15 Low Maintenace Fish for Your Aquarium

Want pet fish but short on time? Pick low-maintenance fish—some need less care, making them easier for busy schedules.

Mar 26, 2024By Monika Dimitrovska
low maintenance fish for your aquarium

If you’ve ever dreamed of having a beautiful aquarium but worry it’s too much work, here’s some good news. You can enjoy a stunning aquarium without it becoming a full-time job.

The secret? You should choose low-maintenance fish like guppies, platies, or bettas. They’re hardy and adaptable, making them perfect for busy schedules.

Let’s dive into each option and find the ideal pet fish for you.

1. Betta Fish

betta fish
Image credit: ivabalk from Pixabay

Meet Betta Fish – your perfect, low-maintenance aquatic buddy! Popular worldwide, these tropical gems thrive in just a 5-gallon well-balanced freshwater tank.

Hardy and easy to feed, Betta fish make ideal pets for beginners. But beware, their aggressive nature earns them the nickname “Siamese fighting fish.”

However, it’s not true that they can’t live with other fish. That’s one of the misconceptions about Betta Fish. Just keep it simple with a solo male or, for the pros, a group of females in a spacious tank.

2. Goldfish

goldfish aquarium
Image credit: Hans from Pixabay

Goldfish is your go-to aquarium companion! Perfect for beginners, choose long-body types like comet, sarasa, or shubunkin. Comets can grow as big as a dinner plate, while sarasa and shubunkin stay smaller.

Start with 20 gallons per fish, and be ready to upgrade as they grow. Remember, these fish aren’t great at converting food, so switch to pellets early on to minimize waste.

Interesting note: Fish can form bonds with humans and experience positive emotions, so take good care of them, and you might get a BFF.

3. Guppy

guppy fish
Image credit: basuka from Pixabay

Guppies! They’re the perfect, easy-to-care-for fish for beginners and busy folks because they’re peaceful, tough, and not picky eaters.

Keep male and female guppies together, and you might see some cute baby fish soon – taking care of guppies is a breeze! Males boast vibrant colors and can coexist in the same tank without females if you prefer to avoid breeding.

You can also pair them with some of the best tank mates for guppies for a more colorful tank.

4. Neon Tetras

neon tetra fish
Image credit: basuka from Pixabay

These vibrant freshwater wonders aren’t only perfect for community tanks but also ideal for a single-species setup. For a stunning display with minimal effort, keep a school of 6 or more neon tetras in a 15-gallon planted aquarium.

5. Mollies

molly fish
Image credit: ivabalk from Pixabay

These American livebearers boast a range of vibrant colors and fin shapes, making them a delightful choice. Easy to breed and low-maintenance, mollies thrive on regular fish flakes, with the occasional treat of brine shrimp for optimal health.

Moreover, they’re ideal for community tanks because they’re peaceful and great algae-eaters. Plus, they can adapt to live in saltwater tanks!

Quick note: When comparing the initial cost of a freshwater vs. saltwater aquarium, we noticed that saltwater equipment is more expensive, so keep that in mind.

6. Platys

platy fish
Image credit: Kevin from Pixabay

Platys – small, vibrant, and super easy to care for! They’re also livebearers, making breeding a breeze. However, don’t worry about overcrowding, as the adults usually take care of the fry. Alternatively, keep a group of females for peaceful and pretty aquarium companions.

They’re also easy to feed, affordable, and readily available at most pet stores, so they’re ideal for beginners. They’re also one of the best freshwater tank cleaners.

7. Zebrafish

Image credit: Petr Kuznetsov from Pixabay

These super hardy danios excel for beginners. While not the most colorful fish species, their bold stripes and high activity levels bring life to any freshwater tank.

Comfortable in cooler conditions, many aquarists keep them in water at room temperature. True schooling fish, Zebra Danios, thrive in a big group. Their lively nature means they prefer a slightly larger tank than other fish of their size.

