25 Colorful Freshwater Fish for Aquariums

There are over 10,000 Freshwater Fish species. Do you know which are the more colorful Freshwater Fish for Aquariums?
Today, in this article you will see a list of fish that look amazing when you have them in your aquariums.

List of 25 Colorful Freshwater Fish for Aquariums

1. Endler’s Livebearer

Endler's Livebearer

Endler’s Livebearer (Poecilia wingei) is a small and active fish that adds a burst of colour to freshwater aquariums.

Originating from Venezuela, these fish are closely related to guppies but exhibit distinct colour patterns and smaller sizes.

  • Care Level: Beginner-friendly
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for community tanks with other small, peaceful fish

2. Neon Tetra

Neon-Tetras

Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi) are iconic freshwater fish known for their striking iridescent blue and red colours. 

Originating from South America, they are popular among aquarists for their beauty and peaceful nature.

  • Care Level: Beginner-friendly
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks

3.Jack Dempsey

Jack Dempsey (Rocio octofasciata) is a striking and robust cichlid known for its iridescent blue-green spots and aggressive behaviour. 

Native to Central America, they are favoured by aquarists who appreciate their vivid coloration and dynamic personality.

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 55 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 8 inches (20 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other large, robust fish or in species-only tanks

4.German Blue Ram

German Blue Ram (Mikrogeophagus ramirezi) is a stunning dwarf cichlid known for its vibrant blue and yellow coloration and intricate fin patterns. 

Originating from the Orinoco River basin in South America, they are popular among aquarists for their striking appearance and relatively peaceful nature.

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 3 inches (7.5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks with other small to medium-sized fish

5.Rainbowfish

Rainbowfish (family Melanotaeniidae) are renowned for their dazzling, iridescent scales that reflect a spectrum of colours, often changing hues as they swim. 

Native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia, these fish are favoured by aquarists for their vibrant appearance and active swimming behaviour.

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks with other non-aggressive fish

6.Oscar Fish

Oscar

Oscar Fish (Astronotus ocellatus) are popular cichlids known for their impressive size, striking patterns, and interactive behaviour. 

Native to the Amazon Basin in South America, they are favoured by experienced aquarists for their intelligence and strong personality, often recognizing their owners and responding to their presence.

  • Care Level: Intermediate to Advanced
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 75 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other large, robust fish or in species-only tanks

7.Cherry Barb

Cherry-Barb

Cherry Barb (Puntius title) is a delightful small fish known for its vibrant red coloration, especially prominent in males. 

Originating from Sri Lanka, these fish are popular among aquarists for their easy care requirements and gentle nature, making them an excellent choice for community tanks and beginner hobbyists.

  • Care Level: Beginner-friendly
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks with other small, non-aggressive fish

8.Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) is a beautiful labyrinth fish known for its striking blue, red, and green coloration and long, flowing fins. 

Native to East Asia, including regions in China, Korea, and Vietnam, these fish are admired for their vibrant appearance and interesting behaviours, including their ability to breathe atmospheric air.

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other semi-aggressive fish or in species-only tanks

9.Electric Blue Acara

Electric Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher) is a strikingly beautiful cichlid known for its vibrant electric blue coloration and relatively peaceful demeanour. 

Originating from Central and South America, these fish are popular among aquarists for their stunning appearance and easygoing nature, making them a great addition to community tanks.

  • Care Level: Beginner-friendly
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks with other medium-sized, non-aggressive fish

10.Fancy Guppies

Guppies

Fancy Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are beloved in the aquarium hobby for their dazzling colours, patterns, and fin shapes.

 Originating from South America, these livebearers are popular among aquarists for their vibrant appearance, ease of care, and prolific breeding, making them an excellent choice for beginners and seasoned hobbyists.

  • Care Level: Beginner-friendly
  • Tank Size: Minimum of 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 2.5 inches (6 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks with other small, non-aggressive fish

11.Jewel Cichlid

Jewel Cichlids are known for their stunning red coloration and iridescent blue spots, making them a striking addition to any aquarium. 

