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 eques is also called the hockeystick pencilfish and diptail pencilfish because of the way its mouth points toward the surface and its tail dips downward at a diagonal 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. You should feed them small foods such as daphnia, baby brine shrimp, daphnia, Easy Fry, and Small Fish Food. For more information, read our full article on pencilfish.
Diptail or brown pencilfish
Apistogramma dwarfs cichlids are a great choice for breeding fish. 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 cares for her babies until they are three to four weeks of age after hatching. 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 avoid killifish because of their aggressive behavior, short lifespans and poor health. However, this beautiful species can live for up to three years. Like many killifish, they need a tight lid to prevent jumping, and they can thrive in cooler temperatures without an aquarium heater. In a well-planted tank, it is possible to spawn the fry together with the parents.
Male & Female Orange Australe Killifish
4. Kuhli Loach
Kuhli loaches, what’s not to like? These eel-like oddball fish come in many colors (such as zebra stripes, silver, and black), and they’re experts at scavenging for any leftover food that falls into narrow 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
Unlike many barbs, Puntius titteya is a very mild, friendly species that can be mixed with other community fish. These schooling fish can be purchased in groups of six or more and will stand out against the greenery of a planted aquarium. These fish are easy to breed and will lay eggs in dense vegetation, spawning mops, or other places. If you’re looking for a lively, eye-catching addition to your 10-gallon fish tank, you can’t go wrong with the cherry barb.
Female and male 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 species is able to live in an aquarium that is not heated, making it ideal for classrooms or offices. Their calm personalities make them great tank mates for dwarf shrimp and betta fish, provided there is enough cover. These fish are very easy to spawn in species-only tanks, especially if they are given plenty of aquatic plants and good food.
Golden cloud minnows
7. Neolamprologus multiifasciatus
Did you know that 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. 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 coloring, this tiny schooling Rasbora deserves to be given more attention by fish keepers. It is a rare color in aquarium hobby. A group of six or more fish, especially in a blackwater aquarium with tannins, will grab everyone’s attention. 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. They come in every color of the rainbow, regularly swim up to the glass to beg for food, and are great eaters that always polish off every last morsel in the aquarium. Even though they don’t live very long, these livebearers more than make up for it with the abundance of babies they’ll give you. You won’t regret feeding them, giving them hard water with minerals and keeping up with tank maintenance.
10. Dwarf Platy
Can’t get enough of adorable livebearers? Get yourself some dwarf or teacup platies. They grow to around 1″ in length, and they don’t grow as big as regular plates. A 10-gallon tank is perfect for them. Due to their insatiable appetite and ability to find hidden leftovers in the smallest cracks, platy fish are great cleaners. They are known for their unique mouth shape and have been known to eat algae. Dwarf platies may not be easiest variety to source, but their cute size and lively behavior make it worth the effort.
Red platy fish
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