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! Whether you like livebearers, cichlids, or killifish, check out our top 10 list of both popular and uncommon fish to help you discover a new species that you just have to try.
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 a relatively affordable species. This means that it is easier for you to purchase a healthy group of five to six fish. As with most surface dwellers they are prone to jumping so an aquarium lid is essential to keep them contained. They have small mouths so they should be fed foods that are appropriate for their size, such as baby brine shrimps, daphnia and Easy Fry. Our full article on pencilfish provides more details.
Brown or diptail 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. You can easily spawn them by providing plenty of food and a cave or coconut hut to house 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
Aphyosemion autrale, also known as the lyretail killifish or orange australe killifish and golden panchax is another great breeding project. Usually, they’re sold in pairs, but you can also keep one male with a couple of 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. They need a tight cover to keep them from jumping and can survive in colder temperatures without the use of an aquarium heater. If there is a lot of moss and water sprite floating on the surface, then it is possible for the fry to be bred in the same tank as their parents.
Male killifish with orange australe females
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. Because they are shyer and less active at night, they are more comfortable in small groups of three to six. Their peaceful nature makes them a great companion for other community fish such as tetras, Rasboras, and even Betta fish. Feed them sinking foods like community pellets, Repashy gel food, and frozen bloodworms, and you’ll get plenty of enjoyment from these wiggly, underwater noodles.
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. They are also easy to breed and can lay their eggs in dense foliage or spawning mop. 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. These fish are very easy to spawn in species-only tanks, especially if they are given plenty of aquatic plants and good food.
Golden White 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. They prefer harder water and higher pH levels, just like other African cichlids. 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. If you provide plenty of food, the babies will thrive, and soon you’ll be able to sell or share them with your friends.
8. Green Neon Rasbora
Because of its radioactive coloring, this tiny schooling Rasbora deserves to be given more attention by fish keepers. Iridescent green is such an unusual color that is rarely seen in the aquarium hobby. Put a group of six or more together (especially in a blackwater aquarium with tannins), and the brilliant sparkle from their scales will capture everyone’s attention, even from across the room. 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. 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
Do you love adorable livebearers and can’t stop looking at them? Do you love dwarfs 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. 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 suggestions? Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up-to-date on the latest articles, videos and events.