Updated June 2022
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Buying guide for Best 10-gallon fish tanks

A 10-gallon fish tank can instantly add color and movement to a room. Brightly colored fish, swimming lazily through the water with bubbles slowly swirling to the top and the slight gurgling noise of the water, can create a fun and fascinating focal point in your space.

There’s a lot to consider before choosing a fish tank and stocking it with aquatic creatures. First, you need to decide if you have the space and budget for something as large as a 10-gallon tank. If you do, you’re going to need to choose your fish and other accessories: gravel, plants, decorations, and so on.

You will need to get maintenance equipment if you don’t already have it, and you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared for maintenance issues when they arise. Quality information helps you know exactly what you’re getting into so you don’t find yourself waist-deep, so to speak, in unexpected circumstances.

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Keeping fish can be a fun and rewarding hobby. Once the tank is set up, they don’t require as much hands-on care as other pets and watching them swim around is soothing and relaxing.

Key considerations


Location, location, location” is a popular saying in the world of real estate, but it applies equally to you when you’re deciding where to put your fish tank. Sunlight streaming through the windows can cause algae to bloom in the tank, so keep it away from windows. Heaters and vents should also remain a fair distance from your tank, as they can throw off the careful temperature balance needed in the water. It’s also important to pick a low-traffic area where the aquarium won’t accidentally be bumped or knocked over.

Electric bill

The pump, heater, and lights in your new fish tank need to run 24/7. Inevitably, that means your electric bill is going to go up. How much it goes up depends on the type of tank you get and the equipment that comes with it. Keep this in mind before you get the tank. It is an ongoing cost that will be with you as long as the fish tank is.

Water weight

Water weighs 8.3 pounds per gallon. In a 10-gallon fish tank, that equals 83 pounds. Then there’s the weight of the tank itself, the filter, the heater, the gravel, and anything else you put in it. Add it all together, and you’re well over 100 pounds.

Make sure you’ve got a sturdy spot for your tank to sit. Particleboard shelves are good for books, but eventually, they start to sag. You can’t chance that happening under your aquarium. To support a 10-gallon fish tank, place something made of hardwood, metal, or an equally strong material beneath it.

Type of water

These 10-gallon fish tanks are intended for freshwater fish, like goldfish. Due to the extra work involved in maintaining clarity in saltwater, as well as the size of the fish normally put in them, the smallest tank size recommended for saltwater aquariums is 75 gallons.

Gravel, plants, and shelter

Even fish tanks that come with all the pumps and filters don’t come with the gravel, plants, and decorations you need in the tank. Fish can become stressed and need somewhere to hide. If you don’t provide some of those little stone castles or ships for them to hide in, you could wind up with stressed, sick fish in your tank.

A plain tank with just water and fish in it isn’t much fun to look at, either. The gravel and other items you add are the finishing touches that turn a fish tank into an aquarium. Be sure to leave room in your budget for these items.



Fish tanks usually consist of steel or aluminum ribs with glass panels in between. Silicon gel is used to create a watertight seal between the glass and metal. Covers, if they are included, are usually ABS plastic. The filters and pumps are mostly aluminum, while the majority of the hoses are rubber. Extremely large tanks might use plexiglass instead of regular glass.


Some fish tanks come with LED lights in the cover. These are cool to look at, but bear in mind that LEDs don’t provide any heat to the water, so all the heat for the tank will have to come from a separate heater.

Some LEDs come in a variety of colors with dimmers and timers to create the illusion of sunrise, daytime, sunset, and night in the water.


Basic fish tanks don’t come with lids. They’re cheaper that way, but you may want to select one separately. A lid or cover isn’t required for a fish tank, but it does keep dust and insects out of the water.

Maintenance equipment

Pump and filter: Basic fish tanks don’t have any equipment with them. The ones that do may not have all the pieces you need. Be sure to check the product description closely to see if a pump and filter are included with your tank.

Heater: The water heater is another item that manufacturers sometimes don’t include in the box. Just because it has a pump and filter, don’t assume a heater is included with it. It often is, but double-check just to be sure.

Thermometer: The same holds true of the thermometer. Most heaters have a thermometer included with them, but it never hurts to read the description carefully to make sure.


Aquarium gravel: GloFish Aquarium Gravel, Fluorescent Colors
For the bottom of your aquarium, use this black gravel from GloFish. It comes in a five-pound bag that has fluorescent colors added for extra color in the tank.

Oxygen diffuser: TOMTO Small Round Air Stones for Aquariums Oxygen Diffuser
These four oxygen diffuser stones from TOMTO are made from silicon carbide. They have no harmful effects on the fish but create lots of tiny bubbles to help improve the oxygen content of the water.

Water clarifier: API ACCU-CLEAR Water Clarifier
From the smallest aquarium to the largest swimming pool, tanks of water need water clarifiers to get rid of cloudy water. This bottle of water clarifier from API will help you keep the water clean on a weekly basis..

10-gallon fish tank prices


The low price range for a 10-gallon fish tank stretches from $20 to $50. Many products in this range are tank-only models without a cover, pump, filter, and so on. A 10-gallon fish tank in this price range would also make a good terrarium.


The medium price range is $50 to $100. Some 10-gallon tanks near the bottom of this scale may be tank-only models, but most are complete kits with everything you need to get started. 


For over $100, you will find high-quality fish tanks that should come with everything you need to get started plus some nice extras, such as multi-colored LED lights.


  • When you’re changing the water in a 10-gallon fish tank, never remove more than three gallons of water, or you could irreparably alter the tank chemistry.
  • Use dedicated buckets to pre-treat new water for your fish tank when you’re changing the water.
  • For safety purposes, always unplug the filter, pump, and heater before changing the water.
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Favorite species of freshwater fish include the black molly, clown fish, goldfish, guppy, green swordtail, and neon tetra.


Q. Can I add fresh water to the fish tank directly from the tap?

A. You could, but it’s not recommended. It’s better to condition the water before introducing it to the tank.

Q. Do I need to replace the filter every time I change the water?

A. No. Filters can be rinsed off and reused several times before you need to replace them.

Q. How often should I clean the decorations in the tank?

A. Check them each time you change the water. If they don’t feel slimy or have a visible film on them, don’t clean them. Over-cleaning them could disrupt the good bacteria in the tank.

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