Top 10 Fish for a 10-Gallon Aquarium
One of our most frequently asked questions is “What can I put in a 10-gallon aquarium?” When you’re surrounded by hundreds of freshwater fish at a fish store, the possibilities just seem endless! You can find the best 10 fish species, both common and rare, in our list.
1. Brown Pencilfish
Let’s start off with a top-dwelling fish, which can be hard to find for a 10-gallon tank. Nannostomus, also known by the names hockeystick pencilfish and diptail penguin, can be found in a 10-gallon tank. Its mouth is pointed towards the surface while its tail dips downward at an angle. Brown pencilfish are relatively inexpensive compared to other species of pencilfish, making it easier to buy a healthy school with at least five to six fish. They are more likely to jump than most other surface dwellers. To keep them in check, you will need an aquarium lid. Also, they have very small mouths, so feed them size-appropriate foods like baby brine shrimp, daphnia, and Easy Fry and Small Fish Food. Our full article on pencilfish provides more details.
Diptail or brown pencilfish
A pair of Apistogramma dwarf Cichlids (also called apistos), in a species-only arrangement is a great choice if you are looking for fish to breed. A variety of species, including A. cacatuoides, A. agassizii and A. borellii are available at your local fish market due to their unique profile and colors. It’s easy to spawn them. All you need is food and a small cave or coconut shelter for them to lay their eggs. The mother will care for her children until they reach three- to four weeks after their hatching. For more details, read our care guide on apistos.
3. Lyretail Killifish
Aphyosemion Australe is another fun breeding project. Also known as the lyretail killer, orange australe killerifish, and golden panchax, it’s also fun to keep them. They’re usually sold in pairs. However, you can keep one male and several females. Many people steer away from killifish since some kinds are known for their aggressive behavior and short lifespan, but this beautiful species is calmer than most and can live up to three years. They need a tight cover to keep them from jumping and can survive in colder temperatures without the use of an aquarium heater. Colony breeding (or raising the fry in the same tank as the parents) is possible in a heavily planted tank with, for example, lots of thick moss on the ground and water sprite floating at the surface.
Male and female orange australe killifish
4. Kuhli Loach
Kuhli loaches are a wonderful choice. The oddball, eel-like fish can be found in many colors, including black, silver, and zebra stripes. They are also adept at finding leftover food and will eat anything that falls into small cracks. As shyer, nocturnal creatures, they feel safer in groups of at least three to six, and their peaceful nature makes them perfect company for other community fish like tetras, rasboras, and even betta fish. These wiggly, underwater noodles will be a lot of fun if you feed them sinking food like Repashy gel food and frozen bloodworms.
5. Cherry Barb
Puntius.titteya, unlike many barbs, is a mild and friendly species that can be mixed well with other community fish. Get six or more of these schooling fish, and you’ll be amazed at how brightly their red color pops against the green foliage of a planted tank. Plus, they readily breed and will lay their eggs in dense vegetation or spawning mops. The cherry barb is a vibrant and eye-catching addition for your 10-gallon fish aquarium.
Male & Female Cherry Barbs
6. White Cloud Mountain Minnow
Tanichthys albonubes come in both longfin and regular forms. However, we love the golden version because of their bright yellowish-peach bodies. This cold-water schooling species can be kept in a non heated aquarium. It is ideal for classrooms and offices. Plus, their peaceful personalities make them ideal tank mates for dwarf shrimp or even betta fish (as long as there is enough cover). As with many of the fish on this list, they’re very easy to spawn in a species-only tank, especially when given lots of aquatic plants and good food.
Golden White Cloud Minnows
7. Neolamprologus multifasciatus
Did you know that you can keep African Cichlids in a 10 gallon aquarium? These tiny shell dwellers are between 1 and 2 inches in length and, according to their nickname, live and rear their eggs in snail shells. As with other African cichlids they prefer higher pH levels and hard water. Because they are constantly changing their environment by digging holes in the sand, and then moving their shells with their teeth, shell dwellers can be very entertaining to watch. You can provide enough food for your babies to thrive and you will soon be able sell them or give them away to friends.
8. Green Neon Rasbora
Because of its radioactive colour, this tiny schooling rasbora deserves more attention from fish keepers. Iridescent green is such an unusual color that is rarely seen in the aquarium hobby. If you have six or more of these fish in your aquarium, the bright sparkle from their scales will draw everyone’s eye. Although they may not be easy to find in your region, you can request them at your local fish market or order them from an online seller.
9. Fancy Guppy
Guppies are a wonderful addition to any aquarium. Guppies are a peaceful, calm fish that can be kept in a 10 gallon tank. Guppies come in all colors, are excellent eaters and will eat every last drop of food in your aquarium. They don’t live long but they are a great source of life and will provide many more babies for you. Feed them well, give them hard water with minerals, keep up with your tank maintenance – and you won’t regret it.
10. Dwarf Platy
Can’t get enough of adorable livebearers? You should get dwarf or teacup plates. They stay around 1 inch long and don’t get as big as regular platies, so a 10-gallon tank isn’t too small for them. Because of their insatiable appetites, platy fish make great clean-up crew members. They can find half-buried leftovers even in the smallest cracks. They are known for their unique mouth shape and have been known to eat algae. While dwarf platies can be difficult to source, their adorable size as well as lively behavior makes it worth the effort.
Red platy fish
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