For beginner anglers, choosing the right type of freshwater fish to catch can be a daunting task. With so many different types of fish in freshwater habitats, it can be overwhelming to decide where to start.

However, by understanding the characteristics and behaviours of different species, beginners can narrow their options and increase their chances of success on their fishing trips.

Whether you want an easy catch or a challenge, a freshwater fish is out there waiting for you to reel it in. Here we have curated a list of the 13 best types of freshwater fish for beginners, along with their characteristics and care requirements. We also discuss what factors to consider when selecting your fish.

Types Of Freshwater Fish For Beginners

13 Best Types Of Freshwater Fish For Beginners

13 Best Types Of Freshwater Fish For Beginners

If you’re new to fishkeeping and looking for the best types of freshwater fish, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to choose hardy fish species that can tolerate beginner mistakes.

Consider selecting species such as neon tetras or guppies; they are peaceful schooling fish in many different colours and sizes and are perfect for community tanks. For beginners looking to start their freshwater aquarium, there are a variety of fish species to choose from. Here are the 13 best types of freshwater fish for beginners:

1. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

Neon tetras are one of the best freshwater fish species for beginners looking to start their fishkeeping hobby. These small and colourful fish are easy to care for and can add a vibrant touch to any aquarium. They prefer soft, slightly acidic water conditions and require plenty of hiding places in their aquariums.

These peaceful schooling fish can be fed a varied diet of flakes, pellets, and frozen foods. It is important to keep them in schools of six or more for optimal health and happiness. Incorporating neon tetras into your community tank is a great way to add beauty and diversity to your aquarium-keeping experience.

2. Danios


If you’re looking for the best freshwater fish species for beginners, danios are an excellent choice. These small and lively fish come in various patterns and colors like zebra danios and leopard danios.

Because they’re so hardy, they can tolerate many different water conditions and require little maintenance. Additionally, danios are quite sociable fish that do well when kept in groups of six or more. They enjoy eating all types of food, from flakes to pellets to frozen or live food.

3. Platies


Platies are the perfect beginner fish for any freshwater aquarium. With their variety of colours and patterns, such as the neon tetra or guppies, adding visual appeal to your tank is easy. They are peaceful fish that thrive in community tanks.

Platies are quick swimmers and need plenty of vegetation for hiding spots. They will eat anything from flake food to worms making their diet easy to maintain. With a hardy temperament, platies make breaking into the freshwater fishkeeping hobby easy.

4. Guppies


As an ideal option for beginners, guppies thrive in freshwater aquariums, thanks to their vibrant colors and ease of care. Their compatibility with non-aggressive species makes them perfect for community tanks. Moreover, they breed fast, which makes them an excellent choice for fish keepers who want to breed fish. With a wide range of colours and tail shapes available, hobbyists have an array of options to choose the best freshwater fish for their aquariums.

5. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach is an adorable schooling fish ideal for novice aquarists looking for low-maintenance aquatic pets in their freshwater aquarium. Also known as coolie loach or leopard eel due to its elongated body shape that resembles an eel, these bottom-dwelling creatures add charm to your tank with their quirky and curious behaviour.

Peaceful by nature and non-aggressive towards other community fish species, such as neon tetras or guppies, Kuhli Loaches thrive in a well-planted 20-gallon tank with a sandy substrate as they love burrowing beneath the surface. With proper care and water conditions maintenance, like keeping the water temperature at 74-78°F and pH at 6-7.5 range along with weekly water changes of at least 25%, these hardy species can live up to 10 years.

6. Cherry Barb

Cherry Barb

Cherry Barb is an ideal choice for those just starting with freshwater aquariums. These beginner-friendly fish are often described as peaceful, hardy, and easy to care for. They are known for their vibrant red colour, which intensifies when they are in breeding mode.

These fish are small (less than two inches) and can be kept in tanks as small as 10 gallons. To maintain their health, Cherry Barbs require well-filtered water with moderate flow rates and a temperature range of 72-82°F.

