Cheap 5 Gallon Fish Tank & Aquariums – Top 5 Reviews, Guide, FAQs & More

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A 5 gallon fish tank can add great value to your life but you’ll agree with us when we say that finding one at a reasonable price can be quite difficult. 

That’s why we’ve searched online and in the market to bring you the best 5 gallon fish tanks you can get at an affordable price. 

In today’s post, we’ll discuss the strengths and weaknesses of different 5 gallon fish tanks and look into what makes them worth buying.

Top Pick

This aquarium is a blank canvas that you can customize in any way you deem fit. It’s made with high-quality materials which are built to last a long time and also make it easy to use.

Runner Up

If you’re looking for an aesthetically pleasing aquarium, we highly recommend this product. It has a cleverly-designed hood with effective lighting and a great filter.

Also Great

This product comes with a ton of accessories and a lighting system with four different modes. It’s specifically designed to make the colors of your fish pop.

After months of precise testing, we’ve concluded that these three give the most value for money. 

Now, let’s get into the reviews for the top 5 cheap 5 gallon fish tanks.

Cheap 5 Gallon Fish Tank - Top 5 Reviews

1. Best Cheap 5 Gallon Fish Tank - Carolina Biological Supply Company Aquarium Tank Review

The Carolina Biological Supply Company Aquarium Tank is built from the highest quality materials. Its walls are bound together by silicone rubber which ensure the tank does not leak. 

The company claims that the tank will last for years. We’ve been testing it for a few months now and it has shown zero signs of withering or any other kind of damage so we’re quite inclined to believe their claim. 

We also found it to be much lighter than most glass aquariums of a similar size. This made it quite easy to place and to make adjustments to it as will be necessary since it doesn’t come with its own equipment.

Features of Carolina Biological Supply Company Aquarium Tank – Cheap 5 Gallon Fish Tank

  1. Dimensions: 16 inches by 8 inches by 10 inches
  2. Weight: 10 pounds
  3. Silicone rubber sealed walls
  4. Leak-proof
  5. Scratch-resistant glass
  • Durable
  • Lightweight for a glass aquarium
  • Easy to set up
  • Highly customizable
  • Suitable for both freshwater and seawater environments
  • Doesn’t come with a lid

If you want complete control and precise equipment for your aquarium, this is the product you’re looking for. It’s incredibly lightweight, easy to handle and you can mount all kinds of equipment onto it to suit your needs.

2. Best Cheap Silicone-Bordered 5 Gallon Fish Tank - Aqueon Fish NeoGlow Aquarium Starter Kit Review

The Aqueon Fish NeoGlow Aquarium Starter Kit came to us in reinforced packaging which ensured it wasn’t cracked or damaged in any way. 

The thing you’ll notice immediately about this aquarium is its brightly colored silicone borders. They come in different colors such as green and pink and another layer of aesthetics to the aquarium. 

The background is black which causes your fish to stand out in the aquarium and it can also be used to hide the cords and other equipment inside your aquarium. 

Features of Aqueon Fish NeoGlow Aquarium Starter Kit 

  1. Green silicone borders
  2. Comes with a filter and a small cartridge
  3. Low-profile hood
  4. LED lighting integrated into hood
  5. Comes with gravel and artificial plants
  • Comes with a lot more accessories than its competitors
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to clean
  • Power cords hidden by black background
  • Lighting is bright and effective
  • Borders may be slightly chipped. It doesn’t cause leaks but looks bad

If you want great value for money with a great aesthetic in your aquarium, this product is perfect for you. It comes with aquarium gravel and artificial plants which most small aquarium kits never offer.

3. Best Cheap 5 Gallon Fish Tank with Effective LEDs - GloFish 5 Gallon Portrait Aquarium Kit Review

This aquarium kit features a vertical-oriented design rather than a horizontal one. This can add a unique look to your room and it can be quite handy because it won’t take up as much space on a surface as a traditionally-shaped aquarium.

It has built-in lighting that has four different modes namely, sunlight, moonlight, midnight and twilight. The lighting is not overbearing and illuminates fish brilliantly to the point where you’ll be amazed by how well your fish’s colors pop. 

The filter’s flow is also adjustable so your fish don’t get swept away by strong currents inside the aquarium.

Features of GloFish 5 Gallon Portrait Aquarium Kit

  1. LED lights have four different modes
  2. Weight: 16 pounds
  3. Comes with a filter
  4. Curved corner glass aquarium
  5. Adjustable filter flow
  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to install
  • Filter is quiet
  • Lighting is effective and highly customizable
  • Vertical design may not be too comfortable for some fish
  • Comparatively expensive

If you’re looking for an aquarium that’s built to last and features different modes of lighting, this product is ideal for you. Not only does it come with an effective filter, that filter can also be adjusted to suit the needs of smaller fish.

