If you’re new to fishkeeping, or you’re just looking for some low maintenance fish, then you’ve found the right article! In this article, you’re going to learn about the easiest fish to take care of, and ones that are commonly thought to be but aren’t!
While I had the final say on which fish made the cut, I also polled over 150 people on what they thought were the best fish too! Which heavily influenced the end result. With this in mind, here are the some of the easiest freshwater fish to keep.
When choosing the easiest freshwater aquarium fish to care for, here was the criteria I was considering:
- Non Aggressive/Good Community Fish
- Hardy (Resistant To Poor Water Quality)
- Low Bioload
- Can Live In Small Tanks
- Easy Diet
As you can see if a fish has all of the following, then they’re going to be incredibly easy to care for. Here’s a bit more about each of them!
Non Aggressive/Community Fish
Community fish as you can guess are the ones that are going to live peacefully with other fish around them. They’re not going to be territorial, in fact, they’re just going to be minding their own business most of the time.
It’s important to note that all fish can be aggressive if they’re in poor conditions, however generally, if you keep these fish in good conditions then you’re not going to have a problem.
A hardy fish is kind of like that one friend we all have who can eat street food in any country without ever getting an upset stomach. These are the sturdy swimmers of the aquarium world that can tolerate less-than-perfect water conditions.
Even when the pH balance is a little off, or the temperature isn’t quite right, these guys keep on swimming. However, don’t get me wrong here. Although they’re tough, it’s still important to maintain your tank properly to keep them healthy and happy.
Next up, we’ve got fish with a low bioload. This is just a fancy way of saying they won’t turn your tank into a mess. Fish with a low bioload produce less waste, meaning they’re not only easier on the eyes, but also easier on your filter.
The water will stay cleaner for longer periods, reducing the number of times you have to roll up your sleeves for a water change. It’s a win-win situation, really! As you can imagine the biggest benefit of this is that if you do forget a water change, it’s not going to be game over.
They Can Live In Small Tanks
If you’re short on space or just starting out like most beginner fish keepers, small tanks are a great option. Thankfully, there are loads of fish out there who are perfectly happy living in more compact tanks.
And while tiny tanks are more likely to fluctuate in their temperature and water parameters, these fish are more than able to handle it! (For a short time anyway)
Last, but definitely not least, let’s chew on the topic of diet. An easy diet is like the fish version of being a non-fussy eater. These fish aren’t gourmet seekers; they’re content with a simple, balanced diet that’s easy for you to provide. Most will thrive on a menu of basic store-bought fish food. No need for fancy recipes or special ingredients here. Feeding these fish is as easy as pie—or, should we say, as easy as fish flakes!
The Poll Results
As you can see, guppies won by a landslide, followed by platies and zebra danios joint second! I was surprised cardinal tetras came in third above both mollies and common cory’s as I think they’re much easier for fish to care for, especially if you’re a beginner!
The Easiest Fish To Care For When You’re A Beginner
Without further ado here are some of the easiest fish to care for! There is no real order after the top five as they’re all quite similar, however, if you’re just starting, then I’d definitely recommend either guppies, zebra danios, mollies, platies, or common corydoras!
You can even keep all of them together!
Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
As you can see by the poll results, guppies were voted the easiest fish to take care of by a landslide, especially for beginners. These low maintenance fish are like the social butterflies of the aquarium world. With their vibrant colors and fancy tails, they add a touch of elegance to any tank.
On top of this, they’re not picky eaters either. In fact, you can just put any high quality fish flake in the tank and they’re going to love them! Just make sure you’re supplementing their diet with live food.
When you do keep guppies, it’s best to keep 2 females for every 1 male to reduce aggression and harassment, making taking care of them even easier!
If you planned on keeping a peaceful community tank, and you’re just getting started, these are definitely the fish of choice!
Interestingly, a recent study on guppies has found that evolution can take place in a short amount of time! When guppies were placed in an environment with no predators, they ended up producing fry less fry that ended up being a lot larger!
What To Consider When Choosing Guppies:
- They’re livebearer’s.
- You’ll need to keep 2 females for every 1 male.
