Colorful aquarium fish make excellent pets and an outstanding visual to enjoy in your home. Whether you’re looking to brighten the colors of your current aquarium or considering a new tank, you’ll find beautiful colorful fish of a wide variety of fish species.
Our top picks include a fantastic collection of freshwater fish that will make it easier to choose the best for your aquarium.
1. Betta Fish
If you’re a beginner, betta fish make an excellent option for your tank. They are considered among the most vibrant and prettiest tropical fish available. They come in various colors and patterns, including solid colors, spotted or dalmatian, butterfly, marble, and other variations. They have unique tail colors and variations, including a dumbo, crown, half moon, double, veil, and more.
Betta fish are typically small fish that only reach about two inches in length. They are also known as Siamese fighting fish, or the scientific term, Betta splendens. Ideally, this colorful fish should be kept separately, especially males, who can react aggressively around other fish.
However, some females may be kept in groups, also known as sororities, if you’re experienced with aquariums. If you’re new to owning a fish, start with a tank that accommodates five gallons and includes a filtration system, pump, and LED lights for greater convenience.
Betta fish live between two and five years and require a temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with a well-balanced pH level, between 6.5 and 7. While some female betta fish may remain in the same aquarium together, it’s not recommended, as they are best kept alone or separately.
2. Jewel Cichlid
The Jewel Cichlid, or African Cichlid Jewelfish, is a unique, brightly colored fish that comes in various bold colors and variations. This fish is originally from west Africa and is commonly bright red, with speckles and two large black spots. They are known as aggressive fish and can kill fish much larger than their species. For this reason, they are best kept in separate tanks. The Jewel Cichlid can grow up to six inches in length and live up to five years.
When you choose an African Cichlid for your aquarium, it’s essential to buy a tank that’s at least 30 gallons with various driftwood, rocks, and caves or areas where they can explore and hide. It’s essential to keep this fish species separate, with no other species in the tank.
While the African Cichlid is best for individuals more experienced in caring for fish, it can be an excellent choice for anyone. The aquarium water should have a hardness level of between 7 and 8 dGH, a pH balance of between 7 and 7.5, and a temperature close to 70 or 74 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. German Blue Ram
Ram Cichlids, or German Blue Rams, are colorful fish with bright yellow bodies with bold blue spots covering their fins, tail, and abdomen. They have red eyes and unique black stripes running through them. Male fish tend to have a bolder red with a more pointed fin, whereas female German blue rams have rounder fins, a smaller size, and orange or pink hues on the belly.
These beautiful fish tend to enjoy dwelling around the middle and the bottom areas of the tank. While German blue rams tend to be peaceful fish, they can become aggressive around other fish of the same species.
This peaceful cichlid is very sensitive to water quality, so they are best suited for individuals with experience, as they require specific water quality levels and weekly water changes.
German blue rams grow to about two or three inches and can live up to three years. The freshwater aquarium must have a pH level between 6 and 7 and a temperature between 82 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. The hardness level should be maintained between 2 and 5 dGH.
4. Dwarf Gourami
Dwarf Gouramis make excellent pet fish and are ideal for beginners. They have brightly colored oval-shaped bodies with large fins. You’ll find them in a wide variety of colors, including metallic blue, bright red, honey yellow with spots, neon blue, and light blue, and they come in solid colors and striped patterns.
Their unique, large fin shape allows them to navigate quickly to investigate various areas in the fish tank. While you can have more than one dwarf gourami in your tank, as they are generally peaceful fish, limiting one male to up to five females is best to avoid aggression between males.
They can dwell with other fish species, though since they tend to prefer the upper area of the aquarium, they are a good fit with fish that dwell towards the bottom or middle sections.
This fish species is known by various names, including honey, sunset, powder blue, flame, and red gourami, due to their unique colors. They typically live up to three or four years and can thrive in a small, 10-gallon tank.
The temperature should be around 77 to 82 degrees, and the pH level should be between 6 and 9. You’ll enjoy watching these fish as they move slowly and gracefully, and they are relatively easy to accommodate for beginners.
5. Rainbow Kribensis
These beautiful rainbow fish adapt well in community fish tanks and mingle well with other fish species, including tetra fish, small barbs, cichlids, and other small aquarium fish. They prefer covered areas in a tank, which makes it essential to include plants, caves, and rocks in the aquarium.
The Rainbow Kribensis is also known as the common crib, red krib, rainbow cichlid, super-red krib, and purple cichlid. They have bright red abdomens, which change when they are ready to mate, and they have dark stripes over their dorsal area and head. Some varieties of this fish species have golden ring eye spots on their fins.
They grow up to four inches in length and live up to five years. Rainbow Kribensis fish require a tank that’s at least 20 gallons, a water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and water hardness between 3 and 5 dGH. This fish species is ideal for anyone buying an aquarium for the first time or prefers a peaceful community fish that dwells with other fish in the tank.
6. Neon Tetra
Neon Tetra is an ornamental fish that will add bright and electric colors to your fish tank. These colorful freshwater fish are closely related to the cardinal tetra and are distinguishable by their iridescent blue stripe, which extends from the nose to the fin, and a bold red from the tail to the dorsal fin. These schooling fish provide a unique visual experience, especially in large groups. Neon Tetra fish are one of the most colorful fish and an excellent choice for a vibrant tank.
