The Best Fish for a 10 Gallon Fish Tank? Check Them Out!

Fish in 10 Gallon Tank

So you got your 10 gallon fish tank  all ready to go—the filter is streaming, the decorations are in place, the light is on—but wait, there’s nobody home in this pristine set up! Are you still confused about the best fish to house in this aquatic paradise? A quick rule-of-fin is an inch-of-fish per gallon of water (that’s adult size) so this leaves you with more than a few options when it comes to stocking your aquarium.  

Check out our list to find some finned-pals that are not only beautiful to behold, but will also appreciate the coziness of the 10 gallon tank.

Catfish—Dwarf Corydoras

Corydoras Dwarf Fish

The Corydoras hastatus better know as the Dwarf Corydoras is in the catfish family.  This cute little fella will only grow to be about an inch long and feels most comfortable in a small school (around 3 to 6 in a tank). It loves a well-planted environment and can be seen cruising among the foliage about mid-tank level. The Dwarf Corydora is a peaceful fish that loves to dine on falling flake food, shrimp pellets or sinking algae wafers.

Neon Tetras

Two Neon Tetra

The Paracheirodon innesi or simply called the Neon Tetra, is a popular aquarium pal due to its striking neon blue and red colorings. It’s a schooling fish (at least 5 in a tank) that grows to 1.25 inches long. The Neon will dwell mostly between the top and middle-regions of its home-aquarium and loves to eat fresh or frozen foods, but can live nicely on a good quality flake food.

Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal Fish

Paracheirodon axelrodi is the bigger cousin to the Neon Tetra, growing up to 2 inches long. This brilliantly-colored fish has both a neon blue and red stripe that runs the entire length of its body.  This peaceful fish does best in small schools (around 6 in a tank) where the flashing colors of their bodies together make for a brilliant display. The Cardinal Tetra does best on a varied diet of brine shrimp or daphnia, high-quality flaked food, freeze-dried bloodworms and micro pellet food.

Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio in School of Fish

Danio rerio is peaceful fish that can grow to about 3 inches long and is highly active when kept in a small school (5 to 6 fish).  In fact, it is known to bring out the activity-levels in its more “lazy” tankmates. This fish is either silver or gold with a torpedo-shaped body. It has five uniform blue/purple stripes, stretching the entire length of its body. It’s a hardy fish that is recommended to use when cycling a new aquarium (getting the PH and ammonia to proper levels for more delicate fish) and prefers a varied diet of flaked and frozen foods.


School of Glofish

The Glofish is a relatively new “species” on the scene of tropical fish and is one that has aquarium enthusiasts (especially kids) all aglow. This fish is a genetically modified Zebra Danio that has been given the ability to produce fluorescent colored scales. Some of the colors available are bright red, green, orange-yellow, blue and purple. Since it is a Zebra Danio, all the same aspects of the fish apply when it comes to aquarium life.

Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf Gouramis

Colisa lalia is a peaceful and shy fish that should be kept in at least pairs if not small schools (4 or 6). In addition, the placement of the tank should be in a quiet, low-traffic area of your home as loud noises will frighten this fish into hiding. It needs a heavily planted tank with half the top surface covered in floating foliage; however the Dwarf Gouramis is also a Labyrinth Fish (it breathes directly from the air) so it needs access to the surface. This fish species can grow up to 2 inches long and needs a mixed diet of protein and plant matter in the form of algae-based flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex and brine shrimp.


Plates the Mickey Mouse Fish

One of the great things about the Xiphophorus maculatus is the wide variety of colors and patterns this species is available in—the “Mickey Mouse” Platy has the classic black ear markings on its tail. It is a peaceful fish that is also hardy enough for beginner fish-keepers; however according to FishLore it is recommended to keep two females for every male, as males tend to chase females. The Platy can grow up to 2 inches long and needs a varied diet of flakes, frozen, live and freeze dried foods.


School of Guppies

Surely one of the most popular aquarium fish is the Poecilia reticulata, or the good ole Guppy.  This fish gained popularity due to its hardiness, peaceful nature and wide-variety of colors and patterns. In addition, the Guppy is also a livebearer and fairly easy to breed, so you may end up with more than you bargained for. This species of fish does well in a small school and loves to have live plants to dart in and out among. The females can grow up to 2.4 inches long while males measure in at around 1.4 inches long . This fish prefers a varied diet of a good quality flaked and freeze-dried foods.

Red Cherry Shrimp

Cherry Shrimp

Neocaridina denticulata sinensis is not only cool to look at, but is essential for cleaning up any excess debris or food left over from its tank-mates.  It also enjoys nibbling away at any algae that may be present. It thrives in a heavily planted aquarium where it can hide among the foliage and does well in small groups of 3 to 5 shrimp. This species can grow to be 1.5 inches long, but be aware that larger fish may view this tiny crustacean as food.

Nerite Snails

Nerite Snail on a Log

What tank would be complete without a Nerita sp? This snail comes in black, green or tan and is perfect for cleaning the algae from the sides of the aquarium or off of stationary decorations; however, if no algae is present in your aquarium, sinking algae disks should be provided as a food source for this snail. It does well in a tank that is populated with plenty of hiding places and live plants.  The Nerite can grow up to 1 inch in diameter and is a peaceful tank-mate which can be kept as a single.

Your 10 gallon tank will be teaming with life when you choose from these amazing species; however, remember that overcrowding your aquarium will be harmful to its inhabitants.  As we stated in the beginning an inch of fish per gallon of water is a good rule-of-thumb to go by.  Here are a few combinations you may want to consider for your 10 gallon aquatic community:


  • 3 Platies
  • 5 Neon Tetras
  • 1 Nerite Snail


  • 3 Red Cherry Shrimp
  • 4 Glofish or Zebra Danios


  • 3 Dwarf Gouramis
  • 4 Corydoras


  • 4 Guppies
  • 2 Dwarf Gouramis


  • 4 Cardinal Tetras
  • 3 Corydoras

Whatever combo you choose, we’re sure you will love the relaxation and tranquility an aquarium is sure to bring. Have fun on your journey of fish keeping!

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