Coolest Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Coolest Freshwater Aquarium Fish

Are you looking for some new and exciting freshwater aquarium fish to add to your tank? If so, you’re in luck. On this page, you’ll find some of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish around. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of these amazing creatures.



Coolest Freshwater Aquarium Fish



Glass Catfish – Kryptopterus vitreolus

Glass Catfish – Kryptopterus vitreolus

The Glass Catfish (Buy Online) has an unusual transparent body that allows you to see all of its bones and organs. While they aren’t as colorful or flashy as other aquarium fish, they’re really cool-looking. They also get along well in groups so you can have several in one tank without any problems. Plus, since their bodies are mostly clear/transparent you can easily see if they have any health issues developing such as fin rot or fungus before it gets out of hand. And since these guys are very easy to care for they make great fish for beginners.



Electric Yellow Lab – Labidochromis caeruleus

Electric Yellow Lab - Labidochromis caeruleus

The Electric Yellow Cichlid (Buy Online) is a cool freshwater fish that will add a splash of color to any aquarium. It can be kept by itself or it can be combined with other species, but it can be aggressive so care should be taken when selecting tank mates. Plus, this cichlid will breed readily if given enough space and fed regularly, and they have a long lifespan of at least 5 years in captivity.



German Blue Ram – Mikrogeophagus ramirezi

German Blue Ram - Mikrogeophagus ramirezi

The German Blue Ram (Buy Online) is the perfect choice for someone with a smaller tank that wants something colorful and interesting without having to worry about it getting too large. They are small cichlids from South America that rarely grow larger than 2-inches. However, they are delicate and prone to health problems, and they need to be kept at warmer temperatures than most fish. That’s why it is important to keep the water temperature in your tank as close to 80° as possible if you want to successfully keep German Blue Rams.

Related: Aquarium Heater Size Calculator



Malawi Mbunas


Mbunas are one of the most beautiful and interesting species available in the hobby. They have been described as one of the most spectacular groups of cichlids. However, these amazing fish can be quite aggressive towards other tank mates and may not be suitable for every home aquarist since Mbunas are extremely territorial and will fight to protect their territory against any intruders. Smaller Mbunas will grow up to 3 inches long while the larger species will grow to about 8 inches.



Bolivian Ram – Mikrogeophagus altispinosus

Bolivian Ram – Mikrogeophagus altispinosus

The Bolivian Ram (Buy Online) is a small cichlid that rarely grows larger than 2.5 inches and requires a sand substrate for long-term health. They are one of the most colorful freshwater fish available, with brilliant reds and blues on their bodies and fins, and they also have an interesting sand sifting feeding behavior that makes them unique among other freshwater aquaria fish. Plus, they are very similar to German Blue Rams in their size shape, and coloring, but they are much easier to keep.



Pearl Gourami – Trichopodus leerii

Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami’s (Buy Online) are a great choice for almost any freshwater aquarium because they have low maintenance requirements and do well in most settings. They will do best if kept with other peaceful species like tetras or other community fish that enjoy similar environments. Plus, both males and females gain tremendous amounts of color as they age, but males have longer fins. This makes them an attractive species for new aquarists who want a beautiful showpiece fish that doesn’t need much space or maintenance.



Boeseman’s rainbowfish – Melanotaenia boesemani

Melanotaenia boesemani 5

Boeseman’s Rainbowfish (Buy Online) is an amazing freshwater aquarium fish that has the most unique coloring you will find in any freshwater aquarium. it gets its name “Rainbow” because this fish has an iridescent shimmering body with a light blue head, which transforms into a yellow-orange hue towards the middle of its body. They are however challenging to keep since they require stable water parameters to remain in peak condition.



Congo Tetra – Phenacogrammus interruptus

Phenacogrammus interruptus

The Congo Tetra (Buy Online) is a great choice if you want an active schooling fish that won’t eat plants or bother other tank inhabitants too much. It also looks good when kept in schools of six or more individuals (most tetras do best when kept in groups of at least three). In general, these are pretty easygoing fish and do fine in most community tanks as long as they’re not overstocked.



