12 Best Aquarium Fish for Beginners in 2020

For most animal lovers, the aquarium fish is one of the most fantastic types of the animal. If you have been fond of species of diverse fishes, then you’d agree that it is the same as getting entertained by dogs and cats.

But having aquarium fish at home is different from acquiring dogs and cats. You will need to cover all of the bases, inform yourself with the fish species, tank maintenance, and so on. The learning curves can be longer than other pets. That’s why you will want to start from the basic first.

Here are 12 best aquarium fishes for beginners:


Guppy is one of the world's most popular tropical fish and freshwater aquarium fish.

Quick Stats

  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Diet: Freeze-dried, Frozen, Flake
  • Maximum size: 1.5″
  • Tank Setup: 5+ gallons, densely planted
  • Temperature: 72-82° F
  • Swimming level: Top
  • Care level: Easy
  • Lifespan: 1 to 3 years

Size of fish is around 1.5 in. The tiny funny fish is perfect entertainment for the beginner. The Guppies are a great choice for nano tank mates. Ones will enjoy sharing the room with this fish.

Guppies have different names depending on their population. And some of the Guppy types are nearing extinction. That’s why the prices on the market could be higher in your country.

Guppies are great for many reasons. They are very active and fun. And reportedly, they have been keeping the algae levels low in the nano tanks.

The friendly Endler Guppies, for instance, are getting around with the other species without any problem. The nano tank is not a huge deal for them.

The active guppies are a bit tricky to maintain. But you can simply install the pre-filter device to make sure that your beloved guppies won’t get sucked into the filter.


Platy is a common name of freshwater aquarium fish for beginners

Quick Stats

  • Care level: Beginner
  • Family: Poeciliidae
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: 1.5-2.5 inches (4-6 cm)
  • Tank Setup: 10+ gallons
  • Water Temperature: 68 and 82°F
  • Hardness: 28 dGH
  • Swimming level: Top
  • Lifespan: About 3-4 years

Active platies will make your tank more vibrant and colorful. It is a perfect choice for beginners because it is easy to take care of them.

Pecilia has around 170 species of variations. You will be able to choose any Platies colors you want.

The good thing here is that they are very peaceful and friendly. They can get along well with the other fish species such as mollies, swordtails, and guppies. So, if you bring together Platies and Guppies, your fish tank will be amazing.

The size is around 1.5 to 2.5 inches per fish. Females are usually larger than males. They have life span for around three to four years. Their diet is a mix of good proteins and plant-based diets.

Betta Fish

Betta fish are native to Asia and is is a popular fish in the aquarium trade.

Quick Stats

  • Family: Gourami
  • Diet: carnivorous
  • Size: Average length of 2.25 inches (5.7 cm)
  • Tank Setup: At least 2.5 gallons or larger
  • Water Temperature: 78-80 °F
  • Hardness: 5-20 dH
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years

Betta Fish is indeed the fish for beginners. One trait that is noticeable from them is their aggressiveness. They are aggressive. So, when there is other Betta fish in your fish tank, it could be messy.

But you can keep the Betta fish with other fish species. It is friendly to other species. So, as long as you keep one betta fish in your fish tank, it will be fine.

Betta Fish is one of the best lists of freshwater fish for beginners because it has such stunning appearance while maintenance is easy. The long colorful fins will catch the eyes of your visitors so that they will see inside your fish tank for a longer time.

Betta Fish diet is also easy. That includes the brine shrimps, worms, and fish flakes.

Barb Fish

Most barb fish are small, colorful, active and ideally suited for the community aquarium

Quick Stats

  • Family: Cyprinidae
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Size: 2.8–3.9 inches (long) & 1.2–1.6 inches (wide)
  • Tank Setup: 10-20 gallon
  • Temperature: 70-78°F
  • Hardness: up to 10 dGH
  • Swimming level: All areas of the aquarium
  • Care level: Easy to Intermediate
  • Lifespan: 6-7 years

The most popular Barb is Cherry Barb. The name is derived from the color turned when the male is spawning.

The common color of this Barb is silver or black with the golden lateral line. Its size is around 2 inches. The fish is friendly and peaceful so that you can co-habitat this fish with other friendly species.

However, the minimum tank size for Barbs is around 25 gallons. Since it is omnivorous, you must focus its diet on several items like flake foods or live foods.

The community tanks should have open space. But don’t forget to add plants in your fish tank so that they can hide and sleep well.

Molly Fish

Molly is a versatile and amazing fish

Quick Stats

Family: Poeciliidae
Diet: Omnivore
Maximum size: Up to 4.5 inches
Tank Size: Minmium 10 gallon
Temperature: 75-80° F
Hardness: 20-30 dGH
Swimming level: All areas of the aquarium
Care level: Beginner
Lifespan: Up to 5 years

Molly is a versatile and amazing fish. It can survive in various environments. This fish species can survive in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. But it will be able to adapt only if you change the environment gradually.

Mollies come in various sizes, colors, and shapes. To bring out the maximum colors of the fish, you will need to prepare adequate tank conditions.

Molly fish has tons of variety. The temperature should be kept between 25 to 28 degrees.

Its diet is algae or other plant-based items. It has more capability in taking algae than other fish. Occasionally, you could also give it bloodworm or brine shrimp.


Angelfish is a popular freshwater fish from the family Cichlidae

Quick Stats

Family: Cichlidae
Diet: Frozen, Freeze dried (Omnivore)
Maximum size: 4.7 – 5.9 inch
Tank Size: 20+ gallon tank, Moderately planted
Temperature: 76-86 degrees F
Hardness: 54 to 145 ppm
Swimming level: All areas of the aquarium
Care level: Easy
Lifespan: 10 years

Angelfish has been one of the most common species in the aquarium fish communities. They can grow up to six inches length and 8 inches tall. Therefore, it is a prevalent choice for larger tanks.