Native to the rivers and lakes of West Africa, these fish require a well-maintained tank with stable water parameters. While their beauty is undeniable, their aggressive nature means they are best housed with other robust and semi-aggressive fish. 

Proper care, including regular water changes and a varied diet, will keep Jewel Cichlids healthy.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other robust and semi-aggressive fish; avoid small or peaceful tank mates

12.Clown Loach

Clown-Loach

Clown Loaches are popular for their striking orange and black stripes and playful behaviour. Native to the rivers and streams of Indonesia, these fish thrive in well-maintained tanks with plenty of hiding spots and stable water conditions. 

Due to their social nature, they should be kept in groups of at least five. 

Providing a varied diet and ample space will ensure that Clown Loaches remain healthy and active, making them a lively addition to any community aquarium.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 75 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other peaceful community fish

13.Peacock Cichlid

Peacock-Cichlid

Peacock Cichlids are renowned for their vivid and varied colours, which can range from blue and red to yellow and orange. 

Native to the rocky shores of Lake Malawi in Africa, these fish require a well-maintained tank with stable water parameters and plenty of hiding spots. 

While generally peaceful for cichlids, they can exhibit semi-aggressive behaviour, especially during breeding.

A diet rich in high-quality cichlid pellets and occasional live or frozen foods will keep Peacock Cichlids healthy and vibrant, making them a dazzling addition to a cichlid-specific tank.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 55 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Size: Up to 6 inches (15 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other similar-sized cichlids; avoid small, peaceful fish

14.Dubois Cichlid

Dubois Cichlid
https://www.flickr.com/photos/zigermandli-pics/

Duboisi Cichlids are known for their unique coloration, which changes from juvenile to adult. Juveniles are black with white spots, while adults develop a blue-black body with a bright yellow band across the midsection. 

Native to Lake Tanganyika in Africa, these fish thrive in well-maintained tanks with stable water parameters and plenty of rocks and hiding spots. 

Their aggressive nature means they are best housed with other robust and similarly aggressive cichlids. 

A diet high in vegetable matter and quality cichlid pellets will keep Duboisi Cichlids healthy and vibrant, making them a captivating addition to an African cichlid tank.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 50 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 5 inches (13 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other Tropheus species or similarly aggressive cichlids; avoid peaceful or smaller fish

15.Electric Yellow Lab

Electric Yellow Labs, also known as Yellow Labs or Lemon Yellow Cichlids, are admired for their vibrant yellow coloration and relatively peaceful nature. 

Native to the rocky shores of Lake Malawi in Africa, these fish are hardy and well-suited for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. 

They thrive in well-maintained tanks with plenty of hiding spots and stable water conditions. 

Electric Yellow Labs can be housed with other peaceful to semi-aggressive African cichlids, creating a colourful and dynamic cichlid tank.

A balanced diet of high-quality cichlid pellets and occasional vegetable matter will keep them healthy and brightly coloured.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Tank Size: Minimum 30 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other peaceful to semi-aggressive African cichlids; avoid overly aggressive species

16.Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin Rasbora fish

Harlequin Rasboras are popular for their distinctive black triangular patch on a shimmering copper-coloured body. Native to the slow-moving streams and swamps of Southeast Asia, these fish are hardy and perfect for beginner aquarists. 

They thrive in well-planted tanks with stable water conditions and ample swimming space. Due to their peaceful nature, Harlequin Rasboras are excellent community fish and can be kept with other small, non-aggressive species. 

A balanced diet of high-quality flake food, micro-pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods will keep Harlequin Rasboras healthy and vibrant, making them a beautiful and active addition to any aquarium.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Tank Size: Minimum 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other small, peaceful fish; ideal for community tanks

17.Celestial Pearl Danio

Celestial Pearl Danios, also known as Galaxy Rasboras, are cherished for their stunning appearance, featuring a dark blue body adorned with pearl-like spots and bright orange fins.

