11 Beginner-Friendly Fish For A 6 Gallon Tank! (With Pictures)

A 6-gallon fish tank offers an excellent opportunity for beginner and experienced aquarists alike to create a small, thriving aquatic ecosystem. These tanks provide an affordable and space-efficient introduction to the hobby while also allowing for a manageable number of fish species and decorative options.

However, it’s crucial to select the appropriate fish to ensure they can flourish in this limited space.

Some of the best fish species for a 6-gallon tank are those that can comfortably adapt to smaller environments. Examples of such fish include bettas, guppies, green neon tetras, pea puffers, and White Cloud Mountain Minnows. These small, colorful fish tend to exhibit engaging behaviors while comfortably coexisting with others in confined spaces.

To foster a successful 6-gallon fish tank, aquarists need to consider the water parameters, compatibility among fish species, and ensure proper tank maintenance. By focusing on creating a healthy environment, hobbyists can craft a fascinating and vibrant underwater world within the confines of a small aquarium.

Getting The Most Out Of 6 Gallon Tanks!

A Galaxy Rasbora
A Galaxy Rasbora

When setting up a 6-gallon tank, it is important to select the right design to provide a healthy and vibrant environment for your fish. 6-gallon tanks are available in multiple designs, including long, tall, cube, and bowl shapes.

In most cases, the long design will almost always be a better choice when keeping fish in the tank.

This type of design provides a larger surface area for gas exchange, which ensures adequate oxygen levels for your aquatic pets. Additionally, a longer tank offers more space for your fish to swim and explore, which promotes a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Remember to avoid overcrowding your 6-gallon tank, as this can lead to stress and poor water quality, which can ultimately harm your fish. Instead, consider allowing no more than one inch of fish per gallon of water, or even less if possible, to ensure adequate room for your fish to grow and remain healthy. It is also vital to include hiding spots and decorations, as these can help reduce stress and promote a sense of security for your fish.

Proper tank maintenance plays a critical role in the well-being of your fish in a 6-gallon tank. Maintaining consistent water temperature is essential, so a heater may be required, particularly for tropical fish like Guppies and Neon Tetras. Regular water changes and monitoring water parameters are crucial to keep your fish healthy and happy.

In conclusion, when setting up a 6-gallon tank, choosing the right design, selecting suitable fish species, and maintaining optimal water conditions are essential steps to get the most out of your small aquarium. With proper attention and care, a 6-gallon tank can be a delightful and thriving habitat for your fish.

The best fish for a 6 gallon tank
The Best Fish For A 6 Gallon Tank

Betta Fish

a betta with a Plakat tail
A Betta With A Plakat Tail

Betta fish can be a great choice for a 6-gallon tank, especially when designed with a long tank layout. A single betta, specifically a female betta with a Plakat tail, can be quite beginner-friendly as the shorter tail reduces the chance of tail rot setting in.

To ensure the well-being of your betta fish, it is important to set up the tank with appropriate decorations and water parameters as covered in our betta fish care guide.

It is important to try and keep a 6 gallon tank planted with various aquatic plants and potentially try your hand at one of our aquascaping betta fish tank ideas. This not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the tank but also maintains water quality and oxygen levels. Additionally, plants provide natural hiding spots for betta fish, which is crucial for their well-being, as it helps them feel safe and secure.

In addition to live plants, it is important to offer plenty of hiding spots for your betta fish in the form of caves, rocks, or other ornaments. These hiding spots allow betta fish to retreat and rest, preventing stress and promoting a healthy environment.

A Betta Fish
A Betta Fish

Maintaining proper water parameters is of utmost importance for the well-being of your betta fish. Ensure the following water parameters are maintained in your 6-gallon tank:

  • Water Temperature: 78-80°F
  • Water Flow: Still-Low
  • pH: 6.8-7.5
  • GH: 3-4 dGH
  • KH: 3-5 dKH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm

By paying close attention to the tank design, decorations, and water parameters, you can create an ideal environment for your betta fish to live happily in your 6-gallon tank. As a confident, knowledgeable aquarist, you will enjoy observing your betta fish flourish in this carefully crafted setup.

An infographic going over a BETTA FISH CARE sheet

Pea Puffer

fish for a 6 gallon tank
A Pea Puffer

A single pea puffer can be kept in a 6-gallon tank, making it an ideal choice for those looking to set up a small aquarium. Longer tanks are better, but you can use other designs as long as they provide sufficient space for your puffer to swim and explore.

The tank should have plenty of hiding spots in the form of aquarium plants, rocks, or decorations. This will help your pea puffer feel secure and comfortable in their environment.

