Best Fishes For 10 Gallon Tank

The 10-gallon tanks are popular among aquarists, and often, experts recommend this size for beginners because they are somewhat easy to start and maintain. However, the problem isn’t with having a 10, 2, or 5-gallon tank, it’s how you use it.

One of the costly mistakes you can ever make when starting fish keeping is putting the wrong fish in a tank or placing the right fish in the wrong tank. Whichever way it is, the intended fish should match your tank.

Getting the best fishes for 10 gallon tank will make your fish-keeping experience easier. Your fish will live peacefully and happily and not so much worry and work for you.

Learn everything you need to keep the right fish in your 10-gallon tank. 

Let’s dive right in.

What To Consider When Selecting Fish For 10 Gallon Tank

Before selecting the best fishes for 10 gallon tank, you need to know that you just don’t pick one based on its fancy name, beautiful colors, or what you’ve seen. Keeping a fish is more than that.

You need to check and consider some factors so your fish can thrive in the tank. Therefore, the following are some things you need to consider when choosing fish for your 10-gallon tank.

1. Size

When getting fish, you need to consider the size. You should know that juvenile fish grow and won’t maintain the same size till they die. 

When they grow big, the tank may become too small for them. This is why you need to research any fish you want to keep and don’t rely on what the pet store attendant tells you.

2. Hardiness

The best type of fish is hardy ones that can survive fluctuations in the aquariums when they’re young. Sometimes, tank situations can become unstable due to some factors, so you need fish that can withstand that.

But, of course, you need to pay attention to your tank and monitor it occasionally.

3. Behavior

The fish temperament also matters when making a selection for your 10-gallon aquarium. Some fishes are more aggressive than others, and keeping those species with quiet ones can be bad for the latter. Unless you intend to keep only their species in the tank, you should be careful with your selection.

4. Swimming room

Some fish need a large swimming room in aquariums, so it’s best if you keep them alone in the tank. If you intend to keep more fish in the tank, then you should reconsider.

Best Freshwater Fish For 10 Gallon Tank

Ten gallons isn’t exactly a big size, so you should research the kind of fish you want to keep before stocking. Many freshwater fish are schooling fish, so sometimes, they are better off in a species only tank. 

However, you can pair them with other varieties after carefully researching their compatibility. Here are the best fishes for 10-gallon tank

1. Golden dwarf barbs

Best Fishes For 10 Gallon Tank | Important things to know before stocking

These fishes are a type of Barb, but they are not so known. They are ideal because they only grow up to 1.5 inches which is an okay size for a 10-gallon tank. 

You can keep five of them in a well-planted 10-gallon tank.

2. Neon tetras

2. Neon tetras

Neon tetras are another freshwater fish option to keep in your 10-gallon tank. They grow about 1.25 inches, and you can fit ten of them in the tank. 

Moreover, they like lots of hiding places, so keep plants, driftwood, rocks, and other things that can serve like that in their tank.

3. Guppies 

3. Guppies 

Guppies are easy to care for beginners. When putting them in the tank, you should place either only males or females unless you plan for them to breed.

In that case, you should have a breeding box to transfer the fry. Also, you should keep more females in the tank than males. Five to ten guppies are good in a 10-gallon tank.

4. Betta fish

4. Betta fish

Betta fish are very popular and will do well in a 10-gallon tank. They can be aggressive, so they are better off in a species-specific tank unless their behavior shows otherwise.

5. Dwarf Gourami

5. Dwarf Gourami

You can also keep dwarf gouramis if you are an experienced aquarist. This is because they are calm fish and require moderate care. You can keep three in a 10-gallon tank or one with a school of other calm fish like neon tetras.

Best Saltwater Fish For 10 Gallon Tank

If you would rather keep saltwater fish, many can do well in 10-gallon tanks. Some really good ones you can keep are:

1. Clownfish

1. Clownfish

Clownfish are very popular, and there are about 30 varieties, with the most popular being ocellaris and percula. They usually stay in a part of the tank with a weak current.

They can grow up to four inches, but sometimes, they remain small. Also, they are not strong swimmers, so don’t keep them with stronger or aggressive fish that can overpower them.

2. Transparent Goby

2. Transparent Goby

The transparent Goby is a kind of hardy fish to keep in 10-gallon tanks. They can grow up to 3 inches and are ideal for small tanks.

They are very territorial and require a lot of swimming room. If you keep more than one in a tank, they can be aggressive, so just one is okay and maybe a few other species.

3. Blue-green Chromis

3. Blue-green Chromis

Blue-green Chromis is a color-changing fish suitable for a 10-gallon tank. They can grow up to 3.5 inches and can live up to 15 years with proper care.

They’re delicate fishes, so you need to ensure the water quality is all good, or you risk exposing them to illnesses.

4. Royal Gramma

4. Royal Gramma

Royal grammas are nice fishes with vibrant colors that you’d want to see in your 10-gallon tank. They can grow up to 3 inches. 

In addition, they are easygoing and don’t use up much space in the tank.

5. Neon goby

5. Neon goby

Neon gobies are very beautiful fish, and they can serve as a cleaner fish in your 10-gallon tank. You can keep them with other fish species in the tank.

