16 Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish For Beginners! (With Details)

Fish are the quietest and unpretentious pets. You can keep fishes regardless of the size of the apartment or your work schedule. Beginner aquarists often don’t know which species is best placed in a large or small home aquarium. Our ranking of the best aquarium fish will tell you how to choose them.

What Aquarium Fish Are Better to Buy For Beginners?

For the first aquarium, beginners are advised to choose the most stress-resistant and peaceful fish that can coexist quietly and happily with each other. In a newly (just installed) aquarium, the necessary microflora is not yet available, while bacterial preparations can only aggravate the situation and harm delicate fish.

In any case, before going to the pet store, you should measure the hardness and pH level of the water that you will use. Each type of fish needs its own conditions for a comfortable existence.

Another important criterion is the size of the aquarium. Unfortunately, unscrupulous sellers sometimes offer too large fish that do not survive in small containers. It is better to study the desired breed of fish yourself: to find out how large they grow and how they live in the natural environment – singly, in pairs or in flocks.

Many species of fish as they grow older change not only their behavior but also their color. For example, a small rainbowfish is extremely inconspicuous, but as it grows older it acquires a bright color and becomes a real decoration of the aquarium.

I’ve broken down the list according to fishes and their family! Without wasting any time lets begin!!

The Best Fish from the Poeciliidae Family

In the natural environment, the Poeciliidae family of fish lives in small reservoirs. Unpretentiousness to the conditions of keeping and feeding, as well as bright coloring, made them one of the most popular inhabitants of aquariums around the world.

Guppy Fish – The most common aquarium inhabitants

Guppies are bright fish with a magnificent tail. The colors of this species are extremely diverse, so everyone can find a pet of their taste. The size of the fish is small: the body length of the male does not exceed 3-3.5 cm, the females are slightly larger – up to 6 cm in length, which allows them to be housed in aquariums of any size.

Guppies will feel comfortable everywhere. The species belongs to viviparous. This means that the born fry is fully formed and feed on small fodder. They do not need additional care.

These pets can live in water at a temperature of 19 to 29 degrees. However, they do not like sudden changes and regime changes. Caring for them is extremely simple: feed them with finished food, which you can buy at any pet store, and clean the aquarium on time.

Guppies are extremely peaceful and can cohabit with any other species of non-predatory aquarium fish.


  • original coloring;
  • suitable for small aquariums;
  • the fry do not need special care;
  • peaceful character;
  • sold at all pet stores;
  • withstand a wide range of temperatures.


  • short life expectancy (2-3 years);
  • do not withstand a sharp change in water temperature.

Guppies live in flocks in their natural environment, so you need to buy a few. One or two fish, most likely, will not survive.

Swordtail Fish – The most unpretentious fish

The swordtail got their name due to the sharp caudal fin. They became widespread due to their unpretentiousness to the conditions of keeping. Fish can withstand a drop in water temperature to 15 degrees, capture any food from the surface, easily get along with other small fish.

But keeping them into an aquarium with large fishes is not recommended – with a length of not more than 10 cm (with a tail), the swordtail will quickly become a prey.

The bright red color turns these fish into a real decoration of the aquarium. They live quite a long time – with proper care for up to 5 years. A wide aquarium is recommended for these fish – they are uncomfortable in a narrow one.

They also need good filtration and aeration.


  • withstand a sharp drop in water temperature;
  • get along with other fish;
  • unpretentious to living conditions and nutrition;
  • can be bought everywhere;
  • bright color;
  • longer life span.


  • The male swordtail is aggressive towards each other.

It is recommended to keep only one male Swordtail fish in the aquarium and several females to it. Otherwise, the swordtail may not divide the territory and be at enmity with each other.

Molly Fish – One with the Friendliest view

In the natural environment, Molly fish is inconspicuous, but their aquarium species are distinguished by their brightness and variety of color. The body length of these pets is 3-12 cm, depending on the size of the aquarium.

The species belongs to viviparous, which greatly facilitates the withdrawal of fry. Poecilia is peaceful and easy to get along with both small and large fish. In aquariums, they live on average 3-4 years.

The recommended water temperature is 22-25 degrees, there must be plants in the pond. Filtration and aeration are desirable but not required. It is recommended to start 3 females per male. For each fish enough 1-3 liters of water.


  • reproduction by live birth;
  • variety of colors;
  • small size;
  • peaceful character;
  • suitable for aquariums of any size;
  • can live without aeration and filtration.


  • live food is preferred.

For the maximum beauty and color of Poecilia, It is better to feed them with live food. When eating a dry finished mixture, the fish begin to fade.

Best Labyrinth Fish for the Aquarium

The peculiarity of the labyrinth fish is that they breathe directly with atmospheric air, which means that they do not require additional equipment in the aquarium. In nature, they live in shallow marshy ponds with muddy water and can remain on land for a long time without risk to their life.

