We live on a watery planet with ocean covering 70% of the surface of the planet; fresh water only covering 1% of the surface. Oddly though 40% of the world fish species live in fresh water!!!
For that reason as fresh water fish are more prevalent in aquariums world over than marine fish as far as variety size and color goes. For beginners choosing the right fish for your aquarium can be quite a challenge given the cost and what goes into maintaining fish in an aquatic ecosystem; right in your home.
For this reason it is always worth the effort to select wisely to protect your investment and ensure your fish remain healthy and live long lives.
Selection of Beginner worthy Fish
Just in case you are just starting out you will most likely be avoiding anything too costly or requiring too much attention for your aquarium. Important Points / Factors you may want to have in mind when shopping around include:
- Hardiness: It is expected that you will spend a lot of money and time to treat your fish well. Nevertheless, you are better off beginning with fish that can survive a wide range of conditions. Fish that can manage below optimum conditions and sudden changes will be better. You get some wiggle room for mistakes.
- Less attention: You are just starting out so anything that needs constant care and attention may not be right for you.
- Less Aggressive: Species such as the betta are very aggressive and are known to attack any male that looks more attractive; regardless of the species. Mixing male betta’s with other fish or even just two males in one aquarium is considered very unwise.
- Size: Some species can grow to 2 feet in length and are unsuitable for beginners. However, the top ten species grow 2-3 inches and will fit in any beginner aquarium.
Top 10 freshwater fish species
1.Neon Blue / Cobalt Blue Discus
Discus is one of the older breeds of aquarium fish having started being bred in captivity far back as 1960. Today, discus is still prized by fish keepers because of their intricate and bright color scheme.
The species is Native to the Amazon basin and is a genus of cichlids; another popular fresh water species.
Discus is not a picky eater, very adaptable and grows as long as 8 inches. The most popular being the Neon Blue or Cobalt Blue Discus that has in recent years Angelfish as the most popular fresh water species.
Discus can be territorial during spawning and as such it is good to begin with a young pair and allow them to partner as they grow.
This species native to Guatemala and Mexico is probably the most peaceful aquarium fish. Owing to this they make a great addition given their attractive bright red color.
the name swordtails come from the extended tailfin associated with males; females have normal tail fins.
The swordtail is quite hardy and can tolerate a wide range of tank conditions. Like many fresh water species their diet is simple and will grow and remain healthy on flake fish feed and vegetables. They grow to about 2 inches long and can live 1-2 years.
This is another great species for beginners. The eel like fish from South East Asia is very peaceful and can live with other non aggressive fish. Kuhli can grow quite long in an aquarium and is a favorite owing to the size, peaceful nature and its ability to adapt to a wide range of water conditions.
The Kuhli Loach is a bottom feeder and as such will eat anything that drops to the bottom of the fish tank such as worms or shrimp. The Kuhli will also grow and thrive on fish pellets.
It is recommended to have at least 3 in the tank given they love to live in small groups.
4.Blackskirt / Bluefin and Neon Tetra
The tetra is another very widely kept and peaceful fresh water fish in many aquariums; it’s native to Peru. The fish has several sub species the most popular being the neon tetra; though if you choose to you can select from the Bluefin and Blackskirt tetra.
They are small often growing to 1-2 inches and very active. Tetras are all small fish love to live in groups (3-5) and will utilize every single inch of space in your tank. For this reason do not worry about buying a large group, especially if you have decent sized fish tank.
Like many of the fresh water favorites their diet is simple and they will make do on flaked fish feed and can live 10 years. However they enjoy treats and will enjoy the occasional shrimp or blood worm when you can afford a change. Click here for more info on care and maintenance.
These fish from Eastern India are among the most often bought and peaceful fresh water species owing to their attractive appearance (silver and bluish side stripes) and hardy nature. They are various types of Danios but all can survive in a wide range of fresh water conditions; females are larger than males and have a less striking appearance.
Danios love to live in a small group and are very active. In optimum conditions they typically like to dart around near the surface of the aquarium.
They are easy to maintain and are not choosy eaters. Tetras will do well with flake fish feed and can live 5 years.
Platies make the perfect neighbor in a community fish tank owing to their non aggressive nature. Like the cichlid there are a wide variety and will add lots of color and action to your fish tank. Their varied color is a result of selective breeding. You can thus select the colors that will keep the colors you prefer in circulation.
They are not picky eaters and thrive and grow just as well of flake fish food and love algae; they also enjoy and eat frozen live foods.
7.Fire Mouth / Peacock Cichilid
This is among the most popular and widely varied species of fresh water fish. The species Native to South America, Central America and Africa, represent over 900 varieties.
They are very hardy and their natural environment is so diverse it would be difficult to specify a single set of aquarium conditions.
The most popularly stocked cichilid varieties include Jack Dempsey’s, Oscar’s, Firemouth’s, Green Terrors and Acaras. Choosing the tank size, food and conditions is specific to the species you choose.
The White Cloud Minnow is another popular aquarium fish species with a unique ability survive even in low water temperatures. White Cloud fish have been known to do just as well in temperature as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The species is hardy and enjoys roaming in the middle and upper areas of an aquarium. They often live in groups and purchasing 6 or so will promote god health and color in your aquatic ecosystem.
They are not picky eaters and can thrive on flake fish food and live long as 5 years with proper care.
Mollies are native to Central America and like many fresh water fish bear a varied appearance. Black mollies are often favored and are a very peaceful community oriented fish species. Male mollies are larger and have more elaborate fins than females.
In nature they are good algae eaters and will do better in a fish tank with live plants. Their optimum condition requires addition of some aquarium salt to the water (1 Tblspn / 10 gallons). They are not choosy eaters and will survive on flake fish feed.
If well fed black mollies grow to about 2 inches long and can live 5 years.
This could easily be the first fish that comes to mind when keeping an aquarium is the subject. Goldfish are native to China and unlike many tropical fish thrive in cooler water. Their temperature preference makes mixing them with other tropical fishes a little problematic.
Though peaceful they are very curious and love to dig around; you can expect them to damage plants within the aquarium.
Goldfish are voracious eaters and will consume anything you offer; if well kept they can grow 3 inches long and can live 3 years.