Best Hardy Fish For Your New Tank

Whether you are setting up an aquarium for the very first time or you are someone who has (or had) aquariums before, you want to make sure you include hardy fish in your tank. Hardy fish can adapt to a large range of water parameters, which makes them easy to maintain and care for.

Hardy fish are excellent starter fish and they are also perfect when “cycling” your tank. Some of the more hardy fish are; Neon Tetra, Danios, Platies, Guppies, Cherry Barb, and Tiger Pleco among others. We will provide as much information as we can on these hardy fish, and how they will help your new aquarium.

There is a lot of ground to cover on the 6 hardy fish mentioned above, so why not just jump right into it and swim in some knowledge.

Best Hardy Fish for Beginners

Setting up a freshwater aquarium, for the first time, can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe even a little intimidating for some. There are a lot of things to learn, know, and purchase. You are going to want to do extensive research on aquarium sizes, the fish you want to add, and how to take the best care of the whole set-up.

We are here today to inform you and try to make your decisions and purchases on the fish for your aquarium, a little bit easier and less stressful and confusing. There is such a wide variety of hardy fish to choose from, where do you start? Any of them will be perfect for a beginner.

The one main concern that I came across in all of the research is there are 2 species of fish, which we will discuss, that reproduce quickly. So if you are not careful, you will have a ton of fish before you know what happened.

One of the best beginner, hardy, fish for your aquarium is the Platies.

These fish are about 3 inches long and are even hardier than the guppy. They can live in 7.0 and higher pH balance.

They will eat just about any food that you throw at them, as they are voracious eaters.

Another good fish for beginners is the Betta Fish.

This fish is also referred to as the “kind of beginner fish”. They are small, brightly colored, and extremely easy to care for.

They can thrive in a 5-gallon tank, alone, or in a ten-gallon tank or larger. You DO NOT want to have more than one betta fish in any tank, no matter how big.

They are also fighting fish (among their own species). Suitable fish to allow to live with a betta are; corridor’s, tetras, and other peaceful fish. It is recommended that you do your research because you don’t want to purchase a fish that is going to knop at the betta’s fins. 

Angelfish are another fish that is perfect for beginners.

They have unique fins, a beautiful shape, and striking stripes.

The only downside with an angelfish; you will eventually have to transfer them to a larger aquarium. Angelfish can grow to be as big as a saucer. 55 gallons or bigger, for the tank, is what is suggested.

You always want to make sure that your fish have plenty of space to swim and grow. As with the betta, it is best to keep only 1 angelfish because they are very territorial. The 3 most common types of angelfish are; Koi, Zebra, and Marble.

What is a Hardy Fish for an Aquarium

As stated above, there are many hardy fish for your aquarium whether you are a beginner or experienced fish-keeper. So, we will cover a small handful of the top 13 freshwater tropical fish.

You have to remember that all fish are different and so you can not just throw a bunch of random fish in your tank. Some may survive, some may not. Some may fight, and some may get along perfectly. It is always good to double-check.

You want fish that are fairly easy to care for. Fish that get along and are peaceful, ones that will fit in your tank with plenty of room to swim and grow, and you definitely want hardy fish.

Hardy fish can survive and thrive in a broad range of conditions including pH balance, water temperature, and more. Some stay small, so a 20 or 30-gallon tank will work perfectly. Others will get bigger, so you will need a 55+ gallon aquarium. Do your research, we can not stress that enough. This way there is no second guessing if your tank is big enough for the fish (and the amount of fish) you have chosen.

The fish we are going to talk about are easy to find, at most reputable pet shops, gorgeous, and perfect for beginners as well as experienced fish-keepers.


These are one of the most hardy fish that you can purchase for your tank. They are very easy to care for, beautifully colored, and they are small. Tetras love being in groups, so the more you have the happier they will be. The happier they are, the more they will thrive. They have a simple diet of fish flakes, but do enjoy an occasional blood worm.


These are the second hardiest fish and they come in a variety of gorgeous colors. They are a fish that enjoys fish flakes, but like the frozen (or live) brine shrimp or bloodworms on occasion.

Guppies are extremely hardy, as they can go over a week without food. It is recommended you do your research and know the difference between the male and female. Guppies breed like crazy, as stated in the beginning, so unless you want an overabundance of guppies, it is best to keep the sexes separated (or only purchase one sex of fish). 

Cherry Barb

These stunning fish take a little longer to settle into their new “home”, but they are perfect for a home aquarium. The cherry barb is a friendly fish, can tolerate huge changes in the water parameter, and only get about 2 inches long. 

