20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Once you step in the aquarium hobby, there are many 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners to start this hobby. One of them is to pick your fishes to put in the aquarium.

In this article, you will be educated with the basic requirement for some of the beginners.

There fishes listed here can tolerate higher amount of nitrate and nitrite. Means won’t die easily if you forgot to change the water.

The following freshwater fish are in no particular order, they’re all suitable for you.

1.  Ryukin Goldfish

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 1 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Care level: Easy- Medium
  • Temperature:65-75 degrees
  • Approx. Size: 6-8″

Overview of Ryukin Goldfish Care

A bright central piece fish, it’s very hardy and got a great personality. The Ryukin is available in many colors: orange-and-white, red, chocolate, green, blue, calico and other white-and-red or white-and-orange variants.

The body of the Ryukin is extraordinarily deep, almost as deep as the body is long, and its high dorsal fin makes it look even higher. This gives them a more pointed appearance to the head, but they also have wider tail fins than the Fantail.

Ryukin is one of the twin-tails so it has a pair of tail fins, anal fins, pectoral fins and ventral fins.

Recommended tankmates are Cory catfish, Rubbernose,  Bristlenose Plecos and any fantail goldfish. Avoid common goldfish, Comets and Shubunkins as they will outcompete Ryukin for food.

These goldfish are prepared to eat just about any food but it’s is better to feed them a balance diet of  Vegetables, fruits, Plants, Flakes, Pellets and Live food(earthworms, Bloodworms and Daphnia). Feeding should be once or twice a day and should be done at the same time each day. Being one of the egg-shaped body twin-tails, don’t feed it food with too much high protein or mass fish flakes. As  it’s prone to the Swim Bladder disorder.

Water changes of 25 to 35 percent are strongly recommended to keep these fish healthy. Adding Snails can reduce the algae in the tank, helping to keep it clean. I highly recommended pothos plant can be also added as they will absorb the abundant of nitrates, helping to minimize algae growth, its the same concept as aquaponics. Click Here for more information about aquaponics. 

 

2. Angelfish

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 2 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:76-82 degrees
  • Approx. Size: 6″

 

Overview of Angelfish Care

One of the well-knew common freshwater fish and commonly sold in fish store, Angelfish is a personalize fish that will most likely greet you.

 

There are many variety of angelfish: Veil Angelfish, Marble Angelfish, Albino Angelfish, Leopard Angelfish, Black Lace Angelfish, Gold Angelfish, Koi Angelfish and many more.

Angelfish can be territorial in smaller tanks, so be sure to provide adequate space. Suitable tankmates are Cory catfish, Neon tetra, Bristlenose Pleco, Platies, Mollies, Kribensis Cichlids, Kuhli Loaches. In my opinion Cory catfish are by far the best tank mates for angelfish.

Angelfish are omnivorous, will eat shrimp, flakes, small pellets or granules, and meaty frozen foods, such as brine and bloodworms. Feeding should be once daily. Some recommendation of food you can feed to them.

 


Water changes of 20 to 25 percent water change about every two weeks are highly recommended.

3. Mollies

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 3 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:75-80 degrees
  • Approx. Size: 4″

 

Overview of Mollies Care

One of the many Live-bearing fish, it can be kept in  fresh water, brackish and marine water. The mollies is available in many colour: Gold Dust Molly, Black Molly, Marble Lyretail Molly. The 3 primitive colors are white,, orange and black.

Recommended tankmates are: Platys, Swordtails, Gourami fish, Female Bettas, Endlers, Danios, Minnows, Tetras, Snails, Shrimp, Guppies.

 

Mollies are omnivorous, will eat a high-quality flake food, such as the Optimum All Purpose Flakes, from New Life Spectrum. You should supplement the flake foods with live, or frozen foods such as bloodworms, blackworms, daphnia and brine shrimp. Feeding should be once or twice a day.

 

Mollies are closely related and very easy to breed. A mature female will give live birth about once a month or so in an aquarium. However, if you want the fry to survive until adulthood, you have to take several steps to care for them, including protecting them from other fish in the tank that may eat them.

