Categories
Last update: May 27, 2024

15 Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish 🐠

We’ve compiled a list of the best freshwater aquarium fish for fish keepers who are looking to add new pets to their tanks. This list includes a diverse range of fish species, each with unique characteristics and care requirements.

This list starts with the Betta Fish, a popular species known for its exquisite fins and stunning colors and many other fascinating species.

We will also provides common facts about each fish and the best care tips to help fish keepers make informed decisions on their aquatic experience.

Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Dive into the world of freshwater aquarium fish with our top picks! Discover the best freshwater aquarium fish for your vibrant aquatic environment.

You will also like these other top posts in this category:

1. Betta Fish

shutterstock 1832660218 4

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species. They are renowned for their stunning colors and exquisite fins.

Betta fish are an excellent choice for beginner fish keepers as they can be maintained in a tank of just five gallons or more. However, it is important to note that male betta fish should never be kept together in the same tank as they are highly territorial and aggressive towards each other.

Some common facts about betta fish include:

β€’ Betta fish prefer warm water with a temperature range of 76-82Β°F.

β€’ They are carnivorous and require a diet of high-quality fish food or live food such as brine shrimp or bloodworms.

β€’ Betta fish are labyrinth fish, which means they have a special organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface of the water.

β€’ They are also known for their bubble nests, which they create by blowing bubbles on the surface of the water to protect their eggs.

Overall, betta fish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are easy to care for and provide a stunning display of colors and patterns.

2. Angelfish

shutterstock 1833244357 2
Twospined angelfish (Centropyge bispinosa)

The angelfish is a tropical fish of the cichlid family that is known for its striking appearance. With their enormous fins on their back and belly, these freshwater aquarium fish frequently stand taller than long.

They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, making them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

One of the most appealing aspects of angelfish is their ability to coexist with other calm species like tetras and Cory catfish, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

However, it’s important to note that they require a warmer water temperature than most other species, which can be challenging for beginners to maintain.

Overall, angelfish are a stunning addition to any freshwater aquarium and can provide hours of enjoyment for their owners.

3. Goldfish

shutterstock 1167062059 2

Goldfish are one of the most common freshwater aquarium fish species. They have been preserved for decades, and there are several strange and unique breeds of this common fish.

However, they are not recommended for beginners as they get rather large and will consume many plants. They are also hard on the bio load of your aquarium as they’re large and messy eaters.

They prefer colder water and won’t need a heater in most homes. Many types of goldfish are also good candidates for ponds.

4. Discus Fish

colorful fish from the spieces symphysodon discus 2023 11 27 04 49 15 utc

The Discus Fish is a stunning species of South American Cichlids with amazing colors and patterns. However, it is not recommended for beginners as it can be challenging to mix them with other fish in a community tank.

Discus Fish require their water to be warmer than most other species, making it difficult to maintain them with other fish.

Despite their challenging nature, Discus Fish are still a popular choice among experienced fish keepers due to their beauty and unique characteristics. They are known for their round shape and vibrant colors, which make them a great addition to any freshwater aquarium.

If you plan to keep Discus Fish in your tank, it is important to provide them with quality care and maintain their environment properly. They require a well-maintained aquarium with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 and a water temperature between 82Β°F and 86Β°F.

In summary, Discus Fish are a stunning addition to any freshwater aquarium but require proper care and attention. They are not recommended for beginners but are a great choice for experienced fish keepers who are up for the challenge.

5. Guppy Fish

shutterstock 93772564 2

Guppies are a popular and ideal fish for new fish keepers. They are widely available, have beautiful colors and patterns, and are very simple to find.

Guppies are live-bearing fish that freely reproduce in aquariums, so it’s not uncommon to see young fish in your freshwater tank. They are tough fish that do best in water with a slightly higher pH.

Below are some common facts about Guppy Fish:

β€’ Widely available

β€’ Beautiful colors and patterns

β€’ Simple to find

β€’ Live-bearing fish that freely reproduce in aquariums

β€’ Tough fish that do best in water with a slightly higher pH

It’s important to note that Guppies should not be kept with aggressive fish as they are peaceful and can be easily bullied. Additionally, they are not suitable for tanks with larger fish that can eat them.

Overall, Guppies are a great choice for beginner fish keepers looking to add some color and life to their freshwater tank.

6. Molly Fish

shutterstock 2002797047 3

Molly fish are a great option for beginner fish keepers looking to add a stunning and easy-to-care-for fish to their freshwater aquarium.

