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20 Most Popular Freshwater Community Aquarium Fish

Whether you are a beginner or you just simply like freshwater fish that are easy to care for, you are at the right place. On this list, you can find 20 different species that will make a great addition to your community aquarium.

You populate your tank with fish that flourish in vivid colors and unusual patterns. While most of them are schooling fish that swim around together, you can find some bottom dwellers and algae eaters as well.

Since most fish breeds from this list have peaceful temperament, it is quite relaxing to watch as they enjoy swimming around.

Most Popular Community Aquarium Fish

Below, I’ve put together few details about each fish species and pictures of each fish. Now, let’s start with the most popular fish:

1. Tetra

Neon Tetras

Neon Tetras

There is a huge family of fish species that can be called Tetra fish and most of them are very popular. You can pretty much populate a whole community tank with a wide range of Tetras that you will be proud to show.

They are like little jewels that all have a peaceful temperament.

Another great thing about them is that they are not demanding at all, which makes it easy to set up a tank for them. Pretty much every aquarium with a baseline tropical setup will do the job.

Tetras are especially recommended for beginners who want a colorful community that is straightforward to maintain.

2. Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppy Fish

Guppies are adorned by various interesting colors that can liven up your aquarium. Besides that, they are not demanding at all when it comes to water quality.

It is also rather easy to calculate the size of the tank, as every Guppy needs 1-2 gallons of water to live comfortably.

What distinguishes the males from females is that the males are graced by more vivid colors. For fish keepers who don’t want to breed Guppies, it is a common thing to populate the tank only with male ones.

They are omnivores that should be kept in a fish tank with fixed temperature.

Tetras love to move around in schools and to use plants to cover themselves with.

3. Betta Fish

betta-fish

Betta Fish

The Betta Fish is another breed popular for its vibrant colors. Also, there are not a lot of conditions that have to be met for this fish in order to live comfortably in its freshwater environment.

Unfortunately, you can only keep one male Betta in your tank, otherwise they get really aggressive towards each other.

There are many peaceful species that can be kept together with Bettas. Like Guppies, they are also omnivorous and can be fed with the same food.

Because of the aggressive temperament of the males, it is highly recommended to keep them in larger fish tanks.

A fun fact about Bettas is that they are gifted with the labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe air.

4. Zebra Danio

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios

Zebra Danios are especially recommended for beginners. It is very easy to set up a fish tank that provides the proper conditions for this breed.

A group of 5 Zebra Danios can comfortably live in a 10-gallon aquarium.

Since they are schooling fish, the number 5 is the minimum amount that is recommended to keep in the same tank.

If this number is not met, your Danios will quickly become stressed. They prefer to be fed with insects, worms and crustaceans but they eat just about anything else.

Zebra Danios are one of those breeds that tend to jump. Make sure to keep them in a covered aquarium, otherwise they might eventually land on your floor.

5. Angelfish

Angelfish

Angelfish

Angelfish are praised for their unusual shape and shiny scales. One thing that makes them interesting is that you can find Angelfish in various colors and with different patterns.

They will be fully satisfied as long as you feed them both plants and meat-based food in the same amount.

They prefer the water to be slightly acidic and soft in the aquarium. Make sure that all your fish have enough space to swim around. Angelfish tend to be aggressive in a crowded fish tank.

A 20-gallon tank is optimal for this fish breed. They don’t tolerate fish nipping and other, significantly smaller fish.

6. Harlequin Rasbora

Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasboras

While the Harlequin Rasbora is quite small, it is definitely worth to get one because of its wonderful colors. It is a peaceful little fish that doesn’t need much in order to get accustomed to a tank.

The Harlequin Rasbora is mostly adorned with bright colors, except the black spot on its body.

Don’t shy away from buying a larger tank because this breed enjoys swimming around in a wide area. It is recommended to keep them in a fish school.

Also make sure not to put them in the same tank with larger and more aggressive species. The diet of a Harlequin Rasbora can include pretty much anything as long as it’s not too big for it to swallow.

7. Endler Guppy

Endler Guppy

Endler Guppy

Although Endler Guppies are not as popular as most of the other fish on the list, they surely look admirable. The males flourish in many different colors which immediately catches the eye of any fish enthusiast.

You can keep them with a relatively small fish tank, as it only has to be a minimum of 5 gallons of size.

Endler Guppies are totally beginner-friendly. They will be fine as long as you make sure they are around peaceful fish that won’t be aggressive towards them.

Since they are very small, any breed with a predator nature would eat them right away.