Golden Gourami – The hardiest fish

Golden Gouramis have Golden color with dark spots. This gourami is often found in home aquariums. They can survive even in a small tank. The size of this fish in a spacious aquarium can reach 15 cm, but usually at home they are smaller.

Gourami in domestic aquariums can live up to 7-8 years. For the most comfortable existence of the species, soft lighting is recommended, the volume of water for 4 fish from 100 liters, the optimum temperature is 24-26 degrees.

These fishes eat both live and prepared food. However, they are prone to overeating, so you need to accurately dose the amount of food. Gourami cannot live in open aquariums without plants. Any flora, including floating, is welcome.


  • hardy look;
  • lives in almost any environment;
  • longer life span;
  • undemanding to food;
  • Not very expensive.


  • lifeless with some fish.

Males of this species are aggressive towards each other. They can not be settled in an aquarium with small fish, otherwise, the gourami will start hunting for them.

There is also a whole list of fish with which they do not get along. Among them are guppies, goldfish, betta fish, cichlids, and others.

Paradise Fish – The best choice for a beginner aquarist


Paradise fish is a very beautiful fish. Blue body with red stripes and bright red fins make it an eye-soothing fish in many aquariums. It is better to keep them either single or in opposite-sex pairs – males do not get along with each other. You can settle paradise fish with fishes of a similar size.

The species survives easily in low oxygen water. Paradise fish are undemanding to temperature and water level. In summer, they can live even in outdoor ponds without heating themselves. They feed on any kind of food, due to which they are considered ideal fish for a novice breeder.


  • Not very expensive
  • beautiful appearance and bright color;
  • can live without aeration and filtration;
  • suitable for aquariums of any size;
  • tolerate any water parameters.


  • can jump out of the aquarium.

Paradise fish are excellent jumpers, so the aquarium with them must be covered with a lid.

Opaline Gourami – A noble resident of the aquarium

Opaline Gourami is similar to other gouramis in everything except their unusual color. They are also unpretentious in food and living conditions. It is recommended to get no more than one male in the aquarium – these beauties do not stay with the characters of other types of gourami. They breed easily – you only need a spacious aquarium.

Opaline gourami is the result of artificial selection; they do not occur in nature. The size of the fish can reach 15 cm, but usually, the body length is less. The average lifespan of fish is 4-6 years.


  • do not require the purchase of equipment in the aquarium;
  • lives long;
  • unpretentious in food;
  • sold in all stores;
  • easy to breed.


  • not get along with everyone.

Opaline gouramis can be kept even in the absence of artificial aeration, but in this case, it is necessary to ensure that the temperature drop of water and air is small.

Betta Fish – One of the brightest fish

betta fish

Betta fish or fighting fish are loved by aquarists for their unusual bright appearance and fearless nature. The size of the breed is small: the body length of males is about 5 cm, and of females up to 4 cm.

However, in large bodies of water, such fish can grow up to 10 cm. A distinctive feature of the betta fish is an interesting multicolor. They come in one, two, or many shades at once, combining all the colors of the rainbow. Males are usually a little brighter than females.

Fighting fish are fairly easy to care for, but some rules must be followed. Each individual should have at least 3-4 liters of water. You need to change it regularly – these pets do not like dirty muddy surroundings.

The temperature should not fall below 18 degrees. To prevent disease, sometimes you can add a little salt to the aquarium.


  • beautiful unusual color, luxurious fins, and tail;
  • small size;
  • live in almost any water;
  • can be settled in small and large aquariums.


  • it is difficult to maintain the brightness of the color.

The brightness of the color of the betta fish is affected by the quality of lighting, nutrition, and the general condition of the fish. Due to the poor food, they become paler, but during skirmishes with other fish, they acquire the greatest brightness.

Best Catfish For The Aquarium

Catfish is one of the most popular inhabitants of aquariums. In addition to a wide variety of species and unpretentiousness inbreeding, these fish are also useful: they clean the bottom and walls of the house, eat the remnants of food, and do not allow plants to grow too much.

Synodontis Catfish – Catfish for a large aquarium

Synodontis is also called as Changeling or Cuckoo catfish. Their body size ranges from 10 to 30 cm, depending on the variety and size of the aquarium. The main features that unite all the shifters are a scaleless large body, compressed laterally, and color with dark spots.

This catfish spends their majority of time at the bottom or on the very surface of the water, where they swim upside down. Catfish live with proper care for up to 15 years.

Due to the large size of the synodontis, it is worth keeping them in large aquariums. At least 50 liters of water are needed per individual. For a comfortable existence, they also need snags, thickets, or other shelters where the fish can hide.

The comfortable water temperature for this species is 23-28 degrees. These Catfish prefer to live in flocks of 4-6 individuals. Synodontis eats everything that enters the aquarium, so it is not recommended to populate it with small fish – catfish can eat them in search of food. For large species, They remain friendly.