There are several different types of Molly fish available, but the balloon and salt thin mollies are among the most popular options. These fish are related to Guppy fish and are effortless to breed in a home aquarium.

It is recommended to maintain Molly fish in a freshwater tank with at least 30 gallons of capacity. These fascinating fish can even survive in saltwater once accumulated.

Molly fish come in various stunning hues, including black, orange, and white, providing any freshwater aquarium with a striking pop of color.

Molly fish are live-bearers, like Guppies, and freely reproduce in aquariums. However, it is important to note that they can be aggressive towards their own species, so it is advisable to keep them in a tank with other calm species like tetras and Cory catfish.

Overall, Molly fish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium, and their striking colors and easy-to-care-for nature make them an excellent choice for beginner fish keepers.

7. Swordtails

shutterstock 1655834740

Swordtails are a popular freshwater aquarium fish that are livebearers like guppies and mollies. They are easy to identify due to the sword-like tails of male fish, while female fish can also be quite colorful.

Swordtails come in various stunning hues, including koi designs and brilliant orange. They also get along well with many other tropical fish species and are simple to breed.

Swordtails are a great option for beginner fish keepers, as they are hardy and can thrive in a tank of just 15 gallons or more.

They are also peaceful and get along well with other calm species like tetras and Cory catfish. Swordtails prefer a slightly higher pH and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions.

In terms of care, swordtails require a balanced diet of both plant and animal matter. They also appreciate a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding places and swimming space. Overall, swordtails are a beautiful and easy-to-care-for addition to any freshwater aquarium.

8. Platyfish

shutterstock 1910118223
The variable platyfish (Xiphophorus variatus)

Platyfish are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are smaller in size compared to other fish species, which makes them suitable for tanks with a capacity of around 15 gallons.

Platyfish come in a variety of colors, with orange being a popular choice. Some of the common types of platyfish include the sunset and wagtail platy.

Platyfish are easy to care for and maintain, which makes them an ideal choice for beginner fish keepers. They are also known for their peaceful nature, making them great community fish. Platyfish can be kept with other calm species like tetras and Cory catfish.

In terms of breeding, platyfish are live-bearers, which means they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. They are also prolific breeders, so be prepared for an increase in population if you decide to keep them in your aquarium.

Overall, platyfish are a great choice for anyone looking to add some color and life to their freshwater aquarium.

9. African Cichlid

shutterstock 1336930091
Kenyi cichlid Maylandia lombardoi aquarium fish

The African Cichlid is a colorful freshwater fish that belongs to the Cichlidae family. They are known for their bright and vibrant colors, making them a popular choice for many aquarium enthusiasts.

However, African Cichlids require special care and cannot be kept in most tropical community tanks.

African Cichlids are native to Africa’s Great Lakes, including Lake Malawi, Lake Tanganyika, and Lake Victoria. They are among the hobby’s brightest freshwater fish, with a staggering diversity of species.

African Cichlids are aggressive and possessive, making them the ideal fish for more seasoned aquarium hobbyists who desire a jaw-dropping display of color and movement.

In general, African Cichlids require a larger tank with plenty of hiding places and rock formations to create territories. They also require specific water conditions, including a higher pH level and warmer water than most other species.

Overall, African Cichlids are a stunning addition to any aquarium, but they require special care and attention. It is essential to research and understand their specific needs before adding them to your tank.

10. New World Cichlids

portrait of cichlid fish andinoacara sp 2023 11 27 05 32 31 utc 1
Portrait of cichlid fish (Andinoacara sp.) in aquarium

New World cichlids are freshwater fish that are native to America. They are similar to their African counterparts and come in a wide range of sizes and temperaments. Depending on the species, they can be calm or highly aggressive, ranging from tiny to huge.

Some popular New World cichlid species include Jack Dempsey fish, Oscars, and Convict cichlids. There is a New World cichlid for everyone, regardless of their experience level with keeping freshwater fish.

It is important to note that some New World cichlids require special care and cannot be kept in most tropical community tanks.

Therefore, they are ideal fish for more seasoned aquarium hobbyists who desire a jaw-dropping display of color and movement. However, there are also New World cichlids that are suitable for beginner fish keepers.

It is recommended to do in-depth research before adding any New World cichlid to your freshwater tank to provide them with the quality care they deserve.