Native to small, freshwater ponds in Myanmar, these fish are ideal for nano and community tanks. They thrive in well-planted aquariums with stable water conditions and plenty of hiding spots. 

Due to their small size and peaceful nature, they are best kept with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish. 

Providing a varied diet of high-quality flake food, micro-pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods will keep Celestial Pearl Danios healthy and vibrant, adding a splash of colour to any small aquarium.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Tank Size: Minimum 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 1 inch (2.5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other small, peaceful fish; avoid larger or aggressive species

18.Green Terror Cichlid

Green Terror Cichlids are known for their striking green-blue coloration and bold, territorial nature. Native to the river basins of South America, these fish require a well-maintained tank with stable water parameters, plenty of hiding spots, and open swimming areas. 

Given their aggressive temperament, they are best housed with other robust and semi-aggressive cichlids. 

A diet rich in high-quality cichlid pellets, live or frozen foods, and occasional vegetable matter will ensure that Green Terror Cichlids remain healthy and vibrant. 

Their impressive size and vibrant colours make them a captivating centrepiece in a cichlid tank.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 55 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other robust and semi-aggressive cichlids; avoid small or peaceful fish

19.Killifish

Killifish are renowned for their stunning colours and patterns, varying widely across different species. 

Native to diverse habitats ranging from freshwater streams and ponds to seasonal pools in Africa, South America, and other regions, these fish are adaptable and relatively easy to care for. They thrive in well-planted tanks with stable water conditions and low flow. 

Due to their peaceful nature, Killifish can be kept with other small, non-aggressive fish, though species-specific tanks are often preferred to highlight their unique beauty. 

A varied diet of high-quality flake food, micro-pellets, and live or frozen foods will keep Killifish healthy and vibrant, making them a colourful addition to any aquarium setup.

  • Care Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10 cm) depending on species
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other small, peaceful fish; species-specific tanks are ideal

20.Discus fish

Discus-Fish

Discus Fish are admired for their round, laterally compressed bodies and vibrant colour patterns, making them one of the most sought-after species in the aquarium hobby. 

Native to the slow-moving waters of the Amazon River basin in South America, these fish require pristine water conditions, stable parameters, and a well-maintained environment. 

Due to their peaceful nature and specific needs, they are best kept with other gentle tank mates that thrive in warm, soft, and slightly acidic water. 

A diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and live or frozen foods, along with regular water changes and careful water quality monitoring, will keep Discus Fish healthy and display their full coloration. 

Their striking appearance and unique behaviour make them a captivating addition to a well-maintained aquarium.

  • Care Level: Difficult
  • Tank Size: Minimum 50 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 8 inches (20 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept with other peaceful fish that thrive in similar water conditions; avoid aggressive species

21.Gourami

Dwarf-Gourami

Gouramis are popular for their diverse colours and patterns, as well as their distinctive shape and labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe air directly. 

Native to the slow-moving rivers, swamps, and lakes of Asia, Gouramis are adaptable and relatively easy to care for. 

They thrive in well-planted tanks with stable water conditions and plenty of hiding spots. While most Gourami species are peaceful, some, like the Three-spot Gourami, can be semi-aggressive, so it’s important to choose tank mates carefully. 

A balanced diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods will keep Gouramis healthy and vibrant, making them a lively and colourful addition to any community aquarium.

  • Care Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Generally peaceful, though some species can be semi-aggressive
  • Size: 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm) depending on the species
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other peaceful fish; avoid overly aggressive or fin-nipping species

22.Betta fish

Betta Fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are renowned for their vibrant colours, flowing fins, and distinctive personalities. 

Native to the shallow waters of Southeast Asia, these fish are hardy and well-suited for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. 

Bettas thrive in small, well-maintained tanks with stable water conditions and plenty of hiding spots. While male Bettas are best kept alone due to their aggressive nature, they can coexist with other peaceful fish in a larger tank.

