There are many different types of freshwater aquarium fish to choose from!
Some are hardy while others are delicate. Some are aggressive while others are community fish. Some like to hang out on the bottom under rocks while others like to swim around in schools. And yes, some fish like to eat other fish!
So it is very important to do some research in order to choose compatible fish that will get along and thrive in your underwater world.
These colorful long tailed beauties are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish. If you've ever witnesses two males nose to nose you'll instantly understand why they're called fighting fish!
Even though bettas like nice and warm water, they are often kept in small unheated bowls or containers. I can't imagine this is a very happy life for a fish...
If you don't mind being a little cruel, then you can keep Betta's in a small container. But I'd recommend keeping them in a larger betta fish aquarium where they will be nice, warm and happy. Then get along well with many other types of small community fish.
Tetras are one of the most popular types of freshwater aquarium fish. These vibrant colorful fish come from African and South America. They are very lively fish that like to swim in schools.
There are several different types of tetras, with my personally favorite being the neon tetras seen in the picture to the right.
Not only do tetras make for a lively tank, they are also very compatible with many other types of freshwater community fish.
Barbs are another type of colorful community fish that are very hardy and relatively easy to care for. These originate in Southeast Asia.
They love to swim in schools and generally get along well with most other types of community fish as long as you keep a school of 5 or 6 of them together, although they are known for occasionally nipping at the tails of slow swimming fish such as gauramis. A single Barb fish by itself can become aggressive towards other the other guys in the tank.
The Tiger Barb is probably the most well known arguably one of the most popular types of freshwater aquarium fish in general. As you can see in the pictures, they have four distinct black stripes atop their silver yellow-brownish body.
Guarmis are very hardy aquarium fish that come from African and Asia. They are from the same family as Bettas, which is the Labyrinth Family. Where as most fish must rely solely on their gills to pull oxygen from the water, members of the Labyrinth family have a special organ that allows them to pull oxygen from the air they swallow.
This gives them the ability to survive in water with lower oxygen content than most other fish because then can gulp air from the surface for extra oxygen.
There are more than a dozen types of Gouramis that you can buy for your aquarium. Gouramis tend to be more aggressive towards other gouramis in the tank than they are of other fish. Although they have been know to nip the fins of other types of fish on occasion.
Kissing Gouromis in the above picture, also known as the "Kissing Fish", are my favorite type to watch.
Loaches are small bottom-dwelling fish native to the rivers in most of Asia. Because they have adapted to the pure and clean water conditions found in free flowing streams, these types of aquarium fish are very sensitive to the aquarium water conditions. For this reason, they are not the best type of fish for your first aquarium.
Most are relatively flat types of fish with tiny scales and several pairs of whiskers. They're bottom feeding scavengers that prefer to swim in schools. While they're not overly aggressive, but they do sometimes like to have some fun poking other fish with their whiskers.
There are hundreds of different species of loaches with the Clown Loach being my personal favorite. Keep in mind that you should have a fairly decent size tank, at least 75 gallons, if you want to keep Clown Loaches. They are small at the store, but they grow very quickly and prefer to be in schools of 5 or larger. You can keep them in smaller tanks, but it stunts their growth and is really a miserable life for them...
Cichlids are members of the Cichlidae Family. Cichlids are one of the most diverse types of freshwater aquarium fish that I know off. They range from beautifully yet delicate angel fish, to very aggressive yet vibrantly colorful African Cichlids to the lovable ever growing "puppy dog-like" Oscar.
Cichlids are categorized into three main categories. There are American cichlids, there are African cichlids, and there are Asian cichlids. By following those links you can see that those categories are broken down into man subcategories.
Cichlids are one of my favorite types of fish. Even though they can get feisty, I find them to be more like "pets" than fish. I was devastated my Oscar Bubba passed away; it was like loosing a friend...
Real freshwater sharks do exist in some places around the world, but they grow far too large for a home aquarium. Many types of freshwater aquarium fish are marked as sharks, even though they aren't technically sharks. Let's face it; it's always cool to tell your friends that you have sharks in your aquarium.
Even some of the aquarium fish that are branded as sharks, such as the Bala Shark, grow much too large for the average size home aquarium.
The red tail shark is very popular and is perfect for most any size aquarium. There are several different breeds of aquarium sharks to consider depending on what size tank you have.
Catfish are bottom dwelling scavengers that will do you a great service by helping to keep your tank clean. These types of freshwater aquarium fish are fairly hardy and they get along well with most other types of freshwater aquarium fish.
It's easy to tell a catfish by its large whiskers or barbels. The fact that they don't have any scales is another distinguishing characteristic.
An aquarium sucker fish (plecaustomous) is a type of aquarium catfish that actually keeps all of the algae sucked off the inside of the tank. They're very handy to have, but it doesn't tank them long to outgrow a small tank
Here you will find a list of the most popular types of aquarium catfish.