Skip to Content

9 Coolest Freshwater Fish for 10 Gallon Tank

9 Coolest Freshwater Fish for 10 Gallon Tank

A 10-gallon fish tank offers a wide range of storage possibilities for beautiful, vibrant fish. Your aquarium will be a healthy ecosystem if you choose wisely and your fish will live long happy lives. Unfortunately, there is also the possibility to make some serious mistakes with a tank this small.

If you don’t fully understand your fish’s needs and temperaments, you might end up with some inhabitants of the aquarium who have no business in your 10-gallon tank. This will lead to your fish’s premature death and only frustration for you.

A 10-gallon tank is quite small compared to what advanced aquarists use, but size doesn’t always matter. A well built 10-gallon tank can look as beautiful as a 100-gallon one. But keep in mind, small things have their own beauty, and it should not be underestimated.

Always investigate the species that you want to keep, how compatible they are with other species, and how many can be stored in a community tank.

There are plenty of online storage calculators that can help you decide how many of each species you can fit comfortably in your 10-gallon tank.

Best Fish for 10 Gallon Tank That are Cool

There is much fish that can fit a 10 gallon, especially smaller fish, but you don’t need to be limited only to them. Below we have a list of some fish that, in my opinion, are the best for a 10-gallon tank.

1.  Betta splendens

Betta are the most popular fish in animal stores, renowned for their agility, interactivity and low maintenance costs. They can be “pet animals” for a very long time.

Betta fish

Betta fish is originally from South Asia, known as “fighter fish”, being an aggressive fish that participates in various fighting contests. The specimens grown in captivity differ from those in the natural environment, meeting different colors such as red, blue, green, black, orange, yellow and white.

More: Betta With a Ghost Shrimp

2. Goldfish

It is believed that the most resistant aquarium fishes are goldfish, even if there are aquarists who claim that the life expectancy of these fish is very low.


Goldfish is a very resistant fish in both the natural and aquarium environment. It resists very low water temperatures, but it is not good for the temperature changes to occur suddenly.

They are energetic, playful and friendly, have a great look and are ideal for beginner aquarists.

3. Xiphophorus maculatus

Salmon species are ovovivipare. Their distribution is limited and they are found only in Mexico and Belize, but they were brought to the Antilles Islands to fight off the torture.

xiphophorus maculatus

Females reach the size of approx. 7 cm, while males are smaller and do not exceed 5 cm. In commerce there is a multitude of shapes and colors of this fish that have been selected over the years.

It is a gregarious fish (it is good to be kept in groups), very quiet, even frightening. Exception – in the presence of the people who do not hesitate to devour them. The association will be done with calm fish, which prefer neutral or alkaline water (pH 7.0 – 8) such as guppy or xipho.

4. Guppy

Guppy, originally from South America, is a very peaceful and loving fish that does not require very large basins and is not a pretentious species in terms of water quality.

Guppy is a favorite fish for many aquarists and especially for beginners because of the ease with which it can be maintained.


Guppy is a highly resistant species of fish, and can survive in conditions where other fish may perish. Guppy are also an excellent choice for populating a new aquarium.

Of course, if you want as many fish as possible, you keep them together in the same aquarium. They are not just the easiest to maintain aquarium fish, but also the most well-known.

5. Molly

It is a versatile fish that can survive in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums if changes are made gradually.

The water of the aquarium must never fall below 24 degrees C. The temperature of 25-26 degrees is ideal for Molly fish. At lower temperatures, Molly will get sick.

molly fish

To prevent fish skin infection, it is good to keep the aquarium water harder than soft. If you do not have aquarium plants in the aquarium, it’s good to be in coral crushed.

Be careful that the aquarium is clean, either because you are doing a lot of cleaning or because you use sanitary fish, otherwise the water in the aquarium will become acidic due to the putrefaction of the bottom misery.

6. Neon Tetra

Neon fish has an intensely colored body with a phosphorescent blue line along the body. It appears bright in the aquarium, so it is called “over neon”. A red line appears in the middle of the body, ending in the tail. Over neon has elongated body and short nose.

