10 Gallon Fish Tank |Ideas, Set Up, Accessories, and Care

10-gallon fish tanks are a great option for both new and experienced aquarium owners. They’re perfect for small spaces, and they can accommodate a wide variety of fish species. 

The ten-gallon aquarium is an affordable choice for anyone who wants to keep a small community tank, single species tank, or shrimp tank. 

If you’re in the market for a new fish tank, read on to learn about the 10 Gallon Fish Tank today. I’ll talk about the various aspects of a 10-gallon tank including weight, dimension, ideas, and care for the tank. Stay tuned!

Benefits of 10-gallon Aquarium Set-Ups

10-gallon aquarium

The popularity of 10-gallon fish tanks is understandable if you ask me. The practicality and convenience make it an easy choice for many new tank keepers!

The 10-gallon aquarium is the go-to size for beginners because it’s small and doesn’t require any special stands or equipment. This led to this popular tank type being known as the best starter tank!

However, I believe a 20-gallon tank is more perfect than a 10-gallon tank for novice fish keepers. Why? You’ll find it in the next section.

  • It’s an affordable option to get most of your items to start your fish tank.
  • They require less maintenance than a fishbowl or nano tank as long as they are appropriately equipped.
  • They are the perfect size tank for most of the famous fish species! In addition, they can be used as breeding, quarantine, and hospital tanks! 
  • They are ideal for holding several excellent beginner-friendly fish and invertebrates.
  • There can be easily equipped with heaters, filters, LED lights, decorations, and live plants.
  • 10-gallon tanks are easily customizable!
  • There’s adequate space inside to build your first planted tank!
  • It’s a good size to start your first aquascaping if you are interested.
  • .You can pick a suitable substrate or opt for a bare-bottomed tank – whatever you wish, with your 10-gallon tank.

Disadvantages of 10-gallon Tanks

Nano tanks are small but not as easy to care for. They require a lot more work and attention than their larger counterparts- mainly because you have limited space to keep everything! 

The 10-gallon fish tank is a difficult thing to keep clean and healthy. When issues arise, they can quickly go out of control!

In truth, a 20 or 30-gallon tank is the best size for new aquarium owners. They require less maintenance than 10-gallon models and don’t suffer sudden ammonia spikes or other issues that can crash a tank in an hour!

That said, though, if things are done right with robust filtration systems along with weekly water changes, you can do well with a 10-gallon tank without too much hassle on your end.

  • Trickier to maintain than a larger tank. Require frequent cleaning and water changes.
  • More likely to suffer from a sudden spike in ammonia or disease outbreak.
  • Possibility of faster algae growth than larger tanks.
  • Not all fish species can be kept in a 10-gallon tank, so expert aquarists may not like the size!
  • If you want to build a planted tank or a marine aquarium, you will get a minimal option with a 10-gallon tank.


Why A 10-Gallon Tank Is Preferable

  • Compact and require small spaces.
  • Do not need a stand or strong base.
  • Versatile and affordable aquarium size for newbies.
  • Many fantastic stocking ideas are available.
  • Ideal for breeding tanks and hospital or quarantine tanks.
  • Inexpensive and premium filters, lights, heaters, and other equipment are available.

Why It is Not Preferable

  • Harder to maintain than a larger tank.
  • More likely to suffer from a sudden spike in ammonia or disease outbreak.
  • Faster algae growth than in larger tanks.

Material Selection Of A 10 Gallon Tank

A 10-gallon tank is can be made of glass, acrylic, and even plastic. I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each type in the below section.


Glass Aquarium


  • Affordable and long-lasting; you can use them for years!
  • They are not prone to develop scratches over time.
  • Glass is non-reactive and doesn’t absorb any chemicals.
  • Don’t become yellowish over time.
  • Not easily discolored if exposed to sunlight.
  • Very clear or transparent with minimal distortion effect.


  • Glass tanks are cumbersome – the heaviest among all materials!
  • You won’t get that many custom shapes with glass tanks.
  • Very fragile and can crack or shatter easily.
  • If kept with sharp corners, it can cause serious injury! 


