16 Best Fish for 2.5 Gallon Tanks
It’s a really exciting experience now that you have entered the Fish World. You have after due consideration, decided to start out with a small aquarium tank, some would even call them a micro tank! Freshwater setup tend to be less complex to care for than Saltwater aquarium setups, and the fish are more tolerant to mistakes made by new owners who are learning about their finned friends.
Freshwater fish have their own beautiful selection of colorful and unique species, so lets get onto Selecting and adding your new fish!
So, what ARE the best fish to choose for a 2.5-gallon tank?
In order to answer this question, let’s take a look at the information below to learn about the best fish for a 2.5 gallon aquarium tank.
All of them are suitable to keep in a small tank and will do well in that environment.
- Choosing a Small 2.5 gal Fish Tank Aquarium or Bowl
- Things to Consider when Deliberating which Fish Bowl or Tank is Best for YOU.
- Top 16 Best Fish for Small Gallon Tanks
- For non-fish species, consider the following:
- 7 Top 2.5 Gallon Fish Tank Reviews
- Things to Consider
Choosing a Small 2.5 gal Fish Tank Aquarium or Bowl
Many first time ‘fish people’ choose to buy a small fish tank due to a variety reasons. Firstly, and most commonly, these tanks are chosen because they are more affordable than their larger cousins.
Secondly, there may be a physical space limitation where the tank is to be placed. A small tank allows you to place it anywhere you like such as in your home office, in the kids’ playroom, in the living room, and more….
Thirdly, many people choose a small tank as they believe it will be easier to care for as well as maintain. That’s not quite the way it works however. Just like us humans, your fish don’t want to live in a dirty environment. If you want to keep your fish healthy and happy, you need to clean the tank regularly.
A small tank is physically less surface area to clean, however, maintaining the correct chemical balance in the tank is a more sensitive operation compared to even a 10 gallon tank. A bigger tank whilst being larger to clean, should require cleaning less often if simple procedures are followed.
Things to Consider when Deliberating which Fish Bowl or Tank is Best for YOU.
As a responsible and caring owner, you will provide your fish enough room to be comfortable, room to exercise, room to play and do other fishy things! Keeping this in mind, it’s time to think about fish size in relation to the fishbowl.
As you have chosen to start your fish adventure with a small tank, it’s logical to choose your new housemates from the smaller fish species….not simply from a fish that is small at the time you view them at the pet shop!
Some of these little fellas grow and grow…! You certainly dont want your aquarium home to resemble a can of sardines!
Overcrowding will be detrimental to the health of your fish and can result in the loss of your new friends. In such a small fish tank, changes in the chemical equilibrium can occur rapidly, resulting in a toxic environment.
Resist choosing solely on the color, the cuteness, the physical appearance – choose from the fish that are from the smaller species of fish.
In addition to the fish size, there are other important factors to consider.
Many people want to add tropical fish to their bowl or tank. These fish can do best between 70 and 78 F.
But, some of them can require higher temperatures, while some require lower ones. It’s important to keep the temperature consistent.
If the temperature fluctuates, your fish can be more susceptible to disease and parasites. More seriousl, if the temperature changes suddenly, it can be fatal.
Ammonia and Waste
Ammonia build up is most undesirable. It is contained in waste that the fish excrete. Overfeeding is a common cause for this to happen
It’s not a good idea to feed your fish ‘extra’ food for the weekend if you will be away. It can lead to excessive waste and any leftover food in the tank can contribute to making your tank dirty and scungy!
By cycling your tank water properly, you can prevent ammonia build up and keep your fish alive and healthy!
Aquarium lighting is an important factor to consider when setting up your fish tank. Improper lighting will not fully display the beauty within your aquarium tank and can lcontribute to undesirable high water temperatures.
Avoid using incandescent bulbs because they can impact on increasing the water temperature. LED lighting is considered the best light
Avoid placing your tank directly in front of a window. We recommend you to look for a bowl with a lid that comes with a light. LED .
Top 16 Best Fish for Small Gallon Tanks
Tropical Freshwater Species
Betta Fish are one of the most popular tropical freshwater fish due to the many different shapes and colors which they can be found in. The many variations of Betta Fish are usually classified by their colors, patterns, and tail type. It’s their color that is the most eyecatching characteristic …they have been bred in all the colors of the rainbow!
Very importantly, the Betta species of fish don’t grow to be large sized-fish,so, due to this, Betta fish types are very suitable for 2.5-gallon tanks.