- They’re beautiful fins are a target for fin nippers.
|Tank Size||5 Gallons|
Zebra Danios (Danio rerio)
Zebra Danios also known as zebrafish are energetic and fast swimmers, adding a dynamic touch to your aquarium. If you’re starting out, these are absolutely the fish I’d recommend, they’re extremely hardy, and can handle mistakes often made by beginners well!
However, the reason I’ve placed them under guppies is due to the fact they’re just not as interesting to look at in my opinion.
They’re also omnivores so they’ll happily eat fish food in the tank plenty of swimming space and watch as they zip around with their lively personalities.
What To Consider When Choosing Zebra Danios:
- They’re some of the hardiest fish in the trade
- They are going to be a lot happier in bigger tanks.
Did you know that Zebra Danios are more intelligent than we once thought? In fact, just like us they can create three dimensional maps in their mind of their surroundings!
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Platies (Xiphophorus maculatus)
Platies are most well known for their playful nature and wide array of colors. These peaceful fish are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of water conditions.
On top of this, they’re not fussy eaters and will readily accept flake or pellet food. Platies also appreciate the occasional vegetable treat, such as blanched spinach or zucchini slices.
Just like all other livebearers though, if you are starting out, you should definitely consider understocking your tank when you add them as they breed prolifically. This means you may end up having fry that grow to adulthood.
What To Consider When Choosing Platies:
- Platies are livebearer’s.
- They should be kept in groups of 3 or more.
- 10 Gallons is the minimum tank size, but bigger is better.
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Mollies (Poecilia sphenops)
Another great choice and some of the best fish for beginners are mollies! Keeping mollies in groups of 3 or more is key to their happiness, and again, remember to keep them in a 2:1 female to male ratio to reduce aggression.
Just like guppies, mollies are notorious for breeding, so if you’re a beginner you may wish to understock your tank in the beginning, as you may end up with more fish than you bargained for!
Apart from this, as long as you’re giving your mollies plenty of places to hide, and you’re feeding them fish flakes they’re going to be easy fish to keep!
|Tank Size||20 Gallons|
Common/Bronze Corydoras (Corydoras aeneus)
Next up, another great and easy fish to care for are Common Corydoras, often just called “Cory Cats”. These are the lovable bottom dwellers of your tank, always on a mission, searching for leftovers. They’re like the underwater equivalent of a Roomba. Super sociable and hardy, they don’t mind hanging out with other fish, as long as everyone’s playing nice.
When it comes to feeding, just make sure you’re dropping a few catfish pellets in for them a week, and they’ll be good to go! And if you do plan on keeping cory catfish, just make sure you’re using a sand substrate or aquarium soil. This way they won’t harm their delicate barbels or underbellies as they’re foraging for food.
What To Consider When Choosing Common Corydoras:
- You don’t have to just keep common corydoras, oftentimes, other types of corydoras will school with them too!
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi)
Everyone knows neon tetras! These small fish are some of the most common in the aquarium trade and they bring so much life and color to your aquarium. While they do require an established tank due to their sensitivity to water conditions, they’re easy to care for when these conditions are met.
Neon Tetras are schooling fish, so it’s best to keep them in groups of at least six. Feed them a diet of high-quality flake food and watch them create a stunning display of swimming patterns.
If you’re just setting up a tank, then they may not be the best choice, however, once your tank has been established for a few months, then you can definitely consider adding them!
Facts About Neon Tetras:
- As long as you’re picking other peaceful tetras, you may see multiple tetras schooling with each other.
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Cardinal Tetras (Paracheirodon axelrodi)
Cardinal tetras are pretty similar to neon tetras except their bigger! Not only this but they are also more full colored than their counterparts. While they are easy to care for, due to their need for larger tanks, I’d say neon tetras are a better option for beginners, who are just getting started with a small tank.
However, with that being said, if you have a large tank (20 gallons plus), and you’re torn between the two, then cardinal tetras may be the better option! They’re peaceful fish that aren’t fussy when it comes to food, so they do well in most community tanks!
Facts About Cardinal Tetras:
The easiest way to tell cardinal tetras from neon tetras is the red stripe. A cardinal tetras stripe runs the whole way along their body, where as a neon tetras only goes halfway.
|Tank Size||20 Gallons|
White Cloud Mountain Minnows (Tanichthys albonubes)
Next in line, the White Cloud Mountain Minnow. They’re similar to zebra danios in their ability to handle a range water parameters, as well as fluctuations! They do well in both warm water aquariums, and colder aquariums too meaning they make great tank mates for a whole range of other fish!