Acrylic Fish Tank


  • Relatively lightweight but at the same time sturdy.
  • Acrylic tanks are found in various shapes, including cornerless and rimless.
  • There are no sharp edges, so they are less likely to cause injury.


  • Acrylic tanks can be more costly.
  • Acrylics are prone to be scratched and cosmetically damaged.
  • The distortion effect may not give you the proper view of inside tanks.
  • They are not as inert as glass and may absorb or release chemicals.
  • Loses its transparency over time, especially if exposed to sunlight.


Plastic Fish Tank


  • Plastic is the cheapest material to construct a fish tank!
  • Plastic tanks are also lightweight.
  • It can be shaped in many ways, including bow front and cornerless tanks.


  • Not very sturdy and can crack with too much pressure.
  • The distortion effect is also noticeable in plastic tanks.
  • Loses its beauty over time and relatively quickly.
  • You cannot use a powerful aquarium heater with plastic tanks, as the temperature can make them softer.

Different Styles Of 10 Gallon Tanks

The best part about these 10-gallon tanks is that they come in so many different shapes and styles! You’ll find everything from more comprehensive models perfect for swimming to more curved front panels or corners. No matter what your style preference, maybe there’s a ten-gallon waiting! 

There are various types and styles that you can find in 10-gallon tanks. Naturally, some will be more attractive than others. Some examples include: 

Bow front 10-gallon aquarium

Bowfront or curved front tanks: The bowfront or curved front fish tanks make your aquarium look more beautiful, thanks to their rounded front panels. The style will enhance the beauty of your underwater world!

Rimless tanks: The rimless fish tank design is a sleek and modern option that efficiently uses the aquarium’s interior space. In rimless tanks, all you see are the aquarium’s inhabitants. 

Rimless 10-gallon tank

They are gorgeous to look at, but they have hidden dangers like they are very delicate and easily be damaged! However, these types of tanks can cause injury if not handled carefully!

Curved or molded corner tanks: The curved or molded corner fish tanks are often constructed from fewer pieces for added strength and make it easier to see the inside view of the aquarium when sitting at an angle. This model is also widespread in 10-gallon tanks!

Curved 10-gallon tank

Equipment You Will Need For A 10 Gallon Tank

It’s important to have the right equipment when you get started with your new 10-gallon tank. The list of required items can seem overwhelming at first but don’t worry – we’ve got everything covered so that by now, there will only be one thing on YOUR mind: how much fun these tanks are!

A Filtration Unit

Your 10-gallon aquarium can be a home for several different types of fish, but you’ll need to make sure it has the right filtration unit. A small hang-on-back (HOB) model or internal filter will keep your tank clean and healthy with minimal space taken up inside the enclosure!

Filtration system in a 10-gallon tank

You need to get a three-in-one filter for your small fish tank because it cleans the water and ensures beneficial bacteria are present. A filter unit containing mechanical, biological, & chemical filtration methods helps maintain a high-quality habitat by removing waste products inside an aquarium!

The perfect aquarium filter is one that flows at least three times the volume of your fish tank. For a 10-gallon tank, this would be an ideal flow rate of 30 – 40 GPH (Gallon Per Hour), keeping all your fish safe!

A Suitable Heater

Heaters are essential for maintaining the temperature of your aquarium. Some fish prefer warmer water while others like it colder. If you want the right temperature preferences, ensure your aquarium heater can maintain the desired level. Also, look for a type that matches what kind of tropical species is in residence!

Heating in a 10-gallon tank

To determine the correct size aquarium heater for your tank, you need to know how powerful of one they are and what temperature difference is between room temperature and your desired aquarium water temperature. For example, a 10-Watt unit will produce twice as much heat as a 5-Watt model.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to figure out how much wattage you need – if 10 gallons need to raise the temperature around 5°F (3 °C), then a 50-watt heater will do just fine! So, 3 to 5 watts per gallon of aquarium water is the most straightforward thumb rule!