Often pet Betta fish are kept in bowls…. but if you want them to have more room, whilst still being limited by the physical space to place the aquarium, check through our reviews can go for any of the fish tanks that we recommended below.
Betta fishes are among fish species that are relatively clean fish and that are most suitable to keep in a bowl or a small tank without filtration being essential.
In an unfiltered tank or bowl, regular changes of the water is required to prevent toxins from building up. Nice and simples!
You can stock the tank with as many female Betta fishes that your tank size wise is suitable for. However, only keep ONE male Betta in a tank to avoid aggressiveness amongst your Bettas. Two males will fight to the death 🙁
Consider Neon Tetras, black tetras, and other tetra species if you want peaceful but colorful fish.
You may want to put in some extra plants inside since these fish love to hide in plain sight.
They are various, so they are good choices for a small aquarium. Actually, these fish are peaceful. They are keen on hiding places.
There are some of Tetras fish you can keep in a small tank such as Cardinal tetra, Neon tetra, Ruby tetra, Lemon tetra, and Black tetra.
Another fish that is peaceful, they can be kept in a minimum of 3 in a tank.
Don’t keep them alone, as they can get lonely. They fit well in either small or medium-sized aquariums just fine.
They are known for their unique characteristics of the silver body.
One highlighted point of this type is that they can be able to live up to 10 years if you give them the right care and treatments. They are active fish.
For your small tank, we recommend you to keep five fish at maximum. It’s easy to keep them in groups because they’re peaceful. They are easy to become shy if you only keep one fish.
Small Live Bearers
This is also a great choice for a small aquarium. Normally, these fish will generate more waste than Tetras.
That’s why you should consider reducing the number of fish. In fact, you will have to get some baby fish soon to take care of.
It’s essential to leave some room for the fish’s offspring. Plus, these fish are available in various colors.
You can add these fish to any size tank you want. Because most of their adults are small size, they are ideal for small aquariums.
It’s best to keep them in groups of at least three. Avoid keep them singly because these fish cannot be able to thrive alone. These fish are peaceful fish.
The fish is an indispensable choice for a small aquarium because of the combination of personality and utility. That’s why we advise you to add this fish type to your tank.
White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Another small fish, they are similar to tetras so you can keep them alongside as well. These fish are tolerant of many temperatures as well as water conditions.
Moreover, these fish are peaceful as well. So, you can keep them with other small fish like tetras.
They can be able to live in cold temperatures very well. They can be able to live up to 5 years if they get the proper care.
Small Bards are another choice for your small tank. Prime examples include the Checkerboard Bard or the Cherry Barb.
It’s best to keep these fish in a group of at least 5 or more. You shouldn’t keep a small number of these fish. It can result in aggressiveness between barbs.
These fish allow you to adjust them to any condition as well as temperature. These fish are small and active fish. You can feed them almost anything.
Especially, these fish are seen with unique bright horizontal stripes. That’s why they are noticeable. It’s a good idea to keep them in groups at the top of water surface.
The black molly can be great for different water types, such as freshwater or saltwater.
Avoid putting males and females together if your tank is too small because of their strange behavior of eating babies!
This type of fish is known for their high flexibility and adaptability. They can be able to live in freshwater, saltwater, as well as brackish water.
This fish is ideal for your small tank. They allow you to get a community fish with many different types. If you keep both male and female fish in a tank, it can result in Black Molly babies.
But, the kids require enough vegetation to hide. Otherwise, their parents can eat them. If you have a small tank, you shouldn’t have a couple in the tank.
Black Skirt Tetra
For this type of fish, it’s important to buy a couple at least. Even, you can buy a group of them as long as your tank is big enough to keep them.
This type is one of the best tetra fish for beginners. These fish are peaceful fish. You should consider adding plants and rocks for their hiding spots.
These fish actually live on the bottom of the tank. In fact, they tend to hide when it’s daytime.
If you plan to keep these fish in your tank, it’s essential to make a cave or tunnel for their hiding spots. More importantly, you need to choose food carefully.
It’s best to choose ones that can sink to the bottom.
These fish are popular choices for beginners because of their wide array of varieties. You can keep them in a community fish. It’s important to keep the babies away from other fish.
Otherwise, they can be eaten by other members of the tank. You should feed them freeze-fired or flake food. In addition, you can also feed them the algae if you want to keep the tank clean.
These fish can be able to live for a long time with proper care. Also, these fish are passive.
If you are looking for a type that can help to add colors into your tank, choose these fish due to their bright colors.
