5 Best Freshwater Fish for 8 Gallon Tank

An 8 gallon fish tank is a great opportunity and one of the best options for beginners. It requires less space and attention. Therefore, it is easy for them to manage a small fish tank rather than a bigger fish tank.

Before adding a new color to your fish tank, you have to do proper research about which species is suitable for your tank and how many you can add. Although, many experts called it a rule of thumb 1-inch fish for 1-gallon water. But it’s not true all of the time. Therefore, you should do proper research on stocking.

In this article, you will find the 5 best freshwater fish for an 8 gallon tank beside the consideration for selecting fish for such a fish tank.

Equipment fit for 8-gallon fish tank

The 8-gallon fish tank lies under the nano fish tank category. Therefore, it’s necessary to stick to the ideal conditions. Otherwise, your aquarium inhabitants will face swearing consequences. Here are a few inevitable pieces of equipment that you have to use in your 8-gallon.

  • Aquarium filter: One 7W 110 GPH internal power filter is enough for your fish tank.
  • LED lights: These lights are important due to many reasons i.e. to create biorhythm, beautify aquariums, are important for plantations, and many more.
  • Aquarium heater: A heater is required to attain and maintain optimum water temperature.
  • Water pump: It helps in continuous water circulation.
  • Air pump: It maintains the proper oxygen circulation in the water tank.

How many fish can you stock in an 8-gallon fish tank?

The number of fish that you can keep in an 8-gallon should depend on the decorations and equipment you have. It is suggested to give only 2-gallon equivalent space in your fish tank and the general rule is one inch per gallon. So, if your tank has nothing but water and fish, you can keep 6 1-inch fish in it; if you have put some equipment and tank decorations, you should reduce the number of fish according to the space left.

A quick guide for a proper fish selection

A smaller fish tank usually gives a tough time to the owner. Because, in case of any change in water parameters or diseases, all aquatic pets get affected in no time. Otherwise, a smaller space is another challenge because each aqua pet requires a specific space for proper growth. Here are a few rules for proper fish selection:


An 8-gallon tank comes under the smaller tank category. Therefore, you have to select such fish species which are smaller. Moreover, if they are small, then you can stock them in school.

Natural behaviors

Just like humans, fish also have varied behaviors. As you are looking for fish, always stock those which are peaceful. Aggressive fish can disturb the environment of your fish tank unless you keep single fish in it.

Hardy nature

It’s hard to have proper control over different water parameters. In the case of delicate nature fish, even a slight change in water parameters or other changes directly affects them. Therefore, stock such a fish in your tank, which is quite hardy. Can withstand changed conditions. Goldfish are an amazing example of hardy nature.

5 fish for an 8-gallon tank

1. Guppies


Guppies are enlisted at the top of the list among the 5 best fish for an 8-gallon tank. Originally these fish species are found in the Northeast South American region. Usually found in shallow waters like lakes and ponds. At this time, about 300 different species are discovered. They are the best due to their smaller size and peaceful nature.

Guppies can live for 2–3 years in an aquarium and males can attain about 0.6 to 1.4 inches in length while females can grow up to 2.4 inches. If the water parameters are suitable, you can add 2 female or 3 male guppies in an 8-gallon tank. Putting both genders of guppies is not recommended since they are easy to produce, which means your tank will be overstocked soon.

2. Tetras


Tetra fish are another most common and the best species for your 8-gallon fish tank. Naturally, they are present in Africa, Central America, and South America. They usually live in rivers and lakes. But the blind cave tetra was the first time found in the caves of Mexico. About 150 different Tetra species have been found till the writing. Neon tetra, Ember Tetra, Congo Tetra, and Bloodfin Tetra are some common types of Tetra fish.

These peaceful nature fish can maximally attain 1.6 to 2 inches in length and live up to 10 years if the environment in your fish tank is proper. Because of their smaller size, you can stock higher than guppies in your 8-gallon fish tank. The recommended stocking density is 4 to 5.

3. Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf Gourami

It is another exceptional fish suitable for the 8-gallon. Naturally, they are present in India, Pakistan, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh. They love to live in thickly vegetated waters. You’ve to add vegetation to make them feel at home for proper growth.

The dwarf Gourami is among the best due to its peaceful nature and smaller size. Their size is relatively larger than tetra and guppy fish but can add more colors to your fish tank. They maximally attain up to 4.5 inches when they fully mature, which is about 4–6 years. Due to the larger size, you can stock only 1 or 2 Dwarf Gouramis in your tank.

4. Goldfish


They are another best thriving creature for 8-gallon tanks and are naturally present in the slow-moving freshwater bodies of East Asia. At this time, over 200 different goldfish species are found. Comet, Fantail, Lion Head, Oranda, Ryukin, Shubunkin, Telescope, and Veiltail are famous goldfish species. But not all the goldfish can be in 8 gallons, only baby goldfish can be. It’s recommended to keep goldfish in 50-gallon tanks.

Goldfish can live 10–15 years when being taken good care of, which is longer than most aquarium fish. They can be in an 8-gallon tank as they are peaceful and easygoing for beginners. They are quite hardy. But you have to set up water parameters for their optimum growth. The fish size and nature do not allow aquarists to densely stock in an 8-gallon tank. You can stock only 1 goldfish in your fish tank.

5. Cory catfish

Cory catfish is another amazing option for the 8-gallon. Found in the Ucayali River system, in Peru. But you can raise them in your fish tank with their natural habitat water conditions. Over 170 different Cory catfish species are found at the time of writing, such as Albino Cory, Bandit Cory, Panda Cory, and Pygmy Cory.

These peaceful creatures can maximally attain up to 4 inches and live for 5 years in captivity. Due to their size, You can stock up to 1-3 Cory catfish in your 8-gallon fish tank.


The fish selection is hard for a smaller fish tank like an 8-gallon fish tank. You have to consider size, nature, and hardy nature when you are selecting a fish for your smaller aquarium. By keeping all considerations in mind, the following are a few of the best fish for your tank. Goldfish are not the best due to their fast-grow nature. While tetras are good due to their size. Dwarf, Guppies, and Cory catfish are best due to their peaceful nature.

If you know any other of the best fish specie that can be kept in an 8-gal tank, then leave them in the comment.

Comments (2)

  1. Goldfish in 8 gallon is gonna be a really sad life, they grow massive and you are stunting its growth

    Nov 11, 2023 Reply
    • Hi Marco, thanks for your time, exactly, 8 gallon is suitable for goldfish baby not the adult for beginners.

      hygger team

      Nov 13, 2023 Reply

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