Top 10 Fish for A 10-Gallon Aquarium

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! No matter if you love cichlids or livebearers we have a top 10 list to help you find a new species.


1. Brown Pencilfish

Let’s begin with a top-dwelling fish. It can be difficult to find one for a 10 gallon tank. Nannostomus, also known by the names hockeystick pencilfish and diptail penguin, can be found in a 10-gallon tank. Its mouth is pointed towards the surface while its tail dips downward at an angle. Brown pencilfish are relatively inexpensive compared with other species of pencilfish, making it more affordable to purchase a school of at most five to six fish. As with most surface dwellers they are prone to jumping so an aquarium lid is essential to keep them contained. Their small mouths mean they can only eat tiny foods like daphnia, baby shrimp, daphnia, Easy Fry, and Small Fish Food. You can read the full article about pencilfish.

Brown or diptail penfish

2. Apistogramma

Apistogramma dwarf cechlids, also known as apistos, are great options for breeding fish. Many species of Apistogramma dwarf cichlids are easily available in your local fish shop due to their distinctive profile and vibrant colors. You can easily spawn them by providing plenty of food and a cave or coconut hut to house their eggs. After hatching, the mother even cares for her young until they’re three to four weeks old. For more details, read our care guide on apistos.

Apistogramma cacatuoides

3. Lyretail Killifish

Aphyosemion Australe is another fun breeding project. Also known as the lyretail killer, orange australe killerifish, and golden panchax, it’s also known as the Aphyosemion autrale. Usually, they’re sold in pairs, but you can also keep one male with a couple of females. Although some killifish can be aggressive and have a short lifespan, they are still a beautiful species that can live for 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. Colony breeding (or raising the fry in the same tank as the parents) is possible in a heavily planted tank with, for example, lots of thick moss on the ground and water sprite floating at the surface.

Male and female orange australe killifish

4. Kuhli Loach

What’s not to love about kuhli loaches? These oddball fish, which look like an eel, come in many colors such as black, silver and zebra stripes. These shyer, more nocturnal fish feel safer with a group of three to six. They also make a good companion for other community fish like betta fish, rasboras, and tetras. These wiggly, underwater noodles will be a lot of fun if you feed them sinking food like Repashy gel food and frozen bloodworms.

Pangio kuhlii

5. Cherry Barb

Puntius.titteya, unlike many barbs, is a mild and friendly species that can be mixed well with other community fish. It’s possible to get six or more of these schooling species and be amazed at the way their bright red color stands out against the greenery in a tank. They are also easy to breed and can lay their eggs in dense foliage or spawning mop. 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.

Male, and Female cherry barbs

6. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Tanichthys albonubes comes in regular and longfin forms, but our favorite is the golden type because of the way their yellowish-peach bodies and red fins stand out in a fish tank. This species is a cold-water schooling species and can be kept in an aquarium that is not heated. It’s perfect for classrooms or offices. You can also pair them with dwarf shrimp and bettafish (so long as there’s enough cover). They are easy to spawn in a tank that is only one species, as long as there are plenty of aquatic plants and good food.

Golden White Cloud Minnows

7. Neolamprologus multifasciatus

Did you know that you can keep African Cichlids in a 10 gallon aquarium? These tiny shell dwellers are between 1 and 2 inches in length and, according to their nickname, live and rear their eggs in snail shells. As with other African cichlids they prefer harder water and a higher pH level. 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. They will thrive if there is enough food. You’ll soon be able share your shells with your friends.

Neolamprologus multifasciatus

8. Green Neon Rasbora

This tiny schooling rasbora deserves a lot more attention among fish keepers because of its radioactive color. Iridescent green is such an unusual color that is rarely seen in the aquarium hobby. A group of six or more fish, especially in a blackwater aquarium with tannins, will grab everyone’s attention. You might not be able to find them in your area, so you may try asking your local fish shop or ordering them online.

Microdevario kubotai

9. Fancy Guppy

Guppies are a wonderful addition to any aquarium. Guppies make a great addition to a 10-gallon tank. They are calm and peaceful. Guppies come in all colors, are good eaters and will eat every last drop of food in your 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. It’s important to feed them well, give them water with minerals, and maintain your tank. You won’t regret it.

Fancy Guppies

10. Dwarf Platy

Love adorable livebearers but can’t seem to get enough? 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 plenty for them. Because of their unrelenting appetite and ability to locate half-buried leftovers within the smallest cracks, platyfish make 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 cute size and lively personality make it well worth the effort.

Red platy fish

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