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10 Most Popular Freshwater Aquarium Fish

A fish aquarium generates a hypnotic feeling in a room. It is no wonder that almost every doctor has one in the waiting room. After all, the aquarium’s minimal lights and continuous motion soothes patients in pain.

As the little flex their fin and body simultaneously, the people around feel more at ease and happier. Additionally, others report reduced heart rate and blood pressure after exposure to the aquariums.

According to the National Pet Owners Survey, in 2020 about 11.5 million US households had freshwater fish aquariums. This survey indicates that fish ranks third behind dogs (63.4 million) and cats (42.7 million) as the most preferred pets.

In this topic, we will mention ten of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish and their different characteristics.

1. Betta Fish

Similar to human beings, betta fish are full of life during the day and rest at night. While female bettas co-exist peacefully with other fish, males attack other males both in the wild and the tanks. One of the worst enemies is the gouramis fish whom they share a lot of similarities.

However, in an aquarium, they may cohabitate serenely with docile fish species such as guppies and cory catfish. Likewise, they tolerate non-fish species in the pond like frogs, snails, and ghost shrimp. If aggression between the fish aggravates, keep them in separate aquariums.

It is documented that betta fish easily distinguish their human guardians. When they spot a familiar face, some swim excitedly as the person approaches the aquarium. Equally, they are very inquisitive and scrutinize new items thrown in the tank.

Brightly colored you can spot one in either copper, yellow, red, turquoise, orange, white, black, and cellophane hues. Bettas are carnivorous fish that regularly require protein in their meals. Some of their favorite meals include worms, mosquito larvae, daphnia and smaller fish,

2. Goldfish

All goldfish are not golden in color as the name suggests. Interestingly, you may find some in orange, red, brown, orange, white, bluish-grey, black, and yellow colors. Goldfish are some of the hardiest aquatic species that withstand fluctuating temperatures, PH level, and oxygen in the water.

In the wild, goldfish thrive in a group known as a school. However, when kept in captivity, they live perfectly in solitude. Since they are not aggressive, it is possible to pair them with almost any species aquarium.

Moreover, goldfish stands out as some of the smartest fish ever documented. Studies report that if trained, they can even discern different kinds of music.

For a healthy and energetic school, feed your fish with the food that closely emulates their natural diet. Some of their favorite delicacies include larvae, worms, and live plants.

3. Guppy Fish

One outstanding aspect of guppy fish is their ability to breed very fast in a very short time. This is mainly because they have lasting sperm storage. To avoid overpopulation in the tank, keep the male and females separately.

Usually, males are smaller and bright-colored compared to females. From different colored guppies, some have a short round or v-shaped tails. Others come with long tails almost half the size of their entire body.

When kept in a tank, guppies cohabitate and play well with other marine species. Given that bigger fish feeds on the smaller ones, keep your guppies with similarly sized options like mollies and platys.

With a strict omnivores nature, feed them with commercial fish foods like micro pellets and fresh plants. Depending on the number and variety of fish in your tank, feed them once or twice daily.

4. Molly Fish

Among other life-bearing fish species, mollies are the most beautiful and unique. For instance, the sailfin molly fish is possibly one of the most exotic types in the world. Despite their live-bearing capabilities, they are slightly more delicate than others.

Thus, when exposed to a harsh environment they develop a condition called shimmies. Although the condition is not infectious it can affect the general well-being of your mollies. Common molly fish species include the sailfin and solid black species.

It is important to note that female mollies do not develop the sailfin. Likewise, no freshwater fish matches the black velvety color of a Mollie. Other colors include albino, gold dust, orange, and chocolate. Mollies love feeding on algae and green plants. Nevertheless, throw in some fresh greens regularly.

5. Angelfish

Known for their poised swimming, angelfish are popular and easily recognized in an aquarium. Most of them have black and silver vertical stripes when living in the world. Though, after selective breeding, diverse color patterns develop.

