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Starter Tank Kit: 10 Gallon Recommendations

Dare

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Hi, everyone!

I'm relatively new to the fish community. After a fairly sad experience, due to inexperience and overstocking (and unexpected breeding, which led to further overstocking), I've decided that if I really would like to have fish in my life, I need to make sure they're being cared for as best I can provide. The best way to do that seems to be getting advice from people who already know what they're doing! Haha

A while ago when I decided I wanted a tank, I bought a 10 gallon starter kit, which I feel a lot of Aquarium Novice do. So, I'm looking for general information about a tank this size. Like, what kind of fish and how many can I stock in my tank safely without putting the fish at risk? Is it possible to do a community in a tank this small? Snails? Shrimp? Should I keep plants with these fish and if so, what kind? Stuff like that.

Any other general information for a tank this size would also be useful.

Thank in advance!
 

FroFro

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Hi, everyone!

I'm relatively new to the fish community. After a fairly sad experience, due to inexperience and overstocking (and unexpected breeding, which led to further overstocking), I've decided that if I really would like to have fish in my life, I need to make sure they're being cared for as best I can provide. The best way to do that seems to be getting advice from people who already know what they're doing! Haha

A while ago when I decided I wanted a tank, I bought a 10 gallon starter kit, which I feel a lot of Aquarium Novice do. So, I'm looking for general information about a tank this size. Like, what kind of fish and how many can I stock in my tank safely without putting the fish at risk? Is it possible to do a community in a tank this small? Snails? Shrimp? Should I keep plants with these fish and if so, what kind? Stuff like that.

Any other general information for a tank this size would also be useful.

Thank in advance!
So first off you need to let your tank cycle. In natural water based environments the water is usually always changing and full of bacteria beneficial to fish, in an aquarium you have a still environment with only a filter to create a water flow. Tanks require a beneficial bacteria colony that break down nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia that is naturally produced by fish waste/urine and what they naturally excrete, along with uneaten food and decomposing plant matter. When these things build up in the water they become toxic to fish and can lead to fish illness and fish death. The safest bet is to do a fishless cycle if you don't want to risk the lives of any other fish.

Here is a handy link that I've relied on in the past when I first got into the hobby
http://www.aquariumadvice.com/forums/f15/the-almost-complete-guide-and-faq-to-fishless-cycling-148283.html

Another GREAT way to start the process is if you know someone with a healthy, established fresh water tank that doesn't mind parting with some filter media for your ten gallon tank. Make sure they put it in a baggy or sealed container like tupperware with some of their aquarium water and they keep it at room temperature until you can get to the filter media. Don't freeze or refrigerate or let it get dry. Most of the beneficial bacteria lives inside the filter, not just the gravel, water, and decorations. I would also recommend picking up a water test kit. Don't waste money on strips as they don't last long. API freshwater test kit is very reliable and lasts practically forever which isn't bad for 30$, whereas I've seen boxes of 24 count test strips and you only get one use per test strip and the box costs about 15$ at walmart. You can also go to your LFS (local fish store) that offers free water testing with samples of your water in sealed containers. Most stores like petsmart and petco use test strips but its better than nothing if you can't spare the money on a test kit right now. Make sure they give you exact numbers that they write down. I've had lazy employees tell me "it's all good" before and then two days later I'd have fish going belly up from spikes in the water that were "all good."

Now stocking is going to be an issue. Even if you do get your cycle completed you shouldn't add five fish at once, this will create a bio-load that your new bacteria colony can't keep up with, resulting in unstable water parameters and potentially create fish illness and even require you to recycle your tank. Your tank is small, so you want to go with smaller fish that don't require lots of swimming room like danios that like to dart back and forth in schools. Fish that get too large will also outgrow the tank, despite the misconception that big pet stores give when they say "fish only grow as large as their tank." It's your choice but I think perhaps a single betta and maybe some bottom dwelling fish like 4-5 corydora catfish would make a nice tank. If you have plants it would be even better! Cory cats do prefer softer water though (alkalinity/hardiness) so before you decide on these bottom dwellers look up your water hardiness online for your area if you run on city water not well water. You can find the info on your local water authority's website.