What To Consider When Keeping White Cloud Mountain Minnows:
- White cloud mountain minnows do a lot better in cold water tanks.
|Name||White Cloud Mountain Minnows|
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Swordtails (Xiphophorus hellerii)
Swordtails make the list for a number of reasons. First of all, there is nothing more unique than their signature swordtail, that will make you feel like you’re really housing a tropical fish in your tank!
They’re also super easy-going when it comes to their diet and water conditions. While they do move around a lot in the tank, they’re not aggressive at all, meaning you can house them with other peaceful fish. Making them some of the best low maintenance fish you can keep!
|Tank Size||20 Gallons|
Kuhli Loaches (Pangio kuhlii)
If you want a weird looking fish, then this is going to be your go-to choice. These guys are the nocturnal, bottom-dwelling, hide-and-seek champions of your tank.
While they do love hiding, if you keep them in groups of 4-6 then they will become more confident, and you’ll see them swimming about your tank a lot more.
Again, feeding them is easy, as they’re omnivores just add bottom feeder pellets to the tank. One important thing to note, and the reason I almost didn’t include them on the list is because they like to eat snails, and sometimes shrimp.
So if you do have snails in your tank, then they may not be the best choice for you.
What To Consider When Keeping Kuhli Loaches
- They may eat snails in your tank.
- They’re nocturnal, so they’ll be much more active at night
- They do a lot better when they’re kept in groups
|Tank Size||20 Gallons|
Dwarf Gourami’s (Trichogaster lalius)
Dwarf Gouramis are small, colorful fish that make a charming addition to any aquarium. They have a peaceful temperament and can coexist with other peaceful fish, unlike a lot of other gouramis.
Dwarf Gourami’s just need to be fed high quality fish flakes and to be kept with other peaceful fish, and you won’t have to worry about them at all! And the fact that they can be kept in tanks as small as 10 gallons is another great reason to keep them.
What To Consider When Choosing Dwarf Gouramis
- Dwarf gouramis can be skittish especially when they’re in a noisy environment.
- If you’re keeping dwarf gouramis in a 10 gallon tank, it will need to be a species only tank, as you’ll need a minimum of 3.
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Endler’s Livebearers (Poecilia wingei)
Endler’s Livebearers are small, active, and brightly colored fish. If you want something a little less fancy than guppies, then these are the go-to. These resilient and adaptable fish are not demanding when it comes to their dietary needs, which is another reason they make such good fish for beginners!
What To Consider When Choosing Endler’s Livebearers:
- They’re the most prolific breeders in the hobby, so you’ll definitely end up with more than you bargained for.
- If you keep Endler’s with guppies, they’ll interbreed with each other.
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Bristlenose Plecos (Ancistrus cirrhosus)
Bristlenose Plecos can help form part of the “clean-up crew” in any aquarium. They’re super hardy and do a wonderful job keeping your tank clean by munching on algae. They’re like the dedicated janitors of your tank, always ready to do the dirty work, and asking for very little in return.
However, if you are going to keep bristlenose plecos, don’t just rely on algae in your tank being enough, you should also make sure that you’re adding algae wafers on occassion to make sure they’re getting enough food.
One last thing to note, unlike other fish on this list that need small tanks, if you did want to keep a bristlenose pleco, your tank will need to be 29 gallons at least.
What To Consider When Choosing Bristlenose Plecos:
- To make your bristlenose plecos truly happy, make sure the tank with well aerated and there’s a current.
- They do quite well with more aggressive species thanks to how tough their body is.
|Tank Size||29 Gallons|
Cherry Barbs (Puntius Titteya)
I was reluctant to put cherry barbs on this list, mainly because they need a larger size tank than most beginners tend to buy.
However, if you can give your cherry barbs enough space, they’re incredibly easy fish to keep! They are schooling fish so as long as you’re keeping them in groups of 6 or more, and the water quality in the tank is good, you really can’t get a more low maintenance fish!
