The three best fish for beginners

A lot of owning a fish tank for the first time isn’t so much having an idea of what you want the end product to be, but rather where you actually start. It’s not always as straightforward as it looks and once you get through the tough stuff like choosing filtration media, setting up the tank and the like – you then need to settle in and decide which fish you want to inhabit said aquarium.

We have three types of fish we think are best for beginners. They’re relatively low maintenance, they look cool and they mostly play well with others. Keep in mind – certain fish can be a really heavy lift up front for newbies so we really do recommend you start here and then consider adding on later. Let’s jump right in!

Neon tetras

Neon tetras are small fish – but oh boy do they bring some big time pop and color to your tank. They’re easy to take care of as well. All you’ll need is ample space and flake fish food and they’re a pretty happy bunch. They do like to roam around in schools, so don’t purchase one – get them a couple of buddies so they’ve got some companions to keep them company. And don’t worry about the cost – these fish are very cheap. You’ll also get a really great value, too. If you take care of them, they can live up to 10 years old. 

Cherry Barbs

Cherry Barbs might take a little while to settle into their new environment at first – but once they’re settled in, they’re a spectacular first fish to own. They can tolerate a variety of environments and are super adaptable when it comes to water temperature. Best of all – they tend to play very well with others, so if you’re looking for a community founder of sorts, Cherry Barbs take particular joy in being the major. 

For the best results, make sure they have some live plants and a few hiding spaces. Just like neon tetras, we definitely recommend you purchase a school of five. These fish are very easily stimulated and enjoy being entertained by well – each other. 


Corydoras are great scavengers and in a way – nice to have as your community’s cleaning service. They primarily thrive off of food at the bottom of the tank, so they’ll help clean up a lot of debris and other undesirable stuff. They also play very well with other fish and though they’re more laid back than tetras or cherry barbs, mostly go along with the flow when it comes to others. The biggest thing you’ll want to make sure you have though – is a more smooth substrate at the bottom of the tank. While it’s not super necessary, it’s better for their health and will prevent them from scratching their fins. 

Hopefully today’s blog gave you a little inspiration as to where to start when it comes to choosing the first fish for your tank. If you have any questions or would like some advice, always feel free to give us a call. Until then, thanks for reading and good luck with your new fish tank!

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