Beginner’s Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Pet Fishes

Having a pet is one of the best fulfillment in a human life. Human are finding the best ways to pet animals of all kinds. Some go for the exotic ones, while most of the people choose between a dog or a cat.

Interestingly, a large percentage of pet owners choose to take care of some of our aquatic friends. Having to pet a fish or a lot of fishes needs an artificial water habitat which are called aquariums. Since aquariums are artificial to begin with, having pet fishes seem to be more challenging compared to having land-based animals. This is actually partly true, considering that the fishes are one of the most fragile animals out there. Their habitat requirements are so specific that if they’re exposed to waters they are not used to, they can easily die without us knowing the real reason.

Starting an aquarium hobby is a lot of work and frightening. Beginners often spend a lot of time pondering and hesitating to start their plans to getting an aquarium and start taking care of fishes. There are a lot of things to consider when having a pet fish and these need to be researched and asked. However, beginners do not need to worry about this—people around the world are there to help everyone start the hobby and start enjoying fishes at home.

Basic Criteria for Fishes


The foremost prerequisite for a fish to be an excellent beginner’s choice is that it must be very resilient. Fishes for a newbie aquarium owner must be able to endure well to the new environment.
There are certain factors that make an aquarium a suitable dwelling place for fishes like occasional water changes, overcrowding, overfeeding, and lack of feeding. A beginner’s set of fishes must be hardy enough to tolerate the inevitable circumstances.

Trouble-Free Eater

One of the best suggestion in choosing a beginner’s fish is their diet. The best beginner fish must be able to survive and thrive just by eating dry and prepared fish food. There are a lot of varieties of fish food that you guys can find in a pet store or even in the groceries. Aside from identified fish foods, there are also a couple of “treats” that you can offer which beginner fishes would enjoy. These prepared food is already a complete diet so you won’t worry that your fishes are not getting the nutrients they need. So, having these hassle-free fishes are a must for beginners.

Commercially Raised

Commercially raised fishes are subjected to less stress and are usually the healthier. If you’re an aquarium noob, settling for captive raised ones is much more ideal.

Cost Friendly

Just like any other pets, fishes can be costly too – from acquiring up to maintaining. Ideally, beginners must choose first the less expensive fishes with fewer demands and learn how to take good care of them before purchasing the lavish ones.

Compatibility with Other Fish

Fishes are highly territorial, with its aggressiveness; they tend to pick some fight with other fishes resulting to slowly relationship buildup. Beginners’ fishes must be good natured and calm – not only to other fish varieties but to its own also.

Provided that basic criteria of fishes that suit first time owners, it will be much easier to know what group of fishes to choose. However, to aid you out, below are the simplest fish to keep because aside from being hardy, they are the quite low maintenance types.


According to Nick Saint-Erni, DVM, a PetSmart resident veterinarian and a certified aquatic veterinarian, the Bettas, widely known as the “Siamese Fighting Fish” is the easiest and the most famous starter fish recommended for first time owners. This fish comes in a variety of colors and it is one of the most appealing freshwater fish to keep.

Bettas is a staple fish that is incredibly resilient, has nominal care requirements, and can have a pleasant behavior as well. Moreover, the Fighting Fish is the only fish that doesn’t call for filter and heater. Likewise, this fish can be housed in small bowls and aren’t picky when it comes to food.

However, the downside of owning Bettas is if you can’t keep it away from the other smaller fishes, since they’re territorial and would possibly harass the tiny ones.


The Guppy, also identified as million fish and rainbow fish, is one of the most famous fish in the market that could surely brighten any tank. They are also one of the most low maintenance starter fishes. This hardy fish comes in a variety of vibrant colors and astonishing fin sizes. Guppies, on the other hand, do well in pairs; they are prolific breeders and can easily produce off springs.

Guppies are great with other peaceful fishes. They are ideally placed on planted tanks. Moreover, they are not picky eaters. They can consume high quality flakes as well as frozen dried ones.

