20 Most Popular Types of Aquarium Fish List (2024)

Lauren Kiekbusch
20 Most Popular Types of Aquarium Fish List

Aquarium fish are one of the most decorative pets for your house. They will boost the beauty of your room. You may have some choice but out there from hundreds of species of fish, selecting the best ones is a tough task. Whether you’re an aquarium owner, it’s always difficult to get out your special one.

In this article, we discuss all of the most popular species available in the aquarium industry.  Here we look at popular types of aquarium fish based on their size, behavior, and maintenance. Let’s take a deep into the top 20 best aquarium fish. 

Also worth reading;

  1. Do Betta Fish Need Darkness to Sleep?
  2. 10 Cory Catfish Types for Your Fish Tank: Why Cory Fishes Are The Best
  3. Can Koi Fish Be Kept In An Aquarium?

Below are the popular types of aquarium fish;

1. African Cichlids

African cichlids are fish from the Cichlidae family, which contains all other cichlids. At least 1,650 species have been discovered already and every year the number will increase. The real number of species is then unknown, with estimates of 2,000 to 3,000.

Most importantly, all species have their colors and patterns, so there will be one that fits your tank. Their brilliant colors with aggressive style make them an attractive option for aquarists.

This fish tank will depend on the size of the species, usually, larger ones require a bigger tank. However, a 30-gallon fish tank will be enough for most of them. They like to live with a water temperature of 75 to 82°F and a pH of 7.8 to 8.6.

Although they have various foods in the wild, they will happily eat flake foods in the aquarium. You can add live foods or frozen foods as well as algae wafers with this.

Whenever you’re searching for peaceful community fish, then these fish are not for your aquarium. They are aggressive and kept with only other aggressive large fish. But, if you’re thinking of colorful fish with full activity then they are excellent candidates.

African Cichlids Fish Overview
Fish Size  3-8 inches 
Fish Nature Aggressive 
Tank Size 30 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 75°F to 83°F 
pH 7.8 – 8.6.

2. Angelfish

Angelfish is another recognized freshwater fish from the Cichlidae family. This fish originates from a large tropical area in South America.

They can thrive up to 6 inches long, so they shouldn’t be kept in a smaller tank. You can use at least a 20-gallon tank, but the bigger the tank the better.

Because they can grow very rapidly and finally you need a 50-gallon or larger aquarium. In aquariums, they will adopt a wide range of water conditions, but they like little warmer ( 78° -84° F) water.

This water flow will be pleasant, and the décor includes floating plants and driftwood. You can maintain healthy water quality by weekly changing the water.

Angelfish will be an amazing addition to your community tank. They are mostly peaceful but can be aggressive toward each other. This doesn’t say angelfish are aggressive, they are opportunistic like others.

They will also eat smaller fish that fit into their mouth. Therefore, medium-size fish will be suitable tank mates for them. Such as gouramis, rasboras, tetras, and so no.

Angelfish are omnivores and will take flakes fish food, granules, and shrimp pellets.

AngelFish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 6 inches 
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 20-50 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 78°F to 84°F 

pH 6.8 – 7.8

3. Arowana Fish

Arowana is a beautiful monster-aggressive freshwater aquarium fish that comes with a unique character. They have many species and the Asian is named the world’s most expensive aquarium fish. These popular fish have specific cultural significance in Asian cultures.  Many believe that they are a symbol of good luck and fortune.

Arowana Fish

Arowana has an extremely large body with high growth capability. No matter what species, all of them are monster fish. Accordingly, only one fish is suggested unless you have an excessively large keeping system.

As we mentioned before, this is a monster fish. So, they require a very large monster fish tank. An adult Arowana fish requires at least two hundred gallons of the fish tank!

When it comes to food, some of them are very fussy eaters. They don’t eat anything except live feeds but always try to avoid live feeds.

Many aquarists have made this mistake and then the fish will not take any pellet diet. You can make a food habit of a pelleted diet. 

Arowana Fish Overview
Fish Size  2-3 Feet
Fish Nature Aggressive 
Tank Size 150-250 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°F to 82°F 

pH 6-7

4. Axolotls (Walking Fish)

The axolotl (plural axolotls) is one of the most magical animals you can add to your aquarium. They are amphibians but called “Walking Fish”  due to their fish-like body.

Usually, axolotls are a juvenile form of a salamander, a bit like a tadpole is to a frog. These are mostly found in multiple lakes in Mexico City.