As omnivores, they can be fed dry and live food options. In addition to being an attractive addition to any aquarium, these fish also help keep your tank clean by eating algae at the bottom. Other ideal beginner-friendly fish include neon tetras, platies, danios, guppies, mollies, cory catfish, kuhli loach, among others.

7. Fire Mouth Cichilid

Fire Mouth Cichilid

The Fire Mouth Cichlid is an easy-to-care-for beginner-friendly freshwater fish species native to Central America. It boasts bright red colouration on its throat and lower jaw, vibrating any freshwater aquarium setup. Along with being omnivorous, it can thrive on various food options such as pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods, making feeding easy.

Territorial behaviour is one of its notable traits; hence providing ample space in the aquarium with suitable hiding places is essential. To add this beginner-friendly fish species to your community tank, pick a well-filtered tank with moderate water flow conditions and maintain temperatures between 72-82°F.

8. Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami is an ideal freshwater fish for beginner aquarists. This peaceful fish boasts a pearly white body with iridescent scales, making it a beautiful addition to any freshwater aquarium. These fish thrive in densely planted tanks with hiding places and gentle water flow.

They are perfect for community tanks with other peaceful fish species like neon tetras, guppies, or corydoras. Pearl Gouramis are social creatures and should be kept in groups of 3-4 or more. In captivity, they can grow up to 5 inches long, making them perfect for a small tank of at least 10 gallons.

They are omnivorous and eat live and prepared foods like brine shrimp, worms, pellets, or flakes. Maintaining the right water conditions is essential to their health, so ensure the substrate is clean; the temperature range is between 72-82°F with a heater if necessary. Regular water changes are performed to keep ammonia levels low. These hardy fish are suitable for hobbyists looking to start their adventure in fishkeeping without encountering too many difficulties.

9. Tiger Pleco

Tiger Plecos make great additions to any freshwater aquarium setup. With their distinct stripes and ability to grow up to six inches in length, these hardy fish are ideal for any beginner looking to add some variety to their aquarium.

To ensure their comfort in the tank, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and a well-filtered environment. Tiger Plecos are omnivorous and enjoy a variety of food options, including algae wafers, vegetables, and meaty foods. These peaceful fish can become territorial towards other bottom-dwelling species, so it’s important to consider this before adding them to your community tank.

10. Cory Catfish

If you’re new to fishkeeping and looking for beginner-friendly freshwater fish species, consider adding the Cory Catfish to your aquarium. These peaceful and visually appealing bottom-dwelling fish come in various colors and patterns that interest your tank.

They are scavengers that help keep your tank clean by eating leftover food and debris from the substrate. To ensure their health and happiness in captivity, provide them with a well-maintained aquarium with plenty of hiding places. Their hardy nature makes them a great addition to any community tank.

11. Mollies

If you’re new to fishkeeping, mollies are perfect because of their bright colours that add vibrancy to your aquarium. They love swimming around in slightly alkaline water with plenty of space to move around in. Mollies are omnivores, making feeding easy as they accept plant- and meat-based food like pellets or brine shrimp. Livebearers that give birth instead of laying eggs make them unique among other beginner fish species like tetras or danios.

Additionally, mollies make great additions to community tanks with peaceful bottom-dwelling fish like cory catfish or kuhli loach and other colourful fish like cherry barbs or neon tetras. Remember that mollies can grow up to an inch long but can be kept in a smaller tank, like a ten-gallon tank, if you don’t have space for larger setups.

12. Sword Tails

Sword Tails

Swordtail fish are an excellent choice for beginners in the world of freshwater aquarium enthusiasts. They are available in various colours and patterns, like stripes or spots that contrast beautifully with any well-planted tank setup. Their peaceful nature makes them a perfect fit for community tanks coexisting with other non-aggressive species like tetras or mollies.

Swordtails occasionally thrive on plant-based food like algae flakes and meaty options like brine shrimp or even worms. Remember that swordtails need at least a twenty-gallon tank size to provide enough swimming space for these small live-bearing fish.

13. Betta Fish

Adding betta fish to your freshwater aquarium is an excellent choice for beginners. These vibrant and colourful fish are low maintenance while still being captivating additions to any tank. To ensure your betta thrives in captivity, it’s essential to keep the water temperature consistent with the help of a heater and perform frequent water changes.