  • lives up to 15 years;
  • undemanding to water quality and temperature;
  • thoroughly cleans the soil and walls of the aquarium;
  • can be settled with most other fish species;
  • picky about food.


  • not suitable for small aquariums.

These catfishes love to dig soil, so all plants need to be tightly strengthened. They also often raise dregs from the bottom, which can be removed only by a powerful filter.

Iridescent shark – The most unusual catfish for large aquariums

Iridescent shark is a large fish resembling a shark in shape and color, which is why it got its second name – Shark catfish. In nature, it reaches 130 cm, in aquariums, it sometimes grows to 100 cm. The species belongs to centenarians and pleases its owners for up to 20 years.

Iridescent shark does not need special care. The main condition for its comfort is an aquarium with a volume of at least 1200 liters. Catfish coexists peacefully with all the fish that it cannot eat. With small species, it is not recommended to settle it. The iridescent shark can live in almost any water – as long as it is clean.


  • unusual appearance;
  • lives up to 20 years;
  • peaceful character;
  • undemanding to water parameters;
  • easy care.


  • eats small fish;
  • you need a very large aquarium.

This Catfish is distinguished by delicate skin, so the soil and decorations in the aquarium must be carefully selected, checking the absence of sharp corners, which the Iridescent shark can get hurt.

Brocade Catfish – The most beautiful catfish

Brocade catfish has a color similar to a leopard. Its body is covered with small dark spots, and on top, there is a beautiful fluffy fin up to 15 cm high. This is a rather large fish – its body length can reach 50 cm, so it is not advisable to keep it in small aquariums.

He eats algae in large quantities, so a pair of such catfish can keep large aquariums clean. Brocade catfish is a true long-liver. In nature, he lives up to 20 years, in aquariums – an average of 10-15 years.

This Catfish can easily get along with any fish, not aggressive, but at night can eat around the scales of flatfish. Angelfish, discus fish, and other slow fish are not the best roommates for him.

Caring for a catfish is not complicated – you need to feed and clean the aquarium on time. For such a large pet, it is better to install a quality filter. The recommended water temperature is from 24 to 30 degrees.


  • effectively cleans the aquarium;
  • long-liver;
  • not aggressive;
  • beautiful view;
  • easy care.


  • only suitable for large aquariums;
  • Eats the scales of some fish.

Brocade catfish is still sold small, and it grows rather slowly. This can mislead an inexperienced aquarist. However, catfish will sooner or later grow out of a small aquarium. The ideal volume of the aquarium for it should be at least 400 liters.

Spotted Hoplo – The best aquarium cleaner

Spotted Hoplo is frequently seen in small aquariums. Its laterally flattened body reaches a length of 10-14 cm. Color from light brown to brown with dark spots. Like all catfishes, he leads a nocturnal lifestyle, is inactive during the day, and prefers to hide under snags or in plants.

He does not show any interest in other fish, regardless of their size. The main thing is that they do not invade their bottom territory.

In nature, the Spotted Hoplo lives for about 5-6 years, while in aquariums, with proper care, it is up to 10. It is recommended to keep many such catfishes – they prefer to live in packs. For catfish, ideal aquariums will be a spacious wide bottom and an abundance of plants that create darkened secluded areas.


  • loving;
  • suitable for small aquariums;
  • lives up to 10 years;
  • thoroughly cleans the bottom.


  • Don’t get along with other bottom fish.

An aquarium with a Spotted Hoplo must be covered with a lid since there are frequent cases of their jumping out of the water. The soil should be smooth and not too shallow. If it is incorrectly selected, the mustache may fall off the catfish.

The best fish from the Cyprinidae Family

The Cyprinidae fish family has over 1,500 species. Most of them are recommended for beginner aquarists. Caring for these fish is straightforward, in addition, they easily get along with most other breeds.

Cherry Barbs – The best flocking fish

Cherry barbs are a small fish with an oblong, slightly flattened lateral body no more than 5 cm long. Bright red fins are decorated with a black edging. Males are completely colored in scarlet color and females in silver-olive. These fish live in flocks of 6-10 individuals. For that amount, a small aquarium of 50 liters is enough.

Cherry barbs are very shy and hide in the secluded places at the slightest danger, therefore it is recommended to populate them in an aquarium with a large number of plants.

Lighting should not be too bright, otherwise, the fish get scared even more. These barbs do not like warm water. The ideal temperature is 22-24 degrees. Otherwise, this fish does not have high requirements for the quality of water and food.


  • suitable for small aquariums;
  • bright color;
  • peaceful character;
  • easy care.


  • very shy;
  • It cannot be kept with veil tails.

Cherry barbs can get along with almost everyone, but it shows interest in fluffy tails and fins and can bite them off.

