Top 10 Centerpiece Fish for a 10-Gallon Tank

Posted by on 03/26/2023

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Owning a freshwater nano-sized aquarium comes with many perks. They're relatively easy to maneuver, the equipment costs are low, and water changes are a breeze. 

Due to the size of these tanks, you'll be a bit limited when it comes to stocking options. In this post, we'll recommend 10 of our favorite centerpiece fish for a 10-gallon freshwater aquarium. Let's begin!

10-Gallon Centerpiece Fish Ideas

Hobbyists looking for a new aquarium to add to a home office or bedroom will appreciate the convenience of a 10-gallon tank. With new advancements in filtration, such as the corner filter from Dennerle , aquarium hobbyists can create full-blown aquascapes without the need for bulky equipment. 

Whether you're building out a high-tech 10-gallon planted aquarium or a gravel-based tank with a few pieces of driftwood, you can't go wrong with the following stocking options. 

Image of a single Blue Emperor Tetra
Pavaphon Supanantananont/
Blue Emperor Tetras are an uncommon and rewarding centerpiece fish

Galaxy Koi Betta

First on our list of centerpiece fish is the Galaxy Koi Betta. This betta splendens color variation has seen a meteoric rise in popularity since 2020, and it's no surprise as to why since its color patterns resemble the similar markings seen in Koi fish.

Hobbyists new to the species should be aware that these fish prefer living a solitary lifestyle, and should be the only fish kept in a 10-gallon aquarium. However, they can co-exist with other life forms, such as blue dream shrimp or black mystery snails.

Image of a Galaxy Koi Betta
Galaxy Koi Bettas showcase a color pattern similar to Koi

Dwarf Puffer

A single dwarf puffer fish is a popular option for a 10-gallon tank, but similar to a Betta fish, they prefer to be kept as the only fish in their tanks. 

They're quite enjoyable to watch, as they demonstrate erratic swimming behavior, and have the ability to puff themselves up when threatened. 

Image of a Dwarf Puffer
Starseed/Wikimedia Commons
Dwarf Puffers may puff themselves up when threatened

Celestial Pearl Danios

Next on our list is the Celestial Pearl Danio, often abbreviated as CPD. These peaceful nano fish make a great option for a 10-gallon tank, which are well-known for their yellow spots that resemble small galaxies, such as those seen in the Hubble telescopes Deep Field Images .

Due to their small size (adults reach about ¾ inch in length), you'll be able to keep up to 4 of these little fish in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Image of a Celestial Pearl Danio
Cassius Chaerea/Wikimedia Commons
A Celestial Pearl Danio, often abbreviated as CPD

Ember Tetra

Hobbyists who have never seen an ember tetra in person may be surprised as to just how small they are. They're about half the size of a cardinal tetra, making them a fantastic option for a 10-gallon tank.

Their orange coloration resembles the hot coals for which they're named, and hobbyists will be pleased to know that they can have up to 10 of these small fish in a 10-gallon tank. Best of all, they're known to school, which is a definite perk to owning a large quantity of these fish.

Image of an Ember Tetra
Gordon Axmann/Wikimedia Commons
Ember tetras display an orange coloration, and are incredibly small fish

Bumblebee Platies

Hobbyists interested in pursuing livebearing fish should look no further than the Bumblebee Platy. This uncommon color morph of the Southern platyfish (scientific name: Xiphophorus maculatus) features a yellow and black coloration resembling that of a bumblebee.

Bumblebee platies can grow to be quite large compared to some of the other fish on this list (adults can grow to be about 2.5 inches in length) so hobbyists looking to add these fish to a 10-gallon tank should add no more than a pair.

Image of a Bumblebee Platy
Richelle Cloutier/
Bumblebee Platies are livebearing fish

Green Neon Tetras

Neon tetras and cardinal tetras are some of the most frequently seen tetra fish in the aquarium hobby, but Green Neons are an overlooked species that have a lot to offer.

Unlike neons and cardinals, green neon tetras don't display any red coloration, and demonstrate a unique ability to "color up" when your aquarium lights turn on. 

