Many people dream of having a beautiful aquarium in their home, but far fewer are able to make it a reality. The aquarium hobby has a very high attrition rate, and many first-time hobbyists drop out when their first experience is not a good one.
Those initial failures could be due to something as simple as choosing the wrong fish. Many beginners rely on pet store personnel to help them choose suitable fish, but those employees often lack direct experience with the hobby. That leaves many people to simply choose fish they think are pretty. Unfortunately, those pretty fish may not be suitable for the beginner hobbyist.
The good news is there are plenty of beautiful fish that are also beginner friendly. These fish are known for their hardiness – something that is very important to people just starting out. If you are setting up your first aquarium, you might want to consider these eight great fish.
The Betta is a popular first fish for many people. You may have even had one as a kid. Those little Betta bowls are popular gifts for both kids and adults, but you can also house your Betta in a traditional aquarium.
Unlike many other fish, Bettas are able to breathe air at the surface as well as pull oxygen from the water. That makes the Betta very forgiving of less than optimal water conditions. The only caution with these fish is to only house on in your aquarium. If you put two male Bettas together, you will quickly see why they are also called Siamese fighting fish.
Danios are among the easiest fish to keep in the home aquarium. These small schooling fish are a great choice for the first-time hobbyist. They are inexpensive to buy, easy to care for and attractive to look at. Danios display a variety of markings, including the popular leopard and zebra varieties.
If you want something a little more exotic, you can stock your new aquarium with glofish. These fish have been genetically enhanced to glow under ultraviolet light. Known as glofish, they are actually danios, so they are just as easy to care for.
The humble goldfish is another great choice for your first aquarium. Ordinary goldfish are very hardy and easy to keep, although some of the fancier varieties can be a bit more difficult.
One of the advantages of choosing goldfish for your aquarium is that you do not need a heater. Goldfish are cold water fish, so you should not provide any artificial heat. Just be sure to keep the tank clean, since goldfish can be messy eaters.
4. White Clouds
White clouds are also great fish for the beginner aquarium. Like goldfish, white clouds do not require a heated aquarium. White clouds are also among the least expensive fish, so you can afford to stock your new tank with them.
Like danios, white clouds are schooling fish, so be sure to get at least 3 or 4 to keep them happy and healthy. White clouds are a particularly good choice when cycling a new aquarium, since they are less sensitive to ammonia spikes than many other species.
Mollies are among the most attractive beginner fish, with their striking black bodies and distinctive swimming pattern. Mollies are also easy to breed, so you may find a few tiny fry swimming through your tank.
Mollies do best with a bit of salt in the water, so pick up a pack of aquarium salt when you buy them. You do not need to add much salt; just a tablespoon or two is enough for a 10 to 20 gallon aquarium.
Platies are another great fish for the beginning hobbyist. Platies come in virtually every color of the rainbow, from the palest yellow to the brightest orange. Platies get along well with one another, and with other popular beginner-friendly fish like mollies, swordtails and danios.
7. Kuhli Loaches
If you are looking for something a little more interesting, consider adding a Kuhli loach to your tank. These unique creatures resemble tiny striped snakes, and they are sure to be the center of attention in your new tank.
Kuhli loaches also serve an important purpose. Since they are bottom feeders, Kuhli loaches will readily clean up any uneaten food in your tank. They are also quite peaceful, and they should do well in just about any community aquarium setup.
Swordtails are striking fish – and very easy to keep healthy. As the name implies, swordtails have a tail that resembles its namesake weapon. This feature is only present on the males; the females have a more traditional shape.
Swordtails are also quite easy to breed, so try to include a few pair in your new tank. Like mollies, swordtails are livebearers. They bear their young live instead of laying eggs, and that can make them easier to breed than many other species of fish.