7 Best Fish Tank Ideas for a 10-Gallon Aquarium
A 10-gallon fish tank is one of the most common “starter” aquarium sizes because it’s small enough for an apartment, a kid’s bedroom, or even your kitchen counter. If you’re not sure what kind of fish to get or how to design the tank, get inspired by 7 of our favorite aquarium setup ideas.
1. The “Centerpiece Fish” Aquarium
A centerpiece fish refers to that one aquarium fish that really draws everyone’s attention because it’s usually the biggest animal compared to the other community tank mates. Our showcase fish will be a gourami less than 3 inches (8cm) in length, such as a honey gourami or powder blue dwarf gourami. (Females are more peaceful than their male counterparts). This brightly colored centerpiece fish has lots of personality and swims all over the aquarium, so it’s sure to stand out in the aquarium.
Consider surrounding the gourami in six to eight schooling nanofish that are a different colour. Consider adding orange ember totras to the gourami instead of putting it with red and blue neon tetras. The yellow-orange honeygourami, on the other hand, would look stunning swimming with a group neon tetras.
These tetras tend to school in the middle of the tank, so if you’re looking to fill in the lowest layer of the tank, Malaysian trumpet snails and nerite snails are excellent algae eaters and scavengers. Another peaceful bottom dweller would be corydoras catfish. We recommend choosing smaller species such as six to eight panda corydoras and six to eight pygmy Corydoras, since they are fond of sticking together in the same species’ schools.
Honey gouramis can be very gentle and brighten up any aquarium with their bright yellow coloration.
2. The Nano Aquascape
This aquarium is different from the previous one. It focuses on the cultivation of an underwater garden, with fish as side decorations and live plants as its main feature. We’re talking about a highly designed piece of art that most likely uses high lighting, carbon dioxide (CO2) injection, carpeting plants, and careful placement of hardscape. These tanks are recommended for advanced aquarists as they can be more difficult to maintain, more expensive, and more messy if you make mistakes. The active substrate and CO2 injection can make the water very acidic, which can cause death for your fish and beneficial bacteria. If you’re up to the challenge, the nano-aquascape can be very rewarding and visually stunning.
You should take the time to fine-tune the arrangement of the plants, rocks, or driftwood before you purchase any animals. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement and plant selection, then you can choose aquatic animals that enhance the design and won’t blend in too much with the landscape. Aquascapes often resemble scenes from nature, such as an underwater diorama. You might consider adding nano fish like celestial pearl daanios and chili rasboras to your aquascape. These tiny fish look like a small flock of birds “flying”, in your miniature forest or mountains.
For algae control, consider getting some small snails, amano shrimp, or red cherry shrimp to keep your plant leaves and hardscape looking pristine. Dwarf cory catfish – like the pygmy, habrosus, and hastatus corydoras – are also great clean-up crew members that will constantly scavenge for excess food. Avoid any animals that burrow, such as the Malaysian trumpets snails and kuhli locaches.
Although high tech aquascapes can be difficult to create, you will get better at it the more you practice. Don’t get discouraged or compare yourself to professionals because their “perfect” aquascapes are usually unrealistic setups in which all the necessary equipment has been removed and the fish are temporarily added.
Brigittae or chili rasboras are a favorite fish for nano aquascapes because of their tiny size and bright red color.
3. The Unheated Aquarium
Are you looking to set up a cool-water aquarium? Get a tank of fast danios to set up a cool water aquarium. You don’t need an aquarium heater as long your room temperature is between 67-80degF (19-25 degC). These action-packed torpedoes are always a crowd-pleaser for kids, and their hardiness makes them perfect for beginners who are still learning the ropes. You can find Danios at your local pet shop chains or fish shops in many different colors, including zebra, long-fin, leopard, blue and even Glofish danios.
They thrive in groups of six or more, but unlike other schooling fish, they are fine even if you have different types of danios. They swim all over the aquarium, but because of their hungry appetites, they often feed from the water surface and will readily take floating fish foods like flakes or freeze-dried bloodworms. You can also add Malaysian trumpet snails or mystery snails to the tank to help clean up any leftovers.
