15 Best Pet Freshwater Fish For Beginners

15 Best Pet Freshwater Fish For Beginners

If you have decided to pet a fish but need the experience to do so, you don’t have to worry. You can pet some freshwater fish that can be maintained and cared for conveniently. You can house a small fish tank initially to get the basics of fishing hobby. Read more to learn about the 15 best pet freshwater fish for beginners.

15 Best Pet Freshwater Fish For Beginners

Why can’t freshwater fish live in saltwater?

Water with less than 0.05 percent salinity is necessary for freshwater fish. They will become dehydrated and eventually die if the salt content of their water is too high. It happens because their bodies will lose water to flush the saltwater from their bodies. Freshwater fish cannot bear the hypertonic water as it causes cell swelling and death.

How to Choose the Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners?

You must consider several factors when selecting fish for freshwater for beginners. For instance, aquatic creatures in a particular habitat cannot survive in an aquarium that is very dissimilar to their natural habitat. This article will give you an insight into how to select freshwater fish for beginners.

Size of the Fish

When it comes to pet freshwater fish for beginners, the size of the fish to be kept in the aquarium is essential. Large fish can be violent and opportunistic towards small fish. Therefore, for newbies, small and medium-sized fish are suitable. Small fish are known to adapt to the environment in the aquarium easily.

Compatibility With Other Fish

Fish that scare or threaten other fish are not suitable for housing together. In comparison, some small fish become friends with other fish in their habitat. Before you keep different fish together, closely examine their personalities. It is not recommended to choose fish at random because it may endanger the lives of other pet fish.

Food Routine

Before laying hands on a particular fish, study its food patterns and likes and dislikes. Bringing in one that draws your attention out of the blue is not a good choice. However, pets do need some care. So if you’re a beginner, go for freshwater fish that requires minimal attention and care. Moreover, one should maintain a pH level in the water.

Size of Tank

When you choose a freshwater fish for beginners, the size of the tank is essential to consider. The tank must have enough space for fish to swim and feel comfortable in the habitat. Furthermore, small tank size releases hormones in the fish that limits their growth at a certain point. Small fish are better for a small tank because they’re easy to maintain too.

Tips to Ensure a Healthy Environment for Freshwater Fish For Beginners

Regular tap water consists of certain minerals, by the dozen, which are not suitable for pet fish. Therefore, you should treat the water to balance the minerals. Maintenance of the pH of the water ideal for pet fish is also recommended. Finally, you should change the water each month to ensure the aquarium is clean as a whistle.

A balanced diet is the best to keep food particles and other junk from floating around the tank. Certain fish do not load up food to survive. Moreover, overfeeding may provide a medium for algae growth in the fish aquarium. It may lead to the depletion of oxygen and water quality. A consistent feeding schedule is what needs to be done.  

Reviews for 15 Best Pet Freshwater Fish For Beginners


Goldfish come in a variety of species. But when we consider freshwater fish for beginners, the ideal recommendation is the long-body goldfish, which is easy to maintain. However, goldfish may produce more waste than other fish as they need to be better feed converters. So you must keep an eye on the water to avoid excess ammonia production.


These freshwater fish for beginners are ideal for those who have taken up fishing as a new hobby. Guppies are known to be calm and active, with large, brightly colored tails. However, guppies are easy breeders, so you must house one male for every two to three females. Although low-maintenance fish, their activity may necessitate a larger tank.

Oscar fish

Oscar fish is one of the popular freshwater fish for beginners. They are intelligent enough to recognize you as their owner. One can also tame these pets to eat from your hand. They are in the doldrums and go to the bottom of the aquarium for even a slight change in their environment. These are opportunistic fish and can eat anything available within their reach.

Clown Loach

Clown loaches are known to be peaceful and can live with nearly any fish in their aquarium. These little freshwater fish for beginners are active during the day. You might enjoy feeding it and seeing its movements throughout the day. Clown loaches prefer to eat live food, mainly worms. They also tend to eat some snails if they feel annoyed.


