For me, I had been postponing the thought of keeping a pet. I used to think that keeping a pet can be exhausting and too demanding. But, fish keeping is different- it requires less time, attention, and space. The most surprising fact was that you could keep a tank as small as 3 gallons. Once I made up my mind to keep a 3-gallon tank, I started looking for the best fish for the tank.
There are a lot of options for the best fish for a 3-gallon tank. Especially the ones that most aquarists prefer are:
- Neon Tetras
- Ember Tetras
- Zebra Danios
Obviously, these are just a few names and I do have a long list of the best fish that suits your 3-gallon tank. We will be exploring them further. But before that, let me answer some questions that you might have if you are a novice.
Is A 3 Gallon Tank Best For Beginners?
A three-gallon tank is great for beginners. If your kids are just getting into aquariums and caring for fish, this is a perfect size. They’re small enough to be easy to care for but large enough to house a few different types of fish.
If you are just starting off and are looking for something that will help you to gain experience with fish caretaking, then a three-gallon tank is ideal. They are also relatively affordable and won’t take up too much space in your home. You can set up your tank in any room of the house, and it won’t be an eyesore.
However, this doesn’t mean that a 3-gallon tank is flawless. This tank comes with some issues of its own. So, what do you think they are then?
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Keeping A 3 Gallon Tank?
Just a few lines earlier, I talked with you about how is a 3-gallon tank best for beginners. So, for sure, the benefits of this tank do not differ much.:
- A 3-gallon tank is affordable and easy to care for.
- You can easily keep this tank in any room of your house.
- This tank is perfect for small fish like the betta fish or the goldfish.
- The size of the tank also means that it will not take up too much space in your home.
Now, let us move on and talk about some cons of keeping a small aquarium like this:
- A small tank like this means that there will be less room for your fish to swim around.
- This also means that the water in the tank will get dirty faster, and you will need to do more maintenance than with a larger aquarium.
- The smaller the tank, the more difficult it is to keep the water temperature stable.
- Cleaning this tank will also be more difficult than a larger one. You will need to do it more often and be very careful not to damage the tank.
As you can see, even though a 3-gallon tank is small, it still has some pros and cons that you need to take into consideration before making your final decision. So, what fish are the best for a tank like this?
What Kind of Fish Can You Keep in a 3-Gallon Tank?
You might be surprised to learn that there are certain kinds of fish that will do well in a smaller tank like a three-gallon. They are:
Smaller fish are going to be the best option for a three-gallon tank. This is because they will require less space and less water to swim around in. Some of the small fish are bettas, guppies, and neon tetras.
Hardy fish are also a good option for a three-gallon tank because they can withstand less-than-ideal water conditions. This is important because it means that you won’t have to be as vigilant about keeping the water in your tank clean. Some good options for hardy fish include goldfish and zebra danios.
Cold Water Fish
Coldwater fish is a good option for a three-gallon tank because they don’t require a heater to keep them comfortable. This is important because it means that you won’t have to worry about buying an additional piece of equipment for your tank. These fish include goldfish and danios.
These are just a few of the best fish for a three-gallon tank. There are lists of the best fish for a 3-gallon tank that I have for you. Read further to know them all.
22+ Best Fish For A 3 Gallon Tank
I don’t know, and it might be just me! But choosing a fish for my tank was harder than I thought it would be. When I looked at the number of options that I get for a 3-gallon tank, I was confused. After a lot of trial and error, I have finally come up with a list of fish that are perfect for your aquarium.
Here is my list of the best fish for a three-gallon tank:
Ember Tetra is a species of freshwater fish that is native to the Paraná-Paraguay rivers in South America. The fish has a bright red coloration with a black stripe running along the length of its body. The fish is a small species, with adults typically reaching a size of 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5.1 cm). Thus, they are the best fish for a 3-gallon tank.
Furthermore, Ember tetra is very easy to care for and does not require much time and space. So, beginners also can keep them in their tanks with ease. However, there is something that you must consider.
