10 Red Freshwater Aquarium Fish

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Many aquarium owners display different preferences in terms of how they set up their aquatic environment. Aside from aspects like tank gear, interior decorations, plants, and preferred fish species, they also consider the fish’s size and coloring.

This way, you get single species or mixed species tanks, each coming with their own pros and cons. If you like more and size diversity to create a genuine aquatic habitat, a mixed-species tank may be the way to go. If, however, you would like to keep it simple you should only focus on one species.

But what if you aim to build a single-color fish tank, only comprising of fish sharing the same color? Today, we will discuss the 10 most popular red freshwater fish, some of which may be unfamiliar to you:

1. Red Guppy Fish

It’s only natural that we begin this list with guppies, the world’s most popular aquarium fish species. Guppies have adapted perfectly to life in captivity and display amazing, adaptable features. They also breed faster and more effectively than almost any other tank fish, with females capable of producing offspring every month, with or without a male present.

Selective breeding have allowed humans to obtain astounding varieties of guppies, different in shape, coloring pattern, and size. This is how we got the red guppy or the Full Red Albino. Albino guppies already existed, but the red ones were extremely rare until recently.

The Red Albino displays a completely red body with little-to-no variations. However, some specimens may exhibit white patches around the head and belly, while others are completely red. A genuine Red Albino guppy should have red eyes too.

General info:

  • Preferred water temperatures between 72 to 82 °F
  • Requires a plant-rich environment to thrive, along with various hiding spots like caves and rocks
  • Timid, in nature, will hide and flee when confronted with more aggressive tank mates
  • Omnivorous diet, consisting of algae and animal-sourced food
  • Guppies require at least 2 gallons of water each to remain healthy and active throughout their lives
  • The adult can reach 2.5 inches in size
  • Guppies display social behavior and will organize in shoals with occasional schooling behavior

2. Swordtail Fish

Swordtails are similar to guppies in appearance, which is fitting knowing that they are related, belonging to the same family, Poeciliidae. Swordtails show some moderate color variations, as you can find them in black, green, and red. The latter is more prevalent, although not always clean. Many swordtails display red or orange patterns with black abdominal spots or spotted backs.

This species’ most distinctive feature is the male’s caudal fin. The male’s tail displays a prolonged thorn-like lobe that’s often as long as the fish’s entire body. This separates them from guppies, among other features like longer abdominal and dorsal fins, sometimes varying in shape.

Selective breeding has also led to increased variety in the species in terms of size and color patterns:

General info:

  • Swordtails live around 3 to 5 years in captivity or even more given optimal living conditions and proper care
  • Males can reach 5.5 inches in size, while females are larger, up to 6.5 inches
  • One swordtail requires at least 15 gallons of water due to its more active nature
  • Swordtails can survive and thrive in varying water temperatures, from 65 F to 82 °F
  • Although plagued by the same diseases common to many aquarium fish, swordtails are notoriously hardy and adaptable
  • Swordtails require more often feeding than guppies, around 2-3 times per day

3. Red Platy Fish

Platies are peaceful, joyful, and love to live in larger groups, making them ideal for community tanks. Theyexhibit a decent variety of colors and belong to the Poeciliidae family, the same with guppies and swordtails. These fish are ideal for beginners since they are hardy and adaptable and have low care requirements compared to other tank fish.

These fish display short and compact bodies with small and round tails and similarly-shaped fins. They are active swimmers and thrive in planted aquariums in the company of other fish. Just don’t pair them with aggressive fish species since it can stress the platies and cause them to retreat into hiding.

There’s an impressive variation in color, including white, black, red, blue, green, along with virtually endless patterns.