When it comes to aquariums, you can keep a small axolotl in a 10-gallon aquarium. But, the adults always require larger tanks; so a minimum 20-long tank will be suitable for one to two adults.

They require living spaces with hiding areas because they are nocturnal. So, you can add rock, cave, and pipes to make a perfect hiding place in their aquarium.

The temperature is another important aspect when it comes to the axolotl. Because, they are cool-water creatures and also, harsh to higher temperatures. More than 70°

temperatures can become problematic for them. So, always keep the temperature below 70°.

When it comes to compatibility, they should be kept with no other types of animals. Because their slow nature with external gills makes them an easy target for others. They will also try to eat anything that they can get into their mouth.

Feeding axolotls is very simple, they are carnivorous and mostly like meaty foods. You can give them high-quality pellets as a well-balanced diet.

Another famous option for carnivores is high-quality sinking food. The amount of food you have to give will depend on the size of the animal. Anytime you’re searching for something unique, then this walking fish is proposed for your aquarium.

Walking Fish Overview
Fish Size  6-15 Feet
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 10 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature Below 70°F 

pH 7.0-7.5

5. Barbs Fish

Barbs fish is another incredibly popular type of aquarium fish. They are native to Asia, Europe, and Africa. These are numerous freshwater fishes from the Cyprinidae family. 

When it comes to aquariums, you can keep small barbs such as gold and cherry barbs in a 10 to 20-gallon aquarium. Larger ones such as black, rosy, and tiger barbs need at least a 30-gallon aquarium. They do well in schools with more than five fish and require a lot of swimming space. 

They will demonstrate their best color in a well-decorated aquarium. Black substrates such as black sand or gravel will brighten the beauty of your barbs. 

Barbs are colorful active fish, so tank mates should be such species that can tolerate them. Particularly long-finned fish aren’t suitable tank mates for the Barb family.

They are always going on the tank, accordingly keeping them with smaller fish with less activity. Red-eye, red-tail, black tetras, and danios will be excellent choices for barb mates. But, it depends on what type of barbs you keep in your aquarium.

Most barbed fish are omnivorous and will eat tropical flakes, tropical granules, and shrimp pellets. Live and frozen diets can also be given as treats for additional food.

Barbs Fish Overview
Fish Size  2-3 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 20-30 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 75°F to 80°F pH 6.8 -7.8

6. Betta Fish

Betta fish do need not any intro because they are one of the most popular types of aquarium fish. They are widely famous for their beautiful array of vibrant colors

They will grow up to 3 inches, so they don’t have any problem with living in a small tank. You can easily keep them in a 5-gallon of fish tank. Their suitable temperature range is between 75°F to 82°F of water. They are also influenced by water pH levels, so try to keep a neutral pH of 7. 

blood worms

Bettas are primarily carnivorous in the wild, so they expect lots of protein in their diet. For this reason, you can give them live or frozen meaty food. 

They’re fond of brine shrimp, blood worms, and mosquito larvae food.  Sinking pellets types of food will be a special treat for them.

Betta fish are famous for their highly aggressive behavior with other fish, mainly males. So, never keep two bettas in the same tank because they become aggressive toward each other.

But, when you want to keep multiple male bettas, use an aquarium divider to diversify their living areas. You can also keep only female betta fish because they largely live together.

Betta Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 3 inches
Fish Nature Aggressive
Tank Size Minimum 5 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 75°F to 82°F pH 7

7. Butterfly Fish

Butterflyfish are among the most widely popular coral reef fishes in the oceans. They are different species of small marine fish found in the Indo-Pacific oceanic region. The about 129 species make them one of the most varied and colorful fish for aquariums. Their vivid coloration with striking patterns makes them popular types of aquarium fish.


The average size of this popular saltwater fish is about 5 inches in length. This size can differ from 4 to 8. inches, but some species can grow up more. For example, Saddle Butterfly will grow up to 12 inches in length. 

Usually,  Butterflyfish need large aquariums, from  75 – 150 gallons of aquarium. You can add corals and live rocks to make a lot of hiding places for the ideal life. They mostly eat all types of corals, algae, and sponges. Some of them will eat small planktonic and crustacean animals.

Butterfly Fish Overview
Fish Size  4-8 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 75-150 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°F to 78°F pH 8.1-8.4

8. Catfish

Catfish are amazing peaceful freshwater fish that make an addition to the aquarium. Many of the smaller catfish, especially the Corydoras, are popular in the aquarium hobby. They are one of the most popular types of freshwater fish for your aquarium.

