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What Can I Put In A 1 Gallon Tank?

With the fish keeping hobby getting a large amount of interest right now, there has been a surge in the number of people asking for stocking options for various tank sizes.

With many beginners wanting to keep their initial costs as low as possible, we have seen many people specifically focusing on the stocking options for the smaller aquarium tank sizes.

We have noticed more and more people asking for advice on what they can put in a 1 gallon tank recently so we have decided to publish this article on the topic.

A 1 gallon aquarium tank really is small and limits what you can do with it though. If possible, you really should be trying to upgrade to a 5 gallon tank minimum if you can but the larger the better with a 10 gallon often being the best starting tank size for most people.

Still, we have our article going over fish for a 7 gallon tank as well as an article on saltwater stocking options for a 5 gallon tank that may be helpful if you do want to upgrade.

For the rest of this article, we will be focusing on stocking options for a 1 gallon tank though even though we really don’t recommend you go with this tank size if possible.

What Goes Well In A 1 Gallon Tank!

Here are our recommended stocking options for a 1 gallon tank covering a number of different options.

  • Shrimp!
  • One Guppy!
  • Sea Monkeys!
  • Aqua Dragons!
  • Mystery Snails!
  • Live Plants!

Unlike larger tanks, you can often only have a very small number of these options in your 1 gallon tank and we would recommend that you try to only stick with one species if possible for a 1 gallon tank.


Shrimp are definitely the obvious option for a 1 gallon tank and with cherry shrimp, neon yellow shrimp, and blue dream shrimp offering bright colors for a low price tag, they can be a great option for your tank.

We actually have a dedicated article going over setting up a 1 gallon shrimp tank that may be helpful as it goes over exactly what you need for a tank of this size.

If you have already purchased your 1 gallon tank then shrimp would be our default option in the majority of cases.

Still, your shrimp will breed and some types of shrimp can breed rapidly.

Due to this, we would usually recommend that you go with a 2 gallon shrimp tank if possible and they also tend to be much easier to maintain for most people, especially beginners.

One Guppy!

Although many people think that keeping one single guppy is cruel, you are able to keep one guppy alone in a tank.

Even with a 1 gallon tank, a single guppy may be too much, especially if you are a beginner to the fish keeping hobby.

It will be problematic to maintain steady water parameters in such a small tank and ammonia levels can quickly become a problem.

Still, if you do have the time to put into maintaining steady water parameters in your 1 gallon tank, a single guppy can be a solid option.

Most people will usually go with a male guppy due to the brighter colors and larger tail though but a female guppy can work.

Sea Monkeys!

Sea monkeys are probably the most commonly kept animal in a 1 gallon tank and they have been kept in this tank size for decades.

They usually come with their own tank when you purchase a sea monkey kit but for the most part, you can usually purchase their eggs online.

More recently, aqua dragons have been very popular as they are similar to sea monkeys but have a more catchy name.

We have our dedicated article going over our aqua dragon vs sea monkey comparison to help people understand the differences and choose the best option for them.

Aqua Dragons!

Aqua dragons have only recently become popular but they are very similar to sea monkeys.

They come in a kit that includes everything you need to get started and usually come with their own tank.

Although they are a different species to sea monkeys, for the majority of people, aqua dragons will look the same and most people get the two confused.

Still, aqua dragons can be a great option for a 1 gallon tank but most people overlook them as they want something larger.

Mystery Snails!

Although not as popular, mystery snails can make a great addition to a 1 gallon tank and they are often overlooked.

They are very low maintenance and do not require much attention once they are settled into their tank.

The recent color morphs for mystery snails bring the available colors upto golden, blue, black, ivory, albino, purple, magenta, and olive jade mystery snails.

This allows you to choose a number of different colors of mystery snail for your 1 gallon tank to make the setup a little more eye catching rather than just having the standard ivory snails in there.

Live Plants!

Of course, you could also just go with live plants in your 1 gallon tank and this is probably the best option if you are a beginner to the fish keeping hobby.

Not only are live plants much easier to care for than fish, they also help to keep the water quality in your tank much higher as they act as a natural filter.

Aquascaping is very popular for larger tanks too so starting a 1 gallon planted tank can help you develop your aquatic plant keeping skills from the very start ready for when you move on to a larger tank.