Top 10 Best Freshwater Fish To Own: A Guide On How To Take Care Of Fish

Freshwater aquariums are comparatively simpler to care for than saltwater aquariums, and the fish that inhabit these are more tolerant of errors made by beginners. If you’re here reading this article, then we assume that you’ve already installed your tank in your ideal location and are now looking for the perfect piscine fishy pets to add to it.

With over 30,000 freshwater fish species, it’s definitely not easy to choose the right fish for your aquarium. Fish generally require gentle care and a lot of maintenance.

Here is a list of the best freshwater fish that beginners should look to get, followed by a few key points they should keep in mind:

Top 10 Best Freshwater Fish You Should Consider

1. Tetras

Perhaps the most famous fish on the list, Tetras are small, attractive, and the most easy-to-care-for fish for beginners. This species has earned a reputation for being one of the most gentle and peaceful fish around. Growing up to only 2.2cm in length, Tetras are full of energy and live up to 10 years!

neon tetra

Tetras stick together and spend most of their time swimming, particularly within the water column. They are the perfect addition to a communal aquarium because of their peaceful nature.

How Should You Care For Your Tetras?

One of the first things you should be looking into is just how many Tetras you can add to your aquarium. Tetras are known for sticking together in large groups, so choosing to have a small group will stress them out.

Next comes the size of your tank. Considering Tetras like to be in larger groups, we recommend that you keep at least 8 of them together in a minimum of 10 gallons of water. Having a larger tank also adds to the beauty of the fish, so there is no harm in going over the recommended amount.

You should also be looking into adding bacteria to your water tank. Certain types of bacteria help maintain the Nitrogen Cycle, which essentially ensures that your fish’s gills are not damaged due to an excess of ammonia.

The bacteria will need around 7 weeks to grow and work on maintaining the amount of ammonia excreted by fish, so make sure that they are added to the aquarium before a large amount of fish is added.

2. Platies

Platies are beautiful freshwater fish that make for excellent pets for beginners. They are found in a variety of extraordinary colors and are normally gentle. Platies are very sociable and flourish in groups, making them a perfect addition to your aquarium.

platy fish

Making Platies reproduce is fairly simple, so you don’t have to get a lot of them at once. They’re perfect for beginners because they can withstand various water conditions.

If you take care of them properly, Platies will live up to 5 years and grow to be around 4 inches long! They also prefer a lot of greenery in their environment, which allows you to beautify your tank to help keep your Platies happy.

How Should You Care For Platies?

While Platies can handle several water conditions, they prefer alkaline water. To create an optimal atmosphere for them, you should look to have several plants, like duckweed, and a gentle filtering system to maintain clean water.

Platy Fish are omnivores, so they will enjoy both plants and meat. You should not set up a diet that is based on plants or meat only; a balance of both will be perfect for Platies.

We recommend keeping at least three Platies together, a mix of males and females, if you want to end up with several more. A 10-20 gallon aquarium should be perfect for Platies, and a larger tank will not harm them once again.

3. Danios

If you have a communal tank and are looking for more additions, Danios are the ones to choose. They are an active breed of fish that thrive in groups and are generally calm and peaceful.


Danios can be found in several versions, and they can tolerate a variety of conditions which makes them the perfect choice for beginners. These fish can live from 2 to 5 years and can grow to a length of 8 cm!

Their colors, minimal care demands, and tremendous levels of activity make them an excellent choice for all fish keepers. These fish are so sociable that they are often used to make other fish more friendly, which means that they will fit in your communal aquarium with little to no problems.

How Should You Care For Danio Fish?

Danios love hanging out in groups, so if you want to add these to your tank, you need to make sure that you buy quite a few of them together. We recommend keeping at least 6 Danios together so that they remain happy and avoid stress.

The optimum tank size for Danios would be any tank above 10 gallons. The larger the tank you pick, the happier your fish will be. They are more tolerable to water conditions than other fish, so you do not have much to worry about.

The water must be as clear as possible to allow these fish to thrive. The water should also be as neutral as possible. Be sure to add a few plants as Danios are curious creatures.

