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11 Most Popular Freshwater Aquarium Fish With A Recommendation 

11 most popular freshwater fish

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To start the fishkeeping hobby it is important to choose the right type of ornamental fish for aquariums. This article is going to discuss the top 11 most popular freshwater aquarium fish with proper care guidance.

There are thousands of freshwater ornamental fish available in the market. However, as a beginner, you must start with a popular freshwater fish. This article will give an idea also about how you can choose your preferred fish from the 11 most popular freshwater fish suggestions.

So without wasting time, let’s dive deep into the topic.

1. Molly Fish

Molly fish

Molly fish is a very common name among freshwater fish. Mollies are popular because they fit in any type of common aquarium except a very small tank. Not only that, but they are beginner-friendly & very easy to take care of. They are known for their hardiness too. So, these colorful freshwater fish can be your friends if you are just starting out.

As a general thumb rule, you can keep 4 molly fish in 10-gallon water. You will need 3 gallons per molly fish.

Generally, Mollies are light gray and silver. Yet, you can find about 14 types of mollies. Balloon belly mollies, black mollies, black sailfin mollies, black lyretail mollies, Creamsicle Sailfin Lyretail mollies, and so on.

Creamsicle Sailfin Lyretail mollies are great for beginners. This looks attractive. This molly has large orange fins and they are peaceful. You can keep other breed’s fish with Creamsicle Sailfin Lyretail mollies.

The fun fact about Marble Lyretail mollies is that they are saltwater tolerant. Golden Sailfin Molly can amaze you because of its bright yellow color. This fish is tolerant of any possible water temperature.

Read More:- How to know my mollies are pregnant or not?

2. Betta Fish

Betta Fish

Betta fish is one of the coolest & colorful freshwater fish. They gain lots of popularity among hobbyists because of their vibrant colors & personalities. On the other hand, betta fish can jump or pass through a hoop if they are trained well. Moreover, they need a minimum space to live with low maintenance.

 Furthermore, betta fish is very easily available everywhere. A fact will surprise you that outside Thailand this became popular in the 19th century when a king, Rama III, offered this fish to a Danish physician called Theodore Cantor.

This is quite easy to care for and maintain than other freshwater fish. This is why it is quite popular not only for beginners yet for experienced people. The Color of this fish is eye-catching. Betta is a certain labyrinth fish that has this unique capability to take oxygen directly from the air.

From then, it becomes popular as other ornamental fish. Veiltail is the most popular betta fish. It will catch the attention of long, bright, and colorful fins. A happy betta will win around the tank regularly. For maintaining this fish, you need less space. But as you know pets are not easy to handle. Try to handle them in nano tanks because they become fighters sometimes. That’s why they are called fighters.

 Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand are some countries that export betta fish the most.

Read More:- Keep Betta Fish Happy & Healthy: 6 unique Veterinary Guidelines 

3. Guppies


Guppies are so much popular freshwater fish because of their color patterns & low maintenance. These gorgeous small fish are very easy to keep. Just because these popular fish are easy to breed, aquarists generate extra income by selling them 

You will require a heater, and thermometer for making the water temperature stable. However, if you live in a tropical country then the heater is not required to keep guppies.

You need to maintain the water’s good quality to keep guppies. Keep an air stone to increase the oxygen level higher in the water. The water temperature has to be 70 degrees to 80 degrees. Even this fish is quite easy to keep alive. Thai fish make friends who have long and colorful fins.

Read More:- 10 Best Tank Mates Of Guppy: Choose According To Tank Size

4. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

The neon tetra is popular because of its body color & low maintenance. Not only that, but they are hardy freshwater fish. Like guppies, they also breed very quickly. So neon tetras are a popular beginner freshwater fish.

 Body color is not the only reason for its popularity. Aquarists know that this fish is very much compatible with guppies.  Along with that, the fish prefer heavy plantations in tanks.  

 In the western region of Amazon and northern Amazon, it can be found. You need to know that the water temperature of the water should be 20-28 degrees. Another thing you should keep in mind is that this fish can die in cold water or due to rapid temperature fluctuation.