4. Best Cheap Acrylic 5 Gallon Fish Tank - PanaView 5-Gallon Fish Tank Review

A lot of fish-keepers want the convenience, ease of use and clarity of an acrylic aquarium but these aquariums can often be very expensive. That’s where this product excels as it offers a great acrylic aquarium at a very modest price. 

The acrylic is crack and scratch resistant and is made to last a long period of time.You’ll find that it’s very difficult to scratch the surface of the walls or put a dent in them. 

We were blown away by the level of clarity that this aquarium offered. Its crystal-clear glass coupled with its great built-in lighting made for a lovely viewing experience of our fish.

Features of PanaView 5-Gallon Fish Tank

  1. Weight: 2 pounds
  2. Dimensions: 14.2 by 10 by 11.5 inches
  3. Made of high-quality acrylic
  4. Impact-resistant
  5. Comes with a powerful internal filter
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Filter works silently
  • Easy to maintain
  • LED lights have seven different color choices
  • May yellow or wither over time

If you’re looking for a lightweight acrylic aquarium but are on a tight budget, this is the product for you. Although most acrylic aquariums can be extremely expensive, this product comes at a very reasonable price and is extremely durable.

5. Best Cheap Borderless 5 Gallon Fish Tank - Penn-Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit Review

The Penn-Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit comes with a set of accessories and equipment which are all very effective at what they do and provide great value for money. 

The hinged lid is easy to install as well as easy to remove. It protects your fish from nosy pets such as cats and also prevents fish from jumping out of the aquarium. You’ll find it’s very easy to feed your fish and clean the tank because as we mentioned earlier, the lid is easily removable. 

We were worried about the filter because it seemed much too large for the aquarium but it worked effectively and did not disturb the fish swimming inside the tank. 

Features of Penn-Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit

  1. Dimensions: 11 inches by 8.75 inches by 13.75 inches
  2. Weight: 10.6 pounds
  3. Safe built-in LED Light
  4. Clear plastic lid 
  5. Internal filtration system
  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to clean
  • Quite lightweight
  • Hinged lid makes for easy feeding
  • Frameless, modern design
  • Lighting fixture is flimsy

If you’re looking for an aquarium with a unique and modern design, look no further. This product features a frameless aesthetic that’s great for viewing fish and the internal filtration system is super effective. 

cheap 5 gallon fish tank

Buyers’ Guide

What should I keep in mind when buying a 5 gallon fish tank? 

A 5 gallon fish tank is a little on the smaller side when it comes to household aquariums so there are some things you need to keep in mind and decide on before actually going out to buy one. Some of the things you need to think about before buying a 5 gallon fish tank are: 

  • Location of the Tank 

Since 5 gallon fish tanks are a little on the smaller side, they tend to weigh a lot less when filled with water and thus, you don’t always have to invest in an aquarium stand for them. A 5 gallon fish tank can be placed on a strong desk, counter or table top. Just make sure it’s able to support the weight of the filled fish tank and that it’s level. If your aquarium kit comes with a rubber mat to prevent slipping, that’s great but if it doesn’t come with one, we suggest you invest in one as it can be a life-saver. 

Some 5 gallon fish tanks come in tall, vertical designs rather than lengthy, rectangular ones. If you want to get this type of a fish tank, make sure you have enough vertical room to accommodate it. 

  • Material Quality 

Often, an aquarium’s low price can be very appealing but you have to be wary of fish tanks that are made from cheap, flimsy materials. You may get a 5 gallon fish tank at a low price but it could cost you a lot more down the road if it leaks or cracks. 

Thus, when shopping on a budget, observe your 5 gallon fish tank more carefully to make sure it’s sturdy and made from durable materials. Also look out for any signs of wear and tear or damage on the aquarium. 

  • Value of Equipment in Aquarium Kits

5 gallon fish tanks are often sold in the form of kits. You can opt for these as they are very convenient since they come with most of the equipment that’s needed to set up an aquarium right away. 

While some aquarium kit deals might seem like a steal, you want to look out for aquarium kits that offer equipment that is of sub-par quality. You may think you’re getting a great deal but in reality, you would be getting low-quality equipment that would fall apart within a few months.

What are some red flags to look out for when buying a cheap 5 gallon fish tank?

