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4 Small Aquarium Fish Perfect for the Beginner Aquarist

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Are you a beginner in the field of aquaristics, looking for the perfect type of small fish for your home aquarium? You've come to the right place! In this article, we'll discuss five of the most popular small fish perfect for the novice aquarist. With their easy care requirements, small size and bright colors, these fish are ideal for the beginner.

We'll cover the basics of care, tank requirements, and more, so you can easily find the perfect fish for your aquarium. Once you've decided on a species, you'll have the satisfaction of watching your little swimmer in its new home.

Read on and discover the wonderful world of small aquarium fish!


Tetras are a popular choice for beginners looking to start their first aquarium. Possessing vibrant colors, these peaceful and small fresh water fish are easy to care for and can often coexist with other fish of similar size and temperament. Tetras, on average, grow no larger than 2” in adult size and prefer moderate levels of flow and water temperature.

Generally, tetras prefer groups of 6 or more and are usually kept in tanks of 10-20 gallons, although smaller tanks can be used.

neon tetra

When selecting tetras, it is important to consider the potential risks associated with selecting a species of fish from a pet store. Before buying, research the species to determine its compatibility with its potential tankmates and the aquarium’s environment. In addition to the physical characteristics of the fish, consider the active lifestyles of these small fish.

Tetras are notoriously active and need space to swim around.

Tetras originate from the waters of South America, Central America and Africa and come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Among the most popular varieties are neon tetras, black skirt tetras, cardinal tetras and rummy-nose tetras.

Each of these species have unique personalities


Guppies are one of the most popular small aquarium fish perfect for the beginner aquarist. These brightly colored, peaceful fish are a great addition to any tank. Guppies come in a variety of colors, including orange, yellow, red, blue and many more.

They can live up to 10 years, and they usually grow up to be between one and two inches.

Guppies need plenty of swimming room, and they prefer tanks that are at least 20 gallons.

When it comes to having guppies in an aquarium, it is important to provide them with plenty of places to hide. They will thrive if provided with decorations such as plants, rocks, and caves that allow them to find refuge from aggressive fish or when feeling threatened.


Guppies are social fish and should be kept in groups of at least five or more. They can be housed with other non-aggressive fish, but it's best to avoid keeping them together with larger species that may eat them. Guppies also enjoy companionship and will be more active in a larger group.

Guppies are easy to feed and are omnivores, so they will


Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus) are small, hardy freshwater fish that make an ideal addition to any beginner aquarist's tank. Native to Central America, platies are peaceful, social creatures that appreciate being kept in groups of at least three and can thrive in tropical tanks of all sizes.

These fish are relatively easy to keep and feed, as they enjoy most types of flake and pellet-based fish foods, as well as the occasional treat of fresh or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

They prefer temperatures between 72 and 76 degrees Fahrenheit and water that is slightly acidic to neutral.


When it comes to size, platies are incredibly small, measuring in at an average of around two inches in length and boasting a life span of up to three years. As they are livebearers, they will reproduce in the tank relatively easily, with the females typically giving birth to anywhere from 20 to 100 fry at a time.

In terms of appearance, platies come in a range of stunning colors and patterns, including black, red, yellow, orange, and even patterned variations.

They are a great addition to any aquarium, providing plenty of color to your aquarium.

Cory Catfish

Cory catfish, also known as Corydoras, are small, peaceful fish that are perfect for the beginner aquarist. They have a distinct look, with broad heads and a slim body, and three pairs of whisker-like barbells. These peaceful bottom dwellers come in a variety of shades and patterns, making them an attractive addition to any aquarium.

Cory catfish are an active schooling species, so it is best to keep them in groups of six or more. A tank size of at least 20 gallons is recommended for this species, and should be equipped with plenty of hiding places, as they love to explore their environment. Cory catfish are omnivores, and can be fed a variety of live, frozen and dried foods.


Cory catfish are great scavengers, and can help keep the tank tidy. Not only will they search their tank for leftover food, but they also help to stir up the substrate as they dig for food. As a result, they can help keep the substrate clean and oxygenated.

Because cory catfish are easy to care for and do not require much maintenance.


Congratulations! If you have made it to this point, you now know the five small aquarium fish perfect for the beginner aquarist. Taking on the responsibility of caring for an aquarium can be daunting if you are just getting started in the fish keeping hobby. However, with the right research and care, keeping small aquarium fish is a fun and rewarding experience.

Having a small aquarium tank tends to make maintenance easier and also makes it easier to keep your aquarium stocked with compatible tank mates. The five small aquarium fish listed above are all great options for new aquarists, as they are known to be peaceful, active, and colorful.

No matter what type of fish you decide to keep, remember to always give the fish proper care and the environment they need to thrive in their aquarium. When done correctly, you will have a beautiful display of small fish that will bring plenty of enjoyment to both you and your family.

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