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Modern Aquarium’s Guide to the Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Modern Aquarium’s Guide to the Best Freshwater Fish for Beginners

Posted by Artur Wlazlo on 23 Sep 2022

Starter Freshwater Fish

You want to start adding fish to your tank, but you are not sure which ones will be the best options for you. We understand, and we’re here to help! At Modern Aquarium, we can fill you in on low-maintenance and ultra-hardy freshwater fish that will survive and thrive in nearly any environment. These fish are an especially great choice for planted aquariums. Explore our guide today to discover the perfect freshwater fish for beginners!

1. Neon Tetras

Even though they’re pretty small, the bright colors of neon tetras will brighten up any tank! They’re definitely one of the easiest starter freshwater fish to care for, as all they need is lots of space and basic fish flake food. They do enjoy roaming in schools, so make sure to stock up with lots of playful companions! Tetras can live for up to 10 years.

Tetra Quick Tips

  • Tank Size: 10 Gallons & Up
  • Water Temperature: 73 - 78° F
  • Water pH: 6 - 7
  • Food: Fish Flake with 40% Protein
  • Treats: Blood Worms & Brine Shrimp
  • Plants: Mosses, Floating Plants, Vallisneria

2. Cherry Barbs

While they do take a minute to settle in, cherry barbs are a great freshwater fish for beginners. They can tolerate a wide range of environments, including changes in water temperature, and they’re very friendly with other tank mates. We recommend providing cherry barbs with plenty of live plants, so they have hiding spaces as needed. They’ll also need to be kept in schools of more than five to ensure they’re stimulated and entertained.

Cherry Barb Quick Tips

  • Tank Size: 25 - 30 Gallons
  • Water Temperature: 73 - 81° F
  • Water pH: 6 - 7
  • Food: Fish Flake Supplemented with Live or Frozen Food
  • Treats: Nearly Any Vegetable
  • Plants: Water Wisteria, Java Fern, Dwarf Hairgrass

3. Corydoras

Friendly bottom dwellers, corydoras are perfect freshwater fish for beginners. These small catfish often do well in groups of five or more and are available in a wide range of colors and patterns. These scavengers will spend their time at the bottom of your tank searching for food. If you plan on adding these fish to your aquarium, we recommend outfitting your tank with a smooth substrate to protect their delicate fins.

Corydoras Quick Tips

  • Tank Size: 20+ Gallons
  • Water Temperature: 72 - 82° F
  • Water pH: 5.8 - 7
  • Food: Bottom feeder tablets, bloodworms
  • Treats: Shrimp pellets, algae wafers
  • Plants: Cryptocoryne, Sagittaria, Swords

Shop Modern Aquarium

With these freshwater fish options for beginners, you have a pretty big selection to explore.