What fish are best for beginners?


What fish are best for beginners? This is a commonly asked question and for some people keeping fish for the first time, keeping them alive and healthy can be somewhat of a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. One of the things that may seem daunting, is the vast array of fish varieties that are available. 

A lot of people think of goldfish when they think of a beginner fish, due to the way goldfish have been marketed over the years. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although some varieties such as comets are pretty easy to keep, they require a big tank and lots of cleaning, as they create allot of waste.

Here are my recommendations of beginner fish and what they require. It’s only a brief over view of each species and I suggest that further research should be done on each one. This is just designed to point you in the right direction. With all the fish bellow it is recommended to keep them at about 25 degrees C and follow the basic rules of fish keeping, which you can read more about in my earlier blog.

These are the fish which I recommend for a beginner: 


When people think of guppies they think of fish they used to keep as a kid, some people find that boring, but guppies these days are far from that. You have so many colours, tail types and fin types available. They require a tank of about 40L as a minimum and will do fine with most non aggressive fish as they themselves are not aggressive. If you don’t want a huge amount of babies then just stick with males. They are best feed a diet of a staple small pellet, flake or Repashy as well as frozen or live foods such as blood worms, black worms and brine shrimp.


Other live bearers

There are several other Livebearers which can be keep pretty much the same way as guppies. These include platys, Molly’s and swordtails the only difference, is that swordtails and some types of molly’s require a bigger tank of 60L due to the size they grow. They also have the same diet as guppies.

calico mollyswordtail livebearer


Corydoras Catfish

A few species of Corydora Catfish are great for beginners. These include bronze, albino and peppered. These will all do great in a community tank and provide you with hours of enjoyment watching them play around with each other darting about. Corydoras are best kept in schools of at least three, with five or more being best. In a 40L tank you would be able to house 5 comfortably. They do best with a diet of frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp and live black worms. Whatever you feed them, remember to make sure that some food actually reaches them and is not all eaten by the fish in the mid water above them.



The Bristlenose Catfish is an interesting fish and pretty easy to not only to keep but once you get a pair breeding you will have a supply of Bristlenose fry on tap. They also have the added bonus of eating algae of internal surfaces of the tank such as glass, rocks, driftwood and ornaments. But contrary to popular belief, they aren’t really good at “cleaning” fish tanks and will end up producing more mess then they clean up. They will do well in a tank of 60L or more and are best fed a diet of Repashy super green or wafer pellets, with the occasional blood worm. 



When kept in a school, Tetras such as Neons, Cardinals, Black Widow and Rummy Nose can be quite impressive. Most are all generally peaceful but a few can be nippy to fish with long fins. They can be kept in tank 40L and above and are best kept in groups of 10 or more. Most Tetras species are fairly tolerant of water conditions and will eat a large variety of foods. They like a diet of a high quality small pellet or flake and frozen food such as blood worms and brine shrimp, but most are not very picky fish.


Fighting fish

The humble fighting fish comes in a massive array of colours and several fin types. Although can survive in pretty small containers of water they won’t live long or thrive. The minimum tank size would be 30L. They also prefer to have some plants like Anubias that then can sit on to rest as the long fins can make them tired at times. They are best fed a speciality food, as well as blood worms and brine shrimp for an all-round healthy diet. They are best kept by themselves but can normally live with smaller non nippy fish such as guppies and molly’s. The ability to live with other fish is 100% reliant on the individual fishes personalities.

red blue fighting fish halfmooncrown tail fighter



I generally try and keep people away from cichlids when they first start for a few reasosx, mostly because of their size and aggression, but there a few good beginner dwarf cichlids with the best in my opinion being Bolivian Butterfly Rams. Bolivian Butterfly Rams are best kept in a densely planted tank in water more on the acidic side. I wouldn’t keep them in anything smaller the a 80L due to the fact they can get a bit aggressive once they pair off for breeding. They love a diet of frozen food such as blood worms, small pellets and live black worms. Once they pair off they will breed regularly. The easiest way to get a pair is to but a small group of at least 5 and let them pair off naturally because it is near impossible to sex them especially when they are young.


There is probably a few more that may be appropriate for a beginner fish keeper, but this is a good starting list if you are thinking of starting to keep fish. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us on our social media pages or via email staff@cooranbongaqutics.com.au for any fish advice and what fishes may be appropriate for you.

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