The Neon Tetra is also known as the Neon Fish, a smaller fish growing to 1.2 inches in length. They thrive well in small to medium-sized tanks and require a minimum of 10 gallons. Neon Tetra fish require a pH level between 6 and 7 and a temperature between 72 and 76 degrees.
Since Neon Tetra fish are popular, you’ll find various types of food for this specific species. You’ll find they are a peaceful community fish and ideal for beginners.
7. Pearl Gourami
You’ll find the Pearl Gourami is one of the most beautiful fish for your tank, but it can be a challenge. This unique species is a labyrinth fish, meaning this gourami can gulp air just above the tank’s surface to breathe. They are vocal fish, often making croaks or growls while breeding or interacting. Pearl Gourami fish grow to about 4.5 inches and typically live up to five years.
While they are peaceful, male gourami tends to act aggressively and become territorial. They thrive in a medium-sized, 20-gallon tank and an omnivore diet. You’ll notice Pearl Gourami fish tend to dwell towards the top or middle part of the tank. They have a pearl and orange blend with brown specks and a horizontal black line extending from the fish’s mouth to its tail.
This species originated from Thailand, Sumatra, Malaysia, and Borneo, and they are generally easy to care for if you’re a beginner. Pearl Gourami requires an aquarium temperature of between 77 and 82 degrees, a water hardness between 2 and 30 dH, and a pH balance that falls between 5.5 to 7.5.
8. Tiger Barb
The Tiger Barb is an excellent fish for beginners, and they are exciting and fun to watch. They swim quickly and dwell in schools of at least six other fish. Also known as tiger fish, this species has vertical black stripes and a yellow and orange body. They usually have a vibrant red color on the edge of their fins, and various breeding of this species resulted in black, albino, red, and green variations.
While Tiger Barbs swim quickly in schools, they may not be ideal in a community tank, as they can attack and fight other fish. This fish usually lives up to six years and grow to three inches. Tigerfish prefer the middle level of the tank and adapt best to a 20-gallon aquarium.
While they are ideal for beginner fish enthusiasts, they can be a bit of a challenge. They require a pH balance of 6.5, a temperature between 68 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit, and a water hardness level of up to 10 dGH.
9. Fancy Goldfish
Fancy Goldfish are excellent for beginners and work well in a start-up fish tank. Goldfish vary in many ways—vibrant colors and shape, can reach a size of just a couple of inches to one foot long, and some species live up to 30 years. Depending on the size of your Fancy Goldfish, you’ll need an aquarium that accommodates 20 gallons per fish. They make excellent pets and tend to behave and swim peacefully.
When you set up a goldfish tank, there should be one to two inches of gravel at the bottom, and additional plants and items can be added for decoration. It’s important to rinse all items with water before placing them in the tank.
Fancy Goldfish thrive best in a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees, and it’s best to keep an aquarium heater in the tank to maintain consistency.
10. Rainbow Fish
Rainbowfish live in freshwater and come in various types and colors. They live in various places, including lakes, rivers, and swamps, where there are many plants. Rainbowfish swim in small groups, and some of the most colorful types include Boesemani, Axelrod’s, Madagascan, and Celebes Rainbowfish, among wide other varieties, feature unique patterns, distinct shapes, and colors, which create a beautiful visual in your aquarium.
Depending on the type of Rainbowfish variety, they can live anywhere between one to six years and grow to a length between 1.5 to 6 inches. The type of aquarium, water, and temperature conditions vary based on the specific species of this fish, though generally, they adapt well in aquariums between 30 and 50 gallons.
11. Discus Fish
Discus fish is a type of cichlid that lives in freshwater. They are calm, swim well in groups, and tend to be easy-going with other species of fish. Their round disk shape comes in various vibrant colors with detailed patterns, and Discus fish typically grow up to 6 inches in length. This fish species originated from South America, in the Amazon River, and some Discus fish change their color, which makes them unique.
While this fish species is a beautiful pet to enjoy, they require care with the continuous monitoring of water temperature, mineral content, and pH levels. Discus fish adapt well to mild fluctuations in the water and tend to thrive in an aquarium decorated with driftwood and branches, similar to their wild habitat.
12. Fancy Guppy
Guppies are among the most popular and top aquarium fish in tropical waters. Fancy Guppies are initially from the Caribbean Islands and South America. They come in many colors and blends, with females displaying more vibrant hues.
These fish have a variety of tail shapes, ranging from short and round to V-shaped or longer. You’ll find that most guppies grow up to two inches and live between two and three years.
They tend to adapt best to 10-gallon fish tanks and prefer the top or middle areas of the aquarium. Socially, Fancy Guppies are peaceful, and they consume an omnivore diet. Generally, this species is ideal for beginners, as they are easy to care for and require moderate conditions, which include a pH level of 6.5 to 8 and a temperature of 68 to 78 degrees.
There are plenty of great colorful fish to consider for your aquarium, whether you’re a beginner buying your first fish tank or looking to add more fish species to your community. You’ll find many incredible fish species with unique colors, patterns, and designs, with various personalities and needs, from vibrant Neon Tetra and German Ram Blue fish to Betta fish and wide other bold and exciting varieties.