Keeping angelfish requires one to invest in a big tank to accommodate them when they grow bigger. Then, add some floating plants to mimic their favorite natural environment. Also, since they love foraging for food, put smooth gravel in the tank.

As a cichlid, angelfish can become aggressive or feed on smaller fish. Some of their favorite meals include crustaceans and worms. You can also give them commercial fish foods, and frozen foods as a treat.

6. Neon Tetra

This little resilient fish with its dazzling blue neon stripe is a darling in most homes. A combination of the blue color with white and red puts it at the top of the most stunning freshwater fish. Often, it is mistaken with cardinal tetra fish which share comparable characteristics.

Similar to other bright-colored fish, neon tetra hues fade when alarmed, sick, or at night. Neon tetra performs better in a community of like and unlike species. Small passive fish such as corys and draft gouramis make great companions.

All in all, avoid mixing small and big tetras in one pond to avoid them from feeding on each other. Tetras feed well both on animal and plant material. If possible, add some granules and frozen shrimp or blood worms.

7. Corydoras

This popular freshwater fish is also referred to as Cory fish, Cory cats, and Cory catfish. In contrast to their petite size, they are hardy with a bone-like substance in their bodies.

Taking care of Cory fish is an effortless and easy process. Regularly, they spend time scavenging at the bottom of the tank. While they are very active during the day, Corydoras spend their nights lying stationary in one spot.

Additionally, they prefer living with one or two other Cory cats. It is common to spot a pair doing almost everything together in a tank.

From feeding to playing Corydoras thrives by sticking together with a companion. Their basic diet includes fish flakes, pellets, and food leftovers.

8. Bristlenose Pleco

Their useful capability to reduce algae makes it a popular fish in the aquarium. Plecos are enduring species that survive in different water conditions.

They breed a lot in captivity and are companionable with other fish. Bear in mind that Plecos do not grow beyond six inches long. Therefore, you can keep them in a moderate-sized tank.

The most common Plecos have black and brown spots. On the other hand, the more exotic ones have bright yellow spots on a dark background. Albinism is a common condition with Plecos. This is mainly caused by genetics or exposure to light during early development.

Although Bristlenoses enjoy frozen blood worms, their favorite meal is algae. Sometimes, they may refuse to feed on other food if algae are not provided. This may lead to malnutrition or starvation to death.

9. Zebra Danio

Danio’s high level of energy and darting nature add animate everyone around. With their sociable characteristic, it is very easy for them to become stressed when kept in seclusion. To prevent that, keep them in a shoal of about five.

Note that their cheerfulness and hardiness are an advantage to fish-keeping beginners. In their playful nature, you can notice them chasing each other across the aquarium. This can be a bother to meek and slow-moving species in the vicinity.

If they become excessively aggressive, move them to a different space. Habitually, Danios prefer occupying the upper and middle section of the tank. Their preferred diet includes fresh vegetables, bloodworms, algae-based commercial foods, or frozen alternatives.

10. Platy Fish

Due to their multi-colored beauty and resilience, platy makes an ideal choice both for veterans and novice fish keepers. Platies love living in a hard water environment. Therefore, if the water in the tank is too soft, add minerals to harden it.

As a livebearer, platies males are constantly in a mating mood. At least pair a male with two females for that purpose.

Even though platies enjoy each other company, they do not tend to huddle up together on a regular basis. The only time you would notice them amassing together is probably during feeding time.

The good thing is that platies feed on almost anything thrown in the tank. So, ensure that you feed them well with nutritious meals like pellets and frozen shrimp for them to flourish.

Wrap Up

Nothing beats the feeling of rushing home to a serene and tranquil environment. A fish tank makes an ideal source of solace, fun point, and a gathering corner in most homes.

Apart from the educational benefits, the aquarium therapeutic sensation helps to lower blood pressure, minimize heart rate, and calm anxiety.

Freshwater - Updated: February 28, 2021
avatar I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets.

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