Fishing in a 10 Gallon Aquarium: How to Stock a Small beginners Tank

Fishing in a 10 Gallon Aquarium: How to Stock a Small beginners Tank
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Score! You found a 10 gallon glass tank including all supplies for $10. That thrift-ed fish tank presents a wide array of possibilities for stocking pretty, vibrant fish. If you choose wisely, your aquarium will become a healthy ecosystem and your fish will live long, happy lives.

10 Gallon AquariumThe 10 gallon tank, sometimes called a 10 long, is one of the most well known sizes for beginner tanks, and yet is remarkably restricting on what creatures can truly thrive in this amount of water. In terms of tanks; it is classed as small.

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Unfortunately, with a tank this small there is also the possibility of making some serious mistakes. If you don’t completely understand the needs and temperaments of your fish you could end up with some aquarium inhabitants who have no business in your 10-gallon tank. This will lead to premature death for your fish, and heartache for you.10 Gallon Aquarium: Stocking for a Beginner
The general “rule of thumb” that suggests one inch of adult fish per gallon of water. Therefore, if you wish to stock fish that reach an adult length of one inch, you can have ten of them in your tank. While it makes sense, if you choose a pair of five-inch fish for your 10-gallon tank, or one nine-inch fish and a one-inch fish, what about a single ten-inch fish; you will not have a happy, healthy tank.

So how are you supposed to know which fish to choose for your 10-gallon tank? You do your own research. Reading this article is a good start! Here you will find some information on good fish to stock, and others you ought to avoid.

But don’t stop there. Learn as much as you can about your fish and aquarium care. It takes a little work, but it will make the hobby much more fun in the long run.

Stocking Ideas

If you fancy some of the community fish suggested above, here are some ideas of what and how many you can keep together. Remember that any tank must be cycled before the addition of any fish.

Ammonia and nitrite are highly toxic to fish in very low concentrations, so establishing the bacteria colonies that quickly convert these compounds to nitrate is crucial to creating a healthy environment for fish. Nitrate are far less toxic, and can easily be removed through periodic water changes or consumption by live plants. Most fish mortality in new tanks can be traced to the lack of an established nitrogen cycle in the tank.

  • 1 Male Sparkling Gourami
    2 Female Sparkling Gouramis
    4 Male Endler’s Livebearers
    3 Venezuelan Pygmy Corydoras
  • honey-gourami

  • 1 Male Honey Gourami
    6 Dwarf Rasboras
    4 Venezuelan Pygmy Corydoras
  • 1 Male Honey Gourami
    1 Female Honey Gourami
    4 Tail Spot Pygmy Cory
    4 Male Endler’s Livebearers
  • 6 Pygmy Hatchetfish
    5 Male Endler’s Livebearers
    4 Venezuelan Pygmy Corydoras
  • 1 Male Betta splenden
    6 Venezuelan Pygmy Corydoras
  • 6 male guppies
    1 moth catfish (Hara sp.)
    1 bridgesii snail OR 3 ghost shrimp
  • 5 – 8 small tetras (Neons, glowlights, embers, coffeebeans, etc)
    2 bridgesii snails OR 5 ghost shrimp
  • Dwarf Crayfish

  • 2 dwarf crayfish (Cambarellus schufeldti or C. patzcuarensis)
    -Tank must have many hiding places
  • 1 male paradise fish
    2 bridgesii snails
  • 2 male guppies
    2 male platies
    1 male molly
    4 male Endler’s livebearers
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Just as you can make some really good choices when stocking your aquarium, you can make some dumb ones too. Try not to feel too bad about it if you do. We’ve all made stocking mistakes, and it’s always a learning experience.

Sometimes parents, in an effort to please kids, end up buying inappropriate fish. Perhaps, instead of giving in to the child, this should be seen as an opportunity to educate them on respect for animals and proper care.

Remember not to put too many fish in your 10 gallon. It can often be easy to get over excited about this hobby and want more fish then your tank can handle.


A Military Spouse stationed in the middle of nowhere. Emma loves to cook for her family (while dodging dirty dishes). She is blessed to be a stay at home mom with 3 kiddos. She is passionate about cloth diapering, car seat safety, breastfeeding, homeschooling, frugal living, babywearing, and her Christian faith. More Molly Messy than Susie Homemaker, she has been trying to improve her housekeeping and related skills.

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