At a cursory glance, the humble 10-gallon fish tank may not seem like much, but it offers a wide array of possibilities for a sunning aquarium ecosystem.
The trick is to choose your fish stock wisely and equipment, follow the steps provided in this guide, and your aquarium should start looking healthy in no time.
A few of the best fish for a 10-gallon fish tank include the following:
Dwarf Corydoras: Also known as “Pygmy fish,” the Dwarf Corydoras are known as the smallest of the corydoras and never grow more significantly than an inch long. It makes them ideal for a smaller tank.
Tetras: They are a staple of most home aquariums. Decked with stunning colors and a peaceful temperament that allows them to swim in groups, the tetras are the fish of choice for experts and beginners alike.
Molly: Mollies don’t need any introduction because most fishkeepers know them. They’re handsome and peaceful, making them suitable for any aquarium that 5 gallons and above. These fish species will do perfectly fine in a 10-gallon tank.
Betta fish: Provided you give them compatible tank mates, the beta fish will make your tank look stunning, thanks to those unique fins.
Platy fish: Platy fish are available in different colors. They are medium-sized and av from most aquarium stores. It doesn’t have much in the way of demands, making it the ideal choice for beginners.
These stunning fish species get along just fine with each other and will add a lot of flair to your tank. In general, you can keep any peaceful fish that are within 1 to 2 inches in size of each other.
Avoid adding fish species that may harass each other. Also, make sure you know your fish’s adult size to prevent them from outgrowing their enclosure. Do the necessary research because the staff at your local pet store won’t always offer reliable advice.
As a rule of thumb, if your 10-gallon fish tank can mimic the natural habitat of your fish species, you’re good to go. It would help if you also mentioned that choosing a small tank opens up, making some grievous mistakes.
Worse still, if you don’t fully understand your fish’s needs, you could end up introducing tank mates that have no business being near each other. Lack of compatibility and a small space to compete for can spell disaster.
It could lead to stress, which could lead to your fish’s ultimate demise.
So why should you buy a 10-gallon fish tank, particularly if you’re a beginner?
- At 10 gallons, the tank is neither too small nor too big. Therefore it’s easy to find a spot in your house
- You can choose from many fish for your 10-gallon fish tank, including fish tank plants that prefer the size of your aquarium
- The tank is not very large and is, therefore, easy on the wallet
- You won’t have to change the water as much (less than 30% of water change is required)
- You can buy a cheaper fish tank filter that is less powerful (and thus, saves you energy bills)
10 Gallon Fishtank Setup
Most manufacturers sell their 10-gallon fish tanks with a starter kit that typically includes all the basic things you need to provide your fish with a high quality of life. That you shouldn’t rely on the quality of these items because they’re barebones in most cases.
It is advisable to purchase higher quality equipment instead. However, if you’re strapped for cash and are running low on budget, you can bide your time with the starter kit until you’re ready to upgrade to higher quality equipment.
Here are a few pieces of equipment that you will need to set up your tank:
10 Gallon Fish Tank Filter
His is the essential equipment that you can add to your 10-gallon fish tank. The filter will regulate the quality of the water and keep it clean and healthy.
Its role becomes even more critical in smaller tanks because the fish typically generate many bioloads that can overwhelm a smaller tank.
An underequipped tank will lead to a build-up of nitrate, growth of algae, and absence of dissolved oxygen – all of which could easily lead to the death of your fish.
There is a range of filters that you can buy. As a general role, if you only intend to keep a few fish in your tank, then the built-in filter should prove sufficient to recycle the average daily bioload.
However, if the tank is generating more bioload than the filter can handle, you should buy a small power filter. Make sure only to purchase filters that are compatible with your tank’s size.
Expect to shell out anywhere from $20 to $100 for a decent filter.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Heater
Manufacturers don’t ship out heaters in a starter kit because of their marine or tropical setups.
If you plan on adopting marine species, then having a heater is a necessity.
There isn’t much variation in heater design compared to filters; they all have the same task, which is to regulate the tank’s temperature at a certain threshold.
You should pay close attention to the capacity of the heater and your tank’s volume. A big tank needs a beefy heater.
Every heater will feature a rating that indicates which tank works best. We also recommend buying a thermometer, if it doesn’t already come with the heater.
Make sure to place the thermometer on the opposite side of the heater. It will allow you to gauge accurate temperature readers and keep the tank at its desired level.