I found this small guide on google with some tips on species stocking, but you should be able to find better guides if you do a bit of research yourself, other folks on here know their stuff so they could probably suggest something better.

http://www.ratemyfishtank.com/blog/the-top-choices-for-stocking-a-10-gallon-tank

I hope I at least answered a few questions for you and that other people here can provide more (or better, lol) info than I. Oh and as for plants, I only just started but I've got three thriving anubias plants in my tanks and they are practically immortal. Very hardy and easy to care for. Welcome to the forum and best of luck!
 

essjay

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The cycling method in FroFro's link is not the best way of fishless cycling. There is a much better way written up in this forum here.

The other method advises to use 4ppm ammonia and add more every time the ammonia reading drops. This is likely to create so much nitrite it stalls the cycle. The method on here is different and is designed so that if followed properly there will never be enough nitrite to stall the cycle.


While you are waiting for the cycle to compete, you have plenty time to find out your pH and hardness. Unless you are on a well, your hardness should be listed somewhere on your water company's website. When you find it, copy the numbers and units in here so we can suggest fish suitable for your water as well as the tank size. Water companies can give the hardness in any of several units, but only two of the possible units are used in fishkeeping. This is why we need the unit as well as the number.
 
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Dare

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The cycling method in FroFro's link is not the best way of fishless cycling. There is a much better way written up in this forum here.

The other method advises to use 4ppm ammonia and add more every time the ammonia reading drops. This is likely to create so much nitrite it stalls the cycle. The method on here is different and is designed so that if followed properly there will never be enough nitrite to stall the cycle.


While you are waiting for the cycle to compete, you have plenty time to find out your pH and hardness. Unless you are on a well, your hardness should be listed somewhere on your water company's website. When you find it, copy the numbers and units in here so we can suggest fish suitable for your water as well as the tank size. Water companies can give the hardness in any of several units, but only two of the possible units are used in fishkeeping. This is why we need the unit as well as the number.
Sorry to be getting back to you so late. It took me a second to find the information, but according to my water company, my water hardness "is between 20 and 50 mg/l or 1 to 3 grains per gallon." I'm honestly not sure what this means, but that's all they had listed in relation to hardness.
 

essjay

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Fishkeeping uses ppm (aka mg/l) calcium carbonate and German degrees. You'll find one or other of these units in fish profiles. Your water is 20 to 50 ppm and 1.1 to 2.8 German deg. It is very soft. As I'm not familiar with grains per gall, I googled it to find out and convert it to ppm.

The good news is that there are several species of fish that would like your water and fit in a 10 gall tank. Fish such as ember tetras and microrasboras of the genus Boraras (eg chilli rasbora). A good sized shoal of one of these would go well in a 10 gall tank.
 
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Dare

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Fishkeeping uses ppm (aka mg/l) calcium carbonate and German degrees. You'll find one or other of these units in fish profiles. Your water is 20 to 50 ppm and 1.1 to 2.8 German deg. It is very soft. As I'm not familiar with grains per gall, I googled it to find out and convert it to ppm.

The good news is that there are several species of fish that would like your water and fit in a 10 gall tank. Fish such as ember tetras and microrasboras of the genus Boraras (eg chilli rasbora). A good sized shoal of one of these would go well in a 10 gall tank.
How big exactly is a shoal? Especially if I wanted to put 1 or 2 apple snails? Many some shrimp?

As far as plants, should I just wait until I'm more experienced or is there a good plant I can start off with?
 

essjay

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In my opinion, I would say 6 to 8 ember tetras or 8 to 10 chili rasboras once the tank has been cycled. Then wait a few months before getting shrimps as they do much better in mature tanks. Look at red cherry shrimps as they are one of the easiest species.