Neon Tetra

It has a silver stomach and almost a transparent body and those brightly colored stripes that stand out. Neon fish are docile and live well with other species in the aquarium. They are quite active, and a group of 5 or more fish in a medium size aquarium will be perfect!

Neon fish is very quiet and is usually kept in the aquarium with other non-aggressive fish and about the same size. Neon fish look very well combined with other neon fish of another color, but can be combined with other fish from the same family as well. It is a fish that makes jokes, so it is good to have at least 5 fish in the aquarium.

7. Dwarf Gourami

Colisa Lalia is a very beautiful and peaceful gourmet species at the same time, available in several varieties: striped blue, red blood and cobalt blue.

Dwarf Gourami

Generally, males are bigger and more colorful, while females are smaller, and coloring is not that obvious. It is advisable to keep these fish in pairs, being equally peaceful with fish of another species as they are with fish of the same species.

8. Pygmy Corydoras

The Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus) is a small, peaceful pet to keep in groups of about 10. They have an iridescent body with a black horizontal line running from the snout to the tail.

Pygmy Corydoras

They need densely planted tanks and plenty of hiding spots for these freshwater aquarium fish. To create hiding places, you can use wide-leaved plants and driftwood.

To protect their barbels, they also need a sandy substratum. As they are so sensitive to nitrate levels, these fish require weekly partial water changes. Pygmy Corydoras should be kept in species-only tanks with eight to 12 fish, growing to a length of about 3 centimeters.

9. Celestial Pearl Danios

Danio margaritatus or Microrasbora sp “Galaxy” is a fish belonging to the Cyprinid family from Myanmar. The very simple coloring that contrasts strongly with aquarium plants and its small size makes it well suited to nano aquariums.

Celestial Pearl Danios

It is not a pretentious food for food, it can be fed with crumbs, with live food such as daphnia, tubifex or even artemia.

Being a very small and shy fish is recommended to be raised in groups of at least 5-10 pieces. Even if males tend to follow and tease sometimes, these fish are very passionate and can be raised with any species that has a similar temperament.

How can you set up a 10-gallon tank?

Designing your new setup is one of the most enjoyable things to start a new aquarium. There are many different ways to do this, but it ends up being your personal preference.

Freshwater tanks are often filled with decorations that most pet stores can buy. From an atmospheric shipwreck to more comical themes on television, these could be anything.

Others opt for a well-planted tank with photosynthesis to oxygenate the tank. To give the setup a natural look, the plants are often accompanied by rocks or bogwood.

Tanks of saltwater tend to be less diverse. The most common design is to incorporate corals as they are the natural home of many of the available marine fish.

Corals can be quite expensive so you can buy cheaper, coral-like decorations. Once you have more experience, you can then add live corals.

If you use the tank as a breeder tank, the specific requirements for the species of fish you want to breed need to be examined. Some need a bare bottom and no decorations, others need a fine substratum and some plants to protect the fry.

How many fish can you put in a 10-gallon tank?

A 10-gallon tank is quite small compared to others, not taking nanos into consideration, and the amount of fish you can put in it is very small.

You can probably fit about 20 small fish like Danios or Guppies, but anything more than that can lead to overpopulation.

You don’t want your tank to be overpopulated. This can lead to serious issues with your fish. The pollution level in the tank will increase and you will have to do a lot of water changes to keep that balance.

The more fish you have, the faster ammonia levels will rise. With that, your fish will be unhappy and they will develop health issues that can lead to their death.

More: Fish That Can Live With Bettas

How many goldfish you can put in a 10-gallon tank?

While they are small at first, goldfish tend to grow really big and having a lot of them in a 10 gallon is not a good idea.

You can probably fit around 4 of them. It says that is the best number. Goldfish also eat a lot and produce a lot of waste, which means you have to clean after them. That is not pleasant.

Also, if you have other small fish in the tank, it is not advised to put goldfish in. The small fish will get eaten by them because of their size.

