10 Gallon Tank Schooling Fish Questions

natureandwildlife

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Hello! I'm a beginner in the fish hobby and I just set up my first aquarium. I've done all of my research on making sure the water conditions will be perfect for the fish. I have a 10 gallon tank with several artificial plants. I'd love to get either guppies or neons along with a few other fish like (mollies, platies, or a dwarf gourami, I'm not sure yet) I know that neons and guppies are schooling fish but I don't want my only tank to be mostly guppies or neons. So I was wondering what the bare minimum would be. I also wanted to know how to tell if your water is oxygenated enough. Also, is the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule to keep down ammonia, to keep from overcrowding, or both? If it's overcrowding, can you bend it a bit as long as it's logical? Keep in mind that I'm a beginner but I do know about the nitrogen cycle in case you were wondering. All advice is appreciated, thank you.
 

Fahn

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1 inch per gallon isn't really a good rule to go by, as it doesn't take into account fish's bioloads or behaviors. For example, a single goldfish would be quite taxing on the biological filtration of a 10 gallon, but you could keep 100 cherry shrimp in a 10 gallon and the filtration wouldn't be nearly as taxed as with that one individual 2 inch fish.

A 10 gallon isn't really big enough to support a community, to be honest. If you want a schooling fish I recommend looking at the microrasboras and danios, such as chilI rasbora or celestial pearl danios. They are smaller than neons and guppies and have less of an overall bioload (guppies and other livebearers produce a ton of waste relative to size). However, I do recommend keeping these fish with some live plants as they help maintain better water quality.

Here is a suggestion for a vibrant, colorful tank:

6-10 micro rasbora/danios
20+ red cherry shrimp
1 sparkling or honey gourami

With adequate filtration and some live plants (easy stuff like anacharis, dwarf sag, hornwort, and java fern), water quality shouldn't be an issue unless you overfeed. Keep in mind I would not add all these shrimp and fish at once, and I would definitely add the shrimp last, at least a month after the tank has cycled.

If you want guppies or neons, you're better off keeping only a single species.
 

corbin

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A couple endlers live bearers would be good. Nice colors and don’t get quite as big as guppies. You’d be ok with just a couple. 10 gallons is probobly a little small for a school of neons as they like a lot of swimming room. A small dwarf gouramI might fit maybe a honey gourami, But a pair of sparkling gouramI might be better as they stay smaller about 1.5 inch. I wouldn’t recommend the blue and orang dwarf gouramI you see in all the shops. I had one in a small tank and he was a terror to all my other fish. Had to bring him back to the pet shop. 1 inch per gallon rule is a very general guideline a lot of folks here will tell you it is pretty outdated. In a tank this small you might want to go a Little under. Also 3 small thin 1 inch fish would likely have less bioload on the tank than a 3” dwarf gouramI or molly when you look at sheer mass, eating habits etc. check out the stocking lists posted on the site for some fish that might work. Good luck!!
 

Kiks

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The one inch of fish per gallon is a rule that definitely should not be followed as there are several things that won't be taken into consideration when using it. Certain fish need more space cause they're active, territorial, etc. so you need to read about the fish you want to keep and figure out if you can provide a suitable home for them.
In a 10 gallon I would not keep neons, mollies, platies or a dwarf gourami. Guppies are the only fish you mention I'd consider keeping in a 10 gallon, but if you mix genders they will breed and soon you'll have way too many of them.
If I were you I'd go for some rasboras perhaps. They're small, but really colorful and they'd do well in a 10 gallon. You could also do some red cherry shrimp and snails along with the rasboras.
 

ystrout

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I'm glad you know about the cycle! That's the most important part of fish keeping.

Neon tetras are schooling fish and require about 6 to act as a unit and truly act happy. Guppies actually aren't schooling fish but are definitely social fish and like fish similarly sized to them.

In a 10 gallon, I'd recommend Endler's guppies, regular guppies, or ember tetras if you want a group of fish. A 10 gallon is too small for neon tetras, possibly even too small for regular guppies. But regular guppies aren't super strong swimers given their fin length so I've noticed they don't dart around the tank that much.

