Updated: December 9, 2020 - By: - Categories: Equipment, Starter guide

A ten-gallon aquarium is an affordable choice for anyone who wants to keep a very small community tank, small species tank, or shrimp-only tank. Though a ten-gallon tank may be small, it is still vital to stay on top of maintenance as the smaller the water volume in the tank means it is more susceptible to fluctuations in water parameters.

Best 10-gallon fish tanks for sale

Model Our rating Aquarium tank Dimensions Hood & lighting Filtration Heater & thermometer Others
Aqueon 10 Gal LED Aquarium Kit editor's ratingAqueon 10 Gal LED Aquarium Kit 10-gallon glass, high form 20.25″ x 10.5″ x 12.6″ Hood with LED lighting QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter with medium cartridge 50W preset heater at 78 degrees, stick-on thermometer fish food, water conditioner, fish net
Marina LED Aquarium Kit 10-gallon editor's ratingMarina LED Aquarium Kit 10-gallon 10-gallon glass, best for starters 20″ L x 10″ W x 12.5″ H Hood with LED lighting Marina Slim S15 clip-on filter with cartridges stick-on thermometer fish food, water conditioner, biological supplement, fishnet
GloFish Aquarium Kit editor's ratingGloFish Aquarium Kit 10-gallon tank kit for Glofish 18.5 “L x 10.5″W x 13” H Hood with white and blue LED lighting Tetra Whisper HOB filter with cartridge Tetra mini UL preset heater 50W and thermometer fluorescent plant decorations, fish food, water conditioner
Aqueon 10 Gal Black Aquarium editor's ratingAqueon 10 Gal Black Aquarium 10-gallon glass, blank 20.25″ L x 10.5″ W x 12.6″ H
Hagen Fluval Flex 9 GAL Aquarium editor's ratingHagen Fluval Flex 9 GAL Aquarium 9 gallon curved-front glass 16″ W X 13″ D X 13″ H (34 X 33 X 33 cm) Hood with 7500K LED lamp for plants back-panel filtration with foam, carbon, and Biomax media 61 GPH water pump, remote control for the light
Aqueon Starter Kits LED NeoGlow editor's ratingAqueon Starter Kits LED NeoGlow 10 Gallon glass tank with orange fluorescent silicone 20.25″ L x 10.5″ W x 12.6″ H Low-profile hood with LED light Aqueon Quietflow LED Pro power filter with medium cartridge 50W preset heater preset at 78°F black background, gravel, plastic plants, fish food, and conditioner
Penn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit editor's ratingPenn Plax Curved Corner Glass Aquarium Kit 10 Gallon curved-front glass 17.75″ L X 11.75″ W X 12.63″ H plastic lid, clip-on LED light Cascade 300 internal filter mat
Lifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium editor's ratingLifegard Aquatics Crystal Aquarium 9.98 gallons glass with invisible joints, ideal for reef setup 17.72″ L X 11.81″ W X 11.02″ H back-panel filtration with a quiet pump and filter sponge bottom drain/plug, and directional jet return nozzle
Landen 45P 9.6 Gallon Rimless Low Iron Aquarium editor's ratingLanden 45P 9.6 Gallon Rimless Low Iron Aquarium 9.6 gallon rimless glass, 5mm thickness 17.7″ L × 10.6″ W × 11.8″ H (45cm x 27cm x 30cm) mat included
Penn-Plax Water-Word Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit editor's ratingPenn-Plax Water-Word Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit 10 Gallon high tank with bent glass corners 13.75″ L × 13.75″ W × 13.75″ H clear hinged plastic lid without lighting Cascade power Hang-On filter stick-on thermometer fish net
Fluval Edge 12 gallon Aquarium Kit editor's ratingFluval Edge 12 gallon Aquarium Kit 12-gallon glass tank, special design 17″ L X 14.3″ W X 22.2″ H black hood with hidden LED lighting AquaClear power filter plastic base, water conditioner, biological enhancer

10-gallon aquarium reviews

Aqueon LED aquarium kit 10-gallon

This 10-gallon tank is perfectly suited for anyone that wants to buy a full set-up. Within this set-up, you’ll find most items needed to keep freshwater tropical fish.

The full set includes a glass tank sealed with silicon, a QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter with a cartridge, 50W heater, fish food, water conditioner, net, and a thermometer.