Plants and certain fish species need light fixtures to live a high-quality life. But it can be complicated to find the right light fixture since different plants and fish prefer different intensities of light.
Some tanks will come equipped with a light source the tank’s hood, but you have to make sure the light is compatible with your fish. If not, then you’ll have to find the ideal light fixture from the market.
Miscellaneous Products to Add
One crucial decision that most fishkeepers are often confused about is the location of the tank. Make sure your tank is away from direct sunlight because it provides the ideal growth conditions for algae. Not to mention the fact that direct sunlight may be bad for your fish’s health.
Empty tanks may not weigh a lot, but their weight becomes incredibly cumbersome as you start filling them with water. Make sure that the surface you plan on installing your tank on can easily support its weight.
An alternative is to buy a 10-gallon fish tank stand specifically designed to support your tank. It is unnecessary, but it guarantees that you won’t return to see your fish lying haplessly on the floor.
The tank’s oxygen levels are crucial to your fish’s life. They keep your fish healthier, and there are specific ways of increasing the oxygen level.
The most obvious is to use an air pump to increase oxygen levels. A healthier alternative is to introduce live plants into the tank. They will release oxygen into the tank when they photosynthesize and regulate the water’s quality.
When it comes to the substrate, you should choose it very carefully based on your fish’s preferences (as well as any fish that you may be planning to add in the future). In the case of Kuhli Loach, you’ll have to buy soft substrates such as sand and fine gravel mix.
One more mandatory piece of equipment that we feel every fishkeeper should buy is a gravel vacuum. This vital tool clears up dirt and debris from the substrate. Some variants can also remove water, allowing you to change the tank’s water with relative ease partially.
You should stock up on two more products on a cleaning pad to clean the tank’s walls and a net to move fish.
Finally, you also have to consider the tank’s decorations. Some fish species prefer to hide in caves and under rockwork. Without a shelter to feel secure in, these fish may feel stressed out.
So study the care sheet of your fish species carefully and find the right decorations for them. Most saltwater fish prefer corals since they serve as their natural home.
But corals are not cheap and quite rare. It would help if you bought more affordable decorations that mimic corals. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of corals, you can add live ones.
Cycling a Fish Tank (10-gallon fish tank)
Your fish will release a lot of waste into the water, typically in the form of ammonia. It can kill your fish.
The easiest way to break down ammonia is with the help of bacteria. Did It by cycling your 10-gallon fish tank.
Tank cycling involves two processes.
The first is to convert ammonia to nitrite. The second is to convert nitrite to nitrate.
Ammonia and nitrite are incredibly toxic and will kill your fish, but they can tolerate nitrate in low quantities. “Good” bacterial colonies in your tank can carry out both processes. It is why it is essential to produce the bacteria before adding the fish to your tank.
In most cases, the process is fully automated, and all you need is ammonia supplements.
At the beginning of the cycle, add 2 to 4 ppm of ammonia and add one ppm every few days. The bacteria will use the ammonia for nutrition and multiply.
It may take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for your tank to establish its nitrogen cycle.
Use a water testing kit to check the tank for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrite levels. If you don’t have one, you can always buy them for cheap at most pet stores. Some pet stores also offer this as a service if you can bring in a sample of the water.
You will be ready to introduce fish to your aquarium once the ammonia and nitrite levels reach 0 ppm.
This process is known as ‘fishless cycling.’ You can also cycle your tank with fish, but it is unethical, and the ammonia spike could be too lethal for your fish.
Maintenance Requirements of the 10 Gallon Fish Tank
It is hard to maintain a smaller tank because of the rate at which pollutants and debris can build up. It necessitates frequent water changes. But this should not take more than a few minutes to do so.
Start with an aquarium vacuum to siphon out some of the tank’s water into a container. Stop when you’ve removed 30% of the water.
Now slowly pour water into your tank. This water should share the same temperature as the tank, and any little upsets could cause stress and disease to your fish.
In addition to water changes, you should regularly remove the build-up of algae from your tank. Done by adding Ghost Shrimp to your tank, but in most cases, you’ll have to do it yourself.
Wrapping Up: Should I Buy a 10 Gallon tank?
Is a 10-gallon tank ideal for you? If you’re a beginner, it may be better to start with a 10-gallon tank and then moving on to a
If you are on a budget and are picking this size, you probably won’t find a better deal. But it would help if you always focused on upgrading to a larger tank when the experience (and budget) allows.