10 Best Fish for 10 Gallon Tank

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If you want to have a small tank that will fit your apartment, or you are just a beginner looking to make the first step into fish tank ownership, then a 10-gallon tank is a great choice for you. But do not be fooled by the tank’s size.

Smaller doesn’t necessarily mean easier to set up and maintain. In fact, it is quite the opposite most of the time. If you choose to get a 10-gallon tank, expect to have a lot of work on your hands.

From setting it up, choosing the right gear, equipment and gadgets to the right fish, and then to maintaining it is a long road.

There is a lot of decisions to be made when you are buying a new aquarium. Firstly, you will have to choose the right aquarium and the filters, heaters and the substrate for it. Once you buy that, you then need to decide which fish you will put in your 10-gallon freshwater tank.

Deciding which fish to put into the 10-gallon aquarium is probably the most important choice. You want to choose the fish that will go well together – they need to be compatible. For example, you don’t want to put aggressive fish next to more peaceful ones, because the peaceful fish will suffer.

Another consideration when deciding which fish you will get is how much care they need and how they look.

All these factors will be covered in this article. Let us take a look at some of the best fish you can buy for your 10-gallon tank.

1. Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

The guppy fish is an instant choice if you are a beginner and you want to get some fish that will be peaceful and friendly. It is very eye-catching with its movement and its fins that come in many colors.

They are also very active swimmers, so you will have a tank full of fish that will swim around a lot.

The guppy fish is not a big fish – it grows to about 2 to 2.4 inches in size, so they are perfect for a 10-gallon tank. It is preferable that you keep more guppy fish together. Ideally, each guppy fish requires approximately 2 gallons of space, so if you have 10-gallon tank, you can get 5 guppies together. They will happily live with other peaceful fish in a community, like mollies, platys, gouramis and other peaceful fish.

The guppy fish is an omnivore, so you don’t have to go into great lengths when buying food for guppy fish. Naturally, they will eat whatever they will find in their habitat.

If you keep them in your 10-gallon tank, the best thing you can do is to buy some high quality flakes with plenty of protein. Also, supplement the flakes with live foods, such as shrimp or bloodworms, and frozen food.

Guppies are a great choice for you if you want to breed them, too. So if you are a beginner and you are looking to buy some fish, then the guppy fish is the right one for you.

2. Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Another fish that is great for beginners is the platy fish. Like the guppy fish, the platy fish does not require too much in terms of maintenance and diet, and they are peaceful and will go well together with other peaceful fish in a community tank.

They are also mesmerizing to look at with its many bright colors and variations. You can practically choose a platy fish in any color. They live to up to 5 years, depending on the level of care they receive and the quality of the environment they live in. They grow to up to 3 inches in size, so they are great for a 10-gallon tank.

In terms of the tankmates for platy fish, you can keep more platy fish together, but it is better to have 2 or 3 female platy fish for every male platy, as the male platy will chase the female a lot. Other than that, they will get along with a variety of fish – tetras, corydoras, guppies, gouramis and more.

As stated above, the platy fish are not demanding in terms of diet – they are omnivorous, so they will eat worms and insects, but they do prefer a more herbivorous diet. If you can, make sure that you get them plant-based foods, and flakes.

3. Balloon Molly Fish

Balloon Molly Fish

Balloon Molly Fish

The balloon molly fish is a great fish for 10-gallon owners, especially beginners. Its look is unique and it will surely make your aquarium more interesting.

Its name comes from its appearance, as its belly is round and looks like a balloon – that is why it is also called pot belly molly. They come in different color variations, from black to yellow and white, but there are also some other variations, like the Dalmatian balloon molly.

In terms of their living conditions, the balloon molly fish are not demanding. Make sure that you provide them with enough space – ideally, if you want to keep more of them together, a 30-gallon tank would be perfect, but they can perfectly fit also in a 10-gallon tank, just not in great numbers.

The molly fish are tropical fish, so make sure that the water conditions are right for them – 7-7.8 PH and a temperature of 22 to 26 degrees Celsius.

