Best Fish For 2 Gallon Tank: Some Suggestions And Advice

In this article, we are going to share with you a guide to finding the best fish for 2 gallon tank. Taking care of a mini tank can be very tricky, and the first thing to figure out is which fish to keep.

We will also give you some pointers on how to choose a 2 gallon tank. After that, we will answer some frequently asked questions about small fish tanks.

Top 10 Best Fish For 2 Gallon Tank

First thing first, what kind of fish can you keep in such a small tank? Your options are indeed much more limited than with a 10-gallon tank, but they’re still a few for you to choose from. Below is our top 10 best fish for 2 gallon tank.

Bloodfin Tetras

Bloodfin Tetras
Bloodfin Tetras

General Features:

  • Size: 2-2.5 inches
  • Water temperature: 68°F to 78°F
  •  pH levels: 6.0-8.0
  • Care: Easy

They got the name from their red fins and red tail. Those features are even more recognizable in contrast with their shiny silver body.

Those elegant fishes like to stick together, so remember to get them some friends. Two to three bloodfin tetras per 2-gallon tank are the recommended ratio.

Your school of bloodfin tetras can live up to 10 years if the living conditions are ideal. They can comfortably live in a tank with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0.

Like their relatives, ember and neon tetras, these guys can handle cold water too. You can keep your tank from 68 to 78°F. The fish tend to show better shading toward the end of the range.

They primarily eat freeze-dried foods and flakes. As you can see, they are very easy to care for. Just don’t miss their mealtime and keep the water temperature and pH on point.

Pros:

  • Look good in group
  • Easy to care
  • Tolerant of cool water
  • Live long

Con:

  • Have to keep in group

Betta Fish

Betta fish
Betta fish

General Features:

  • Size: 2.25 inches
  • Water temperature: 78°F to 80°F
  • pH level: 7
  • Care: Very easy

This type of fish is a more fancy choice with a colorful body and luxurious fins and tail. They are about the same size as the last fish, but you should not keep more than one of them in a tank.

Unlike bloodfin tetras, betta fish are very territorial. If you put two male ones together, they will fight and injure each other. In fact, in some countries, people keep them as fighting fish.

One perk of keeping these fish is you won’t have to change water frequently. They are also suitable for beginners because they don’t require much attention.

If there is anything, this is that they need foods that are high in protein. Bloodworms and brine shrimp are some good choices. You can easily buy a freeze-dried can of those from pet stores.

Pros:

  • Magnificent tail
  • Very easy to care
  • Very clean

Con:

  • Can’t keep two males together

View more: All You Need To Know About The Best Filter For Betta

Corydoras Catfish

Corydora catfish
Corydora catfish

General Features:

  • Size: 1 – 2.5 inches
  • Water temperature: 60°F to 70°F
  • pH level: 5.5 – 7
  • Care: Easy

Now we are back with friendly fish. A 2-gallon tank can house a school of three corydoras catfishes. Remember that he is a mandatory thing. Alone corydoras catfish can’t survive very long.

They are bottom-feeding scavengers, so they are not picky at all when it comes to food. They eat algae, fish flakes, worms, shrimp pallets, tablets, or whatever you have. They will eat anything that fits their mouths.

There are many different cory catfishes with various shades. One notable feature among them is the bone-like plate that runs along with their bodies.

These fish don’t tolerate high temperatures very well. 85°F is their upper limit. They prefer a tank with temperatures around 60°F to 70°F.

Pros:

  • Distinctive body
  • Easy to care
  • Can eat everything

Cons:

  • Need companies
  • Don’t tolerate high temperatures well

White Cloud Mountain Minnow

White Cloud Mountain Minnow
White Cloud Mountain Minnow

General Features:

  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • Water temperature: 60°F to 72°F
  • pH level: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Care: Easy

White Cloud Mountain Minnow share their look and behavior with neon tetras, hence the nickname “the working man’s neon”.

Like neon tetras, they have blue and red horizontal color blocks. But their blue stripe is thinner and runs all the length of their bodies. And the red part of their bodies is also less prominent than in neon tetras.

Those little guys can live for 5 years with proper treatment. Make sure to keep them in a group of 3 or 5 so they don’t lose their colors.

