Starting 10 gal - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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Starting 10 gal

Hey. I'm new here. I have a 30 gal reef tank but think that having a freshwater tank would be cool too. I'm thinking 10 gallons. I want it to be a community tank. As far as maintenance goes what would I be looking at for a 10 gallon community tank? What kind of cycle would I have to do? How many fish could I keep in a 10 gallon tank?
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 02:47 PM
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I would do a fishless cycle since you have not yet made the mistake of filling it with fish before attempting to cycle.

In a 10g tank you could easily keep a small community, a species tank, livebearers, dwarf shrimp or dwarf puffers... there's lots of possibilities. The biggest thing is to research the final size of the fish as many fish are sold when they are only a fraction of their adult length.

Some options for you off the top of my head are

-Endlers livebearers
-Corydoras Catfish
-Dwarf Shrimp
-Dwarf Puffers (species only)
-Bumblebee gobies (species only)
-African dwarf frogs
-A betta
-Tangynykian shell dwellers
-Kribensis cichlids
-Apisto cichlids

OR you could put some microrasboras in.... you have to see them they are absolutely ridiculous. The larger ones top an inch while the smallest species is only about 0.5" long from head to tail tip. They are some of the world's smallest fish. If you're interested just google these:

-Celestial Pearl Danio
-Chili Rasbora
-Boraras brigittae
-Boraras merah
-Microrasbora nana

There are probably about 20 species in addition ot the ones I mentioned above.

Two other really cool fish are dario dario and badis badis.

Maintenance is highly specific to how heavily you stock the tank and how well it is planted but usually a 25% weekly water change is required on cycled tanks.
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post #3 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 03:08 PM
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Nice to see you taking an interest in this.

Cycling is simple.

Option A

Fill your water up, add a filter, heater,gravel, decor, anti-chlorine chemical and let it run for 24 hours. Add some feeder guppies or any hardy fish.1 Betta fish could work. Leave him in there for about a week. Remove him and add fish of your choice.

Remember to add just a few a week so your tank can establish itself properly.

Option B

Squeeze an existing freshwater filter onto your new filter to get it started. You can get the filter water from a friend. Maybe get 3 gallon of water too.

Let the tank run with the 3 gal + 6 gal chlorine free water and new filter. Run it for 4 days. Add your fish!


The best setup for a community is having species at different levels in your tank.

Firstly, your bottom level:

You can get fish such as Corydoras which are really active at times poking around for some food. Any catfish type fish can work. These are bottom feeders. A common mistake made is that plecostomus are bottom feeders. This is wrong. They eat algae from all over the tank. Look up bottom feeders for freshwater tanks in Google.

Secondly, your mid level:

For this you can get tetras, barbs or any schooling species. If you plan on getting plants, don't get fine leaved ones. These fish are bound to be omnivorous.

Thirdly, your surface level :

These may include species from the mid level but the most common are Gourami and angelfish.

Lastly, the all rounder : GOLDFISH!!! , they are always hungry and always want to eat.


Personal opinions on an ideal 10 gal will be as follows

1 x Plecostomus (common type)
2 x Albino Corydoras
6-8 x Neon tetras


1 x Plecostomus (common type)
2 x Albino Corydoras
5 X Live bearers of your choice


1 x Plecostomus (common type)
2 x Albino Corydoras
5 x Tiger Barbs


1 x Plecostomus (common type)
2 x Albino Corydoras
3 x Angel Fish
1 X Gourami

No community tank is complete without plants. Good plants to start with are Java moss or Hornwort. Easy growing and need no attention.


TankMAster - TubMAster

4 X F1 Copadichromis Mloto
2 X Platinum Polypterus
2 X Apistogramma Cacatuoides (Orange Flash)
2 X Apistogramma Cacatuoides (Sunburst)
5 X Ghost X-Ray Tetras
1 X Custom Strain Guppy
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 03:30 PM
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10 gallons is too small for common pleco, tiger barbs, angelfish and most gouramis. A dwarf gourami may be ok. Cories do better in larger groups and there is some debate as to whether 10 gallons is big enough for a group of cories.

150 Gallon - Mostly American Cichlids
135 Gallon - Angelfish Community
75 Gallon - Odd couple (Polleni/Angelfish)
55 Gallon - African tank
20 Gallon Long - QT
10 Gallon - Empty
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 04:31 PM
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kelley gave you a lot of great suggestions though i would probably avoid dwarf cichlids

i disagree with pretty much everything that tankmaster said...i wouldnt try any of it. i dont mean to be rude but i never thought i would see somebody suggest 3 angels and a common pleco for a 10 gallon...that is some crazy talk. he did make a point about if you have a friend with an established tank you could cut off some filter media and add it to your filter and that will speed up the cycle. using their tank water will do nothing for your cycle.

otherwise a fishless cycle is easy, faster, and will not kill your fish.

Last edited by Bacchus; 03-30-2010 at 04:48 PM.
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post #6 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 05:06 PM
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everybody mentionned fishes, do you plan to also have plants in the aquarium?
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-30-2010, 11:34 PM Thread Starter
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I would like to have some real plants. But I don't want to spend a whole bunch of money on lights and CO2 reactors. Do you have any suggestions for a substrate and undemanding plants to keep for a noob?
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-31-2010, 02:53 AM
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Java moss and java fern are hard to kill even if you're really trying. Neither needs any sort of special lighting, fertilizers, CO2, substrate, anything like that. Anubias species are also really easy, low-light plants, as are some of the crypts. The moss you can attach to rocks or driftwood or anything else it can latch onto. The jern and anubias do best attached to pieces of driftwood and the crypts can just be planted in the gravel.

4 8 15 16 23 42
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post #9 of 23 Old 03-31-2010, 05:41 AM
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My 10 gallons tank only has one Daylight bulb in it. It came with the canopy. The plants i do have are sword, Chinese Ivy and grass and do not have any special attachments like CO2 or anything else. Some will recommend to use fertiliser, some don't use it, it is really up to you. There is a nice variaty of plants you could get for the aquarium.
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-01-2010, 02:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help guys. I can't wait to start my tank!
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