If you’re planning on upgrading a desktop fish tank to something more substantial, a 10-gallon aquarium is a good option. Although 10 gallons is a significant upgrade on more modest tank sizes available, these aquariums are still small enough that they can be accommodated in most homes with small room dimensions. These tanks are also a good choice for those looking for a starter aquarium, providing sufficient space for keeping larger groups of fish and aquatic plants. Interested in learning more about 10-gallon tanks? Our aquarium buying guide will break down all the main factors you should be thinking about.
10 Gallon Fish Tank Dimensions
Although it would seem safe to assume that all 10-gallon tanks are going to boast the same dimensions, this isn’t exactly true. Most 10-gallon tanks will usually measure around 60 centimetres by 24 centimetres, with a tank height of around 30 centimetres. However, if you opt for a taller tank, the length and depth of your tank will be different. You will also encounter different dimensions if you opt for a more unusual design beyond a basic oblong shape.
However, regardless of shape, a 10-gallon tank should provide you with a water capacity of around 39 litres. When empty, these tanks will weigh around 5 kilograms. However, once filled with water and gravel, as well as fish, the average 10-gallon tank is likely to weigh around 45 kilograms. This is important when it comes to selecting a suitable stand for your tank.
Unlike compact tanks that can get by on a basic mechanical pump and filter, a 10-gallon tank will really need a premium filtration system to ensure water quality remains pure. Although many 10-gallon tanks will include a filter along with the aquarium itself, they may not be all that effective. A reliable filter for a 10-gallon tank will need to provide you with 3-stage filtration. In addition to mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, your system should also help keep any water rich in oxygen to prevent your fish from encountering any suffocation issues.
If you have stocked your aquarium with a high population of smaller fish varieties, you may also want to think about investing in a protein skimmer. These devices help keep on top of protein-rich material in your tank water, including faecal debris and any uneaten food particles. A protein skimmer will also negate you having to manually remove such debris from the water yourself, which can often prove disruptive to an established aquarium and its occupants.
Lighting & Heating
Although a 10-gallon tank is still a fairly small choice of aquarium, you may need to think about lighting and heating, depending on the fish and plants you are keeping within it. If you have introduced a selection of aquatic plants, you will need to have a UV light fitted to your tank. This will ensure your aquatic plants can properly photosynthesise. Avoid the urge to place plant-rich aquariums in well-lit rooms.
While increased sunlight exposure might seem like a good idea, it can contribute to algae growth and green water issues. If you are keeping tropical fish that thrive at higher temperatures, you will also need to invest in a reliable heater. Regardless of how effective your heater is, you will also need to invest in a quality digital thermometer so you can monitor subtle changes in water temperatures.
If you’re settling on a smaller 10-gallon tank, you probably won’t need to purchase a conventional stand. Most 10-gallon tanks will already include an integrated stand or plinth base for displaying your aquarium. However, you may wish to invest in non-slip mat to sit underneath your aquarium, especially if your tanks is to be displayed on a desktop or shelf. Some 10-gallon tanks with bow-front designs may benefit from being houses on a fluval stand, but you should refer to the dimensions of your aquarium before making any decisions.
Product Reviews – The Best Ten Gallon Aquariums
Searching for a compact aquarium as a starter tank? Below are some of the best 10-gallon tanks on the market, with plenty of options for those just starting out or aquarists looking for a smaller tank for nano and betta fish species.
If you’re looking for a compact aquarium with simple aesthetics, this rectangular glass tank from Tetra is a good place to start. With its clean lines and fairly generous interior, this 10-gallon tank is perfect for those short on space. Although smaller than many other tanks on the market, this aquarium is more than big enough for housing nano fish, while you will also find ample space for housing betta fish. While this tank is basic in design, it’s a versatile option that can be easily customised with tank accessories. You can combine this tank with filtration systems, lighting kits and other products from Tetra. However, you will also be able to use products from other manufacturers with little issues.
