If you have become interested in the world of freshwater fish and crayfish, obviously you have, I suggest starting a 10 gallon fish tank to begin with.—You may decide later on that you want to keep a 10 gallon tank or go on up to a 20, 30 and so on.
Why I Suggest Starting a 10 Gallon Fish Tank
There are many reasons that I suggest starting a 10 gallon fish tank as opposed to other sizes. Check it out…
- You may realize keeping fish and/or crayfish aren’t the thing for you.
- A 10 gallon tank is easier to maintain.
- A 10 gallon tank is excellent for learning the aquarium care basics.
- It’s much easier to find space for a 10 gallon tank!
Starting a 10 Gallon Fish Tank
When starting a 10 gallon fish tank, you have to follow all of the same rules you have to follow when starting any other sized tank. This means, you don’t just buy any ol’ fish tank, throw some water in, grab your fish and crayfish, and throw them in. There are certain steps you have to take before your tank will be ready and have the ability to sustain life.
1. Select a Fish Tank Kit
The first step in starting a 10 gallon fish tank is of course finding and buying the right tank. I suggest buying a fish tank kit. (see, “Aqueon Background LED Light Kit“).
A fish tank kit will come with everything you need to get started. Everything you need is right in the box! This will include your water pump, filter and heater.
2. Add Ornaments and Gravel
In step two you will want to add some ornaments and “hideouts” for your crayfish and fish. Ornaments could be as simple as a rock, or a statue of some sort. You can find them in any pet store or here.
Hideouts are very important if you have crayfish, especially multiple crayfish. That’s because when they molt, they become soft and need a place to hideout so they don’t get eaten by other fish and crayfish.
3. Add Conditioned Water
Important. When starting a 10 gallon fish tank, you must always add conditioned water. Most fish tank starter kits come with water conditioner, and if they don’t, you can buy it. It’s not expensive.
Water conditioner removes chlorine which is essential for a healthy tank.
As a note, never forget to condition water when you do water changes. You’ll learn more on that later.—In general you want to change out about 25% of the water on your 10 gallon fish tank every 2 weeks to keep your fish healthy and smiling (fish smile). This is very important to remember when starting a 10 gallon fish tank.
4. Cycle the Tank
When starting a 10 gallon fish tank, cycling is without a doubt the most important part of the whole process.
I remember when I first decided that I wanted a crayfish, I ran out to the pet store to buy a fish tank and a crayfish. The problem was that, again you can’t just buy a tank, add water and throw your fish friends in.
When starting a 10 gallon fish tank, you have to follow steps 1, 2, 3 and finally 4… cycling.—And like I said this is the biggest step of all. That’s because cycling your tank sets up the process that will eliminate waste and toxins from the tank so that your crayfish and fish do not die.
There are many ways to cycle a tank… and many people will tell you different things on how long to cycle your tank. Having said this, I’m just going to tell you what I personally suggest and have done.
Cycling is the most important step in starting a 10 gallon fish tank.
Cycling Your Tank: Step by Step
Day 1: Add 10 gallons of conditioned water to tank with bacteria that can be bought in the pet store.—Also add 2 Betta fish and feed them. This starts the process as the fish eat and produce waste.
Day 2: Add more bacteria and feed the fish to continue building natural colonies of bacteria in the tank and in the filter of the tank. Note: The filter is where a lot of the natural, and essential bacteria live.—When you change your filter monthly, do NOT wipe away the stuff in the filter. Your tank needs it. If you do wipe it out, well you will have to go through all the steps of starting a 10 gallon fish tank again.
Day 3: Around this time your fish may be weak or have died. (Be sure to remove them.) That’s to be expected (don’t call me cruel.) However, keep adding small amounts of the fish food. It’s organic and will help continue the cycling process.
Day 4: Add more food and store bought bacteria (Some debate if the stuff really works, but I use it.)
Day 5: Add bacteria, 2 more Betta fish and feed them.
Day 6: Feed the fish and add more bacteria.
Day 7: Add your last dose of bacteria.—If you have done everything just right, your Betta fish will be alive and healthy… and NOW you can add your crayfish and other fish that cost more than 20 cents (Betta fish) to the tank. However, do not add too many! If you have 1 crayfish, they can produce a lot of waste. So I would suggest starting with just two other fish.
When Starting a 10 Gallon Fish Tank, What Types of Fish Should You Add?
After your tank is cycled and ready to go, you don’t want to overload your tank’s filtration by adding too many other tank mates (see “Blue Crayfish Tank Mates“). That will produce too much waste. So I would suggest adding just two more fish for a total of 4 fish to start.
With crayfish, it’s a good idea to get fast-moving fish or fish that hang out near the top of the tank.—Because crayfish love to eat any kind of fish… alive or dead.
I myself bought a hatchet fish and a very pretty red tail shark. The hatchet fish swims near the top of the tank most of the time and the red tail shark is pretty fast!
Good luck on starting a 10 gallon fish tank!