Inexperienced aquarists are often put off from purchasing tropical fish, deeming them difficult to care for. While it’s true that some species of tropical fish have challenging dietary requirements and aggressive behaviours to consider, there’s a wealth of low-maintenance options to consider. Many varieties of tropical fish are small in stature, making it easy to introduce large groups of multi-coloured animals to a community tank. Although tropical fish will require fairly specific pH levels and water temperatures to be maintained, the majority are easy to care for. Below are some of the best tropical fish species you should think about introducing to your tank setup today.
Bettas are an incredibly popular choice of tropical freshwater fish. Compared to other tropical species, bettas are particularly low-maintenance. Their vibrant colouring, dazzling tails and elegant fin shapes also make them an eye-catching addition to tanks. Although a good choice for smaller tanks, bettas are particularly aggressive. Males of the species are the worst offenders in this regard, so avoid keeping more than one male together in a tank at any one time. Females are only slightly more docile, but are generally a better option if you’re looking to house other tropical fish in your aquarium.
Killifish are another good option if you’re looking to bring some vivid colour to your aquarium. There are hundreds of individual species of killifish, with many species having been painstakingly reared over years to cope with a multitude of aquarium setups and water conditions. Compared to other species, killifish are fairly docile creatures. They will rarely cause tank mates any bother, although certain varieties of killifish may become territorial when paired up with males of the same species. Although easy to care for, you’ll want to take note of the carnivorous diet of killifish varieties. Any uneaten food is going to lead to higher protein levels in your tank water which will put an extra strain on your filter.
This variety of tropical fish takes its name from its distinctive fin shape. Although the profile of the fin is largely similar between varieties of swordtails, this species of fish comes in a variety of colour options. Swordtails are not just attractive, they are very easy to care for. They’re also relatively docile and ideal for introducing to large community aquariums populated by various fish species. However, they do prefer to keep to a group, so consider stocking up on a few swordtails before adding them to your tank for the first time.
Although Cherry Barbs are usually black and silver in colour, they take on a vibrant red hue when spawning. This where they get their name. Although the colour red is usually a warning sign in the natural world, Cherry Barbs are a fairly peaceful breed of tropical fish. They are also fairly small, with adult specimens rarely growing any larger than two inches. This means you can keep them in a modest tank without too much worry. In terms of dietary requirements, Cherry Barbs aren’t particularly fussy. They’ll thrive on an omnivorous diet and will happily consume live, frozen and flaked foods. However, it’s advised you mix things up come feeding time.
If you’re exploring tropical fish for the first time, you’ll want a hardy starter species that can be cared for easily. The Zebra Danios is an ideal pick for the novice. As these fish are fairly small, they can be kept in a relatively compact tank. These tropical fish don’t do well as solitary animals, so you should think about purchasing a group of around six Zebra Danios to get started. You should also keep an eye on population numbers over time. As and when your Zebra Danios die off, ensure you replace them with new additions to ensure the group remains active and healthy.
If you’re searching for a larger variety of tropical fish to introduce to your tank, the Pearl Gourami is a great option. Although larger than many other varieties in this list, the Pearl Gourami is one of the more peaceful freshwater specimens around. It is also fairly easy to care for, making it a great fit for the novice. Because of their larger size, the Pearl Gourami demands a larger tank. Ideally, a tank capacity of around 30 gallons is required. This tropical fish species also needs fairly dim conditions in order to thrive. Opting for dark-coloured substrate and minimal lighting is a good idea if you’re looking to keep Pearl Gourami.
Platies are one of the easiest tropical fish species around. If you’re looking to add some colour to a community tank, platies are an obvious choice. These hardy fish are small enough that you can introduce a considerable number to a larger tank without having to amplify swimming space, while a huge variety of colour variants means you can put together a diverse looking group with little effort. Although they won’t cause your other fish species any bother, platies are particularly active animals. They should be introduced in groups of around half a dozen, although you can opt for much larger groups if your aquarium dimensions will allow.
Neon Tetras are another go-to species for those with minimal experience in keeping tropical fish. These are among some of the smallest tropical fish out there, with adults rarely growing more than a couple of centimetres in length. Because of their very small size and easygoing temperament, they’re the perfect addition to a community tank. The colour varieties of the Neon Tetra is arguably the key selling feature of this popular breed, with most specimens being incredibly visible, even when kept in dim aquarium conditions.