The Endler Guppy has a diverse diet that includes bloodworms, algae, plants and brine shrimp.

8. Corydoras

Cory Catfish

Cory Catfish

Corydoras are members of the Catfish family and you can add them to any freshwater fish community.

This breed really has no specific needs when it comes to feeding and aquarium conditions.

They are peaceful toward other fish and usually keep themselves busy dwelling at the bottom of the tank.

Since Corydoras are among the more social breeds, it is best to add a couple more of them to the aquarium.

In general, peaceful fish that enjoy each other’s company should be kept away from breeds with aggressive temperament and Corydoras are no exception.

They like to swim to the bottom to get their food so it has to sink to the gravel.

9. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus Catfish

The Otocinclus Catfish is as peaceful as the look on its face. No matter if it’s big or small, this breed won’t bother anyone in the fish tank.

The main reason why the Otocinclus has no interest in interacting with other fish is that its diet is fully plant based.

If you want to keep an Otocinclus Catfish, there are certain conditions that have to be met. It is important to keep the water clean at all times by installing a slow water cleaner of some sort.

Their main food is biofilm and algae. The most practical way is to buy a small tank and grow the algae there, then give it to your Otocinclus Catfish.

10. Bristlenose Plecos

Bristlenose Pleco

Bristlenose Pleco

The Bristlenose Pleco got its name because of the fact that its face is adorned with little bony tentacles.

This already makes it quite a unique species. Another thing that characterizes the Bristlenose is the dotted pattern throughout its body.

The most popular colors for his breed are bright yellow, orange, brown, red and black. There aren’t many things that bother this fish with that flat and bone-armored body.

Bristlenose are also peaceful and live happily in the company of other fish species in the tank. 

What this breed loves to eat the most is protein-rich algae. They are 100% vegetarians. 

11. Molly Fish

Molly Fish

Molly Fish

The typical Molly fish has an oval-shaped body, a small head and beautiful fins. They like warm water the most and the recommended aquarium size for them is 20 gallons.

Since it is a rather adaptive fish breed, it is not demanding at all for the beginner fish keeper to keep them nice and healthy.

The diet of the Molly fish has to be a combination of meat and plant-based food. Instead of laying eggs, they retain them in their body and give birth to young fish that are ready to swim around.

A good advice for beginners is to start with only one Molly fish because they can breed surprisingly quickly.

12. Swordtail Fish

Swordtail Fish

Swordtail Fish

The Swordtail Fish has a pointy and elongated tail and an oval-shaped body. They come in various colors, which are usually a mixture of red, orange, black, white, blue and yellow.

This is yet another beautiful fish breed that is recommended for beginners because they are not demanding nor fastidious.

Swordtail Fish are active, yet peaceful. They enjoy swimming around in the fish tank, exploring the area. If you keep them in schools, they will be eager to swim together.

As long as they have company. This is the perfect community fish if you want to add something unique to your tank.

During the breeding period, make sure to separate the newborn fish from their parents, otherwise they will eat them.

13. Platy Fish

Platy Fish

Platy Fish

The great thing about Platy Fish is that you can find many different color variations of them. Populating the fish tank with this breed can give you quite a diverse group that looks amazing. On top of that, you can keep them healthy with very little effort.

If you want to add different breeds to your aquarium, then Molly fish and Guppies are your best choices. Thanks to the peaceful temperament of these species, you get a colorful and lively community aquarium that is not demanding at all.

Platy fish enjoy moving around in groups and require at least a 10-gallon tank for 5 of them to swim around comfortably.

14. Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami Fish

Dwarf Gourami Fish

The Dwarf Gourami is as innocent as it looks. It can be a peaceful and graceful part of most community tanks that is populated with fish of similar temperament.

Avoid keeping them together with other breeds that can be assertive towards them.

While the Dwarf Gourami is peaceful, it is still somewhat territorial and gets annoyed easily if other fish get too close.

When it comes to the tank conditions, you should use dim lights and ensure slow, steady water flow.

The best companions for this breed are bottom feeders and pretty much any schooling fish.

Dwarf Gouramis can flourish in a wide range of interesting colors, usually with a striped pattern on top.

15. Barbs (Tiger Barbs)

Tiger Barbs

Tiger Barbs

Here is yet another schooling fish, namely the Tiger Barb. This breed got its name after its stripped pattern that associates with the look of a tiger. They are the liveliest when they can swim together in a 3-5 group.