 Neon Tetra is a hardy fish. So you need to maintain it less. There are many Neon Tetra you can find in their family. Diamond head neon tetras and Black Neon Tetra are becoming popular currently. You need a minimum tank size of 10 gallons. This fish has a peaceful temperament. 

 Neon Tetra is so popular around the world that about 1.5 million fish are imported from U.S fish firms every month.

Read More:- 7 great fishes for only 5 gallon tank which you shouldn’t miss

5. Dwarf Gourami

Honey Gourami

People love Dwarf Gourami for its less maintenance. Dwarf Gourami is a shy fish and they like to live in a peaceful location. This fish needs heavy plantation. Dwarf Gourami is properly native to India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

 This fish is not compatible with Anabantids like betta. So try to avoid this combination. If you keep them in small aquariums and they are male in gender, they can be aggressive. Your tank size has to be 10 gallons.

 The temperature should be 22 degrees to 28 degrees. The pH level of the water should be 6-7. Another fun fact is this fish lives, especially in trios. Dwarf Gourami is very good for beginners.

 This fish is compatible with many fish like mollies, Plecostomus, Platies, Ghost Catfish, and so on. They tolerate fairly high water temperatures. You can give them tubifex, bloodworms, and brine shrimp.

Read More:- Top 7 Friendliest Fish Breeds For Your Aquarium

6. Pleco Fish

Pleco Fish

Plecos are very popular freshwater fish among aquarists just because of their tank cleaning ability. They keep the aquarium clean by eating algae quickly. However, plecos grow up to 15 inches long which is not good for a small tank. One juvenile pleco is good to keep in an aquarium 

Pleco Fish is known as suckermouth catfish. Because of its friendliness, this fish is popular. In this catfish family, this fish is the only one who has scutes-like armor. They are omnivorous bottom-feeders. You need to maintain a pH level of 7.0 to 8.0.

Pleco can grow up to 12″. That time you will need a 75-gallon tank. Yet for Otocinclus you need a 10-gallon tank. Two people can live together happily. If you are a beginner, you can keep gouramis, mollies, bettas, cichlids, angelfish, and barbs together.

Keep the temperature of the water from 70 degrees to 80 degrees.   You can keep two bristlenose plecos together because they are highly solitary and territorial fish. They have 150 to 200 eggs at a time. Pleco fish love to eat plants. Provide them with fresh plants to make your Pleco a good friend. If you want to breed pleco fish then Read These Tricks Now.

Read More:- 10 Types of Pleco Fish: With Pictures & Recommendation

7. Discus Fish

Discus fish

Discus fish are called the king of aquariums just because of their body shape & majestic beauty. Despite their popularity, discus fish are hard to keep. However, they are worth keeping to get immense satisfaction in an aquarium by seeing their body colors. 

Both sides of the discus are compressed. You can see they have a disk-shaped body profile.

However, this fish is very difficult to keep. You need to change a little bit of water almost every day at the juvenile stage. This sophisticated fish should be in acidic, soft, and warm water.

Read More:- 11 Most Popular Discus Fish: Make Your Aquarium Colorful 

You need to be very careful if you want to make discus fish your favorite pet. They can have the eye-fungus disease. You can keep melafix for any common bacterial injury.

For its bright color and attractive patterns, this fish always stays in demand. However, you will experience it. As a beginner, you should avoid this fish when making your pet. Try to keep at least four to five discus fish together in an aquarium.

Read More:- Is Discus Turning Black? Don’t Make These Horrible Mistakes 

8. Oscar Fish

Oscar Fish

Oscar fish are so popular in the world for their intelligence level & personalities. You will love these fish because they are very playful. They become the center point of an aquarium. So, aqua hobbyists prefer to keep Oscars in spite of moderate to hard care levels.

 The basic color of the fish is gray, chocolate, and olive green. In South America’s tropical region, this fish is available. They originated there yet if you are a passionate aquarist, you can import your oscar fish.

This fish is known as Velvet Cichlid too. It is not very easy to care. Water flow has to be very strong for the fish. A 75-gallon is accurate for adult Oscar fish. Parrot Fish, Jack Dempsey, Jewel Cichlid, and Jaguar Cichlid are compatible with Oscars depending upon various factors.