One thing that can put people off keeping pea puffers in their tank is that their preferred food of choice is live aquatic snails and some pea puffers refuse other food sources.

Pea puffers are a great option for beginners, as they come from parts of India where monsoon rains cause drastic changes in their water parameters each year. As a result, these puffers have adapted to varying water conditions, making them relatively hardy and adaptable fish.

Tank Setup Tips:

  • A single pea puffer can be kept in a 6-gallon tank
  • Longer tanks are better, but other designs can work
  • Ensure the tank has plenty of hiding spots
  • Suitable for beginners due to their adaptability to varying water parameters

In summary, pea puffers are an excellent choice for those looking to set up a small, 6-gallon tank. They are hardy, adaptable fish that can thrive in varying water conditions. By providing plenty of hiding spots for your pea puffer and selecting an appropriate tank design, you can create a comfortable environment for your new pet. With a confident, knowledgeable approach, anyone can successfully keep a pea puffer in their home aquarium.

Honey Gourami

A Honey Gourami
A Male Honey Gourami

A single Honey Gourami can do well in a 6-gallon tank, making it a suitable choice for small aquarium enthusiasts. These beautiful, freshwater fish are known for their ease of care and suitability for aquarists of all experience levels.

To create a comfortable and suitable environment for Honey Gourami, it is crucial to have a well-planted tank with a range of hiding spots. These fish appreciate dense vegetation, floating plants, and accessories like driftwood and caves for shelter.

The water parameters for Honey Gourami should be maintained within a pH range of 6.0-8.0, temperatures between 74-82°F (23-28°C), and a soft to hard water hardness (or GH). Proper filtration and regular monitoring of water quality are essential for their well-being.

A Female Honey Gourami
A Female Honey Gourami

In terms of diet, Honey Gouramis are omnivores, feeding on small flakes, micro pellets, and live or frozen foods like daphnia and brine shrimp. Providing a varied diet will help keep them healthy and maintain their vibrant colors.

By paying attention to the details of their habitat and ensuring appropriate tank conditions, a Honey Gourami can thrive as a delightful addition to any 6-gallon aquarium.



Guppies are a great option for people looking to keep multiple fish in a 6 gallon tank. Guppies are a very beginner-friendly option, as they are small, colorful, and peaceful fish that can live in groups.

These fish are available in a wide range of colors with a number of different tail patterns, which makes them an attractive choice for display tanks.

In a 6 gallon tank, it is usually best to keep a male or female only guppy tank, as this can help prevent breeding that results in overstocking. If you are interested in breeding guppies in your 6 gallon tank, consider keeping a single male and two or three females. However, be prepared to have additional tanks available for the offspring, as guppies breed frequently and their population can grow rapidly.

A Guppy Swimming In Its Tank

Guppies require specific water parameters to ensure their health and well-being:

  • Water Temperature: 72-82F
  • Water Flow: Still-Low
  • pH: 7-8
  • GH: 8-12 dGH
  • KH: 4-8 dKH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <10 ppm

It is important to provide a heater in your 6 gallon guppy tank to maintain a consistent temperature, and test the water regularly to ensure stable water parameters.

Taking care of guppies in a 6 gallon tank can be a rewarding experience for both novice and experienced aquarium owners alike. By ensuring the appropriate tank conditions and stocking levels, you can enjoy a vibrant and lively display of guppies in your home aquarium.

An infographic going over a guppy care sheet

Galaxy Rasboras

A Galaxy Rasbora
A Galaxy Rasbora

Galaxy rasboras, also known as celestial pearl danios, are an attractive fish choice for a small aquarium. They are known for their striking colors and ease of care, making them suitable for both beginner and experienced aquarists. However, it is important to consider their social behavior and tank requirements before adding them to a 6-gallon tank.

You can keep six galaxy rasboras in a 6-gallon tank, but this can be challenging, especially for those new to fishkeeping.

A 6-gallon tank represents the absolute minimum size for housing this number of rasboras, and it may be better to opt for a slightly larger tank if possible. That being said, it is essential to keep a minimum of six galaxy rasboras together, as they are social fish that thrive in the company of their own species.

To create a comfortable and balanced environment for the rasboras in such a small tank, it is advisable to have one or two males with the remaining fish being females. This will help reduce competition and aggression among the fish, promoting a peaceful tank environment. It is essential to monitor the fish closely, ensuring that there are no signs of stress or poor health due to the limited tank space.

A Galaxy Rasbora In Its Tank
“File:Neocaridina heteropoda, Echinodorus tenellus, Danio margaritatus (Microrasbora Galaxy, Galaxy Rasbora).jpg” by Uccio D’Agostino is licensed under CC BY 4.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/?ref=openverse.

