5 TOP 3 Gallon Fish Tanks: Small Aquariums And The Best Fish For Them

What is the best 3-gallon fish tank?

As with all things, a small fish tank has many pros and cons.

They’re easy to look after, BUT you can only really keep one or two fish in them. They look great on a small apartment countertop, or they can be an excellent starter aquarium for children.

However, if you’re thinking of expanding your community in the future, it would be best to get a larger tank. These are some good community fish tanks that are a step above these small 3-gallon tanks.

But if all you’re wanting is one or two fish, check out the recommendations we have here.

 The Best 3 Gallon Fish Tank

Tetra Cube Mini Tank

  • 3 gallon glass/acrylic tank
  • LED lighting
  • Includes filter, lid, and setup guide

Fluval Spec Small Aquarium

  • 2.6 gallon glass tank
  • 7000L LED lights
  • Comes with filter, cover, and pump

Marineland Small Tank

  • 3 or 5 gallon glass tank
  • White & blue LED lighting
  • Includes 3 stage filtration

*Also check out Amazon’s best-selling small fish tank range for other current best sellers.

The first aquarium fish I ever had growing up (not including goldfish) was a betta fish. I was given him as a gift and he came with a small 3-gallon aquarium.

I had him for a number of years before shifting house and gifting him to my aunty, but the 3 gal tank that he lived in alone seemed to suit him pretty well.

However, nowadays I probably would keep a betta in a minimum of 5-gallon of water, but that’s because I like to give them as much space as possible.

Here is our round-up of the best 3-gallon fish tanks for both the home and/or office. They also make for a great pet in a tiny house.

All of these tanks are easy to set up and maintain and can be used to keep at least one fish.

You will see that all of these small tanks come in very different shapes and sizes.

Fish tank dimensions on larger tanks tend to be standard rectangular, but the 3 gals differ a lot more – round, square, tall, and so on.

Benefits of a 3 gallon tank include:

  • They’re so small they’ll fit anywhere
  • They don’t need a dedicated tank stand
  • The shape doesn’t make much difference for the fish

What’s important is that you don’t overstock the tank with too many fish or fish that are too large.

Also keep in mind that you won’t be able to include many aquarium decorations, driftwood, or products like that.

Without further ado, here is more info about these top small fish tanks, followed by the types of fish you can keep in them.

1. Tetra LED Cube 3 Gallon Aquarium


best 3 gallon fish tank

  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 10 x 10 inches
  • Material: Glass and acrylic
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs; 2 kgs

This small glass and acrylic tank is great for children, beginners, or those just wanting something small and special for their home.

The rimless sides and top give great unobstructed views into the tank as it sits atop a classy black pedestal. LED lighting illuminates the tank and puts a great spotlight on the fish.

It comes with a lid to keep the cat out and a Whisper power filter and Bio-Bag Small Cartridge to help keep the water cleaner longer. Another benefit is the easy feeding hole in the top of the tank.

The pump and filter that are included with this fish tank are not the greatest, so you might want to purchase higher quality products in addition to these. Some have been found faulty.


  • Very affordable for the features
  • Light weight and easy to move
  • Small size means it won’t dominate a space
  • Can be used with a heater for a tropical fish
  • Comes with almost everything you need to start


  • Only good for 1 or 2 fish
  • Pump not the best
  • Filter not the best

This tank is fine for keeping a Betta Fish (you can even order Bettas online).

You could also include a live plant, gravel, and decorations to help make it more engaging for the fish.

2. Fluval Spec Small Aquarium Kit


quality 3 gallon aquarium

  • Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Material: Plastic and glass
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs; 2 kgs

Next up we’ve got the Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit, which is technically a 2.6-gallon fish tank (but it’s too nice not to include).

This tank is certainly more expensive, but that’s because it has higher quality construction and comes with added features. You can purchase it in two colors, white or black.

What makes this tank so special?

  • Glass tank with stylish aluminum trim
  • Overhanging lighting system with 31 LED lamps
  • Includes a strong circulation pump with 3 stage filtration system and adjustable output nozzle
  • Includes quality filter media
  • The tank has an effective mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration
  • Back chamber to hide filter and pump

Fluval is a known manufacturer of high-quality aquarium tanks and products.

You can see the Fluval team set the Fluval Spec up and describe some of the features in the following video.


  • Looks amazing in any setting
  • Quality bright lighting
  • Hidden filtration system
  • You can expect it to perform well over time


  • This option is not the cheapest
  • Very small at 2.6 liters
  • Filter can be too strong for some fish

This tank will look amazing in your kitchen or office, being great for small spaces that need a cool feature.

If you have a little more room you can also consider upgrading to the 5 gallon tank. If you choose either of these Fluval tanks, you can be sure you are getting a reliable product.

3. MarineLand Glass 3 Gallon Tank


glass 3 gallon fish tank

  • Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 12.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic and glass
  • Weight: 4.5 lbs; 2 kgs

The MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium Kit is an excellent 3-gallon tank at a mid-range price.

The special features of this tank include the sleek contoured glass edges and rail lighting with dual-colored lighting.

Why should you consider this tank?

  • Comes ready to go – just add water, fish, gravel & decorations
  • The contoured glass front looks amazing
  • Sits on a raised black pedestal
  • Blue and daylight LED lighting – settings are off, blue or full-spectrum
  • Hidden filtration and pump – comes with a filter cartridge
  • Well priced

Get a glimpse of this tank and check out the lighting in the following video.


