Top 10 fish for a beginner

If you are making a freshwater aquarium for the first time, it can be intimidating to know which fish to choose. Ideally, you want something challenging, inexpensive, and colourful with an exciting personality. Please take a look at our list of the top 10 fish for beginners that are colourful, easy to find, and simple to care for. In no particular order:

  • Neon Tetra

Although small in size, these fresh and beautifully coloured freshwater fish are sure to take advantage of every space in your aquarium and are one of the easiest fish to care for.

Neon tetra love being in groups, so the bigger the group, the happier and clumsy they will be. Their feeding is simple, and they can be fed essential fish flakes, although they should occasionally enjoy bloodworm or brine shrimp.

  • Danios

One of the hardiest freshwater aquarium fish available for beginners is Danios. Due to their toughness, they are the perfect fish for people who don't have a lot of tank setup experience. They can survive in harsh environments and a variety of different water conditions.

Danios are generally very active and fun to watch. As for their diet, they will be more than happy with the fish flakes.

  • Platies

A perfect fish for the community tank. Platies are a very peaceful fish that will coexist with any other non-aggressive fish. There are multiple varieties of Platies to choose from, and they come in a variety of vibrant colours as a result of selective breeding.

Platies are not picky when it comes to diet. They will eat any type of flake food, as well as most frozen live foods.

  • Guppies

A colourful freshwater aquarium fish that is perfect for beginners are Guppies. Although behaviour and characteristics tend to differ from fish to fish, Guppies come in a wide range of colours.

They are hardy fish and can eat typical fish flakes. However, like many other fish mentioned above on this list, they can also eat frozen (or live) bloodworms and brine shrimp. The fact that Guppies can go more than a week without eating tells us how hardy they really are.

If you are interested in going with Guppies, it is essential to know the difference between males and females. Guppies breed like crazy, so if you were to tank the two sexes together, you should expect many Guppy babies.

  • Kuhli Loach

Khuli Loach is native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia. The Kuhli Loach is an eel-like fish that, due to its size, ability to adapt to changing water, and peacefulness, has made its way onto our list of the best fish for beginners.

Khuli Loach is a bottom feeder and will eat almost any leftover food that has fallen from the top to the bottom of the aquarium, including live foods like worms and shrimp. The majority of their diet should consist of general fish pellets.

  • Cherry Barbs

Although they may take a while to settle into your new tank, Cherry Barbs are the perfect fish for a beginner's home aquarium.

They can tolerate significant water parameters changes, are friendly (unlike their missing cousins Tiger Barbs), only grow about 2 inches long, and are generally an easy fish to care for.

  • Firemouth cichilid

Given its name from the red colouration of its scales during breeding, the Firemouth Cichilid is a perfect fish for new fish beginners.

Although they can get quite territorial during the breeding season, they are relatively friendly.

  • Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami is a calm temperament, tropical freshwater fish. It is one of the most popular Gourami fish for beginners or aquarium lovers, thanks to its beautiful appearance and sturdy structure.

They are very easy to care for and can be kept in aquariums with at least 25 gallons of water, but like many other Gourami types, they require space at the top of the tank to breathe air.

  • Tiger Pleco

A peaceful freshwater fish native to South America (the Amazon River in Brazil) is the Tiger Pleco. Tiger Plecos spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, they do well with sinking foods like pellets, but they also thrive on brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Keeping Plecos nice and satiated will prevent them from eating the plants in your tank, which they may tend to do.

  • Cory Catfish

Another peaceful fish that will live in harmony with most other fish is the Cory catfish. With over 140 species to choose from, the Cory fish is the perfect addition to a beginner's fish tank (not to be confused with other catfish like Pictus catfish).

Being aggressive eaters, these freshwater fish will take care of keeping your tank clean, thanks to their love of plant matter and algae that can accumulate at the bottom of home aquariums.


It is always worth speaking to your LFS (local fish store) the experts there will be more than happy to help you choose the perfect fish for your aquarium and give you advice on how to keep those fish in particular.