7 Best Fish Species to Have as Pets For Beginners

Looking for the best fish to have as pets for beginners? Here is a list of species of fish that are easy to care for and are recommended for any beginner.

If you are uncertain about getting a pet and all the responsibilities that go with it, then one of the best pets you can have is a fish. There are many fish species that you can have in your home aquarium that are excellent for beginners.

Best Fish To Have As Pets For Beginners

As tempting as it may be to spend a little more money and buy specimens of rarer and more unique species, I would advise you to start with a cheap and resistant species. I think it is important to first get acquainted with fish as pets and their requirements, and only then to buy more expensive and more unusual fish.

You should start with a species of fish that doesn't have too many requirements, isn't too big, and which is generally known not to be affected by diseases very often.

1. Guppies


Guppies, (also known as rainbow fish or million fish), are probably the world's most common species of tropical aquarium fish. There are hundreds of colors that guppy can have, and each color has hundreds of patterns.

Guppies make a good pet for anyone that loves aquariums and fish, including beginners, because they don't have any special requirements and are hardy.

With an array of colors and different shaped tails, guppies are very inexpensive. Many times you can get several guppies for $1 at a pet store. Even fancy ones are reasonably priced. The food is also inexpensive and they do not need a large tank.

They will also reproduce very quickly on their own if you only put a few in a tank. Guppies are viviparous, which means that they give birth to live babies, like mammals, and do not lay eggs as most species of fish do. The baby guppies look like their parents right after birth, but the colors appear on their bodies after about 6 weeks.

These fish are happy and like a clean tank. Other than feeding them and changing their water once in a while, that is all that basically needs to be done for these fish.

2. Mollies

MollyMolly (Poecilia sphenops) is a species of freshwater fish that can be found in the rivers of Mexico. This species is preferred by breeders, and it's a very good choice even for beginners because they are not highly demanding and are easy to raise.

Mollies are fast producing fish and are similar to the guppy. They come in a vast array of colors and are hardy and highly adaptable species.

We can find several varieties of mollies, with diverse color variations and distinct body shapes:

  • Short-finned molly
  • Lyretail
  • Balloon molly
  • Dalmatian molly
  • White molly
  • Black molly
  • Golden molly

Regardless of the chosen variety, molly fish can add beauty to any fish tank.

Similar to guppies, mollies are viviparous fish. They give birth to live larvae and a female can give birth to up to 120 larvae in the mating season.

When you add mollies to your tank, it's advisable to add more females than males. They are social fish and thrive in larger groups, so they feel good in the aquariums where they have someone to socialize with.

Mollies' natural diet is formed from small worms and crustaceans, but also plants. Hence, they need a habitat with plentiful of natural plants. If held in the proper conditions mollies usually have a lifespan of 3 - 5 years, or even more.

3. Rasboras

Juan R. Lascorz, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Rasboras make an excellent species of fish to have if you are just starting out. These gorgeous fish are available for sale in many pet stores and are pretty inexpensive.

The "Rasbora" is actually a genus and includes several different species, like the Harlequin rasbora, Rasbora trilineata, Blackline rasbora, Clown rasbora, and more. Every variety is different and has its own particularities. What they all have in common is the fact that they are pretty hardy fish, hence, making one of the best choices for any beginner.

These tiny fish are native to freshwater lakes in South and Southeast Asia and southeast China. They are friendly, multi-colored fish, and most varieties do not grow too much in size, making them perfect for small and medium-sized aquariums.

Whatever breed of Rasboras you decide to go with, know that they are easy to take care of. Buy multiples of one breed to add to your aquarium as they are social fish. They will not flourish in smaller groups, as they will start to stress and feel lonely.

Rasboras also like to swim in the real plants, not fake plants. However, these fish do not tend to swim at the bottom of the tank anyways. They are happy to live with their own kind, but also do well with bettas and tetras.

4. Goldfish

GoldfishThe goldfish is a freshwater fish indigenous to East Asia and is one of the most common aquarium fish.

Even though they can't fulfill wishes, these are super easy to care for and have a very intense orange color. A disadvantage of goldfish as aquarium fish is that it can reach a pretty large size once they are fully grown.