In addition, guppies are tropical types so regulating water tank temperature at mid 70s is essential as well as changing the aquarium’s water over a definite amount of time.


Another perfect beginner fish are the bright and colorful Tetras. They’re tiny, visually pleasing, come in different varieties, easy to keep in multiples on a small tank can easily get along with any other peaceful fishes.

Conversely, Tetras’ tank do require a full set up comprised of heater and filter and it should have plenty of ornaments, rocks and other tank decors to guarantee that they can look for safe haven when they feel like it.

Furthermore, these types of fish are not choosy in terms of food. They will eat most of what you’re going to offer – flake foods, frozen and freeze dried ones or live foods.


Danios are resilient, vigorous and mild tempered fish which makes them ideal for first time owners. They come in diverse varieties with vivid colors and prints.

On the contrary, Danios feed on flake food and freeze dried blood worms, tiny aquatic insects and crustaceans. In line with its appearance, male’s color is brighter and extra reflective, yet females are very striking.

Danios are compatible with any other fish. In fact, often times, they are used as dither fish to distract violent ones from fighting.


Take a glimpse into a community aquarium, and it’s highly probable you’ll see a barb. Barb fish comes in different sizes, variety of colors and distinct appearances and characters. They are known for their nipping ability, thus, it is recommendable to place them with fast-moving fishes.

Tank with Barbs should be well-lit and should have ample amount of vegetation. Nonetheless, Barbs are omnivorous types, they feed on crisps, fried and live foods. They are somewhat voracious with their food intake and can become highly aggressive when it is feeding time.


Plecos, commonly known as the Suckermouth Catfish, are regarded as the most cooperative fish to have. They help owners clean the tank by sucking the algae usually forming on the sides and bottom of the tank.

If you’re opting for trouble-free and peaceful species, Plecos are the best type of fish for you. They are generally friendly towards other fishes, yet they like to isolate themselves on heavily planted areas of the tank.

Although they pretty much can live with the natural forming algae in your aquarium, it won’t hurt if you drop algae wafers from time to time to augment their source of food, making sure they are well fed.


Another popular beginner’s choice is the Goldfish, one of the earliest domesticated fish and one of the most commonly chosen aquarium house fish. Over the centuries, selective breeding has produced quite a lot of color variations and diverse body shapes of the said species.

Captive raised Goldfish is much less hardy than the ones caught from the wild yet they do well with other fishes. Nonetheless, when it comes to food, goldfish can be competitive; they can voraciously consume the dropped flakes before other fishes can reach it. An owner should monitor and regulate feeding of this species because with Goldfish’s greedy manner towards food, it can lead to overfeeding which can be very harmful to their health.

Constant change of water in the aquarium is a necessity for goldfishes. They produce large amount of waste and build-up of their waste can produce toxins that gradually poisons the water, which can cause their demise.


Angelfish are normally community fish, and can exist with any other tropical community fish in a tank quite serenely. They are physically carnivorous, so they should be fed precisely to aid them attain best possible size and maintain health.

Though regarded as a community fish, Angelfish should be housed separately when they reach adulthood because they can be very aggressive and territorial. Also, having this species call for specific tank conditions—water temperature should be at the range of 74 F to 78 F and the average pH range of 6.5 to 6.9.

Angelfish are highly susceptible to parasitic condition known as Ick. Overcrowding, meager water conditions, poor management and inappropriate diet can all contribute to ick plague.

Final Thoughts…

Setting up your own aquarium at home may be scary at first since at first glance, fishes are so soft and looks like they can die anytime when you’re not looking. However, aquarium as a hobby have been around for quite some time now and countless owners and breeders already contributed so much on the readily available knowledgebase for successful house aquariums. So, when in doubt and when you’re afraid to start the hobby, you can always check out reliable websites that can give the best tips. Researching the behavior, characteristics, and the best conditions for the aquarium fishes you would want to have would assure you to have the most awesome aquarium of your own.

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