What To Consider When Choosing Cherry Barbs:
- If you really want to make your cherry barbs colors pop, keep more males than females. Their colors will become brighter as they try to compete.
- They do a lot better in slow flowing water that mimics their natural habitat.
|Tank Size||30 Gallons|
Harlequin Rasboras (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)
Last, but definitely not least, we have the Harlequin Rasboras. I would say they’re my least favourite fish as they are a bit bland, however, if you’re just starting out then they’re a great choice thanks to how hardy they are.
However, if you’re willing to be patient, then you could just wait and get some more colorful rasboras, like mosquito rasboras!
What To Consider When Choosing Harlequin Rasbora:
- Female harlequin rasboras are larger than the males.
- They have a SLIGHT social hierarchy where there is both dominant male and female.
|Tank Size||10 Gallons|
Common Fish People Mistake As Easy To Care For
These are the fish that are often toted as easy fish to care for, however, they are a little bit more demanding for one reason or another. So if you plan on getting these fish, while I’m not ruling them out, you should definitely know they’re a little bit harder to keep, than people say.
Betta Fish (Betta Splendens)
No fish has been misrepresented more in their care needs than bettas (except maybe goldfish). Often said to be able to live in small vases with nothing but plant roots to feed on, betta’s require more care than most people think.
If you do want to keep a betta, you need to make sure you’re keeping them in a tank that’s 5 gallons minimum in size. On top of this, you should also make sure you’re adding a heater and filter so the water is optimal for them.
Lastly, they can be aggressive fish, so while it’s not impossible for them to be housed with other fish, you do need to pick carefully. And while most people think it’s just the males that can be aggressive, female betta fish aren’t much better.
Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Goldfish are widely regarded as a starter pet, but the reality is they need more care than you might think. Despite their common association with small bowls, they actually need a good deal of space.
To keep goldfish healthy, a tank of at least 20 gallons for a single goldfish is needed. Yes, you heard right, 20 gallons. They’re also quite the messy fish, so they’ll contribute massively to a high bioload, making a good filtration system a must.
With that being said, if you’re willing to put in the effort in the beginning, they are easy fish to keep!
Common Plecos (Hypostomus plecostomus)
As you know common plecos are superb algae eaters, but there’s a catch. Normally when you buy them from the your local fish store, they’ll only be a few inches in length. However, these guys grow huge, often reaching up to 15 inches in length! To comfortably house one, you’re going to need a tank of at least 100 gallons when they reach maturity.
So, before getting a Common Pleco, ensure you have the space to accommodate their growth. They’re like the puppy that grows into a big dog before you even notice.
While cichlids are visually appealing and come in a diverse array of types and colors they tend to be rather territorial and aggressive, especially during breeding periods. Because of this you’ll need to choose their tank mates carefully and provide plenty of hiding spots in the tank to prevent conflicts.
Oftentimes, people who want to keep cichlids often keep a species only tank with a lot of success, however, for beginners I wouldn’t recommend this.
Everyone wants a shark in their tank, however, despite their cool appearance, these fish are really not recommended for beginners. Due to their large size they’ll need a large tank, and they’re oftentimes aggressive tank mates (apart from the peaceful bala shark).
And remember, just cause you can buy them when they’re small, they’re not going to stay this way.
Often kept as centerpiece fish, Angelfish aren’t the best choice for beginners. Growing up to 6-8 inches in length, if you plan on keeping angelfish you’re going to need a tank that’s at least 29 gallons for one, or 55 gallons for a pair!
And while they are mostly peaceful, there are no guarantees with angelfish. They can become territorial and aggressive. They especially like fin nipping fish with beautiful flowing fins. So if you’re just getting started, they’re definitely not the fish for you!
Best Beginner Fish Combinations
While you can keep all of the fish above together, here are some particular combinations that I love, and I think you will too!
- Guppies, Mollies, Platies, Swordtails, and Endler’s Livebearers: These fish are all livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young instead of laying eggs. You may think this would be bad, but if you keep enough in the tank, all the fry will be eaten before they reach full size.
- Neon Tetras and Harlequin Rasboras: Both species are peaceful schooling fish that prefer to be kept in groups. They are also quite docile and won’t bother other fish in the tank. Just remember that neon tetras prefer a well-established tank ,so add them after.
