8 Great & Easy To Take Care Of Fish For Beginners

Easy Fish For Beginners

For beginners, the aquarium hobby can seem overwhelming. Most of us prefer to get started in a simple fashion, and to do that; you’ll need easy fish to take care of. Fortunately, there are tons of species that a beginner might love. Read on to see some of my favorites!

1. Fancy Guppy

Fancy Guppies

  • Max Size: 2″
  • Minimum Tank: 10 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 6+
  • Diet: Anything

Fancy Guppies look great, and they’re also one of the easiest fish to care for. Many people continue their hobby beyond a few Petsmart fish and end up journeying into the breeding as well.

Overall? The Fancy Guppy is one of the easiest fish to keep. Full stop. They’ll eat anything, they tolerate most water conditions, and they breed rapidly. The latter part can turn some people off since the babies are often eaten, but it can be alleviated by keeping just males.

The male Guppy is the more colorful fish, but they’re a bit smaller than the females. You should always keep Guppies in groups of six or more, which is standard for schooling fish. They need others of the species to help them form a coherent school.

Guppies… well, they’re the easiest thing you can place in your tank. They’re less demanding than most aquarium fishes, for the most part, and they’ll do well even with a complete beginner at the helm!!

2. Molly


  • Max Size: 3″
  • Minimum Tank: 20 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 4+
  • Diet: Anything

Mollies are another livebearer, but they tend to be much larger than Guppies. I’ve found them to be the most intelligent livebearers as well, making them a change of pace from fish, which seem to only be there for display.

There is only one caveat: Sailfin Mollies get much larger than the standard variation. If you choose to go down that route, then do it knowingly. And size your fish tank appropriately; full-grown Sailfin Molly will need 5-6 gallons each. Mollies like brackish water, but you won’t hurt them by keeping the tank normal freshwater.

I recommend against getting Balloon Mollies as well. They’re a deformed morph of regular Mollies, shorter with a round body. Unfortunately, this cuteness comes from a form of spinal deformity which compresses the organs. It also shortens their lifespan. The worst cases will constantly be in pain, and they’re also too slow to compete with most fish for food.

They require a larger tank than many beginner fish, but the cost difference is actually quite small if you set up a 20-gallon tank. Mollies are bumbling, cheerful fish that have no real issues with their care. They remain a solid choice for anyone beginning the hobby.

3. Betta Splendens

Betta Splendens

  • Max Size: 2 ½”
  • Minimum Tank: 5 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 1
  • Diet: Anything

Bettas are beautiful fish that lord over any tank they’re put in. There plenty of fish safe to mix with them, and they’re very low maintenance. Just remember that they shouldn’t be housed together unless you’re breeding them. Regardless, males should never be housed together, or you risk serious problems.

Bettas do best in a relatively small tank. Avoid anything under 5 gallons for the most part, but they can be successfully kept with just a sponge filter in a 5-gallon tank. They do best in planted tanks but don’t seem to mind if the tank isn’t green.

They’re very suitable for beginners, and they’re one of the flashiest freshwater fish, period. Things only get complicated if you’re planning on breeding them; otherwise, a Betta doesn’t ask for much.

Bettas are also surprisingly intelligent. If you’ve never kept a fish before and want a small tank with only a few fish? Look into picking up a Betta! If schools aren’t your thing, then they’d be my first pick for a new keeper.

4. Endler’s Livebearer

Endler Livebearers

  • Max Size: 1 ½”
  • Minimum Tank: 5 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 6+
  • Diet: Anything

Endler’s Livebearers are a small Guppy species but a bit distinct. They top out at about 1 ½”(2″ for particularly big females) and have bright patterns covering their bodies. They’re quite popular these days, and they’re one of the few schooling fish suitable for nano tanks.

Keep at least six of them, which is pushing it in a 5-gallon. I’d recommend a ten gallon and eight of Endler’s Livebearer for a beginner. The male/female mix doesn’t matter much unless you’re breeding, but I stick with 2:1 males to females.