The balloon molly fish are omnivorous, so they will eat almost anything. You can feed them more meaty foods, like shrimp and bloodworms, or a more vegetable-based diet, like lettuce, spinach and vegetables. Also, they will happily consume flakes and pellets, just make sure they are high-quality.

4. Sparkling Gourami


Sparkling Gourami (sourceCC BY-SA 4.0)

The sparkling gouramis are ideal for you if you have a 10-gallon tank and you are a beginner. They may grow to 1.5 inches, so you can keep more of them in a 10-gallon aquarium.

These fish are non-aggressive, friendly and do not require much maintenance. Due to their small size, make sure that you do not keep them next to more aggressive fish, like, for example a betta fish male. Other than that, they will get along with a large variety of fish.

The gourami will make your tank brighter and so it will stand out more. Their shiny colors and scales make for a spectacular sight. Typically, they come in brown color, but they have some bright spots on their body which makes them glow.

They do not require too much care, either. Make sure that the water is clean, so change it up once or twice a week – cycle the water and keep a good filtration. Also make sure that you have enough plants all over the tank, because the gourami like to hide and swim around the environment to explore.

In their natural environment they prefer more meaty foods, like small insects, so they will happily eat frozen or live foods like bloodworms or shrimp. They will also consume dry foods – flakes and pellets, just make sure those are high-quality.

5. Pygmy Corydoras

Pygmy Corydoras

Pygmy Corydoras

The pygmy corydoras are a perfect fish for a 10-gallon tank that are great for schooling, if you want to do that. The pygmy corydoras is a small fish – only 1 inch, so they are great for small tanks.

They originate from South America, from more tropical settings, so keeping them in more tropical water conditions is recommended – keep the PH neutral and the water temperature of around 22-26 degrees Celsius.

The pygmy corydoras prefer to be in larger groups of 6 to 8, so keeping them in groups is preferable. They also require a sandy substrate and a tank full of hiding places and vegetation, as they like to hide a lot and swim around the vegetation.

Corydoras are very peaceful, so they will go along with most of other peaceful creatures, like shrimp, tetras, guppies and other animals.

It is often believed that this fish is an algae eater and a herbivore only due to its preference for algae, but you it is actually an omnivore, so feeding them algae alone would not be too beneficial.

Make sure that you keep the diet as varied as possible and not to only feed them plant-based foods. They will eat frozen foods – bloodworms, larvae, shrimp, and also feed them pellets occasionally.

6. Betta Fish


Betta Fish

The betta fish, or the Siamese fighting fish, is a very interesting fish. Not only for its look – it has very big fins of various different colors – but also for its behaviour. The betta fish can live to up to 3 years, and they reach a size of 3 inches. They are generally relatively peaceful, if they live in the right conditions – a large enough tank with a peaceful community.

But if you put two betta fish males together, you are going to have problems. The male betta fish will fight amongst each other, even to death sometimes, so make sure that you don’t put two betta males together. It is better to have a lone betta fish in your tank. Other than that, the betta fish prefer to live in tropical conditions with warm water – around 25 degrees Celsius.

The betta fish are in essence carnivores, so they will eat insects and their larvae. Make sure that you keep a balanced diet for your betta fish – mixture of live foods, frozen foods and pellets or flakes would work best. But make sure you don’t overfeed them, as that can lead to obesity. The betta fish are beautiful fish that are great for a 10-gallon tank.

7. Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras

Small fish with vibrant colors that are easy to care for. That is essentially the neon tetra fish, and those factors make it a popular choice for 10-gallon tank keepers.

The tetras are also peaceful and will do great in a peaceful community, and it does not demand plenty in terms of diet. So for these reasons, the neon tetras are great for beginners, but also for advanced tank keepers alike.

The neon tetras live to up to 8 years, depending on the tank conditions and the care they receive, but overall, they are quite hardy and adaptable to the environment.

It can grow to about 1.5 inches, which makes them a great choice for a 10-gallon tank, and you can also consider getting more tetras together. Your aquarium should contain plenty of plants, as the neon tetras are used to that kind of environment from their natural habitat.