- Zebra Danios and White Cloud Mountain Minnows: These two are active, hardy, and tolerate a wide range of conditions. They are also peaceful and would fit right in with the livebearers, tetras, and rasboras.
- Common Corydoras, Kuhli Loaches, and Bristlenose Plecos: If you’re looking to keep different bottom dwellers together, then these three all go together well. They’re generally peaceful and will spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank, so they don’t typically interfere with the other fish.
What Aquarium Is Right For You?
Choosing the right aquarium can be as crucial as choosing your fish themselves. So before you go out and buy your aquarium, here are a few things you should consider!
For beginners, a larger aquarium might actually be easier to maintain than a smaller one. This sounds counter-intuitive, but larger tanks provide a more stable environment.
Fluctuations in water quality, temperature, and pH can occur much more rapidly in smaller tanks so an aquarium around 20 to 30 gallons is often a good starting point. This size offers stability and gives you plenty of room for a variety of beginner-friendly fish.
Regular rectangular aquariums are generally the best shape for beginners for one big reason. They offer the most surface area for gas exchange, which is essential for keeping the oxygen levels in the tank high.
While you might be tempted by the decorative appeal of spherical or narrow, tall tanks, they can cause problems with water chemistry, heating, and filtration. On top of this, most fish like to swim horizontally, so rectangular tanks tend to give them more swimming space.
Glass aquariums are heavier but less likely to scratch than acrylic tanks. On the other hand, acrylic aquariums are lighter and more resistant to breaking, but they scratch easily. Both have their pros and cons, so this often comes down to personal preference.
Kit Or From Scratch
If you’re just getting started, aquarium kits are a great choice because they often include a tank, lid, light, heater, and filter, which can be an excellent choice for beginners. On top of this, these kits are convenient and often cheaper than buying all the parts separately. However, if you have specific needs or preferences, buying the components separately might be a better choice.
I’ve also written an article on over 50 of the best community fish if you want to learn about more!
How To Setup Your Aquarium
Now that you know what to look for in your aquarium, it’s time to set it up. Here’s a quick step by step guide on what you’ll need and what to do!
Setting Up The Tank
The very first thing you need to do is clean your tank. Rinse it with warm water, avoiding any detergents or soaps, as any lingering chemicals could harm your fish. Once it’s clean, find a level location away from direct sunlight (to avoid excessive algae growth), drafts, and heat sources.
Remember, water is heavy (a gallon weighs approximately 8.34 pounds), so make sure the floor or stand can support the weight.
- Tetra Glass Aquariums are made in the USA and are built to last with scratch resistant glass
- Get an aquarium stand that fits your needs with the Ollie & Hutch Farmington 10/20 Gallon Aquarium Stand
Heater And Thermometer
A heater is essential for maintaining a stable water temperature in your tank, especially if you’re housing tropical fish. Attach the heater to the inside of the tank using the suction cups. Install it near the water flow (either outlet or inlet of the filter) to distribute the heat evenly.
For the thermometer, place it on the opposite side of the tank from the heater. This will allow you to check that the heat is being distributed evenly throughout the tank.
- Aquarium heater that blends into the aquarium environment with built-in reflective technology that mirrors the surrounding colors
Installing a filter is crucial for maintaining water quality. It removes waste, leftover food, and potentially harmful chemicals from the water. Depending on your filter type, it could either hang on the back of the tank or be submerged in the water.
I personally like HOB filters the most as they’re going to maximise the amount of space in the tank. However, you can also use internal filters too. Try to avoid sponge filters at 20 gallons as, they’re not going to be as effective.
- WITH ROTATING BIO-WHEEL: Patented Bio-Wheel technology provides excellent wet/dry biological filtration.
Before adding substrate (gravel, sand, aquarium soil etc.) to your tank, rinse it thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear. This will remove dust that could cloud your tank. Once clean, evenly distribute the substrate across the bottom of your tank.
I personally like to use aquarium soil, as it helps nourish any live plants in the tank. However, if you’re not going to have live plants, gravel and soil are both fine.