General info:

  • Platies reach around 2.5-3 inches in size, similar to guppies
  • This species can adapt to an impressive range of water conditions but are rather sensitive to water parameter fluctuations
  • Preferred water temperature rests between 72 to 75 °F, with cooler temperatures boosting the fish’s coloring
  • Platies are omnivorous but require more plants in their meals compared to other omnivorous fish
  • The ideal tank size should be at least 10 gallons to accommodate a group of 3-4 platies

4. Rosy Tetras

This is a small fish species that can reach 2 inches in size and display low coloring variations. They are typically light red with various white, black, orange, and even light blue nuances. They display compact bodies with small two-lobe tails and a large dorsal fin that can vary in shape.

While Rosy tetras are adaptable, they require pristine water conditions to thrive and remain healthy. Thanks to their easy-going personality, they are mostly fit for intermediate aquarium owners due to the extra care necessary and make a perfect addition to community tanks.

General info:

  • When Rosy tetras are kept in pairs, they tend to display fin nipping behavior, which doesn’t happen in larger groups
  • The ideal water temperature ranges between 75 F to 82 °F
  • The Rosy tetra only shows patches of red, especially on its fins and tails, and never comes with full red bodies like other species
  • Rosy tetras are shoaling in nature and require a group of at least 10 individuals to thrive and remain stable long-term

5. Red Betta Fish

The Red Betta fish or the Siamese Fighting fish is a wildly popular tank species thanks to its enormous fins and tails. Bettas can reach up to 3 inches in size and display various colors, patterns, and shapes. The Red Betta is a unique-looking aquarium fish coming in multiple color variations from dark red to mixes of red, white, blue, and orange.

The Betta possesses rich tails and dorsal and abdominal fins, providing them with an elegant and fluffy look. Males have larger fins that they use to impress females and appear larger to intimidate other males trespassing their territory.

This species is highly appreciated among aquarists thanks to its unique looks and high adaptability.

General info:

  • Bettas possess the labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air; this allows them to thrive even in poorly oxygenated waters, so long as they can access the water’s surface
  • Bettas are naturally territorial fish, causing the males to fight over space, food, and females
  • Keeping 2 males alone in the same tank will cause them to fight and even kill each other in time
  • Ideal temperature ranges between 72 to 80 °F, with higher temperatures triggering their mating instincts
  • A pair of Bettas require at least 5 gallons of water to remain healthy and comfortable in the long run
  • Bettas live up to 5 years in captivity, sometimes more given ideal living conditions and proper care
  • Bettas are carnivorous and will consume insects, larvae, smaller fish, worms, brine shrimp, etc.; they don’t require food daily, as is the case with most carnivorous species

6. Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs are a small, schooling species that live in larger groups and are ideal for community tanks. They are peaceful and prefer to share their living space with species displaying similar behavior.

One of this species’ most notable features is their trademark red coloring. Cherry barbs will display some pattern variations but always within the same color range. They remain red with minor shading variations and often display black lines or spots traversing their bodies from mouth to tail.

They have small, hydrodynamic bodies, up to 2 inches in size, and display small tails and round fins.

Cherry barbs don’t do well living alone and should remain in groups of at least 3 individuals, 1 male, and 2 females. The larger the group, the happier and calmer they will be.

General info:

  • Cherry barbs need to live in groups of at least 10 individuals; this will reduce their shyness and minimize their tendency to hide constantly
  • This species’ albino version was obtained via selective breeding, showcasing reduced schooling behavior
  • Cherry barbs require stable temperatures between 73 F to 81 °F, but can withstand temperature fluctuations pretty well, compared to other species
  • A school of 5 Cherry barbs require at least 25 gallons of water to thrive
  • Providing their tank with plants like java fern and hornwort will calm the fish and boost their coloring
  • Cherry barbs are phenomenal breeders, with females laying around 200-300 eggs in one session

7. Coral Red Dwarf Pencil Fish

This tiny, micro-predator will make for a cute addition to your tank, provided you can accommodate it properly. The Red Pencil Fish is small, reaching 1.2 inches at most, and displays slim but robust bodies. They mostly come in variations of red, both the male and female displaying thick black stripes traversing their bodies longitudinally.

