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Top 10 tropical fish for beginners

Updated on February 19, 2013

The First Big 5 Tropical Fish For Beginners

It can become confusing visiting the pet store to select the fish for your new aquarium. There may be 50-100 different fish species available at the shop.

You should try to keep in mind that, as a beginner, you will want fish that are affordable, hardy and do well in community tanks living with other fish.

Here is a brief list of 5 of the top 10 hardy, easy to care for tropical fish for beginners

The Guppy is a colorful addition to any passive community tanks. They are small averaging around 2 1/2 inches in length. The variety of colors available is amazing.

The Cory Catfish (coreadoras) is a cute and energetic little fellow. It is not shy and doesn't tend to hide. He seems to be eternally hungry and is constantly scavenging the bottom of the aquarium for food particles. Several species of cories are available.

The Oscar (not a community fish but hardy) should not have any small tank mates, other mates could include smaller ciclids or another Oscar. Oscars can grow up to 18", so a tank of 20-30 gallons is the preferred size.

Dwarf Gourami is a hardy, peaceful fish, growing to 3” in length. A 20 gallon aquarium is recommended to house this species in a community with other small cichlids or cories.

The Goldfish (hardy fish if kept in an aquarium and not a small bowl) is actually a coldwater fish, but does well as a beginner fish with proper care. Ideally, a goldfish will need a small aquarium of 5 gallons or more with filtration system and regular partial water changes. Goldfish have a long lifespan if well cared for.

Tne Next 5 Ideal tropical fish for beginners

Rounding off the list of the Top 10 are the following 5:

White Cloud Mountain Minnow is small (approx. 1.5 inches in length), sociable and colorful. An inexpensive fish that is ideal for beginners. They are not terribly picky on feeding and are tolerant of temperature changes.

Leopard Danio is another small fish (1 to 3 inches in length),will live harmoniously with almost all tank mates that are relatively the same size. Well suited for planted tanks as they do not forage and eat the plants. Diet of flake foods and brine shrimp.

Angelfish come in a large variety, most of which are very beautiful and easy to care for. Peaceful community member, although as with guppies, they are susceptible to other fish nipping their fins.

Plecostomus is generally a peaceful catfish, attaching itself to the sides of the tank with its sucker mouth. Lifespan is 10-15 years. Some species of plecos can grow to 2 feet long.

Platy is a colorful and peaceful addition. The colors available range from orange to red, with some sporting mixes of yellow shading or black speckles on their bodies. Threre are now also albino platies with red eyes.


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    • orlifan profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thank you for your input, Greg! However, we have successfully kept a large Oscar fish for years in a 29 gallon aquarium. He/she was quite happy and spoiled. Indeed bigger space is ideal, but not always the case.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      20-30 gallons is FAR too small for an oscar. 50 gallons minimum per oscar.


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