The Ultimate Guide To Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Are you thinking about keeping freshwater aquarium fish? Good call. Fishkeeping is an amazing hobby that reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. 

You are bound to fall in love with beautiful colored fish that have different personalities. However, it is efficient to do your research before you walk into the pet store, so you get the best fish that won’t just die a few days later. 

25 Popular Freshwater Aquarium Fish

This is an ultimate guide for different kinds of freshwater aquarium fish, so you can choose the perfect fish for yourself. 

1. Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish

The name of this fish rhymes with Dori from Finding Nemo, right? However, this bottom-dwelling fish doesn’t look like Dori. 

  • Cory Catfish is an absolute sweetheart with a peaceful demeanor and polished manners

Their docile nature requires them to be kept with other calm fish. Cory Catfish don’t stand up for themselves, so keeping them with aggressive species of fish is not a good idea. 

2. Guppies 

This type of fish reproduces fast. 5 can turn into 50 in little to no time, so keep this in mind when you buy this fish. 

  • Guppies are bright-colored and have a resilient nature

This beautiful fish is very easy to take care of. The right food and a comfortable aquarium environment are all they need.

3. Mollies

This specie of fish is a little bigger and hence, requires more room. Also, just like Guppies, these reproduce fast.

  • Mollies are very peaceful in nature and easy-to-keep fish. 

This is an omnivorous fish, so they can devour a variety of food options. Mollies have different variations. You should research beforehand about the type that will fit the tank well. 

4. Swordtails

Are you thinking whether they have swords or not? Well, they do. The male swordtails have a sword-like part extending from their tail. 

  • Swordtails are attention grabbers due to their unique traits and have a peaceful temperament. 

These reproduce rapidly if kept in groups. Their calm nature allows them to live with other community-friendly fish. 

5. Kuhli Loach 

If you want to keep an eel-like fish in your aquarium, this is the right choice. They don’t belong to the eel family, though. 

  • Kuhli Loach is a peaceful fish that is more active at night.

These can be active during the day as well if kept in groups of 3 or 4. This specie of loach stay small, so are perfect for a beginner aquarium. 

6. Neon Tetra 

Do you want to set up a lively natural aquarium? This fish is a perfect choice. They are known for their interesting schooling habits. 

These are easy to keep and can adjust to different water conditions. Just make sure that the water is clean and fresh. 

7. Bristlenose Pleco

This fish has an alien-like appearance and is also known as Bushy Nose Pleco or Armored Catfish. 

As a result of their cravings for algae, they keep the aquarium clean. Good for you, huh? You should also feed them supplements of algae wafers for their good health. 

8. Betta Fish 

These are pretty common when it comes to pet freshwater aquarium fish. These shouldn’t be kept in small bowls as that cuts their lifespan short. 

  • Betta Fish are famous for their versatile and spunky personalities. 

These prefer to have a tank to themselves due to their aggressive tempers. However, Cory Catfish, Plecos, and even some Tetras can live with them. 

9. Zebra Danio 

How about a zebra-like fish in your aquarium? Sounds epic. This fish is an iconic freshwater aquarium fish that has a striped pattern, which makes it easily recognizable. 

  • Zebra Danios are energetic fish that are easy to take care of. 

Due to their lively nature, you should keep them in a bigger tank, so they don’t feel cramped up, and bounded.

10. Sunset Honey Gourami 

This type of fish ranks high as one of the top beginner aquarium fish. They have electric colors and eye-catching personalities. 

They can become territorial if they have to share space with other fish in a small aquarium. Keep this in mind while housing this unique fish. 

11. Goldfish

Even if you haven’t heard of other fish, you must have heard about the beautiful goldfish. These also come in a variety and colors. 

  • Goldfish is yet another fish type that is easy to keep and have a calm nature

These shouldn’t be kept in a small bowl. Also, they like being in cooler environments, unlike tropical fish, so that’s why a Goldfish only tank is ideal for them. 

12. Convict Cichlid 

Are you interested in breeding fish? This is the type you should go for. All you need is a male and female of this type. They will reproduce rapidly. 

  • Convict Cichlids are resilient, hence easier to raise

Just a warning. This fish is not exactly the friendliest. That’s why you should avoid keeping them with other fish. 

13. African Cichlid

This vast label is used to cover a few different species of Cichlids like Yellow Lab Cichlid, Peacock Cichlid, and Zebra Cichlid. 

  • African Cichlids are famous for being colorful and prolific breeders

An interesting fact about this specie is that they keep their offspring in their mouth for 3-4 weeks until they can protect themselves among other fish. 

