7 Best Fish Tank Ideas for a 10-Gallon Aquarium
A 10-gallon fish tank is one of the most common “starter” aquarium sizes because it’s small enough for an apartment, a kid’s bedroom, or even your kitchen counter. If you’re not sure what kind of fish to get or how to design the tank, get inspired by 7 of our favorite aquarium setup ideas.
1. Aquarium with the “Centerpiece Fish”.
The centerpiece fish is an aquarium fish that draws attention to itself and other members of the community. In this case, our showcase fish is going to be a gourami that’s less than 3 inches (8 cm) long, such as a powder blue dwarf gourami (females are usually more peaceful than males) or honey gourami. This brightly colored center fish will make a great addition to any aquarium. It swims around the aquarium and has a lot of personality.
Consider surrounding the gourami in six to eight schooling nanofish that are a different colour. Consider adding orange ember totras to the gourami instead of putting it with red and blue neon tetras. In the opposite direction, the yellow-orange honeygourami would look great swimming alongside a group of neon Tetras.
These tetras tend to school in the middle of the tank, so if you’re looking to fill in the lowest layer of the tank, Malaysian trumpet snails and nerite snails are excellent algae eaters and scavengers. Corydoras catfish is another peaceful bottom dweller. We recommend choosing smaller species such as six to eight panda corydoras and six to eight pygmy Corydoras, since they are fond of sticking together in the same species’ schools.
Honey gouramis are very friendly and can pop in any aquarium.
2. The Nano Aquascape
Unlike the previous example, this aquarium focuses on growing an underwater garden with live plants as the main feature and fish as the side decorations. We’re talking about a highly designed piece of art that most likely uses high lighting, carbon dioxide (CO2) injection, carpeting plants, and careful placement of hardscape. A high tech planted tank like this is generally recommended for more advanced aquarists since they are harder to balance, require more maintenance, and can quicky become a huge mess if you make a mistake. Also, the water tends to become very acidic because of the active substrate and CO2 injection, which can be lethal to your fish and beneficial bacteria. The nano aquascape is a rewarding project that can also be visually appealing if you are up for the challenge.
Make sure you take time to adjust the arrangement and selection of plants, rocks, driftwood, before you buy any animals. After you’re satisfied with the arrangement, you can select aquatic animals that will enhance the design without blending in with the surroundings. Because aquascapes are often intended to imitate scenes in nature like an underwater diorama, look at adding nano fish such as celestial pearl danios, chili rasboras, and exclamation point rasboras. These tiny fish “fly” in the midst of your miniature forest, mountains like a group of birds.
You can control algae by getting small snails, red cherry shrimp, or amano shrimp. This will keep your plants’ leaves and hardscape looking great. The pygmy and habrosus corydoras dwarf cory catfish are great for cleaning up excess food. Just avoid any animals like Malaysian trumpet snails and kuhli loaches that like to burrow and may mess up your scape.
High tech aquascapes may be hard to pull off, but the more you practice, the better your creations will become. Don’t get discouraged or compare yourself to professionals because their “perfect” aquascapes are usually unrealistic setups in which all the necessary equipment has been removed and the fish are temporarily added.
Brigittae (or chili rasboras) are favorite fish for nano aquascapes. They are small and have bright red colors.
3. The Unheated Aquarium
Are you looking to set up a cool-water aquarium? You can get a tank filled with fast danios. You don’t need an aquarium heater as long your room temperature is between 67-80degF (19-25 degC). These action-packed torpedoes are always a crowd-pleaser for kids, and their hardiness makes them perfect for beginners who are still learning the ropes. You can find Danios at your local pet shop chains or fish shops in many different colors, including zebra, long-fin, leopard, blue and even Glofish danios.
They are most comfortable in groups of at least six fish. However, unlike schooling fish, they can be kept together with different types of danios. They swim all over the aquarium, but because of their hungry appetites, they often feed from the water surface and will readily take floating fish foods like flakes or freeze-dried bloodworms. You can also add Malaysian trumpet snails or mystery snails to the tank to help clean up any leftovers.
There’s nothing like watching a tank of lightning-fast Zebra Danios feed their animals.