They have the tendency of fin-nipping, which makes them slightly aggressive toward other species. There are interesting color combinations when it comes to Tiger Barbs.

For example, there are the Black Tiger Barbs with bright vertical stripes which are even more aggressive than the other ones from the same family.

They prefer a diet based on flakes and live foods.

16. Loaches (Khuli, Dojo, Zebra, etc.)

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Loaches are a big fish family with many different species. The most popular of them are Khuli Loaches.

If you want to add an unusual fish to your tank, then you can make no mistake with the Khuli. Their long, round body adorned with their unique color and pattern makes every fish keeper proud to keep them.

The pattern of the Khuli pretty much makes it look like a snake. While snakes act aggressive when someone invades their territory, this fish breed takes things easily and lives peacefully.

Khulis are bottom dwellers that hide during the day and get active when the night comes.

If you want an excellent aquarium cleaner with the interesting behavior of competing with its tank mates for food, then Khuli Loaches are for you.

17. Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater

Siamese Algae Eater

If you are looking for a good way to keep your fish tank clean, then you should probably just buy a Siamese Algae Eater.

This species fits well into any freshwater community setting. All these small fish do is they endlessly look for algae and eat them vigorously.

A well-known fact about the Siamese Algae Eater is that it consumes black algae faster than any other fish you can find. If your aquarium is covered in algae and you want it to be crystal clean, go and get a few of these Algae Eaters.

They can also manage to eat the algae off of plants in the tank without causing the slightest damage to them.

18. Threadfin Rainbow Fish

Threadfin Rainbow Fish

Threadfin Rainbow Fish

For those who want to populate the aquarium with colorful and decorative fish, the Threadfin Rainbow Fish is the one they shouldn’t miss.

The males have particularly interesting colors. The reason they are evolved this way is because this is their way to impress females when the time comes for breeding.

The proper conditions for a Threadfin Rainbow Fish include a minimum of 15 gallons of aquarium space and peaceful tank mates.

Avoid keeping fish that have the tendency to nip their fins. They need to have enough space to fin and an abundance of plants spread nicely in the tank.

A plant rich environment nicely resembles its natural habitat.

19. White Cloud Minnow

White Cloud Minnows

White Cloud Minnows

Fish enthusiasts who don’t have much experience should definitely consider keeping White Cloud Minnows. These small and adaptive fish can live comfortably in most aquarium environments.

Their breeding process, diet and interaction with other fish involves little to no complications.

The colorful White Cloud Minnow swims peacefully and it doesn’t act aggressively towards its own juveniles either.

They spend their time in the middle layer of the aquarium and enjoy swimming together with fish of the same breed.

Since they love cold water, you can even keep them in a pond outside. They are the liveliest when kept in a group of 6.

20. Glass Catfish

Ghost Catfish

Ghost Catfish / Glass Catfish

What makes the Glass Catfish breathtakingly unique is that you can literally see through them.

It fits perfectly into a calm community thanks to its peaceful temperament. It likes to swim around and it prefers to be put in a 30-gallon tank or bigger.

It is also recommended to accompany them with at least 5 additional Glass Catfish. In order to keep them nice and healthy, ensure slow water flow, dim lighting and clean water.

This is one of the more delicate fish breeds, meaning that the abovementioned conditions have to be met at all times.

This surely makes beginner fish keepers think twice but the Glass Catfish is undoubtedly a great choice for any enthusiast.

Why Should You Consider a Community Fish Tank?

Community fish tanks give you the opportunity to create something beautiful. You can fill it with plants, rocks and decoration, set up the lighting, the water cleaning system and everything required for a proper home aquarium. That’s already a fun thing to do and we didn’t even mention the fish yet.

Once you have set up the proper living conditions, you can populate it with a wide range of eye-catching fish that will make the tank lively and entertaining to watch. It is a challenge to take care of various different fish species, yet it’s rather satisfying to see them being healthy and active together.

All this process of careful planning and the contentment and beauty that comes with it is what makes setting up a community fish tank such a great hobby.

Conclusion

Setting up a proper freshwater fish community is the first step every beginner should take. Once you figure out all the do’s and don’ts of caring for these freshwater breeds, you will be ready to convert to more demanding ones.

However, it is not as if the difficulty level will determine the awesomeness of your aquarium. Freshwater community fish can be just as fascinating as other species with different temperament or more complex needs.

A great way to go about it is to pick one breed and then slowly add more as you figure their needs out. You will slowly end up with a rich community of colorful fish that you will be proud of.

Updated: December 18, 2019 | Freshwater

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