What Kinds of Home Aquarium Fish Can You Have?

Take a moment and step back into your childhood. Do you remember going to a carnival and winning a goldfish as a prize for the ring toss?

For many of us, that was our first foray into the pet-care world. However, fish are great pets for adults too!

If you’re a new aquarist, you might be jotting down a home fish tank checklist to prepare for your new pets. The best way to start is by deciding which home aquarium fish you’d like.

We’re here to help you out. Keep reading below to learn how to start a home aquarium by choosing some of your favorite fish!

Freshwater vs Saltwater Fish Tank

Before you choose fish for your aquarium, you need to know the difference between freshwater and saltwater fish tanks. You don’t want to buy a saltwater fish for a freshwater tank and vice versa. The wrong type of water can be detrimental to the fish’s survival.

Saltwater makes up the oceans and seas of our world. By contrast, freshwater makes up wetlands, rivers, ponds, lakes, and streams. There are exceptions, of course, but home aquarium fish will generally only fall in one of these two categories.

Saltwater Fish

Saltwater fish often thrive in aquariums filled with coral, along with other sea life like anemones and sea sponges. Saltwater fish are vibrant and diverse. However, they can be more expensive than freshwater fish because a saltwater tank typically requires more intensive and frequent maintenance.

Yellow Tang

Yellow Tangs are just one species of Tang, but they are a great fish for beginners. Yellow Tangs are very peaceful and won’t be aggressive towards their tankmates. They are relatively hardy saltwater fish, but they can become extremely vulnerable if the water quality drops.

Angel Fish

Angel Fish are stunning large saltwater fish that most commonly come in rich shades of blue and yellow. Their juvenile and adult appearances are often different, which makes them fascinating fish to raise from infancy to adulthood.

If you don’t want to deal with the maintenance of a coral reef, an angel fish is a perfect choice. Most angel fish are not known to be reef-safe, but the swallowtail variety can live among coral without harming them.


Clownfish are one of the most popular home aquarium fish. These little guys are fairly easy to care for, and they’re known for being very active.

Despite their small size, they can be territorial. Once they’ve established their spot within the tank, you’ll rarely see them stray from it.

Freshwater Fish

Freshwater fish are usually a little less vibrant than saltwater fish. However, they’re much more resilient and hardier than saltwater fish. Freshwater fish are best kept in an aquarium with vegetation, along with other invertebrates like snails or crabs.

Pearl Gourami

The Pearl Gourami is a type of labyrinth fish. The labyrinth organ is essentially a primitive lung, so it’s important to make sure they have easy access to the top of the water to prevent suffocation.

The Pearl Gourami is fairly easy to take care of and is a very friendly fish that flourishes in tanks with other fish. However, they do not get along well with other labyrinth fish.

Neon Tetra

The Neon Tetra is one of the most popular freshwater fish for beginner aquarists—and for good reason! Neon Tetra fish are very mild-mannered and peaceful. They thrive when they’re kept in groups and have ample plants and decor to hide in.


Swordtails are another friendly type of freshwater fish. They’re hardy and easy to care for and have a unique tail that attracts many new fish owners to them. They’re available in a variety of bright colors, which can make them a great addition to your tank if you’re looking for a pop of vibrancy.

Discover the Best Home Aquarium Fish

Taking care of fish is more responsibility than many realize. To successfully care for your aquarium, it’s essential to know what kinds of fish can go together and whether you plan on getting saltwater or freshwater fish. With the guide above, you’ll be able to get started as you search for the perfect home aquarium fish friends!

Looking for more? Check out the rest of our website for everything from pet care tips to the best breeds for your home to pet name ideas!