4. The Livebearer Aquarium
Endler’s aquarium of 10 gallons is ideal for their livebearers, and aquatic plants. Endlers look like their cousin the guppy and come in many types and colors, including N-class, Tiger, and Black Bar. Livebearer fish are named this because they give birth within hours to healthy young that can swim freely and find food. To increase survival rates, you can add dense foliage such as java moss or water sprite. This will provide hiding places for the babies. You can always take out some adult fish to reduce overpopulation.
Endler’s livebearers will eat anything. Flake, pellets, frozen foods and even huge wafers are all acceptable. They are very hardy and easy to care for, and yet they’re small enough to keep in a kid’s bedroom or on your office desk. You can’t go wrong if you want an aquarium that is vibrant with color and life, but it’s simple.
Endlers are perfect for 10-gallon tanks because of their small size, colorful patterns, high energy level, and ease of breeding.
5. The Frog Tank
If you want an aquatic pet that isn’t a fish, why not try an aquarium full of African dwarf frogs? Although a single frog can be bought as a last-minute addition that looks intriguing, we recommend purchasing at least five to six. The best frogs to buy at the pet shop are those that have been well-fed and have a slightly round belly. They may try to jump out of the water, so make sure to have a tight-fitting glass top or aquarium hood to prevent escape. For frogs that can reach above the surface, you can decorate your tank with aquarium gravel, plants and driftwood.
Because they are slow eaters, they won’t take to fast-eating fish as well. Good tank mates include larger snails, a clown pleco, or more African dwarf frogs (not the larger African clawed frog). You can see their webbed fingers waving things around in the tank. Don’t give them frozen foods that float, or shrimp pellets that break down quickly. Frozen bloodworms, live blackworms, and frozen brine shrimp are all good options. You can encourage your frogs to “wrestle” and sing by adding java moss, or other densely covered plants.
African dwarfs frogs are messy eaters. It may be a good idea to get snails and a small pleco for any leftovers.
6. Aquarium in the “Upside-Down Forest”.
We got this idea when looking at a bunch of dwarf water lettuce. If you give this beautiful floating plant lots of light, it consumes your fish’s toxic nitrogen waste from the water and creates long, bushy roots that look like branches in an upside-down forest. For the perfect schooling fish to swim amongst the fuzzy roots, get six to eight green neon tetras, which have a reflective, blue-green stripe that can be seen even in ambient lighting when the aquarium light is off. These tetras can be shy so get a group outgoing rosy loaches. They only grow to 1.25 inches (3cm) long and are well-known for their speckled males and red-orange females.
Since floating plants propagate quickly, you may need to make a little hole at the water surface to drop some micro pellets (and other tiny foods) and then stir the water a little to make the food sink. If the dwarf water lettuce becomes too dense, remove some of them to feed to your plant-eating animals (like turtles) or give them away to friends and local stores.
7. The “Breeding for Profit Tank”
If you’re searching for a fun breeding project beyond livebearers, try an aquarium of long fin white cloud mountain minnows. Unlike most fish, the adults are not known for predating on their own eggs or fry, so it’s quite possible to breed them in a colony without separating out the babies. However, juvenile white cloud minnows may start to snack on their younger siblings, so make sure to fill the tank with tons of floating plants up top and dense mosses and plants on the bottom. In fact, if you really want to increase your population, keep this as a species-only tank with no other fish, snails, or even shrimp to prey on the fry.
White cloud mountain minnows are extremely hardy and can live in unheated aquariums or outdoor mini ponds in the summer. Keep the minnows well-fed with a wide selection of tiny foods, like the powder from Repashy gel foods, Easy Fry and Small Fish Food, Hikari First Bites, frozen cyclops, and live baby brine shrimp. Eventually, when the fish tank becomes more crowded, talk to your local fish store about selling some to help offset the cost of your aquarium hobby.
There are many types of white cloud mountain minnows such as long fin, regular, gold and gold.
If you’re thinking of upgrading to a 20-gallon aquarium, there’s a whole new world of fish, invertebrates, and plants you can keep. Read about our 5 best fish tank ideas for a 20-gallon aquarium, and enjoy nature daily.