An undersized unit may not be reliable or safe and could quickly damage it too rapidly, so choose wisely your aquarium heater when purchasing one.


You want to be able to create an outdoor setting that the fishes are used to in the wild. So you must have aquarium lights for your 10-gallon tank! Moreover, if you want to keep live plants in it, adequate lighting is a must!

Lighting in a 10-gallon tank

If you want your fish tank to be beautiful and functional, the lighting system must mimic natural lighting like daytime and nighttime. 

It will also help if there are plants in this environment. Because aquarium plants need adequate light for their photosynthesis process! Without it, they cannot survive!

These days, LED lights are the most popular choice for fish tanks. However, they cost anywhere from $10-$120 depending on the function and remote control features that come with them or if you want color-changing effects too!


The importance of aquarium substrate cannot be overstated. It’s the perfect surface for bringing in natural flavors, and it provides a home to beneficial bacteria that help keep your tank clean!

The perfect aquarium should be established in a way so that you are placing an underwater piece of the world besides yourself. It would make sense to create your living home for aquatic friends who resemble their natural habitat conditions as closely as possible!

The most common type of aquarium substrate is gravel. Gravels come in all shapes and sizes, but if you need to keep bottom dwellers like Kuhli loach, sand might be better for them because they enjoy burrowing through the earth-like layer!

There are some other types for particular purposes also! However, substrate selection is crucial if you want to make a planted aquarium!


Keeping an aquarium is an excellent hobby for those who like to keep their minds from getting bored. You can decorate your tank to look incredible, and you will be proud of what was achieved with such little effort!

So, one of the most important aspects to consider when keeping an aquarium is its decor. The fish can be fascinating, but they’re not enough! 

You can buy one of those background images that you tape to the backside, outside edge; it will perfectly match what’s happening inside! 

Ornamental toys, plants, flowers, or rocks are also in there. Some fish like having some caves, too – places they feel safe from predators and can swim through without getting stuck (plus these areas make great hiding spots). 

But the most crucial point to remember is that aquarium decorations must be safe enough to use in the fish tank!

And don’t forget about driftwood – belongings need something like the wild, so your critter has somewhere lovely enough to let their guard down!

Live Plants

What’s an aquarium without some good live plants? Plastic ones might be easy enough, but actual live vegetation helps oxygenate and filter the water while also providing hiding spaces for your fish (and maybe even serving as nourishment)!

Live plants in your aquarium are not just pretty; they contribute to the tank ecosystem by producing oxygen and absorbing harmful CO2 for the optimal health of your fish!

To create the perfect 10-gallon aquarium, you need to have plants that are low light and easy for beginners. Java Fern, Cryptocoryne Aponogetifolia, Dwarf Sagittaria, Rotala rotundifolia, and Amazon Sword are some of my favorite types for a 10-gallon tank!

Air Pumps

Air pumps can help promote surface agitation and improve gas circulation throughout your fish tank. Bubbles often provide an additional benefit in that they enhance the oxygenation of the water, combating carbon dioxide buildup, which is harmful to many species’ health.

Though an air pump isn’t a mandatory item for your 10-gallon fish tank, you’ll benefit from it anyway! They are only about $12 and will make life easier!

You can also read the article on adding oxygen to a fish tank!

How Much Does A Filled 10-Gallon Tank Weigh?

How much a 10-gallon tank weigh

The weight of a 10-gallon aquarium can vary depending on what materials are used for construction. Therefore, when choosing where to set up your tank, you need to ensure the spot chosen can support its weight when filled with substrate and equipment. 

A typical example is when an empty tank weighs between 5 and 11 pounds. In comparison, one that’s been filled with water, substrate, and all pieces of equipment will usually average around 110 – 115 Pounds.

Most of the weight of an aquarium primarily comes from the water – 10 gallons of water weighs on average 83 pounds. 

What is the Dimension of a 10-gallon tank?

There are many shapes available for a 10-gallon tank. The typical dimension of a rectangular 10-gallon tank is 20” L x 10” W x 12” H. There are some other shapes and dimensions available.