 

4. Ram Cichlid

Number 3 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 3 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 12-gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:75-81 degrees
  • Approx. Size: 4-5″

 

 

Overview of Ram Cichlid Care

Ram Cichlid are usually very peaceful fish compared to other cichlids and in normal living conditions they will not attack other fish.  They can become stressed if they don’t find enough hiding places, as they do love their privacy. Add extra plants, caves, and pieces of wood or clay pots for them to hide in.


There are variety of Ram Cichlid: German blue rams , Gold rams , and Bolivian rams.

 

Recommended tankmates are: Kuhli Loaches,  Clown Loaches, Cardinal Tetra, Neon tetra and Cory catfish.

 

Ram Cichlid are omnivorous, will eat all types of live and frozen feed – blood worm, tubifex, brine shrimp. German blue ram has to be fed 2-3 times a day with small portions of feed. Some of the cichlids eat flakes and granules, but not very willingly as a rule.

 

5. Cory Catfish

Number 5 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallon
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:72 – 78 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2.5″

 

Overview of Cory Catfish Care

Cory Catfish are very social creatures, especially with others of their kind. While Cory Cats can survive alone, they seem much happier in a group of two or more. Two Cory Cats of the same type will often stay close to one another as they move throughout the tank to feed.

 

Cory catfish have a calm, peaceful and non-aggressive temperament. Which mean they are suitable with almost easy- medium size fish.

 

There are many variety of Cory Catfish: Bandit Cory, Bronze Cory, Julii Cory, Panda Cory, Pepper Cory, Skunk Cory, Three Stripe Cory, Albino Cory catfish.

 

 

A Cory Catfish is a bottom dweller, so it’s a good idea to keep at least 2 inches of aquarium gravel or substrate on the tank bottom. I recommended fine sand as it will prevent them from damaging their barbels while feeding. Cory Catfish also seem to really enjoy a tank with lots of hiding places for the fish to rest.


Cory catfish are omnivores and typically feed on the bottom, recommended sinking food specifically for Catfish and black/blood worms.

6.  Neon Dwarf Rainbow

Number 6 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 30 gallon
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:74 – 78 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2.5″

Overview of Rainbowfish Care

The neon dwarf rainbowfish is a species of fish in the family Melanotaeniidae. Recommended to get a ratio of one male to three females.

 

Recommended tankmate are: larger tetras, peaceful barbs, Rasboras, danios, catfish and even non-aggressive cichlids such as Kribensis.

 

Rainbowfish are omnivores and need both vegetable matter and meat based foods in their diet. Neon dwarf rainbowfish will thrive on Tropical Flakes, Color Flakes, Spirulina Flakes, and Betta Treat.

7. Bristlenose pleco

Number 7 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years plus
  • Min. Tank Size: 25 gallon
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:60 – 80 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 5″

Overview of Rainbowfish Care

I recommended Bristlenose Pleco over the Common Pleco because of their smaller size and they are easier to keep. There are different colour form: Brown, Black, Grey an Albino.

One of the main reasons this fish is so common in home aquariums, is because of its useful ability to keep algae down.

Recommended tankmates: The fish is a territory dependent one, however this concerns only the fish of the same kind. Males start fighting for territory and the one that is larger makes the smaller one leave. more housing space recommended

Bristlenose Pleco are omnivores, Their diet should consist of around 85% plant matter and 15% protein. A few examples of thing you could try are, parboiled lettuce or cabbage leaves, carrots, cucumber or peas. Remember to take any left of food or vegetables out of the tank within a day of feeding them to avoid them starting to deteriorate and affect the water conditions. By putting a piece of driftwood in your tank, not only will you be providing them with fibrous matter

8. Gourami

Number 8 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 4 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:74 – 79 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: Up to 6

Overview of Gourami  Care

There are many different types of Gourami, but we will be focusing on the smaller type: Pearl Gourami,Moonlight Gourami, Kissing Gourami,Dwarf Gourami, Chocolate Gourami, Honey Gourami and the Blue Gourami.