Best of all, Green Neons are significantly smaller than Cardinals and Neon tetras, so you'll be able to add up to 5 of them in a 10-gallon tank (they've even made it on our list of 10 Best Nano Schooling fish). 

Image of a Green Neon Tetra
Atulbhats/Wikimedia Commons
Green Neon tetras will transition in color once the aquarium lights turn on

Rocket Clown Killifish

Take one glance at a rocket clown killifish, and it's easy to see why the fish is so popular. Their torpedo-shaped black bodies are broken up by white bands, and a vibrant tail displays bright colors consisting of oranges, blues, and reds. 

Killifish tend to hang out near the surface of an aquarium, and are known jumpers, making a tight-fitting lid an absolute must for hobbyists looking to get their hands on these fish.

Rocket Clown Killifish can be tough to find for sale, and as a result, often fetch a higher price when compared to some of the more commonly sold aquarium fish. Hobbyists should have no issues housing up to 2 of these fish in a 10-gallon tank.

Image of a Rocket Clown Killifish
Rocket Clown Killifish are known for their brightly-colored tails

Blue Emperor Tetras 

Next up is a rare emperor tetra color strain, the Blue Emperor Tetra. These peaceful schooling fish display a vibrant, purplish/blue color not seen in the more common Neon tetra fish.

They tend to have a more inquisitive nature compared to other species of tetra, and are quite active in an aquarium, often swimming around and chasing one another throughout the tank.

Hobbyists should have no issues keeping up to 5 of these unique-looking fish in a 10-gallon tank.

Image of a group of Blue Emperor Tetras
chonlasub woravichan/
Blue Emperor Tetras are an uncommon Emperor Tetra color strain

Pygmy Sunfish

Hobbyists looking for a challenge will appreciate the rare Pygmy Sunfish. Seven different species comprise the Pygmy Sunfish genus, but it is the brightly colored Everglades Pygmy Sunfish that steals the spotlight in an aquarium.

The species features iridescent blue and black markings, and is quite small, growing to about 2.5 inches in length. Hobbyists should have no issues keeping up to 2 of these fish in a 10-gallon tank. However, they have highly-specialized diets and will consume only live foods, such as black worms and grindal worms.

The fish can be hard to find for sale, and unfortunately have a short life span, but are some of the most rewarding to keep in the hobby.

Image of an Everglades Pygmy Sunfish
An Everglades Pygmy Sunfish

Purple Moscow Guppies

It's not surprising that guppies are some of the most frequently seen aquarium fish. They're easy to keep, rapidly reproduce, and can be found on almost every continent on the planet except Antarctica.

Breeders have been cross-breeding different color morphs for years to make the species as eye-catching as possible, but one color morph developed in Russia, the Purple Moscow Guppy, is easily one of the most prized fish in the hobby.

This color variation displays a vibrant purple that covers the fish entirely. Its fan-like tail resembles that of a betta fish, but hobbyists looking to get their hands on them will face an uphill battle. These fish can be incredibly expensive and hard to find, and unfortunately, many vendors will label any blue or purple guppy as a "purple moscow". Hobbyists will have to look to some of the southeast Asia or russian breeders to locate a true purple moscow guppy. 

Similar to other guppy color variations, hobbyists should have no issues housing up to 7 of these fish in a 10-gallon tank.

Image of a Purple Moscow Guppy
Mircea Costina/
Purple Moscow Guppies are a rare Russian-developed guppy strain


That wraps up our list of potential 10-gallon centerpiece fish. As you can see, there are a plethora of attractive stocking options for a nano-sized aquarium. No matter which fish you choose, we guarantee you'll enjoy the appearance of any of the fish we've mentioned, and they'll serve as excellent centerpiece fish in an at-home aquarium.

Now that we've provided a few options, which do you think you'll go with? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our community forum and marketplace, where you just might find a few of these fish for sale.

Image of Miles Harrison

Miles Harrison

With over a decade of aquarium experience, Miles can be found writing about saltwater and freshwater aquariums. When he’s not writing about fish, you can find him going for a run or building websites, such as this one!