Finding the best 5 gallon fish tank out of hundreds of options available in the market can be a challenging task. Special if you are a beginner and you don’t know what to look out for. Not all tanks are the same; some are designed only for saltwater fish or freshwater fish, while others are suitable for both.

So to help you make the right buying decision, we hand-tested the most popular 5-gallon fish tanks in the market and listed out the highest quality options that you can buy in 2021.

So let’s get to the list right away:

Comparison Table

Product Suitable with Material

Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

Saltwater and freshwater Glass

Tetra Curved-Front Tank

Freshwater only Acrylic

Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit

Freshwater only Glass

DaToo 5-Gallon Aquarium Betta Fish Tank

Freshwater only Glass

Handpicked Reviews of the Best 5 Gallon Aquarium

Following are the top 5-gallon aquariums available in the market:

1. Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit


  • Cost-effective
  • Great Filter
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Three-stage filtration system


  • No heater included
  • Made of glass instead of Acrylic

The Marineland portrait kit is a small fish tank that is convenient enough to place in small rooms or on a desk. Despite its small design, it does not compromise with bringing you quality features. This tank has a portrait design with curved edges that give it a sleek appearance, and it comes with three-sided clear glass so you can view your fish from different angles.

This 5 gallon aquarium kit includes an inventive three-stage filtration system that is well-hidden to retain the aquarium’s modern feel. It is equipped with activated carbon that provides chemical filtration, while the bio-foam bit controls the biological and mechanical filtration. The filtration system is potent enough to prevent unhygienic conditions in your aquarium, and due to its out-of-sight position, it does not bother with the view.

This aquarium also comes equipped with LED lights that you can change to white to simulate sunlight for fish or blue to produce a moonlight glow. Aquatic creatures need to stay in their natural habitat, and simulated lighting keeps the fish healthy and relaxed.

You can keep various fish in this aquarium since the filtration system is already tested with numerous breeds and works perfectly. The adjustable flow filter pumps allow you to adjust the flow to cater to the needs of your fish. In addition, the aquarium features a glass cover that slides to the back, enabling you to feed your fish conveniently.

This Marineland aquarium kit is targeted at beginners and includes essential features that will help you get started on your aquarist journey. Along with its minimal maintenance requirements, this easy-to-use aquarium will keep you stress-free and conduct everything itself. Nevertheless, the product also comes with a user manual to guide you through its assembly and installation.


If you want a cost-effective, compact, and efficient aquarium kit with a classy and innovative appearance, we recommend the Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. It is one of the most frequently purchased saltwater fish tanks because of its compact design and high performance, plus it meets all of the requirements of a small saltwater fish tank. It offers an excellent value for money as a beginner’s aquarium.

2. Tetra Curved-Front Tank with LEDs Crescent Aquarium Kit


  • Affordable
  • Easy to install
  • Durable
  • Curved design


  • No variations in light modes
  • Average filtration system

Glass aquariums are a classic option, but if you want an acrylic fish tank, you can trust the Tetra Crescent 5-gallon aquarium. Unlike glass fish tanks, it is easier to maintain, lightweight, and can handle drops from waist height with ease. It offers a remarkable close-up view of your pets without losing any visibility and is a perfect option for beginners.

Similar to the Marineland portrait aquarium, this fish tank also offers LED lights that emit a soft glow and are compatible with a wide range of marine species. They are arranged in a row of 16 emitters conveniently placed in the backdrop of this aquarium to avoid bright glares. And if you’re concerned about any splash damage, these LED lights are waterproof so that you can put your worries aside.

Filtering your aquarium is a crucial factor of fishkeeping since this keeps your tank safe and healthy. However, searching for an appropriate filter can be a daunting and tiresome task. If you’re new to fish keeping, it might get much more challenging. This fish tank saves you from the straining job as it comes with an in-built filter.

It can clean the water in five gallon tanks multiple times every hour and hides behind a panel, maintaining the aquarium looks modern. Additionally, the filtration process is whisper-quiet, relieving you from unnecessary disturbance. Also, the filter is equipped with medium cartridges that are easy to change.