Cory catfish also known as corydoras are extremely famous because of their unique characteristics. They have a large adaptation ability with simple growth capability.  Most importantly, they make your fish tank cleaner as a bottom fish.

20-30 gallons of tank

The average size of this fish is around 2.5 inches, so you can keep them in a minimum of 10 gallons of tank. However, some will become larger, they can grow up to 3.5 inches. In that case, you’ll have to keep them in a minimum of 20-30 gallons of tank.

These tank water temperatures should be 72°F to 82°F and the suggested is neutral pH (6.0 – 8.0). You can also put some plants and driftwood to provide them with hiding places. 

About the diet, this catfish isn’t a fussy eater and will consume almost anything that you give them. They are omnivores, so you can give them algae wafers, sinking pellets, or flake food. They’re also fond of brine shrimp, blood worms, and frozen food.  

Cory Catfish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 2-3 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 10-20 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°F to 82°F pH 6 – 8

9. Danios

Danio is a small freshwater aquarium fish commonly found in South Asia.

The name “danio” originates from the Bangla word Dhani, meaning the rice field. They are usually known for their horizontal pattern of stripes, vertical bars, or rows of spots. 

covered tank

Danios is a perfect aquarium fish for beginners and adapts to a wide range of environments. They will grow up to 2.5 inches in length, but the average size of this fish is about 1.5 inches.

Danios have different colors with horizontal stripes. Zebra Danios is one of the most popular Danios among all of them. They are called by this name because their black and white lines match the pattern of a zebra.

Danios are one of the most energetic small freshwater fish, so a small group is enough to give you entertainment. 

They actively go from one corner to another of the tank at an amazing speed. At least a 20 gallons tank is recommended due to its highly energetic nature. These are also famous for jumping out of tanks, so always use a covered tank.

When it comes to food, they are not choosy eaters and almost eat all types of food. The healthiest food for them will be lots of insects, worms, and crustaceans in their diet. In addition to this, flake food is suggested with a supplement of live or frozen food.

Danios Fish Overview
Fish Size  2 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful Energetic
Tank Size Minimum 20 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 68°F to 77°F pH of 6.0 to 8.0

10. Discus Fish

Symphysodon commonly known as discus is a freshwater fish native to the Amazon river in South America. 

They are popular as aquarium fish because of their bright color, shape, and patterns. Their striking behavior with majestic beauty has earned them the nickname “King of the Aquarium”.

shrimp pellets.

Discus usually can grow up to 4-6 in length and males become larger than females. You can add them in a 55-gallon tank, but bigger is always better.

Accordingly, a 75-gallon or larger aquarium is best for full-grown Discus. Tall aquariums are more suitable according to their body shape.

Discus eats both plant material as well as small animals. They are omnivores and will grow on tropical flakes food, tropical granules, algae wafers, and shrimp pellets.

Discus Fish Overview
Fish Size  4-6 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 55 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 82°F to 88°F pH 6 – 7

11. Flag fish

Flag Fish are small athletic aquarium fish that come with beautiful coloration. They are also known as the Florida flagfish or American flagfish. Because of their native Lakes in Florida, United States of America.

It’s the smallest popular type of aquarium fish and most grow to two inches in size. So, you can keep them in 10 gallons such as small tanks. 

Commonly, they will be kept in groups, then consider at least 20 gallons of fish tank. You can also add roots, rocks, and driftwood to make sufficient hiding places. 

They are omnivorous, hence feeding plant matter such as algae and small invertebrates with zooplankton.

Flag Fish Overview
Fish Size  2 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 10- 20 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 64°F to 85°F  pH 6.5 – 8.5

12. Goldfish

The goldfish is one of the most popular freshwater fish when it comes to aquariums. Different types of goldfish are largely used as ornamental fish by aquarists.

Since the early record of a goldfish during the Jin Dynasty in China, now more than two hundred breeds of goldfish are spread worldwide. They come in different colours and varieties. 

aquarium filter

Goldfish are popular freshwater aquarium fish because they are easy to keep with low maintenance. They can make a wonderful fish tank because of their bombastic beauty.

