10 Gallon Fish Tank: Which one to Buy Plus a Complete Maintenance Guide
Fish make for great pets. They are low maintenance, attractive, inexpensive in most cases, and most landlords allow them over dogs and cats. In order to make your own aquatic world for your fish to live in you will first need a fish tank.
Fish tanks come in almost every size and shape, from tiny half gallon tanks for gold fish and beta fish, to zoo style fish tanks that can house small whales.
For the casual fish lover, a 10 gallon fish tank is the perfect choice.
A 10 gallon tank can fit perfectly on a desk or stand, and is the perfect balance between size and maintenance. Larger fish tanks can be nearly impossible to clean effectively because in order to clean it easily, the water needs to be occasionally removed. The 10 gallon size also makes the tanks perfect for office decorations, since they can fit nicely onto a desk in a cubicle type setting.
The typical 10 gallon fish tank size is 20 wide, 12 tall, and 10 thick. These are roughly the same dimensions as a medium sized microwave. Hopefully this gives you a good image of exactly how many places you could place the fish tank.
There are also standardized fish tank stands that can be bought for your tank, if you want it to set separate from other furniture. The stands are often pieces of furniture themselves, made with fine craftsmanship and offer places to store items like fish food and chemicals.
After purchasing your 10 gallon fish tank, you need to decide whether or not you want it to be freshwater or saltwater. Generally a freshwater fish tank is much easier to deal with, the drawback being the fish are for the most part less colorful.
Saltwater tanks on the other hand make great homes for live coral, sea amenities, starfish, crabs, and other exotic aquarium life.
Keep in mind that usually the more exotic the animal, the more work you will have to put in to maintain their health. Saltwater tanks require constant monitoring of chemical levels such as pH, salt content, Ammonia, Nitrate, Nitrites, and chlorine levels. Too much or too little of any certain chemical and your entire fish tank population can fall ill or die.
Freshwater tanks on the other hand require much less work. To clean the tank, simply spoon out your fish, set them in a bowl of water, and scrub the tanks, rocks, and anything else in the tank, refill it with water and put your fish back.
The downside to freshwater fish tanks are the types of fish you can put in them. Freshwater fish tends to be less attractive than fish native to coral reefs.
Why Consider a 10 Gallon Fish Tank
A 10 gallon aquarium is a very nice size to have. They are small enough to fit comfortably in a bedroom, the living room of a small apartment or even on a kitchen counter. They are also inexpensive, from about $10 on up to $40 for an aquarium with everything but the fish included.
A 10 gallon aquarium is also one of the lightest weights that you can get, making it suitable to be supported by a sturdy table. That means you can easily move it should you tire of it in one room or want a different location.
Easy to clean
A 10 gallon aquarium is very easy to clean, too. By getting an under gravel filter you’ll only have to thoroughly clean it about once a month, which means rinsing the gravel, scrubbing the sides and changing the water before returning the fish to their home. You should be sure to have a supply of water ready that has sat for 24 hours so that all the chemicals have evaporated.
10 gallons is quite a bit of water, but draining the tank with a siphon is easy. Just move the tank to an area with a sink, get a tub and siphon the water down the drain.
For a beginner, all you really need to start a tank is a 10 gallon fish tank, water, fish, and a pump. The pump serves to help add oxygen to the water. Rocks are often added to the bottom for aesthetics and to help hide and dissolve the fish droppings.
If you browse online or at a local fish store you will notice thousands of other fun decorations like little ceramic castles and divers you can put into your tank to give it life and a story. In my opinion this is the greatest part of owning an aquarium, you are making a fun little world for your fish to live in. You can find fish tanks at your local pet store, or many online shops.
The Downsides of a 10 Gallon Fish Tank
There are a few disadvantages to a 10 gallon aquarium.
A healthy aquarium should have no more than one fish per gallon so you will be limited in your choices. You will need to stock it with fish that stay small.
Many of the more active fish such as Swordtails and Zebras won’t have enough space and tend to get nervous or aggressive in a 10 gallon aquarium.
Since it is one of the smallest tanks the temperature is affected rapidly; if your heater should malfunction you won’t have long until the water becomes too cold for your fish to live in.
Also, any pollutants or chemical imbalances will affect the fish very quickly.
Cardinal or Neon tetras are a very good fit for an aquarium of this size. They are small schooling fish so they will add movement and brilliant color to your tank. A couple of fancy male guppies will enjoy that size tank, as will a few Rose Barbs or Mollies. Mollies are beautiful fish whose velvety black color add a lot to a tank but unless you want dozens of them within a very short time, confine yourself to either males or females!
You don’t have to confine yourself to a rectangular 10 gallon aquarium, either. You can get them in a hexagon shape, with a bow front which is quite attractive and even round. They come in acrylic or glass. With an attractive stand, a pleasing color variation of fish and a nice background your aquarium will be a real showpiece!