Best low maintenance fish to keep as pet

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Fish are easy pets to have as compared to cats and dogs. But soon, I realized that this statement is not true for all the ornamental fish out there. I see my one neighbor looking after the fish and changing aquarium water every two days. While the other one doesn’t spend much time in aquarium cleaning and other tasks. Not to mention, the other neighbor is much happier and more relaxed. Obviously, I wanted to be like this other neighbor, so I started searching for some best low-maintenance fish that you can keep as a pet.

So, if you are a new pet parent or you’re too much occupied with your work, or both, then here’s a rundown of the best low maintenance fish that you can easily keep as a pet.

You have to choose between a cold freshwater aquarium or a warm freshwater aquarium. Once you’ve decided, then you can keep Goldfish, Bettas, Danios, Platies, Black Molly, and many others. All these fishes don’t demand much. They just need some food on a daily basis and cleaning of aquarium biweekly. These fish are great pets that add immense beauty to your home, yet don’t take much of your time.

Can’t wait to get a few of them? Hang in and give a read below to know more about these fish. Also, there are some pro tips for a low maintenance fish tank.

Top Aquarium Fish for Beginners (Video)

Best low maintenance fish for cold freshwater aquarium

The cold freshwater aquarium doesn’t need a heater. The water is maintained at room temperature. So, it’s much easier to look after it as you don’t have to worry about the temperature.

Having said that, you have to add a filter, air pumps, water cleansers, and other basic aquarium equipment.

Once you’ve set your aquarium, it’s time to buy some fish. Below are some fish that tolerate cold waters and are easy to maintain.

Cherry Barb

Cherry barbs are black or Grey fish with the golden lateral line. They get their name as the male barb turns cherry-red when spawning.

Cherry barbs grow up to 2 inches. They are very friendly and easy to maintain pets.

Cherry barbs are omnivorous. They can be fed any sort of fish food. They enjoy live, frozen foods, pellets, and flakes. So, you don’t have to worry about what to feed them.

Cherry barbs like to swim and move around. They need at least a 25-gallon aquarium. They easily live in room temperature water, but it should be clean and well-oxygenated.

Cherry barbs love to live in a community aquarium. So, you can keep them with other species. They are generally non-aggressive.

Cherry barbs like to hide behind plants. So, plant a few artificial or natural aquarium plants to make them feel at home.


Goldfish are very easy to keep as they don’t demand much. They are hardy and prefer to live in the water, having a temperature between 62 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whenever it comes to Goldfish, everybody thinks of a bowl in which the fish is swimming happily. This isn’t true at all. It’s cruel to keep Goldfish in a bowl as they need to live in a minimum of a 20-gallon aquarium.

Also, Goldfish need a water change every week as they are messy eaters. They are considered piggies of the aquarium world.

Goldfish come in many varieties. The brilliantly colored, fanned tail one is the most famous of all. You can keep different varieties in one tank, but be sure they don’t compete with one another. Keep single tailed fish together, and normal eyed Goldfish together.

White Cloud

white cloud mountain minnow is a beautiful, small fish that likes to live in cold waters. They can tolerate temperatures as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people keep them in outdoor ponds in the summers as well.

The white cloud is very easy to maintain. They like to live in the middle or top of the tank. They eat any sort of fish food that’s fresh and healthy.

White cloud fish like to live in groups. They swim together. They are peaceful and don’t get aggressive easily. You can buy a set of 6, and they’ll be happy together.

If kept with care, white clouds live up to 5 years.

Bloodfin Tetras

Bloodfin tetras have a silver body with beautiful red fins. They are very hardy fish and can tolerate water temperature from 64 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bloodfin tetras are very easy to maintain. If kept with care, they live up to 10 years.

Bloodfin tetras love to live in a group. They are shy when alone. So, don’t buy only one blood fin tetra as it would feel very lonely. Buy a few in a group and see them swimming together.

Bloodfin tetras eat any good fish food. They don’t require a water change every week.

Best low maintenance fish for heated freshwater aquarium

You can keep any variety of tropical fish in heated water. The warm water aquarium is preferred because you can keep a wide variety of fish in it.

You have to maintain the temperature from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. For this, you have to install a heater that maintains the temperature.

Below are some low maintenance, warm freshwater fish that you can keep in an aquarium.

