Received a 10 Gallon from a Neighbor/Friend.


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May 13, 2024
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It's no where near completed, but so far I have this:

I placed it on a tempered glass/wrought iron-welded TV stand actually for the mean time... it's been 2 days and it seems to be holding up. I am using some sand because I remember that Cory Cats like a smooth substrate and should be in pairs. I added some java fern attached to a small "log" that also provides shelter. Okay, apologies for long post before hand but I have the following questions:
1. I need a hood with a light fixture but I don't want to "break the bank." Would a normal flourescent hood be enough? I plan to add some more live plants and I suppose I could always get a plant bulb in future? Or what about those clip-on LEDS I saw in the store? Good enough?
2. Heater recommendations? Do I need one? My apartment is very warm/borderline hot always (I have no control of the heat :-( ) And the water seems kinda warm to the touch. Obviously, I want to add tropicals tho'.
3. Can you recommend some fish for a ten gal - I know I'm pretty limited. I like White Clouds, Neons, Cories, Plecos, etc. but I'm gravitating towards livestock not found in the brick and mortar stores. Like, a clown or bushynose pleco, for example. I know I'll probably have to order online... any recommendations if that's okay to ask?
4. I like shrimp and other crustaceans (except for crawfish of course)... can I put them in as well?
5. Was thinking of going Brackish instead, then my fish choices would change. Puffer, small flounder, mono sebae, etc. Is this setup too small?

That's about it for now. As I stated in the "Introduce Yourself" Thread I used to manage a mom-and-pop pet store, so I do know some things, but it has been a long time. I can't find Aqua Clear filters. Did they go out of business? On my recent trip to Petco and Petsmart, I noticed the 'changes.' Livestock is poor health/quality. Not much variety. Lots of new products for aquariums though, mostly like additives and whatnot.
10 gallons is a small tank for fish.

Personally I would not keep anything like a plec in there as it's way too small for even the smallest plec.

Cory Cats like a smooth substrate and should be in pairs.
Yes, cories need smooth substrate but they need a lot more than a pair - the large ones you could get away with 6, though not in 10 gallons; the three dwarf species need at least 10. Research has shown that shoaling fish of all species do better with at least 10.

The first question we need to ask is, how hard is your water? Fish have evolved in hard or soft or middling water and we should aim to keep fish which originate in hardness similar to our tap water. If you are on mains water, your water provider's website should have that info, usually in the water quality section. Look for a number and the unit of measurement - words can be misleading, and there are half a dozen unite of measurement for hardness.
For 10 gallons I would look at something like:
very soft water - a large shoal of one of the Boraras species
Soft water - a shoal of ember tetras
Hard water - male only endlers (females are bigger and plain grey and will overload a tank in no time with hundreds of fry)

Shrimps are also an option, with fish or on their own. Look at cherry shrimp, Neocaridina davidi, which come in various colours, though only one colour per tank or you'll have brown shrimps after a few generations.

Fish research - the best website for researching fish species is
The profiles on there tell us the minimum tank size; the hardness, pH and temperature the species needs; fast or slow moving water; type of food and so on. The only thing to be aware of is that the shoal sizes listed on there have not yet caught up with recent findings so they are a bit too small. And the text in the brown boxes is ads by Amazon not part of the profile.

Heater - it depends how warm the fish you choose like it. I'd get a thermometer and see what they shows, you can always get a heater later if necessary.

I'll leave the lights etc to our American members.

Cycling - are you familiar with this? You mention plants, so you may be able to do a plant cycle. With this method, the tank is planted then the fish keeper waits until he is sure the plants are actively growing and not about to die before getting fish. The plants should be fast growing, and floating plants are particularly useful for this. Java fern is a slow growing plant, so you need some fast growers in there.
Or there's fishless cycling using ammonia, cycling with fish is not really approved of nowadays.
Find a good local Mom and Pop pet shop that sells fish . PetsMart isn’t that great and you’ll always be disappointed there . They still make Aqua-Clears and they still are the best power filter out there . Since you like White Clouds go get a dozen . They’d be perfect for your ten gallon and you can go without a heater .
Thanks for the replies! I believe I have 'hard water.' I received the ten gallon for free (actually later I threw some money his way for it) and figured why not set it up, and dip my toes in the water again, so-to-speak. But I'm getting back into the groove, re-acquainting myself with the current products and methodology. I consider this 10 gallon a first step into saving up for/eventually getting a much larger aquarium. So, I guess I can't put Tiger Oscars and Red Parrots in the tank? Just kidding folks >_< I'm gonna purchase some white clouds, add a lot of plants... thanks again! Oh! Aqua Clears are the bestest! My Petco and Petsmart don't sell them though. I'm currently scouring the Net for local mom and pop stores in my area. :)

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