Jack Dempsey Cichlid – Rocio octofasciata

Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata)

Jack Dempseys (Buy Online) are one of the most popular cichlid species in the hobby due to their unique coloration. However, they can have some aggressive tendencies toward other tank mates or even their own kind. So it’s best to keep them in a tank with similarly sized semi-aggressive cichlids.



Golden Honey Gourami – Trichogaster chuna

Honey Gourami

Golden Honey Gouramis (Buy Online) are incredibly hardy and adaptable freshwater tropical fish native to Southeast Asia. They prefer soft water with lots of plants for cover, and they are great community fish.



Roseline Torpedo Shark – Sahyadria denisonii

Barbus denisonii (Puntius denisonii / Denison Barb / Denisonbarbe)

The Roseline Torpedo Shark (Buy Online) is the coolest freshwater aquarium fish around. They are active, colorful, and peaceful fish that do well in planted tanks. These schooling fish will display their best colors when excellent water quality is maintained. As shoaling fish in the wild, they are best kept in groups of 5 or more in the aquarium.



Fancy Guppy – Poecilia reticulata

Fancy Guppy - Poecilia reticulata

Fancy Guppies (Buy Online) are one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish because they are easy to care for and reproduce with ease. And the females give birth to live fry, and with proper care, you’ll have plenty of baby guppies swimming around in no time at all.



Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid – Apistogramma Agassizii

Agassiz’s dwarf cichlid – Apistogramma Agassizii

The Dwarf Apistogramma Agassizii (Buy Online) is one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish since their small and very low maintenance. These dwarf cichlids have beautiful colors and are active swimmers, making them great for both beginners and experienced aquarists alike. They also do well in community aquariums with other peaceful tank mates such as tetras, rasboras, danios, etc…and they will even breed if given the proper conditions (though this requires a bit more work).



Blue Dolphin Cichlid – Cyrtocara moorii

Cyrtocara moorii

The Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Buy Online) is a beautiful fish, but it can be quite aggressive. This species should only be kept in large aquariums with plenty of hiding places for other tank mates. They are also very territorial and will attack anything that approaches their breeding area or gets too close to them. In addition, they’re known for being fin nippers, so other long-finned fish should not be kept with this species because the fins may get damaged by these predators.



Red Shoulder Dwarf Cichlid – Apistogramma Macmasteri


The Red Shoulder Dwarf Cichlid (Buy Online) is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add some color and personality to their tank. This attractive little fish will be easy to care for as long as you provide them with proper water conditions. While they are not difficult fish to keep they do require their own territory with a small cave or decorations to hide in.



Duboisi Cichlid – Tropheus duboisi

Tropheus Duboisi Cichlid

The Tropheus Duboisi (Buy Online) develops a wide yellow band just behind its pectoral fins and their coloration changes from black with white spots as juveniles into stunning blue-black specimens with hints of blue on their heads as adults. This makes them fun to watch as they mature, and best of all they don’t get too big since they usually only reach a maximum length of 5-inches.



Redhead Cichlid – Vieja melanura

Vieja melanura.jpg

The Redhead Cichlid is one of the most popular cichlid varieties among hobbyists because it’s so colorful and interesting. It grows fast enough that you can see its color change as it matures from juvenile through adult. And it is ideal for anyone who wants an active tank with plenty of personality. Its bright coloring also makes it a great choice if you want your fish tank to be a conversation starter at home or work. However, this cichlid is quite aggressive, which means they should only be kept in a large tank with other semi-aggressive/aggressive cichlids.



Cherry Barb – Puntius titteya

Cherry Barb (Albino)  ♂

Cherry Barbs (Buy Online) are one of the most popular freshwater tropical fish in home aquariums. They have a beautiful red coloration that can be spotted from across the room, despite their average size of 1-1.5-inches. Cherry barbs like calm, planted tanks with plenty of swimming space, and they also need a lot of places to hide – they’re very shy.