There’s nothing like watching a tank of lightning-fast Zebra Danios feed their animals.
4. The Livebearer Aquatic Center
Endler’s aquatic plants and livebearers will love a 10-gallon aquarium. Endlers look like their cousin the guppy and come in many types and colors, including N-class, Tiger, and Black Bar. Because they give birth to young fish that are able to swim and find food in a matter of hours, they’re known as livebearer fish. To increase survival rates, you can add dense foliage such as java moss or water sprite. This will provide hiding places for the babies. You can always take out some adult fish to reduce overpopulation.
Endler’s livebearers eat virtually anything, such as flakes, pellets, frozen foods, and even giant wafers that they can nibble off. They are very hardy and easy to care for, and yet they’re small enough to keep in a kid’s bedroom or on your office desk. You can’t go wrong if you want an aquarium that is vibrant with color and life, but it’s simple.
Endlers are perfect for 10-gallon tanks because of their small size, colorful patterns, high energy level, and ease of breeding.
5. The Frog Tank
If you want an aquatic pet that isn’t a fish, why not try an aquarium full of African dwarf frogs? Although a single frog can be bought as a last-minute addition that looks intriguing, we recommend purchasing at least five to six. Pick the healthiest frogs at the pet store that are well-fed and have a slightly rounded belly. They may try to jump out of the water, so make sure to have a tight-fitting glass top or aquarium hood to prevent escape. The tank can be decorated with ordinary aquarium gravel, plants, driftwood, or rocks tall enough to reach the top of the water. This will allow the frogs to peer out from the water.
They are slow eaters and won’t eat fast-eating fish because they are slow. A clown pleco, larger snails and more African dwarf frogs are all good tank mates (not the larger African clawed Frog). They consume food at the tank’s bottom using their webbed hands. Frozen bloodworms, live blackworms, and frozen brine shrimp are all good options. You can encourage your frogs to “wrestle” and sing by adding java moss, or other densely covered plants.
African dwarfs frogs are messy eaters. It may be a good idea to get snails and a small pleco for any leftovers.
6. Aquarium “Upside-Down Forest”.
This idea was born from a small collection of dwarf water lettuce. This beautiful floating plant will grow tall and bushy roots if it gets enough light. It also consumes any fish’s toxic nitrogen waste. Six to eight neon green tetras are the best choice for schooling fish. They have a reflective blue-green stripe, so they can be seen even under ambient lighting. These tetras are shy and can grow to be as small as 3 cm (3 inches) in length. They’re also known for being red-orange and speckled, and only reach 1.25 inches (3cm) in length.
You may need to create a small hole in the water surface to drop micro pellets or other small foods. Then stir the water to make floating plants grow quickly. If the dwarf water lettuce becomes too dense, remove some of them to feed to your plant-eating animals (like turtles) or give them away to friends and local stores.
7. The “Breeding for Profit Tank”
If you’re searching for a fun breeding project beyond livebearers, try an aquarium of long fin white cloud mountain minnows. Unlike most fish, the adults are not known for predating on their own eggs or fry, so it’s quite possible to breed them in a colony without separating out the babies. Although juvenile white cloud minnows will eat their younger siblings, it is possible for them to eat the rest of the family. To prevent this, make sure you fill your tank with lots of floating plants and dense mosses. In fact, if you really want to increase your population, keep this as a species-only tank with no other fish, snails, or even shrimp to prey on the fry.
White cloud mountain minnows are extremely hardy and can live in unheated aquariums or outdoor mini ponds in the summer. Keep the minnows well-fed with a wide selection of tiny foods, like the powder from Repashy gel foods, Easy Fry and Small Fish Food, Hikari First Bites, frozen cyclops, and live baby brine shrimp. Eventually, when the fish tank becomes more crowded, talk to your local fish store about selling some to help offset the cost of your aquarium hobby.
There are many types of white cloud mountain minnows such as long fin, regular, gold and gold.
If you’re thinking of upgrading to a 20-gallon aquarium, there’s a whole new world of fish, invertebrates, and plants you can keep. Read about our 5 best fish tank ideas for a 20-gallon aquarium, and enjoy nature daily.