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 with a top-dwelling species, which is difficult to find in 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. You can read the full article about pencilfish.
Brown or diptail pencilfish
Apistogramma dwarfs cichlids are a great choice for breeding fish. Because of their striking profile and colors, many species are readily available at your local fish store, such as A. cacatuoides (or cockatoo cichlid), A. agassizii, and A. borellii. It’s easy to spawn them. All you need is food and a small cave or coconut shelter for them to lay their eggs. After hatching, the mother even cares for her young until they’re three to four weeks old. For more details, read our care guide on apistos.
3. Lyretail Killifish
Another fun breeding project is Aphyosemion australe, also called the lyretail killifish, orange australe killifish, or golden panchax. They are usually sold in pairs but you can keep one male and a few 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. As with all killifish, they require a tight lid to prevent them jumping. They can also thrive in cooler temperatures without an aquarium heating unit. 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
What’s not to love about kuhli loaches? 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. You’ll enjoy their wiggly, underwater noodles if you give them sinking foods such as Repashy gel, frozen bloodworms and community pellets.
5. Cherry Barb
Puntius.titteya, unlike many barbs, is a mild and friendly species that can be mixed well with other community fish. You’ll be amazed how vividly the red hue of these schooling fish pops against the green of a planted tank if you get six or more. Plus, they readily breed and will lay their eggs in dense vegetation or spawning mops. Cherry barbs are a bright and attractive addition to your 10-gallon fish tanks.
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. They are also great tank mates with dwarf shrimps and even bettas, as long as there’s 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 multiifasciatus
Did you know you can keep African cichlids in a 10-gallon aquarium? These tiny shell dwellers measure between 1 to 2 inches in length. They live and raise their young in snail shells, which is their nickname. Like other African cichlids, they prefer higher pH levels and harder water. Shell dwellers are so entertaining to watch because they’re constantly rearranging their home by digging pits in the sand and moving shells with their mouths. 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
This tiny schooling rasbora deserves a lot more attention among fish keepers because of its radioactive color. The unusual color of iridescent green is rare in aquariums. A group of six or more fish, especially in a blackwater aquarium with tannins, will grab everyone’s attention. You might not be able to find them in your area, so you may try asking your local fish shop or ordering them online.
9. Fancy Guppy
Guppies are a wonderful addition to any aquarium. In our opinion, guppies are the perfect, peaceful fish for a 10-gallon tank. They come in every colour, swim up to the aquarium to eat, and they are great eaters who eat everything in it. These livebearers can live up to a decade, but the many babies they will give you more than makes up for that. You won’t regret feeding them, giving them hard water with minerals and keeping up with tank maintenance.
10. Dwarf Platy
Do you love adorable livebearers and can’t stop looking at them? Do you love dwarfs or teacup platies? They are about 1 inch in length and won’t grow as large as regular platies so a 10-gallon tank is not too big 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. Due to their distinctive mouth shape, platy fish can even 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
Want to see more Top 10 recommendations? To stay informed about the most recent articles, videos, events and other news, sign up for our newsletter.