly, betta fish need enough room to swim around freely. Fish generally like to have a habitat that resembles their natural one

A fish won’t be happy if they don’t have enough space to explore. 

Because of this, more water is usually better.

Imagine staying in one room for the rest of your life. That’s what it’s like for a fish in a tank. And the bigger tank we can give them, the better. 

But 5 gallons is usually enough room for them to be happy.

A 5-gallon Tank is Easier to Maintain

Secondly, 5-gallon tanks take longer to get dirty.

Ammonia is toxic to fish and builds up over time in fish tanks. Eventually, ammonia turns into nitrates, which are also very toxic to fish. 

The only way to get rid of nitrates is to perform regular water changes

The smaller a tank is, the faster those toxic chemicals build up, and the worse it is for your fish. 

Smaller tanks need more water changes.

But even with more water changes, small tanks carry more risk. 

Water parameters and temperature can change rapidly in a small tank without giving you enough time to remedy the situation. These situations can quickly become fatal

Another reason why 5-gallon tanks are a great size for betta fish is their convenience. 

Most people don’t have the time or simply don’t want to do water changes as often as they should with a smaller tank. 5-gallon tanks are the perfect size for easy cleaning. 

They also aren’t too big for tabletops or any other convenient spot, so you don’t need to buy special stands for them. 

How To Set Up A 5-Gallon Betta Fish Tank?

When setting up a 5-gallon tank, you have two options. You can either: buy an aquarium kit, which already comes with everything you’ll need for an aquarium, or you can get all the equipment separately. 

Aquarium kits come in all different sizes, and they’re very convenient. Aquarium kits will usually come with a heater, a filter, some water conditioner, a thermometer, and some fish food. So you’ll still have to buy decorations and substrate. 

Besides not having to stress about what equipment to buy, kits are also less expensive than if you were to buy everything separately. 

However, there can be downsides to using a kit. You’ll be limited to only using the same type of filter that came with the kit, which are usually very basic filters. If you ever want or need to upgrade your filter for a bigger or more powerful one, you won’t be able to do so with a kit. 

Buying everything separately for your tank gives you more customization ability, even though it’s more expensive. You can choose exactly the right equipment for your needs and change your setup if your needs change. 

Overall, aquarium kits are cheaper and more convenient, while buying everything separately gives you maximum customization but is more expensive. 

How to set up a 5-gallon aquarium kit:

  1. Make sure the aquarium is clean and dust free. 
  2. Place your substrate evenly on the bottom.
  3. Plug in and place the filter in its designated spot.
  4. Plug in and place the heater and thermometer (if provided).
  5. Now you can arrange any decorations onto the substrate.
  6. Lastly, fill the tank up with water and add water conditioner!

A few 5-gallon tank kit recommendations include:

  1. Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
  2. Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit
  3. Marina LED Aquarium Kit

1. Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

The Marineland Portrait Glass tank offers a 3-stage filter that’s effective and silent, and the LEDs have customization settings that allow you to give your fish a night and day schedule. It’s also compact and suitable for small spaces. 

Check the latest price on Amazon here

2. Fluval Spec Aquarium Kit

The Fluval Spec Kit also features a powerful 3-stage adjustable filter and high-quality LED lights. The tank has a modern and pleasing design with etched glass. 

Check the latest price on Amazon here

3. Marina LED Aquarium Kit

The Marina LED Kit offers the most in terms of equipment. It comes with a HOB filter, an LED hood, fish food, a fish net, a thermometer, a water conditioner, Fluval Cycle biological supplement, and an aquarium care guide. 

It has nearly everything you need besides a heater, decorations, and substrate.

Check the latest price on Amazon here

How to set up a 5-gallon fish tank (without a kit):

  1. Make sure the tank is clean and dust-free.
  2. Add your substrate and decorations to the tank. 
  3. Fill up your tank halfway with water, and be gentle not to mess up your decorations.
  4. Install the filter on the tank.
  5. Install the heater.
  6. Now, put any live plants you’re using into their places in the tank. 
  7. Fill up your tank the rest of the way. 
  8. Finally, add the appropriate amount of water conditioner needed for a 5-gallon tank, and you’re all set!

How to choose an aquarium filter for your betta tank

When it comes to picking a filter for your aquarium, things can get confusing. 