Firstly, Ember Tetra is peaceful fish that prefers to live in groups. If a 3-gallon tank, you need at least 2 to 3 ember tetras. Similarly, this fish needs ideal water that is around 75 to 82 degrees F hot and has neutral pH. Also, do not forget to feed them healthily. Even though these fish aren’t picky, you must be careful about what and how much you feed them.
All in all, these were a few considerations; if you could manage all these, you can keep ember tetra happily for ten or more years.
Sparkling gouramis are a type of freshwater fish that is native to Southeast Asia. They get their name from the iridescent spots on their bodies, which glitter like diamonds when they catch the light.
Sparkling gouramis are typically between 2 and 3 inches long, making them a good choice for a 3-gallon tank. They are also relatively peaceful fish and can be kept with other peaceful species. You can easily keep around three gouramis in a 3-gallon tank. A tank of this size will be large enough to provide them with plenty of space to swim, but not so large that they feel overwhelmed.
Another reason why these fish are best for a 3-gallon tank is that they are slow-growing fish. Thus, you will have lots of time before the fish outgrow your 3-gallon tank. Isn’t it amazing?
If you maintain the water temperature of 77°F, with moderate hardness and pH of 6 to 8, this fish can stay with you for 5 to 7 years. So, I suggest you give this fish a try; you will for sure love them.
Pygmy Corydoras (Trichopsis pumila)
If you’re looking for a small and shy fish to add to your 3-gallon tank, the pygmy corydoras is a great option. This tiny freshwater fish originates from South America and is only around 2 centimeters in length.
The pygmy corydoras has a brown or tan body with black stripes running along its sides. These little fish are very peaceful and prefer to stick to the bottom of the tank. They usually do not disturb other fish. So, you won’t have much problem finding the tankmates for this fish.
Pygmy corydoras will tolerate a wide range of water conditions so they will be no problem from them dealing with the fluctuations in the water. This beautiful freshwater fish prefers to live in slightly warm and acidic water in a group of three to four. Hence, you need to manage the minimum requirements of these fish if you want them to be in your tank for at least 5 years.
The Corydoras is a species of Aquarium fish that is best for a 3-gallon tank. Corydoras are a common freshwater fish that are found in South America. They are peaceful bottom-dwelling fish that are known for their scavenging abilities. Corydoras are small fish, with most species only reaching 2-3 inches in size in adulthood. This makes them well-suited for smaller tanks like the 3-gallon tank. Corydoras are also relatively easy to care for and can live for 5-10 years with proper care.
Corydoras have a typical “catfish” appearance, with a long body and whiskers on their face. They are typically brown or grey in coloration, with some species having patterns of spots or stripes. Corydoras are very active fish and enjoy swimming around the tank in search of food.
Since they come from tropical climates, Corydoras prefer warm water temperatures and require a heater in their tank. They also prefer soft water with a neutral pH level. With proper care, Six-ray Corydoras can make a great addition to any 3-gallon tank.
Endler’s Livebearer (Poecilia wingei)
Endler’s livebearer is a small species of fish that is native to Venezuelan freshwater streams. This fish is well-suited for life in a 3-gallon tank because of its small size and peaceful temperament. Endler’s livebearer grows to a maximum length of 1.5 inches, making it one of the smaller species of fish available to hobbyists.
In terms of appearance, this fish is quite striking, with vivid colors that range from green to yellow to orange. Endler’s livebearer is also relatively easy to care for, as it can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. With proper care, this fish can live for 5-7 years in captivity. Overall, Endler’s livebearer makes an excellent choice for those looking to add a vibrant and low-maintenance fish to their 3-gallon tank.
White Cloud Minnows
White cloud minnows are excellent fish for a 3-gallon tank. They are originally from China and are a part of the carp family. They only grow to be about 2 inches long and are silver with a white belly. White clouds prefer cooler temperatures in their water and do well in a neutral pH.
You can keep several of these fish in a 3-gallon tank, and they have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years. One reason why they make such good fish for a small tank is that they don’t require a lot of space to swim and are very active. They are also very hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters, making them ideal for beginner fish keepers.