Neon Tetra

The neon tetra is very easy to keep. These are very small fish, growing up to 2.2 cm. They are brilliantly colored. The horizontal strip is always neon-blue colored, thus the name. The neon tetra is visible in dark water as well.

They are omnivorous so they can eat whatever you feed them. Just make sure you feed healthy fish food to them.

Neon tetras prefer to live in a group. They can be easily introduced in a community aquarium due to their friendly nature.


Guppies are very colorful and easy-going. They are tropical fish that prefer warm water. The temperature of the water should be kept constant.

Male guppies are more colorful than the female ones. They prefer to live in a group. You can consider buying a set of three guppies.

Guppies are omnivores. So, they should be fed a mixture of plants and animals. They don’t need much care and you just have to change the water biweekly.


Mollies are very friendly and peaceful. They are easy to take care of. Mollies grow 3 to 4 inches tall.

The interesting part is that mollies give birth to their young ones. They mate easily and their population grows rapidly. So, if you’re new to fish-keeping, then consider having only one sex.

Mollies can survive in a variety of water conditions. The temperature of the water should be warm, and the pH should be between 7 to 7.8.

Mollies are omnivorous, so they can be fed any good-quality fish food.

Zebra Danios

Danios are one of the most low maintenance fishes. They grow 5 to 7 inches tall and like to live in a group.

So, if you want to have Danios, then buy them in the form of a set. They get stressed if alone.

Danios are famous for jumping. So, don’t forget to have the aquarium lid on.

Danios eat whatever you feed them. Just make sure you feed healthy food to them.


Bettas are very popular tropical fish that are kept as a pet. Bettas are famous for their vibrant colors and beautiful tails. Male bettas are more beautiful than females.

Keep it in mind that male betta is very aggressive towards other male bettas. So, keep just one male betta in one aquarium. You can always add other friendly fish with them to form a community.

Bettas grow 5 inches tall and they prefer to live in larger tanks. So, although bettas are often captivated in smaller tanks, they don’t stay happy and show aggressive behavior.

Bettas are omnivorous. So, you can feed any healthy fish food to them.


Swordtails are very hardy. So, it’s a good choice for beginners. They are brightly colored and they come in lots of variety.

Swordtails, as the name indicates, have a sword-like extension of their fin. They are very friendly and lively fish. Swordtails prefer to live in communities. They also prefer to swim in a loosely held school. So, it would be a good idea to keep your swordtails with other friendly fish.

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach is an eel-like fish. It’s too easy to keep it as it is a very peaceful fish.

Kuhli Loach is a bottom dweller. It will dig the substrate and hide in it. It also likes to make tunnels out of the substrate. They often hide in the day time.

Kuhli Loach also helps to keep the bottom of the fish tank clean as it will eat the food particles that sink in. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need their own food. They like to eat pellets as pellets easily sink in the bottom.

Black Skirt Tetra

Black skirt tetra fish is great for beginners as it is very easy to keep. It almost eats everything you offer.

Black skirt tetra likes to swim in the middle, along with its group. So, you should buy a set of them as they hate to be lonely.

Tips for a low maintenance fish tank

Along with the low maintenance fish, you should consider having a low maintenance tank as well. This will keep your tank clean and it won’t take much of your time.

Here are some tips to keep your tank low maintenance:

  • Buy a big tank. Don’t go for a smaller one as it gets dirty quickly and the fish also get stressed which results in more problems.
  • Don’t add too many plants and ornaments as it will be harder for you to clean them on a regular basis.
  • Add a big aquarium filter so that you don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the water. The filter will do the job.
  • Don’t forget algae cleaner. The magnetic algae cleaner will remove the algae and your tank will be clean.
  • Add good bacteria as they’ll recycle the ammonia and other waste.
  • Add an air pump to increase oxygenation.
  • Clean your tank biweekly so that it remains a good habitat for your fish.

The Takeaway

If you really want to keep an aquarium, but you haven’t don’t it before, then consider having some low maintenance fish that don’t demand much time and effort.

Above are all the cold and warm freshwater aquarium that you can keep easily as a beginner. Also, don’t forget to have a low maintenance aquarium as well to make things easier.

Related Questions

Which fish live the longest?

Some fish live as long as 10 years. These include angelfish, Oscars, and neon tetra fish.

How many fish should be in a 10-gallon tank?

There isn’t a rule of thumb for that. But it’s obvious not to overcrowd the tank. You can add 10 fish in a 10-gallon tank if the size of one fish is no longer than an inch.

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