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Have an old 10-gallon tank laying around and don’t want to give fish another try?
Whether you are purposely looking for a small pet or you’re living somewhere, like an apartment complex, with limits on fish tank size, you still have a lot of options.
The key to finding the right pet for a 10-gallon tank is knowing what they need to thrive.
A lot of pets can survive in a tank that size, but what about their quality of life?
Responsible pet owners will want to give their pets enough space to feel comfortable.
If you’re buying a new fish tank for something that’s not a fish, or you’re finally breaking down and dusting off the aquarium because your kids are demanding a pet and you don’t want a dog, here’s the list that will get you where you need to be.
Let’s discover what pets – that aren’t fish – will fit nicely in your 10-gallon fish tank.
Before We Get Started
Just a few things before we get into the list.
First, you should thoroughly clean your fish tank before any animals, fish, reptiles, spiders, whatever, go inside.
Don’t use chemicals that could harm your pet.
Vinegar and water are good enough. You should even avoid soap.
Don’t buy a pet and hope it will do well in the fish tank you already have.
It should be the other way around. Know how big your tank is and then start researching which animals will go in there.
If you already have a pet that shouldn’t be in a 10-gallon tank, buy a bigger tank.
Finally, animals grow. The pet you get now that fits well inside your current tank may get a lot bigger.
Find out how large they likely will grow and be ready to accommodate them down the road with a larger tank.
Okay, armed with that important information, let’s get into some of the amazing pets you can explore!
If spiders don’t freak you out, then you should think about a tarantula for a pet.
They’re usually more docile and pet-friendly than you think. You can hold them, carry them, and pet them.
They do bite, and it hurts like a bee sting, but they won’t kill you.
The most important thing is knowing if you’re allergic. Just be ready to respond if someone has an adverse reaction after interacting with them.
This is rare, though.
For the tank, put some logs, rocks, and other natural features inside.
They don’t need a ton of space because they like to hide and burrow.
2. Green Anole Lizard
This lizard is native to the U.S., and does well in groups or living alone.
The main thing you need to know with green anoles is that you should only have one male in each enclosure.
If you’re going to have multiple anoles, then you should get a bigger tank, but a single lizard will do just fine in a 10-gallon tank.
3. Pygmy Chameleons
Chameleons are very popular as reptile pets because they move slowly, change colors beautifully, and they are very amenable to being held.
Typically, you can fit one to two pygmy chameleons in a small fish tank because they only grow to be a few inches long.
Put some sticks, platforms, leaves, and other items in the aquarium to give them places to climb and perch.
Several types of frogs will fit well in your fish tank.
Depending on the size, in this case, 10-gallons, you can fit a few to several frogs inside easily with room to explore and feel comfortable.
With frogs, you’ll need some sort of water feature inside the tank, so that may mean building an island out of rocks and filling it part-way with water.
While some people will hate the idea of owning a fish tank with a scorpion inside, they can be good pets.
They’re clean, require little maintenance, and do well living alone or in groups.
They’re also quiet, so they’re not going to be making a bunch of noise at night while you’re trying to sleep.
With some rocks and sand in the tank, they’ll thrive. They do like to catch their prey, so keep that in mind while you’re designing the tank’s interior.
6. Some Snakes
Snakes will generally need something larger than ten gallons, especially if they grow larger than expected.
There are, however, some beginner snake breeds that will do great in a 10-gallon fish tank.
Some examples of possible breeds include milk snakes and corn snakes.
Snake owners should monitor how the snake moves around in the tank to make sure it’s large enough.
They should be able to move around with relative ease. If the animal looks stressed, you should get a bigger tank.
House geckos can be a lot of fun to feed and observe, and they will do very well in a 10-gallon fish tank.
They typically need some sticks, rocks, and branches to climb on and explore.
Be warned, though, that geckos can make quite a bit of sound at night, so having them in your bedroom could impact your sleep schedule.
Keep in mind that just because some geckos will do well in this tank, other geckos are bigger and will need larger enclosures.
Some geckos can grow up to 10 inches long and will quickly outgrow a 10-gallon tank.
8. Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are amazing animals and can be lovely pets.
They’re a fantastic way to introduce pet ownership to children and are a great way to take advantage of an old fish tank.
Hermit crabs should have at least six inches of sand in their enclosure.
They should have access to saltwater, rocks, branches, and hiding places.
If you live somewhere particularly dry, they may not be suitable because they’re used to living on the beach and need a certain level of humidity.
Hamsters are great pets for kids because they can enjoy supervised time out of their enclosure.
The main thing hamsters need is food, water, some sort of chew toy or mineral block to condition their teeth, and somewhere to exercise.
They also love to burrow and will need fine sand that they use to bathe.
Hamsters come in a variety of species and sizes, so you may want to go with something smaller in your fish tank.
Also, some types of hamsters do better than others when they are alone.
That may mean getting two of them to keep them happy.
These are all cool animals that can be a lot of fun as pets!
With the proper care, you’ll enjoy a lot of time watching them eat, play, and rest in their exposure.
While some of the animals on this list are more interactive than others, understanding each and what you can expect will help you take better care of them.
Done right, they’ll live happily in a 10-gallon tank.