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 is a colorful and underrated fish. They can survive in an aquarium that’s not heated, at temperatures below 80F (26C). 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. To prevent them from jumping, keep the tank covered. Some killifish can be aggressive and will swallow small fish. To minimize aggression, keep a tank that is species-only and has a breeding pair or trio of males and females. 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
You might consider upgrading your betta fish tank from a tiny one to a 10-gallon paradise. Betta splendens, despite their territorial nature, can be kept in a community aquarium provided they have enough space and the right 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. Bottom dwellers like snails, smaller corydoras, and kuhli loaches would be useful for cleaning up excess food that slips past 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
Rainbowfish are among the most vibrant fish in freshwater hobby. However, most rainbowfish are too large to fit into a 10-gallon aquarium. Pseudomugil Rainbowfish can grow to less than two inches (5cm) in length. 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”). Although they do prefer pH above 7.7 and harder water with mineral, they are very hardy and can be found in all water conditions.
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. Although they have a short lifespan of around 2 to 3 years, dwarf rainbowfish are very easy to breed. You should get more males than females to ensure that they show their best dancing and breeding colors. For the females to lay eggs, you should provide plenty of dense aquarium plants. For more details, read our forktail rainbowfish care guide.
Forktail rainbowfish (Pseudomugil furcata)
4. The Apistogramma Breeding Tank
These South American dwarfs are well-known for their vibrant colors and unusual breeding behaviors. The easiest ones to breed include the Apistogramma cacatuoides and A. agassizii, and both species come in many stunning color variations. 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). A girl and a boy can be added to an apisto cave. You should feed an omnivore well-balanced diet of frozen bloodworms. 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 an energetic, beautiful livebearer. They come in every color of rainbow. A trio of one male, two females is a good starting point for beginners. They will produce more babies quickly than a trio. 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. Guppies will eat any type of fish food, including Fancy Guppy pellets and flakes. If you wish to produce lots of guppies for your friends or local fish store, add plenty of shelter or live plants, such as guppy grass, java moss, dwarf water lettuce, 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 can be bred as an ornamental shrimp. This species is very rewarding and easy to reproduce. They are available in amazing colors, including fire red, orange saura, yellow gold back, green jade and blue velvet. Their 1-inch (2.5 cm), small size and low waste load allow you to start with 10-20 shrimp and grow a colony up to 100-200 in just a few months. Although adult cherry shrimp don’t predate on their offspring (but they can survive in large numbers), it is best to not add other species to your tank. Provide powdered foods, algae, catappa leaves, and minerals in the water to keep the baby shrimp growing well. If you don’t see as many babies being born, sell some of them to your local fish shop and make the money go towards your new shrimp obsession. Learn more about freshwater shrimp in this detailed article.
7. The Dwarf Plate Aquarium
The majority of platy fish can grow to 2-3 inches (5-5-7 cm) in length, while the dwarf platy is a little more than 1 inch (2-5 cm) in height and can be kept in a smaller tank. Although red wag and solid red are the most common varieties, there will be more in the future. For a 10-gallon aquarium, we recommend getting a trio of teacup platys with one male and two females. The males will be eager to breed so it is a good idea to have more females and cover. Platies are always hungry and will eat any crumbs of fish food or tufts of algae they find, so no need to get any clean-up crew members for them. 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 liked this article and would like to see more stocking ideas, please visit our blog post on the 7 Best Fish Tank Tips for a 10-Gallon Aquarium. Best of luck with your fish tank, and enjoy nature daily.