One of the most appealing features of this aquarium is certainly its immaculate construction. If you have restricted space, the Tetra Aquarium will come in handy whether you place it on a table or a desk. Its contemporary design allows it to adapt to any environment, assuring that it is not an odd decor in any room.


Overall, the Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit is a fabulous five-gallon aquarium that will cater to you if you’re looking for a compact aquarium. The modest lights and overall clear finish make it a fun centerpiece regardless of its placement. The additional filter and medium will benefit beginner aquarists by sparing them the trouble of making aftermarket purchases.

3. Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit


  • Highly durable
  • Great lighting system
  • Modern design
  • Aluminum trim adds to the durability


  • Slightly overpriced
  • Noisy filter

The Fluval SPEC Freshwater Aquarium Kit is another 5-gallon freshwater aquarium beginner kit. It features an aluminum body, which gives it a tough exterior and sleek appearance that you won’t find in typical 5-gallon aquariums. The tank glass is guarded and held stable by its metal casing.

The setup includes almost every piece of equipment you’ll need to manage an aquarium. This all-in-one kit comes with a stylish 5 gallon glass aquarium with a cover, an LED lighting system, a pre-assembled filter and circulation pump, a foam filter block, activated carbon, and BioMax filter media.

The lighting system is unquestionably the most remarkable component of the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit. It is the first 5 gallon fish tank starter kit that includes a high-output 7000K LED lighting system. These lights provide the premium color ambiance for the aquarium and supply your fish with natural sunshine, which is a vital component for their natural landscape and plant growth.

The sleek design and extras aren’t the only perks of purchasing the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit. In addition, you will receive a classic Fluval filtering set that cleans your fish tank in three stages: mechanical, chemical, and biological.

This aquarium offers a porous foam block that captures large dirt particles and debris floating in the water for mechanical filtration. The biological filtration is handled by the BioMax media that provides a large surface area for bacterial colonization. Lastly, the activated carbon present in the filter eliminates any unpleasant odors and hard chemicals from the water. This sophisticated filtering process maintains exceptional water quality while catering to your fish pets.


The Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit is ideal for smaller areas in the household. It means that it can be placed on countertops, workstations, and other areas where standard aquariums cannot conveniently fit.

4. DaToo 5-Gallon Aquarium Betta Fish Tank


  • Features ultra-clear glass
  • Quiet filter mechanism
  • 3W water pump
  • Comes with a glass lid


  • No heater included
  • Slightly hard to assemble

The DaToo 5 Gallon Aquarium Betta Fish Tank has a low-iron glass body that offers an ultra-clear view of your fish. The low-iron glass is up to 91.5 times clearer and 2-3 times sharper than an ordinary glass aquarium, providing you with better visibility inside your fish tank.

This tank features an innovative back panel filtration system that is located at one end of the tank. The filter comes with a thick porous foam block that attracts all the dirt present in your aquarium. Additionally, it offers a large separate chamber for the filter media, allowing for more efficient biological filtration.

The filtering procedure generates less than 20 dB, which saves you from bothersome noises. It is a notable feature, especially if you decide to place the aquarium in quiet environments such as offices and bedrooms. Additionally, this fish tank comes with a robust 3W adjustable pump that can regulate the water flow according to the species of fish you put in your tank.

The DaToo 5-gallon fish tank set also includes a glass lid and bracket to help you maintain a stable water temperature. The aquarium lid can effectively retain the fish’s safety and prevent heat loss. It is also fitted with a right-angle soft pad and a bottom pad to avoid slippage and scratching.

This fish tank’s lighting system can switch to white or blue light. The aim of this is to replicate the natural lighting process. It helps the fish not feel out of place and therefore can enjoy its natural landscape. Besides, this encourages the growth of corals and plants and enhances the ecological environment of your fish tank.


The DaToo 5 Gallon Aquarium Betta Fish Tank is an ideal option for a starter kit. It does not include too many extra accessories that may intimidate a novice fish keeper. It’s an excellent deal if you’ve newly found enthusiasm for aquariums.