Many people don’t know that goldfish can grow up to 14 inches in the wild. But, when you keep them in indoor aquariums, they don’t grow more than 6 inches. So, any small fish tank isn’t a fair place to keep your goldfish. In reality, the minimum tank should be at least 20-30 gallons. You’ll also need an aquarium filter to maintain regular water changes.

Besides the tank, they like a cooler environment (68-75°F) than other tropical aquarium fish, so they grow well in goldfish-only tanks. Include all, you don’t give to special feed, they like a simple flake food diet.

Goldfish Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 2-6 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 20 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 68°F to 75°F pH 7 – 8

13. Guppy Fish

The guppy is the world’s most widely distributed tropical aquarium fish. This popular freshwater aquarium fish practically comes with every color possible, and they are called the ‘Rainbow Fish’. 

They are native to northeast South America but almost adapted to all environments and are now found all over the world. 

Guppies are peaceful community fish, so you can easily keep them in groups. They’re adorable and athletic swimmers who play around all time.


They can grow two inches long on average, so the smallest tank you should use is 10 gallons. But, they can reproduce rapidly, so a 20-gallon tank would be more appropriate in the long run.  They need water temperature between 72°F to 82°F.  Accordingly, you can use a heater to maintain the water temperature range.

They are omnivores and habitually eat both plant and animal food. They aren’t fussy eaters, which means they will eat whatever you provide them.

High-quality proteins will be their main diet. So, you can give them live or frozen foods such as bloodworms. You can also give them vegetables as an additional supplement.

Guppy Fish Overview
Fish Size  2 Inches 
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 10-20 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°F to 82°F pH 7-8

14. Molly Fish

Molly fish is one of the popular myriad fish that you can keep in your aquariums. They are living like their native relatives guppie fish from the Americas.

herbivores food.

There are different types of molly fish available in the fish market. They will grow up to up to 6 inches, so you can keep them in a 20 to 30-gallon aquarium. Your aquarium should be planted with aquatic plants such as Java fern, Java moss, and Anubis.

Molly fish are adapted to a wide variety of conditions. But, you can add a regular filtration system because their appetite makes a bioload in aquariums. 

They are omnivorous, so they will eat both plant and animal diets. You can provide them with a plant diet such as algae wafers and herbivores’ food. Similarly, give them live meaty or freeze-dried frozen foods such as bloodworms and brine shrimp. Mollies gain huge popularity due to their high growth rate with ease of care.

Molly Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 3-4 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 20-30 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 68°F to 82°F

pH 7.0 to 8.0

15. Platy Fish

Platys are widely used in tropical types of aquarium fish. It’s a common name of two species, the southern platy, and the variatus platy. These are native to Central America and Southern Mexico.

It’s very difficult to distinguish both of the fish species. Presently most of them are hybrids of both species for aquariums. Different types of color variations also have been created, such as white, blue, red, orange, yellow even rainbow.

Platy fish are usually small fish that only grow up to 2-3 inches in size. So, you can keep them in a 10- to 20-gallon or larger aquarium. These are typical behaviors of small peaceful fish. They aren’t considered schooling fish, but they live happily when kept in a little group.

Platy are not fussy eaters when you give them a high vegetable diet. They are omnivorous fish, but mostly like a herbivorous diet. They are also habitat with small crustaceans, insects, worms, etc.

Take into consideration that overfeeding will be an important issue for them. They expect to get only one more bite and have an excellent appetite for food too.

Platy Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 2-3 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 10- 20 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°F to 80°F pH 6.8 – 8.0

16. Plecos 

Plecostomus or Plecos is a common name for several species of loricariid catfish. They are derived from the Amazon of South America. These fish are well-known algae eaters fish.

Usually, they will roughly grow to 24 inches in the wild. But, they will normally grow to about 15 inches in an aquarium. Always try to keep them in a 50-100 gallon aquarium as your fish are larger.

Additionally, larger and older Pleco may require a much larger size tank, about 150 to 200 gallons. You can add an aquarium heater to maintain the water temperature.

Plecos are typically peaceful, and they will be an amazing addition to your aquarium. They are popular for their peaceful nature and algae-control ability.

Although they are known as algae eaters, both plant and fish food is best for them. Multiple fish food fulfills your fish-required vitamins.

Plecos Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 15 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size 150 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 74°F to 80°F pH 7 – 8

17. Pupfish

Pupfish are a group of small killifish belonging to the Cyprinodontidae family. They are incredibly popular for founding in extremely isolated conditions. Many pupfish species are the most extant and extinct species is listed.