Pea Pufferfish (Carinotetraodon travancorius)
The pea pufferfish is a small and colorful freshwater fish that originates from Southeast Asia. It is one of the best fish for a 3-gallon tank because it is relatively small and peaceful. Additionally, the pea pufferfish is easy to care for and has a lifespan of 3-5 years.
The pea pufferfish grows to be about 2 inches in length, making it a perfect fit for a 3-gallon tank. They are brightly colored, with a dark body and spots of yellow, green, or orange. Pea pufferfish are relatively hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. However, they prefer water that is slightly alkaline with a temperature between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are looking for a small and low-maintenance fish for your 3-gallon tank, the pea pufferfish is an excellent choice!
Asian Stone Catfish (Hara jerdoni)
If you’re looking for the best fish for a 3-gallon tank, you can’t go wrong with Asian stone catfish. The Asian stone catfish, also known as the BorneoCat, is a small, hardy fish that originates from Southeast Asia. They are an excellent choice for a 3-gallon tank because they are relatively small (reaching a maximum size of 2.5 inches).
Moreover, Asian stone catfish are also very attractive, with smooth, gray-brown bodies and distinctive black spots. I am sure that this beautiful accentuates your small space a lot. You can keep around 3 to 5 of them in a 3-gallon tank and enjoy.
Furthermore, when it comes to water parameters, they are relatively forgiving and can tolerate a wide range of pH levels and temperature fluctuations. With a lifespan of 5-10 years, Asian stone catfish are a great choice for anyone looking for long-term tank mates. So why not give them a try? You might just be surprised at how much personality these little fish have.
Scarlet Badis (Dario dario)
The Scarlet Badis is a beautiful freshwater fish that is native to India and Pakistan. These little fish are perfect for a 3-gallon tank as they only grow to be about 1.5 inches in length. Scarlet Badis are also very peaceful fish and can be kept with other small, peaceful fish.
In terms of appearance, Scarlet Badis are reddish-orange in color with black vertical stripes running down their bodies. They have long, flowing fins that make them look much larger than they actually are. When it comes to water parameters, Scarlet Badis prefer water that is fairly warm (between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit) and slightly acidic (pH 6.5-7.0).
In terms of lifespan, Scarlet Badis can live for up to 5 years with proper care. Undoubtedly, the Scarlet Badis is a perfect choice for anyone looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance fish for their 3-gallon tank.
Bumblebee Goby (Brachygobius doriae)
The Bumblee Goby is a small, peaceful fish that originates from Thailand. They are best suited for a 3-gallon tank because of their size and peaceful nature. Bumblee Gobies only grow to be about 2 inches long, so they don’t need a lot of space to swim around. They are also relatively calm fish and won’t cause any problems in a small tank.
Generally, Bumblee Gobies prefer water that is slightly acidic with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. They also prefer a water temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. These water conditions are not hard to maintain in you have the right equipment.
Bumblee Gobies are brown or grey in color, with dark bands running across their bodies. They have long fins that they use to maneuver through the water. Moreover, Bumblee Gobies can live for up to 5 years in captivity if they are well cared for.
Bettas (Betta splendens)
Bettas, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a popular choice for aquariums. They are native to Southeast Asia and typically grow to be about 2.5 inches long. Bettas are known for their brightly colored fins and their aggressive nature.
While they can be kept in tanks as small as 3 gallons, it is best to give them a little more room to swim. A 3-gallon tank is also a good size for beginners since it is easy to maintain. When caring for bettas, it is important to keep the water clean and at the correct temperature. Bettas have a lifespan of 3-5 years, but with proper care, they can live even longer.
Neon Tetras are one of the most popular fish for home aquariums, and it’s easy to see why. These little fish are incredibly beautiful, with their iridescent blue and red stripes, and they are very peaceful, making them a good choice for community tanks. Despite their small size, Neon Tetras are relatively easy to care for and can live for up to 10 years with proper care.
