Freshwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners (Easy Fish to Keep Alive)

If you are setting up your first freshwater aquarium, it can be a challenge to know what tropical fish to buy. There are many types of ornamental and exotic freshwater fish that are perfect for beginners. Some of the easiest-to-care-for freshwater aquarium fish are tetras, swordtails, cool-looking betas, mollies and goldfish. Even among these species of freshwater fish, it’s important to make sure the fish are compatible.

The majority of freshwater aquariums are heated tanks for most people. As a consequence, the most colorful fish species may be found in the widest variety. Yet, if you’re just beginning out, it’s important to remember that you can’t just choose the most attractive fish and put them all together. Temperaments differ among fish species, just as they do among people. Several are introverts who prefer to stay alone.

Hardy ornamental fish varieties may tolerate a variety of situations. Several fish species are fine community fishes that can be used for a variety of tasks. If you’re a beginner, you’ll learn about the best freshwater aquarium fish in this article. You’ll learn about the coolest freshwater aquarium fish to get you started, even if this list doesn’t cover them all.

Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish for Beginners (Easy Fish to Keep Alive) With Images

Seeing tropical fish in a fish tank is something wonderful to see. You may have a variety of colorful and giant exotic fish swimming around in your heated fish tank if you prepare your aquarium correctly. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular freshwater fish for novices.


Because they are beautiful, small, and easy to care for, guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are a popular freshwater aquarium fish. Guppies are a species that has a calm demeanor and rarely interferes with other fish. You should purchase at least three guppies if you want to begin your fish tank with them because they prefer to swim in groups.

Guppies come in a variety of hues, including dark red, pink, yellow, and iridescent metallic hues. These little fish come in a variety of colors and patterns, and may be single or multicolored.

Take note of the different tail and fin forms that grace these lovely fish when selecting your first fish. Some guppies have vivid fan-like tails, while others have pointed tails that resemble a sword. Guppies eat fish flakes, shrimp, and blood worms and are tough, easygoing fish.

These small tropical fish reach a length of 2 inches (5 cm). You should be able to keep roughly 15 to 17 guppies or other community fish in a 30-gallon (136 l) freshwater aquarium.

Neon Tetra

Tetras are one of the easiest aquarium fish to take care of, and they make a great addition to any aquarium. The neon tetra is one of the most brightly colored tetras. The iridescent blue or green neon stripe along the sides of this brightly-colored low-maintenance fish gives it its name. These little gorgeous colorful fish do equally well in cold-water and heated aquariums, as long as they are kept at the appropriate temperature.

Tetras are a timid, peaceful species that includes neon tetras. They swim in tight groups and are quite tranquil, similar to guppies. You can add several of them to the fish tank because of their tiny size. Other community fish, such as guppies, barbs, danios, and other tetras species, are ideal companions for tetras.

They should be kept away from aggressive aquarium fish because of their timid nature. Remember to include several freshwater aquarium plants if you choose tetras for your beginning fish tank. This serves as cover and mimics their natural habitat by providing some protection.

Flaked fish meal and tiny brine shrimp are the Tetras’ main meals. From the head to the tail, these inexpensive fish pets grow to 1.3″ (3.5 cm)..

Danios (Zebrafish)

Zebrafish (zebra danio) are inexpensive and low-maintenance, which makes them a common fish in pet stores. These tropical social fish are incredibly hardy and easy to look after and maintain alive for a first-time aquarist. These are some of the cheapest freshwater small fish to buy, whether you’re just starting out with your first fish tank or not.

Zebrafish have striped patterns on their sides, as their name suggests. While swimming around the tank, these colorful stripes give the pet fish a stunning appearance. In a community tank, many experienced aquarists choose zebrafish for their playful behavior.

Zebrafish prefer a small group of fish in their tank, similar to other social species such as guppies and tetras. Zebrafish reach a length of between 1.6 and 2 inches (4 and 5 cm).


If you’ve never looked after fish before, mollies are a species of tropical fish that come in a variety of colors. These hardy fish are non-aggressive and get along well with other species in the tank. There are several types of molly available for your tropical tank, and it’s up to you which one to choose.

The black molly is one of the most popular varieties of freshwater mollies. This is just as simple to care for as guppies, with satin black fins, body, and tail. Like with the dog species, the dalmatian molly has black and white speckles. Pure red, orange, or yellow molly species may also be found, as well as multi-colored versions. Mollies are some of the simplest fish to keep alive if you’re just starting out with your first aquarium.