Betta fish are ornamental fish with beautiful colors and fin shapes. These freshwater fish for beginners are famous for the ease of care they provide. These fish can reach a maximum size of 3 inches, and their diet mainly contains proteins. You can feed them with insects and larvae. Occasional treats of shrimp and bloodworms are also adored.

Zebra Danios

Zebra danios are also considered darlings in the fish world. They grow up to 2 inches in size. They only need a comfortable tank and a few fish to play with. If you keep them with bigger fish, they might be able to eat the zebra danios. These freshwater fish for beginners may eat anything available, even their eggs.

Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf gouramis are calm and shy, making them ideal for freshwater fish for beginners. You may need a pair of them, as they swim together. Access to the water’s surface is necessary for them to breathe through a lung-like labyrinth organ, also known as labyrinth fish. Freeze-dried food and flakes are their ideal diet, with occasional worms fed.


Angelfish are also popular as freshwater fish for beginners. They possess a disc-shaped, vertically compressed body with tall and elongated fins. Angelfish are known to grow up to 12 inches in height. They are predatory; these fish blossom on bloodworms, brine shrimp, worms, and mosquito larvae. Occasional chopped beef liver is a treat for them.

Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish may range between one to four inches in length. They remain on the bottom of the tank; therefore, they may not hinder other fish. Cory catfish being social, tend to be on cloud nine when kept with two to three members of the same species. These freshwater fish for beginners are scavengers and clean up anything at the bottom of the tank.

Pictus Catfish

Pictus catfish is preferred as freshwater fish for beginners. These fish consist of bright colors with black spots on their body which appeals to the owners. For beginners, freshwater fish are active and move fast. These are known to be nocturnal fish. Pictus catfish have a friendly nature but may only fight with their males.


Killifish comprise thousands of species ranging from an inch to six inches in size. Most of these freshwater fish for beginners come with vibrant colors ranging from gold, blue, red, and green to silver, orange, and brown. A heavily planted aquarium with plants like duckweed and subdued light is good habitat for them.


Plecostomus are also known as suckermouth catfish. These are ideal freshwater fish for beginners because they clean the aquarium glass. These fish eat the algae building up on your aquarium glass. Alongside, they need proper food, including larvae, pet food rich with algae, and vegetables from the grocery stores.

Rainbow Sharks

These freshwater fish for beginners ameliorate the aquarium with its rainbow color—the appeal of the aquarium increases by leaps and bounds. Rainbow sharks are carnivores and eat small fish, insects, and crustaceans. To protect these tiny creatures, ensure proper nutrition for rainbow sharks.

Youtube Video

To help you understand the aquarium size, habitat, and care requirements of freshwater fish for beginners, we’ve attached a link to a youtube video. It will give you an overview of what fish and habitats should suit you.

Rainbow Shark | My Experience Keeping:

Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasbora is a freshwater fish for beginners that is peaceful. When kept with other fish of the same species, these fish swim together. The breathtaking aspect is something one loves to see and enjoy. These fish fall prey to opportunistic fish as they cannot defend themselves. Their favorite foods are brine shrimp and algae wafers.

Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling gourami comes in a variety of colors, as the name suggests. These freshwater fish for beginners are peaceful and suitable with other mates in the tank. Sparkling gouramis, like dwarf gouramis, have labyrinthine breathing mechanisms. Therefore, they can be found on the water’s surface when breathing.


Getting into the aquarium hobby is exciting. You’ve finally installed your new freshwater tank in the ideal location in your house; it’s empty but ready to go. You may discover that an essential part of an aquarium is a fish. To find an appropriate freshwater fish for beginners, you need to do some research. 

It’s best to start with firm, hardy fish who can handle some of your early mistakes. You may know how much work goes into setting up your tank and maintaining the life existing within it. Social fish are also great as freshwater fish for beginners. This is because they may fill the aquarium with all the brightly colored fish at once. Visit ownyourpet to learn more.

Photo of author

Frank Kane

Ever since I was a child, I’ve been head-over-paws for all creatures, great and small. I’m on a mission to help other pet lovers better understand, care for, and enjoy life with their furry, scaly, or feathery friends.