In aquariums, they tend to grow about 1 or 2 inches long, but sometimes they can even reach about 6 inches (15 cm). In their natural habitat, it is not uncommon for goldfish to even reach 12-14 inches (30-35 cm).

Therefore, goldfish are better pond fish than aquarium fish once they reach their adult age.

When kept in a tank, frequent water changes are needed because goldfish can quickly make a lot of mess. They also have a bad habit of trying to eat other fish, as well as the natural plants in the aquarium. So, it may be a good idea to just have goldfish in a separate tank, and far from tiny fish species.

5. Bettas

Betta FishBetta fish or simply bettas is a species of fish native to South Asia and it is also known as the "siamese fighting fish".

These species of freshwater fish are some of the most popular fish in pet stores. They are known for their agility, interactivity, and low maintenance costs, but also for their longevity.

Bettas are a great fish to have if you are just a beginner, mostly for the fact that they are gorgeous, and because it's easier to care for them than many other types of exotic aquarium fish.

Males have larger fins, have tails in different shapes, and the diversity of colors is greater than among females, which makes them more sought after. However, you should avoid putting more males in the same tank. A betta male is very aggressive with other males of its species. Therefore, only one male should be introduced into the aquarium, along with fish of other species. However, species with very large fins should be avoided, as betta fish tend to pinch them.

Betta females are not that territorial as males. Just make sure they have a fairly spacious aquarium to avoid fights.

Naturally, betta fish feed on mosquitoes and their larvae, dragonflies, or other insects that they hunt on the surface of the water. In the pet shops there is also special food for betta fish, in the form of flakes or pellets.

These fish also appreciate a beautiful fish tank. Gravel or sand can be used in the bottom. Any plants put in the tank should not have any sharp edges that can puncture their fins.

6. Zebrafish

Marrabbio2, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is a popular freshwater aquarium fish, indigenous from South Asia. The "zebrafish" name is due to its striped looks similar to the appearance of zebras.

These species of fish are particularly preferred by novice aquarists because are tiny, resistant, and do not require special maintenance conditions.

Zebrafish is a small fish, reaching only 1.5-2 inches (4-5 cm). It has an aerodynamic shape, with a supple body, silver color, and horizontally furrowed by dark blue stripes, with a yellower tint to the male. It has relatively short fins and a mouth pointing upwards, being mainly a surface fish.

Zebrafish is a very sociable, lively, and peaceful fish who likes to live in groups. Being very active, zebrafish also needs plenty of swimming space. An aquarium with a minimum length of 20 inches is preferred. The aquarium must also be equipped with a lid with vents, as when swimming on the surface, these fish often tend to jump out of the tank.

The zebrafish is an omnivorous fish, not very picky when it comes to food. He enjoys eating dry food that is usually found in pet shops but also likes to eat worms, mosquito larvae, earthworms, and other small insects.

If well cared for, zebrafish can live 5 years or more in captivity.

7. Angelfish

AngelfishAngelfish (Pterophyllum) is a small freshwater fish indigenous to the tropical areas of South America. With long wide fins and flattened bodies, their bodies look almost triangular. These fish can be colorful depending upon their breed.

Angelfish are among the most popular aquarium fish around the world, probably because of their amazing look and the fact that they are not very demanding.

There are three varieties:

  • Pterophyllum scalare
  • Pterophyllum altum
  • Pterophyllum leopoldi

A full-grown Pterophyllum scalare can reach a length of over 6 inches (15 cm) and a height of about 10 inches (25 cm), which makes them larger than many species of aquarium fish. 

Because it can reach considerable size, angelfish require more spacious and tall aquariums. If you have a smaller aquarium, you should opt for only one pair of angelfish. During the breeding season, these species become very territorial. They form couples, and each pair will defend their own territory from other fish.

Angelfish prefer aquariums with dense natural aquatic plants on the edges, as they prefer to stay in the middle. It is also recommended to add roots or artificial plants that mimic them. These give them angelfish a safe space where they can hide.

As for aquarium roommates, you should avoid tiny fish breeds as these can become the meal of full-grown angelfish.


There are many benefits of owning a fish tank, such as reducing stress, anxiety, and it gives any room a natural lively look. By picking the right fish species for your fish tank is also very important, especially when you are a novice aquarist.

Now that you know which are the best fish to have as pets, it's time to go to the pet store and get the species that are most suitable for you.