Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish Suitable for Beginners and Kids

best freshwater aquarium fish

There are few things that are as relaxing and mesmerizing as a community fish tank. For those who see them, it may seem as though starting and maintaining a community fish tank would be a daunting task. Fortunately, starting a community tank can be remarkably simple, particularly with freshwater fish. To begin, you'll need to select the best freshwater aquarium fish for your needs. Based on the habitat requirements of your selected fish, you'll be able to start preparation for your community fish tank.

Aquarium Fish FAQs

If you're interested in starting a freshwater community fish tank, you're likely wondering what varieties are the best freshwater aquarium fish to choose from. Read on for the answers to some common questions.

1. What Are Freshwater Aquarium Fish?

Freshwater aquarium fish are fish that are able to live in fish tanks and prefer fresh water as opposed to brackish water or salt water for their habitat. They can be fish that prefer colder water, like goldfish, or tropical fish that need warmer water. Though the freshwater fish selection for beginners might seem small, be assured that there are many stunning varieties among the best freshwater aquarium fish that make wonderful starting fish.

2. What Will You Need to Keep Freshwater Aquarium Fish?

To keep freshwater aquarium fish, you'll need an appropriately sized fish tank, fish food, and fish. Your fish will need habitat in the tank, like plants and cave areas. To maintain water quality, you'll need an aquarium water testing kit, chemicals to treat the aquarium water as needed, and supplies to clean the fish tank. Your tank size may limit what your best freshwater aquarium fish options are.

3. Can You Keep More Than One Kind of Freshwater Aquarium Fish in a Single Fish Tank?

Absolutely. The best freshwater aquarium fish for a community fish tank are non-aggressive fish that thrive in similar conditions. Choosing fish that occupy different levels of the fish tank is ideal as it provides the best display and allows for different fish to occupy different areas to maximize fish habitation space in the tank.

4. Where Can You Buy Freshwater Aquarium Fish?

Freshwater aquarium fish can be purchased either online or in local pet and fish stores. To find the source of the best freshwater aquarium fish, do some basic research before purchasing any fish.

How We Reviewed

best freshwater aquarium fish

We gathered information on some of the best freshwater aquarium fish for beginners who are suited to a community fish tank environment. Reviews of each variety of fish were based largely on suitability for inclusion in a community tank, ease of care, and price. For the purposes of this review, the best freshwater aquarium fish are peaceful tankmates, easily cared for, and require moderate tank space.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Describe the price range of this product. Then, explain some things that a higher priced model might get you that a lower priced model might not.

What We Reviewed

  • Tetra Cardinals
  • Toledo Goldfish Live Standard Fin Koi
  • Pearl Danio
  • Galaxy Rasboras Freshwater
  • Kribensis Cichlid
  • GloFish
  • Guppies
  • Kuhli Loach
  • Cherry Barb
  • Cory Catfish
6 Tetra Cardinals Medium - Freshwater Live Tropical Fish

Features

Tetra cardinals are lively red schooling fish with a bold stripe of bright blue that should be kept in groups of at least six.

Pros

  • Very dramatic colors
  • Beautiful schooling displays

Cons

  • The low pH levels required to breed tetra cardinals limits choice of tankmates
  • Adding solitary tetra cardinals to a tank is not recommended
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Tetra cardinals can be purchased for around $5 to $15 each.

Toledo Goldfish Live Standard Fin Koi for Garden Pond, Goldfish Aquarium or Tank – Live Standard Fin Koi – Born and Raised in The USA - Live Arrival Guarantee (3 to 4 inches, 10 Fish)
  • RELIABLE SHIPPING DIRECTLY TO YOUR DOOR - Fish ship within 48 hours of your order for arrival Tuesday through Friday.
  • HIGH QUALITY KOI - Beautiful mix of koi colors and patterns are visually appealing and sure to stand out in any garden pond, aquarium or tank.
  • BORN AND RAISED IN THE USA - All Toledo Goldfish live fish are born and raised on a family farm in the USA.
  • HEALTHY FISH WITH LIVE ARRIVAL GUARANTEE - Step by step acclimation instructions will be included with your order. However, we are shipping live animals, even with our best packaging the occasional DOA is inevitable. We stand behind all our products and will either ship replacements or refund your purchase.
  • Please note the pictures shown are a good representation of our fish, but not the exact fish you will receive.

Features

Koi are stunning, long-lived fish that are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Pros

  • Beautiful colors and patterns
  • Hardy fish in a range of conditions

Cons

  • Koi need a lot of tank space per fish
  • Require close attention to water quality
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Standard fin koi can be found on Amazon for around $50 to $70 with free Prime shipping for ten 4 to 5 inch fish.

Features

Pearl danios are schooling fish with shimmery pale purple-blue bodies and an orange-red stripe. Easy to care for, these are among the best freshwater aquarium fish for beginners.