What Fish are Not Recommended for a 10 Gallon?

In the beginning, we made a list of fish that will do perfectly in a 10-gallon tank. Now its time to make a small list of fish that are BAD for a 10 gallon. This way you can avoid them when you go shopping for new fish.


Angelfish is the most popular aquarium fish and is known by almost all aquarium enthusiasts. It is suitable for large aquariums that have an average plant content. Angelfish is also called angel fish, a name derived from its appearance, with elongated swimmers like the wings of an angel.

Angelfish are part of the Cichlid family and Pterophyllum genus, but it is different from the other members of this family.

Bala Shark

Balantiocheilos melanopterus – the bala shark or silver shark is part of the Cyprinindae family and is predominantly found in the south-eastern part of Asia, more specifically in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

As the name says, this fish is very similar to a shark, but it is much smaller. His body can reach a maximum of 35 cm. This fish has a special and very interesting appearance, precisely because of the resemblance of a true shark and this species.

Unlike other fish belonging to the same family, the silver shark also has the shark-like color, a shiny gray. The shape of the body is slender, the skin is covered with large scales, and the fins are beautifully arched, bordered by a thin black stitch. The silver shark has a small mouth and does not show mustaches or spikes.


African cichlids are the closest thing you can get in a freshwater environment to the vibrant colors of saltwater fish.

Some owners of aquariums specialize in cichlids, making some beautiful tanks for them. But they are also very aggressive, very complex fish and do not belong in a tank of fewer than 55 gallons, except for a few species.

Even then, to prevent them from killing each other, you need to know what you are doing. Don’t let their pretty colors seduce you into your 10-gallon tank popping a couple. They are not appropriate, and any tropical fish you already own can potentially be devastated.


This fish species has an elongated, spherical body, ending with a flat head, flattened in the forehead. A typical fish-cat body. His body is creamy, with dark brown spots without any well-defined pattern. On the head, on the swim and on the tail, the brown spots are somewhat smaller in size.

His head is big and flat. It has a relatively large mouth with turned lips, with a huge juice power and endowed at the corners with 3-4 sets of mustaches, increasing in number with age. His eyes are small, dark in color, somewhat higher and with a neighboring ring-shaped area of silver.

Below the eyes, there are two nostrils. The tail is round. Swimmers have a layout that reminds us of the sharks.

Related Questions

Will 10-gallon tanks require a lot of maintenance?

As with all fish tanks, yes. Having a 10 gallon doesn’t mean you don’t have to look after it. Yes, it is a small tank and the cleanup process is fairly easy compared to bigger tanks but you still have to look after it from time to time.

Will having too many fish in my 10 gallon lead to fights between them?

Yes and no. This depends a lot on the species of fish you selected for your tank. If you chose to go with Guppies or Danios, there will be no problems as those fish tend to be very peaceful.

If you decide to go with Goldfish or Tetras, you might have some fish battles on your head once in a while.

Will I be able to put plants in my 10 gallons?

Yes! Plants are a wonderful addition to every fish tank, not only a 10 gallon.

You need to look for plants that are relatively small, because having some that will grow big, it’s a no-no. for example, you should not pick plants like Amazon Swords or Jungle Val, because they tend to go big and will soon overcome all your fish tank.

You can settle for some small plants like Anubias Nana or Lobelia Cardinalis, they make awesome plants for a 10 gallon and they look amazing if placed right.

We will talk more about plants in another article.

Will my 10 gallons require good filtration and illumination?

As with all tanks, yes. Filtration is a must. If you don’t want your fish to die in their own waste you need to get a filter for your tank. It doesn’t need to be a canister filter or a big filter, something that is medium in size and has a good flow volume will do.

As for illumination, you don’t need any big light tube for your tank. You can settle for a small LED light that can provide good illumination for both your fish and your plants.


A 10-gallon tank is a perfect tank for beginners. Its easy to setup and there are plenty of fish that you can populate it with. We just told you a few species, but we will have another article describing what fish a beginner should get.