Top 7 Colorful Fish for a 10-Gallon Aquarium
10-gallon aquariums are so popular because of their small footprint and low cost, so what kind of fish can you put in them? As a follow-up to our article on the 7 best fish tank ideas for a 10-gallon stocking ideas, we’ve come up with more suggestions to help you pick the 7 most colorful fish to brighten up your 10-gallon setup.
1. The Killifish Aquarium
Killifish are a very colorful, underrated fish that enjoy temperatures below 78degF (26degC) and can live in an unheated aquarium. There are hundreds to choose from. To fit into a 10-gallon aquarium, pick a fish that is 3-4 inches or less in length. They are notorious jumpers, so keep a tight lid on the tank to prevent escape. You should also keep in mind that killifish can be semi-aggressive. They have large mouths that can swallow smaller fish. Keep them in a species-only tank. Killifish enjoy meaty foods of all types and will readily take bloodworms, brine shrimp, and krill flakes.
Red-striped killifish (Aphyosemion striatum)
2. The Betta Fish Tank
How about upgrading your betta fish from a tiny bowl to a 10-gallon paradise? Despite their territorial personalities, Betta splendens can live in a community aquarium if given enough space and the right kind of tank mates. To contrast your red Betta with a peaceful, schooling fish, such as a green neon tetra, or to compliment a blue betta with orange-colored, ember tetras, you can choose one of two options: go with a smaller, more calm, gentler fish, such as a green neon tetra, or with a larger, more active fish, such as a green neon tetra. Snails, smaller corydoras, kuhli pooches, and other bottom dwellers can be helpful in cleaning up any food that passes by your betta fish. Your betta may like floating, protein-rich foods such as blood worms or brine shrimps, but micro pellets are best for schooling fish, and sinking wafers to feed the bottom dwellers.
A red betta fish stands out more when placed among green aquarium plants and complementary-colored tank mates.
3. The Nano Rainbowfish Aquarium
Naturally, rainbowfish rank as one of the most colorful fish in the freshwater hobby, but most of them are too big for a 10-gallon aquarium. Pseudomugil rainbowfish are usually less than 2 inches (5 cm) long. Visit your local fish market to check if they carry P. luminatus (red-neon rainbowfish), P. fucata (forktail rainbowfish), and P. gertrudae (“Gertrude’s spotted rainbowfish”). Like most rainbowfish, they prefer pH above 7.0 and harder water with minerals, but they are quite hardy and can live in a wide set of water parameters.
A 10-gallon fish tank with 3-5 rainbowfish can house a group of them (of the same species) as well as other bottom dwellers such as corydoras and kuhli loaches. You can feed these tiny fish tiny foods such cyclops, daphnia, easy fry and small fish food. Dwarf rainbowfish have relatively short life spans around 2-3 years long, but thankfully they are easy to breed. So that males can display their best breeding colors, and dance behavior, make sure you get more females than men. Then provide lots of dense aquarium plants or spawning mops for the females to lay their eggs on. For more details, read our forktail rainbowfish care guide.
Forktail rainbowfish (Pseudomugil furcata)
4. The Apistogramma Breeding Tank
These South American dwarf cichlids are known for their vivid coloration and interesting breeding behavior. Apistogramma agassizii and Apistogramma cacatuoides are the easiest species to breed. Both species have stunning color options. You will need to create a comfortable environment that has a pH between 6.5 and 7.2 and a temperature between 82-84degF (28-30 degC). You can add a boy or a girl to your apisto cave, or coconut hut. The male will barely be able to fit in the small hole. Feed a well-balanced omnivore diet with frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, Repashy gel food, and sinking pellets. Once the male fertilizes the eggs, the female displays parental care by guarding the eggs and protecting the fry once they hatch. For more information about apistogrammas, read our full care guide.
Cockatoo dwarf cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides)
5. The Fancy Guppy Aquarium
Poecilia reticulata is a beautiful, energetic livebearer that comes in almost every color of the rainbow. For beginners, you can start with one male and two women. They will soon produce more babies. Guppies prefer high GH or harder water, so if you have soft tap water, use crushed coral, Wonder Shell, or Seachem Equilibrium to boost the aquarium’s mineral content. They also eat almost any fish food, whether it is Fancy Guppy pellets, flakes, or frozen foods. You can make a lot of guppies to sell at your local fish shop or friends. To do this, you will need shelter or plants such as dwarf water lettuce, java moss and Pogostemon. stellatus “octopus” If your aquarium is overrun by fry, you can simply remove the cover or hide spots from the aquarium. This will allow the adults to help control the population. For more information, please refer to our complete care for guppies.
Male fancy guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
6. The Cherry Shrimp Tank
Neocaridina davidi, an ornamental shrimp that is extremely rewarding to breed, is another great choice. It reproduces easily and seems to always be in high demand. They are available in amazing colors, including fire red, orange saura, yellow gold back, green jade and blue velvet. You can easily start with 10-20 shrimp, and they will quickly grow into a colony of 100-200 shrimp in a matter of months. Adult cherry shrimp do not predate on their offspring, but for maximum survival rate, do not add any other species as tank mates. Provide powdered foods, algae, catappa leaves, and minerals in the water to keep the baby shrimp growing well. Reduce the number of babies you see by selling them to your local fish market. The money can be used to finance your new shrimp addiction. Read this article to learn more about freshwater seafood.
7. The Dwarf Plate Aquarium
Most platy fish grow to 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) in size, but the dwarf platy only reaches a little over 1 inch (2.5 cm) and can live in a smaller tank. While red wag or solid red are the most popular, more colors are likely to be available in the future. We recommend three teacup plates with one male and two women for a 10-gallon aquarium. Males are eager to breed, so having more females and lots of cover will help divert his attention. Platies are hungry all the time and will eat anything they find. These livebearers also are capable of eating their own offspring, so provide tof dense aquarium plants like water sprite and moss for the babies to hide in. See our platy fish care guide for more details on their care requirements.
Dwarf red coral platy fish
If you enjoyed this article and are looking for even more stocking suggestions, check out our blog post on the 7 Best Fish Tank Ideas for a 10-Gallon Aquarium. Good luck with your fish tank. Enjoy nature everyday.