Pros

Cons

  • Schooling fish, minimum of four per fish tank
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Pearl danios can be found on Amazon for around $1 to $10 per fish plus shipping.

SevenSeaSupply 3 Live Galaxy Rasboras Freshwater Aquarium Fish Live Tropical Fish

Features

Galaxy rasboras are uniquely shaped schooling fish with a stunning pattern of dots. Males tend to have a brighter blue base coloration while females are a duller blue-green.

Pros

  • Very unique appearance
  • Hardy fish

Cons

  • Schooling fish, so there should be six minimum to a tank
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Galaxy rasboras can be found on Amazon for around $15 to $30 plus shipping for three fish.

Kribensis Cichlid - Live Aquarium Tropical Fish
  • We guarantee live arrivals of your tropical fish. Simply send a picture of the fish and we refund you the cost of the fish.
  • All fish are shipped Monday - Thursday after processing via an overnight service for a flat fee of 34.95.
  • Take advantage of our flat-rate shipping policy and add multiple fish to your order and pay only a single flat-rate! Free Shipping on orders over $159
  • Search "AquariumFishSale" for our current listings! All items shipped out by AquariumFishSale are hand-packed, and handled with extreme care.

Features

The Kribensis cichlid is a colorful dwarf cichlid that has the same remarkable personality as its larger cousins. Unlike many of the larger cichlids, Kribensis cichlids do not display extreme aggression or pose the same housing challenges.

Pros

  • Hardier than many other cichlids
  • Less aggressive than many other cichlids

Cons

  • May not be quite as showy as some cichlid varieties
  • Aggression increases around breeding
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Kribensis cichlids can be found on Amazon for around $10 - $20 plus shipping.

GloFish Tetra Basic Live Aquarium Fish Collection
  • GloFish fluorescent fish are born brilliant! They are not injected or dyed.
  • Add more color to your aquarium!
  • All orders automatically upgraded to overnight shipping. *See product description for more shipping information.

Features

GloFish are a manmade creation that is the result of the injection of a jellyfish gene into a fish. GloFish are commonly originated from danio, tetra, or barb fish crossed with the jellyfish gene.

Glofish are highly active fish with vivid fluorescent colors that add a unique flair to any fish tank in which they are included.

Pros

  • Very unique fish
  • Extremely hardy
  • Quick, lively fish

Cons

  • Some may not approve of the genetic modification that created the initial fish population
  • These fish may appear a bit unnatural to some
  • Their very high activity level can agitate more sedate tankmates
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

GloFish can be found on Amazon for around $50 to $60 for six fish, plus shipping.

Features

Guppies are easy to care for and can be found in almost any color you might desire to add to your fish tank.

Pros

  • Guppies tolerate a considerable temperature range
  • Guppies come in almost every color

Cons

  • Adding salt to the fish tank for guppies may not be healthy for other fish
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Guppies can be found on Amazon for around $30 to $40 plus shipping for a selection of twenty guppies that includes both males and females.

2' Banded Kuhli Loach Live Fish Aquatic Pets

Features

The kuhli loach is a striped, relatively long-lived bottom-dwelling fish that is most active at night. They are a yellow-pink color with dark stripes.

Pros

Cons

  • Lack of daytime activity may be disappointing
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Kuhli loaches can be found on Amazon for around $5 to $15 plus shipping.

WorldwideTropicals Live Freshwater Aquarium Fish - (6) 1' Cherry Barbs - 6 Pack of 1 Cherry Barb - Puntius Titteya - by Live Tropical Fish - Great For Aquariums - Populate Your Fish Tank

Features

Cherry barbs are bright red schooling fish that will bring a pop of bold color and activity to your fish tank. Cherry barbs are among the best freshwater aquarium fish for beginners.

Pros

  • Bright red color
  • Active schooling displays

Cons

  • Schooling fish; minimum of six per tank
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Cherry barbs can be found on Amazon for around $70 to $80 plus shipping for six fish.

Features

A corydoras catfish, or cory catfish, is a hardy fish that will help clean your fish tank. Cory catfish enjoy the company of other cory catfish, so if you have space for several in your community tank that is ideal.

Pros

  • Very hardy fish
  • Help to keep tank clean

Cons

  • Their whiskers can be damaged on large or jagged gravel
  • Cory catfish do best in the company of other cory catfish
  • price
  • Diet
  • Habitat and Care
  • Breeding
  • Personality

Cory catfish can be found on Amazon for around $70 to $90 with free shipping.

The Verdict

The best freshwater aquarium fish for each individual will depend on a number of factors, including the tank size, ease of care, and the most desirable visual aspects.

For beginners, the best freshwater aquarium fish are probably a combination of cory catfish, cherry barbs, and galaxy rasboras as they are all relatively easy to care for, thrive in similar conditions, and provide a variety of colors and behavior patterns.

For those most interested in dramatic colors, go for GloFish, kuhli loaches, and galaxy rasboras.

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