14. Cherry Barbs 

These bright redfish are a treat for the eyes. You are bound to fall in love with them as soon as you see them. 

  • Cherry Barbs are energetic, and their bold color makes them attractive.

These are easy to take care of. Also, they will enjoy themselves even when around other fish. Even though they have a calm nature, they tend to get uneasy around aggressive fish. 

15. Tiger Barb 

Have you ever seen a fish look like a tiger? These are the closest you will see. With an elegant orange and black striped pattern, they surely catch everyone’s eye. 

  • Tiger Barbs are very energetic and entertaining fish. 

These are omnivores, so you can feed them a variety of food ranging from flake food to meaty food. Their favorite environment is an aquarium that has plants, but they will adapt to normal aquariums as well. 

16. Oscar Cichlid

These are more like puppies, with a lifespan similar to that of dogs as well. They are fond of their owners and react to them in a lively manner just like puppies. 

  • Oscar Cichlids are strong and forgiving fish. No wonder they are suitable for beginner fish keepers. 

They have a variety of beautiful color options. If you get an Oscar (not the award, LOL), you shall be committing around 10 years, more or less. Be ready. 

17. Platies 

This type of fish is better for hard water. They are durable but will not be comfortable in soft water. 

  • Platies are calm and easy to breed

They are also a live-bearing fish. So, they give birth to alive fish, rather than just eggs. The adult Platies may have a cannibalistic nature, so the young ones usually hide until they can fend for themselves.

18. Pearl Gourami 

These have unparalleled white circular patterns on their bodies. They make perfect centerpiece fish for an aquarium. 

  • Pearl Gourami is usually community-friendly and intelligent

These are okay when living with other types of fish but don’t do too well with other mates of their specie. They also aren’t over picky in their eating habits. 

19. Discus 

Do you want a Discus fish? You need to discuss it first. Saw what I did there? LOL. If you are up for a sweet challenge, get this fish. These aren’t the easiest to take care of but not impossible as well. 

  • Discus has a uniquely beautiful look and a peaceful nature.

The tank with Discus needs to have low nitrates. Also, this type of fish requires frequent water changes, as their heavy meat diet produces plenty of nitrogen waste.

20. Killifish 

There are a lot of different species of this fish. Most require the same care, though. They have adorable personalities that will make you go “Aw”. 

  • Killifish are tough and vibrantly colored.  

One of the risks with this fish is that they can jump. It won’t be good for them if they make it out of the aquarium. These also don’t do too well with other species as they might get skittish. Save them the stress and keep them in a separate tank with Killifish only. 

21. Rainbow Fish 

These are big in size and bright in color. They aren’t picky eaters and can take care of themselves. 

  • Rainbow Fish is peaceful and very active

They like to swim in aquariums with plants. Trust me, the contrast of green plants and colorful Rainbow Fish is incredibly unrivaled. Also, make sure to not buy the difficult species of this fish if you are just beginning to keep fish as pets. 

22. Angelfish 

Contrary to popular belief, they do exist in freshwater as well. These come in different colors, various fin shapes, and multiple scale types. Wow, right?

  • Angelfish are very personable and have unique personalities. 

They can be mildly aggressive, given they come from the Cichlid family. However, not only can you manage them but also get attached to them quickly. 

23. Firemouth Cichlid 

With a stunning orange color around their mouth, they are enough to light up any tank they are put in. 

  • Firemouth Cichlids are flashy and adaptable

These can be aggressive, notably during breeding. However, if their tankmates are of similar sizes, they will not show their dark side. Also, put rocks and other decorations in their tank as they like to establish a territory of a specific area. 

24. Pictus Catfish

Their massive whiskers have given them the name of “catfish”. They have beautiful grey bodies with black spots. Believe me, they are one of the most aesthetic fish.

  • Pictus Catfish are peaceful and active.

These can live with other fish if the tank is roomy enough. Also, give them decorations to hide in and swim through. Keep them with larger fish because they can eat the smaller fish when hungry.  

25. Clown Loach 

They kind of look like honeybees. I mean, they have vertical black and yellow stripes, so I guess it counts, LOL. They don’t survive in small tanks and stay active in bigger ones. 

  • Clown Loaches have attractive personalities and are easy to keep

These need hiding spots to be stress-free, kind of like humans. They can be kept with other fish. Also, you will notice them being more active during the day. 


That’s it, folks. I am pretty sure you are already getting ready to go to the pet store to buy one or more of these magnificent species of fish. 

You just have to learn how to take care of these adorable pets, and you will never regret keeping them. Make sure to give them your time and love. I mean, blow a kiss from outside the aquarium. That’s possible, right? 

Wish you the best of luck for keeping a fish.

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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