One of the reasons why Neon Tetras are so popular is that they can be kept in small tanks. A 3-gallon tank is actually the perfect size for a school of Neon Tetras, as they don’t require a lot of space to swim around.
Another reason why Neon Tetras make good candidates for small tanks is that they don’t produce a lot of waste. As long as you perform regular water changes and keep the tank clean, your Neon Tetras should do just fine.
Guppies are one of the best fish for a 3-gallon tank. They are small, only growing to be about 2 inches long. They are also very hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.
Guppies originate from Africa and South America and are now found all over the world. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, making them a popular choice for aquariums. Guppies have a lifespan of about 2-3 years, although some have been known to live up to 5 years.
When choosing guppies for your 3-gallon tank, it is best to stick with just a few fish so that they have enough room to swim. You should also avoid keeping multiple males together, as they will often fight over territory.
Cherry shrimp are one of the most popular freshwater shrimp for aquarists. They are native to East Asia, and their vibrant red coloration makes them a beautiful addition to any aquarium. Cherry shrimp are relatively small, with adults reaching a maximum size of around 2 inches. They are also very easy to care for and can thrive in a wide range of water parameters.
Cherry shrimp have a lifespan of around two years, making them a great choice for aquarists who are looking for a long-term addition to their tank. One of the reasons why cherry shrimp are best for a 3-gallon tank is that they are very small and do not require a lot of space. They are also very peaceful and typically get along well with other tank mates.
As long as you provide them with the proper care, cherry shrimp make an excellent addition to any aquarium.
Chili Rasboras, or Boraras Brigitte, are a small species of fish that originates from Southeast Asia. They are a popular choice for aquariums because of their vibrant red coloration and their small size. Chili Rasboras only grow to be about 1 inch in length, making them a good option for smaller tanks. In addition, they are relatively easy to care for and have a lifespan of 3-5 years.
When it comes to choosing fish for a 3-gallon tank, Chili Rasboras are a great option. They are small enough that they won’t overpopulate the tank, and they don’t require special care or attention. In terms of water parameters, Chili Rasboras prefer neutral to slightly acidic water with a temperature between 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit. If you’re looking for a colorful and low-maintenance fish for your 3-gallon tank, Chili Rasboras are a great option.
Zebra Danios are one of the best fish for a 3-gallon tank. They are small, hardy, and easy to care for, and they make a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. Originates are from Southeast Asia, and it is a popular choice for fish keepers of all levels of experience.
Zebra Danios are relatively small fish, and they only grow to be about 2 inches in length. They have a silver body with black stripes that run horizontally along their sides.
Zebra Danios are very adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. They prefer to live in tropical freshwater aquariums with a temperature between 72 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Zebra Danios have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, although some individuals have been known to live for ten years or more.
Least KIllifish (Heterandria Formosa)
Out of all the nano fish in the aquarium hobby, the Least Killifish is definitely one of the best choices for a 3-gallon tank. For starters, they are incredibly small fish that originates from North America. They only grow to be about an inch long, making them one of the smallest freshwater fish available.
In terms of appearance, they are very sleek and have a dark brown or black body with a large silver stripe running down their sides. When it comes to water parameters, they are very tolerant and can adapt to a wide range of conditions.
Lastly, they have a relatively long lifespan for such small fish and can live up to 5 years with proper care. So if you’re looking for a small and low-maintenance fish for your 3-gallon tank, the Least Killifish should definitely be at the top of your list.
Octocinclus is a small freshwater aquarium fish that originates from South America. They are one of the best fish for a 3-gallon tank because they are very peaceful and do not grow too large. Octocinclus are also easy to care for and are tolerant of a wide range of water parameters.
Octocinclus are small fish, with adults reaching a maximum size of around 2 inches. They have a brown or olive green body with dark vertical stripes. Octocinclus are very active fish and enjoy swimming in schools.
When kept in captivity, Octocinclus have a lifespan of 2-3 years. However, their life expectancy can be reduced if they are kept in an unsuitable environment or if they do not receive proper care.
