Top 6 Low-Maintenance Freshwater Fish for Beginners

These days, keeping tropical and coldwater fish is an extremely popular hobby. In fact, according to a recent survey, there are approximately 139 million freshwater fish kept as pets in the U.S alone. Freshwater fish are the best choice for beginners. They’re easier to care for and less expensive to buy than their marine and reef counterparts. Also, there are plenty of beautiful, colorful species to choose from, too. So, you have your new aquarium all set up, cycled, and ready to go. All you need to do now is choose your fish.  Low-Maintenance Freshwater Fish for Beginners

These are the Top 6 Freshwater Fish for Novices:

In this guide, we introduce our top six easy-care freshwater fish species to get your fishkeeping journey off to a great start!

1. Fantail Goldfish

If you’re happy to have a large tank, the good ‘ol Fantail goldfish makes a great choice of pet. Fantail goldfish are extremely hardy and easy to care for. They come in a wide range of gorgeous colors. Goldfish are highly social creatures that should be kept in groups or, at least, in a pair.

You’ll need a coldwater tank of at least 20 gallons for Fancy goldfish. They can grow to reach between 6 and 8 inches long when fully grown. Also, goldfish are dirty creatures. Large tank helps to dilute the waste they produce, making maintenance less onerous for you. That said, you still need a powerful filtration system and weekly partial water changes to keep the tank clean and safe for the goldfish. If your fish outgrow their tank, they will happily live outside in a well-maintained pond.

Fantail Goldfish
Fantail Goldfish – Image source:

2. Betta Fish

If you only have space for a small tank, a betta fish could be a good choice of pet fish for you. Bettas are small, relatively easy to care for and come in a dazzling array of colors and tail forms. Although you can’t keep two male bettas together. They will fight. Yet, there are many species of fish that can make excellent betta companions. So, you can still enjoy keeping a community of fish. Betta fish are fascinating characters that love to interact with their owners, and these intelligent, curious fish can even be trained to perform simple tricks.

Betta Fish - Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Betta Fish – Image source:

3. Platies

Platies are livebearers, meaning that they give birth to tiny, live fry. These fish are very hardy and easy to care for too, and if you feed them a nutritious diet and give them the water conditions they like, you’ll be rewarded with a population explosion! These brightly colored, active fish grow to around 3 inches in length. That’s why they’re great for a small, beginner’s tropical freshwater tank.

Platies - Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Platies – Image source:

4. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish are just about the easiest and most robust tropical fish on the block. These cute little creatures are tolerant of a wide range of water conditions and are completely peaceful, making them perfect for a community setup. Corys grow to between 1 and 3 inches long, so they do well in a small tank. Corys need to live in schools of five or more to thrive, and they make interesting, entertaining pets to watch as they forage busily together on the tank bottom. There are many Corydoras species to choose from, but my favorites are the Panda cory and the Albino cory.

Corydoras Catfish - Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Corydoras Catfish – Image source:

5. Tiger Barbs

Tiger barbs come in several varieties, including beautiful green and gold color morphs. This barb species grows to around 2 inches long, so they’re suitable for a smaller tank. Tiger barbs can be nippy fish, so they shouldn’t be kept with fish that have long, flowing fins, such as bettas. However, I have a tank that houses several different varieties of Tiger barbs and Corydoras catfish, and they all get along fine together. These fish are very hardy and easy to care for. They can make an extremely attractive display when kept in schools of more than seven or eight.

Tiger Barb - Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Tiger Barb – Image source:

6. Kuhli Loaches

Kuhli loaches (Pangio kuhli) are fascinating little fishes that look like small eels or swimming snakes. There is a lot more to learn about this nocturnal tropical fish. They’re usually shy bottom-dwellers, spending much of their time hiding among plants, in caves, or underneath overhangs. At night, the loaches venture out to feed, foraging around the tank bottom for scraps of food. Kuhli loaches grow to around 4 inches long. They should be kept in groups of three or four to give them the confidence to come out into the open so that you can enjoy them under moonlighting.

Kuhli Loaches - Freshwater Fish for Beginners
Kuhli Loaches – Image source:

Freshwater Fish for Beginners – The Final Thoughts

Fishkeeping is a fun, relaxing hobby that can quickly become an obsession! By choosing fish that are hardy and easy to keep, you can save time and hassle and still enjoy watching healthy, happy fish swimming around a beautifully aquascaped aquarium. All the freshwater fish we’ve featured in this guide are suitable for beginners. However, whatever species you choose, you need to maintain the tank correctly, feed your fish a nutritious diet, and make sure that the species you choose all get along together.

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