4. Goldfish

Goldfish are one of the most famous freshwater fish out there, perhaps the most famous, and they are surprisingly fairly easy to take care of. Goldfish are an amazing pick for beginners as they provide simplicity and are beautiful.


Wild Goldfish can live up to 25 years (in extreme rare cases!) and grow up to 36 cm long! These fish can live with you as you progress from a beginner to an experienced fishkeeper. Goldfish are a friendly species that thrive in communal tanks.

They may be found in a variety of forms, sizes, and colors. Although Goldfish are easy to take care of, they will require constant maintenance, so if you plan on getting a couple, be ready to pay special attention to them.

How Should You Care For Goldfish?

Goldfish are social fish and will thrive if you get them at least one partner. This will promote companionship. If left alone, they can start to feel stressed and depressed.

Depending on the breed of fancy Goldfish you get, they can grow anywhere from 12 to 18 inches long, so your tank size must be suitable for them. We recommend keeping these fish in at least a 50 or 75-gallon tank. If you stick to common Goldfish, then a 10 or 20-gallon tank should be enough.

If you are adding them to a communal tank, make sure they are not kept with fish that swim faster. Goldfish are generally slow swimmers, and so they will be unable to avoid other fast swimmers, which could stress them out. 

5. Guppies

Another easy-to-care-for fish that are great for amateurs are guppies. Unless you want to end up with a large number of guppies, we recommend separating the males and the females as they reproduce very quickly.

guppy (millionfish, rainbow fish)

They can be found in a variety of hues, the males being more colorful than the females. Guppies are an attractive choice because they can tolerate various water conditions and have vibrant characteristics.

Guppies are generally calm fish that can coexist in a communal tank. They are easy to take care of and require little to no special treatment. You can find them swimming about all day long.

How Should You Take Care Of Guppies?

Guppies enjoy a stable water temperature of around 12 to 30 degrees Celsius. If you plan on having one guppy fish, then a tank of 5 gallons should be more than enough as they grow to only 2 inches. However, if you get multiple male and female guppies, then having a 20 to 30-gallon tank should be more appropriate given how fast they reproduce.

Since Guppy fish are relatively small, we suggest using a sponge filter for your filtration system so that they are not affected by it. Guppies enjoy neutral to alkaline water that is rich in minerals such as calcium and magnesium.

Be sure to look out for a guppy fish that is not active or hanging around a corner of the tank, as that may indicate that it is stressed or ill.

6. Rainbowfish

The Rainbowfish is another uncommon pet that would be a perfect choice for beginners. It is low-maintenance, and their brilliant hues will stand out once they reach adulthood, making your tank look even prettier.


Rainbowfish are generally shy but also peaceful with others in communal aquariums. To bring out their social behavior, you should look to add Barbs and Tetras as Rainbowfish get on nicely with them.

With proper care, these fish will grow up to anywhere between 2-6 inches and live up to 8 years! Depending on the breed of Rainbowfish, they can also live up to 11 years.

When several of these fish are kept together, the group looks a lot more vibrant as the males tend to flaunt their finest colors to the females, making these fish a perfect choice to beautify your tank.

How Should You Care For Rainbowfish?

Rainbowfish are quick swimmers that like to swim against the stream. While these fish are rarely ever hostile, they tend to become possessive during the breeding season, so make sure there is enough room to avoid hostility.

We recommend keeping a group of around 6 Rainbowfish together as they love hanging around in groups. This will prevent them from stressing out, and they will ease into their surroundings a lot quicker. For a group of 6, we recommend keeping a 30-gallon or larger tank so that they have more than enough space to swim.

As they are omnivores, you can feed them both plants and meat-based foods; however, we recommend maintaining a healthy balance of both. Be on the lookout for color loss, as this may signify that your fish is either stressed or ill.

7. Siamese Algae Eater

Well recognized for their Algae consuming capabilities, the Siamese Algae Eater will be another perfect addition to your tank. Unlike a lot of the other fish on this list, they do not require a large group. One as small as 2 fish will also thrive.

