So you finally got your new freshwater tank set up in the perfect spot in your home, empty but full of potential. After reading up a few things and asking the right people, you realize that while you may have aquarium maintenance down you  still need one crucial ingredient: fish. Considering how much work goes into putting together your tank and maintaining the life existing within it, it’s best to start off with strong, hardy fish who can handle some of your (inevitable) early mistakes. Fish with a communal nature are also a huge plus as most first time aquarium owners like to stock their habitat with a plethora of colorful aquatic life. So let’s take a dive and see which are the best freshwater fish for beginners.

Danios

5 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Danios are an energetic species of fish with a peaceful temperament and are most comfortable with a few other Danio companions. Due to their high level of hardiness the Danio make for one of the best freshwater fish for beginners. They are able to handle different types of water conditions and can enjoy a couple fish flakes here and there. These are low maintenance, active and social fish that are able to live in tanks as low as 20 gallons. So give them a shot, the Zebra Danio in particular is very striking!

Tetras

5 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Black Skirt Tetras and Neon Tetras make for some great looking, hardy beginner fishes. The colors on Neon Tetras in particular can rival that of their saltwater counterparts and they can maintain themselves off of fish flakes (though the occasional blood worm or brine shrimp will be great for them). These are group fish so get a few of them and make sure your tank is around 20 gallons. Tetras are high energy and can be fun to observe in large groups, further establishing them as one of the best freshwater fish for beginners.

Platies

5 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Platies are another hardy bunch and are generally very peaceful! They give birth to live young, are easy to breed if you want more of them and are colorful. They are easy to maintain, being able to handle different water conditions (though favoring alkaline water). Platies do well in a community tank; subsisting off fish flakes with the rest of them is not beyond a Platy. These may be the best freshwater fish for beginners – so long as there are other non-aggressive fish in the tank.

Swordtails

5 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Identifiable by their long, sharp looking bottom fin, Swordtails are quite low maintenance when it comes to striving in their aquatic environment. They should be kept with other community oriented fish – though males may become aggressive on occasion (should another male appear as a threat). Keeping a strong water flow somewhere in your tank is a great idea when having one or more swordtails: their natural habitat is in fast flowing water. They also primarily subside on a plant based diet so consider vegetable based flakes for food and you’re good to go!

Catfish

5 Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Particularly, bottom-dwelling catfish like the Cory Catfish! These fish are communal and get along with almost any species of fish out there. They eat often and keep tanks clean – they have a love for vegetable matter but also indulge in the occasional bloodworm. Best of all these fish live a long time and can become a staple in your aquarium! Groups of at least three are advisable as they are social creatures but either way they’ll make a great addition to your tank. They look unique, require little work and are truly up there with the best freshwater fish for beginners.

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