- Fluval Stratum is made of mineral rich volcanic soil
Before placing decorations or plants in your fish tank, give them a good rinse to remove any potential contaminants. When you’re placing your decorations make sure you’re creating hiding spots and interesting areas for your fish to explore, but don’t over-clutter, you also want your fish to have plenty of room to swim.
Now, it’s time to fill your tank with water. To avoid disturbing the substrate, you should place a clean dish over it and then slowly pour water onto the dish. When the tank is filled, add your water conditioner.
I love API Stress Coat. Not only does it remove chlorine and neutralize heavy metals, but it also contains aloe vera, which can help to protect your fish’s delicate slime coat, and will help to reduce stress in your fish too.
- Contains one (1) API STRESS COAT Aquarium Water Conditioner 16-Ounce Bottle
Water Test Kit
Okay, now everything’s set up. but it’s not over, it’s essential to regularly test your water parameters to ensure a healthy environment for your fish. A water test kit typically tests for pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
During your initial tank setup, you’ll use it to monitor the cycling process. This is when beneficial bacteria grow in your tank to break down harmful waste. The cycling process can take anywhere from a few weeks to over a month, but it’s vital for the long-term health of your fish.
- Contains one (1) API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, including 7 bottles of testing solutions, 1 color card and 4 tubes with cap
- Helps monitor water quality and prevent invisible water problems that can be harmful to fish and cause fish loss
- Accurately monitors 5 most vital water parameters levels in freshwater aquariums: pH, high range pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate
- Designed for use in freshwater aquariums only
- Use for weekly monitoring and when water or fish problems appear
Once your tank is set up and cycling, you’ll use your test kit to regularly monitor water parameters, helping you to catch any potential problems before they become serious. And with that, you’re on your way to creating a thriving underwater world. Enjoy the journey!
Cycling Your Aquarium
Cycling an aquarium, is one of the most important parts of setting up a new aquarium. It involves establishing beneficial bacteria in your aquarium that convert harmful chemicals, like ammonia and nitrites, into less harmful nitrate.
This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, but it’s crucial for the long-term health of your fish. Here’s how to cycle your aquarium the right way.
1. Add a Source of Ammonia: You need to create a source of ammonia to start the cycle. This can be achieved by adding a small amount of fish food, which will break down into ammonia. Alternatively, you can use a pure ammonia source
2. Add Biological Enhancer
To speed up the process, you should also add biological enhancer to the tank. Doing this introduces beneficial bacteria to the tank which in turn can kick start the nitrogen cycle.
3. Test your Water: After a few days, test your water using an aquarium test kit. You should start to see a rise in ammonia levels.
4. Monitor Nitrite Levels: After a week or so, start testing for nitrite. When beneficial bacteria start to colonize your tank, they will convert ammonia into nitrite. This means you should start to see nitrite levels rise and ammonia levels fall.
5. Monitor Nitrate Levels: Next, another type of bacteria will start to convert nitrite into nitrate. Start testing for nitrates. As you can guess you should begin to see nitrate levels rise and nitrite levels fall.
6. End of the Cycle: Your tank is cycled once ammonia and nitrite levels have dropped back down to 0ppm, and the nitrate levels are below 20ppm.
7. Add Fish Gradually: Now you’re ready to add fish, but don’t add too many at once. Start with a few hardy fish and gradually add more over several weeks. This will allow your bacteria population to adjust to the extra waste.
Remember, cycling your tank is crucial for establishing a healthy environment for your fish. It’s the most important step you can take to ensure your fish live long, healthy lives. Always be patient, and never rush the cycle. Your future fishy friends will thank you!
How To Maintain Your Aquarium
Maintaining your aquarium doesn’t have to be a daunting task especially once you’ve establish a routine. By spending a bit of time each day observing your fish and checking the equipment, along with weekly and monthly tasks, you can keep all your fish happy and healthy!
- Check Your Fish: Spend some time each day watching your fish. Are they behaving normally? Do they look healthy? Spotting things early can help prevent bigger problems later down the line
- Feeding: Make sure you’re feeding your fish what they need to survive. Bottom dwellers tend to need sinking pellets, whereas most other fish will do fine on tropical flakes. However, if you have carnivorous fish, make sure you’re feeding them pellets designed especially for them, as well as live and frozen food like brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, daphnia, and on occasion blood worms.
