Different Types of Tropical Fish

For beginner aquarium owners, knowing which type of tropical fish to buy can be difficult, some fish are hardier than others and some are more agressive than others. They types of tropical fish available will depend on the variety available at your local supplier, the type of fish tank you own and the health of the fish should also be taken into consideration.

For example, some pet stores will recommend certain types of fish for beginners but when you get your new fish home you will find that they are not suitable to be kept together, no matter how many professionals or websites tell you otherwise.

A good example of this is with the pearl danios and zebra danios, these are shole fish and can happily live together, however if you purchase too few you may find that one or more of the fish become agressive, picking the weaker fish off one by one.

Danios are supposedly a great beginner fish but this is something that I have to disagree with, while they are hardy and can be added early to a tank, the pearl danios attacked and killed every zebra danio I owned. So choose your fish carefully, below you will find a list of the different types of tropical fish commonly available which will help you to decide on the type of fish you want for your tank. There are some fish such as the pleco that make a great addition to most tanks and some that will simply eat or attack every other fish you own.

Unfortunately this can be somewhat trial and error especially for beginners and you can never really know which will be compatible with the others in your tank.

A good practice to follow for many different reasons is to add new fish gradually to your tank, this gives fish time to acclimatize to the aquarium and is less likely to add disease to the tank.

Beginner Tropical Fish Types - Recommendations

  • Catfish are usually a good choice for a newer tank, they are hardy and range in sizes from small to very large, Corydoras are bottom feeders that help to keep a tank clean and are a popular choice for many fish owners with the most popular being the pleco or suckerfish.
Pictus CatfishPleco Fish
  • Danios - a popular choice for beginners and there are a few varieties such as the celestial pearl danio and zebra danio. Note - Can be agressive (personal experience) and should be kept in schools.
Pearl Daniozebra danio
  • Tetras - the neon tetra is an extremely popular choice and these fish are small but it is not recommended that you add them to tanks with other fish that would be a threat to the small neons, they are delicate fish and tend to be preyed on often.
Neon Tetra Tropical fishTropical Neon Tetra
  • Barbs are another common beginner fish, in particular the orange tiger barb, best kept in schools and have a tendency to nip at others.Tiger Barb
  • Betta  or Fighting fish are beautiful additions to any tank, they show fantastic coloring but males are best kept on their own as two males will fight. Seperately they are generally non agressive and will mix well with others.
tropical betta blueBetta


See also:

Tropical Fish Care - Learn about water quality, feeding and care.