11. Dwarf Cichlid

shutterstock 1357031747
south american dwarf Cichlid

Dwarf cichlids are smaller versions of cichlids from Africa and the New World. These little vibrant freshwater fish can greatly benefit many community aquariums. Dwarf cichlids come in various forms, including the apistogramas, German blue Ram, dwarf cockatoo, and kribensis.

These fish are ideal for community aquariums and are often pretty simple to take care of. They prefer a densely planted aquarium with hiding spots and a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5.

Dwarf cichlids are peaceful fish that can be kept in groups, but it’s recommended to keep only one male in a tank to avoid aggression.

Overall, if you’re looking for a colorful and peaceful addition to your community aquarium, dwarf cichlids are an excellent choice.

12. Arowana

shutterstock 675702733
The Asian arowana

The Arowana is a large and visually stunning freshwater fish that requires experienced fish keepers with ample space in their tanks. When fully mature, these silvery fish can grow up to three feet long and require an aquarium that’s at least 250 gallons.

As carnivores, Arowana fish require a high protein diet that includes feeder fish, insects, and other meaty items.

If housed with other more aggressive fish that are too big to swallow, they can thrive in communal tanks. However, it’s important to note that Arowanas can be aggressive towards other fish, so it’s best to keep them with other large, peaceful species.

Overall, the Arowana is an impressive fish that requires dedicated care and attention from experienced fish keepers.

13. Tetras

shutterstock 1448765009 1

Tetras are a popular choice for fish keepers looking for schooling fish to add to their tropical community aquariums. These little fish come in a variety of colors and are relatively easy to take care of.

Most tetra species originate from South America, although some like the Congo Tetra are found in Africa.

Some of the best tetra species to add color to your aquarium include Ember and Cardinal tetras. These little fish are schooling fish, so it’s important to keep them in groups of six or more.

Tetras prefer to live in densely vegetated aquariums, as they like to congregate there. They are friendly fish that should be maintained in groups of at most five.

Overall, tetras are a great option for fish keepers looking for colorful, active, and easy-to-care-for fish to add to their tropical community aquariums.

14. Barb Fish

shutterstock 1923887765 1

Barb fish are a great option for fish owners looking for schooling and energetic fish for a community aquarium. While most species remain between two and three inches long, others like the tinfoil Barb can get rather large.

The tiger barb has a reputation for nipping fins, however, most barbs are relatively calm fish.

Barbs are schooling fish that must be kept in groups of six or more. They come in different colors and are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are known for their active behavior and will add a lot of life to your tank.

Overall, barb fish are a great option for fish owners who want to add some lively and colorful fish to their freshwater tank.

15. Rasboras

shutterstock 2086772848
galaxy rasboras

Rasboras are a type of nano fish that belong to the same family as goldfish and barbs. These calm schooling fish are ideal for a tropical community in an aquarium with dense vegetation since they prefer congregating there.

It is recommended to get a vast school of the same species to observe them acting securely. These friendly fish should be maintained in groups of at most five.

Rasboras are known for their vibrant colors and are available in various species such as the Harlequin Rasbora, Scissortail Rasbora, and Chili Rasbora. They are peaceful and easy to take care of, making them a popular choice for beginner fish keepers.

In terms of diet, rasboras are omnivorous and will eat both plant and animal matter. They can be fed with a variety of foods including flakes, pellets, and live or frozen food.

Overall, rasboras are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium due to their peaceful nature, vibrant colors, and ease of care.

16. Gourami

shutterstock 1521913466
Honey gourami

Gouramis are a type of freshwater aquarium fish that come in various sizes and forms. They are beautiful and can be housed in aquariums as small as 10 gallons for nano species like the dazzling gourami.

The stunning gigantic gourami, on the other hand, requires around 250 gallons when fully developed.

Most gouramis are calm fish that thrive in pairs, making them a fantastic option for a tank. They are also known for their labyrinth organs, which allow them to breathe air from the surface of the water.

There are many different types of gouramis, including the dwarf gourami, the pearl gourami, and the kissing gourami. Some gouramis are more aggressive than others, so it’s essential to research the specific species before adding them to your tank.

Overall, gouramis are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium due to their beauty and ease of care.

Ian Sterling

Ian Sterling, founder of Fishlab.com, began his aquarium journey over 30 years ago, driven by a deep fascination for fish and their diverse personalities. His website, Fishlab.com, is dedicated to making fishkeeping accessible and enjoyable, offering beginner-friendly guidance, expert insights, and a community for aquarists to connect and share experiences.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *