Freshwater Fish for Your Aquarium

There are several colorful freshwater aquarium fish out there. These can be as large as an Arowana or as small as a Pea Puffer and still be kept in a private aquarium. But before adopting a finned friend, there are several things to consider. These include whether or not they play nice with others, their living conditions, and their lifespan.

Freshwater Aquarium Fish

30 Common Types of Freshwater Aquarium Fish

These are some of the popular freshwater fish worldwide that are commonly kept as pets, arranged by their difficulty level. The prices of these fish depend on several factors, including the size of the fish, the color patterns and morphs, and how rare the fish is.

Large Freshwater Fish for Aquarium

1. Angelfish


One of the more well-known fish among enthusiasts, angelfish are known for their hardiness, making them a great choice for those just starting out.

On average, angelfish can cost between $8.99 and $39.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size6-12 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature78-84°FLife Expectancy10-12 years
pH6.8-7.8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

2. Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn Cichlid

An ornamental fish with a huge hump on its head, the Flowerhorn Cichlid is known for its bright colors. But it should either be kept in solitude or with another of its kind as this fish is aggressive to other species.

These cichlids are a bit expensive, reaching prices as high as $300.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentAggressive
Size10-12 inchesTank Size75 gallons
Water Temperature82°-85°FLife Expectancy10-12 years
pH6-8.5Compatible WithOthers of its species

3. Goldfish


Arguably the most well-known aquarium fish in the world, the Goldfish has been a popular pet for years. However, they are not exactly beginner-friendly as they require a lot of care to live full lives.

Goldfish come in various prices, from as low as $5.99 to as high as $78.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size6-12 inchesTank Size20–40 gallons
Water Temperature65-72°FLife Expectancy10-15 years, but tends to live for 4-5 years due to inadequate care
pH6.5-7.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

4. Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey Fish

The Jack Dempsey is a fish covered with metallic, iridescent scales that flash as they swim.

These popular pets cost between $3 and $29.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentTerritorial, especially when they breed or as they get older
Size10 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature78°-86° FLife Expectancy10-15 years
pH6.5-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish but only in a large enough tank

5. Green Terror Cichlid

Green Terror Cichlid

A beautiful South American cichlid, the Green Terror can be quite aggressive, so make sure to keep objects in the tank so that it can mark its territory.

These fish can cost between $17.99 and $85.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentAggressive and Territorial
Size6-12 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature76°-80°FLife Expectancy7-10 years
pH6-7.5Compatible WithOther cichlids but only in a large tank

6. African Cichlid

African Cichlid

These are some of the most colorful fish out there, guaranteed to inject a lot of life into an aquarium. But these cichlids are not very kind to other tank mates and should preferably be kept in a place with a lot of room for them to swim in.

On average, these fish cost between $8.99 and $30.

Care LevelIntermediate-ExpertTemperamentAggressive and Territorial
Size2-15 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature74-82°FLife Expectancy7-10 years
pH7.8-8.4Compatible WithTo be kept alone or with other cichlids

7. Arowana


A large carnivorous fish, this silver-scaled specimen requires a lot of space and tank mates, which it can’t chow down on. Only for those who have a lot of experience with raising fish.

They are also extremely expensive, reaching over $850 in some cases.

Care LevelExpertTemperamentAggressive
Size3 feetTank Size250 gallons
Water Temperature75-82°FLife Expectancy10-15 years
pH5-7.5Compatible WithTo be kept alone

8. Jaguar Cichlid

Jaguar Cichlid

As its name indicates, the Jaguar Cichlid resembles the Big Cat. And like its namesake, it’s best kept alone and handled only by experts.

On average, these cichlids cost between ‎$9.99 and $24.99.

Care LevelExpertTemperamentHighly aggressive
Size14 inchesTank Size100 gallons
Water Temperature75°-82°FLife Expectancy15 years
pH7-8.7Compatible WithTo be kept alone

Small Freshwater Fish for Aquarium

1. Betta


Known for its beautiful fins, the Betta or Siamese Fighting Fish is easy to handle for beginners. But it should not be kept alongside others of its species as they tend to fight.

These fish generally cost between $7.99 and $25.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentAggressive
Size2.5-3 inchesTank Size5 gallons
Water Temperature76-82°FLife Expectancy2-5 years
pH6.5–8Compatible WithTo be kept alone

2. Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal Tetra

A beautiful fish with contrasting blue and red halves, this is a great fish for beginners and should be kept in a school of 5-6.

These are inexpensive, with a single specimen ranging between $3 and $4.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2 inchesTank Size15 gallons
Water Temperature73°-79°FLife Expectancy5 years
pH5.5-6.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

3. Cherry Barb

Cherry Barb

Named after its bright red color, the Cherry Barb is an easy-to-raise fish and can be kept alongside Neon Tetras, Cardinal Pearl Danios, and Cardinal Tetras.

These fish cost between $6.99 and $16.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature75°-80°FLife Expectancy5-7 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

4. Congo Tetra

Congo Tetra

Congo Tetras have a distinct red-golden line running along their bodies, making them easily recognizable.

On average, a single Congo Tetra costs between $4 and $15.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size3 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature72-82°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH6.0-7.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

5. Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish

The Cory Catfish is a bottom-feeding catfish that is easy to handle for beginners. They can be kept in groups which are when they display a lot of activity.

On average, they cost between $4.99 – $15.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1-4 inchesTank Size15–30 gallons
Water Temperature74°-80°FLife Expectancy10-15 years
pH7-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

6. Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami

These peaceful gourami fish are available in a variety of colors. They tend to float up to the top of the tank while swimming.

On average, these fish cost between $7.99 and $25.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2-3.5 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature77°-82°FLife Expectancy4-6 years
pH6-9Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

7. Fancy Guppy

Fancy Guppy

Fancy Guppies come in many colors, tail shapes, patterns, etc. They are also beginner-friendly but breed quickly, so be wary of keeping a male and female in a single tank.

The prices of these guppies can vary greatly, starting from $2.99 all the way to $57.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2 inchesTank Size5 gallons
Water Temperature74°-82°FLife Expectancy1-3 years
pH7-7.8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

8. Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasbora

The Harlequin Rasbora is a unique-looking fish with a predominantly ruby-pink body and black hind parts. They are very peaceful and can be reared by beginners.

These fish cost between $4.99 and $9.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature72°-77°FLife Expectancy5-8 years
pH6-7Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

9. Neon Tetra

Neon Tetra

These fish are very similar to the Cardinal Tetra in appearance. A shoal of these will appear mesmerizing while swimming in an aquarium.

The price of these fish ranges between $2.99 and $22.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.2 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature72°-76°FLife Expectancy6-7 years
pH6-7Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

10. Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish

Despite its aggressive behavior towards other fish, the Paradise Fish is actually a pretty good fish for a beginner.

These fish generally cost between $10 and $15.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentAggressive
Size2.4 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature70°-82°FLife Expectancy8-9 years
pH6-8Compatible WithTo be kept alone

11. Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami

These fish have scales covered with a mosaic pattern that almost makes them appear as if they are covered by pearls.

A Pearl Gourami costs between $8.99 and $10.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size4-5 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature75°-86° FLife Expectancy4-5 years
pH6.5-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

12. Swordtail


Like Mollies and Guppies, Swordtails are beginner friendly and breed rapidly. They also come in a diverse range of colors.

A single Swordtail costs between $2.99 and $9.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size4-6 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature61-82°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH7-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

13. Tiger Barb

Tiger Barb

Tiger Barbs are generally great fish to keep, even for those new to the hobby – with one notable issue. These barbs are known for fin-nipping, especially those with long fins like Angelfish.

These barbs cost around $2.99 to $4.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size1.2-1.6 inchesTank Size20-30 gallons
Water Temperature72°-82°FLife Expectancy5-10 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

14. Zebra Danio

Zebra Danio

The Zebra Danio is a low-maintenance fish whose only requirement is to be kept in a group as they are a schooling fish.

A Zebra Danio costs about $2.99.

Care LevelBeginnerTemperamentPeaceful
Size2 inches Tank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature64°-75° FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH6-8Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

15. Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danio

The Celestial Pearl Danio is a colorful fish that enjoys being in groups of other fish with similar temperaments.

On average, these fish cost between $2.99 and $8.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful
Size1 inchTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature73°-79°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH6.5-7.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

16. Florida Flag Fish

Florida Flag Fish

These fish get their name from the scales on their bodies, which are the color of the American flag.

On average, Florida Flag Fish costs between $5.99 and $29.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful but aggressive when needing to breed
Size2 inchesTank Size20 gallons
Water Temperature70°-85°FLife Expectancy2-3 years
pH6.5-7.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

17. Molly

Molly Fish

Like guppies, Mollies are easy to raise, come in multiple varieties, and breed like crazy. But these fish require a bit more care than the guppy, so a little experience is needed while handling them.

Molly fish can be bought for as low as $2 to $3.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentPeaceful but occasionally displays aggression
Size3-5 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature70°-82°FLife Expectancy3-5 years
pH7 – 8.5Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

18. Peacock Cichlid


Peacock Cichlids come in various colors, making them very appealing to enthusiasts. However, they can be aggressive to other species and are best kept alone.

These cichlids cost between $7.99 and $18.99.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentCan be territorial
Size4-6 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature76°-82°FLife Expectancy6-8 years
pH7.8-8.5Compatible WithTo be kept alone

19. Pea Puffer

Pea Puffer

One of the few puffer fish that can be kept in captivity, the Pea Puffer is not recommendable to beginners. While certainly a unique specimen, this fish is aggressive toward anyone else in its tank and requires a carnivorous diet.

A Pea Puffer usually costs between $3 and $15.

Care LevelIntermediateTemperamentAggressive and Territorial
Size0.98 inchesTank Size10 gallons
Water Temperature74°-82°FLife Expectancy4 years
pH6.8 to 7.8Compatible WithTo be kept alone

20. Discus


Discus are known for their beautiful colors and patterns on their bodies. But they are not easy to care for and need to be kept in groups with either their own species or with other fish.

They are also relatively expensive, starting from $59.99, and can reach over $150.

Care LevelIntermediate-ExpertTemperamentPeaceful
Size5-8 inchesTank Size70 gallons
Water Temperature82°-86°FLife Expectancy10-15 years
pH6-7Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

21. Duboisi Cichlid

Duboisi Cichlid

A beautiful but aggressive species, the Duboisi Cichlid displays blue and yellow spots as a juvenile which fade as they age.

On average, this fish costs between $19.99 and $32.99.

Care LevelExpertTemperamentAggressive
Size5 inchesTank Size55 gallons
Water Temperature72°-82° FLife Expectancy5-8 years
pH7.8-9Compatible WithTo be kept alone

22. German Blue Ram

German Blue Ram

While these beautiful blue fish are very peaceful, they require much care to keep them alive. So this one is best left to the experts.

The German Blue Ram costs between $12 and $20.

Care LevelExpertTemperamentPeaceful
Size2-3 inchesTank Size30 gallons
Water Temperature82°-86°FLife Expectancy2-3 years
pH6-7Compatible WithPeaceful Fish

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