I had a 10 gallon fish tank as my first starter aquarium when I left home.
My new house was not far from some markets that sold a lot of aquarium fish. I remember I was always SO excited to go and buy new fish for my tank. Knowing what I know now, I overstocked that tank, but a ten gal tank was the right size for me at that time.
Why is a 10 gallon fish tank a good size, especially for starting? It’s big enough to house some wonderful varieties of fish, but not so big to cost a huge amount of money and take up a ton of space. They don’t take forever to clean, but are big enough to still stand out in a room.
Let’s find out everything there is to know about 10 gallon fish tanks!
The Best 10 Gallon Fish Tanks
We’ll list the best ten gallon starter kits, followed by the best stand alone tanks. Further below, if you need them, we have some recommendations on the best heaters, filters, backgrounds, dividers and stands for use with this size tank.
At the very bottom of this post we’ve got some tank decoration ideas and more resources, should you need them.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Kits
Often, fish tank kits provide better value if you need all the bits and pieces. Trying to buy all the things you need for an aquarium individually does tend to cost a bit more. Consider these 10 gallon kits especially if you’re just starting out.
One great benefit of these tanks is that they come with lids/canopies. You really want a tank to have a canopy to prevent fish from jumping. I’ll never forget the time I found my poor red-tailed black shark all tangled in hair on the floor after he’d jumped out of one of my early aquariums (he survived). A cover also makes it easier to reach and maintain heat.
Marina LED Aquarium Kit
The Marina LED Aquarium Kit is standard size at 20 inches long x 10 wide x 12.5 high. But what I always want to know is, what’s included?
This kit does not include a heater (I don’t know why!), but we have recommended some further down in the post. Also not included are decorations, stones, plants and fish. However, everything that you are getting for the price of the kit is well worth it. You would pay a lot more buying everything separately.
The following empty fish tank might be right for you if you’ve already got a filter and/or heater. You might also prefer this option if you want to get higher quality accessories than those included in the kits.
Aqueon 10 Gal Black Aquarium
The Aqueon Aquarium is a cheap 10 gallon fish tank that does not come with anything. It’s totally empty and ready for you to set up as you like. The dimensions of this tank are 20.2 x 10.5 x 13 inches.
What you need to know:
Can be used for both fresh and saltwater (though 10 gal isn’t really suitable for saltwater)
The Aqueon LED Background Hood will fit most standard 10 gallon fish tanks. It does come in a variety of size options, but it’s the 20 inch cover that should work with a ten gal tank. It will fit the tank mentioned above.
Features of this canopy include:
Made with materials that are safe for fish
Includes blue and white LED lighting (white for day, blue for night)
Energy saving LEDs
Glass pane for under the light
Can be used for saltwater aquariums
Opens on hinges
The Exo Terra Screen Cover is another option if you don’t need, or don’t want to pay for a cover with lighting. This lid will also fit standard 10 gal tanks and will prevent any fish from jumping!
How Much Does A 10 Gallon Fish Tank Weigh?
How much a 10 gallon aquarium weighs is going to vary from tank to tank. However, 1 gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. There is always a decent bit of weight in the tank itself, and of course sand, rocks and decorations are all going to add weight.
You can expect a 10 gallon fish tank set-up to weigh over 100 pounds.
Standard 10 Gallon Fish Tank Dimensions
Each tank is going to have slightly different dimensions. Fish prefer long fish tanks rather than tall tanks, so choose a tank with dimensions in favor of length. I have seen some very tall tanks that I imagine are very stressful for the fish.
Standard 10 gallon fish tank dimensions are 20 x 11 x 13:
20 inches long
11 inches wide/deep
13 inches high
10 Gallon Fish Tank Heater
A 50 watt heater is best for a 10 gallon tank. There is no need to go for a stronger heater than that, and it might even be detrimental to your fish. For most tropical fish, the ideal water temperature is between 76 and 80°F. Here are two recommended heaters for a ten gallon tank, but click the link below for more information.
There are a variety of good ten gallon fish tank filters, but before we make some recommendations, it’s good to know a little bit more about the nitrogen cycle, and why filters are important. This video from Fluval explains:
This Fluval filter is good for 10 gal tanks. Fluval are a well recognized and trusted brand that manufacture quality aquarium products. They are a little more costly than cheap filters, but you can be sure you’re getting a great filter.
The Marina Power Filter is another good option. This is much cheaper, but is easy to clean and has an adjustable flow control. Best for those on a budget.