Your tap water is very soft and probably has low pH as well. Snails do not do well in soft water as their shells erode. I know that people who have soft water add things to help the snails, from liquid calcium to cuttlefish bone (as given to budgerigars), so someone may be able to help you with this.
 

NickAu

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I know that people who have soft water add things to help the snails, from liquid calcium to cuttlefish
Yes cuttle bone helps, you will also need to feed the snails a calcium rich diet, If you can get them Tums they are great too.
Tums - Wikipedia


This is not my recipe...I copied it straight from something Rachel (Msjinkzd) posted on another forum in a thread about invert food recipes
Snail Jello
1 can of baby food (4-6 oz)
1 tsp+ fish food (may be omitted)
Calcium/vitamin supplements (I use 1tsp Jurassi-reptical powder w/out phosphorus)
1 packet (= 1 tablespoon) unflavored gelatin

You can select any fish food and any flavor of baby food that you like. Try to find baby foods with at least 4% calcium (vegetable medley has a higher %), either fruit or vegetable types are find. This is a good way to feed fish foods that are good for snails but don't sink, like freeze-dried shrimp, or fish foods that have a strong smell when cooked in other recipes. You can mix in much more than a teaspoon of fish food, and including the ingredients of a "snail trail mix" instead of a single fish food would make this snail treat more nutritionally complete.

Instructions

Open the baby food and pour it into a small bowl. Heat the baby food in the microwave for 60 seconds (caution, it will be very hot).

Stir in the unflavored gelatin (add it slowly to avoid unsightly clumps of gelatin; don't use a blender or you risk creating air bubbles that will make it float) crushing any lumps with the back of a spoon.

Add calcium supplements and vitamins if you have/want them. Stir thoroughly.

Pour this mixture into a dish with a flat bottom (tupperware-type containers work well; if you are doubling or tripling this recipe, you might consider a pie pan).* Fold in your fish food(s) if you are adding any.

Refrigerate for several hours, then return and cut into cubes.

One jar of baby food yields a good handful of snail treats. Keep them refrigerated until serving. These sink and hold up pretty well in the tank, but as with any food, large uneaten portions should be removed after the snails have finished. These can be frozen for up to a month.

*You can use an ice cube tray to create big treats for a tank full of snails. No slicing is needed in this case.
 
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Dare

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Yes cuttle bone helps, you will also need to feed the snails a calcium rich diet, If you can get them Tums they are great too.
Tums - Wikipedia


This is not my recipe...I copied it straight from something Rachel (Msjinkzd) posted on another forum in a thread about invert food recipes
I know a lot of people recommend leaving space at the top of the tank so that Apple Snails have a place to lay their eggs, but if I don't plan to have little snail babies, is this still necessary? Will excluding this space hurt the snails? Do they need it to breath as well?

Also, if I decided to go with a Betta instead of a small shoal, how well can i expect the Betta and snails or shrimp to get along or is that just a bad combination?
 

NickAu

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The snail should be fine, you can almost bet on the fact he will hunt the shrimp especially babies,
 
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Dare

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The snail should be fine, you can almost bet on the fact he will hunt the shrimp especially babies,
If I were to attempt a community tank with a betta, and it's temperament allowed for it, are there any fish you recommend?
 

NickAu

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Bettas are solitary fish and best kept that way, Some Bettas are fine with tank mates some are not, And then there are the ones that a fine with tank mates for a while and snap. I had a female that lived with Hengeli Rasboras for almost 6 months then she snapped and killed 2 and fatally injured a third.

I have not seen the Pleco that shared the tank with this guy for about 4 weeks now.
See vids here.
Betta Being A Betta.
 
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Also, just a little warning about snails, they will become pests FAST. If you do not plan on having snail babies, you will not want asexual breeders.

Which I wish I had known 6 months ago...
 
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Dare

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Also, just a little warning about snails, they will become pests FAST. If you do not plan on having snail babies, you will not want asexual breeders.

Which I wish I had known 6 months ago...
What species of snail did you get?
 
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