Choosing which fish to put in your fresh water aquarium can be a tough decision, especially if it’s only your first or second time owning fish as pets. Stocking your aquarium must be done with care, because you’re dealing with the lives of animals, and spending your hard earned money to do so. Be sure before you start stocking your aquarium to not only know all the necessary information about your home tank, but to know the specifications of any fish you are interested in putting in it.
This is a list of beginner level tropical fresh water fish and their broad specifications to help you get a better idea of what you’ll be dealing with when you put together the array of life that will call your aquarium home – I hope it makes your time choosing your fish friends easier!
Tetras are always easy to care for, and the small schooling bloodfin tetra is no exception. These fish eat most varieties of flakes, as well as brine shrimp and small live food. Bloodfin tetras are best kept with at least 2 or three of the same fish (preferably more around 6), and they should have plenty of room to swim with their small school, adding to the beautiful background ambiance of your tank.
Another “background” fish, these simple to care for freshwater cuties are red in color and contrast well with other schooling silver-bodied fish when put in larger, more accommodating tanks. These fish are also better in small schooling groups, and like to swim and chase each other about playfully. They’re a delightful addition to your home’s aquarium family.
Another tetra, the Serpae is less picky when it comes to what it eats than it’s smaller cousins. Their body shape is round and flat at the same time, and their bodies can shimmer beautifully against the water when put with adequate and safe tank lighting. These fish should not be kept alone, and should always have one or more of the same variety of fish to school with, as their temperament changes when they are alone.
Danio fish are cute and small, and most are very easy to care for. They eat most flakes and freeze dried foods. The zebra danio gets along with most tetra fish, and have a tiny tendency to nip at it’s tank mates, though not often actually injuring any other fish. These fish seem to eat their newly hatched young more than other species, so it’s best to remove them from the tank should they drop their eggs.
If your tank meets the necessary requirements for healthy gouramis, the dwarf gourami is a wonderful choice for the beginner all the way to an advanced aquarium owner. Dwarf gouramis eat flakes, dried, and live food, and can regain their dark or reddish coloration if fed enough blood worm feed. It’s not wise to put this in close quarters with other dwarf gouramis, as it has a tendency to fight them from time to time.
A cute little schooling fish, Rasboras come in many varieties of almost all the same size. They are best in medium sized schools, and swim fast but peaceful. They make a beautiful addition to a larger aquarium family, because of their shimmery bodies and playful nature. You can feed Rasboras many normal fish foods, but it’s best to ask the people you’re buying them from about what’s best for the specific breed you want.
The Platy fish is a cute goldish companion for a more colorful starter aquarium, eating all sorts of fish foods and staying pretty healthy through it’s 2 to 3 years of life. Though many platies are gold or reddish in color, there are actually many varieties and colors of platies, and all are very much the same in how they behave and what they eat. If you have a male platy, it’s best to get two or more female platy companions for it to avoid hostilities between the fish.
The white minnow or “cloud” minnow is a great freshwater fish for beginners. They eat pretty much every fish food imaginable, but seem to like freeze dried fare the best. They are a schooling fish, and go best with around 4-6 companions. These fish are small, but need lots of room to swim around and chase each other.
Barbs are cute fish, and the goldfinned barb has been a beginner’s favorite since these sweet little guys were snatched up from Asia. They’re also a schooling fish, being their most happy and healthy when together with 3 or more pals. They’re a very peaceful fish, and make a stunning school to have coasting in the background of your tank. These fish love blood worms and thicker fish flakes, and eat more peacefully in groups than other freshwater schooling fish.
These pretty fish are larger than some other tetras, and live up to 5 or 6 years. They prefer dried flakes and brine shrimp over other food, and are most happy and healthy with 3 or more of their same variety of tetra. These fish are often considered prettier than the other tetra varieties, as they are wider and can have pretty black, white, or silver stripes. These are lovely fish to have in your aquarium, and get along well with other tropical community fish very well.
For more information on starting your freshwater tank, go here:
Beginner’s Guides at FishLore
Useful Source Sites:
Freshwater Tropical Fish Guide