Can Angelfish Live In A 10-Gallon Tank? (Mistakes To Avoid)

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Angelfish are captivating and elegant swimmers. However, they do have their own unique requirements, particularly when it comes to their living space.

Can you genuinely house a single Angelfish in a modest 10-gallon tank? Are there times when this might work? And what are the repercussions if you don’t set things up correctly?

In this article, I’ll discuss all these questions and more, so you leave with all the information you need. Let’s get started.

Can You Keep An Angelfish In A 10-Gallon Tank?

No, a mature angelfish cannot be kept in a 10-gallon tank. However, baby angelfish can be temporarily housed in such a tank.

  • Space Requirements: Mature angelfish can grow up to 6 inches tall, needing larger tanks, ideally 55-gallons or more, to move and grow comfortably.
  • Behavioral Needs: In confined spaces, angelfish can become stressed or aggressive, which can lead to health issues and conflicts with other tank mates.
  • Water Quality: Larger volumes of water help in maintaining stable water parameters, while smaller tanks like 10-gallons can have rapid changes in temperature and pH, potentially harming the fish.
  • Temporary Housing for Babies: While baby angelfish can start in a 10-gallon tank, they will quickly outgrow it and require a larger environment within a few months.

Also Read: Angelfish Tank Size

Until What Age Can Baby Angelfish Stay in a 10-Gallon Tank?

Baby angelfish can be temporarily housed in a 10-gallon tank until they start to approach juvenile size, which is typically around 2 to 3 months of age.

As they grow and reach about 2 inches in size, they will require more space for proper development.

By the age of 6 months, they should ideally be transitioned to a larger tank to ensure their well-being.

Also Read: Can You Keep Angelfish In A 5-Gallon Tank?

What’s the Minimum Tank Size for a Single Angelfish?

The minimum tank size for a single angelfish is 20 gallons. However, larger tanks are generally recommended for their overall well-being.

  • Growth Potential: Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches in height, and a 20-gallon tank ensures enough vertical space.
  • Swimming Space: While a 20-gallon tank provides minimal space, angelfish need room to swim freely without feeling constricted.
  • Water Stability: Smaller tanks can experience rapid parameter changes; a 20-gallon tank offers a more stable environment, though regular monitoring is still essential.
  • Stress Minimization: Larger spaces reduce the risk of stress-related behaviors and diseases, even if 20 gallons is the bare minimum.

Also Read: Can You Keep Angelfish In A 20-Gallon Tank?

What’s the Recommended Tank Size for an Adult Angelfish?

The recommended tank size for an adult angelfish is at least 55 gallons. This size ensures the fish has ample space and a stable environment to thrive.

  • Natural Behavior: A 55-gallon tank allows angelfish to exhibit natural behaviors, swimming and exploring without limitations.
  • Tank Companions: Larger tanks provide opportunities to keep angelfish with other compatible species, creating a dynamic aquatic community.
  • Water Quality Stability: A 55-gallon volume helps maintain consistent water parameters, ensuring the health and longevity of the angelfish.
  • Territorial Nature: Adult angelfish can be territorial; a spacious tank reduces aggression and stress, ensuring harmony in the aquatic environment.

How Do You Determine the Right Tank Size for an Angelfish?

To figure out the right tank size for an angelfish, consider their size and behavior. Here’s how:

  • Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches in height.
  • Using the 1-inch-per-gallon rule, a fully grown angelfish would require at least 6 gallons of water just for itself.
  • However, this rule is a general guideline and doesn’t account for the fish’s overall volume, swimming needs, or territorial behaviors.
  • Considering their vertical body shape and preference for taller tanks, the volume required is likely greater than what the rule suggests.
  • Additional factors, like decorations, plants, substrate, and filtration systems, occupy volume and therefore reduce the effective swimming space.
  • It’s important to consider tank mates. If you plan on adding other fish, their size and requirements need to be factored in, increasing the tank size.

Given all these considerations, while a 6-gallon tank might suffice based on the 1-inch-per-gallon rule, a 55-gallon tank or larger is recommended to account for the angelfish’s specific needs and any potential tank mates.

How Many Gallons Should I Add for Each Additional Angelfish?

For each additional angelfish you wish to add, it’s recommended to allocate an extra 10 gallons.

This ensures that each fish has enough space for comfortable swimming and reduces territorial disputes.

  • Territorial Behavior: Angelfish can be territorial, especially during breeding. An extra 10 gallons for each fish reduces potential conflicts and stress.
  • Growth Accommodation: Even though the 1-inch-per-gallon rule might suggest less, angelfish need room vertically and horizontally. Allocating 10 gallons ensures they can grow without constraint.
  • Water Quality: More fish means more waste. Providing an extra 10 gallons per angelfish helps maintain water quality, ensuring a healthier environment.

Tips for Keeping Angelfish in 10 Gallons

While it’s not ideal to keep angelfish in a 10-gallon tank due to their growth and space requirements, if you decide to proceed, it’s essential to ensure the best possible conditions. 

Here are some guidelines to help maintain a healthier environment for your angelfish:

  • Regular Water Changes: Change at least 2.5 gallons (25%) weekly to reduce toxins and replenish essential minerals.
  • Adequate Filtration: Use a filter rated for 20-gallons or more, ensuring efficient waste removal and water circulation.
  • Monitor Water Parameters: Keep pH between 6.5-7.5 and ammonia, nitrites at 0 ppm, and nitrates below 20 ppm.
  • Limit Tank Decor: Use only one small decoration or hideout to maximize space and avoid overcrowding.
  • Avoid Overfeeding: Offer food the size of the angelfish’s eye daily, ensuring minimal waste and clearer water.
  • Maintain Temperature: Use a heater to consistently keep water between 78-82°F, vital for their tropical nature.
  • Tank Mates: If any, choose small, non-aggressive species like neon tetras to prevent territorial disputes.

