10 Best Pet Fish for Beginners

Now that you are all excited about setting up your own fish tank at home, I am here to suggest some of the best pet fish for beginners. Looking for the best ones to keep can be confusing, as there are so many of them to choose from.

Not to mention that all those colorful fish are not necessarily easy to take care of. I have some exciting fish to show you here that are, besides the fact that they are rather undemanding, going to look awesome in your aquarium.

As a beginner, one of the main difficulties is setting the water conditions right. It takes some time until those beneficial bacteria develop. This also comes with a buildup of certain chemicals that can be sometimes toxic to your fish.

There is also the problem of excess food and waste that further contaminate the water. Now this is what I call pure chaos! Just kidding, this is all normal but it can be confusing for someone who is just starting out. This is why I compiled a list of hardy fish that can adapt easily to fluctuations in water conditions.

Rest assured that the fish species you are going to read about below are more forgiving to your mistakes. Without further ado, let’s start with Guppies!

1. Guppy Fish

The Guppy fish is commonly called Rainbow fish among fish enthusiasts thanks to the wide range of colors and patterns.

It really gives you a lot of options when it comes to color varieties and I can only recommend this species for beginners.

This is not only because of the resiliency of Guppies but also because of their peaceful temperament. You can find them in pretty much any fish store, as they are widely popular. Their diet is not something that requires particular planning either, as they are omnivores.

Guppies are not picky when it comes to eating and they are also quite forgiving in case you forget to feed them.

As long as you keep them with other peaceful tank mates, you can set up a pretty exciting community tank. The Guppy is the beginner’s dream in my opinion, which is why it is the first on my list.

2. Betta

Betta FishI thought there is really no way to create a list of fish for beginners without mentioning Bettas in the top 5.

There is a reason why this species is so popular among fish keepers. Bettas are often called as Siamese Fighting Fish and they are simply breathtaking with their huge floating fins.

They are also available in the wildest colors you can imagine. Factor in the fact that they are literally one of the most undemanding fish in the aquarium trade and it becomes quite understandable.

They are still one of the most sought-after fish and that is not going to change any time soon.

The Betta is yet another omnivorous fish, however, they prefer eating a meat-based diet. When it comes to water quality, bettas can tolerate a wide range of water parameters. Since they are tropical fish, you should not keep them in cold water.

3. Molly Fish

black-lyretail-mollyMollies can also be found in many different colors and they look absolutely stunning. You are going to love this little Malaysian beauty because of its playful personality.

It might take some time until your Molly fish acclimatizes to your aquarium but from then on, it really won’t require any special effort from you.

They won’t bully any tank mates and aggression is also far from their nature. You can keep this hardy fish with a wide range of other species without any tension building up in the tank.

They prefer being around plants and I also recommend keeping them in a tank with bright lightning.

Mollies enjoy nibbling on algae so you don’t need to worry about it spreading in your tank.

4. Swordtails

Swordtail FishThe name of the Swordtail speaks for itself. Their protruding tail pretty much looks like a sword, which makes them unique. Keeping them healthy and thriving is going to require little to no effort from you, which is why I often recommend it for beginners.

It is perfect for a community aquarium of various species, as they get along well with many other fish.

However, keep in mind that keeping more than one Swordtail male in the tank is a mistake. They can get rather territorial with each other and things would not end well.

They are not as hardy when it comes to the water conditions but if you address that, the diet part is going to be very easy.

5. Platies

platy-fishThe Platy fish is highly appreciated among fish enthusiasts for its vivid colors and unique black patches.

Just like swordtails, platies are also livebearers and they are pretty hardy fish. They like being in planted tanks and are very good choice of community tanks.

Ensure that the water in your aquarium is slightly harder than normal and set the pH to 7.0 or higher and your Platy is going to be fine. They are more than eager to eat pretty much any omnivore community fish food.

6. Corydoras

Panda CorydorasIf you want to keep an unusual-looking fish in your tank as a beginner, then the Corydoras is a perfect choice. This fish is going to occupy the bottom layer of your tank, as it enjoys swimming close to the substrate.

I recommend keeping this one in a school because that is the natural mode of being for the Corydoras.

Being close to the substrate all the time, it is also where they like to find their food. The best way to feed them is to buy sinking foods and drop them in the aquarium. Corydoras are easy to take care of and you can choose from 160 different species in this family.

7. Neon Tetras

Neon TetraIf you are looking to set up an exciting tank with vivid colors as a beginner, I recommend you to get a school of Neon Tetras.

Get a group of 6-7 and they are going to thrive in a neutral pH so there is no need to monitor the water parameters that much.

I don’t recommend keeping a single Neon Tetra or even just a few of them because that can be rather stressful for this fish. Keep them in small schools, because this way they will feel safe.

Once you have a school of them, you can add some other fish to the tank. The most popular tank mate choice among fish enthusiasts is the Rasbora.

8. Zebra Fish

Zebra Danio FishZebra fish or Zebra Danios have a few horizontal stripes on their body which make them stand out in any home aquarium.

Their appearance is especially striking if you keep them in a school, which is also the best way to keep them. Out in nature, they thrive in groups as it provides them a sense of safety.

You can keep Zebras even if you barely know how to set up a home aquarium. They are known for their almost unparalleled hardiness which makes them very easy to keep. As long as you keep them in a group of at least 5-6, they are going to be fine with little effort from your side.

The bigger the Zebra fish school, the more they decorate your aquarium. Since they are omnivores, you can feed them almost anything you want as long as it’s decent quality fish food.

9. Tiger Barbs

Tiger BarbsThe typical Tiger Barb has a shiny yellowish base color with 4 vertical black stripes on its body and red fins.

This interesting combination is why this species became so popular among fish keepers. Now you can get one as a beginner, as they are really not demanding fish.

You are going to love the energetic personality of these fish. As long as you keep Tiger Barbs in a school of 6 or more, they are not going to be aggressive.

Otherwise, there is the risk of fin nipping which can cause a lot of tension in the tank.

10. Common Goldfish

GoldfishEveryone knows about the Common Goldfish, even those who have no experience in fish keeping whatsoever. But why do people like to keep them in aquariums so much? Well, the thing is that you can hardly find a fish more resilient than the Common Goldfish.

An adult Goldfish can be quite big but this doesn’t change the fact that they are easy to care for. As long as your aquarium is as big as 30 gallons, it is going to be fine. They thrive on a carbohydrate-based diet, while feeding them protein-based food should be avoided.

Water parameters are not that important to keep track of with a Goldfish. As long as you introduce fresh water to the tank on a regular basis, they are going to feel just fine.

Wrap Up

If you are a beginner fish keeper yourself, then you can make no mistake by choosing one of the fish I mentioned in my list. As you can see, the fact that a fish is undemanding does not mean that it’s boring.

It is actually the contrary, as you can always find some colorful fish with an interesting personality to keep at home as a beginner.

What makes it hard to choose one is the fact that there are so many of them. That is why I compiled this list of the most interesting low-maintenance fish you can keep in your aquarium. I hope you are going to have a lot of fun setting up your community aquarium with a few of the listed species. 

Fishkeeping   Updated: September 27, 2021
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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