The Aqueon Quietflow Internal Power Filter is the final recommendation we’ve got here. This filter fully submerges into the tank and can be positioned both horizontally or vertically. This is a very quiet and small fish tank filter.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Divider
There are a few purposes for fish tank dividers:
To separate aggressive species
For the protection of fish having babies
To prevent breeding for a time
Generally, you don’t want to be separating a 10 gallon tank for too long because it’s already a small area, but it’s ok for some applications. This might include separating spawning fish, or it would work for separating two Bettas in the same tank.
Here are two of the best rated 10 gallon fish tank dividers:
This is the Pen-Plax TDMBX Medium Tank Divider for Aquariums. It is another 10 gallon tank divider that does not restrict water heating or filtering. This is made of polymer and can be trimmed to fit the precise dimensions of your tank.
You can also make your own fish tank divider (see the video below for example). However, new dividers tend to be so cheap that I don’t really think it’s worth the time and effort!
Fish Tank Stand 10 Gallon
Are you sick of having your tank on your chest of drawers, or is it taking up precious space in your kitchen? I know that I much prefered having a dedicated stand for my tanks. It just looks better.
As mentioned above, a fully set up 10 gallon aquarium is going to weigh over 100 pounds. You will need a stand that is strong enough to take the weight, and not at all flimsy. It must be a strong support, obviously! Here are a few purpose built 10 gallon fish tank stands.
Altra Flipper 10/20 Gallon Wood Aquarium Stand
This Altra Flipper option is a really good looking 10 gallon fish tank stand. It can be used to support tanks of up to 20 gallons, but I would only use it up to 10 gals. This cabinet needs to be put together once it arrives, but set-up is set to be very quick and easy.
A tank with a cabinet is good for storing fish food, nets, water treatment products, etc. I always much prefer being able to hide these things away, rather than keeping them on or beside the tank.
Imagitarium Brooklyn Metal Tank Stand, 10 Gallons
This Imagitarium aquarium stand is incredibly well reviewed. It (obviously) does not contain a cabinet, but it is made from solid steel and is very affordable.
This stand looks great and will really compliment your fish tank. It will fit most (if not all) ten gallon tanks – as you can see they are simply placed on top of the stand across the four supports.
Aqueon Forge 10 Gallon Aquarium Stand
The Aqueon Forge stand is another popular steel fish tank stand. This one is a slightly different style from the one above, and also has a shelf. The wooden features can be reversed for a completely black finish.
This is not really made to hold two tanks, though a smaller 5 gallon tank could occupy the shelf underneath.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Background
These are all backgrounds for ten gallon fish tanks. They are made to be cut down to the exact dimensions of your fish tank. If you have a craft knife, a ruler, and a wooden chopping board, I would recommend cutting it on that. Then you will get nice straight lines.
This is a popular background with vibrant images of aquarium plants. It has a grid on the back to assist you in cutting it down to size. It is attached to the back of a fish tank by static cling.
What sort of fish can you keep in a 10 gallon fish tank?
They are going to be smaller varieties of fish, but you also need to be careful not to overstock your tank (whatever the size). With small fish, such as neon tetras, aim to keep 1 fish per gallon of water. Schooling fish, like tetras, should be kept in numbers. Go with at least 5 and at max 10 in a 10 gallon tank.
Here are some of the best fish for a 10 gallon aquarium:
Platys – are a non aggressive, peaceful fish that are easy to care for. They are a small fish that come in assorted sizes, and can live in a 10 gallon tank at a minimum. They like to have plenty of plants in their habitat.
Bettas – are probably the most popular 10 gallon fish tank fish. Male Bettas look amazing and can be kept happily in a tank of this size. You can even use a divider and keep two Bettas in 5 gallons each.
Tetras – and in particular, neon tetras, are another very popular small tank fish. They are a schooling fish and need to be kept in groups of at least 5 or 6.
Guppies – were my first starter fish. They are a lot of fun because you get the excitement of babies (if you have a male and a female). However, as they are easy to breed and have a large number of fry, you’ll need to be careful the tank doesn’t become overstocked.
Danios – like peaceful community tanks with some plants. They are easy to care for, and similar to tetras, prefer having others of their kind in the tank.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Ideas
Take a look at these ten gallon fish tank videos and pictures to get some ideas of what to do with your tank. Follow these people on Instagram for tank updates and ideas.
This tank is sparsely planted and decorated, perfect for seeing more of your fish.
This tank, with its river feature, is super cool. By using different colored rocks they’ve been able to create the effect of a river – and then an awesome arched bridge over top! A very clean and ordered tank.
It’s more fun and instructive to watch how to clean a ten gallon aquarium, rather than to read about it. Take a look at these two excellent tank cleaning tutorials. If you’re like me and need things to move quickly, speed things up to 1.5 speed!