What To Consider Before You Buy the Best 5 Gallon Fish Tank?

Even though a 5 gallon tank noticeably demands less maintenance and is much smaller than other options, there are several things to consider before making the purchase. Choosing the best 5-gallon fish tank can be tricky if you aren’t well informed. Before picking a fish tank, consider the following factors to help you make an informed decision:

– Saltwater or Freshwater

Before you buy a fish tank, you must determine the exact type of aquarium you want. Freshwater tanks are best suited for fish that reside in rivers, streams, and other bodies of unsalted water, whereas saltwater tanks are for marine species that live in the oceans.

The species you intend to house in your fish tank, including its habitat, should be well studied because any misstep might result in harming your fish’s health. When compared to a saltwater system, a freshwater tank is relatively easier to set up and maintain. Meanwhile, the types of fish that can reside in a freshwater aquarium are generally less attractive, which gives saltwater aquariums a visual advantage.

– Material

You must confirm that the aquarium you are purchasing will remain in good shape for a long time. Fish tanks are usually made of two types of material: acrylic and glass. Fish tanks composed of glass are heavier than acrylic and are more fragile. At the same time, acrylic fish tanks are lighter than glass-made fish tanks and are incredibly durable.

However, acrylic is more pricey since it looks better and has superior finishing. Yet, acrylic tanks frequently leak because of general poor construction. They are also not scratch resistant. Glass fish tanks, on the other hand, rarely leak and have a scratch-resistant coating.

– Dimensions and Layout

5-gallon fish tanks are available in many sizes and dimensions. You must select the one with adequate space inside for fish to swim freely. Moreover, some layouts might make tanks appear larger than they are, so be sure to choose a fish tank that fits well in the spot you intend it to and provides sufficient space for your fish to swim.

Another thing to look for is the numerous framework possibilities. You should choose the one that presents you with the most visibility and has a corner fitting design to spare you a lot of space.

– Filters

There is no escaping the fact that fish tanks require filters. They keep the water clean and are vital to the fish’s health. So purchasing a 5 gallon fish tank with a filter might be a better option if you are a beginner and don’t want to go through the hassle of setting up an aftermarket filter by yourself.

A fish tank with a pre-installed filter is usually the best decision for people who are just getting started. Secondly, since everything is inside the tank, they are ideal for arranging the aquariums in a small space. However, if you want to customize the filtering process, it’s better to get a separate filter as it will present you with more options and better filtration.

– Lighting

It is another essential point to consider before selecting the best 5-gallon fish tanks. Considering the small size of the 5-gallon fish tanks, you should choose a light with low wattage to prevent overheating the water and your fish. Furthermore, certain lights perform better than others, and some feature timers, which might make setting them up more accessible for you.

Lighting is also influenced by species because they have diverse needs. As a result, putting money in a range of lights may be pricey. LED lights are appropriate for all species and do not need to be adjusted constantly. They are an inexpensive and more effective option in this case. Proper lighting is not only necessary for your plants and fish to develop, but it also contributes to the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium.

– Brand

It is one of the most crucial topics you should research. If you are new to this field, getting 5-gallon fish tanks from an unfamiliar brand is always a terrible idea. Most popular brands offer comprehensive manuals that can assist even amateurs in making intelligent decisions and learning everything there is to know about aquariums.


We hope that you find a 5-gallon fish tank that suits your needs and fits your budget as well. However, if you’re still confused and want our final recommendation, we are here to help you.

While all of the products mentioned above are excellent choices for 5-gallon fish tanks, one sticks out. We think that the Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit is a perfect option to consider.

To start, it is a very budget-friendly and cost-effective option. Aside from that, this aquarium has the most robust filter compared to other options on our list, and the importance of a proper filtration system cannot be underestimated. Moreover, this aquarium’s innovative portrait look is another one of the most compelling reasons to buy this product.

Marineland has been providing high-quality goods to fish enthusiasts for over 40 years. As a newcomer, choosing Marineland is the safest bet. These features are provided at an affordable price that no 5 gallon fish tank with a filter can surpass.

5/5 - (25 votes)


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