Galaxy rasboras prefer slightly acidic water with a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5 and temperatures between 73°F and 79°F (23°C to 26°C). They also benefit from a water flow rate that is not too strong, as they are found in slow-moving waters in their natural habitats. Good water quality and filtration are crucial for maintaining a healthy tank, especially in a small space like a 6-gallon tank.

To accommodate galaxy rasboras’ natural habitat, incorporating live plants and hiding spots within the tank is ideal. Plants such as Java moss and Anubias can provide shelter and mimic the rasboras’ natural environment.

In summary, housing galaxy rasboras in a 6-gallon tank is possible but can be challenging. It is crucial to maintain appropriate water parameters, tank decorations, and suitable tankmates to ensure the well-being of these social fish. Those new to fishkeeping should consider a larger tank or seek the guidance of experienced aquarists to offer the best possible environment for these beautiful and fascinating fish.

Clown Killifish

A Clown Killifish
A Clown Killifish

Clown Killifish (Epiplatys annulatus) are a visually striking species, characterized by their alternating vertical bands of dark brown and tannish-yellow, and the vibrant, flame-like tails on males. These small fish, ranging between 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm), are suitable for a 6-gallon tank, but this can be a challenging task even for experienced fish keepers. Therefore, beginners should approach this option with caution.

A Clown Killifish can thrive in a 6-gallon tank if certain conditions are met. First and foremost, they require a water temperature between 68-79°F (20-26°C) and slightly acidic pH levels of 4.5-6.5, which must be maintained for their well-being. In addition, they are more sensitive to water conditions, so frequent water changes and monitoring are important to keep them healthy.

One consideration for housing Clown Killifish in a 6-gallon tank is that they are known to be jumpers. To prevent them from jumping out of the tank, a secure lid is essential. Moreover, the water filter system in smaller tanks can create a strong current, which may not be ideal for this species that prefers calm, still water. In such cases, it’s important to ensure the right balance of water flow for these fish.

To summarize, while it is possible to house Clown Killifish in a 6-gallon tank under specific conditions, it is not a beginner-friendly option. Proper water parameters, a secure lid, and suitable tank mates are crucial for this species to thrive.

African Dwarf Frogs

An African Dwarf Frog
An African Dwarf Frog

African Dwarf Frogs are unique and active little creatures that make a great addition to a small aquarium. These fully aquatic frogs thrive in freshwater environments and come in a range of colors, including green, grey, brown, and even golden hues.

One or two African Dwarf Frogs can work well in a 6 gallon tank and the offer a unique experience that is slightly different from keeping fish. These animals are shy by nature and often prefer to live in shallow puddles or murky ponds.

It is crucial to provide a suitable habitat for these frogs to thrive. Some essential elements to consider for their enclosure include the right tank size, adequate heating, proper lighting, efficient filtration, and the presence of aquarium plants. A well-maintained tank with clean water and a stable temperature is essential for their health and well-being.

Feeding the African Dwarf Frogs should be carefully managed, and a proper food schedule should be followed to keep them healthy. They typically enjoy a diet consisting of small live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

In conclusion, African Dwarf Frogs can be an exciting and interactive addition to a 6-gallon tank. With proper care, tank setup, and compatible companions, these frogs can bring life and activity to a small aquarium.

Chilli Rasboras

A Chilli Rasbora
A Chilli Rasbora

Chilli Rasboras, scientifically known as Boraras brigittae, are an excellent choice for a 6-gallon tank. These tiny, vibrant fish originate from Indonesia, specifically southwestern Borneo. They are well-suited for nano tanks and can thrive in a community with other small, peaceful fish species.

Tank Requirements

For a 6-gallon tank, it is best to keep a minimum of six Chilli Rasboras to ensure they form a harmonious school. They enjoy the company of their own species and can showcase their natural behavior in a group setting. When setting up the tank, consider including:

  • Live plants for cover and mimicking their natural habitat
  • A well-filtered environment to maintain water quality
  • Stable water temperature between 72-81°F (24-28°C)

Color Development

It is not uncommon for Chilli Rasboras to exhibit a less vibrant red color when first introduced to the tank. Their coloration typically develops and becomes more pronounced over time as the fish adjust to their new environment and diet. Maintaining proper water parameters, a stress-free environment, and offering a balanced diet will encourage their vibrant colors to flourish.