Some things to look out for when looking for a cheap 5 gallon fish tank are: 

  • Any signs of wear-and-tear. If you spot an aquarium that has been resealed or has had a leak fixed or a crack sealed, avoid it at all costs. 
  • Aquarium kits that offer too many accessories and equipment in one deal. While this isn’t always a bad thing, more often than not, a deal that’s too good to be true often has equipment that is of low quality. 
  • We always encourage our readers to look up reviews online of the products they intend on getting and if the product you’re considering has a high number of negative reviews, you may want to reconsider your choice.

How do I care for my 5 gallon fish tank?

A 5 gallon fish tank can actually be more difficult to maintain than bigger fish tanks as they can get dirty a lot quicker and the water parameters inside them can change drastically just because of small factors. 

We recommend you make 10-15% weekly water changes with a deep clean every month or so. 

It’s a good idea to take a towel and wipe the walls of your aquarium every few days as this will maintain wall clarity of the fish tank as well as discourage the buildup of algae. 

What are some essential pieces of equipment to have on my 5 gallon fish tank? 

Some things your fish tank should definitely have at all costs are: 

  • A filter

No matter how small your fish tank is, you always need a filter for it. Fish will produce waste no matter how small they are in number and this waste needs to be treated in order to keep the water crystal-clear and to keep ammonia levels low which could cause stress in fish. 

  • Lighting 

Fish require a certain amount of light in order to thrive and maintain a stable mindset. African fish require about 12 hours of light whereas European fish require 8 hours of light. If you have live aquarium plants in your 5 gallon fish tank then they’ll require light too in order to perform photosynthesis.

  • Heater (if you have Tropical fish) 

You can skip this piece of equipment if you’re running a coldwater fish tank but if you have tropical fish which require the temperature to be maintained at a certain level then you’ll have to invest in a heater to do this for you. 

What are the different ways in which a 5 gallon fish tank can be used for?

A cheap 5 gallon fish tank can be used as: 

  • A planted fish tank 
  • A coldwater fish tank
  • A saltwater fish tank 
  • A brackish fish tank

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the suitable dimensions for a 5 gallon fish tank? 

The usual dimensions of a standard, traditionally-shaped 5 gallon fish tank are somewhere around 16 inches by 8 inches by 10 inches. This shape usually gives fish-keepers a small enough footprint that the 5 gallon fish tank is easy to place in their home while still providing them with the same amount of enjoyment that they would derive out of a bigger fish tank. 

When it comes to 5 gallon fish tanks, shapes can be innovative. There’s a great trend these days for 5 gallon fish tanks that are tall and narrow rather than long and wide. The usual dimensions for this shape of 5 gallon fish tanks are 12 inches by 12 inches by 16 inches.

Which material for 5 gallon fish tanks is cheaper: glass or acrylic?

Glass fish tanks are definitely cheaper than acrylic aquariums. That doesn’t mean you should count out acrylic aquariums entirely if you’re on a budget. Indeed, you can find high-quality acrylic aquariums at modest prices too but they’re often more difficult to get a hold of as compared to glass aquariums.

What type of fish can I keep in my 5 gallon fish tank? 

5 gallon fish tanks are much smaller in size so we suggest you either keep very few fish or a sizable amount of smaller fish. Some fish that would be great in a 5 gallon fish tank are: 

  • A Betta
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Dwarf Puffers
  • Clown Killifish
  • Honey Gourami
  • Least Killifish

Does a 5 gallon fish tank cycle more quickly than larger fish tanks

No. While it is true that water parameters change much more quickly and drastically in a small 5 gallon fish tank, the same cannot be said for cycling. 

The time it takes for the nitrogen cycle to occur can vary a lot because of many different factors. The best way to speed up the cycling process of a 5 gallon fish tank is by adding biological supplements. You will know when the nitrogen cycle is complete when the ammonia and nitrite inside the tank water amounts to 0. 

How frequently do I need to change the water in my 5 gallon fish tank?

It’s a good idea to perform weekly water changes even when you feel the tank is clear and clean. 

Changing about 1 gallon of water every 10 days is usually a good idea. It will replenish the materials inside your 10 gallon fish tank and will prevent the buildup of bacteria and algae. Old water also holds less oxygen and will cause breathing problems for your fish.

Final Verdict

A 5 gallon fish tank can be a beautiful addition to your home, office or dorm room but it’s important that you find a long-lasting one without burning a hole in your pocket.

After much discussion and testing, we’ve decided that the Carolina Biological Supply Company Aquarium Tank gives you the best value for money when it comes to 5 gallon fish tanks. It’s made from materials that will last you many years and you can mount all kinds of equipment onto it. 

This brings us to the conclusion of our post for the best cheap 5 gallon fish tanks. 

Give us feedback and let us know what 5 gallon fish tank you’re using.

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