The tank is a standard shape and comes with black trim and lid. The black hood consists of LED lighting and a hatch for easy-feeding.

Aqueon QuietFlow power filterAqueon QuietFlow power filter

The filter is a Hang-On-Back one with a red indicator light that will let you know when it is the time to change the cartridge within.

The preset heater will hold the tank at a steady temperature (78 degrees) for tropical and can’t be adjusted. It features an auto-safety shut-off and is shatter resistant for a longer service time.

Marina LED Aquarium Kit 10-gallon

This Marina LED aquarium kit is ideal if you’re looking for a complete set-up for cold-water fish. To change to tropical then simply add an appropriate heater, ideally around 50 watts.

Marina LED aquarium kitMarina LED aquarium kit

It is a perfect tank for any beginner that has an interest in starting their first aquarium. Within the box, you’ll find the tank, a Marina Slim S15 clip-on filter, LED lighting (housed within the hood), fish food, water conditioner, biological supplement (to boost the nitrogen cycle), fish net, and a care guide.

The filter that this comes with includes a quick-change cartridge, which is able to perform a three-stage filtration with mechanical, chemical, and biological to keep the tank clean and clear.

The LED lighting is designed to be energy efficient so that the running cost is kept low; this lighting is also suited for live plants if you intend on adding any.

Overall, it is a perfect starter set for beginners or for aquarists looking for a small additional tank.

Aqueon 10-gallon blank aquarium without equipment

This glass aquarium is a blank tank only without equipment and an ideal choice for experienced hobbyists who want to choose their own accessories. It offers a sold enclosure, sealed with high-strength silicone.

You should consider this tank as an option if you want to start out with the basics, you can add equipment to it; filter, lighting, heater, as needed. You can keep cold water, tropical or saltwater fish within this, as long as you have the correct equipment added for their care.

If you’re looking for a blank tank then you can’t go wrong with this one.

GloFish 10-gallon aquarium kit

This is another tank designed for those looking to keep Glofish fish within their aquarium. It is 10-gallons and comes with almost everything needed to start a tropical freshwater tank with/without Glofish.

Within the box, you’ll find the tank, a hood with white & blue LED lighting, a 50W Heater, Tetra Whisper 20 filter, thermometer, fish food, water conditioner sample, and an easy-to-use setup guide. This offers amazing value; simply add substrate and livestock and you’re good to go!

The blue LED lighting makes the tank look astonishing if you have brightly colored Glofish. It also offers a white mode if you have other tropical fish and plants.

Certainly, with several fluorescent plants included, it is not enough to decorate the tank. You will need some GloFish accessories to add a little more ‘extra’ to your aquarium!

Overall, this set-up is one of our top options if you intend on keeping Glofish!

Aqueon fish aquarium starter kit LED NeoGlow

This tank makes a perfect pick for any beginner fish-keeper that is searching for a colorful tank. It is 10-gallons and comes with most extras needed to start a tropical freshwater set-up.

Included in this set-up are a glass tank with orange fluorescent silicone around the edges, a hood with blue LED lighting, Quietflow LED PRO filter (with cartridge), 50W preset heater, multi-colored gravel bag, three plastic plants, fish food, black background, and water conditioner. This is one of the best all-in buys for a 10-gallon tank!

The blue LED lighting that this tank provides is designed to bring the color out of all accessories within the tank and the fish themselves. This is definitely the tank we’d advise you to buy if you plan to have small, colorful Glofish.

The light doesn’t include white light, so I will recommend another kit in this article if you want to have a tropical fish tank with some live plants to care for.

Hagen 15004HG Fluval Flex aquarium 9-gallon

The Fluval Flex is a lovely little aquarium that makes for an ideal starter tank. The shape is designed to give a curve at the front, which allows for an amazing viewing window to watch your fish within and also gives the appearance of a larger tank.

The LED lamp hidden under the lid includes 36 white and 3 RGB LEDs and is adjustable with the remote control. The lighting itself features numerous settings and is suited for livestock and plants.

Back panel filtration systemBack panel filtration system

The filtration system is tucked away at the back in order not to spoil the view of the main tank. The back filtration panel comes with 3 compartments for housing a return pump and filter media, which are also included. This is also a great place for a nano skimmer (not included) if you want to set up the tank as a nano reef.