One thing to bear in mind before you purchase this 10-gallon tank is that very few extras are included. You’ll need to buy a glass canopy or lid separately, while air pumps and filtration systems will also need to be purchased. If you plan on keeping fish that require warmer water conditions, you’ll also need to buy a compatible heater. When you combine the cost of these items with the additional expense of water treatments, fish food, substrate and other starting materials, the overall cost may prove quite considerable. Therefore, it may prove more cost-effective for you to purchase an all-in-one tank package with essentials like filters and lighting included.
Lifegard Aquatics Ultra Low Iron Beveled Edge Rimless Glasss 45° Beveled Edge Crystal Aquarium with Built-in Back Filter, 10 Gallons
This compact aquarium from Lifegard Aquatics will appeal to those looking for stripped-back design and user-friendly details. Although small, with a total internal capacity just shy of 10 gallons, this tank benefits from a concealed filter that will not intrude on your aquarium environment. The filter is concealed behind the back wall of the aquarium, giving you more freedom to arrange substrate, plants and tank ornaments as you see fit. The precision-cut glass also enhances the view of the aquarium contents, with the smooth corner edges suffering from no warping whatsoever. There are also no visible joins on show here.
The included filter is another key selling feature of this aquarium. Although a highly powerful filter is not really essential with smaller aquariums, it’s good to see such a first-rate product included along with this Lifegard Aquatics tank. The filter system incorporates a submersible pump, along with bio balls, activated carbon and sponge media inserts to provide you with full-stage filtration.
Insulation padding also helps keep filter noise to a minimum, making this compact aquarium a suitable addition to bedrooms, studies or desktops. If you’re looking for a starter tank for a small collection of fish or a solitary betta, this Lifegard Aquatics aquarium is a good option. However, it will also appeal to more experienced aquarists looking for a secondary tank that they can easily customise with unique displays.
Although this compact tank from Dennerle is geared more towards growing aquatic plants, it can also be used to house smaller fish species and live bait. If you’re particularly interested in crafting a thriving underwater landscape, this tank is an ideal purchase. Although small, the generous dimensions provide you with sufficient depth for growing marine plants, while the rounded corners provide you with panoramic viewing.. The overall build quality of this tank is first-rate, with invisible joins and a reliable glass thickness of 5 millimetres.
This tank also comes with all the basics you’ll need to start growing plants and live bait like shrimp. A corner filter is included to keep water conditions clean, although it may prove insufficient if you plan on using this tank to house multiple nano fish. You’ll also find an LED light included, which is crucial if you are looking to grow plants that require a constant UV source. The frame of the aquarium is bolstered by aluminium struts, while stainless steel mounting rods provide additional support. Finally, there is a heat-resistant mat included to place underneath your aquarium, ensuring high temperatures never cause you any issues.
If you’re really short on space, this rimless aquarium JBJ is a good option. This 10-gallon aquarium not only boasts a fairly unique shape, it also comes with all the essentials you need to provide a healthy environment for nano fish and other small aquatic species. The cylindrical profile and rounded edges of this aquarium make it an ideal display piece, while also providing you with better views of the interior.
The two-colour LED fixture is another nice touch. As the light fixture is positioned on exterior housing, you never need to worry about bulbs and circuitry coming into contact with tank water. This LED fixture can also be readily adjusted, with varying levels of lightness on offer and two distinct colour tones to choose from.
You also have a biological filter system included. This filter can be clipped on easily, with no excessive priming or preparation required. The filter is also easy to maintain, with the system using replaceable bio filter cartridges that can be picked up fairly cheaply from online retailers or specialist aquatic shops. As with any 10-gallon tank, this aquarium is on the small side, but this will suit those looking to incorporate a tank to a desktop or small shelving unit. The inclusion of LED lights also means you have more flexibility when it comes to placement.
Although the filter system is somewhat lacking, you won’t really need multi-stage filtration for a tank of this size. The main downside of this tank model is the price. It’s fairly expensive for such a small aquarium and the only real justification for the price tag is the contemporary shape and advanced lighting fixture. However, if you have the budget to throw at a new purchase, it is well worth thinking about.
This is another premium rimless tank option from JBJ, although the size and profile of this aquarium are more conventional. This 10-gallon tank boasts a rectangular shape, rather than gentle curves, although you’ll still benefit from crystal-clear glass and a near seamless construction.
