Freshwater Community Tanks for Newbies


There is a multitude of freshwater community fish that are popular in the aquarium keeping hobby. Many of these popular fish are great for beginners because they are quite hardy and they have a more peaceful temperament. This group of fish are often referred to as "community fish" because they often do well in aqauriums with other similar fish. Although these community fish tend to do well with one another, certain species may become aggressive or territorial. Some of the more territorial fish will actively attack and harass other less aggressive fish, while other fish simply cannot resist nibbling on the long fins of other fish. Another issue that can arise is the differences in feeding habits. Slower moving fish can run into real issues when trying to compete for food with faster species.

Behavioural issues are not the only concerns for a community fish tank. Different fish species require different water parameters such as temperature, hardness and pH. Fish that live in the same natural ecosystem are more likely to be compatible with one another. If you have any questions regarding the water parameter compatibilities of freshwater fish you can check our fish profiles page.

When creating a stock list for a community tank, it is important to include fish of roughly the same temperament. Generally speaking, the best temperament to start with is a completely docile temperament. Although some species will be labeled "non-aggressive" or "community fish", they in fact can be semi-aggressive or territorial. Some of these types of species include tetras, barbs, angelfish, swordtails or plecos. It is best to do research online and via books to determine what the true temperament of a fish species is before adding it to your community tank. If you do not feel comfortable researching the compatibility of fish species on your own, you can use one of the following tank stocking lists to get started:

10 gallon (Temp 76-82 F)

15 gallon (Temp 76-84 F)
20 gallon (Temp 78-82F) *less hardy than other fish species listed, more challenging for beginners; should be the LAST fish added to a well-cycled and established aquarium

40 gallon (Temp 55-70 F)
20 gallon (Temp 78-82 F) *less hardy than other fish species listed, more challenging for beginners; should be the LAST fish added to a well-cycled and established aquarium

30 gallon (Temp 78-82 F) *sometimes individuals are aggressive

30 gallon (Temp 55-70 F)
60 gallon (Temp 78-82 F)

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