A diet of high-quality betta pellets, supplemented with live or frozen foods, will keep them healthy and enhance their coloration. Betta Fish are a stunning and engaging addition to any aquarium.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Tank Size: Minimum 5 gallons
  • Temperament: Males are highly aggressive towards other males; females can be kept together in groups (sororities) if space allows
  • Size: Up to 3 inches (7.5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept alone or with peaceful, non-fin-nipping species; avoid other male Bettas

Read also: 20 Plants For Betta Fish Tanks: A Beginner’s Guide

23.Apistogramma

Apistogramma, often referred to as dwarf cichlids, are prized for their vibrant colours, intricate patterns, and fascinating behaviours. 

Native to the slow-moving rivers and streams of South America, these fish thrive in well-maintained tanks with stable water conditions, soft, slightly acidic water, and plenty of hiding spots created by plants and decor. 

While generally peaceful, Apistogramma can become territorial, especially during breeding, so providing ample space and hiding spots is crucial. 

A varied diet of high-quality flake food, pellets, and live or frozen foods will keep them healthy and display their full coloration. 

Their stunning appearance and interesting behaviours make Apistogramma a captivating addition to a community tank with other peaceful inhabitants.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 20 gallons
  • Temperament: Generally peaceful but can be territorial, especially during breeding
  • Size: Up to 3 inches (7.5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other peaceful fish that share similar water parameters; avoid larger or highly aggressive species

24.Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn Cichlids are known for their striking appearance, characterised by vibrant colours and a prominent nuchal hump on their heads. 

These hybrid cichlids, developed through selective breeding, are popular in the aquarium hobby for their unique look and active behaviour. 

They thrive in large, well-maintained tanks with stable water conditions and plenty of open swimming space. Due to their aggressive nature, Flowerhorns are best kept alone or with other large, aggressive tank mates. 

A diet of high-quality cichlid pellets, supplemented with live or frozen foods, will keep them healthy and enhance their vivid coloration. Flowerhorn Cichlids are a bold and eye-catching centrepiece for experienced aquarists.

  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Tank Size: Minimum 55 gallons
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Size: Up to 16 inches (40 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Best kept alone or with other robust, similarly aggressive fish; avoid small or peaceful species

25.Zebra Danio

Zebra-Danios

Zebra Danios are popular for their striking horizontal blue and silver stripes, active swimming behaviour, and hardy nature. 

Native to the freshwater streams and rivers of South Asia, these fish are well-suited for beginners and experienced aquarists alike. 

They thrive in well-maintained tanks with stable water conditions, ample swimming space, and a well-planted environment. 

Due to their peaceful nature, Zebra Danios are excellent community fish and can be kept with other small, non-aggressive species. 

A balanced diet of high-quality flake food, micro-pellets, and occasional live or frozen foods will keep Zebra Danios healthy and vibrant, making them a lively and colourful addition to any aquarium.

  • Care Level: Easy
  • Tank Size: Minimum 10 gallons
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Tank Mate Compatibility: Compatible with other small, peaceful fish; ideal for community tanks

FAQs 

Q: What is the most colorful freshwater aquarium fish?

A: The Discus fish is often considered the most colorful freshwater aquarium fish. They come in a wide range of vibrant colours and patterns, making them a stunning addition to any aquarium.

Q: What brightly coloured freshwater fish is a popular aquarium fish?

A: The Neon Tetra is a popular brightly coloured freshwater fish. Known for their striking blue and red stripes, they are a favourite among aquarists for their vivid colours and peaceful nature.

Q: What is the coolest freshwater fish to have?

A: The Betta fish, or Siamese Fighting Fish, is often regarded as one of the coolest freshwater fish to have. Their unique fins, diverse colour patterns, and interactive behaviour make them fascinating to watch and care for.

Q: What is the most intelligent freshwater aquarium fish?

A: The Oscar fish is known for its intelligence among freshwater aquarium fish. They can recognize their owners, learn tricks, and even have distinct personalities, making them an engaging and interactive pet.

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