As with the previous product in this list, this desktop aquarium includes a two-colour LED fixture. This fixture is mounted on the back of the tank itself, with the lighting array suspended over the centre of the tank. This will provide excellent light coverage of your aquarium interior, benefiting light-sensitive fish species and aquatic plants. Brightness levels can also be tailored to your liking, with two different colour tones to choose from.
A biological filter is also included, making it easy to ensure water conditions are properly maintained. Unlike other filter systems, this device simply clips onto your tank and is ready to go. You don’t need to worry about priming here. The filter is also easy to maintain, with the internal media inserts being replaceable. One downside is that this filtration system lacks chemical and mechanical performance, but this isn’t all that important when dealing with a compact tank.
Again, this isn’t the cheapest of 10-gallon aquariums out there, but the simple design and enhanced viewing properties of the glass means you can really get stuck into aquarium landscaping and design. It is also sufficient in size for most nano fish varieties, while betta fish will find plenty of swimming space on offer here.
Although this aquarium has been designed for use with GloFish, it can be used to house all manner of betta and nano fish varieties. This 10-gallon tank is definitely a premium choice, with all the essentials you’ll need included. In addition to the glass tank itself, you’ll find a low-profile hood to keep on top of water evaporation. The aquarium also features energy-efficient LED lighting, with a unique array of colours providing your fish with beautiful display accents.
If you plan on keeping tropical fish species, this aquarium comes loaded with all the items you’ll need to ensure your animals are thriving. The 50-watt tank heater will keep water at sufficiently high temperatures, while the power filter will keep on top of water maintenance. This power filter is also incredibly quiet, meaning you can place this tank in bedrooms and other rooms where you want to minimise noise levels.
This kit also includes extras including a digital thermometer, so you can keep an eye on water conditions, as well as a conditioner solution for preparing a new aquarium setup. Tropical fish food and a collection net are also included. What’s more, this kit includes a selection of decorative artificial plants that will react to the LED light fixture. This means you can look forward to a spectacular glowing display, even if you’re not using the tank to house fluorescent fish.
This biOrb Flow aquarium falls just short of a full 10 gallons, but provides almost as much swimming space for fish as other tanks in this list. The contemporary design of this aquarium will definitely appeal to those looking for a more minimalist product. The subtle curves and seamless finish mean you can enjoy first-rate views of your tank and its occupants. It will also prove the perfect foundation for those keen to explore aquascaping. Unlike other tanks, this aquarium is made from high-grade acrylic. Although far lighter than glass, this acrylic material is incredibly strong and delivers exceptional viewing clarity.
You can also expect superior filtration performance here. In addition to mechanical, chemical and biological filtration, the filter system here will also stabilise your water and provide oxygenation performance. LED lighting is also included, allowing every inch of your aquarium setup to shine. Despite including lighting and a 5-stage filtration system, this compact aquarium is very energy efficient. Ultra-quiet operational noise also makes it a suitable addition to desktops, bedrooms and silent studies.
If you’re looking to invest in a starter tank, a 10-gallon aquarium is a good option. In fact, 10-gallon tanks are among the most versatile of aquariums out there. They can be used a stater environment for smaller fish, before you migrate them to larger aquariums, as well as long-term enclosures for small groups or solitary bettas.
Because a 10-gallon tank is often the product of choice for novice aquarist, they tend to come as complete packages. This means you will almost certainly find a 10-gallon tank packaged with a filter and pump, LED lighting and, in some cases, a heater. Whether or not the list of accessories will be suitable for you depends on the kind of fish you are looking to keep. If you are interested in keeping tropical fish species, make sure you purchase a tank with a premium heater element. If you want to grow aquatic plants, a first-rate UV light is also a must, so avoid spending over the odds for a tank with a subpar LED array.
It also pays to invest in some fish-keeping essentials at the point of purchase. Even though you will be dealing with a smaller tank, a 10-gallon aquarium will still need you to undertake some regular maintenance. As such, make sure you have water testing strips and spare filter media cartridges at your disposal.