- Check the Equipment: Lastly, make sure your heater, filter, and lights are working properly, this only takes a quick glance to make sure everything is in order.
- Test Your Water: On a weekly basis make sure to check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels as well as the pH in your tank. The ammonia, and nitrite levels should be at 0ppm and the nitrate levels should be at 0ppm.
- Partial Water Changes: Once a week, remove and replace about 10-20% of the water in your tank to reduce nitrate levels and remove any waste or leftover food that the filter hasn’t picked up.
- Clean the Glass: Use an algae scraper or magnet to remove any algae growing on the inside of your tank.
- Vacuum The Gravel: Lastly, make sure you’re using a gravel vacuum to help remove any waste or debris from the gravel, which are going to contribute to ammonia building up in the tank.
- Clean the Filter: You should be cleaning your filter weekly, however, once a month really rinse the filter media in a bucket of tank water to clean out any debris. Never use tap water, as this can kill the beneficial bacteria that have set up shop in your filter.
- Inspect Your Equipment: A thorough inspection should be done once a week to make sure everything is working correctly, so make sure you check your heater, filter, and lights for any signs of wear or damage.
- Trim Your Plants: If you have live plants in your tank, trim them back if they are becoming too large or overgrown. Or if you like a more wild look, then let them grow!
(If you’re thinking about getting a new fish for your children, then check out this article on the best fish for kids!)
A Note On Ethical Fish Keeping
When it comes to keeping fish, it’s not just about maintaining a visually pleasing aquarium; it’s also about ensuring the well-being of the living creatures you’re keeping in your care.
Fishkeeping before anything else is about providing an environment that promotes the health, welfare, and natural behavior of your fish. Here are some crucial points to consider:
1. Respect Your Fish’s Needs: Different fish have different requirements. Before buying any fish, it’s important to research its needs in terms of tank size, water parameters, diet, social behavior, and environmental enrichment.
2. Avoid Overcrowding: All fish need a certain amount of space to survive. As a rule of thumb this is about 1 inch of fish per gallon of water (although some require more). When overcrowding occurs it can lead to poor water quality, stress, disease, and aggressive behavior, so try to understock your tank if possible.
3. Promote Natural Behaviors: Above all, your aquarium should encourage natural behavior in your fish. So provide lots of hiding places, sufficient space to swim, as well as appropriate substrate for your bottom dwellers. And of course, live plants are always preferable.
4. Source Fish Responsibly: Where you get your fish is just as important as how you care for them. Where possible, try to support local breeders or retailers who follow ethical breeding practices and avoid species that are wild-caught or endangered, instead of large pet stores, who tend to mistreat their fish more.
While it can be tempting to order fish online, unless you know the shipping policies, and the handling process beforehand, it’s best avoided.
5. Consider The Long-Term: Many fish live for several years, and some can even live for a couple of decades! So be ready for the long-term commitment of keeping fish and be prepared to upgrade your tank as your fish grow.
6. Handle With Care: Handle your fish as little as possible, as it can be very stressful for them. If you must handle a fish, make sure your hands are clean and wet to avoid removing their protective slime coat.
7. 5 Gallons Minimum
The minimum tank size for any fish is 5 gallons. Anything below 5 gallons and the water parameters in the tank will always be quite unstable. It is possible to keep snails and shrimp in tanks smaller than 5 gallons, however, even then I’d still strongly advice 5 gallons or more.
Remember, keeping fish is not about owning a living decoration; it’s about caring for a living creature. As fishkeepers, it’s our responsibility to create an environment where our fish can thrive and live out their lives in comfort and safety.
Here are some frequently asked questions people have about the easiest fish to care for!
Can Low Maintenance Fish Be Kept In A Tank Without A Filter?
No fish should ever be kept in a tank without a filter, even low maintenance fish. Even if they’re able to survive for some time in a tank without a filter, it’s going to be stressful for them, and will likely reduce their lifespan.
As you can see, if you’re just getting started in the aquarium hobby, or you don’t want much hassle, there are plenty of easy fish you can keep in your freshwater tank!
I always love guppies, but the choice depends on the tank you currently have and what you’re looking for. If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website!
Otherwise, have a great day!