Endler’s are very forgiving when it comes to their care. They’ll eat anything and adapt well to most water conditions. Feeding the occasional bit of frozen bloodworms can also help bring out their colors.

Endler’s would be my pick for anyone who wants schooling fish and a relatively small tank. They’re beautiful fish that don’t make any real complaints. Like Guppies, they’re also a great way to get into line breeding as you get more advanced in the hobby.

5. Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami

  • Max Size: 3 ½”
  • Minimum Tank: 10 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 1
  • Diet: Anything

Dwarf Gouramis are an excellent option if you don’t mind having a larger tank. They make a great basis for a community tank, but make sure that there are at least 10 gallons in the tank if you’re keeping them alone.

Dwarf Gouramis are closely related to Betta. These fish are called Abantids, and they’re defined by a labyrinth organ. The organ collects air and slowly releases it into the bloodstream, which supplies oxygen to the fish instead of the usual gills.

Dwarf Gouramis have different personalities. They’re often added first before other community inhabitants. For a beginner, it can be a study in fish behavior as well. They’re not likely to kill other fish, but some are more prone to harassing their companions than others.

They’ll eat anything and can compete at the top. They’re a great beginner’s fish, especially if you’d like to learn some more about how fish act.

6. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras Catfish

  • Max Size: 2 ½”
  • Minimum Tank: 10 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 3+
  • Diet: Sinking Pellets and Algae Wafers

There are many types of Corydoras Catfish, but they mostly vary by color and pattern. They’re all similar: bottom-feeding, armored catfish with a limited stature. Even the biggest species rarely reach 3 ½”.

Cories are surprisingly easy to keep. The trick is to make sure that you’re using sinking foods. Algae wafers and pellets are best. They’ll hoover them up as they go through the substrate.

These little catfish are very open. Unlike many species, they’ll almost always be in the open, provided there are no incompatible fish in the tank. They’ll stay on the bottom for the most part, although they also sometimes make surprising leaps to the surface of the tank.

Corydoras are suitable for beginners, especially the captive-bred varieties. You’ll have no trouble feeding them, and a group of them will liven anyone’s day.

7. Zebra Danio


  • Max Size: 2″
  • Minimum Tank: 20 Gallon(Long)
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 6+
  • Diet: Anything

Zebra Danios are a joy to watch. Dart-like, they need a lot of swimming room for smaller fish. If you provide that? You’ll have an easy time keeping them thriving.

The original Glofish are actually Zebra Danios. You can find both the normal and glowing varieties in most pet stores. Caring for them is identical; they just have psychedelic colors.

Zebra Danios feed aggressively and on anything that hits the surface of the tank. Flake daily and some bloodworms once in a while will make them thrive. They also won’t breed on accident. The scattered eggs and their tiny fry are rarely seen.

Just make sure you have a longer tank and you’re set! Zebra Danios are a perfect beginner fish, suitable for anyone new to the hobby.

8. Cherry Barb

Cherry Barbs

  • Max Size: 2″
  • Minimum Tank: 5 Gallons
  • Amount of Fish Needed: 3+
  • Diet: Anything

Cherry Barbs come from a family renowned for making trouble. Tiger Barbs, for instance, are absurdly aggressive for their size. Cherry Barbs fell pretty far from that tree, being one of the most peaceful schooling fish available.

Cherry Barbs are easy to sex: the males are bright red and sleek while the females are orange with a white belly. You should keep them in a 1:2 male to female ratio for the best results. Keeping all males is possible, but you’ll have to have more space for each fish.

These are easy-going fish. I’ve never seen one do anything aggressive in the slightest, and they’re quick enough to avoid most annoyances their size. Stuff a Dwarf Gourami and six Cherry Barbs in a 20-gallon tank, and your community is set!

Cherry Barbs are beautiful, peaceful fish with no special requirements. I strongly recommend them for anyone looking for a community tank. Those who are looking into planted tanks should consider them as well.

Keep it Easy

All of the above fish are suitable for those just starting out. The good news is that there’s something there, no matter how you want to set up your first tank. Just remember to plan properly, and you’re off to a great start in your aquatic journey.

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