  • It looks bigger than it is
  • Easy to set up and get started
  • Looks really stylish
  • Cat-proof lid


  • Not good for small young bettas
  • The cover can be a bit flimsy
  • The light could be brighter during the day
  • Some areas difficult to clean

Depending on the climate where you live, you may need to get a small fish tank heater – though this will also take up precious space in the tank.

Bettas need a water temperature of between 76 and 80°F.

Best Fish For 3 Gallon Tank

3 gallon fish tank for betta

What fish are best for a 3-gallon tank?

A three-gallon fish tank is considered very small, and care should be taken to choose the right fish.

It is easy to overstock small tanks because they cannot hold many fish at all. If you want to keep a variety of fish, your best bet would be to start with a 10-gallon fish tank.

1. Bettas

Can bettas live in a 3-gallon tank?

Male or female Bettas are the most common type of fish kept in a 3-gallon tank – though they should not be kept together.

One colorful male Betta will be very happy on his own.

Many starter Betta fish tanks are 3 gallons in size, though if you can afford the space and money for larger, then that is best.

2. Guppies

How many guppies in a 3-gallon tank?

Male guppies in particular are popular fish for beginners with small tanks.

They have spectacular, colorful tails and are a lot of fun to watch. You could fit one guppy in a 3-gallon aquarium.

If you keep a male and a female together, they will quickly start to reproduce. I was constantly having guppy babies in my early tanks.

3. Tetras

How many neon tetras can you put in a 3-gallon tank?

There is a variety of fish within this species, with one of the most common kinds being Neon Tetras.

They are schooling fish which means they need to be kept in numbers for their health and happiness.

You could keep 3 or 4 small Neon Tetras in a 3-gallon fish tank, but a larger tank is better.

Other Fish For 3 Gallon Aquarium

What other fish can you keep in a 3 or 3.5-gallon tank?

Other fish that are sometimes recommended for a 3-gallon fish tank include:

  • Zebra Danios
  • Salt & Pepper Cory
  • White Cloud Minnows

However, these fish really need to be kept in numbers that cannot be contained in a 3-gallon tank.

It is not advisable to have those 3 species in such a small tank. They need a larger tank and to be kept in numbers of 6+.

Best Small Fish Tanks

how many fish in a 3 gallon tank
My daughter’s small sea monkey tank

Those are our top picks for the best 3-gallon fish tanks, but let us know your favorites in the comment section down below.

As I mentioned earlier, you can see all of the Amazon Best Sellers here, and there are other good options.

As a final mini fish tank idea for kids, you may or may not be surprised to learn that Sea Monkies are among the most popular small fish (brine shrimp can be considered fish, right?).

We got some for our children to look after on their own – see our Sea Monkey homeschool project here. We’ve had them for about 1 year now and they are still going strong.

For a regular fish tank with tropical fish or goldfish, our opinion is that you should always go larger.

It’s better for fish to have lots of room to swim around in, and I personally wouldn’t buy such a small tank for anything other than Sea Monkies.

Not everyone needs a 55-gallon fish tank or anything like that, but 10 gallons and above mean you can keep a couple more fish without stressing them out.

At the end of the day, it’s going to depend on:

  • The amount of space you have to keep fish
  • The time you want to put into them
  • Your budget

Weigh up all the options and test and try a few aquariums if need be. Everyone has to start somewhere and you’ll learn quickly once you’re actually caring for your fish.

Make sure you also pick up a fish tank thermometer to keep an eye on the water temperature – one of the stick-on options might be best for a small aquarium.

Good luck!


14 thoughts on “5 TOP 3 Gallon Fish Tanks: Small Aquariums And The Best Fish For Them”

  1. Tetra is a great tank for the price. All I need to add for a happy Betta fish is extra light and a tank heater. I purchased it last week for my little girl and she extremely loves it.

    • Hey Cherry, I’d just go to wherever is closest. The bigger pet stores will be able to give better advice and have a larger range than Walmart and stores like that.

  2. Hi! I have two fancy guppies in my three gallon fish tank. I know they should be in a group of three, but I’m not sure if I have enough room in my tank. What do you say? Is there enough room for anything else?

  3. I once kept a Betta in a wet warm towel for over 2 yrs. He only went into a volume of water when I fed him every 3 days or so. Only maintainence was to rewet the towel each day and make sure the heat lamp was working.

    Those who say these fish need 3 gallons are mistaken.

  4. Bettas should be in a minimum of a 5 gallon tank. if they are in a tank with less than 5 gallons they can have issues and become depressed. The Betta will live, but not happily. Please do your research before spreading this type of information..

    • Hi Jo, any of those listed will be fine, though you’d probably be better off with a larger tank. Mollies can/will eat their babies after birth so it’s best to have a tank with some decorations, plants, etc, for them to hide in and under once born. Once the mom has finished having babies you can shift her back and leave the kids in the separate tank.

  5. I keep 3 neon tetras in my 3 gal tank but I feel like that’s actually too small for them. They nip at each other a lot and I think that’s because they don’t have room to move. I’m looking to get a much bigger tank, probably a 20 gallon one, and get an entire school. Also want to introduce new species of course!


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