If you’re a beginner to freshwater fish, you might need a little help in choosing fish for your first fish tank. You should only choose fish that can co-exist with one another, as you probably will want to set up a community tank. You should also take into consideration which type of fish tank you are going to want to have (cold water or warm water aquarium fish tank).
Below is a list of the best freshwater aquarium fish fish for beginners.
Freshwater Fish for Beginners
When starting out your tank, you should choose the type of aquarium you would like to set up first (cold water or warm water). As you keep reading, you will see that some cold water fish can be mixed with some warm water fish, but do not apply this rule to all the fish on this list. Mixing two different types of fish that need different water temperatures can cause your fish to be under a lot of stress. Below, you will see our hand-picked 10 freshwater fish for beginners.
1. Gold Fish
The goldfish is probably the number one bought cold water fish today. Goldfish come in all different sizes and colors. The most common are the bubbly faced or the fantail (fancy) goldfish.
The best thing about them is that they’re not picky eaters. They will usually eat anything and everything. Having this in mind, they produce a lot of waste, so you should do a weekly 10% water change.
Most cold water fish are large fish containing multiple species of goldfish and koi. Other cold water fish may include some warm water fish such as:
- Pearl Danio
- Weather Loach
- Bloodfin Tetras
- Gold Barb, Green Barb, Rosy Barb
- White Cloud Mountain Minnow
If you’ve decided on keeping a warm water fish tank (tropical fish tank), here are some ideas.
Guppies are fairly cheap and can add quite a bit of color to your tank. Guppies are very friendly and peaceful, which makes them a great addition to any community tank.
Guppies do well in groups. But be careful, if kept in a good female to male ratio, you may have a lot of baby guppies later on. It might be best to pick a single gendered group.
Mollies do great in community tanks. They are very peaceful and friendly fish. The reason why most people like mollies is because of the way they can adapt to different types of waters (fresh, brackish, and salt). One downfall that mollies may have may be the way some live. For maximum health, mollies prefer at least 1 tablespoon of aquarium salt per gallon of water. Some mollies have adapted to pure freshwater, but if yours hasn’t, it may be best to house in a separate tank. The salt levels may not be suitable for other fish.
If you have enough room in your tank, swordtails may be worth looking into. Color and uniqueness is what these fish bring to the table. The long bottom fin (sword tail) is what makes them so unique. They love a lot of room, as they are very active fish and love to swim. They do best in groups and can be in a community tank if given enough space.
They prefer brackish tanks, so it may be best to house these fish with other brackish fish like mollies.
5. Neon Tetras
Neon tetras make any tank look good. They do best in groups (minimum of 6). The more tetras you buy, they more safe and relaxed they will feel. They are quite amazing to watch swimming in an aquarium as a group.
They might not be that big, but they sure will take up all the room you give them. They are quite active and love swimming around.
6. Corydoras Catfish
What’s a freshwater tank without a cory catfish? Cory catfish are a lot of fish-keepers favorites because of their hardyness. They don’t die easily and are very calm with other fish. They do great in groups of at least 4.
Cory catfish will normally spend their days at the bottom of the tank searching for food. They will eat any left over food and other special sinking foods (sinking pellets and frozen blood worms).
Danios are great fish for beginners. They are very hardy and are easy to take care of. Some danio species that are really easy to take care of are Zebra, Leopard, and Pearl. Pearl Danios are the larger species of danios but are probably the most hardy of them all. It will tolerate temperatures into the mid 60’s without difficulty, and is easy to find.
Danios are omnivorous, accepting almost any foods. They particularly enjoy small live or frozen invertebrates, and fresh vegetable matter.
Barbs can add great color to any fish tank. Some great starters are the Cherry, Gold, Rosy, Ruby, Purple, and Tico Barbs. Stay away from Tinfoil barbs, as this specie tends to nip at other fish.
Platy’s are very hardy fish, and are good beginner fish, but are in no way limited to those who have just started keeping fish.They have great personalities and love exploring the entire tank. Platies range in many different colors including red, orange, yellow, white, blue, and black.
The best part about them is that they are pretty darn cheap
Bettas are absolutely beautiful. The picture to the left speaks for itself. They do well with peaceful, friendly, and dull-colored fish. In my opinion, bettas are one of the best freshwater fish for beginners. Although bettas get along with other fish, you should stay away from mixing two bettas in a single fish tank.
Because of their long fins, make sure to not put them in a tank with any fish who may try to nip at the fins.
Bettas will usually eat the normal fish flake food diet which makes feeding them easy.
Advice for Beginners
When looking for fish, try aiming for fish that are hardy, easy to take care of, and are small. Usually, small fish are much easier to care for then larger fish. You also have a better chance of getting small fish to cooperate with one another, especially if you are trying to start up a community tank with numerous amounts of fish.
You should also choose fish that require the same diet, water requirements, and tank setup. Choosing a mixture of fish that require different needs may be a huge problem.
Beginner Freshwater Fish Prices
Common Goldfish – $2.89
Koi – $3.49
Guppy – $4.99 – $7.49
Molly – $2.29 – $6.99
Swordtail – $2.79
Neon Tetra – $1.89
Corydoras Catfish – $9.99
Danio – $1.89
Barb – $1.99
Platty – $1.29
Betta – $3.99
This is only a small list of the many fish available in the pet trade. Do not let this list limit you on what you can and can not get. This is just a simple list showing some of the best freshwater fish for beginners.