In nature, they are insect eaters. They often eat mosquito larvae, daphnia, and shrimp. So when possible, you should feed them live food.

Pros:

  • Don’t need much space
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to care

Cons:

  • Need to keep in group
  • Need live food from time to time

Danios

Danios
Danios

 General Features:

  • Size: 2 – 2.5 inches
  • Water temperature: 70°F to 78°F
  • pH level: 7.0 – 7.8
  • Care: Moderate    

Danio fish are relatives of White Cloud Mountain Minnow. The above fishes are from China, while these guys are native to South and South Asia.

Like their relatives, Danios stand out with their horizontal stripes. The most popular types of Danios are Zebra Danio and Leopard Danio with black and white features.

They can adjust to different living conditions, but they will thrive in a little warm temperature. Something around 70°F to 78°F like in their tropical natural habitat.

Most danios are omnivorous. You can feed them all kinds of fish food but limit each meal to under 2-minute worth of food.

Danios stay in groups and do well with other fishes, except long fin ones. If you keep them with long fins, fishes like betta, will try to tear out the fins.

Pros:

  • Eye-catching pattern on body
  • Exotic origin
  • Adaptable

Con:

  • Bite other fish’ long fins

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach
Kuhli Loach

General Features:

  • Size: 2 – 4 inches
  • Water temperature: 75°F to 86°F
  • pH level: 5.5 – 7.0
  • Care: Moderate

This is one of the bigger fishes on the list. Kuhli Loaches can grow their snake-like bodies up to 4 inches. You can mix them with smaller fishes so that your mini tank won’t become overcrowded. But pay attention to their temperature compatibility.

They are nighttime creatures that hide most of the daytime. At night, they will wander around the bottom of the tank for food.

Kuhli Loaches don’t have a particularly strict diet, but you should make sure their diet is 60% protein and 40% plant matter. They live at the bottom of the tank, so all their food needs to be sinking food.

The most important thing to do when keeping a Kuhli Loach is to give it a hiding spot. You should give them a tunnel or a cave for them to hide during the day.

Pros:

  • Unique body shape
  • Pretty pattern 
  • Friendly with smaller fish

Cons:

  • Need sinking food
  • Don’t come out and play during daytime
  • Require a hiding spot

Black Molly

Black Molly
Black Molly

General Features:

  • Size: 2 – 3 inches
  • Water temperature: 68°F to 82°F
  • pH level: 7.0 – 7.8
  • Care: Moderate

Unlike other streamlined, colorful fishes above, the Black Molly has a bulky, black monochrome build. Relatively larger than the others, they will be the ones that attract the spotlight in your tank.

Feeding these omnivorous fish is not challenging, but keeping them in a 2-gallon tank can be. One thing is you will need to change water pretty often and have an appropriate filtration system. Another thing is they breed very easily, so maybe don’t put a male and a female in your mini tank.

Also, if you are planning to raise them since they were babies, you will need to provide them with hiding spots. And don’t keep adult and baby black mollies together because the adults have a habit of eating the small ones.

Pros:

  • Standout color
  • Bulky build
  • Nice looking fins and tail

Cons:

  • Dirty your tank frequently
  • Baby ones can’t be kept with adult ones
  • Require a hiding spot for baby ones

Platies

Rainbow Platy
Rainbow Platy

General Features:

  • Size: 2.5 – 3 inches
  • Water temperature: 70°F to 82°F
  • pH level: 6.0 – 8.0
  • Care: Easy

If you like to grow fish with thick bodies, this is another choice for you. Platies are known for a sharp nose, huge eyes, and a body that tightens toward their butt-centric tails.

They come in multiple colors and shades. You can choose from many shades of red, blue, orange, white, and yellow.

Even though they fall in the bigger side on this list, baby Platies need to be kept away from other fishes. Once you help them reach their adulthood safely, you will have a collection of polychromatic wide-eyed cuties.

Pros:

  • Vary in color
  • Thick body
  • Prominent tail

Con:

  • Young ones need to be kept separately

Swordtails

Swordtails
Swordtails

General Features:

  • Size: up to 6.3 inches
  • Water temperature: 65°F to 82°F
  • pH level: 7.0 – 8.4
  • Care: Moderate

These are the biggest fishes on the list. Swordtails are undoubtedly beautiful. Watching their courtship dance can be mesmerizing.

