Getting the most out of a 10 gallon tank

If you’re the owner of an aquarium, then the chances are at some point you either have or have had a 10-gallon tank. After all, it’s the most popular fish tank in the US year in and year out. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned vet just looking to add on a little something extra, you want to get the most out of your tank.

That being said, doing that right off the bat with a 10-gallon tank can be a challenge. Part of the reason it’s the highest selling tank in the US is because it’s often bundled with equipment and sold as a package. Many of those components are cheaper or are of a lower quality – largely to keep the price of the tank package down. With the equipment being of lower quality, you’ll inevitably have to make some upgrades if you want to get the most out of your tank.

Here are some things you can do to get your tank up to speed. Let’s jump right in!

Upgrade the lighting

Many of today’s tanks have built in LED lights. While this is great if your only concern is to light up the aquarium, it falls short in a lot of other areas. Biting the bullet and upgrading to an aftermarket LED light will not only make your fish look incredible, but it will help to grow live plants in the tank if you have them.

Appropriate filtration

Built-in filtration systems are usually chronic under-performers when it comes to actually keeping your tank clean. In a 10-gallon tank you’ll want something with slower water flow and filtration media like bio balls that can help not only collect fish waste, but also work to break down toxic chemicals like ammonia so your fish aren’t harmed.

Getting chemicals correct

If there was ever something that consistently overwhelms first time owners, it’s the sheer number of chemicals that can go into aquarium water. You’re going to need some essentials like dechlorinator but you’ll also want to consider things like bacteria additives, plant fertilizers and medications. What your specific tank will depend on a few things, but feel free to ask your local vendor what’d be best.


OK, so this isn’t technical and it’s mostly a no-brainer; but this is supposed to be fun, isn’t it? Isn’t this why we’re doing this? And trust us – it can be a lot of fun to decorate your aquarium and certain choices can make a big aesthetic difference. That being said – there are some low-key practical benefits to be had as well; for example – fresh plants can actually help fight bacteria.  But of all the ‘upgrades’ you can make – nothing else checks all three boxes of improving your aesthetic, providing a practical benefit while being fun for the tank owner like dressing up your aquarium.


Our parting advice is to simply make sure that whatever you do to your tank, that you do your homework. Like we’ve said multiple times in this post and in our blog – fish tanks are custom even when they aren’t. What works, what you needs are – all that depends on a bunch of competing factors that you’ll have to wade through.

Still, enjoy your tank and all that goes along with it. Good luck!

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