Best Tropical Fish for Beginners

Looking for the best tropical fish for beginners? Here's a list of some of the very best pet fish for your aquarium.Getting your first tropical fish tank is an exciting proposition, but choosing your fish is no easy task. The fish-keeping hobby is a big one, and there are ever more species of fish available.

The obvious question, then, is what are the best tropical fish for beginners?

In this guide we’ll talk you though some of the best options to get you started.

Features of the Best Tropical Fish for Beginners

When it comes to the best fish for beginners to the hobby there are a number of factors which should be taken into account:

Community Attitude

There are two different types of tropical fish tanks which can be set up; these are a species tank or a community tank. Most beginner fish keepers opt for a community tank, in which a wide variety of different species can be kept.

Rather than simply keeping a tank containing one aggressive species of fish, it can be much more enjoyable and rewarding to keep a mixed community of different fish, each with their own unique appearance and lifestyle.

The best tropical fish for beginners therefore are usually docile and perfectly happy to live in a mixed community tank.

Adult Size

If you’re a beginner you won’t want your fish rapidly outgrowing their tank. In addition, note that the larger the fish that you keep, the fewer you can fit into your aquarium. As a result the best beginner species tend to remain quite small.


It should come as no surprise that some tropical fish are far more delicate than others. There can be little more frustrating if you’re a beginner to invest time and money into setting up a tank only for your fish to start dying some days (or even hours) later. The best beginner species are therefore quite hardy and live well in a range of conditions.

Ease of Care

Tropical fish suitable for new hobbyists should have no special requirements and be easy to care for in captivity.

Ready Availability

Lastly when identifying the best beginner fish they should be readily available from most aquarium shops and without a heavy investment of money. While we hope that your fish will live a long and healthy life, the reality is that especially as a new fish keeper you may lose a few fish early on; therefore the less these fish have cost you the better.

Best Tropical Fish Species for New Hobbyists

With all that said, what species therefore actually the best pet fish for the beginner? Below is our “hotlist” of some of the best species to get you started.


Tetras come in a range of different types, though it is arguably the neon tetra which is the most popular of these. These are tiny fish, beautifully coloured with bright red and blue, and easily looked after in captivity. These fish naturally “shoal” so to keep them happy and provide the best-looking display possible try to buy a number of these tetras to live together.


Possibly the best possible tropical fish for beginners guppies may be common and cheap, but they come in a dizzying array of different colours and patterns. Many of these fish are truly mesmerizing in colour and are some of the hardiest tropical fish available. Perhaps most excitingly of all guppies will also breed happily in your home aquarium, so in time you may be lucky enough to come downstairs to find a number of tiny babies swimming around your tank too!


Growing to a few inches in length, mollies are generally slightly larger and more “sturdy looking” that the more fragile-looking tetras or guppies. This makes them rather more appealing fish on their own. While the range of colour forms is rather more limited than guppies you’ll still find a whole host of options.


Platies may at first glance very closely resemble mollies. These fish can reach up to 10cm in length (so you won’t to buy too many for a small aquarium) but are available in a huge range of different colours and patterns. They’re also easy to sex (which makes buying a pair easier) and may reproduce in captivity. Try to keep one male with a small group of females and keep an eye out for baby fish – which are born live rather than in eggs.


The much-loved “plec” is a catfish. Available in a huge range of different types and colours, the standard pleco is cheap to buy and easy to accommodate. Most keepers don’t invest in a large number of these fish, and instead simply keep one single individual in amongst their other community fish.

Ideal for beginners who are looking for something a little bit different, while the catfish serves a useful purpose in helping to keep the tank clean from algae and any food that other fish haven’t eaten.

Looking for the best tropical fish for beginners? Here's a list of some of the very best pet fish for your aquarium.