What’s the Typical Price of a 20-Gallon Tank?

The typical price of a 20-gallon tank usually ranges between $50 to $150, depending on various factors.

However, remember that this might only be the cost of the tank itself without additional equipment or accessories.

  • Brand and Quality: Established brands with high-quality glass or acrylic might charge on the higher end of the spectrum.
  • Included Accessories: Some 20-gallon kits come with filters, heaters, or lighting, which can increase the price.
  • Material: Acrylic tanks are usually more expensive than their glass counterparts due to their lighter weight and higher clarity.
  • Retailer and Location: Prices can vary depending on where you’re buying – a local fish store, a big-box pet retailer, or online shops.

How Much Does a 55-Gallon Tank Generally Cost?

The price for a 55-gallon tank can generally range from $100 to $300, but this too depends on several influencing factors.

Like with the 20-gallon tank, this price might exclude essential equipment.

  • Brand and Quality: Premium brands with superior craftsmanship and materials usually have products on the pricier side.
  • Included Accessories: Some 55-gallon setups might include hoods, lighting, or even stands, which can drive up the cost.
  • Material: While glass is a common choice for this size, if you find an acrylic 55-gallon tank, it might be priced higher due to the benefits of acrylic.
  • Retailer and Location: Depending on sales, promotions, or even geographic location, prices can fluctuate significantly among sellers.

Which Fish Are Suitable for a 10-Gallon Tank?

Even though you shouldn’t keep angelfish in a 10-gallon tank, it doesn’t mean you can’t house other types of fish there.

Here are a few fish that will comfortably thrive in that tank size:

1. Betta Fish

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are often kept solo in small tanks. Their vibrant colors and flowing fins make them a popular choice for 10-gallon setups.

  • Solo Living: Male bettas are territorial and greatly prefer living alone, ensuring no conflict with other fish.
  • Low Activity Level: They are not overly active swimmers, so a 10-gallon tank provides a spacious environment.
  • Warm Water: Bettas thrive in temperatures of 76-82°F, which is straightforward to maintain in a 10-gallon tank.

2. Neon Tetras

These small, vibrant fish are schooling species that bring dynamic color to aquariums.

  • Schooling Nature: Ideally, a group of 5-6 neon tetras should be kept, and they can live comfortably in a 10-gallon tank.
  • Peaceful Temperament: Being non-aggressive, they coexist harmoniously with other similarly sized fish species.
  • Small Size: Their compact size, rarely exceeding 1.5 inches, makes them perfect for smaller tanks.

3. Guppies

Guppies are lively, colorful fish that come in a myriad of patterns and hues.

  • Livebearers: Female guppies can give birth frequently; a 10-gallon tank can control population growth.
  • Good Community Fish: They’re peaceful and can coexist with other small, non-aggressive fish.
  • Low Maintenance: Guppies aren’t very demanding, making them suitable for 10-gallon beginner setups.

4. Dwarf Gourami

These are brightly colored, peaceful fish that can be the centerpiece in smaller aquariums.

  • Solitary Nature: Often, a single dwarf gourami is enough for a 10-gallon tank to avoid territorial disputes.
  • Labyrinth Fish: They have a unique organ allowing them to breathe air, making them resilient in varied water conditions.
  • Compact Size: Growing up to 3.5 inches, a 10-gallon tank offers ample space for them.

5. Endler’s Livebearers

These are colorful, small fish, closely related to guppies, but with distinct patterns.

  • Active Swimmers: Their lively nature is well-suited for 10-gallon tanks, offering enough space for movement.
  • Livebearing Traits: Like guppies, females can give birth frequently, but a 10-gallon tank can help manage population.
  • Harmonious Nature: They are peaceful, cohabiting well with other small, peaceful fish in a community setup.

Which Fish Aren’t Suited for 10 Gallons?

Many fish, despite their small size at purchase, grow too large or have behaviors that make a 10-gallon tank unsuitable for them.

It’s essential to ensure that the fish’s environment supports its long-term health and well-being.

  • Goldfish: Often mistaken as tiny bowl fish, they can grow up to 6-8 inches or even larger, requiring more space.
  • Common Plecos: These are popular algae eaters but can reach over 12 inches in adulthood, needing significantly larger tanks.
  • Oscar Fish: Known for their intelligence, Oscars grow quickly and can reach 12-14 inches, requiring tanks of 55 gallons or more.
  • Cichlids: Many species grow large and are territorial, necessitating larger spaces to establish territories and prevent aggression.
  • Discus: Prized for their colors, discus fish need stable environments and plenty of space, often best in tanks of 55 gallons or more.
  • Bala Sharks: Despite their small size at purchase, they can grow up to 14 inches and are schooling fish, requiring spacious environments.
  • Clown Loaches: Attractive with their vibrant patterns, they grow up to 12 inches and prefer to be in groups, making larger tanks a necessity.
Common Pleco


For quick readers, here’s a short summary:

  • Mature angelfish require a minimum tank size of 20 gallons, but 55 gallons or larger is recommended for their overall well-being and natural behaviors.
  • Baby angelfish can be housed in a 10-gallon tank only temporarily, until around 2 to 3 months of age.
  • The “1-inch-per-gallon” rule is not sufficient for determining tank size for angelfish due to their specific needs and behaviors.
  • For each additional angelfish added to a tank, it’s advised to allocate an extra 10 gallons to account for territorial behavior and growth.
  • While angelfish aren’t suited for 10-gallon tanks, other fish like Betta, Neon Tetras, Guppies, Dwarf Gourami, and Endler’s Livebearers are appropriate choices for such setups.