Bristlenose Pleco – Ancistrus cirrhosus

Ancistrus cf. cirrhosus

Bristlenose Plecos (Buy Online) are great at eating up algae and excess food. And they only grow to be between 4-8 inches long depending on the variety you choose. They are also very hardy fish that don’t require any special care beyond what most other tropical freshwater fish. Plus, they are one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish since they have a unique bristle nose that sets them apart from other Plecos and algae eaters you can add to your tank




GloFish 5-Pack Assorted Tetra (Gymnocorymbus sp.)

GloFish (Buy Online) are the coolest freshwater aquarium fish on the market. They’re easy to keep, they come in lots of bright colors and they don’t require any special equipment or care beyond what’s needed for other tropical fish species. Plus, thanks to their fluorescent properties these little guys will glow under blue or UV black lights.



Harlequin Rasboras – Trigonostigma heteromorpha

Harlequin rasbora 2

The Harlequin Rasbora (Buy Online) is a great fish for the beginner to intermediate freshwater aquarium hobbyist. It has a reputation as being one of the hardiest and most beautiful freshwater fish. And if you are interested in buying this peaceful schooling community fish PetSmart or Petco will usually have them in stock at your local store or online.



Endlers – Poecilia wingei

Endler's Livebearer

Endlers (Buy Online) are one of the easiest types of fish to maintain in an aquarium because they don’t require much care or special equipment (like a heater). They’re hearty enough for even inexperienced aquarists, so if you’re interested in keeping a freshwater tank but have always been afraid to give it a try before, we highly recommend getting some Endlers.



Betta – Betta splendens

Rose Petal Betta (Betta splendens)

Betta splendens (Buy Online) are one of the most popular freshwater tropical fish in the world because they are both beautiful and require very little upkeep. In their natural habitat, these fish live in rice paddies where they live in poorly oxygenated standing water, and in captivity, they can easily be kept in bowls or a small 5-gallon fish tank.



Electric Blue Hap – Sciaenochromis fryeri

Electric Blue Cichlid

The Electric Blue Hap (Buy Online) is one of the best-looking freshwater fish available today, but it’s not easy to find them for sale in local fish stores. If you’re interested in keeping this beautiful electric blue fish you’ll either have to find them at a fish show or order them online.



Green Terror Cichlid – Andinoacara rivulatus

Green Terror

Green Terror Cichlids (Buy Online) are one of the most beautiful freshwater aquarium fish available. They have an amazing blue-green color with orange or white trim on the edges of their fins, making them one of the most attractive cichlids.

If you’re looking for a beautiful freshwater aquarium fish that is also easy to care for, then look no further than the green terror cichlid. These large cichlids will do well in 75+ gallon tanks with other aggressive species, or with a single male and a small harem of females.



Royal Whiptail Catfish – Sturisoma panamense


The Royal Whiptail Catfish (Buy Online) is a unique freshwater species that will stand out in any community tank. This catfish has a thin pencil-like body with a subdued coloration and flowing fins, making it a perfect addition to a clean-up crew in any 30+ gallon aquarium.



Rainbow Kribensis – Pelvicachromis pulcher

Pelvicachromis pulcher - Kersenbuikcichlide

Rainbow Kribs (Buy Online) are one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish to keep. They are very colorful and attractive, and they are sure to liven up any tank. Kribensis are often kept as beginner aquarium fish because they’re easy to care for and breed readily in captivity. And they can survive with very little effort from their owners, making them ideal pets for beginners who want an easy to care for small cichlid species.



