What are the easiest tropical fish for beginners?

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I'm new to tropical fishkeeping. What fish would you recommend for a newcomer?

If going for a bog-standard community tank of smaller tropical freshwater fishes, then simple fish such as danios and livebearers are your best bet for easy first timers.

We’d recommend Zebra danios initially, and these should be kept in groups of six or so in tanks of 45cm/18” or more. If you don’t fancy them, there’s also a spotted variety called the Leopard danio, a blue one called the Pearl danio and various newer varieties such as the Glowlight, Danio choprai, which is a sort of orangey-pink colour.

Ideal livebearers for the newcomer include platies and Endler’s livebearers or guppies. Platies become the largest, at around 5cm/2” long, with guppies next biggest, and Endler’s livebearers the smallest.

All breed prolifically, so be prepared for babies. If you don’t want to get over-run, go for groups of just males.

This item was first published in the November 2009 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine. It may not be reproduced without written permission.