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Must-have aquarium fishes for starters

Most beginning aquarium owners are overwhelmed with the large number and variety of decisions required when setting up a new aquarium.

The owner must decide on the type, size and placement of the aquarium; whether it will be freshwater or saltwater; live or plastic plants; types of filters, heaters, lights, and food; and a hundred other technical questions that must be answered for designing the proper aquarium capable of maintaining its inhabitants.

Unfortunately, the last decision that is often made concerns the type and number of fish that are going to live in the aquarium.

When the owner does decide on buying fish it is often done based on color and appearance.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of the best freshwater fish for beginners, it is a great place to start.

Let’s jump straight in with one of the most popular tropical fish in the world.

Neon Tetra

Although small in size, these beautifully colored, cool freshwater fish will surely take advantage of every bit of space in your tank and are one of the easiest fish to care for.

They love being in groups, so the bigger the group, the happier they will be.

Their diet is simple, and they can be fed basic fish flakes, although they do enjoy the odd blood worm or brine shrimp from time to time.


One of the more hardy freshwater aquarium fish available for beginners is the Danios.

Due to their hardiness, they are the perfect fish for people who don’t have much experience with setting up a tank.

They can survive in a variety of different water conditions.

Danios are generally very active and fun to watch.

In terms of their diet, they will be more than happy with fish flakes.


If you are interested in keeping Guppies, it’s important to know the difference between a male and a female guppy.

Guppies breed like crazy, so if you were to tank the two sexes together, you can expect a lot of Guppy babies.

To stop this from happening, simply keep all males, or all females, unless of course, you are in this game to breed them.

Tiger Pleco

Tiger Plecos are peaceful but very territorial, so if you plan on keeping more than one, it is recommended that you fill the bottom of your tank with rocks and wood ornaments, so they can find a place to call their own.


Mollies are a versatile fish that can survive in both freshwater and saltwater aquariums if the changes are made gradually.

They are great for beginners because they are extremely hardy, and are not as aggressive as some other tropical fish. /rcg

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