 

These Gourami are generally peaceful fish that do well in a tank community. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule: the males, in particular may be aggressive to others of the same species. It’s best to keep these fish with others of about the same size and temperament; they can also live happily with other small schooling fish. I recommended: Swordtails, Mollies, Bristlenose plecos, barbs, Cory catfish, Platies, Danios, Rasboras and Kuhli Loaches.

 

These Gourami  are omnivores, will accept many foods and are generally quite easy to feed. Flake, freeze-dried and frozen foods are all readily taken. For optimum health, offer fresh vegetables such as lettuce, cooked peas, and spinach as part of a varied diet. Live foods such as black worms, brine shrimp.

9. Neon Tetra

Number 9 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:70 – 81 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 1.5″

Overview of  Neon Tetra Care

They are a great, non-aggressive, community fish and spend the majority of their time in the middle of the water column. There are 3 types of colour from; Blue, Red and Translucent.

 These fish should generally be kept in schools with at least 15 members. Smaller schools than this can feel threatened and this can cause stress.

If you plan to Aquascape your aquarium tank, I recommended adding plants, driftwood, dark colour  substrate and you can use small rocks and pebbles like you would find on the river bed.

Recommended tankmates: Smaller kind Gourami, Barbs, Cory catfish, Bettas and Angelfish.

Neon Tetra are Omnivorous, will eat pellets, flakes, frozen and live. Some example of live/frozen food: Blood worm, brine Shrimp, Daphnia and Tubifex.

10. Kuhli Loach

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 10 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:75 – 85 Degrees
  • Approx. Size:  4″

Overview of  Kuhli Loach Care

Kuhli Loach is one of the odd ball aquarium, these loaches are peaceful fish and prefer to be kept in schools of 3 or more.

 

Kuhli Loach have a calm, peaceful and non-aggressive temperament. Which mean Many fish can be kept as tank mates with the Kuhli Loach as long as precaution is taken not to include fish that are able to take them for a bite of food. In other words, don’t keep fish that are big enough to eat them.

They also prefer sand for substrate but if sand is not appropriate, smooth stones should be used so that the loach won’t scratch its body on gravel or stones. Sharp edged decorations also would not be a good idea, with their habit of squeezing into tight places they could get badly scratched.  See examples below.

They scavenge for food mainly at dusk or in the dark as they are nocturnal, and spend most of their time hiding in the substrate, plants and decorations during the day. But with time most of them readily learn to eat during the day time. Being scavengers they eat most fish food, however sinking food pellets are preferred as well as live foods, for instance; Bloodworms and brine shrimp. It is recommended to feed them either, just before the lights are turned off for the night or after the lights have been off for a while. Don’t switch on the lights during the process it may scare the fish back into hiding.

11. Cherry Barb

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 11 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 7 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:75 – 80 Degrees
  • Approx. Size:  2″

Overview of  Cherry Barb Care

Cherry barb temper is rather peaceful and the fish isn’t demanding itself, so it does well with all peaceful fishes. it’s desirable to keep about 6-10 species in a tank. This reduces the fish stress and makes it less timid. Besides, the male fish demonstrates brighter coloring in the presence of rivals.

Recommended tankmates are: White cloud mountain, minnow, harlequin Rasbora, Cory catfish, Cardinal Tetra, neon tetra, betta fish, angelfish and shrimp.

 

Cherry barbs are omnivorous and will thrive on Tropical Flakes, Color Flakes, Tropical Granules and Shrimp Pellets. Frozen and live foods can also be fed as treats or to help induce spawning. For best results, rotate their diet daily and feed only what they can consume in under 2 minutes, once or twice a day.

 

12. Swordtail

Number 12 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 3 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:74 – 82 Degrees
  • Approx. Size:  Up t0 2.4″

Overview of  Swordtail Care

There are many  coloring, it difficult to select just one pattern, though red with black tail seems to be the most spread one. It’s quite a complicated task to describe all the species, since there is a large variety of its hybrids; koi swordtail, pineapple swordtail, neon swordtail.