I have a dwarf gouramI as my "centerpiece fish" in my 75 gallon tank and he uses the entire tank and loves it. He's super smart and has a huge personality, and because of this, I wouldn't keep them in anything smaller than a 40 gallon breeder tank. Others would say a 20 gallon tank, but a 10G is deff too small for them.

Do you have a hang on back or sponge filter? HOB filters oxygenate the water super well. A bubble bar will provide plenty of oxygen to any tank if you use sponge filter. It's really hard to NOT have enough oxygen in your water as your tank's filter oxygenates it. The only time I've ever had an issue with oxygen is when I had to turn my tank up to 86 degrees to fight ich which lowers the amount of oxygen in the water.
 

CricketKeeper

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Guppies aren't schooling fish, and the inch per gallon rule is inaccurate. If you want schooling fish, you should look into things like ember tetras and chilI rasboras. 10 gallons is nano, so you should check out nano species. Mollies and platies get too big for 10 gallons, especially mollies. You could do something like a honey gouramI instead.

Here's an example of a stocking that could work for a 10 gallon:
-1 honey gourami
-8 ember tetras

And on top of that you could get a snail and some cherry shrimp if you wanted.

Sorry if I sound blunt, I'm not very good at communications that aren't face to face.

Edit: Oops, ninja'd
 

corbin

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Check out EspeI Rasbora. Could probobly do a small school and then a sparkling gouramI and a couple cherry shrimp.
 

PheonixKingZ

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You could either do a single betta, or just a shrimp/snail tank, but you wanted actual fish, correct? If you want fish here’s what I would recommend.....

  • 1 Sparkling Gourami
  • Some mystery snails
  • Some Amano or Cherry shrimp
  • And maybe 1-2 guppies?
What do you think Feohw ?
 

Feohw

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PheonixKingZ said:
You could either do a single betta, or just a shrimp/snail tank, but you wanted actual fish, correct? If you want fish here’s what I would recommend.....

  • 1 Sparkling Gourami
  • Some mystery snails
  • Some Amano or Cherry shrimp
  • And maybe 1-2 guppies?
What do you think Feohw ?
I think that sounds nice. I've never had sparkling gouramI but from what I've seen they're great fish.

I absolutely love galaxy rasbora/celestial pearl danios. They're so beautiful. I think a nice school of those with some shrimp and plants would be a great looking tank. Endlers are really nice too.

I had a betta, shrimp, nerites and an African dwarf frog in my old 10g. If I were to do it again I think I'd just go with the galaxies. I might get a tank just for them tbh.

All the suggestions above are great too. Lots of options really.
 

Maxxx

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One inch per gallon is more of a mystical guessing game. For example you have a 10 gallon tank but can’t/ shouldn’t keep a 6inch fish. The other problem is it’s very dependent on the fish you are keeping and how you set up the tank. I have a 9 gallon with 9 ember tetras, a female betta, a dwarf crawfish and some snails. According to the 1 inch rule I am overstocked but my nitrates after one week are still pretty low. Neons were once very hardy fish but because of over breeding I hear they are now much harder to keep alive. As for numbers of how many to keep it’s difficult to pin down. In my experience with the ember tetras I wasn’t happy with the schooling behavior until I had 9. All schooling fish like large groups so the more you have the better. At minimum I wouldn’t suggest less than 6 but you will get different numbers depending on who’s opinion you are getting. Personally I love the behavior of a large school, just please don’t get 3 different species of schooling fish and try to call it a school. I would suggest cardinal tetras which look very similar to the neons because they are hardier but need slowly acclimated to new water. Some of the over looked fish you can keep in a 10 are ember tetras and chilI rasboras. Both of these are small schooling fish that are compatible with betta fish or a dwarf gourami, but both take up very little bioload and can live in larger groups in smaller tanks. Sparkling gouramis are another interesting fish for a nano tank. I know you can have your petco order in fish like the ember tetras or chilI rasboras while your tank cycles to save yourself the cost of shipping. It never hurts to call and ask if they can get in a specific fish. You also don’t have to buy the fish you have them order in if you don’t like how they look in person. Any live bearing fish such as guppies and Molly’s tend to have a much higher bioload than egg layers. Add fish in small groups to limit huge swings in the nitrogen cycle. As you will find out a 20 long is probably the best tank for beginners because it gives more room for different species.
 

