The Most Beginner-Friendly Fish One Can Have in Their First Aquarium

There’s nothing like having a little touch of nature in our homes. More and more people who appreciate fish are considering having their own aquariums. As people begin to research, they are often bewildered by the different things they need to think about. Some fish need cold water while others need warm. One species will want to hide in driftwood, while another will prefer rocks and mini caves. Some fish are sociable, while others are aggressive.

The wisest thing to do is to begin with a fish that presents a few challenges. Over time a person can increase their stock as their experience and confidence grow. But what species are good to start with? Let’s find out now.


Let’s face it: it’s usually the first type of fish we think of! They are pretty much happy with a tank full of clean water and a good filter. People who go online to research the different goldfish varieties are often surprised to learn that there are actually over 200 different types. Fish lovers want to know the correct diet to give their fishes and which other species they can share the aquarium with.

Anyone who goes down this road will need to consider buying a tank that can hold between 30 and 50 gallons of water.


The males have something resembling a sword protruding from the base of their tails, as their name suggests. They come in a variety of different colors but are mainly green and red. From a practical angle, they will require a 15-gallon tank at least, and water kept at a carefully maintained temperature.

Interestingly, swordtails are live-bearing like mollies, platies, and guppies. This means they don’t produce eggs; they give birth to live fish.


Guppies are resilient little creatures that need 20-gallon aquariums. They are tropical freshwater fish and require a constant temperature of between 70 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Guppies can grow up to 2.5’’ during their lifetimes and come in many different colors.

When thinking of filling your aquarium with fish, it’s important to first be aware that guppies breed at a rapid rate!

White Clouds

This species of fish is also known as white cloud mountain minnows. They grow up to two inches long.

An aquarium owner would be advised to buy a school of at least six fish. They are quite adaptable to having a community of different fish within the same tank.

Zebra Danios

These stripy, little fish can grow up to three inches in length. They are pleasing to the eye and frequently swim up and down. They are a good community fish provided the other species are of a similar size.

Zebra Danios can cope with a range of different water temperatures and also with murky water that is overdue for a clean!


These little fishes are also known as cory catfish. They are tropical, requiring temperatures between 68 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. They are hardy, peaceful creatures.

Corydoras class as bottom feeders, meaning they consume the food that sinks to the base of the aquarium.


These freshwater fishes are prolific breeders. They grow up to three inches in length and live from three to five years. They need vegetation to be present in the water and thrive when there are several of the same species present.

These fishes can be seen actively swimming during the day and are not aggressive by nature.


Mollies are live-bearing, like platies. They come in a variety of patterns and colors and can cope with water between 72 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. During their lifespan (which is up to five years), they can grow to 4.5 inches in length.

Mollies should not be paired up with aggressive fish in the same aquarium as this can upset them.


This is also known as the suckermouth catfish. Make sure you choose a big enough aquarium as each one grows up to 24 inches in length.

Your pleco may live for up to fifteen years. It will feed on the bottom of the tank or hide in mini caves or around the driftwood. They can feed on special food but also consume algae. That means they will be good at keeping the aquarium water clean.

Betta Fish

They are perhaps more famously known as Siamese fighting fish. They are cheap to buy and can be beautiful in color. They vary according to their gender, with the males having longer fins. Betta fish usually live between two and four years on average.

The ideal temperature to keep them is between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tiger Barbs

These fish have distinctive black stripes and are brightly colored. They are classed as shoaling fish, so it’s advisable to purchase at least six at a time. Temperatures should be maintained between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, with a PH level of 6 or 7.

Tiger barbs will be able to cope if you relocate them. It’s also worth noting that they can be aggressive by nature, particularly if injured. This is why they are often known as fin nippers!

Neon Tetras

These small freshwater fish should be kept in a room with subdued lighting. They will need a heavily planted aquarium with plenty of driftwood so they can stay out of the light. The tank must be kept at a stable temperature of between 70 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit at all times. Their dietary requirements are very simple, and when looked after, they can live for up to 8 years.

These have been some of the exciting options a person can choose from when first buying an aquarium. The general rules are that fish may eat others if they are smaller than them. They can be aggressive if they don’t have enough space. If different species feed at different levels of the tank, this can help.

Once the equipment and first fish have been purchased, an exciting learning journey begins. Many an hour can be spent looking after them and appreciating their natural beauty. Both family and friends will appreciate the new additions for many years to come.