Overall, Octocinclus are excellent choices for beginner aquarium hobbyists or those wishing to keep a low-maintenance aquarium. Thanks to their small size and peaceful nature, they can be successfully kept in a 3-gallon tank without any problems.
If you’re looking for an interesting and low-maintenance addition to your 3-gallon tank, Ghost Shrimp is a great option. Originally from Southeast Asia, these small shrimp are only 1-2 inches in size. They have a clear body with brown bands, and they are known for their ability to become almost fully transparent.
Ghost Shrimp are very adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of water parameters. They are also relatively long-lived, with a lifespan of 2-3 years. One of the reasons why Ghost Shrimp make such good candidates for 3-gallon tanks is that they are very peaceful creatures. They get along well with other shrimp and fish, and they are not known for being aggressive or territorial.
As a result, they are a great addition to any community tank. Another reason why Ghost Shrimp are ideal for 3-gallon tanks is that they are very easy to care for. They are not picky eaters and will do well on a variety of foods. They also don’t require any special care or attention, making them a perfect choice for beginning aquarists.
While all these were the best fish for a 3-gallon tank, there are also some fish that do not quite do well within a 3 Gallon tank. I think you need to be aware of them as well if you are thinking of keeping a 3-gallon tank.
What Are The Types Of Fish That You Should Not Keep In A 3 Galon Tank?
Of course, you have a wide range of best fish options to choose from for your 3 Gallon tank. But still, there are some types of fish that you should not keep in your aquarium. These include:
Goldfish are a type of freshwater fish that originate from East Asia. They are a popular choice for home aquaria and are available in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
While goldfish can be a beautiful addition to any home, they are not the best option for a 3-gallon tank. This is because goldfish grow to be quite large, and they produce a lot of waste. As a result, they require a spacious tank with plenty of filtration in order to stay healthy.
In a small tank, goldfish are more likely to suffer from poor water quality, which can lead to health problems. In addition, goldfish are active swimmers and need plenty of space to move around. A 3-gallon tank simply isn’t large enough to meet their needs.
If you’re looking for a pet fish for a small tank, there are better options available than goldfish.
Gourami is a tropical freshwater fish that originates from Southeast Asia. They are typically small fish, with some species only reaching a few inches in length. They are also brightly colored, with many featuring vivid hues of blue, red, and orange.
While they are often marketed as being ideal for small tanks, they are actually one of the worst options for a 3 gallon tank. This is because they are very active fish that require a lot of space to swim. They also produce a large amount of waste, which can quickly pollute a small tank. As a result, it is best to avoid keeping Gourami in a 3-gallon tank.
Cichlids are one of the most popular fish kept in aquariums. They come in a wide variety of colors and patterns, and many species are relatively easy to care for. However, cichlids are not a good choice for a 3-gallon tank. Most cichlids originate from Africa and South America, where they live in large bodies of water. As a result, they require more space than other fish to be comfortable and thrive. In addition, many species of cichlid can grow quite large, making them unsuitable for small tanks. Finally, cichlids are generally very active fish, and their constant swimming can quickly lead to poor water quality in a small tank. For these reasons, it is best to choose another type of fish for a 3-gallon tank.
If you want a beautiful tank with the least issues, I suggest staying away from these three fish.
What Should You Consider When You Decide On A 3 Gallon Tank?
A beautiful tank with healthy fish is a dream of every fish keeper. But what’s the best way to achieve this goal? You need to consider a few things when you set up a new aquarium, such as:
Type And Nature Of Fish
There are many different types of fish, each with its own unique needs. Some fish are peaceful while others are aggressive. Some fish prefer to live in groups while others do better alone. It’s important to research the specific type of fish you’re interested in and make sure they will be compatible with the other fish in your tank.
The Size Of Your Tank
The size of your tank is also important. A smaller tank will require more maintenance than a larger one, and some fish simply won’t do well in a small space. It’s important to find a balance between the size of your tank and the number of fish you want to keep.