Angelfish comes in different colors and patterns. They are omnivorous. So, you can combine the diet with the meat and plant-based items. The tank should be at least 20 gallons. So, a nano tank would not be sufficient for them. Make sure that your tank is not overcrowded since it will make them more aggressive.

Angelfish is glad to grow with other tropical species. They hate to be alone. Adding them to your fish tank community will be fun.


Tetra is the freshwater fish for beginners

Quick Stats

Family: Cichlidae
Diet: Omnivorous
Maximum size: 1.5″
Tank Size: 10 to 20 gallons
Temperature: 70°F to 81°F
pH levels: Keep this below 7.0
Hardness: Not over 10 dGH
Care level: Easy
Lifespan: 5-10 years

Tetras are small and active. They are easy to take care and feed. They can reach around 2.2 cm in length. Tetras are not solitaire. So, it is sensible to keep them in the group. They are peaceful and friendly, and not aggressive.

Tetras come in various colors. One of the most popular is Neon Tetras which come in bright colors with blue horizontal stripes across their body. When you turn off the light, you will easily see them in the dark.

Tetras are omnivorous. So, the diet is easy. You can give them brine, shrimps, worms, as well as insects. They are small and funny. As one of the easiest fish to take care of, don’t skip this fish from your list.

Common Goldfish

Common Goldfish is freshwater and popular fish for beginners

Quick Stats

Family: Cyprinidae
Diet: Omnivore
Maximum size: 4.0 inches
Tank Size: 20+ gallon tank
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater, Cold, Planted
Temperature: 68° to 74° F
Hardness: 200 to 400ppm
Care level: Easy/Medium
Lifespan: 5-10 years

Goldfish is a classic and popular choice. Folks have been topping this for decades because of its fantastic features. Common goldfish is a top choice for both beginners and avid aquarists.

Goldfish is for larger tanks. You will need to have at least 40 gallons tank capacity to make the environment comfortable for them. Well, it is because the maximum size of the goldfish is 18 inches.

The diet? They are fond of insects, aquatic plants, larvae, and smaller fishes. You can feed them every two weeks. That’s why it can make a perfect choice if you are on the go. They are also sociable fish. Common goldfish can get along really well with other species such as discus, guppies, tetras, and rainbow fish.


Swordtail is also a perfect choice for beginner fishkeepers

Quick Stats

Family: Poeciliidae
Diet: Omnivorous
Maximum size: Max. 6.5″
Tank Size: +15 Gallons
Temperature: 65 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
pH levels: 7.0 and 8.4
Hardness: 1-24 DH
Care level: Easy
Lifespan: Max. 5 Years

Swordtail is also a perfect choice for beginners because it is easy to treat them. Its shape is nearly similar to platy or guppy, but with the sword-shaped extension of the fin.

It comes in different color variations. The size could be bigger than 4 inches if treated well. It is quite sociable but prefers an adequate crowd. So, don’t overcrowd your fish tank.

Swordtail can be temperamental if the environment is dirty. The diet is mainly veggies.

It can grow up to 12 cm in length. They love to hang around with friends. So, add five or more Swordtail fishes in your tank.

Cory catfish

Cory catfish is freshwater and beginners friendly.

Quick Stats

Family: Callichthyidae
Diet: Omnivore
Size: About 2.5 inches
Tank Size: 10+ gallon tank
Temperature: 60 to 75° Fahrenheit
Hardness: 5 and 19 dGH
Swimming level: Down areas of the aquarium
Care level: Easy
Lifespan: 5 years

Cory catfish or corydoras catfish, these fishes are one of the main attractions in the freshwater tanks. They are friendly, fun, and peaceful. They are easy to take care and feed.

You can keep them individually. But you can also make a group of two or three. They will get along with other fish really well.

The Cory Cat can reach up to 2.5 inches in length.

Experts often suggest the beginners add this because it is an authentic tank cleaner. They don’t mind picking up some leftover food. But you also need to provide flakes for them.

They come in different colors and sizes. As the active bottom dwellers, it is easy and fun to take care of them in your favorite water tank.


Zebrafish or Zebra Danios is one of the best choices for the beginners

Quick Stats

Family: Cyprinidae
Diet: Omnivore
Size: About 2 inches
Tank Size: 10+ gallon tank
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater with plenty of plants
Temperature: 70 to 90° Fahrenheit (5, 6)
Hardness: between 75 and 200 ppm
Care level: Easy
Lifespan: 3.5 years

Zebrafish or Zebra Danios is one of the best choices for the beginners. They can grow up to 5 to seven cm. You will need to prepare at least 10 gallons to make a comfortable environment for them. Zebrafish is a social fish so it will become stressed if you don’t add its companions.

Make sure the number of the Danios in your tank is plenty enough so that they will have each other.

Their diet is easy. You can just give them natural diets like worms and insects. But you can also give them flake.

Zebrafish can also jump so make sure you cover your fish tank well.


Rasboras is the best for small sized community tank.

Quick Stats

Family: Cyprinidae
Diet: Omnivore
Maximam size: 2 inches
Tank Size: 10+ gallon
Temperature: 72 °F to 81 °F
pH Level: 6.0 to 7.8
Hardness: 0 and 15 dGH
Breeding‎: ‎Egglayer
Care level: Easy/Intermediate
Lifespan: 5 to 8 years

Rasboras come with stunning metallic color. It is easy to take care and feed rasboras.

Normally, you would want to bring your small sized community tank with a group of Rasboras. It will make your tank fish more vibrant and fun.

There are five dozens species of rasbora. So, you will have plenty of choices in hand. It is a schooling fish. So, you would want to keep eight to ten individuals in the tank.

Leave a Comment

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