Once they get acclimated to the new tank they are very active and fun to watch. For the cherry barb, it is suggested to have live plants in your tank vs. the rubber ones.

Cherry barbs love to ‘hide’ every now and then. It is preferred to keep 6 or more of them in the tank because they do better in schools. You will need to give them a couple of weeks to adjust to their feedings as well. But don’t worry, they are hardy and will survive.


A rare yet hardy species that is becoming extremely popular for home aquariums. These fish prefer a plant-based diet, so a tank with a good amount of natural algae is going to be perfect for the sword tail.

You can also feed them vegetable flakes, but only on a consistent basis. It is recommended to have 5 or more as they thrive in groups.  And The prime water temperature for the swordtail is between 77 and 80 degrees, but they will also be just fine in cooler or warmer temperatures.

Best Hardy Fish for a Small Tank

If you are not wanting to have a very large tank, there are still plenty of hardy fish to choose from. Fish that will do great in a 10 gallon tank (or even a 5 gallon). Do be careful with the smaller tanks though, pollutants can quickly build up, especially if you have an overpopulated tank.

So be wary of how many fish you stock. The general rule of thumb is one inch of fish per 1 gallon of water. It isn’t always possible to follow this though, because some species need more space in general. 

Golden Dwarf Barbs

This is one of the lesser known barbs. It is ideal for a 10 gallon tank because they only grow to 1 ½ inch. They are a rich golden color with small black markings. These fish, when out in the wild, are mainly found in Northern India and Nepal.

They are going to be happier in a well planted tank. This means real plants (those that go in the rocks, and floating ones as well) and driftwood. You can fit a maxim of 10 dwarf barbs in a 10-gallon tank. 

Pearl Danios

These fish are super easy to care for. They are a newer addition to the in-home aquarium scene. Just discovered in 2006, they are perfect for a 10 gallon tank because their maximum size is 1 inch. Most of the pearl danios have a deep blue metallic like body with jewel looking spots and orange bands on its fins. It offers a beautiful splash of color to your tank.

These hardy fish prefer rocks, caves, and driftwood in the tank and also to be kept in schools of 6 or more. If you keep the maximum 10, in a 10 gallon tank then it is suggested that you do not put any other fish in the tank.

Pygmy Corydoras

These particular hardy fish should be kept in groups of no less than 10. They are peaceful and tiny, they have an iridescent body with a horizontal black line. These fish require densely planted tanks with plenty of hiding areas.

You can use driftwood or plants with wide leaves to create hiding areas. To protect their barbells, they need a sandy substrate, instead of rocks or gravel. These only get to about 3 cm and should be kept in tanks of the same species with 8-12 in the tank.

Dwarf Gourami

These hardy fish have moderate care needs and are very peaceful. They are better suited for individuals who are experienced fish-keepers. The males and females differ in color; the males are an orangey-red with blue stripes and the females are a silvery blue with an extremely faint yellow strip. You can keep the gourami with other peaceful fish, but make sure the tank is kept in a quiet area.

Loud noises tend to scare them, and then they just hide. They need a good supply of plants (floating) and a dark substrate. The darker substrate will help to display their bright colors. You should only keep 3 of the Dwarf Gourami in a 10 gallon tank or you can have 1 with a school of 5 smaller fish, like the neon tetra.

There you go folks, loyal readers, and fish-keepers, the best hardy fish for a new aquarium. There are still a few more species out there that we didn’t get a chance to cover in this article, so just look them up.

We covered everything from the Guppy to the Tetra, to the Danios and the Platies to the Cherry Barb and more. We provided as much information as we could on what they like, their appearance, their size, and more. Now, it is up to you to decide how big of an aquarium you want and what kind of fish you want to place in that aquarium.


Remember, your fish need plenty of room to be able to swim around and grow. It is also better to get live plants vs rubber plants, they will help you with the oxygen levels and the ‘cycling’ of the tank. Which is a very important deal when you first set up your aquarium. 

If you have any other questions or concerns that we did not cover in this article, please feel free to do some extra research on the internet or inquire at the pet store that you want to get your aquarium, fish, and supplies from. The fish will give you (your friends, family, and children) lots of entertainment and something beautiful to look at when they are visiting your home. 

Until next time my loyal readers, enjoy your fish, take good care of them and always remember to change 25% of the water each week and check your pH and other levels on a weekly basis as well.


I'm passionate about fish pets and love sharing everything I learn about them.

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