Top 5 Saltwater Fishes For 5-Gallon Aquarium

5-gallon aquariums are not very common in marine-fish keeping hobbies, because of that it is very difficult for reefers with this size tank to find salt-water fishes that fit in their aquarium. There are also very limited options when it comes to Pico reef tanks. 

Furthermore, keeping these small reef tanks is incredibly tough, but they are also a great starting point for somebody who is looking to get into the hobby with a tight budget. Do know that having a pico tank have their own drawbacks because things can happen much faster in a smaller body of water in comparison with a larger body. 

So, to make the fish-choosing journey for your pico tank simple, here are the top 5 saltwater fishes for a 5-gallon tank: 

5. Green Banded Goby 

These are one of the smallest breeds of Goby, therefore an ideal fish to go in your 5-gallon aquarium. This is surely not the most colorful fish in the hobby, but a good one to start with because they:

  • Are beginner-friendly 
  • Have carnivore diet 
  • Are reef safe 
  • Only grows 2-inches 
  • Require minimum tank size 5-gallon 

This fish is also not a great swimmer which further makes it an ideal candidate for a saltwater aquarium. It will often perch of either a rock-work or on the bottom of the tanks.

4. Neon Goby


Don't mistake them with the neon fishes in a freshwater aquarium hobby. They are very interesting fish in their own way. 

Quite often these are captive-bred saltwater fish, so they will be aquaculture most of the time, and thus will take no time in settling in your aquarium. Captive-bred fishes are also a bit pricey, but aqua-culturing is the future of the hobby, so you have no other option but to get used to it.

Neon Gobbies fall under the beginner-friendly category of all the marine and also an ideal find to keep in small tanks because:

  • They are considered reef-safe so highly recommended for coral-lovers
  • With these fishes in the tank, you will never see any aggression, they are very peaceful fish
  • They can grow at a maximum of 2-inches in size
  • The minimum tank size for homing these fishes is 5-gallon
  • They are a carnivore

One interesting thing about these fishes is that they are popular for eating parasites off from the larger fishes in the wild. So, along with being your sweet wet pet, it will also work as a cleaner of the tank, eating off all the dangerous parasites and keeping your tank safe and clean.

When it comes to feeding them, they are known for only accepting frozen foods, and this is something you definitely need to consider. So, if you are going to keep these guys long-term then you have to be ready to accept their eating habits.

3. Clown Goby

These fishes come in various colors, you can find them in green, yellow, and orange color. Even if they are called Clowns, they are definitely Goby and have a very interesting swimming style. They spend a tremendous amount of their time, perching on live rock.

They are fish that can stay within their nook of the reef tank, and this is what makes them such a great candidate for a reef aquarium.

  • They are considered easy to care for and have a peaceful temperament.
  • They have a meat-based diet.
  • They are reef-safe.
  • Can grow upwards of an inch and three-quarters.
  • Minimum tank size requirement 5-gallon.

Despite being peaceful, these fishes can be a little be territorial towards the other clown Gobies and are something you should definitely look out for; if you are planning to keep a number of these fishes in a larger aquarium.

The green breed of the Clown goby has some of the most interesting markings and is not a very common coloration for saltwater fish.

2. Wheeler's Shrimp Goby

This is one of the most colorful saltwater fish on this list, the makings on them are phenomenal. They are speckled with colors and beautiful fish to add to your little desk aquarium.

These fishes are a great choice are because:

  • They are easy to care for
  • Have a peaceful temprament
  • Carnivore-based diet
  • Reef safe
  • Can get up to 3-inches in size
  • The minimum tank size these fishes need is 5-gallons

When it comes to feeding, these fishes are carnivores, so you definitely want the meat-based diet. They love eating frozen food, so just feed them frozen cubes and they will stay super happy in their new little home.

An important consideration for any fish that is a carnivore and is in a smaller aquarium, you want to make sure that you are using rinsed frozen food, and as soon as you can get the fish to accept the pellets, the better it will be for you.

1. Hi-Fin Red Banded Goby

These are probably the hobbyist's top favorite fish of the goby family. But make sure that you have tight-fitting lid on your tank because they are a big-time jumper.

These fishes:

  • Have moderate care level
  • Have a peaceful temperament
  • Eat meat-based diet
  • Are considered reef safe
  • Can grow at most 2-inches in size
  • Require minimum tank size of 5-gallons

You need to provide these fishes with a lot of hiding spots to keep them happy. They are friendly and fill develop a friendly relationship with the Pastel Shrimps in the tank, thus a great option for pico tanks.

About author


Tagged Articles