In this article, I will show you the best corals to keep in a 10-gallon tank.
Lately, I have seen many people talking about their 10-gallon tanks and it seems like nano reef tanks are becoming more popular.
10-gallon tanks are very limited with the types of corals you can keep. A standard size 10-gallon tank will have the dimensions of 20” x 10” x 12”. Its small dimensions will limit you not only with corals but fish as well.
Can you keep corals in a 10-gallon saltwater tank?
Yes, you sure can. Although it won’t be without challenges. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some pretty amazing nano reef tanks but you will need to follow some guidelines in order for the corals to stay healthy.
If you have a small saltwater tank that is 10 gallons, it is possible for you to keep corals. But some are better than others for this sized tank.
I mentioned in the article 9 best corals for the Evo 13.5 tank, some of the required items to keep corals in that size of tank. A 10-gallon tank is even smaller although not by much. Some of the same corals that can be kept in the Fluval Evo 13.5 can be kept in a standard 10-gallon tank.
One thing to keep in mind is that many of these corals will outgrow smaller tanks. You may need to frag them or move them to a larger tank as they grow. It’s a good idea to start out with smaller coral frags instead of larger colonies in a tank of this size.
Best corals for 10-gallon saltwater tanks
Zoanthids are the best coral choice for small tanks. They are very hardy and will do well in less than perfect conditions. Zoas are one of the most popular corals to keep and there are so many different types available. They will provide so much color to your tank and you can mix and match them to form zoa gardens.
#2. Green star polyps
Smaller frags of GSP will quickly grow to larger colonies. If you are keeping them in a 10-gallon tank, be prepared to frag them as they can grow throughout the tank. They are a very hardy coral with a neon green color. Their polyps will flow with the water movement during the day and close up at night. Green star polyps are one of the best choices for beginners.
Mushrooms are a soft coral that can be kept on the sandbed or on top of rocks. There are many different types of mushrooms that can be kept in a 10-gallon tank. Ricordea mushrooms are commonly kept in many different sized tanks. They are also a fast grower and it’s normal for them to split into several mushrooms. A nice piece of live rock covered in mushroom corals is stunning to see.
The Frogspawn is a coral best to add as a small frag into a 10-gallon tank. Frogspawn can grow to be several heads and become quite large over time. But a smaller frag or colonies of a few heads can be kept just fine in this sized tank. These corals are easy to keep and make a great beginner coral. They add lots of movement and color to any tank.
#5. Pulsing Xenia
Pulsing Xenia corals (Pom Pom corals) are one of those corals that not everyone likes. I’m not one of them. I am a huge fan of these corals. They might be the fastest-growing coral I have ever kept so if you decide to keep them in a 10-gallon tank, you will need to frag them as they grow. Don’t worry they are really easy to frag and are a tough coral. They will also add plenty of movement and color to your tank.
#6. Kenya Tree
The Kenya tree is a soft coral that is very easy to keep. Another great coral for beginners. They are not expensive to purchase and are readily available at most stores or online. Small frags like the image below can be kept in a 10-gallon tank easily. They are also easy to frag so as they begin to grow and split into several pieces, you can cut them back or move them to a larger tank.
Kenya trees will survive in less than perfect water conditions as well. Actually, if you can’t keep a Kenya tree alive, something is drastically wrong. They are one tough coral.
Are nano tanks hard to keep?
It’s commonly said that nano tanks are hard to keep. I disagree. It’s not that they are hard to keep, the issue is maintaining water quality can be challenging. The maintenance involved in keeping a small tank is also required in a large tank. Small tanks are just not as forgiving and water parameter fluctuations are more common.
More difficult corals like Acropora SPS should not be kept in small tanks unless the tank is mature and your water levels are in check. SPS corals can be challenging and it is important to have pristine water conditions for them to thrive.
Lighting for nano tanks
If you are planning to keep a 10-gallon tank with corals, it’s important to have the proper lighting for them. If the tank does not have built-in lighting like the Fluval EVO, you will need to add a lighting source to support coral health. For a 10-gallon tank, I recommend the AI prime 16 HD and the Kessil A80 LED. Both are available on Amazon.
Wavemakers for nano tanks
All corals require proper water movement to stay healthy. If you have a small tank like a 10-gallon, it can be difficult to find a small wavemaker or powerhead to create the right amount of flow for a small tank. If you have soft and LPS corals, you might want to aim for around 200-250GPH water flow which would be 20-25x turnover in a 10-gallon tank.
I recommend both the Koralia nano powerhead and Jebao SW-2 wavemaker. Both of these options have a very small footprint and are suitable for small tanks. They are available on Amazon by clicking the links.
So if you would like to keep corals in a 10-gallon tank, it is possible providing you choose the right ones. Not all are suitable. Any of the corals mentioned are great choices. Ensure that you keep up with proper maintenance and water changes to keep water parameters within limits and you will have great success.