As already discussed, the neon tetra is not picky regarding its food. It is an omnivore, so it will consume anything from plant matter to animal matter as well. It will eat algae, frozen foods, live foods and also flakes and pellets, which should be the majority of the diet. Just make sure that the pellets or flakes are high-quality.

8. Harlequin Rasboras


Harlequin rasboras are shoaling fish that are prefer to be in groups. Their appearance will attract looks from your visitors – they have a silver body with black patches all over it and orange fins. These fish are quite hardy, as they will live to up to 8 years if they are cared for properly.

The harlequin rasboras are a popular choice for beginners for many reasons. They are not demanding, easy to care for, they are good-looking, they are adaptable and live long. They are peaceful and will not cause problems. However, make sure that you don’t put them with more aggressive fish together.

In terms of diet, the rasboras will not be picky. Being omnivores, they will eat bot plant matter and animal matter. From dry foods to live or frozen foods, they will eat everything. For many reasons, the harlequin rasboras are a good choice for beginners.

9. Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio

The celestial pearl danios are relatively new fish – they were only discovered in 2006, and they are becoming more and more popular. They are perfect for beginners and for a 10-gallon tank, as they only grow to about an inch.

Being very peaceful, the celestial pearl danio would make an excellent addition to a peaceful community of fish. It also looks beautiful – blue metallic body with orange bands on its fins.

Keep more of them together – 5 or 6 of them, or if you want to have danios only in your tank, keep 10 of them together. They can be quite timid in nature, preferring to swim near the bottom of the tank and also seeking out hiding places often.

They are also not demanding in dietary means, as they will eat anything. Make sure that you buy sinking pellets due to the nature of the fish, as they prefer to swim near the bottom of the tank.

Other than pellets, they will eat frozen foods and live foods – worms. They also like zooplankton and algae. All in all, the celestial pearl danios are a great choice for a 10-gallon tank and for beginners.

10. Dwarf Otocinclus

Dwarf Otocinclus

Dwarf Otocinclus

If you want a great fish that is friendly and not demanding, but will also clean your tank of algae, the the dwarf oto fish is right for you. Also called the otocinclus macrospilus, are a very interesting fish that has many benefits.

First of all, they are easy to care for. The dwarf otos do not demand a very strict diet, but they will eat just about anything, as they are omnivores. The majority of their diet should consist of pellets, but they are algae eaters, so put them in your tank if you have too much of algae. If you don’t, feed them algae or also more meaty foods.

To sum up, the dwarf oto can be your friend if you need a fish that will clean your tank of algae and also a very easy fish to care for.


So you are considering buying a 10-gallon tank, but you don’t know which fish you should buy to go along with it? Don’t worry, we have you covered.

Hopefully you have gained some knowledge about the fish species for a 10-gallon tank for you. When you are buying fish for a 10-gallon aquarium, there are multiple factors you need to consider. Firstly, the fish has to look good and you have to like it.

Then you have to consider its temperament and how does it interact with other fish – you want to have peaceful fish together and not aggressive and peaceful. Then you need to consider the level of care you will have to invest, and consequently, the amount of time. Last but not least, you need to consider in what environment the fish likes to live in.

Once you consider all of these factors above, you can then choose the fish for your tank. You can build a colourful and lively tank that will be attractive and calming to look at. Consider the list in this article and hopefully, you will have your own aquarium with happy little fellows inside it and you will be proud.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
Questions and Answers

Nice work kid!! I’m enjoying your site. I only feed my 30 gallon tank twice per week, but I’ll be adding bloodworms to their diet weekly.

Judith Neely September 18, 2021 Reply

Your page was very informative. Thank you.
I am 78 years old and am thinking seriously of getting a fish tank.
Reasons are I tend to stay home most of the time because of my age and health and will NOT wear a mask. I also had a pool for many years and it brought me much pleasure to clean it and watch the water sparkle in the sunlight. I am thinking I might enjoy keeping water clean in a fish tank. I am an animal lover and have been a rescue worker for years. I have 3 dogs and a cat and am home bound a great deal. I hesitate going to pet store as I don’t want to be told I need something I don’t need. I am a skeptic

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