Cardinal Tetra – Paracheirodon axelrodi

Paracheirodon axelrodi (Cardinal tetra)

Cardinal Tetras (Buy Online) are one of the most popular schooling freshwater aquarium fish due to their bright red and blue stripes. However, they can be difficult to find in pet stores or online shops because they’re not as common as other popular tropical fish like neon tetras or GloFish. This makes it harder for aquarists to add them into their tank, but you can usually order them online (Click Here)



Chili Rasbora – Boraras brigittae

Boraras brigittae

Chili Rasboras are a cool and colorful addition to any aquarium, and they’re an excellent choice for beginners as well as advanced aquarists who want a beautiful nano schooling fish in their tank. These little guys are very easy to care for and make great starter fish due to their small size (1 inch).



Salvini Cichlid – Cichlasoma salvini

Cichlasoma salvini

The Salvini Cichlid (Buy Online) is an ideal fish for a large aquarium, and it can be kept with many other species of South/Central American cichlids and it does best when provided with plenty of rocks and driftwood to create hiding places within your tank.



Celestial Pearl Danio – Celestichthys margaritatus

The Celestial Pearl Danio

The Celestial Pearl Danio (Buy Online) is possibly the coolest freshwater aquarium fish around. If you’re looking for a nano fish that is guaranteed to stay small, the Celestial Pearl Danio may be right up your alley. They are also very peaceful and great community fish. This is one of my favorite freshwater aquarium fish because it’s so beautiful AND easy to care for. You’ll need a 10 gallon or larger tank with plenty of hiding places (plants will work well) for them. Plus, you’ll also want to get at least 5-6 Danios per 10 gallons as they do best in groups.



Peacock Gudgeon – Tateurndina Ocellicauda

Tateurndina ocellicauda

The Peacock Gudgeon (Buy Online) should be on every experienced aquarist’s wishlist because it is an excellent addition to a large freshwater tank. This fish is also very easy to spawn so you’re highly likely to have live babies swimming around your tank if you keep a mated pair. They make great parents too, caring for their young until they reach maturity.



Paradise Fish – Macropodus opercularis

Paradijsvis - Macropodus opercularis

Paradise Fish are not only beautiful to look at and easy to care for, but they’re also great community fish that get along with other species. If you have any interest in keeping freshwater tropical fish then we highly recommend starting out with paradise fish. Their colors are stunning and their personalities make them one of the best freshwater tropical fish around.



Dwarf Gourami – Trichogaster lalius

Trichogaster lalius

Dwarf gouramis (Buy Online) are one of the easiest freshwater fish to keep, making them an ideal choice for beginners. The dwarf gourami is a peaceful community tank resident that will get along with most other species of tropical fish. It is also relatively easy to care for if you have some basic knowledge about keeping fish like Bettas and Paradise fish since they are all Labyrinth Fish, so they have similar care requirements.



Flowerhorn cichlid – Hybrid species

flowerhorn cichlid

The Flowerhorn cichlid (Buy Online) is a cross between multiple cichlids resulting in a colorful hybrid with a distinctive head protuberance. This makes them one of the most sought-after aquarium fish in Asia today. They are popular among aquarists because of their bright colors, patterns, hardiness, and ease of care. And if you’re looking for something truly unique that will stand out on social media then the Flowerhorn is one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish on the market.



Kuhli loaches – Pangio kuhlii

Kuhli Loach (Pangio kuhlii)

The Kuhli Loach (Buy Online) is a shy fish and needs plenty of cover. These loaches have an eel-like shape with a brown to burgundy body covered with bright orange stripes, and they have long snouts that they use to root around for food in the substrate. They also require a clean, well-maintained aquarium where there are no sharp objects or gravel that could injure them while hiding from predators under rocks or wood decor items.



Angelfish – Pterophyllum

Pterophyllum scalare

Angelfish (Buy Online) are the coolest freshwater aquarium fish because they can survive in even the worst conditions. They eat almost any food including flakes, pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex worms. Angelfish also have incredible stamina so they can swim non-stop all day without getting tired which makes them great companions for other active fish.