Devil’s Hole Desert pupfish is one of the most popular pupfish species in the U.S. Scientists are trying to raise in captivity of this the rarest fish on Earth.


Most pupfish will grow up very small, some less than an inch in length. The average pupfish goes only to 2 inches in length when it comes to size.

These are relatively small tiny fish, so a nano tank might be suitable for them. They simply keep them in 10 gallons of tank. You can also consider a larger one such as a 15 or 20-gallon aquarium. Add a teaspoon of salt to each gallon of water to build a brackish environment.

Pupfish are omnivorous but most commonly eat algae. Their diet also contains aquatic insects, crustaceans, plankton, invertebrates, and flatworm larvae.

Pupfish Fish Overview
Fish Size  1-2 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 10 gallons 
Tank Condition  Brackish Water

18. Sharks

Sharks are mostly known for their athletic hunting with aggressive behavior. Though, every shark is unique and, sometimes they become aggressive to divers. All sharks are not aggressive and they do not hunt for happiness. 

However,  when it comes to the “home aquarium” and  “shark” combination, your brain gets confused. But, the truth is that outside of a large shark, freshwater sharks are not real sharks.

They are shark-like fish, also called mini sharks or imposters sharks. It will be an excellent addition to your fish aquarium if you select the suitable one. Commercially bred for sale for fish aquariums. They add character and personality to your home aquarium.

Always keep your freshwater shark in a suitable size aquarium, giving a lot of swimming space and hiding places. Water quality, temperature, and pH levels are important for their health.

The freshwater shark needs a balanced diet consisting of flake fish food, fish pellets, frozen brine shrimp, and dried frozen foods 

Freshwater Shark Overview
Fish Size  5-12 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful to Aggressive
Tank Size Minimum 20 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 72°Fto 82°F pH 6.5 – 7.5

19. Swordtail Fish

Swordtail fish is another popular community fish for aquariums. They are excellent for the community aquarium due to their peaceful nature. This tropical fish’s popularity arises from its peaceful nature with ease of care.

Swordtail fish are similar in average size to other freshwater fish, maximum males are usually smaller than females. As they can live in very different environments, this thing makes them so unique from others. 

However, a small tank isn’t suitable for this peaceful fish and it increases their stress. So,  always try to use at least a 15- 20 gallon tank of fish.

They are omnivorous and will eat fish flake food, algae wafers, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Mollies, guppies, tetras, and danios, are suitable tank mates for this fish.

Swordtail Fish Overview
Fish Size  5-6 inches
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 15 gallons
Tank Condition  Temperature 65°F to 82°F pH 7 – 8.4

20. Tetras Fish

Tetra is a popular name for many small freshwater aquarium fishes. These fishes have come from different parts of America and Africa from the Characidae family, Alestidae, and Lebiasinidae subfamilies. 

Many unrelated fish are also known as leagues, because of their popularity. Even different fishes from numerous families are called tetras. An example of it is the payara, which is often called the “vampire tetra”.

Live plants

Tetras fishes are different due to their geographic distribution but all of them can live in the same environment. You can keep different types of tetras within the same tank, which makes them unique. Because of their peaceful nature, they are an amazing option for community tanks.

You can keep them at least a 10 to 20 gallons fish tank. However, larger tanks give them more space to swim. They also feel comfortable with a temperature between 75°- 80° F. You can use an aquarium heater to maintain the appropriate temperature. Take into consideration that lower temperatures will reduce their activity. Live plants are another important element of the aquarium.

Tetras are omnivorous and eat both plant and animal food. So, you can feed them with flakes, pellets, live or frozen feds.

Tetras Fish Overview
Fish Size  Up to 1-2 inches 
Fish Nature Peaceful 
Tank Size Minimum 10-20 gallons 
Tank Condition  Temperature 75°F to 80°F

pH 6.8-7.8


All of these popular types of aquarium fish come in a large variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. The popularity also depends on the bright color and how easy to care for. Most of the aquarium fish here we discuss are very easy to care for and bring colorful beauty to your house.

Keeping an aquarium fish in your house is not only relaxing to watch but also beneficial for your health. Hopefully, this guide will help you to select the suitable one according to your choices.

Happy Fishkeeping and Best of Luck!

Do you love aquarium fish? You can watch this video and you can see all of The Aquarium Fish Species (a to z). Their names and photos are in this video.

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