Top 7 Colorful Fish for a 10-Gallon Aquarium
10-gallon aquariums are so popular because of their small footprint and low cost, so what kind of fish can you put in them? In continuation to our article about 7 fish tank ideas that will fit into a 10-gallon aquarium, we have more suggestions for you to choose the most colorful fish to brighten your 10-gallon set-up.
1. The Killifish Aquarium
Killifish is a colorful and underrated fish. They can survive in an aquarium that’s not heated, at temperatures below 80F (26C). There are hundreds of species to choose from, but to fit in a 10-gallon tank, select a fish that stays 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) or smaller – such as the steel-blue or Gardneri killifish (Fundulopanchax gardneri), orange lyretail killifish (Aphyosemion australe), or red-striped killifish (Aphyosemion striatum). To prevent them from jumping, keep the tank covered. Some killifish can be aggressive and will swallow small fish. To minimize aggression, keep a tank that is species-only and has a breeding pair or trio of males and females. Killifish love meaty foods and will eat bloodworms, brine shrimp, or krill flakes.
Red-striped killifish (Aphyosemion striatum)
2. The Betta Fish Tank
How about upgrading your betta fish from a tiny bowl to a 10-gallon paradise? Despite their territorial personalities, Betta splendens can live in a community aquarium if given enough space and the right kind of tank mates. To contrast your red Betta with a peaceful, schooling fish, such as a green neon tetra, or to compliment a blue betta with orange-colored, ember tetras, you can choose one of two options: go with a smaller, more calm, gentler fish, such as a green neon tetra, or with a larger, more active fish, such as a green neon tetra. Bottom dwellers like snails, smaller corydoras, and kuhli loaches would be useful for cleaning up excess food that slips past your betta fish. Your betta may like floating, protein-rich foods such as blood worms or brine shrimps, but micro pellets are best for schooling fish, and sinking wafers to feed the bottom dwellers.
A red betta fish stands out more when placed among green aquarium plants and complementary-colored tank mates.
3. The Nano Rainbowfish Aquarium
Naturally, rainbowfish rank as one of the most colorful fish in the freshwater hobby, but most of them are too big for a 10-gallon aquarium. Pseudomugil rainbowfish are usually less than 2 inches (5 cm) long. Go to your local fish store to see if they have P. luminatus (red neon rainbowfish), P. furcata (forktail blue-eye rainbowfish), or P. gertrudae (Gertrude’s spotted blue-eye rainbowfish). Although they do prefer pH above 7.7 and harder water with mineral, they are very hardy and can be found in all water conditions.
Because of their high energy level, a 10-gallon fish tank can hold a group of 3-5 rainbowfish (of the same species), as well as some bottom dwellers like smaller corydoras or kuhli loaches. You can feed these tiny fish tiny foods such cyclops, daphnia, easy fry and small fish food. They have a very short life span of about 2 years. However, they are easy to breed. So that males can display their best breeding colors, and dance behavior, make sure you get more females than men. Then provide lots of dense aquarium plants or spawning mops for the females to lay their eggs on. For more details, read our forktail rainbowfish care guide.
Forktail rainbowfish (Pseudomugil furcata)
4. The Apistogramma Breeding Tank
These South American dwarfs are well-known for their vibrant colors and unusual breeding behaviors. The Apistogramma agassizii is the easiest to breed, while A. cacatuoides is more difficult. Both species are available in a variety of stunning colors. You will need to create a comfortable environment that has a pH between 6.5 and 7.2 and a temperature between 82-84degF (28-30 degC). You can add a boy or a girl to your apisto cave, or coconut hut. The male will barely be able to fit in the small hole. You should feed an omnivore well-balanced diet of frozen bloodworms. After the male fertilizes eggs, the female takes parental care of the eggs and protects the fry after they hatch. Our full care guide contains more information on apistogrammas.
Cockatoo dwarf cichlid (Apistogramma cacatuoides)
5. The Fancy Guppy Aquarium
Poecilia Reticulata is an energetic, beautiful livebearer. They come in every color of rainbow. A trio of one male, two females is a good starting point for beginners. They will produce more babies quickly than a trio. Guppies prefer high GH or harder water, so if you have soft tap water, use crushed coral, Wonder Shell, or Seachem Equilibrium to boost the aquarium’s mineral content. Guppies will eat any type of fish food, including Fancy Guppy pellets and flakes. If you wish to produce lots of guppies for your friends or local fish store, add plenty of shelter or live plants, such as guppy grass, java moss, dwarf water lettuce, and Pogostemon stellatus ‘octopus’. If you are overrun with fry, simply remove some of the cover and hiding spots in the aquarium, and the adults will help with population control. You can read our complete care guide for guppies to find out more.
Male fancy guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
6. The Cherry Shrimp Tank
Neocaridina davidi can be bred as an ornamental shrimp. This species is very rewarding and easy to reproduce. They come in amazing colors such as fire red, orange sakura, yellow golden back, green jade, blue velvet, chocolate, black rose, and more. You can easily start with 10-20 shrimp, and they will quickly grow into a colony of 100-200 shrimp in a matter of months. Although adult cherry shrimp don’t predate on their offspring (but they can survive in large numbers), it is best to not add other species to your tank. Keep baby shrimp well-groomed by providing them with powdered food, algae, catappa leaf, and minerals. When you stop seeing as many new babies being produced, reduce the population by selling some to your local fish store and use the money to fund your newfound shrimp addiction. This detailed article will explain more about freshwater shrimp.
Cherry shrimp (Neocaridina davidi)
7. The Dwarf Platy Aquarium
The majority of platy fish can grow to 2-3 inches (5-5-7 cm) in length, while the dwarf platy is a little more than 1 inch (2-5 cm) in height and can be kept in a smaller tank. The most commonly available varieties are solid red or red wag, but more colors will likely be produced in the future. A trio of teacup platys, one male and two girls, is recommended for a 10 gallon aquarium. The males will be eager to breed so it is a good idea to have more females and cover. Platies are hungry all the time and will eat anything they find. These livebearers can also eat their offspring so make sure to provide water sprite or moss to the babies. See our platy fish care guide for more details on their care requirements.
Dwarf red coral platy fish
If you liked this article and would like to see more stocking ideas, please visit our blog post on the 7 Best Fish Tank Tips for a 10-Gallon Aquarium. Best of luck with your fish tank, and enjoy nature daily.