Tiger Barbs – The most active resident of aquariums

Tiger barb fish also known as Sumatran Barbs is an active fish that always remains in sight and pleases the owner with its appearance. These pets grow up to 7 cm in length. Their yellow-orange body is decorated with 4 pronounced black stripes.

The life span of a barb in aquariums does not exceed 5 years, but they often die earlier due to improper maintenance. The Sumatran looks very peaceful, but because of its restlessness, it will make all slow neighbors hide.

This Barb quickly adapts to any conditions of detention and does not experience stress when moving. To colonize the flocks, a long aquarium of at least 50 liters is recommended.

Water should be soft, the recommended temperature is 20-25 degrees. It is better to fill the soil with colored soil. With light sand, the color of the fish may become less bright.


  • beautiful color;
  • adapts to any conditions of existence;
  • does not require complicated care;
  • always in sight.


  • None

During the rest, the Sumatran barbs hang in the water, lowers the front of the body down, and hangs at an angle to the bottom. Inexperienced aquarists think that the fish is not healthy, in fact, this is a feature of sleep inherent in a particular species.

Comet Goldfish – Easy To Care Goldfish

Comet is a breed of a goldfish, bred artificially for aquariums. The shape of her body is oblong, the tail is long veiled. It often exceeds the body length by two to three times and resembles fluttering tissue.

The length of the comet is on average 15–20 cm. The color is orange or red; there are bright spots on the sides. Aquarists consider fish with a different body and fin colors to be especially valuable.

These pets live for a long time – about 10-15 years. They are quite large and like free space, so putting comets into small aquariums is not recommended. The optimal size is from 100 liters per a couple of individuals. There must be plants and other shelters in the pond where the fish can hide and relax.

The comet goldfish is not demanding on water and tolerates temperatures from 18 to 30 degrees. Fish are also not sensitive to increased stiffness or chemical impurities. Only the saturation of the color of the comet depends on the brightness of lighting – the more light, the more beautiful the color.

There are no special requirements for feeding – goldfish are omnivorous. The view is peaceful and coexists with all non-aggressive neighbors.


  • live in any water;
  • beautiful appearance;
  • peaceful character;
  • live 10-15 years;
  • eat any food;
  • sold at most pet stores.


  • need a large aquarium;
  • love to dig up the roots of plants.

Comets are very active, so the aquarium must be closed with a tight lid. They often jump out of the water and die.

Veiltail Goldfish – Long-living variety of Goldfish

Veiltail is another representative of goldfish. He is loved by aquarists for their incredibly beautiful appearance and unpretentiousness to the conditions of keeping. The body of the fish is egg-shaped.

The color of the body and fins can be different: bronze, red-golden, pale pink, black, white, yellow, black, and blue. The rarest option is a blue-eyed veiltail. The tail is long, beautifully fluttering with a lush veil, for which the fish got its name.

For a comfortable view of the species, a water volume of 50 liters per individual is recommended. It is better to keep the temperature low – up to 23 degrees.

The fish is unpretentious in food and will agree to everything that the owner will offer it. The breed lives up to 20 years, it can grow up to 25 cm (depending on the size of the aquarium).

The veiltail is not aggressive, but many other fish often bite its tail and fins, so you need to choose your tankmates carefully. He will get along with telescopes, pearls, or orandas without any problems, but barbs or any fish like that are not recommended.


  • unpretentious to food and water;
  • beautiful fluffy tail;
  • long lives;
  • not aggressive.


  • not suitable for small or round containers.

Often veil tails are housed in round aquariums. However, in this case, the growth of the fish slows down and its vision deteriorates. Veil-tails also love to dig soil, so there is no need to fill in fine sand.

It is better to give preference to large stones that will not raise turbidity in the water. There should be no plants in the aquarium at all, otherwise, the fish will pluck them quickly.

Crucian Carp – The most popular goldfish

Crucian carp is also a popular representative of goldfish. It reaches 15-20 cm in length with a fairly spacious aquarium. The average life expectancy is 10-15 years.

The goldfish do not require special care: the room temperature of the water and a little aeration are all that it needs. Crucian can get along with almost all non-predatory breeds.

In food, the fish is illegible and eats everything from dry food to lettuce or nettle. The scales of the breed are quite delicate, so when choosing an aquarium decor, you should check the absence of sharp edges. Plants are best planted with dense leaves, otherwise, pets can pinch them.


  • omnivorous;
  • lives up to 15 years;
  • sold in all pet stores;
  • getting along with almost all fish;
  • easy care.


  • prone to gluttony.

When keeping Crucian carp, the recommended dosage of feeding must be carefully observed, otherwise, the fish will overeat


I’ve listed all kinds of fishes I’m aware are easy to care and keeping newbie aquarists in mind. Feel free to comment your thoughts or suggestions.