Feeding them a varied diet of pellets and frozen or live foods will also keep them healthy and happy. As aggressive fish, it’s best to house them alone or with peaceful tank mates such as neon tetras or corydoras. With their stunning colours and lively personalities, bettas make a fantastic addition to any beginner-friendly community tank.

What To Consider When Choosing A Freshwater Fish Species

What To Consider When Choosing A Freshwater Fish Species

When choosing freshwater fish species for beginners, there are several factors to consider. First and foremost, choosing a hardy species that can tolerate fluctuations in water temperature and quality is important. Some beginner-friendly options include tetras, guppies, and corydoras catfish. It’s also important to consider the size of the fish and the size of your tank – smaller tanks may not be suitable for larger species.

Additionally, you’ll want to consider the fish’s compatibility with other species in your tank. Some fish are more aggressive than others and may not get along well with certain types.

Finally, ensure you have the appropriate equipment and supplies for your chosen species – different types of fish require different types of food, filtration systems, and decorations. By carefully considering these factors when choosing a freshwater fish species, you can help ensure your new pets thrive in their new environment.

Popular Freshwater Fish Species For Beginners

Popular Freshwater Fish Species For Beginners

Plenty of great beginner-friendly fish options exist if you’re just starting out with a freshwater aquarium. Some popular choices include neon tetras, platies, and kuhli loaches. When selecting your fish, it’s important to remember the size of your tank and any specific water conditions required by each species.

You’ll also want to avoid more aggressive species like tiger barbs or cichlids that may not be suitable for a community tank. And don’t forget about maintenance; certain types of fish, like goldfish or mollies, may require more care than other hardy species, like guppies or cory catfish.


Several types of freshwater fish species are ideal for beginners. Neon Tetra, Danios, Platies, Guppies, Kuhli Loach, Cherry Barb, Fire Mouth Cichlid, Pearl Gourami, Tiger Pleco, Cory Catfish, Mollies, Sword Tails and Betta Fish are just a few popular options that you can choose from.

While selecting a fish species to keep in your aquarium, consider factors like the size of your tank, budget, and level of maintenance required. Proper research and preparation can create a beautiful and thriving aquatic ecosystem in your home. By researching and providing proper care, you can create a beautiful and thriving freshwater aquarium filled with happy and healthy fish. We hope now you understand the types of freshwater fish for beginners.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Easiest Freshwater Fish To Keep?

For novice aquarists, starting with low-maintenance freshwater fish that are hardy and require basic care is best. Guppies, tetras, and bettas are great examples of easy-to-keep fish that need regular feeding, water changes, and water quality monitoring. Opting for low-maintenance fish can help build confidence in beginner aquarists.

What Is A Pretty Beginner Freshwater Fish?

There are several colourful and low-maintenance freshwater fish that are ideal for beginners. Betta fish, guppies, and platies are popular options, while neon tetras add a unique bright blue stripe to the tank. Corydoras catfish are adorable bottom-dwellers that can aid in tank cleaning.

What Is The Most Friendly Freshwater Fish?

For beginners, Betta fish are the most friendly freshwater fish. Other friendly options include Guppies, Corydoras Catfish, and Neon Tetras. Research each fish’s needs and compatibility before adding to your tank. A comfortable environment with proper water and hiding places can encourage friendliness.

What Are The Benefits Of Freshwater Fish For Beginners?

Freshwater fish are a better option for novice fish keepers as they require less maintenance than saltwater fish. Additionally, freshwater tanks are generally more affordable to set up and maintain. Keeping freshwater fish can also be a calming and pleasurable hobby due to the wide variety of colorful and diverse specimens available.

Are There Any Specific Freshwater Fish Breeds That Beginners Should Avoid?

For beginners, it’s best to avoid certain freshwater fish breeds like discus, angelfish, and cichlids, as they require more care. Instead, consider starting with easier-to-care-for options like tetras, guppies, or plates. Always research the specific needs of any fish before adding them to your aquarium to ensure their well-being.