As a result, as you create the ideal freshwater aquarium environment, they can accommodate changes in water. Females may be somewhat bigger than males, and these easy-to-care-for aquarium fish reach around 3″ (7 cm) in length.


For beginners who don’t have a heated aquarium, goldfish are one of the most popular and commonly kept freshwater aquarium fish. While some species can live in colder or warmer temperatures, goldfish are cold water aquarium fish that prefer water at 62-74 F (17-23 C).

The color, size, and form of goldfish vary greatly. Orange, red, yellow, white, black, and a mix of these hues are among the colors of goldfish. Several creative variations come with lovely long tails and other features that will enhance the look of your aquarium.

It is not a good idea to keep goldfish in a small aquarium, as many people do. The amount of waste produced by goldfish may have an effect on water quality. As a result, growing goldfish in a big tank is recommended, and the water should be replaced every week.


Platyfish are one of the easiest tropical fish to maintain and come in a range of colors. There are several varieties of this kind of unusual freshwater fish, much like with other kinds. Platies come in nearly any hue and live peacefully with other fish, which is why they are such a popular starter aquarium species.

Bright colors with dark dorsal and tail fins are common in certain platyfish bred for aquariums. Metallic blues and greens appear to glow in other species. Variegated platyfish come in a variety of two-toned hues that are stunning. Platies have a shorter, rounder body than mollies, and both have a longer body than red mollies.

Guppies, tetras, and other community fish live well together with these non-aggressive pet fish. At maturity, platies may grow to be about 2″ (5 cm).


Swordtails are among some of the easiest tropical fish to take care of, and they’re freshwater tropical fish with a long tail. Swordtails have been developed with a lengthy sword-like tail fin and are connected to platies. Freshwater tropical fish are adaptable to a wide range of water conditions.

Swordtails may live in a community tank if they are kept with other fish. They are generally non-aggressive and prefer to be in groups of five or more. If there are more than one male swordfish in the tank, they become aggressive only once. As a result, keep this in mind while setting up your aquarium.

Swordtails are a excellent option if you have a huge number of plants in your heated aquarium since they are usually plant feeders. You can, however, provide them with live foods on occasion. Male swordtails may reach lengths of up to 5 inches (12 cm) due to their long bottom fin.

Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs are a difficult tropical fish to care for, but they are nevertheless suitable for beginning aquarists. The female (above) and male (below) Of the Barbinae family, cherry barbs are the most outgoing. Females have a dark stripe down their sides and are a light tan color. The fish’s name comes from its unusual coloring of the male sex. When they’re spawning, they take on a deeper cherry red color.

Be sure to include plenty of live plants for cherry barbs to hide in when setting up your new fish tank. These active fish prefer to be alone rather than together with the other fish in the aquarium, despite the fact that they are active. Cherry barbs feel right at home in a community tank if the conditions are right. T

hese pretty fish reach a length of roughly 2 inches (5 cm) and are slightly leaner than the females in appearance.

Pearl Gourami

The pearl gourami is one of the friendliest and easiest fish to care for, and it lives peacefully with other species. These lovely and tranquil fish swim around fish tanks without bothering other species. Long trailing ventral fins that look like feelers give them a distinctive tropical aquarium fish species. The rounded body and graceful appearance of the pearl gourami distinguish it as a large tropical fish. The pearl-like designs that cover its body and fins are what give it its name.

Gourami fish aren’t suited to aggressive fish because of their timid nature and sluggish movements. They will feel more at ease in a community tank with guppies, tetras, and swordtails. Provide your gourami with plenty of flora and decorations to hide in when necessary when purchasing a new fish tank.

You’ll need at least a 30-gallon (136 l) tank because of their huge size. Gourami may grow to be up to 4″ or 5″ (10 cm) in length, depending on the species.

Neon Rainbowfish

Neon rainbowfish and dwarf rainbowfish are exceptional tropical freshwater fish that prefer to swim in groups. These huge, calm fish prefer to swim in groups and are peaceful. The color of their skin becomes more vivid and prominent as they develop. The iridescent blue color of the body of these fish gives them the name rainbow fish.