Another important consideration is where you will put your aquarium. Some fish need a lot of light, while others do better in darker areas. Make sure you have a spot in mind that meets the needs of your fish before setting up your tank.
Equipment You Want To Include
When you set up a new aquarium, you’ll need to purchase some basic equipment. This includes a filter, heater, and thermometer, at the very least. You may also want to add plants, rocks, or other decorations to your tank.
Water Changes: When And How Often
Another thing to consider is how often you’ll need to change the water in your tank. It is important to perform regular water changes. This helps to keep the water clean and free of toxins that can harm your fish. Water changes should be done at least once a week and more often if you have a lot of fish in your tank.
All of these factors are important to consider when you decide to keep fish in your tank.
How To Maintain A 3 Gallon Tank?
Although few aquarists think that a 3-gallon tank is easier to maintain than a larger aquarium, the truth is that it can be just as challenging. The key to success is to select the right fish for your tank and to perform regular maintenance tasks such as gravel vacuuming and water changes.
Here’s how you can maintain a 3-gallon tank:
Step One: Select the Right Fish
When choosing fish for a small aquarium, it’s important to consider both the adult size of the fish and its swimming habits. For example, goldfish can grow quite large and are notorious for being messy eaters. This means that they produce a lot of waste, which can quickly pollute a small tank.
In contrast, a fish like the neon tetra is small, peaceful, and doesn’t produce much waste. This makes it a much better choice for a small aquarium.
Step Two: Perform Regular Maintenance
Just like with any other size aquarium, regular maintenance is essential for keeping your tank clean and your fish healthy. This includes tasks such as gravel vacuuming and water changes.
Water changes are particularly important in a small tank since there is less water to dilute waste products. As a general rule, you should perform a water change of at least 50% every week.
Step Three: Keep an Eye on Water Quality
Since small tanks have less water, it’s important to keep a close eye on water quality. This means testing the water regularly and taking action if there are any changes.
For example, if you notice that the ammonia levels in your tank are starting to rise, you may need to perform a water change or add an ammonia-removing product to your filter.
By following these tips, you can successfully maintain a healthy and thriving aquarium, regardless of its size.
How Many Fish Can I Keep In A 3 Gallon Tank?
The total number of fish that you can keep in a 3-gallon tank usually depends on the type and size of fish. However, a good rule of thumb is that you can keep up to one inch of fish per gallon of water. This means that in a three-gallon tank, you could theoretically keep up to three inches of fish.
However, here are some general guidelines for stocking a three-gallon tank:
- Up to three guppies
- Five to ten cherry shrimp
- Three to four neon tetras and two to three shrimp
- One betta fish
- One betta plus two to three shrimp
- Three to four neon tetras
- Three zebra danio plus three shrimp
- Five to ten ghost shrimp
- Five to ten mixed shrimp
- Three to four zebra danio
As you can see, there are quite a few different fish that you can keep in a three-gallon tank. The key is to choose fish that are compatible with each other, and that will not outgrow your tank.
What Are The Best Fish For A Three Gallon Tank?
While there is a variety of different fish that can do well in a three-gallon tank, some of the best include:
What is The Best Substrate For Your 3 Gallon Fish Tank?
While there are a variety of substrates that can be used in a three-gallon fish tank, one of the best is gravel. Gravel is an inert substrate that will not affect the water chemistry in your tank. It is also easy to clean and maintain.
What Are The Best Plants For A Three Gallon Fish Tank?
Some of the best plants for a three-gallon fish tank include:
- Java fern
What Are The Best Decorations For A Three Gallon Fish Tank?
Some of the best decorations for a three-gallon fish tank include:
These decorations not only add to the aesthetic of your tank but also provide hiding places and shelter for your fish.
A three-gallon fish tank is a great option for those who are looking for a small and low-maintenance aquarium. When choosing fish for your tank, be sure to consider the fish’s size, temperament, and water requirements.
With a little bit of research, you can create a beautiful and thriving aquarium that will be the perfect addition to your home. Thanks for reading!