Overall; this is definitely high up on our list for a 10-gallon tank, especially if being bought by/for a beginner. You will only need to buy a 50W heater and you can keep tropical fish in the tank. Some people set it as a nano reef and the complete tanks look stunning through the curved-front glass.

Penn Plax curved corner glass aquarium kit

This 10-gallon aquarium is a little different than the others on our list, it is both frameless and curved. The benefit of this is you gain a larger viewing area from any around angles and it creates the illusion of a much larger tank.

Cascade 300 internal filterCascade 300 internal filter

The kit comes with a Cascade 300 internal filter, LED light, mat, and hinged plastic lid. This is ready to go if you intend on keeping cold-water fish, or you can add a small heater and change this to tropical.

It’s incredibly easy to set up so this is highly recommended for those that lack confidence in setting an aquarium up.

Penn Plax Water World Vertex desktop aquarium kit

The Vertex tank is specially designed to fit in small spaces, so this makes the perfect choice if you’re looking for a desktop tank. It is frameless and has curved corners at the front, making for a smooth finish.

This set-up includes a glass tank with a hinged lid, a Cascade power hang-on filter, stick-on thermometer, protective surface pad, and fish net. This makes it ready to go for cold-water fish and if you prefer tropical simply add a heating source.

It doesn’t come with a light rail, however, thanks to its transparent lid, you can easily use a clip-on LED light on the tank. You can also choose a light fixture with extendable brackets from 12-16 inches to fit the length of the tank.

If you’re looking for a tank that’s differently shaped than most then this is definitely one to consider!

Landen 9.6-gallon rimless low iron aquarium tank

This 9.6-gallon tank is constructed from heavy-duty 6mm glass. This glass is low-iron and offers a beautiful viewing area from all sides. Included with this tank is a 5mm nanofoam leveling mat.

If you prefer a basic tank that you can change and adapt as you need; with heating, lighting, etc. then this should be high up on your wish list. This tank is strong and tough and gives you unlimited options in how to set it up, a perfect blank canvas.

This can be used as a coldwater or tropical tank, as long as you plan to keep smaller fish within. You can build a nano planted or reef setup if you are an experienced aquarist and know which equipment to go with. The rimless makes it ideal for setting up in any way.

Lifegard Aquatics crystal aquarium for a nano reef

This 9.98-gallon aquarium is a lovely little set-up with everything needed to set up a cold-water tank (simply add a heater to make it tropical). However, it is intended to be a great nano reef with its back overflow system.

The Crystal tank line is a feature of this tank, which is an invisible glue joint. The tank itself is rimless and made from low-iron glass which offers a clear view within.

Back-panel filtration with 3 compartmentsBack-panel filtration with 3 compartments

Behind the tank, you will see a filtration system with three compartments for placing filter components. It also comes included with a sponge mechanical filter, quiet one pump, bottom drain/plug, and a directional jet return nozzle. That is all ready for setting up.

The filtration system makes it ideal to set up a nano reef with the tank because it provides a great place to hide many necessary accessories. As you know, reef setups need more equipment than freshwater ones. You certainly need a specific LED light if you want to keep corals in the tank.

Fluval Edge 12-gallon aquarium kit

The last aquarium on our list is a little larger at 12-gallons but is such a striking one that you should definitely consider this. It is an incredible shape and has a hidden LED lighting system that offers tremendous lighting for a small tank.

It features 6-sides of sealed glass, with bold architectural lines; a clear ceiling/roof for viewing your tank from above; and a unique recessed base that makes it appear to be floating.

Replacement power filterReplacement power filter

It comes with an AquaClear power filter stylishly hidden in the back black column. This is one of the best and popular power filters on the market today. It offers a very large filter chamber to accommodate a large amount of filter media for better filtration and water quality.

Within this kit, you’ll receive the tank, a plastic base, multi-stage filter, Fluval water conditioner, Fluval biological enhancer, and a user guide. This is in our top 3 for a small tank with a difference!

Featured 10-gallon aquarium accessories

20-inch aquarium lid

H2Pro 20-inch glass canopy, 19.33 x 9.65 x 0.16 inH2Pro 20-inch glass canopy, 19.33 x 9.65 x 0.16 in

Not every aquarium will come with a lid as part of the set-up. A lid is optional, some fish are jumpers and like to escape, if you’d like to add your own lid to your new tank then ensure you measure up your tank correctly and check against the dimensions of the lid you intend to buy.

