As a beginner you want to choose the type of tropical fish that give you the best chance of success in your aquarium. So, picking fish that are fun and easy to care for is important.

Neon Tetras

Neons are the most popular freshwater tropical fish due to their size and vibrant colours. They can grow to 2cms long. These fish need to be in a school of at least six, otherwise they become stressed and or timid.


These peaceful fish can grow to about 5cms and come in many colours, from black to bright red. The male swordtail is easily recognised by the elongated ‘sword’ on their tail. The males will harass females relentlessly, so to reduce stress in the tank, it’s better to have two females to one male.


If you want a lot of action and colour in your fish tank then you need to consider guppies. Due to intensive breeding, these fish come in a vast range of different colours, however they are not quite as hardy as other popular tropical fish. These small livebearers, (no eggs) breed prolifically, so if you don’t want lots of guppy babies, it’s possible to purchase only males on request.


Corys are small catfish which scavenge the bottom of the tank for leftover food and plant matter. These fish can grow to over 5cm, some strains can get larger. They are a schooling fish, so prefer to be in a shoal of at least six.


This is a great tropical fish, especially for beginners or anyone setting up a new aquarium. They are hardy and active and look like mini trout or salmon. There are strains with stripes, Zebra Danios, and spots, Leopard Danios. These too like to live together in small groups.

There are many ways to calculate how many fish to put in an aquarium, a simple guide is 1cm of fish to 1 litre of water.

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