Keeping an aquarium in your home adds numerous benefits to your health, like reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Freshwater tanks tend to be easier to care for than saltwater tanks, and its critters are more forgiving to mistakes made by new owners. Freshwater fish has its own beautiful selection of colorful and unique species that make your aquarium thrive with life.

Whether you’re a new or seasoned aquarium owner, it’s hard not to get hooked on your freshwater fish and their individual personalities. Let’s take a look at the top 10 best freshwater fish for your aquarium. 

1. Neon Tetra

Petland Texas picture of a group of Neon Tetra fish inside a home aquarium.

Probably one of the most well-known freshwater species on this list, the Neon Tetra is a small, thin, and easy-to-care fish that’s ideal for new owners. Neon Tetra do not grow very long, reaching only 2.2 cm in length! They’re known for being a very peaceful and calm species. They do best when kept in groups and in tanks with rocks, plants, and other accessories they can hide in. Neon Tetra can easily be recognized for their blue bodies and bright red stripe down their bodies.

2. Guppies

Petland Texas picture of a group of multi-colored guppies.

Guppies are another fish species that makes perfect pets for beginners. They’re extremely easy to care for, but tend to breed with each other fast if the genders aren’t separated. They come in various colors, with males being more flamboyant than females. Guppies can also adapt to various water conditions, and have lively personalities, which is what makes them so popular. It’s important to keep the water temperature consistent (around 50°F – 84°F (10-29°C)) so they can live happily in their tanks. 

3. Mollies

Petland Texas picture of a group of yellow-colored Mollies.

Small and easygoing, Mollies are a great freshwater species that are easy to take care of. Mollies can grow around 3 to 4 inches long and are omnivorous, which means they can eat plants and other animals. What’s cool about this freshwater critter is that they give birth to their babies, unlike other fish. Like Guppies, Mollies love to breed so if you don’t want lots of these beautiful fish in your tank, just keep one gender. 

4. Betta Fish

Petland Texas picture of blue-colored Betta fish in a home aquarium.

Betta Fish, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, is another popular freshwater choice for aquariums. They tend to come in a diverse array of beautiful colors, and are easy-going…for the most part. Betta fish are known for their highly territorial and aggressive nature with other fish, particularly males. If your Betta fish is peaceful enough, they can be kept in a large tank with other fish species. Avoid placing them in tanks with similar-looking fish, like Guppies. You should also place them in their own tanks, complete with substrate and plants. 

5. Goldfish

Petland Texas picture of Goldfish in home aquarium with plants in the background.

Another highly popular freshwater fish, the Goldfish is a beautiful species that can grow up to 14 inches long in the wild. Some wild goldfish can live up to 25 years or even longer! In captivity, your pet Goldfish will thrive in a tank that’s at least 20 gallons. These fish need constant maintenance, such as weekly water changes and filter. Goldfish can come in various shapes, sizes, colors, and breeds.

6. Angelfish

Petland Texas picture of a freshwater angelfish in an aquarium.

A member of the Cichlid family, Angelfish are popular freshwater fish that can grow up to 6 inches in length and 8 inches tall. They’re very beautiful, and come in various colors and patterns. They can eat plants and other animals, like small insects and shrimp, but should be kept away from small fish. Angelfish can be territorial and aggressive (though not anywhere the level of a Betta fish), so it’s best to keep them in a tank without many fish. 

7. Golden Dwarf Barbs

The Golden Dwarf Barbs is a lesser-known freshwater fish that’s ideal for new aquarium owners. They can grow up to 1.5 inches, and can be easily recognized for their golden yellow colors and black markings on its body. Golden Dwarf Barbs thrive best when kept in a tank with plants. No more than 5 of these freshwater critters should be kept in a tank.

8. Rainbowfish

Petland Texas picture of Boesemani Rainbowfish in home aquarium.

The Rainbowfish is another less common fish that’s easy to care for. Their vibrant colors don’t exactly break in until they’re mature into adulthood. Still, it’s well worth the wait with the proper care and maintenance. These fish can be quite shy but are normally peaceful with other fish in their tanks. Rainbowfish get along well with barbs and tetras.

9. Zebra Danios

Petland Texas picture of Zebra Danios fish in freshwater aquarium.

The perfect fish for beginners, the Zebra Danios is small and low maintenance fish that typically grows up to 5 to 7 cm. Because they’re schooling fish, they need to be kept in groups, otherwise, they will become very stressed. Zebra Danios love eating worms, insects, and crustaceans, They can also be fed the typical fish flake food, though we recommend spicing up their diet. These fish critters are known for jumping out of tanks, so be sure to keep your tank covered.

10. Platies

Petland Texas picture of Platies in a home aquarium.

Platies (or the Platy fish) is a stunning freshwater fish that comes in numerous exotic colors. They are typically peaceful fish that thrives well in communities. You may see them getting along with guppies and mollies; they’re very social! Platies require a mix of plant-based foods and proteins, though they can also eat meat-based foods.

Freshwater fish can be as flamboyant and colorful ass saltwater fish. Most of the time, freshwater fish are tough, sturdy little critters that deserve our love and attention. If you’re a brand new aquarium owner, be sure to regularly care for your fish and learn their personalities. With time, you will learn to love your cute and stunning freshwater fish!

Check out our blog, Freshwater vs Saltwater Aquariums to find out what’s so different about these tanks!

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