20-inch aquarium stand

Ameriwood Home Flipper 10 gallon aquarium standAmeriwood Home Flipper 10 gallon aquarium stand

The majority of 10-gallon aquariums will not come with a stand and it is always best to use a stand that is designed for aquariums, as these are made to be able to take the weight of a filled tank. It may not be as vital with a 10-gallon tank, you may have a sturdy unit or bench you can hold this on but it is usually better to be safe.

To select a stand that will fit your new aquarium simply check that the length and width of the tank itself match the stand and that it can bear the total weight of the tank filled with water.

Aquarium background

Vepotek aquarium background, double sides for choiceVepotek aquarium background, double sides for choice

An aquarium background is certainly an optional accessory but this can be a fun way to snazz up your tank or to make it more natural for the fish/animals kept within.

When choosing a background simply measure the total length and height of the tank and match it to the background you’d like. If you’re not certain of the exact size required then buy a little larger as you can usually trim them to size very easily.

Aquarium lighting

Aquariums usually come with their own form of lighting but if yours does not, or you wish to use a different type or strength of lighting unit then it’s not usually a difficult thing to change.

For a 10-gallon tank, you can choose a clip-on LED light or a 20-inch fixture. Always remember to ensure that the light is suitable for the length of your tank and whether it is suited to the plants/ livestock kept within.

Most LED lights from aquarium kits are white light, some include blue moonlight. They are ussally just enough for viewing fish and support some low light plants such as Marimo moss balls, anubias, ferns, and moss. If you intend for a high demanding planted tank, change to a more suitable light.

Choose an LED light here: https://portlandaquarium.net/20-inch-led-light/

Aquarium filter

AquaClear 20 power filter for 5-20 gallonsAquaClear 20 power filter for 5-20 gallons

Filtration is vital to get correct within any aquarium! A good filtration system will keep your water in tip-top condition and reduce the chance of death and illness within your tank.

When searching for a new filter, you should opt for one that is capable of turning over the volume of water in your tank 4 times per hour. That means in a 10-gallon aquarium you need one that turns over 40 GPH (gallons per hour).

50-watt aquarium heater

Orlushy Mini Aquarium Heater 50WOrlushy Mini Aquarium Heater 50W

A heater is needed if keeping tropical fish, this isn’t always an item that comes as standard when purchasing a tank. If you’d like to add one to your aquarium then you need to select one that is matched to your tank size and can hold the temperature required, based on the fish you keep.

As a general rule 1W (Watt) is required per liter of water, so for a 10-gallon tank, we’d advise a heater that is at least 40 Watts. Because there is no 40-watt heater being manufactured, a 50-watt heater perfectly suits the tank.

Other accessories you may need


How much substrate will you need? A pound per gallon is a good rule-of-thumb to have a 2-inch substrate. This means you will need around 10 pounds of substrate for 10 gallons.

You will need a planted aquarium substrate if you intend to have live plants within the tank. For fish-only tanks, just go with medium-sized gravels for easy cleaning.

Air Pump

Tetra Whisper Air Pump for up to 10 gallonsTetra Whisper Air Pump for up to 10 gallons

An air pump is an optional extra in any tank, but one we would recommend having as it provides a few benefits. It creates agitation of the water surface, which provides extra oxygen to the water, which is needed by everything living within.

For a 10-Gallon aquarium, you need one that has a minimum output of 0.330 liters/min. If you keep a saltwater/marine aquarium then you will need to locate a slightly stronger one, as saltwater has less oxygen solubility than freshwater.

Water Pump

A water pump is of great benefit to an aquarium if you wish to create a natural flow of water within the aquarium. This helps to keep water fresh and provides fish with a current, which some prefer to play/swim in. The extra benefit is that a water pump can also be used to assist with water changes.

When picking a water pump, you should get one that rotates the volume of water in your tank 5 times per hour. This means for a 10-gallon tank you’d need a minimum rate of 50 GPH to ensure the best efficiency.


The options are endless when it comes to an aquarium. You can have ornamental decor; from skulls, ships, chests, etc. to plants, wood, caves. The only restriction is size, due to 10-gallon tanks having limited space. You should also try to ensure your décor matches your fish’s needs, in terms of cover, hiding spots, etc.

For setting up the tank, check our guide for setting up a freshwater aquarium.