If you are seeking a bit more exotic fish, this is your choice. The wild-type guppies just live a few quarts of water. The fish is extremely diverse in looking.
You only have to pay about ten cents per fish. Normally, these fish are kept in cramped conditions. It’s important to quarantine as well as remove any sickly ones from the group.
You may need a help from an antibacterial medicine for the treatment.
Salt and Pepper Corydoras
These fish are well known for their ability to clean up after themselves. These scavenger catfish actually grow to be about ¾ to 1 inch long.
It’s best to keep them in groups with plant life in your bowls or tanks. These fish are also peaceful fish. They eat small fish flakes.
They are also suitable to keep in between 77-88F. These fish can do better in a small bowl or tank.
Blind Cave Tetras
This is a good choice for your tank with the cold water. With these fish, you needn’t add supplemental heat as well as bright lighting.
However, it’s a good idea to give them a small cave to hide in. The fact is that these fish can jump when they get stressed. That’s why you need to set up a screen for the top of the bowl.
For non-fish species, consider the following:
They are in 1 inch. They are very popular in freshwater aquariums. They are great for tank cleaning in a natural way.
These snails can be able to remove debris and algae from your fish tank. As a result, you can keep the tank clean. It’s easy to identify these snails through their vivid black as well.
Their best characteristic is their gold stripes, which make them look like zebras, so they can be a good attraction to your tank as well.
The Zebra snails are also easy to take care of. They’re excellent for busy people who don’t have a lot of time to clean their tank too often.
You can also put cherry shrimp with your betta tank, but you should lessen them if you have a smaller tank.
Cherry shrimp tends to be the smaller shrimps so they can work well even in 2.5-gallon tanks
7 Top 2.5 Gallon Fish Tank Reviews
Having a good tank for your little fish can be important so that they live in a peaceful environment with less likelihood of leaks and another hassle.
It is important to look for a good place for your betta fish (or any other small species) to thrive so they can’t be stressed as much.
If you are looking for a 2.5 gallon fish tank review, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of our picks:
Made with 3 colors to choose from, this one has a sleek design in terms of its width so you may find it easy to fit into most narrow spaces or small rooms.
It also uses LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient than old lighting systems.
It uses a QuietFlow filtration system included in the kit so you won’t be annoying others when you are cleaning the fish tank.
The fish tank will be Smart shipped in its own container for protection against scratches and breakage during shipping
The setup is quite easy for most beginners and it even has its own elevated base.
Things We Liked
- The LED lighting can be energy-efficient
- Three colors to choose from
- Beginner-friendly setup
- Smart shipping
- QuietFlow filtration
- Also available in a 1 and 5 gallon version
Things We Didn’t Like
- The filter suction is strong and may not suit Betta fish unless a gravel bed is added to avoid accidentally injuring your fish
Carolina Biological Supply Company Aquarium Tank
If you want a simple tank without the extra stuff, this one can be a good pick for you.
It is a simple tank that measures 12 x 6 x 8 inches and has a glass thickness of 2.5 mm or 3/32 inches.
Although you may have to buy a separate aquarium lid, it accommodates most standard sizes, anyway. It has a leak-proof design around so it may work well even for saltwater.
Because it was well-packed when you have it shipped to your doorstep, it can bring you peace of mind. It is also good for betta fish due to the size, especially for betta babies.
Things We Liked
- Good for betta fish (and babies)
- Leak-proof design
- Doesn’t react with saltwater
- Smartly shipped to your doorstep
Things We Didn’t Like
- It’s a tank-only product
- You may need to buy a tank lid separately
Aqueon LED Desktop Aquarium White
A white version of our previous pick, this one measures 11 x 7 x 12 inches so it also doesn’t take up way too much space.
It uses LED lighting as well so it can be seen as energy-efficient. One plus point about this aquarium is that it has a hole for easy feeding – you can find it on the lid part.
The base is also elevated, much like with our top pick, so that you can easily see the fish on any surface.
It uses the Aqueon QuietFlow filter and it also comes with user instructions to help you get started on your fish keeping journey.
Things We Liked
- Sleek design
- Has LED lighting
- Feeding hole
- Elevated design
Things We Didn’t Like
- The filter may be a bit noisy fin some situations / settings.
Koller Products AquaView Aquarium Kit
Shaped with a beautiful 270 deg curved face, this semi circular tank allows viewer to observe the fish from any angle in the room slightly taller design and a more square profile, this one is good for those who don’t have a lot of table space for standard rectangular fish tanks.
