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Easiest Fish to Take Care of for Beginners

If you're new to fishkeeping and looking for low-maintenance options, you may be wondering which fish are the easiest to care for. Today, our Des Moines vets discuss the best pet fish for beginners and their care requirements.

Starting Your Own Aquarium

Starting and maintaining an aquarium requires effort. But, luckily, there are some fish that are easier to care for than others. For example, white cloud minnows, cherry barbs, goldfish, guppies, neon tetras, and cory catfish are good options for beginners as they are peaceful and low-maintenance.

Below, our vets discuss our picks for the best, low-maintenance fish to begin your aquarium.

White Cloud Minnow

White cloud minnows have a silvery body, with males being more colorful than females.

It is recommended to keep them in a tank that is at least 10 gallons, but preferably 20 gallons or more. These fish prefer cooler water temperatures of 60 to 72 degrees and a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0. They are not picky eaters and can be fed a diet of flake or pellet food, along with occasional live or frozen treats like worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, or mosquito larvae.

Cherry Barbs

Cherry barbs are low-maintenance and can thrive in a tank of 20 gallons or more. They like the water temperature between 74-80 degrees and pH between 6.0-7.0. They are not picky eaters, enjoying tropical fish pellet food with occasional treats like fresh vegetables or frozen worms. 


Goldfish typically only reach a maximum size of 8 to 10 inches. However, you should be prepared to provide at least 20 gallons of water per fish to start. 

As they grow, Goldfish will require larger aquariums due to their waste production. To minimize waste and ammonia levels, transition them to a pelleted diet once they are large enough to consume it efficiently. 


Guppies are known to be shy at first, but become enjoyable to watch once they feel comfortable in their tank. It is recommended to have a tank size of at least 10 gallons for guppies, with larger tanks being even better. 

Feeding them a diet of flake or pellet food along with occasional treats of frozen proteins or fresh vegetables will help keep them healthy. Maintaining the water temperature between 68 and 78 degrees and the pH level between 6.5 and 8.0 will ensure optimal conditions for your guppies.

Neon Tetras

Neon tetras are small fish that grow up to one and a half inches long and prefer to school together with at least three to five individuals. They are best suited for a peaceful, planted aquarium. Provide heavily planted tanks for baby fish, if your neon tetras begin to breed, to hide and survive, and consider feeding them pelleted or flake foods suitable for their small size.

Cory Catfish

In community tanks, these fish thrive best in schools of at least four of their own species. They typically reach a size of 1 to 2 inches and are adaptable to various water conditions, but they prefer temperatures between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH range of 6.5 to 7.8. It is recommended to provide them with a tank size of at least 20 gallons. 

Additionally, they are known for being easy to feed and will accept a variety of foods, with a preference for worms and sinking pelleted fish food.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding fish. For an accurate diagnosis of your fish's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Interested in adding an aquarium to your home? Our Des Moines vets provide veterinary services for fish and can help you decide what fish can be best for you. Contact Des Moines Veterinary Hospital today to get started on your new aquarium project.

Welcoming Your Pets to Our Animal Hospital 

Des Moines Veterinary Hospital welcomes cats, dogs, fish, small mammals, and their owners to our clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Des Moines companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's appointment.

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