The males display extreme territorial behavior and will kill each other if contained in tight spaces. Adding females to their group will diminish their aggressive tendencies, so long as there are at least 2-3 females for each male.

You should keep this species in groups of at least 10 individuals, which diminishes their aggression all around. Larger groups also appear bolder and more confident, allowing them to investigate their environment more naturally.

General info:

  • This species doesn’t require lighting since they typically live in heavily planted waters in the wild, keeping them away from sunlight
  • Breeding the Red Pencil Fish in captivity is rather difficult since the fish is sensitive to light changes
  • The Red Pencil Fish is more compatible with peaceful tank companions, preferably of similar size and dietary preferences

8. Chili Rasbora

Chili Rasboras are tiny schooling fish coming in red, red, and black variations. They will reach sizes of up to 0.8 inches and do well in larger groups, both in single species and community tanks. The Chili Rasbora have a lifespan of up to 8 years in optimal living conditions and display a vivid and energetic personality, roaming their environment continuously.

Thanks to their adaptable nature and vivacious behavior, Rasboras are highly popular among aquarists. They make for great options for both nano tanks and large community aquariums, so long as you don’t pair them with large or aggressive fish species.

Chili Rasboras have small and slender bodies with big eyes, transparent fins and tails, and red and black coloring.

General info:

  • The larger the school, the more confident and energetic the fish are
  • Consider adding various leaves to their environment since tannins keep them healthy in the long run
  • Chili Rasboras require water temperatures between 68 F to 82 °F
  • As omnivores, these fish will eat mostly anything, so long it can fit their tiny mouths
  • Chili Rasboras don’t fare well in poorly maintained tanks since dirty waters make them prone to infections, parasites, and diseases like Ich

9. Kisaki Killifish

This exotic species is rather rare in the aquarium world, which explains the almost complete lack of information on the internet. The Kisaki Killifish is basically built like a torpedo with a long and thick body and exhibits very energetic behavior. You should keep a pair (male and female) in a 10 gallon or larger tank.

Males display light red bodies with little-to-no color variation, while females are light grey. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t think they belong to the same species. The Kisaki Killifish are omnivorous and will consume bloodworms, frozen food, fish pellets, and pretty much anything you feed to other tank species.

General info:

  • Kisaki females are half as big as the males
  • Females are capable of producing several hundred eggs in one go; the male will force the eggs out of the female by pressing it against a hard surface
  • Kisaki Killifish are also called ‘annual fish’ since they only live around 1 to 2 years at most, both in the wild and in captivity

10. Red Blood Cichlid

This exotic species has gained a lot of traction over the past decade in the aquarium world thanks to their unique appearance and easy-going attitude. Blood Cichlids originate in Taiwan and have big, bulky bodies with bumpy heads. They are entirely red with almost no coloring variation and have small tails.

The Blood Cichlid can reach 8 inches in size and require a 30-gallon tank to feel comfortable and remain active and healthy. Interestingly, the Blood Cichlid is that it is the result of selective breeding, so you can’t find them in the wild.

They are peaceful, adaptable, and require freshwater environments with open space and temperatures between 76 to 80 °F.

General info:

  • The Blood Cichlid is also called the Red Blood Parrot Cichlid due to its head shape, similar to that of a parrot’s beak
  • This species displays a genetic flaw due to artificial hybridization, rendering the fish unable to close its mouth completely; its mouth remains open in an O shape
  • Blood Cichlids have their teeth positioned towards their throat, which means they can’t attack or harm each other; instead, they use their bodies as battling rams when displaying aggression
  • Blood Cichlids can live around 10 to 15 years in optimal living conditions
  • Blood Cichlids are omnivores, so they can thrive on a variety of foods, except flakes; that’s because hybrid Cichlids cannot feed on the water’s surface due to their mouth’s structure


If you’re determined to create a community tank filled with red fish-only, this list should provide all the info you need. Just make sure you pair the fish properly since not all species I’ve mentioned here are compatible to one another.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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