It has LED lights to keep your fish active and it also comes with its own internal power filter. The lighting system also has different colors so your fish can look really cool in your room.
The use of impact-resistant plastic for the tank makes it less likely to get into accidents with kids while it still retains good clarity. The tank measures 12″ wide x 8.75″ deep x 13.5″ high, and whilst a little larger than a 2.5 gal tank, it is certainly still compact!.
Things We Liked
- LED lights – your choice of 7 colors!
- Has a semi circular profile
- Impact-resistant plastic
- Comes complete with internal filtration
- Includes a timer
Things We Didn’t Like
- Some owners have experienced filter issues
Aqueon BettaBow LED Desktop Fish Aquarium Kit
Specifically made for betta fish, this one has a low profile design so it can be set anywhere you like.
It also has a set of LED lights that are energy-efficient and can set the mood of your fish. It has an elevated base for you to easily see the fish in the tank while its filter can be good for beginners.
It has a feeding tank on its hood so that you can easily feed your fish. It also comes with samples and cartridges for you to get started – it’s good for those who are new to keeping fish.
Things We Liked
- Quiet filter
- Feeding tank on the hood
- LED lighting
- Good for betta fish
- Elevated base
Things We Didn’t Like
- Packaging for shipping could be better.
Overall, we think that the Aqueon LED MiniBow Aquarium Starter Kits is our top pick since it has LED lighting, various colors to choose from, beginner-friendly setup and package, smart shipping, and quiet filter.
The only small downside is that you may need to buy a separate filter if you find that the filter is too strong for your fish, but this is true for most starter kits, anyway.
Looking for a 2.5-gallon tank may not be that easy but if you search carefully, you are bound to find one that fits well for your fish species.
We hope you liked our top picks for the best 2.5-gallon fish tanks!
Things to Consider
Before you buy a 2.5 gallon aquarium, you may want to check out the following information first:
How do I choose the right tank for my fish?
If you are new to keeping fish, you may want to consider the following things first before you buy a fish tank
What’s the size of the fish?
If you don’t know which fish are best for you tank, you can consult online guides or you can check out below to see which fish fit well in a 2.5-gallon tank.
You have to make sure that the fish fit perfectly so that they don’t get overcrowded inside the tank.
What temperature does the fish live in?
Tropical fish and cold-water fish are different from each other, such that some of them require a different temperature in order for them to survive since their bodies aren’t built for different temperatures.
Consider knowing the fish’s requirements for the temperature to keep your fish tank water in the right warmth or coldness.
Does the tank have a good filter?
The filter of any tank is important so that your fish doesn’t get poisoned with ammonia, which they emit as waste from their bodies after eating.
Fish need to have a filter that’s not too strong so they won’t get sucked in, especially with betta fish or any baby fish (or small species).
Do I have proper lighting?
Consider a fish tank that already comes with its own lighting system (or you can also buy one separately).
Fish tanks that have lighting can set the mood for the fish and it will also help the plants grow and thrive like a real underwater environment.
What’s my budget?
Of course, you shouldn’t spend too much on a hobby that you haven’t completely explored yet.
Consider cheaper options first and then if you find that you want a higher quality tank (or fish tank supply), you can go for a higher-priced one.
Where will I place the fish tank?
Look for a place to put the fish tank before you buy and make sure it fits. Consider a location where kids or pets won’t be easily bumping into it to avoid accidents.
How do I feed a betta fish?
The best way to feed a betta fish is to look for a specific food that is applicable for them (check your local pet store for more information). Here are some guidelines on feeding them:
- Frozen foods need to be thawed first. This is so that they can easily digest the foods when they reach for them.
- Don’t overfeed. Make sure your betta fish can feed only within 1 minute or so to avoid clouding the water. This is especially true with small tanks.
- Crush food for babies. When you are feeding betta babies, consider fine food such as flakes or small pellets since they can be easily digested by the small ones.
How much betta fish should I put in a tank?
As long as there’s only one male in one tank, you willl be fine.
Betta tanks should have more females and fewer males so that there will be less aggressiveness inside, especially if you are keeping a very small tank.
Also, consider keeping betta fish only with peaceful species and not the similar bully ones to avoid any spark inside the fish tank.
You should also avoid fancy guppies since male betta fish tend to bully them.
When keeping betta fish in your tank, consider not having any current or at least very little ones to avoid feeling disturbed or anxious.
The smallest tank size for betta fish is about 1¼ gallon or larger, if you only intend to keep one or two, so 2.5 gallon tanks work just fine for a couple of betta fish.