Tank NameDimension
Glofish 10 Gallon Aquarium Fish Tank Kits23.69 x 13.44 x 19.88 inches
Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit20.25 x 10.5 x 13.31 inches
Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 10 gallon12.91 x 10.24 x 20.2 inches
Lifegard Aquatics 10 Gallon Rimless Glass20.07 x 9.8 x 12.60 inches
Aqueon NeoGlow LED Orange Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit, 10 Gallon20.25 x 10.5 x 13.13 inches
Penn-Plax Water-World Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit – 10 Gallon Tank13.75 x 13.75 x 13.75 inches

What Is The Cost of A 10-Gallon Fish Tank?

You can get started at the low end of the spectrum by picking up a simple aquarium tank from any pet supply store in town or online shop – these will cost anywhere from $15-$50 depending on size and quality.

How much a 10-gallon tank cost

However, if you want to have the whole experience with all of its bells and whistles, then prepare yourself for a more expensive ride. A complete 10-gallon fish tank will cost much more when adding the gravel, a good filter, lighting, and conditioners. These are just some of the things that prepare for an aquarium. 

An excellent starter kit may include the items

If you go the easy way with a starter kit, it will cost $100 to 400$. However, if you choose the DIY route, it’ll cost you about $150 – $200, and that will buy everything for your tank, including the stand or base.

Fish and food are two separate expenses, but it’s important to note that this doesn’t include costs like conditioning or cleaning supplies.

Setting up Your 10-gallon Tank

First, double-check that the desk, shelf, or table you’ve chosen to place it on can handle the weight and is near an electrical outlet. However, it is better to place a soft rubber mat under the tank to absorb shock.

Let’s talk about how to set up a 10-gallon freshwater fish tank. 

Next, you follow the below steps:

Step:1 Unboxing Items


Step:2 Placement Of Fish Tank

Step-2 Placement of the fish tank

Step:3 Preparation Of The Substrate

Step-3 Substrate preparation

Step:4 Add Necessary Equipment

Step-4 Install necessary equipment

Step:5 Decorate

Step-5 Decorate the aquarium

Step:6 Fill With Water And Check 

Step-6 Fill the tank with water

Step:7 Cycle The Tank

Step-7 Cycle the tank

Step:8 Add Fish

Step-8 Add fish

For a detailed, comprehensive guide, read the article: How To Set Up A 10 Gallon Fish Tank (A Beginners Guide)

Stocking Idea For 10 Gallon Tanks (Fish & Invertebrates)

Nano fish are the perfect pet for a 10-gallon tank. They require less space than traditional breeds. 

This small, simple, and friendly environment offers endless possibilities for your future pet’s enjoyment! 

It’s important to do your research before adding any type of water animal into a tank, even if it seems the perfect fit on paper! The top choice of fish for 10-gallon tanks is listed below:

  • Guppy
  • Betta
  • Cory Catfish
  • Platy
  • Gourami
  • Molly  
  • Tetra
  • Danio
  • Pencilfish
  • Swordtail
10 gallon fish tank - stocking with fish

Besides fish, you can keep the following aquatic pets in your 10-gallon tank, also:

  • Dwarf crayfish
  • African Dwarf Frogs
  • Amano, Cherry, or Ghost shrimp
  • Snails like Mystery, Nerite, and Malaysian Trumpet

Read this – Best Fish For 10 Gallon Tank – A Stocking Guide For Newbies for a more detailed guide.

You can keep the following combinations perfectly:

  • 1 Betta+ 2-3 Dwarf Corydoras
  • 2 guppies (male) + 2 Cory Catfish
  • 2 Neon Tetras + 2-3 Platies
  • 2 Celestial Pearl Danios + 2-3 Mollies
  • 2 Female Bettas

How Many Fish 

Some simple rules will help with an estimate. First of all, the “one inch per gallon” rule means no more than ten inches of the total length of fish for a 10-gallon tank!

Next, the “surface area rule” suggests stocking one inch of fish per 12 sq inches of water.