They’re also tolerant of tetras and guppies, as well as other small fish. But, if more aggressive fish bother them, they may also defend themselves. Rainbow fish are also relatively simple to breed since their eggs are spread around. Rainbowfish prefer to swim in shoals and may reach a length of up to 6 inches (15 cm), so you’ll need a big fish tank for them to thrive.


There are many different species of killifish. Spotfin killifish, Guatemalan killifish, and striped killifish are the three different species of fish that live in peace. Little, long, colorful fish with intricate spotted designs on their bodies and fins. There are almost 1,270 types of killifish to choose from, so your new aquarium is likely to be compatible with one of them.

Killifish cohabit with tetras, guppies, and mollies in a shared tank. Their gleaming silver, crimson, orange, and neon-blue hues will uplift any aquarium. Amazing vertical striped patterns and huge ornate fins characterize a few uncommon species.

Long and slender, with black and white zebra stripes, some species are. Killifish come in a wide range of sizes, from 1″ to 2″ (2.5 to 5 cm) in length, and are suitable for any beginner “fishkeeper.”


Bettas are one of the most spectacular tropical freshwater fish available, and they come in a variety of colors. While betta fish are not suggested for first-time tank owners, they shouldn’t be aggressive if you have just one in the tank. These bright freshwater fish are rarely aggressive with other peaceful tropical fish species.

Bettas have large wavy fins that are present in both sexes and develop in the males. From dark blue, dark red, vivid yellow, and iridescent blues and greens, species of these ornamental fish come in a variety of colors. Some species are multicolored, while others have just a single dominating hue.

Bettas in freshwater tanks might have amazing colorful designs that are among the most gorgeous in your tank. Marbling effects, Nemo-like designs, bi-colors, and contrasting fin colors on their bodies are some examples. There is a wide range of fin and tail variations in most popular freshwater tropical fish species.

Because your betta fish will become a prime target, here is one piece of advice for beginning aquarists: don’t keep tiny fish that nip fins. The fight will not go well for the smaller bettas, who are also known as Siamese fighting fish. These beautiful fish reach a length of about 2 inches (5 cm).


An angelfish is a fantastic option if you’re starting out with your first aquarium and want an exotic species. They may be aggressive at times. You must make sure that you maintain the perfect environment for them in the fish tank if you want to look after them properly.

When there is only one angelfish in the tank, they are typically calm tropical fish that adapt. However, especially when paired off, they may be aggressive with one another. purchasing angelfish young and keeping them in a large tank is the best advice for beginners who want to keep them.

They may grow more hostile and difficult to handle as they mature. They may, however, embellish any aquarium with grace, elegance, and beauty if there is enough space.

Freshwater Aquarium Catfish (Corydoras)

Add a species of tropical freshwater catfish to your aquarium because Corydoras live at the bottom. They’re easy to care for. Since they are non-aggressive and reside with other calm fish, Corydoras fish are recommended for beginners. These algae-sucking, low-maintenance fish thrive in aquariums’ bottom layers, sucking up debris and other food.

Make sure to use sinking pellets for food if you haven’t had any experience with caring for fish. Otherwise, all the flakes will be eaten by faster fish swimming in the middle and top sections of the tank.

Kuhli Loach

The kuhli loach is a peaceful tropical fish that lives at the bottom of your tank and gives your aquarium a cool, unique look. Bands of yellow stripes wrap around the long bodies of these cool fish, which resemble eels. They will feel right at home feeding on the food that has settled at the bottom of your aquarium.

Beginners may burr beneath gravel and stay there for extended periods of time, which is one of the concerns when caring for the kuhli loach. Kuhli loaches, on the other hand, can provide some excitement to your tank’s bottom in any tropical aquarium setting. In a big aquarium, these snake-like fish may reach lengths of 3″ (7.6 cm).

Tiger Pleco

The tiger pleco is a bottom feeder fish that is suitable for beginning aquarists in freshwater tanks. This is another kind of aquarium catfish that feeds at the bottom of the tank. Gravel in your tank will stay algae-free and other food debris out of the bottom-feeders. Plecos are generally calm and simple to maintain, making them suitable for first-time owners. They, however, need the appropriate environment to survive.

Ensure you have enough ornaments or places for your tiger pleco to hide if you’re considering purchasing one for your fresh aquarium. They may also become territorial and aggressive towards other plecos if you have more than one of the species.

Leave a Comment