How many fish can I keep in 10 gallons?


The amount of fish you can keep, in any aquarium, comes down to the volume of water the tank holds and the size of the fish when fully grown.

In a freshwater tank, you can keep 1 inch of fish per gallon, based on the size of the fish when fully grown. For example, you can keep 10 fish that maxes at 1 inch when fully grown.

In a marine tank, you can keep 1-3 fish, as long as these grow to 2-3″ maximum. If you have smaller species then you can add 1 more.

70+ species and stocking ideas for 10-gallon aquariums

There are numerous options when it comes to setting up your tank and it is best to think about the outcome you’d like for your tank before starting to move things around.

Aquascaping is the art of using items within your aquariums, such as rocks, stones, wood, and plants, to create a landscape. There are a few common styles and we’ll cover some options for you.

Planted Aquarium


If you have a planted aquarium then it is best to use the plants within and sculpt a natural aquascape. You can add rocks and wood, that you can plant on, and moss, etc. to create a stunning all-natural feeling within the tank.

How many plants can you keep in your 10-gallon tank? It’s nice and simple – you can keep as many plants as you can get in there as long as you leave some room for fish to swim around and have the correct lighting to care for the plants. Plants do require care, so too many can eat into your time and maintenance.

Ideal fish for community planted tanks:

Ideal snails and shrimps for planted tanks:

Fish-only aquarium


If you really don’t want greenery in your tank then you can create a scape using rock and wood. You can stack, build, and bury to create depth and texture. If you have ornamental decorations then use these also, tie everything in to create a visual work of art.

Livebearers can be kept in planted tanks or fish-only aquariums:

The key is matching your aquascaping to the fish you hold within. If you keep livebearers, provide lots of plants and cover for newborn babies to hide in to give them a chance of survival. If you keep loaches, they prefer caves and rocks.

Species tank


This kind of aquariums is also suitable for some specific species, which are not suitable for community aquariums. They could be very timid or aggressive to keep with other species.

Here are some candidates for a 10-gallon species tank:




Dwarf Cichlids:


Peaceful but very active Rainbowfish and Danios:

Crabs and Crayfish:

Shrimp-only tank with or without plants


You can keep up to 50 shrimp in a 10-gallon tank. Shrimp do require space for them to hide in so the best option for aquascaping a shrimp tank will include natural or decorative caves, wood, and plants that allow for cover for the shrimp. Use the materials you have to hand to create natural caves, nooks, and crannies for them which then appear to be part of the landscape for a striking look.

Find the detailed page for shrimp here: https://portlandaquarium.net/freshwater-shrimp/

Coldwater tank (unheated)

There are so many species for this option:

To aquascape a cold-water tank you will need to use materials like wood, stone, ornaments as plants do not tend to do well without warmth. You can build up monuments and structures, bridges, and caves to create scenery that looks natural and realistic. Use different colors and textures to create the best scape.

FOWLR (saltwater fish-only with liverock)

If you prefer to keep saltwater fish then there are several species you could keep in the nano saltwater tank.


Clown Goby

The Clown Goby is a very peaceful fish and features a bright yellow body. They grow to about 1.5 inches and get along with other species, though can bicker among themselves. They’re reef safe and usually easy to source from breeders and LFS.


Neon Goby – image by Nhobgood

The Neon Goby is another goby that is suited to a 10-gallon saltwater tank, it is a small fish with electric blue stripes, which look amazing. It is peaceful and is suited with other species, but again can fight amongst themselves. It is a hardy fish, making it ideal for beginners and they grow to about 2 inches. They, like their cousins the clown goby’s, are reef safe and will not bother any corals you may have.

You can use live rock or decorations to make structures and natural-forming cave systems for your fish. Liverock is relatively easy to move around and to stack, making it an ideal choice to scape with.

Reef aquarium


You have so many options with a reef aquarium! Think of how a reef appears out in the oceans and try to recreate it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Use colors and shapes to make a natural-looking reef formation. Scatter things and make it look random, as it would in the wild.

Some hardy soft and LPS corals can thrive in such a nano reef tank. A small LED reef light unit perfectly fits the needs of a small reef. SPS corals are not suitable for small tanks as they are harder to care for and require stable aquarium conditions to survive.

Lucas has keeping successful fish, planted, and reef tanks for many years. He loves to collect aquatic organisms and have as many aquariums as he can afford.

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