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Top 15 Best Aquarium Fish for Your Tank

Setting up a new fish tank? Want to make sure you choose the right fish? With thousands of freshwater and saltwater fish species available, it can be overwhelming to pick the best options for your aquarium.

In this article, we’ll cover the top 15 fish that are perfect choices for both beginners and experienced aquarists. We’ll look at fish that are hardy, easy to care for, brightly colored, and exhibit interesting behaviors.

Whether you’re stocking a peaceful community tank or want show-stopping fish that will be the star attraction, you’re sure to find great fish for your tank on this list!

1. Guppies

Guppies are a classic staple fish for aquariums that have been popular for decades. These lively little fish come in a massive variety of colors and tail shapes, with fancy guppies exhibiting exquisite finnage.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Beginner-friendly

Size: 1-1.5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons

Guppies do well in community tanks and get along with other peaceful fish. They prefer water temperatures between 70-82°F and eat both flake food and live/frozen foods. The males in particular display beautiful fins and bright colors to attract females.

Fun fact: Guppies are livebearers that can store sperm, so one mating can produce several batches of fry over time!

2. Platies

Platies

Another classic aquarium fish, platies come in a bright array of colors including yellow, blue, red, black and white. They have compact bodies and large, showy tails.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Beginner-friendly and hardy

Size: 2-3 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Platies are livebearing fish that will readily breed in your home aquarium and provide lots of fry. To keep their colors looking vibrant, provide them a varied diet with plant matter as well as flake and live foods. They thrive in community tanks from 72-78°F.

3. Mollies

Mollies

Closely related to platies, mollies have thick, large bodies and big sail-like dorsal fins. They come in black, gold, orange, white and multi-colored patterns. The black mollies in particular look striking in an aquarium.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Very hardy, great for beginners

Size: 3-4 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Mollies prefer a temperature range of 70-82°F. They will readily breed in your tank and the fry grow fast. Make sure to feed them a veggie-rich diet to keep their colors bright. They’re very tolerant fish perfect for community aquariums.

4. Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

No tank should be without a school of lively zebra danios! These speedy little fish have horizontal blue and gold striped patterns, constant activity, and loads of personality.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Ideal for beginners, extremely hardy

Size: 2-3 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Zebras zip around the tank with quick, playful movements that are fun to watch. They should be kept in schools of 5-7 fish. These energetic fish do well in community tanks from 64-75°F and thrive on flake and frozen foods.

5. Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras

A school of neon tetras, with theirbright blue and red stripes, is a jaw-dropping sight. They are one of the most popular community fish thanks to their small size and striking iridescent colors.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Easy, good for beginners

Size: 1-1.5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Neons need to be kept in schools of 6 or more fish. They feel secure and display natural schooling behavior when their numbers are sufficient. These little subtropical fish prefer temperatures of 70-78°F. Feed them flake, frozen and live foods.

6. Angelfish

Angelfish

No tank looks as elegantly showy as the one graced with majestic angelfish. These beauties have triangular-shaped fins flowing behind them like capes and bold black and white patterns on their bodies.

Temperament: Usually peaceful but may nip fins

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Size: 6 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Angels prefer to be the showpiece fish with smaller schooling fish around them. They thrive in planted aquariums with lots of tall foliage and open swimming space from 74-84°F. Feed them a varied diet including meaty foods like frozen shrimp.

Fun fact: Angels can live up to 10 years with proper care.

7. Swordtails

Swordtails

Swordtails are another livebearer known for, you guessed it, their long sword-like tail extensions. These come in bright colors and patterns, with the black swords being particularly bold and elegant looking.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Very hardy, good for beginners

Size: 3-5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Swordtails eat both flake and live foods and thrive within a wide temperature range of 68-83°F. They actively swim at medium levels of the tank and make very interesting fish for community aquariums when kept with non-aggressive tankmates.

8. Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barbs

Cherry barbs are named after the males’ bright cherry-red coloration. When planted among green foliage, the pop of red is stunning! These fish are most eye-catching when kept in schools.

Temperament: Peaceful but can be nippy in small groups

Care Level: Easy

Size: 1.5-2.5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

Cherries should be kept in schools of 5-7 barbs. They bring activity and color to community tanks, feeling secure when maintained in larger groups. Provide live and frozen foods to really make their coloration pop. They thrive in temperature ranges of 72-79°F.