However, Generic stocking rules don’t consider the many other important factors when deciding – how many fish. For example, stocking quantities might vary on different types and sizes, how much waste they produce, or an individual’s behavior patterns.

Setup Ideas For A 10-Gallon Aquarium

When setting up your tank, it is vital to think about the outcome you want for yourself and what kind of environment will support that.

Aquascaping is an art form that takes advantage of the various items you can find in your average fish tank – rocks, stones, wood, and plants. 

This style has many common methods, but there’s no one right way to do it! We’ll cover some options for creating this beautiful design.

Betta fish

For beginners who want an easier way in, than with all their work cut out, just yet-I suggest starting off by having a fish-only freshwater aquarium!

Some people find it interesting to keep fish as pets. These aquatic creatures tend to have a lot of benefits that can make life more beautiful for us, even if we’re not really into aquariums! 

You can create an underwater world for your fish to live in with caves and rocks. Stacking them up will give you depth while tying everything together creates visual interest. You can also add driftwood, so they become part of this stunning design.

Aquascaping is all about matching the inhabitants of this earthy place-the animals! For example, if we keep Live Bearers, there should be plenty more natural flavor around as they need lots of hiding places so newborn babies have a chance at survival!

planted 10-gallon aquarium

If you want to create an authentic natural feel for your aquarium, it’s best not to use artificial plants. Instead, use the live ones within and sculpt them into something amazing! 

Live plants are a great way to keep your aquarium looking healthy and clean. Apart from giving you an aesthetically pleasing effect, they also promote good bacteria, which helps maintain water quality by breaking down waste products like ammonia into safe forms!

With any tank, it’s essential to know how many plants you can keep. Because you’ll want some room for fish and arrange adequate lighting to care for all inhabitants properly.  

Betta Fish in a 10-gallon aquarium

Just because a fish is unsuitable for community aquariums doesn’t mean it can’t be an awesome pet. However, some of these aggressive or shy species might do better as individuals. 

Species-only tanks are for those kinds! Betta, Gourami, Puffer, Dwarf Cichlids, Killies, etc., do well in species-only aquariums. And having a species-only tank is not a bad idea at all with those fantastic aquatic pets!

10-gallon Shrimp Tank

Some beautiful freshwater shrimp can make fantastic pets! A 10-gallon tank would accommodate up to 50 Shrimp.

Shrimp are natural cave-dwellers, so it is best for them to have some cover. You can use anything you have on hand, from wood and plants that provide hiding spots or nooks in your aquarium landscape – just make sure they’re large enough spaces where the shrimp will feel safe walking around without being too crowded!

10-gallon Fish-Only With Live Rock

Nano saltwater tanks make for a great first-time home aquarium-keeping experience. If you’re interested in going deeper and exploring some different types available, consider selecting one with natural cave arrangements like those found on live rocks.

But picking the right fish is tricky! Some of the saltwater fish species you will find at local fish stores start out small but grow to bigger sizes when they are adults making them unsuitable for a 10-gallon tank. And a few others are just notoriously challenging to care for.

Reef tank

The options for an aquarium are limitless. You can create your very own underwater version by using the colors and shapes that define this beautiful sea world!

You can create a beautiful nano reef tank with 10 gallons of water. The best part? You don’t need special equipment or know-how to set up your own marine world because this is almost effortless! 

Some hardy soft, and LPS corals will thrive in an aesthetically pleasing environment. However, the SPS coral thrives in stable conditions that are not easily achievable by beginners or those who don’t have much time at their disposal!

Final Words!

You can find a 10-gallon fish tank perfect for you by carefully considering the options we’ve listed above. They all have minor differences, and they’re all quality products, so whichever one catches your eye would make an excellent addition to any home!

Marina LED Aquarium Kit and Aqueon Aquarium Starter Kit are both our favorite picks for beginners, whereas GloFish Aquarium Kit is the best premium choice!

So, it’s your time! Pick your Best 10 Gallon Fish Tank!

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Sujit Modak

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