Recommended tank mates are: angelfish, kribensis, kuhli loach, emperor tetra. I recommended to keep one male and 3-4 males in a tank or lots of males in a spacious tank with females.

 

Swordtail are omnivorous and will eat artificial, live or frozen food. They like to feed on algae, if your tank don’t have much algae, you always can buy fish food flakes with vegetable supplements.

 

Swordtail are very easy to breed, just like from other live-bearing fish: guppy, molly fish. A mature female will give live birth about once a month or so in an aquarium. However, if you want the fry to survive until adulthood, you have to take several steps to care for them, including protecting them from other fish in the tank that may eat them.

 

13. Guppy

Number 13 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 15 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:65 – 82 Degrees
  • Approx. Size:  Up t0 6″

Overview of  Guppy Care

The guppy, also known as millionfish and rainbow fish, is one of the world’s most widely distributed tropical fish, and one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species. There are a plenty of colour from, every colour imaginable, size and tail shapes.

The most common tank mates for a Guppy, is more Guppies! They can also be kept with other peaceful community fish such as Mollies, Platies, Gouramis, Corydoras and peaceful tetras. Almost all livebearers such as ender’s livebearers and swordtails can make ideal tank mates for them too.

 

Guppies are omnivores, will eat tropical fish flakes, live/frozen food such as  bloodworms.They are not fussy eaters and will eat whatever you give them, including mosquito larvae.

Guppy are very easy to breed, just like from other live-bearing fish: swordtail, molly fish. A mature female will give live birth about once a month or so in an aquarium. However, if you want the fry to survive until adulthood, you have to take several steps to care for them, including protecting them from other fish in the tank that may eat them. CLICK HERE to learn how to breed them.

 

14. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

Number 14 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:64 – 72 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 1.5″

Overview of  White Cloud Mountain Minnow Care

The fish is very plain and not demanding, peaceful and good-looking. Its small size and compatibility with other fishes make it a perfect choice for the beginners. These fish should generally be kept in schools with at least 8 members. Smaller schools than this can feel threatened and this can cause stress.

Recommended tankmates are: Ghost Shrimp, Fancy Guppies, Glass Fish, Small Fish such as Neon Tetras, Glow Light Tetras, Black Phantom Tetras,  Rasboras and Cory Catfish. While in cold water tanks, good tank mates include stone catfish, paradise fish, loaches, Chinese barbs, etc.

 

White Cloud Mountain Minnow are omnivores, will eat artificial, live/frozen food. Foods I would go with frozen blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp and mysis shrimp aren’t bad. I also feed live blackworms and flightless fruitflies.

15. Betta

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 15 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 2.5 gallons
  • Temperament: Friendly except its own kind
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:78 – 80 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 1.5″

Overview of  Betta Care

The Siamese fighting fish, commonly known as the betta, is a popular fish in the aquarium trade. There are a plenty of colour from, every colour imaginable, size and tail shapes.

Recommended tankmates are any schooling fish that won’t nip and tear the betta’s fin: Guppy, Molly, swordtail, White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Cory catfish, Neon tetra, Bristlenose pleco and Kuhli Loach.

Betta is a carnivore (meat eater), so provide it with a varied and high protein diet. Many Betta foods are available on the market today, and most frozen or processed tropical fish foods are also appropriate. Bettas have small appetites, so don’t overfeed them.

I recommended this set if you don’t have much knowledge about beneficial bacteria.

16. Zebra Danios

Number 16 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 3 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 5 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:65 – 77 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2.5″

Overview of  Betta Care

Danios are schooling fish, so they need to be kept in groups of at least 5. As with most other schooling fish, if the numbers are too low, they can become stressed, and start acting out of the ordinary.

 

Recommended tankmates are: All Barbs, All Rainbows, Similar sized Gouramis, Clown/ Yoyo Loaches, Swordtails, Bristlenose Pleco, and Corydoras Catfish.

