Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

You just started learning about aquatic life after investing in your first aquarium and you are more excited than ever. You did not think that a tank of water can be so exciting, but you discovered why so many people partake in this hobby. Creating your own universe, using your imagination, and seeing the final result is priceless.

Freshwater Fish

However, there are many choices that you have to make. While it is pretty easy to find some plants that do not need maintenance, this does not apply to fish. Though you want colorful, eye-catching fish to fit the general ambiance, you do not want them to require a plethora of care. There are some species of freshwater fish that are easy to grow and will look impressive in your aquarium.

Goldfish (Carassius Auratus)

Goldfish are the most preferred species for beginners. Most likely, you have seen many tanks with two small orange fish, which look great even without too much decoration. Goldfish actually come in many different colors, and although they are very easy to maintain, they can grow up to 10 inches or larger depending on the species.

Another advantage is for those that live in a warm climate, a heater for their aquarium is not needed since the ideal water temperature for goldfish is about 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

Black Molly (Poecilia Sphenops)

If you have a smaller aquarium that cannot host big fish, Molly is the perfect choice. One of the reasons why beginners prefer this species is Molly are live bearers, meaning that without any special care, you can wake up with a large number of babies every few weeks.  Introduce a few smaller plants if you are planning to keep the babies; they tend to eat them even if they have enough food.

A group of small black fish will look impressive in any tank, especially in one with spectacular decoration. The Black Molly need a temperature of 22-25 degrees Celsius (71-77 degrees Fahrenheit), therefore a heater is necessary.

The Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splendens)

Commonly known as Betta fish,many people start their aquarium hobby with a small Betta fish. Their colors are amazing, and they can make even the simplest tank look incredible.  Be mindful though; this fish remains single in a small aquarium because it has the reputation of becoming aggressive with other fish. However, as long as you do not keep more than one male in the aquarium, everything will be fine.

The ideal water temperature for Betta Fish is around 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit), and they can die if the temperature goes under 24 (75) degrees. Make sure that the heater is always on and set at the right temperature.

The Platies (Xiphophorus Maculatus)

These fish are a favorite for beginners, especially those with children, because they need little to no maintenance. The males have more coloration and a thinner body, while the females is gray with a colorful tail.

Platies can produce up to 50 babies every month, so starting with only a few fish and waiting for the family to grow will be ideal. Make sure that the babies have places to hide, like plants or decorations, so they will not be eaten by other fish.

The water needs to be between 22-24 degrees Celsius (71-75 degrees Fahrenheit); therefore, depending on the environment around you a heater may or may not be required. They are small, colored, and active, providing your aquarium with a very happy look!

The Tiger Barb (Barbus Tetrazona)

If you want some active fish to change the aspect of your aquarium tank, the small, striped Tiger Barb fish are exactly what you need. They live in a group,with perfectly synchronized movements making them very entertaining.

If the aquarium is large enough, you can add 15 to 20 fish. They are slightly aggressive, but they will never attack each other; however, it is better to keep them separated from bigger fish. Their bigger companions can create problems by teasing or poking them.

The ideal water temperature for the Tiger Barb is 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) and other than the temperature,as long as they are fed,you are free to enjoy the spectacle!

The Zebra Fish (Danio Rario)

This small species of fish is great if you are looking for fish without high requirements. These tiny, striped,good looking Zebra Fish make them fit in any decor, while their active behavior makes them fun to watch.

They live in a group, so you should consider getting at least 8-10 small fish. One amazing thing about the Zebra Fish is that they can live in cooler temperatures between 18 to 26 degrees Celsius (64-78 degrees Fahrenheit). If the temperature is right, you can easily keep the aquarium without a filter. In addition, they need plenty of space for swimming, therefore you should not add too many tall plants.

The Angel Fish (Pterophyllum Scalare)

Angel Fish are some of the most beautiful, but slow fish. No matter how much space they have, they will not swim too much and they are generally not as active.It is recommended to keep them alone in the aquarium or with other similar species since active fish, like the Platies or Zebras, can hurt them. The recommended temperature is around 24 degrees Celsius (75 degrees Fahrenheit), so a heater is necessary.

The most important requirement that you need to consider for this fantastic fish is the quality of the water; they are sensitive to nitrates.  Consistently check the balance of the water to keep your aquarium healthy.


All fish are spectacular if they are treated with care. It depends entirely on you if you prefer something more colorful,simple, or how active the fish are in the tank. Use your imagination and create something that really reflects your artistic vision.This is a passion, a hobby, and as long as you have a healthy aquarium, anything is permitted!

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