9. Bettas

Bettas

No list of aquarium fish would be complete without the iconic betta fish. Their flowing fins and brilliant colors like red, blue, purple and turquoise are a true showstopper. They’re also loaded with personality!

Temperament: Aggressive with other bettas; avoid tankmates with flashy fins

Care Level: Easy

Size: 2-3 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons

Male bettas must be kept solitary while females can reside together in “sorority” tanks. They require warmer water around 78-80°F to thrive. Feed them small live or frozen foods. Bettas are labyrinth fish meaning they can breathe air – they’ll love floating plants that provide resting spots at the surface.

10. Rainbowfish

rainbow

Looking for fish that shine and shimmer? Look no further than rainbowfish. Many species have metallic sheens of yellow, blue, orange, red and green that glisten under aquarium lighting.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Size: 2-6 inches depending on species

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Rainbowfish do best in schools of 6 or more fish. Provide themdriftwood, hideaways and plants. They prefer waterin the 70-79°F range. Omnivorous diets withquality flake and live foods keep their colors brilliant.

11. Discus

Discus

Discus fish are prized specimens renowned for theirunique disc-like shape and captivating patterns and colors. Show quality discus can cost many hundreds of dollars apiece!

Temperament: Shy, need calm tankmates

Care Level: Difficult, requiring warm, clean water

Size: 4-6 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Discus thrive between 82-88°F. Perform regular waterchanges to keep the parameters pristine. A plantedtank with driftwood provides security. Feed them a highprotein diet including live or frozen foods like bloodworms.

12. Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami

 

The pearl gourami is a uniquely shaped fish with a bright white body and bold orange stripes. Their large dorsal and anal fins sweep up and down as they swim slowly along the tank bottom.

Temperament: Usually peaceful unless breeding

Care Level: Easy to moderate

Size: 4-6 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons

Pearl gouramis are perfect centerpiece fish for community aquariums. Plant the tank for infested hideaways where they can feel secure. They thrive in soft, acidic waters within a temperature range of 74-82°F.

13. Killifish

Killifish

Killifish comprise a large group of unique fish reveredfor their bright colors and patterns. Many also have sleek horizontal striped patterns. They are extremely hardy fish, perfect for beginners.

Temperament: Peaceful

Care Level: Very hardy and easy to care for

Size: 1-2.5 inches depending on species

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Killies thrive in heavily planted tanks with lots of leaf litter and floating vegetation. Provide a mix of live and prepared foods. They do well in typical community temperatures from 72-82°F. With proper care, some species can live 5+ years.

14. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loaches are elongated, eel-like fish with brownand black banded patterns all over their bodies. They burrowand hide during the day then become active at night.

Temperament: Peaceful bottom dwellers

Care Level: Easy

Size: 3-5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons

A group of 3-5 kuhli loaches adds beneficial activity to the lower tank levels. Make sure to provide them with plenty of hiding spots and caves. They thrive in temperatures of 72-80°Fand appreciate meaty frozen and live foods like bloodworms.

Fun fact: Kuhlis make little grunting noises when excited!

15. Endler’s Livebearer

Endler's Livebearer

Endler’s livebearers are a smaller and brighter strain of guppy selectively bred for vivid colors. Males display flashy patterns while females have clear bodies that show prominent gravid spots when pregnant.

Temperament: Peaceful community fish

Care Level: Very easy and hardy

Size: 0.5-1.5 inches

Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons

Endler’s prefer slightly cooler water from 72-78°F. When given a natural planted tank, they readily breed. Fry can be left with parents or moved to a separate rearing tank. Mix high quality flake with occasional live foods for best colors.

Those are our picks for the top 15 best aquarium fish that should be on your shortlist when stocking a tank! From hardy livebearers to showpiece angels, this selection provides fish perfect for beginners to experts, community tanks and breeding projects.

Make sure to thoroughly research the specific care needs, behaviors, tank size requirements and compatibility for any fish species before purchasing. Give them the diet and aquarium conditions best suited to them and they will thrive for years to come!

Let us know which fish from this list you’re most excited to have in your tank in the comments! And ask us any questions you may have about selecting and caring for these popular aquarium varieties.

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