Zebra Danios are far from fussy eaters. They will eat just about anything you feed them. A good quality flake food will more than suffice, but we highly recommend supplementing their diet with the occasional live food or frozen foods.

 

17.Bloodfin Tetra

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 17 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 7 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:70 – 80 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2″

Overview of  Bloodfin Tetra Care

The Bloodfin usually swims in the middle to upper sections of the tank. Many people like the Bloodfin Tetra for their beautiful, yet discreet, coloration. They have silver bodies with a greenish tone, depending on the aquarium lighting, and red fins, which give these fish their name.

 

These fish should generally be kept in schools with at least 5 members. The Bloodfin Tetra may be a bit shy at the beginning, especially if not kept in a large school, as they are schooling fish, they feel more secure and happy inside a large group.

Recommended tankmates are: Any Tetra, Guppy, Molly, swordtail, White Cloud Mountain Minnow, Cory catfish, Neon tetra, Bristlenose pleco and Kuhli Loach.

 

Bloodfin are omnivores, will eat classical flake food, but it’s best to feed them tubifex worms, silk worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, dried food, or frozen food occasionally to make sure they get all the nutrients they need.

18. Rasboras

Number 18 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 8 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:74– 78 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2″

Overview of  Bloodfin Tetra Care

Rasboras are schooling fish, so they’re best purchased in groups of 7 or more, although groups of 25 or more are a sight to behold! They are peaceful, colorful fish, and most species grow to less than 4 inches,

Recommended tankmates are: Small tetras, croaking, sparkling and chocolate gouramis, celestial danios, pentazona barbs, guppies and platies. Suitable bottom dwellers include Otocinclus, Kuhli and other small peaceful loaches, and Cory catfish.

Rasbora does well on a diet of prepared flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex.

 

19. Otocinclus

20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Number 19 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:72– 82 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 2″

Overview of  Otocinclus Care

Otocinclus are super peaceful, it have the ability to breathe the same air as you and me, if you notice the otocinclus rising to the surface for air, means could be a sign that your aquarium water is lacking in oxygen. I recommended this air pump as it is silent and long lasting.


Recommended tankmates are: Boraras, Cory cats, Dwarf Gouramis, Neon Tetras and Rasbora.

 

Otocinclus love to constantly graze on soft green algae. most aquarium with a stable ecosystem will not produce enough algae to sustain 6 or more otocinclus. I recommended vegetables: Brussel Sprouts, Romaine Lettuce, Spinach and Zucchini. Algae wafer is another option to feed Otocinclus.

20. Pentazona Barb

Number 20 in 20 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners.

Basic requirement

  • Lifespan: Up to 5 years
  • Min. Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Care level: Easy
  • Temperature:79– 84 Degrees
  • Approx. Size: 3.5″

Overview of  Pentazona Barb Care

The Five Banded Barb is a shoaling fish and it should be kept in groups consisting of at least 5 individuals in the aquarium. Ideally include floating plants in the set up since this species appreciates a covered surface. Providing cover becomes especially important if the aquarium is brightly lit.

A dark substrate is recommended. It is important to include plenty of hiding spots, e.g. by using plants, rocks and roots.

 

Recommended tankmate are: Cory catfish, Bristlenose Pleco, Cherry barb, Red-tailed Shark and Clown loach.

 

Pentazona barb is an omnivorous species that will accept most types of food. It needs both meaty and green food in the aquarium to stay healthy. Keep it on a varied diet, e.g. by combining flake food with live, fresh or frozen meaty foods.

 

Conclusion

This is just a list of fishes I recommended for you all means that there will be more option to choice from, explore the aquarium hobby to find all kind of different and cool fishes.

Remember, before you go adding any fish to your tank, make sure you’ve cycled your aquarium so it’s a safe environment for you fish.

 

I recommended to add pothos plant to all your aquarium, it can use to absorb the abundant of nitrates, helping to minimize algae growth,

 

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