Their size can be a problem with your 2-gallon tank if you want to keep many different types of fish. Luckily, Swordtails are not schooling fish, so having a single one swimming around is not detrimental for its health.

They are known for their toughness. But if you want to create the perfect environment for them, you need to raise the temperature and pH of your tank quite a bit.

However, feeding them is not going to affect other fishes like adjusting living conditions for them. Swordtails can eat both plant-based and protein-based foods.

Pros:

  • Extraordinary tail
  • Bright color
  • Don’t need companies

Con:

  • A little big for a 2-gallon tank

Wild-type Guppies

Wild-type Guppies
Wild-type Guppies

General Features:

  • Size: 1 – 1.5 inches
  • Water temperature: 78°F to 82°F
  • pH level: 6.8 – 7.6
  • Care: Bit hard

The last kind of fish we want to talk about is Wild-type Guppies. These exotic guppies don’t need a lot of water to live.

With the size of 1 – 1.5 inches, they are the perfect choice if you want something more packed than a staggered school of fish.

They are easy eaters so you won’t have to worry about a special diet. However, because of their wild roots, they can become sick rather easily. Antibacterial medication often is required.

Pros:

  • Suitable size for small tanks
  • Easy eaters
  • Decent look

Con:

  • Catch diseases easily

Other Critters For 2 Gallon Tank

Fish tanks are not exclusively for fish. You can fill them with other aquatic creatures and still have an exquisite display.

Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp
Cherry Shrimp

General Features:

  • Size: 1.6 inches
  • Water temperature: 57°F to 86°F
  • pH level: 6.85 – 8.0
  • Care: Easy

Red Cherry Shrimp are a popular addition to fish tanks. Their bright red color contrasts well with the green plants and dark rocks.

To achieve the brightest shade of cherry red, you should keep the shrimp relaxed. Put in enough plants for them to hide and keep the water conditions as stable as possible.

People often pair them with betta fishes. They can share the same diet of fish chips and pellets.

Pros:

  • Striking color
  • Can share food with fish
  • Keep your tank clean

Cons:

  • Lose color when stressed
  • Require plants for hiding

Zebra Snail

Zebra snail
Zebra snail

General Features:

  • Size: 0.5 – 1 inches
  • Water temperature: 70°F to 80°F
  • pH level: 7.5 – 9
  • Care: Easy

These golden-brown snails are generally accepted to be the top snail in the aquarium. Dark black stripes along the shell are what give them the name Zebra Snail.

Besides their looks, people keep them in their tanks because of their ability to clean algae. They keep your substratum clean.

They need  brackish water to breed, so maybe it is an advantage for freshwater mini-tank owners who don’t want an overcrowded tank. However, they require a high level of pH, so be careful when mixing them with your fish.

Pros:

  • Pretty shell
  • Help clean aegle
  • Don’t take up much space

Con:

  • Need a high level of pH

How To Choose Fishes For 2 Gallon Tank

In short, to choose fishes to keep in a small tank such as a 2-gallon one, you should think about the size and number of the fish, the care they may require, and the suitable living conditions.

Size And Number

With a 2-gallon tank, you can’t have too much of a big fish. Your pets should be around 2 inches when fully grown.

If you want some bigger ones like a Swordtail or a Kuhli Loach, you will not have space for many other creatures. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the size, the smaller the number.

Caring Requirements

Generally, fishes don’t demand as much attention as other pets like dogs or cats. But they still need certain attentiveness from their owners.

You should not buy fish that require a type of food that is not available to you. Or if your tank doesn’t have a cave, you should not choose a Kuhli Loach.

This leads to the last point we want to make.

Living Conditions

It is only ethical to keep a fish whose living conditions you can satisfy. The fish should be compatible with your tank and your other creatures.

They should be able to share a similar environment in terms of water temperature, pH level, etc.

A Buying Guide For 2 Gallon Tank

Big or small, while buying a fish tank, you still need to consider these factors.

Filtration

A tank needs a filter to clean the water from chemicals, harmful substances, and waste debris. A filter can also remove odors, discoloration, and socialite oxygen exchange.

For a small tank, the important thing is to choose a filter that is not too strong. If it is too strong, small creatures can go “Finding Nemo” out of the tank.

With bigger tanks, there are more things to consider. Check out our article on GA Pet Sitters for suggestions of filters for 10-gallon tanks.

Lightning

Lighting is worth noting because it is essential for the photosynthetic plants and organisms in the tank. A healthy environment allows all creatures in it to grow healthy.

When choosing a lighting system, you should check for wattage, the color of the light, brightness, and photosynthetically active radiation.

Some tanks have a built-in lighting system but some don’t. For beginners, it is cheaper and easier to opt for ones that come with lightning.

Heater

As you can see in our recommendations of fishes for a 2-gallon tank, different fishes prefer different water temperatures. To control water temperature, you can use a heater.

Besides reaching the desired temperature, make sure that the temperature of your tank doesn’t change suddenly. That can cause thermal shock, making your pets more vulnerable to diseases.

Like with lightning, there is a fish tank with pre-built heaters. These heaters are easier to set up than the ones that are sold separately.

Cleaning Plan

To keep a robust environment, you should have a clear plan for cleaning your tank. Not all tanks are cleaned the same way.

There are differences in how to clean the glass, the floor, the filter, and changing water between different fish tanks. You should choose a tank with an intuitive cleaning scheme, preferably one that doesn’t require extra tools and materials.

For a 2-gallon tank, you should change the water and clean it once a week.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Fish Can I Keep In A 2 Gallon Tank?

Fishes need sufficient spaces to live and thrive. So make sure to give your aquatic friends the space they need and don’t overcrowd your tank.

With some exceptions like Swordtails and Betta fishes, you can add around 3 to 4 ones of the fishes on our list above to your 2-gallon tank.

Consider adding shrimp and snails along with the fishes too. They can be both a visual feast and a helpful conditioning supplement.

How Do I Maintain My Tank Properly?

Because the volume of a 2-gallon tank is not much, any change can affect the environment of the creatures greatly.

Pay attention to the water, the glass, and the substrate regularly. You should change half of the water weekly with dechlorinated and temperature-suited water.

About aquarium pH level, the goal is to keep it consistent. To maintain the balanced pH level of your tank, you should not add tap water to it. As long as the pH level is stable, most types of fish can adjust to the condition.

If the circumstances call for alteration of aquarium pH, these are some safe ways to do it. Always test your water before adding it to the tank.

For lowering pH level:

  • Use RO (reverse osmosis) or DI (deionized) water to reach desired pH level. Those types of water have a pH of 7 (neutral).
  • Add natural driftwood. This kind of decoration can release tannins and help lower the pH of your tank.
  • Add peat products to the filter. There are specialized peat moss and peat pellets for aquariums that can release tannins like driftwood. A mesh bag is proper to contain the peat.

For raising pH level:

  • Utilize RO (reverse osmosis) or DI (deionized) water to reach desired pH level. Those types of water have a pH of 7 (neutral).
  • Use dolomite gravel or crushed coral for substratum. These substrate materials will dissolve and raise the pH of water.
  • Put dolomite gravel or crushed coral in the filter, using a mesh bag as you do with the peat.
  • Add limestone or coral rock for decoration. These are calcium carbonate rocks and can raise the pH like coral and dolomite gravel.

Would My Fishes Fight Each Other For Territory?

In nature, animals fight each other for territory mainly because of food and mating rights. In your mini tank, the fishes don’t have to worry about that.

Many types of fish are schooling fish. That means they stick together instinctively and don’t fight each other.

However, in some cases, they do fight. For example, male Betta fish in a tank will fight each other. Or Danio will bite Betta’s fins.

Our point is the size of your tank is not the reason for your fishes to fight if they don’t want to fight each other in the first place.

Conclusion

Maintaining a 2-gallon tank does require a bit of work, but it is not impossible to do. Choosing the best fish for 2 gallon tank, picking the suitable tank, and setting it up properly is what you need to do.

Things to consider when choosing the fishes for your tank include their size, required living conditions, diet, and compatibility with other species that you have in mind.

While purchasing your tank, you should weigh in some factors, such as filtration, lighting, fish size, temperature, and cleaning plan. When it is time to set it up, think about the placement, substrate, decorations, water, and plants.

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