The Top 12 Pet Fish Species for Beginners - Animal Magnetism LA

The Top 12 Pet Fish Species for Beginners

Freshwater fish…..saltwater fish…..tropical fish…..there are so many species to choose from when looking for pet fish. I think most people remember winning the ring toss at the local fair and returning home with a plastic bag filled with water and a goldfish. Inevitably your new fish would be flushed down the toilet a few days later.

If you are considering becoming a responsible first-time pet fish owner, we’re here to help! The following is a list of the top 6 freshwater and top 6 saltwater fish. They are perfect for first-time fish owners or beginner pet owner. These fish and the necessary supplies can be found at most fish stores in the Los Angeles area.

Generally speaking, all these species are good-natured, striking, and very easy to care for. Good luck with finding your new pet fish!




Yes, the goldfish is top on the list. The goldfish come in more shapes, sizes, and colors and when cared for correctly can live a long life. They are able to live in a wide range of conditions and are happy with fish flakes making them very easy to care for.

Small and brightly colored, guppies are another favorite for beginner aquariums. Known as prolific breeders the number of guppies in your tank with increase very quickly. They are very easy to care for when kept in proper conditions and feed the proper fish flake food.

With their zebra patterning, high energy, and fun personality, Danios are another popular fish among new owners. These small fish tend to thrive in small schools or 6 or more and survive very well on fish flake food.

Besides being easy to care for, the Plecos will help keep your aquarium clean. These fish will clear up leftover or decaying food from the bottom of the tank. They also help clear the sides of any algae. When not sweeping the tank, these fish prefer to hide out. Be sure to add some features at the bottom of the aquarium they can use for cover. They survive well in a wide variety of conditions and will eat almost anything.

Hardy and inexpensive to care for, Tetras are a popular freshwater species. These small, schooling fish will put on a dazzling light show when swimming together. Their shiny scales will reflect light simultaneously and even change colors under changing light conditions. These little guys thrive in varied tank conditions and eat flake food.

On the larger side when compared to other species on this list, mollies are similar to guppies. They survive in a wide range of conditions and reproduce very quickly. Mollies are known for their wide range of colors and varieties and will eat almost any food fed to them.




Clownfish are the stars of the Disney movie “Finding Nemo”. With their brilliant orange, white, and black coloration they are easily recognizable. Clownfish are great eaters and do with both flakes and pellets. A hardy, peaceful fish, this saltwater species mate for life and reproduce easily.

Much like the Bushynose Plecos in a freshwater tank, the Lawnmower Blenny will help keep your saltwater aquarium clean. The Blenny is a voracious algae eater and will keep your water clear and your tank shiny. The ease of ownership with the Blenny is very low since most of is food is grown in the tank.

The Butterfly Fish is instantly recognizable to most people. They come in over 100 different species that vary greatly in color. After choosing the species that best suits your tank, the Butterfly Fish are easy to care for. Be sure to check the exact requirements for the species you decide. The tank conditions and food type can vary widely between species.

If you’ve decided on a smaller aquarium than be sure to consider a Chalk Bass. This small and very hardy fish thrives under many different conditions, resists illness, and will eat almost anything. These fish are “beginner” resistant and will thrive very easily.

The Watchman is one of the better picks for a beginners’ aquarium. They tend to be non-picky eaters and will gobble up most anything you find at your local fish store. The Goby is a very peaceful fish with other species. Note, however, they may be aggressive with other Gobys so make sure your tank is large enough to keep them separated.

If you would like a unique, unusual tropical species for your aquarium, look no further than the Pajama Cardinalfish. With a green/yellow face, large orange eye, black middle, and bright polka dot tail end, this fish will be a conversation piece. Although very easy to care for, the Cardinalfish is very shy and prefers to keep to itself. They also tend to be more active at night.

Whether you are searching for a freshwater fish, a saltwater fish, a tropical one, or a more common one- the variety of different fish to choose from are almost endless. As a beginner or first-time pet owner, consider the fish on this list to start your aquarium. Knowing what to expect will make it easier on you and your new pet. Researching and developing a relationship with a vet that has experience with pet fish is also a good idea. Many fish owners do take their fish to the vet and there are many solutions a vet can offer to keep your fish happy and healthy.

If you would like to learn more or if you would like to use our pet care services reach out to us via email or call us.



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