The most common filters include HOB filters and internal filters

HOB filters are probably the most common. They’re called HOB filters because they hang on the back of your aquarium. They’re easy, adjustable, and cheap. A good option for beginners. 

Internal filters are quiet and effective for smaller tanks like a 5-gallon. They’re also adjustable and affordable. 

The Hygger Quiet Aquarium Filter and the Boxtech Aquarium Hang On Back Filter are both great options: they’re quiet, adjustable, compact, powerful, and inexpensive. 

It’s better to get filters with adjustable flow rates for a betta tank, as bettas prefer less water flow in their home. 

How to choose an aquarium heater for your betta tank

You have three main types of heaters to choose from: 

  1. submersible heaters
  2. immersible heaters
  3. substrate heaters

Submersible heaters are placed under the water inside your tank. These heaters are very effective and affordable. 

Immersible heaters are attached to an interior wall of the tank above the water. These are typically less effective and can work inconveniently with the tank’s lid. 

Substrate heaters are placed on the bottom of the tank and use wires to heat the water. These are usually more expensive. 

The Aqueon Pro Submersible 50W Heater and the FREESEA Mini Aquarium Heater With LED Display are both great heater options for a 5-gallon betta fish tank. 

The Aqueon Pro heater uses LED lights to indicate when it’s heating and when your tank has reached the temperature you’ve set it to. It will also automatically turn off when it’s reached the correct temperature. 

The FREESEA heater eliminates the need for a thermometer because it displays the temperature for you. It will automatically turn on and off as needed and is very affordable. 

How Many Betta Fish Can You Keep In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Generally, it’s best not to keep more than one betta fish in a tank. Betta fish are very territorial and are known to be more aggressive towards their own kind. Especially male bettas.

It may be possible for a male and female betta or multiple female bettas to be kept together, but it would be risky and require lots of research and care. Never keep more than one male betta in a tank together.

In a 5-gallon tank, you can put up to two betta fish. 

Firstly, fish need enough space to swim around. Bettas can grow to be up to 3 inches, so they need ample room to swim around without feeling crowded. 

Secondly, the more fish you have in a tank, the faster nitrates build up. In a 5-gallon tank, putting more than two bettas together can cause the water to become harmful very quickly, and you’ll need to change the water more frequently. 

Lastly, bettas are territorial fish. A betta needs enough space to call its own if it’s going to be housed with another fish. 

If it doesn’t feel like it has enough personal space, it’ll get aggressive and try to attack the other fish. 

What Other Fish Can You Keep In A 5-Gallon Betta Fish Tank?

Although bettas can be quite aggressive, some fish can make great tank mates for bettas.

Here are five great betta tank mates:

  1. Ember Tetras 
  2. Brigittae Rasboras
  3. Least Killifish
  4. Neon Tetra
  5. Dwarf Rasbora


Can Betta Fish Live In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Yes, betta fish can live in a 5-gallon tank. Of course, the more water you can give them, the better. 

A 5-gallon tank will provide ample space for a betta and is small enough to put it in a convenient spot. 

You also won’t have to clean a 5-gallon tank as often as smaller tanks, and it’s just the right size to be able to put other fish in the tank with your betta. 

How Many Gallons Do Bettas Need?

Bettas can survive in fish tanks as small as 2.5 gallons, but they won’t thrive or be happy. 

In fact, a betta’s lifespan can be shortened if it lives in a tank that’s too small. 

Five gallons is the minimum size you should keep a betta in if you care about its happiness and longevity. It needs plenty of room to swim around and explore as well as hiding places to feel comfortable. 


5-gallon tanks are a good size for betta fish and will give it enough room to swim around and be comfortable. 

Make sure you’re aware of the risks when putting multiple fish in a tank with a betta. As mentioned above, it can be dangerous if done improperly. 

I hope this helped you on your betta fish journey.

Happy fishkeeping!

Related articles:

Is Betta Fish Lucky For Home?

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Prathmesh Gawai
He is the main author and editor at Aquagoodness.com. And he loves to share helpful information on aquarium and/or fishkeeping hobby. Prathmesh has over five years of aquarium and/or fishkeeping experience. Currently, he has a Betta fish tank. He has written hundreds of articles on various aquarium fish species and on fish tank maintenance over the last five years. Connect with him on YouTube here. Learn more about him here.

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