8. White Cloud Minnow

white cloud mountain minnow
Image credit: fishkeepingfans.com

If you’re looking for low-maintenance, cold-water fish, look no further than White Cloud Minnows. These peaceful creatures thrive in cooler temperatures, so they’re perfect for a beginner’s tank, and there’s no need for a heater.

Gorgeous and petite, white cloud minnows grow to less than two inches, allowing you to keep a small school in a tank of just ten to fifteen gallons without any problems.

9. Cherry Barb

cherry barb male
Image credit: Maidenhead Aquatics

Cherry Barbs thrive in community tanks or as stand-alone stars!

These peaceful creatures crave the company of their kind, so keep a school of at least six individuals for a safe and confident environment.

Feeding is a breeze – once a day, and testing the water weekly with a water change twice a month ensures years of happy fishkeeping!

Interesting note: Owning fish has mental health benefits for humans. Watching fish swim has a soothing effect while caring for them helps form healthy habits.

10. Cory Catfish

emerald cory catfish
Image credit: Fish Laboratory

The Cory Catfish is the perfect tank mate for community fish setups!

With various species in the corydoras group, these chunky catfish add joy to your aquarium as they cruise the bottom. Their low-maintenance needs make them one of the best fish breeds for first-time owners.

11. Kuhli Loach

kuhli loach
Image credit: Wikipedia

Kuhli Loach is the ultimate low-maintenance fish! In fact, you might even forget that you have them!

These great-looking bottom feeders, though shy, play a crucial role in cleaning their tank by searching for leftover food from other fish, especially at night.

Feed them a diet of bottom-feeder food to ensure they get the right nutrition. Drop a sinking pellet or two each night before the lights go out and watch these adorable fish start their search!

12. Endler’s Livebearers

endlers livebearers
Image credit: Aquariumbreeder

Endler’s Livebearers resemble their larger relative, the guppy!

Equally colorful and great for small aquariums of ten gallons or more, these peaceful fish get along perfectly with many other small fish of tranquil nature.

Be cautious, though, as Endler’s livebearers will interbreed with guppies. Avoid keeping the two species together if you plan on growing out any fry.

13. Harlequin Rasbora

harlequin rasbora
Image credit: Fishpedia

Harlequin Rasbora is a beautiful fish with vibrant colors, bold markings, and a peaceful nature! They’re perfect for a small planted tank and can coexist with various tank mates.

The real charm lies in their natural schooling behavior, so grab at least eight harlequins to appreciate their captivating presence fully.

14. Honey Gourami

honey gourami
Image credit: Aquariadise

Honey Gourami is a beautiful tropical fish perfect for a community aquarium! With a variety of tank mates or as a single fish, they make for a low-maintenance tank.

Fascinatingly, these gouramis breathe atmospheric air, so ensure they always have access to the water’s surface. This is rarely a problem unless you grow floating aquatic plants.

15. Swordtail

swordtail fish
Image credit: Wikipedia

Swordtails – lively and colorful fish for your aquarium! With their sword-like appearance, these tropical beauties bring energy and vibrant hues to your tank. Ideal for community setups, Swordtails easily get along with different tank mates.

Final Thoughts

aquarium fish
Image credit: Huy Phan from Unsplash

In conclusion, fish make fantastic pets, and creating a beautiful aquarium doesn’t have to be time-consuming.

By choosing the right low-maintenance fish like the ones above, having the proper equipment, and following a simple maintenance routine, you can easily integrate a low-maintenance aquarium into your busy life and live in harmony with freshwater fish.

Monika Dimitrovska
By Monika Dimitrovska

Monika is a pet enthusiast and seasoned copywriter with a tech degree. She loves writing, but her heart belongs to her two mixed dogs, Buba and Bono, a mother-son duo. Bono’s siblings found loving homes, sparking Monika’s advocacy for neutering and deepening her curiosity about animal care.

But Monika’s pet family doesn’t end there. She also has two cockatiels and two rescue cats, proving her home is a haven for creatures big and small.