Read More:-5 most active aquarium fish: Highly Recommended for beginners

9. Ram Cichlid Fish

Bolivian Ram

This fish is popular among aquarists because it can be kept in small tank sizes. Aqua hobbyists love this fish for its stunning color and they need less space for staying. You can find ram cichlids of various color combinations with yellow, black, and also white.

This fish is non-aggressive and also they are quite peaceful. Electric blue ram is quite popular for its color and peaceful temperament.

You can keep two pairs of Ram Cichlid together. You need to maintain 78-85 degrees of water temperature. A 15-20-gallon tank is suitable for a pair.

Read More:- Electric RAM VS German RAM: Differences & Similarities

10. Goldfish

Oranda Goldfish

Among all freshwater aquarium fish goldfish is so popular because of its simplest & easiest care level. Parents think that this orange-colored fish can help their children to learn responsibilities. Moreover, this hardy fish has a really long lifespan if cared for properly (10-20 years). A 20-gallon tank is suitable for goldfish.

 As a beginner, everyone around the world mostly starts with goldfish. Goldfish are very sociable. This is popular because there is no complication in their care. Goldfish are demanded because they are not picky. They have a certain robust appetite.

This domesticated fish is popular for its easy care level. You need to check the water condition. The pH level will need to be 6.5 to 7.0.

Despite its easiest care level, goldfish produce a huge amount of bioloads compared to other fish. So having a good filtration system is a must.

There are many suitable tank mates for goldfish. You can keep Corydoras, Hillstream Loach, Catfish, Bristlenose Pleco, Rosy Barb, Platy Fish, etc. Fantails are the most common variety and lovable to aquarist community’s people.

Singapore is the top country that exports goldfish, guppies & platies throughout the world.   

Read More:- How many goldfish you can put in a tank?

11. Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio

This fish is extremely popular among fish hobbyists because of its easy care and maintenance. Zebra Danio is a very good fish for beginners. Furthermore, they are popular because of their peaceful and playful characteristics. You can find blue, red, green, and many more Zebra Danio.

Zebra Danio originated in the Asia continent. A 10-gallon tank is needed for it. Keep the water temperature within 18-24 degrees.  You can keep 4-5 Zebra Danios together. An omnivore diet is required for keeping Zebra Danios healthy.

As a fish enthusiast, you will love to observe Zebra Danio’s behavior. Slow-flowing freshwater will be perfect. Water will need to be medium-hard. This is a tropical fish, so you do not need a heater unless the water is so cold. The pH level of water should be 7.0 to almost 7.8.

Final Thoughts with Recommendation

Throughout this article, we have discussed tons of freshwater aquarium fish that have gathered so much popularity in this hobby. However, at the primary level, you need one or two recommendations for freshwater fish.

Goldfish is the most popular freshwater fish as we have discussed before. It is now wondered that if you keep a goldfish in your aquarium, it will shine in the place. You will need a 20-gallon tank for it.

On the other hand, Betta fish can be very good for beginners too. It will help to increase the enthusiasm for keeping fish further.

If you want to keep male betta fish, one male will be suggested in one small or nano tank. You will need a minimum 5-gallon tank for it.

Furthermore, you can try Guppies, Neon Tetra, and Zebra Danios for building a community tank. Fancy guppies are popular for multiple breeds, vibrant colors, low maintenance, and activities. 10 to 20-gallon tanks will be recommended for 5-15 guppies.

You can keep Neon Tetra in a planted tank. The color contrast will be at another level in this case. A 20-gallon tank will be fine for your Neon Tetra. They look very pretty and vivid in the planted tank.

As a hobbyist, we are suggesting keeping Zebra Danio also. It is because they eat almost everything. A 10–15-gallon tank will be perfect for this fish to be happy.

We hope these ideas about popular freshwater fish have helped you a lot. So, best of luck & happy fish keeping.

Read More:- 9 Best Aquarium Fish To Breed For Profit

Read More:- Top 9 Most Expensive Fish For Aquarium With Price Range

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