Last update: October 31, 2023

Top 10 Aquarium Fish For Beginners – Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started

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Setting up an aquarium is an exciting journey, and choosing the right fish to populate it can make all the difference. For beginners, it’s crucial to start with fish that are hardy, adaptable, and relatively easy to care for.

In this article, we present a comprehensive list of the top 10 aquarium fish that are perfect for those new to the world of fishkeeping. These fish not only bring color and life to your tank but also provide an enjoyable and stress-free experience.

Aquarium Fish For Beginners

Join us as we explore these fascinating aquatic creatures, their unique characteristics, and invaluable insights to ensure a successful and fulfilling aquarium journey.

1. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

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Guppies are a fantastic starter option for new aquarists. Their dazzling colors liven up any aquarium. Like tetras, they’re robust and forgiving of variable water conditions, ideal within 70 to 80°F.

While guppies, in general, aren’t fussy eaters, they do need a well-rounded diet. Newborn guppies specifically need protein-rich foods like brine shrimp and microworms. Adults, however, still benefit from a balanced diet, making them perfect for a community tank with tetras.

2. Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)

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Platies are peaceful and easygoing fish that come in various colors, from bright oranges to subtle pastels.

They eat almost anything, from frozen fare to veggies. Good-quality pellets can be a primary food source, complemented by occasional fresh foods.

They are known for their playful nature and are great for community tanks. With minimal care requirements, platies are an excellent choice for beginners.

3. Swordtails (Xiphophorus hellerii)

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Sporting tail fins that look like mini swords, swordtails are active, much like tetras. They appreciate a more extensive environment. Feeding them is a no-fuss affair. Swordtails are game to eat commercial food but thrive on an assorted diet, including plant matter and protein. Pellets and algae wafers are good options.

4. Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)

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Mollies are stylish swimmers and go well with tetras in a community tank. Their adaptability makes them ideal for beginners. While mollies are community-minded and thrive with others like tetras, they eat whatever you serve, from commercial pellets to fresh produce.

5. Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)

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Neon tetras are small, schooling fish that add a beautiful pop of color to any aquarium. They are like little jewels, making them superb tetras for beginners.

They cohabit well with others and prefer similar water conditions. Geographical variations mean some might prefer slightly different pH levels, but most enjoy a community setup and work well with species like Rasboras.

6. Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras species)

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These bottom-dwelling catfish are excellent tank cleaners and come in various species, each with distinct patterns. Corydoras catfish are social creatures and should be kept in groups.

They’re the custodians of the tank, spending their days scavenging the substrate. Though they love the bottom of the tank, don’t mistake them for leftovers lovers. You should opt for a balanced diet, including fish flakes and pellets.

7. Betta Fish (Betta splendens)

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Betta fish, often called Siamese fighting fish, are known for their striking fins and vibrant colors. While males should be kept alone due to their territorial nature, they are relatively easy to care for and can thrive in smaller tanks.

With flamboyant fins and vivid hues, Betta fish can be a centerpiece in your aquarium. Their diet is straightforward. Feeding them pellets once or twice a day suffices.

8. Zebra Danios (Danio rerio)

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Zebra danios are energetic and hardy fish that can tolerate various water conditions. Their black and white striped pattern adds visual interest to your tank. They are excellent for beginners who want active swimmers in their aquarium.

These active swimmers are a visual delight, much like tetras. Their diet is simple: flakes and a sprinkle of vegetable matter like spinach suffice

9. White Cloud Mountain Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes)

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These small, peaceful fish are perfect for cold-water setups and are ideal for beginners. Their shimmering silver and white bodies create a serene display in the tank.

These are ideal for those who wish to keep the tank at a cooler temperature. A mix of commercial feed and small prey like Daphnia can provide a balanced diet.

10. Plecos (Hypostomus plecostomus)

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Commonly known as plecos or sucker-mouth catfish, these fish are known for their algae-eating abilities. They help maintain clean glass and decorations in the aquarium. However, remember that some species can grow large, so research the specific type before purchasing.

These algae munchers are fantastic tank cleaners, though their size varies. They enjoy a mix of commercial and natural food, best when supplemented with some vegetable matter.

Each of these species has its unique traits but they all share one quality: they are excellent choices for newbie aquarists. Whether you want to add a splash of color or a cleaning crew to your community tank, there’s a fish here for every need.

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Choosing the right fish for your aquarium is an important decision, especially for beginners. The top 10 fish listed above are known for their hardiness, adaptability, and relatively simple care requirements.

Whether you’re looking to create a vibrant community tank or a serene aquatic environment, these fish will add beauty and excitement to your fishkeeping journey.

Remember to research each species thoroughly and provide them with the appropriate tank conditions to ensure their long and healthy lives in your aquarium.

David Kusner

Veteran fish keeper and keen hobbyist with a serious case of MTS. My midlife crisis was the establishment of a fish room, much to my wife's horror. Little does she know it could be worse!!

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