EvanG

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As a fellow beginner, I love usingas a tool to check the needs, bioload, compatibility, etc of various fish. It is still good to run your stocking plan by FishLore since aqadvisor doesn't catch everything, and opinions/experience varies, but I love being able to get instant numbers as a rough ballpark.

Fahn said:
@Fahn rated your post Optimistic
An "optimistic" rating seems to imply some doubt in what I said. Can you elaborate or clarify?
 

Fahn

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EvanG said:
An "optimistic" rating seems to imply some doubt in what I said. Can you elaborate or clarify?
Most new hobbyists treat Aquadvisor as the absolute end-all on if they are stocked properly, kudos on running it by the forums for second opinions. I feel you're off to a good start.
 

EvanG

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Fahn said:
Most new hobbyists treat Aquadvisor as the absolute end-all on if they are stocked properly, kudos on running it by the forums for second opinions. I feel you're off to a good start.
Ah, I'm too new to have seen anyone taking it as gospel. I did check to see what it would say about someone's stocking question where the gist of all the responses here was that the proposed stocking was all mid-column swimming fish. doesn't seem to include that attribute in the algorithm, so it said everything was fine (stocking level % and filter capacity). On the other hand, it seems that a lot of people's questions could be answered just by checking there to see that their plan is way off in one or more attributes. I'm dreaming, but I wish every stocking question included whatsays in the original post so that I could learn where the crowd agrees, and where it doesn't. Since that rarely happens, I often check it myself as mentioned a few sentences ago.
 

Fahn

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EvanG said:
Ah, I'm too new to have seen anyone taking it as gospel. I did check to see what it would say about someone's stocking question where the gist of all the responses here was that the proposed stocking was all mid-column swimming fish. doesn't seem to include that attribute in the algorithm, so it said everything was fine (stocking level % and filter capacity). On the other hand, it seems that a lot of people's questions could be answered just by checking there to see that their plan is way off in one or more attributes. I'm dreaming, but I wish every stocking question included whatsays in the original post so that I could learn where the crowd agrees, and where it doesn't. Since that rarely happens, I often check it myself as mentioned a few sentences ago.
Eventually you'll be able to just "eyeball" your stocking levels, I used to ask the forums here all the time how my stocking looked... made a lot of unnecessary trips back and forth to the fish store.
 

ghostdawg

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These are all great suggestions. imba how often do you change your water?
 

imba

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ghostdawg said:
These are all great suggestions. imba how often do you change your water?
I water change every week. I only have 2 small tanks, one 5.5g and one 20g. I do about 25% water changes each week, with 50% changes in between. My nitrates are always 5 or lower, but I do it anyway.
 

Rtessy

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If you go with celestial pearl danios, you can add in some Asian Stone catfish, about three
Those are cool guys, but they don't do well in high temperatures
 

surajk

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Maybe my experience will help your thought process: I started a 10 gallon long (2ft) with 3 fancy guppies and 6 neons and a nerite snail- bad stocking idea. the guppies are definitely pigs to keep - they eat a lot, poop a lot and make babies a lot - the guppies are back at the lfs now and I have 8 guppy fry in the tank that I'll have to decide what to do with in 2 weeks or so. (I might keep the males)

the neons need a group of at least 8 (I got 2 more) to feel safe (they got very nippy with each other after the guppies were gone) and yes, if you have 10 gallon high rather than long, it is too short for neons. even in my 2 ft, their movement is less natural that it should be and not as much fun to watch . They are not fully grown but I'll have to move them to a bigger tank in the next 6 months.

I don't buy the 1inch per g rule at all, because it really depends on the nature of the fish you get. What I will unreservedly say is that a 10 gallon is too darned restrictive to have fun with. I'll be moving up to a 55 first chance I get.
 

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