How Many Fish Per 10 Gallon Tank?

Some people follow the rules of one fish per gallon. If you follow that, it means you get to keep ten fish in your 10-gallon tank. 

But sometimes, that isn’t the best option. While ten fishes may thrive in a 10-gallon tank, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, all you can fit in your aquarium is probably 5, 7, 1, or 8 fishes.

If the fishes are tiny and won’t produce too much waste, you can keep ten of them in your 10-gallon tank. If you’re keeping fish that tend to grow a lot, you can limit them between 5 to 8, depending on the size they can grow.

Also, it’s better if you keep less than ten fish so that you can use the other space for plants, setting up a filtration system, and other important things in the tank.

10 Gallon Tank Mates

Pairing your fish with the right tank mates is important because their safety depends on it. You shouldn’t pair an aggressive fish with a calm one unless you’re only keeping them together when they’re young, and you change it when they become adults.

Also, when pairing male and female fishes together, you must balance the ratio. That is, ensure that the female fish is more than the opposite gender so that the male ones don’t harass the female ones and stress them much.

Here are some suggestions:

For Betta or gouramis tank

1 Betta/dwarf gouramis with 1 nerite snail (early stage)

1 Betta/gouramis with 2 to 3 Cory cats or 1 to 2 otocinclus (one month after)

With 5 to 10 shrimps and a male Betta or 5 neon tetras with female Betta or dwarf gourami (adult stage)

Setting Up A 10 Gallon Tank

When you have the best fish for a 10-gallon tank ready, the next important step is to set up the aquarium and make it a habitable home for them. 

You need to ensure the tank setup is similar to their natural habitat. Moreover, a lot more things need to be right when setting up, and they are:

1. Filtration

Filters are a necessity in aquarium tanks. They help you maintain a clean tank and prevent harmful organisms and bacteria from getting into the aquarium. 

Technology is advancing, and there are different filters out there, but you need to get the ones that match your tank. There is a canister, hang-on, and sponge filter option.

Choose a filtration system that matches a 10-gallon tank, so you don’t blow your fish away with larger ones.

Here are some filtration options:

2. Heating

Your fish tank needs a heating system that can help keep your fish at the appropriate temperature, especially if you keep saltwater fish. Your regular home temperature may not be enough, especially during sudden temperature changes and seasons.

Then, you need to get a thermometer to monitor the temperature at all times, so you can always keep it at the right degree.

Heater options:

3. Lighting

Lighting is also important, especially if you plan to grow live plants in your tank. Some plants require moderate or high light, so the type of plant you get will determine the kind of lighting to use in your tank.

For example, java ferns will grow well under low light. It all depends on you.

4. Growing plants

Plants are important in your tank, and they contribute to the general well-being of your aquarium. They oxygenate the water, serve as hiding places for fish, breed micro-organisms that can serve as food, and use up nitrate in your tank.

So, get some live plants for your 10-gallon aquarium.

Does Fish Size Matter?

Yes, fish size matters when keeping them in an aquarium. Their current size and the size they will grow into should determine whether they will fit in your 10-gallon tank, or you should prepare to get a larger tank in the future as they grow.

Some fish can grow up to one foot as adults, and sharing a 10-gallon tank can stress them. You can also choose fish that don’t increase in size much and keep them in your 10-gallon tank.

Tips For Keeping Fish in 10 Gallon Tank

After getting the best fish for a 10-gallon tank, ensuring they stay alive for a long period is key. It’s not enough that you got the right fish and tank mates; if you do nothing, then all your efforts might go to waste.

Here are some long-lasting tips that will help you maintain a healthy 10-gallon fish tank:

  • Stay on top of water changes and routine maintenance. This is one key thing to fish survival. You need to maintain the tank to prevent irregularities in your aquarium, like algae growth, extreme pH, and other things that can pose a danger or stress to your fish.
  • Ensure you don’t overfeed the fish in your tank. If you overfeed fish, you have to deal with more waste in the tank and other things that can harm your fish, like ammonia, nitrate, etc.
  • Don’t overstock fish tanks with things that can impact water quality. Be careful with the substrate, stones, decorations, and the number of fish you put in your tank.
  • Ensure you research the species of fish you keep in your 10-gallon tank. Research the kind of food they eat, the appropriate tank condition, tank mates, etc. Don’t just rely on what you hear or think is right.
  • Understand fish temperament before stocking the tank. Keep hardy fish together and species that aren’t so social and delicate together.
  • If you are a beginner, you’re better off keeping simple and easy fish. You should steer clear of hard-to-care-for fish like mandarin fish and scooter blennies. 


Keeping fish is serious business, so whether you’re breeding the best fishes for a 10-gallon tank or not, you need to do more than select fine fishes alone. Furthermore, you also need to research the fish you intend to keep and be sure you’re ready for what caring for them entails.

Finally, ensure you set up the tank appropriately and fit for the kind of fish you keep.

Additional Contents:

  1. How To Lower PH In Aquarium
  2. Best Food For Clownfish | 5 food options
  3. Breeding Healthy Platys | How Many Platys In A 10 Gallon Tank?
  4. Best Aquarium Air Pump For Multiple Tanks | Top picks
  5. Guppy Grass For Sale | What to know before buying