Jaguar Cichlid – Parachromis managuensis


The Jaguar Cichlid (Buy Online) is a very popular aquarium fish due to its size and flashy colors, but they are also quite territorial so only keep them with larger tank mates or as the single focal point of your aquarium. This large cichlid species has a big personality and requires a huge tank to match. If you have the space for this cool freshwater fish then read on to learn about their care requirements.



Florida Flag Fish – Jordanella floridae

Florida Flagfish (Jordanella Floridae)

The Florida Flagfish (Buy Online) is one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish. It’s hardy enough to withstand cooler temperatures, making it perfect for those who live in colder climates where tropical fish might not survive without a heater. Because they’re non-aggressive towards other species, you can keep them with most types of fish without worry of conflict between species or injury from territorial behavior. They also serve as excellent algae eaters. Plus, they grow quickly; these little guys will only be about 1″ when you receive them, but by the time they reach 2″, they’ll already be close to their final adult size.



Peacock Cichlid – Aulonocara sp.

Aulonocara sp.

The Peacock Cichlid (Buy Online) is the coolest and easiest freshwater aquarium fish that you can keep. This cichlid has amazing colors and patterns that change over time. It’s also relatively easy to care for. And you’ll love showing off this vibrant and colorful fish to friends, family members, or co-workers who visit your home or office.



Discus – Symphysodon sp.

Discus - Symphysodon sp.
photo by: Jessa CC BY-ND 2.0

Discus (Buy Online) are the coolest freshwater aquarium fish around. They’re beautiful, friendly, and can live for years if cared for properly. If you have an interest in keeping discus fish as pets, then this article is for you. It will cover everything from how to set up their environment to what they need on a daily basis.



Bluefin Notho – Nothobranchius rachovii

Nothobranchius rachovii 5

The Rachovi Killifish (Buy Online), also known as the Bluefin Notho is one of the coolest freshwater aquarium fish you will find on the market today. These little guys are ideal fish for community tanks and look great in planted tanks. They are not aggressive at all and make an excellent addition to any tank that has other peaceful species of fish living in it already.



Jewel Cichlid – Hemichromis bimaculatus

Jewel Cichlid (Hemichromis bimaculatus) with fry

Jewel Cichlids (Buy Online) are a great addition to any freshwater aquarium, especially if you’re looking for something unique. If you have the right environment and enough room, these fish will thrive and bring a lot of beauty to any aquarium. However, they can be difficult to find in pet stores. But you don’t need to go out of your way to get this fish because you can have them shipped to your doorstep when you order them online.



Electric Blue Acara

Female Electric Blue Acara

The Electric Blue Acara (Buy Online) is an excellent choice if you’re looking to add some color to your tank. It’s a hybrid species bred from several different South American cichlids, It grows up to 8 inches in length with a bright blue shine over its scales with orange trim on its dorsal fin. They are fairly peaceful fish that can be kept with similarly sized South American cichlids such as Geophagus, Parrot Fish, or Angelfish.



Oscar – Astronotus ocellatus

Oscar - Astronotus ocellatus

Oscars (Buy Online) are large, and they can grow to 12″+ in size and require a large amount of swimming space. Though large, they are generally peaceful compared to other similarly sized cichlids. We recommend that you provide at least 75 gallons for one Oscar and 125 gallons for two or more Oscars.

You should also consider having a tank with a heavy-duty filter system because these fish produce a lot of waste as well as lots of ammonia due to the fact that they eat live food such as worms, crickets, shrimp, and even small fish.

The best filters for Oscars are canister filters. Canisters have large internal filter media areas that provide superior biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration compared to other types of aquarium filters. They also offer more versatility than power filters because you can add additional media such as carbon or phosphate removers if needed.

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Mark Young
Mark has worked with a wide range animals for over 10 years, and he regularly volunteers at his local animal shelter. Mark has decided to share his years of knowledge by writing helpful guides for both new and experienced pet owners