With proper care, a group of Chilli Rasboras can create a lively and visually stunning display in a 6-gallon tank. By maintaining their ideal water conditions and ensuring they have suitable tank mates, these tiny swimmers can thrive and bring a beautiful touch of color to any aquarium.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows

White Cloud Mountain Minnows
White Cloud Mountain Minnows

White Cloud Mountain Minnows are a fantastic choice for a 6-gallon tank, especially for beginners. These fish are known for their hardiness and ability to adapt to various water conditions. While a 10-gallon tank would be ideal for keeping a group of at least six White Cloud Mountain Minnows, they can still thrive in a smaller 6-gallon tank.

White Cloud Mountain Minnows can tolerate a broad pH range of 6.0-8.0 and temperatures between 65-77°F (18-25°C). Although they can live without a heater in their tank, it’s essential to avoid major temperature fluctuations to keep these fish stress-free. In colder climates, they are even known to survive outdoor ponds with ice cover.

When it comes to diet, White Cloud Mountain Minnows do well on high-quality flake food and a variety of live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. This balanced mix ensures proper growth and overall health.

In summary, White Cloud Mountain Minnows are an excellent choice for those looking to populate their 6-gallon tank. They are resilient, versatile, and visually striking fish that get along well with other peaceful tank mates. By providing a stable environment, appropriate water parameters, and a diverse diet, you can enjoy the beauty and serenity these fish bring to your aquarium.

Green Neon Tetras

Green Neon Tetras
Green Neon Tetras

Green Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon simulans) are small, beautiful freshwater fish known for their bright blue stripe down the length of their body. They are popular among aquarists, especially for their glowing blue stripe that complements the beauty of planted tanks.

Though keeping green neon tetras in a 6-gallon tank is not advisable for beginners, experienced fishkeepers with stable water parameters and proper tank setup may be able to maintain them in this small environment. It is crucial, however, to have a long tank design since green neon tetras enjoy swimming across the length of their tank.

While it’s possible to keep green neon tetras in a 6-gallon tank, there’s a limitation on the number of fish that can be sustained. The minimum recommended number is six. This allows the fish to form a small school, which is essential as they are a social species. Keeping a group of six promotes their overall health and activity levels.

Green Neon Tetra Vs Neon Tetra
Green Neon Tetra Vs Neon Tetra

People often confuse green neon tetras and regular neon tetras but they are different fish as shown in the photographs above. The green neon tetras don’t have the red coloration that the regular neon tetras have and the green neon tetras are also slightly smaller making them a better option for a 6 gallon tank.

Some factors to consider when setting up a 6-gallon tank for green neon tetras include:

  • Water Parameters: Maintain stable water conditions, as fluctuations can negatively impact their health. Ideal water parameters for green neon tetras include a pH of 7.0 to 8.0 and a temperature range of 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tank Setup: Provide dense planting with open swimming spaces for green neon tetras to mimic their natural habitat. Position rocks, driftwood, and hiding spots for the fish to seek refuge and feel secure.
  • Filter and Lighting: A good-quality filtration system and adequate lighting are essential for maintaining water quality and enabling the vibrant colors of the green neon tetras to shine.

In conclusion, keeping green neon tetras in a 6-gallon tank can be accomplished with careful attention and experience. It is essential to maintain stable water parameters, provide a suitable habitat, and respect the limit of six fish to maintain a healthy and thriving environment for these beautiful creatures.

Neocaridina Shrimp

Different types of shrimp that work well in shrimp tanks

A 6 gallon tank can make the perfect shrimp colony tank. It is large enough to be used as a shrimp breeder tank but can also work well as a display tank. Neocaridina shrimp an ideal candidate for such an aquarium due to their hardiness and small size, which allows them to thrive in this limited space.

There are 10 main types of neocaridina shrimp but Cherry shrimp are the most commonly kept type of neocaridina shrimp and we usually recommend them for beginners.

Cherry Shrimp Water Parameters:

  • Water Temperature: 57-86°F
  • Water Flow: Still-Low
  • pH: 6.5-8
  • GH: 6-8 dGH
  • KH: 2-8 dKH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: < 20 ppm

Cherry shrimp are adaptable creatures, which makes them suitable for a wide range of water conditions. However, to ensure the optimal health and longevity of these shrimp, it is crucial to maintain the water parameters within the recommended ranges listed above. Stable water parameters and consistent maintenance will help create a thriving habitat for the Neocaridina shrimp.

You can set up a Walstad shrimp bowl to remove the need for a filter but this will make the tank a little more challenging to maintain for beginners.

In summary, a 6-gallon tank serves as an excellent environment for Neocaridina shrimp. They can thrive and breed in a well-maintained tank with the appropriate water parameters and peaceful tank mates. This makes them an ideal option for novice and experienced aquarists alike, who are looking to add shrimp to their aquarium.

An infographic of a cherry shrimp care sheet

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