Top Ten Beginner Friendly Freshwater Fish

freshwater aquarium

When setting up a freshwater aquarium tank, the most intimidating and important decision that one has to make is selecting freshwater fish to add to the tank. Beginner level tank keepers especially have to be careful when selecting a fish. As a beginner, you should be looking for a fish that is:

  • Easy to care for 
  • Hardy and are more likely to survive 
  • Not very demanding in terms of tank specifications and requirements 
  • Peaceful in terms of temperament 

To make things easier for beginner level tank keepers, we have compiled a list of the top ten fish highly recommended for someone who is fairly new and lacks experience in fish keeping. 



Growing up to a size of two inches and with a lifespan of around five years, Platies are highly recommended for any beginner level tank keeper. They are available in a wide range of colors, so you can pick anyone that will add to your tank’s aesthetics.

Their hardy nature makes them resistant to changes in water parameters. Moreover, since these are community fish, you can also add them to a shared tank without worrying about chaos. 

Feeding platies is also very simple. They can be fed pellets as well as freeze-dried food. Platies are also known to be algae eaters, so they will contribute to the tank by eating away excessive algae and helping control algae bloom. 



Swordtail fish are also known as “Beginner Fish” because they are straightforward to care for and thus are highly recommended for beginner level tank. It is a hardy fish that is bright orange in color. They get their name due to that bottom fish that is shaped like a sword. 

Swordtail fish are community fish; therefore, a group of a minimum of five swordtail fish should be added to a tank. These fish generally have a peaceful temperament; however, the male fish can get aggressive towards each other during the mating season.

They are omnivorous in nature and therefore can be fed both plants as well as protein-based food. Try and maintain a balanced diet that comprises both pellets as well as frozen food. 

Betta Splendens

People avoid opting for betta because they are generally known for their aggressive temperament. They may cause trouble in a community or a shared tank, but they are effortless to care for and look after when kept alone. 

Betta Splendens is a very attractive fish that is available in several bright colors. Other than their appearance, they are also known for their cheerful personalities, and people often find them interacting with the tank owners and responding to them.

Therefore, Betta Splendens are worth all the effort you will put in to care for them. 

These are carnivorous fish that can be fed both flakes based as well as freeze-dried food. Commercial betta fish food is also easily available. 

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios is very easy to care for beginner level freshwater fish. They get their name due to the zebra-like stripes that cover their body. It is needless to say that the fish looks great and is visually appealing as well.

These are high energy fish that love to swim around inside the tank, and you will seldom find them idle. 

These are schooling fish; therefore, they are kept in a group minimum of six Zebra Danios inside a tank. These are upper zone fish that love to stay close to the water’s upper surface inside the tank, making the easily observable.

Due to their omnivorous nature, these are easy to feed and can be fed frozen insects, pellets, flakes, and even vegetables. Adding live food to the tank now and then is also a good idea as it engages the fish, and they love the hunting experience. 

White Cloud Minnow

If you search for a fish that is not very stubborn about the tank’s water conditions and parameters, the White Cloud Minnow would be an ideal choice. It is a small peaceful fish that is colorful and attractive but, most importantly, easy to care for. 

Make sure that the White Cloud Minnows are kept in a group of at least six. This fish does not like to be alone, and loneliness can dim their bright colors and make the fish shy, intimidated, and uncomfortable.

These are friendly fish that can also be added to a community tank and kept with other peaceful natured fish. Aggressive fish may try to bully the White Cloud Minnows and might even initiate a fight that will most likely hurt or injure the White Cloud Minnow. 

Black Skirt Tetra

The black skirt tetras fish are also known as “Black Widow Tetras.” It is a hardy fish that is extremely easy to care for and look after. Despite their name, you can easily find them in color variations other than the color black.

They can reach a maximum size of two to two and a half inches making them ideal for a comparatively small-sized tank. 

By nature, Black Skirt Tetra is a schooling fish; therefore, they are kept in a group of at least three fish. Although these are generally peaceful, they might try and nip the fins of other fish at times.

For this reason, try and avoid adding them to a tank with slow swimming fish. They are easy to feed due to their omnivorous diet, and you can feed them insects, worms, and vegetables. 

Kribensis Cichlid

Hailing from the West African region, the Kribensis Cichlid is a very beautiful fish that comes in a range of stunning colors. It has an easy-care level and is the best choice for people who are still trying to learn about fish keeping. 

Kribensis Cichlids are bottom level aquarium fish. Therefore, they are usually spotted close to the substrate of the tank. They can be aggressive during the mating season and are slightly territorial as well. Therefore, avoid keeping them with other bottom dweller fish.

These are omnivorous, which makes feeding them very easy. Try and maintain a balance between protein and plant-based food to ensure the fish’s overall health and well-being. They love flakes, but insects and small worms have to be their favorite food to feast on. 

Corydoras Catfish

The Corydoras fish is known for its ability to adapt to new environments easily. They are peaceful in nature and easy to care for, thus ticking all the boxes for a good beginner level freshwater fish.

These are community fish and love to share the tank with other fish.

Maintain a group of four to six Corydoras as these are schooling fish, and isolation can lead to stress and anxiety amongst the fish. 

These are bottom-feeding fish; therefore, be careful when feeding them. You will often find them scavenging at the bottom of the tank, digging through the substrate, searching for leftover food. These are omnivorous in nature and can be fed pellets, flakes, worms, and frozen fish food. 

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco is one of the most popular fish of the pleco fish family. The long whiskers, bristles, and branches give it a distinct appearance. Most beginner-level tank fish grow up to two inches in length, but the Bristlenose pleco can reach around five inches.

Besides being social and peaceful community fish, these are also known as algae eaters, thus contributing to the tank’s cleanliness. 

These fish are herbivorous, meaning they can only be fed plant-based diets. Algae is their favorite meal, but they can also be fed vegetables and plant-based pellets, and fish flakes. A proper diet contributes to their coloration, and well-fed Bristlenose plecos are brighter and more colorful. 



Guppies are one of the most renowned beginner-friendly tropical fish. Many people add them to their tanks because Guppies are easy to care for and adapt to tank conditions very well. These are small-sized fish that grow up to a length of two and a half inches. 

By nature, these are shy and peaceful fish; therefore, make sure other fish do not bully them in the tank. Aggressive fish and the ones that are known as fin nippers can easily intimidate and hurt guppies.

They breed at a rapid rate; therefore make sure you are ready to see them multiply within no time.

Since they are omnivorous, they can eat various food, but maintaining a proper balance is recommended to ensure optimal health. There will be lesser chances for the guppies to fall sick or experience any other health issue. 

Quick Overview

NamepH LevelWater HardnessTemperature RequirementsTank Size
Platies6.8-8.018-25 dGH65-78 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons
Swordtails7.0-8.010-20 dGH72-82 Degrees Fahrenheit20 Gallons
Betta Splendens6.0-7.55-20 dGH75-80 Degrees Fahrenheit5 Gallons
Zebra Danios6.5-7.5 5-12 dGH64-74 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons
White Cloud Minnow6.0-8.05-20 dGH64-72 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons
Black Skirt Tetras6.0-8.0 15 dGH68-79 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons
Kribensis Cichlid6.0-6.55-20 dH75-77 Degrees Fahrenheit20 Gallons
Corydoras Catfish6.0-8.0 2-25 dGH70-80 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons
Bristlenose Pleco5.8-7.82-30 dGH73-81 Degrees Fahrenheit40 Gallons
Guppies7.0-8.08-12 dGH66-84 Degrees Fahrenheit10 Gallons

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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