Siamese Algae Eater

These fish are an excellent choice for beginners as they will regulate the number of algae in your aquarium, keeping it clean and preventing unwanted plants from growing. The Siamese Algae Eater is also perfect for communal tanks since they are peaceful and thrive along with other species.

These fish are another that will live with you for quite a while. They can grow up to 6 inches long and live up to 10 years! What makes them such a good choice for beginners is that they offer little to no problems while also improving the looks of your tank.

How Should You Care For Siamese Algae Eaters?

The Siamese Algae Eater are omnivores, so feeding them is as simple as it could get; they will devour anything placed into their tank. While they do eat the algae growing at the bottom of the tank, be sure to add meat-based products to maintain a healthy diet.

These fish spend most of their time at the bottom of the aquarium, so make sure that the other inhabitants do not become obstacles as this may stress them out. While we recommend keeping at least 6 of them together, keeping 1 or 2 should also be more than enough.

A tank size of 20 gallons or more should be enough to keep the Siamese Algae Eater happy. Ensure you do not get too many of these fish, as the waste produced will make your aquarium look much messier than cleaner. 

8. Swordtails

Swordtails are another perfect addition to a beginner’s communal tank. They need little effort to thrive and are generally a peaceful and social species. They are from a large family of fish that are available in a wide range of colors.


They add more elegance to aquariums, and their sharp sword-like tail makes them stand out. Swordtails can live up to 5 years and grow to around 6 inches long! Caring for Swordtails is fairly easy, making them an excellent choice for beginners.

They are versatile and demand less of their owner. Simply put, the bare minimum can keep them healthy! They tend to flourish in a variety of conditions and are tolerant of frequent rookie mistakes.

How Should You Care For Swordtails?

Depending on the number of swordtails that you keep, a tank size of 15 to 30 gallons should be enough. If you plan on keeping a small group, choosing a larger tank would be better as these fish are active and will enjoy the extra space.

Swordtails can live in just about all types of freshwater, so adding them to a communal aquarium should cause little to no problems. Ensure that you add quite a few plants to your tank as these fish love to hide, and it will keep them happy.

Swordtails are omnivores, so that they will eat just about anything. They will, however, thrive with a balance of industrial foods and periodic high-protein snacks.

9. Angelfish

The Angelfish is a gorgeous freshwater fish that you can choose for your aquarium. They can be found in various forms, colors, and sizes, allowing beginners to beautify their tanks with whatever they would like.

Angelfish are generally peaceful but also opportunistic, so they will not leave the chance to benefit from other fish. They enjoy neutral to slightly alkaline waters, which make them a good choice for communal tanks.

How Should You Care For Angelfish?

Angelfish can grow up to 6 inches tall and 8 inches long, so you must get a tank that does not cause problems for them. We suggest getting a 30-gallon or 55-gallon tank, depending on the number of Angelfish you plan to keep.

While Angelfish are not hostile, they will feed on smaller fish, basically, any fish that fits into their mouth, so while picking other inhabitants, ensure that they grow as big as Angelfish.

10. Mollies

The last fish species on our list is yet another great pick for beginners. Mollies are wonderful freshwater fish that are low maintenance. They grow to around 4 inches long and live up to 5 years!


Mollies are generally very calm and enjoy hanging around in groups, so we recommend getting a couple of them, so they do not get depressed. They are a great choice for communal aquariums as they are social and peaceful.

How Should You Care For Mollies?

Make sure that the other inhabitants are not hostile because, if threatened, Mollies will not hesitate to attack. Like other fish on the list, Mollies are also omnivores, so feeding them should not be an issue. A balanced healthy diet of plants and meat-based products should be perfect.


It’s not uncommon for freshwater fish to be just as vibrantly colored as their saltwater counterparts. That’s why many people want to keep them in their homes.

While it isn’t easy to tell the best freshwater aquarium fish species from the rest, we hope to have given you an idea of the ones that could make for wonderful additions to your aquarium.

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