Although the honey gourami has never been a hugely popular fish within the fish keeping hobby, it is slowly increasing in popularity along with a number of the other drawf gourami species.
One question that we have seen asked time and time again in recent months from potential honey gourami keepers is if they are able to keep their honey gourami in a 5 gallon aquarium or not.
Although there are a number of people on social media who are keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon aquarium, this is rarely the best option for the fist but when done right, it can sometimes work.
Keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon tank is usually controversial within the fish keeping community too with people often wanting to take the totally against it approach or the totally for it approach with few people covering both sides.
Due to this, we will be staying impartial and trying to offer a balanced look at keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon aquarium.
Is It Cruel To Keep A Honey Gourami In A 5 Gallon Tank?
The main argument about keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon tank is that the average fully grown honey gourami will be around 2.2 inches (5.5 centimeters) and although this is technically small enough to live in 5 gallon tank, it is on the limit and forces the tank to be pretty empty.
Honey gouramis are not a fish that like to live in empty tanks, they much prefer there to be plenty of places to hide away and swim around and this is something that can be pretty difficult to achieve in such a small 5 gallon aquarium.
We have seen people who have kept honey gouramis in 5 gallon tanks before and use stackable fish hides in one or two corners of the tank to maximise space while still offering their honey gourami plenty of hiding spaces.
What Type Of 5 Gallon Tank Is Suitable For A Honey Gourami?
Another problem with keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon aquarium is that they usually require a base space of around 24x12in (60x30cm) in their aquarium and this is very difficult to find in a 5 gallon tank. Ordinarily, you will be looking towards a 15 to 20 gallon tank to be able to get something of that size too.
A 5 gallon tank that does offer a base space of 24x12in (60x30cm) is going to be long and shallow. Thankfully the shallow water depth is not usually too much of a factor for a honey gourami provided there are plenty of hiding spots in the tank to let the fish get away to relax.
It is very difficult to find a 5 gallon tank that does have a 24x12in (60x30cm) base though and although there are a very small number of them out there, they are usually expensive and you can often find the more suitable 15 gallon tank for a lower price.
One thing that we have seen people use as a work around to this is to hunt down a European 20 liter tank that is around 5.28 gallons. This extra space can increase the base size to being very close to 24x12in (60x30cm) and making it a better tank option for a honey gourami that is just over 5 gallons in size.
The problem with this approach is that these tanks are often very difficult to find in the USA. Although they are pleantaful in Europe, once you import them and pay the import taxes, you are getting into a price range where you can just get a better 15 gallon tank for a lower price again why why not take that option to keep your honey gourami happy…
How Many Honey Gouramis Can You Keep In A 5 Gallon Tank?
Due to the small space available, you can only keep one honey gourami in a 5 gallon aquarium tank and even then, it will be challanging.
If you are thinking about keeping more honey gouramis in your 5 gallon aquarium, then it is likely that you will need to upgrade the size of your tank as honey gouramis do not like to be overcrowded and having multiple fish in such a small tank can often lead to stress which can reduce their lifespan.
You usually have to think outside of the box when it comes to tank decorations too as all of the available swimming space in a 5 gallon aquarium is valuable!
Can I Keep Tank Mates In A 5 Gallon Tank With A Honey Gourami?
We would never recommend that you keep other fish in a 5 gallon tank with a honey gourami due to a lack of available space. Depending on your overall goals for the tank, you may be able to keep shrimp and snails in the tank with your honey gourami but the fish will usually not care much either way.
A 5 gallon tank with a honey gourami in it is in a similar position for live plants too where you really do have to be careful with the type of live plant that you add to the tank too. You don’t want something that is going to take up a bunch of space and crowd the honey gourami out.
One option that can often work well is to choose a floating plant like the popular duckweed. This is a very small plant that will not take up much space in the tank and can often provide your honey gourami with some extra hiding spots too!
What Are The Alternatives To Keeping A Honey Gourami In A 5 Gallon Tank?
The main alternative to keeping a honey gourami in a 5 gallon tank is to either get a larger tank or to look at keeping a different type of fish that doesn’t grow as large.
If you are set on keeping a honey gourami, then we would recommend that you look at getting a tank that is no smaller than 10 gallons in size. This will give the honey gourami plenty of space to swim around and reduce the chances of them being stressed out which can often lead to health problems down the line.
If you are willing to consider other types of fish, then there are plenty of other options that would be more suitable for a 5 gallon aquarium.
You can also look to keep a 2 gallon shrimp tank or even a 1 gallon shrimp tank instead. Many people instantly discount keeping shrimp tanks but they are rapidly growing in popularity and offer a number of different options with different types of shrimp and are often more fun than most people initially realise.