You are here:

Fish/small tank fish


Hi, I'm actually going to apologize for bothering you, I'm sort of looking for suggestions/advice.

So, I'm a college student, been trying to decide about getting a small desktop tank to my writing a paper at my desk feel a little less desolate. (small as in 2-3 gallons, maybe?)  I've been trying to do some research, but it seems like the box stores don't care as long as they sell you something (I'm in the middle of Alaska, Petco is about it for my options,) and there seems to be a lot of disagreement among hobbyists about small tanks.  I'm not sure what to think on keeping a solo fish in a tank that small, having enough space to swim around and such.

What are your thoughts on desktop tanks around that size?  Suggestions for fish? (Betta?) Small, live plants or fake?

Another concern, the water here is usually a little iron heavy, though I am on the city water system.  Testing/solutions?  Any good beginners guides you know of online?

I've been eyeballing two different tanks:
Fluval Spec 3 2.6 Gal  -

and the Tetra Cube 3 gallon -


Hi Ryan,
 Small tanks are quite popular right now, mostly because they take less space.  There are many small species of fishes (e.g., small tetras) that do quite well in a small tank.  They key is not to put a large fish in a small tank.  The other thing which is very popular right now are shrimp.  There are many varieties of small shrimp (very colorful) that do really well in small tanks of just a couple of gallons. You might look into those.

-- Ron C.
   Cichlid Research Home Page <>


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ron Coleman


I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.


I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

©2016 All rights reserved.