Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish Combination – Colorful Aquarium Fish

You were at your friend's place, and you liked the idea of an aquarium in the home. The image of the colorful fish swimming around gracefully in the tank can't seem to get off your mind. There is something about them that has a calming effect on your mind.

But you also liked the appeal, the sophistication and the natural feel the aquarium brought to the home. However, you are not sure which the Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish Combination is for you.

In the following guide, we try our best to provide the information you need to start an aquarium of your own and impress your visitors.

As a beginner, it will be pretty easy to overlook some important factors regarding aquariums. It’s not unusual to get carried away by the excitement but end up having a bad experience at the end of it all. Among the most important of the factors are cost and size.

You may be shopping around for an aquarium, and a particular price tag on a package grabs your attention.

What you may not know is that there are other things that will drive the cost up significantly. Starting an aquarium demands the best equipment and the best does not come on the cheap.

Take your time to plan everything before you dive head first. List everything you need and calculate how much it is going to cost you.

And if you are short on your budget, it would be best to wait as you save towards a decent aquarium.

Many people think that smaller aquariums are more comfortable to manage, but that's just a misconception. As a matter of fact, smaller ones are harder to deal with than bigger ones. But how is that possible?

In small amounts of water, toxins can quickly build up requiring a frequent cleanup exercise. Little water is also prone to chemistry and temperature changes that may affect the well-being of your fish.

Ideally, you should choose 20 gallons or more, especially if you are a beginner – your fish have a better chance in a bigger tank.

The Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish Combination

Some fish are better combinations than others, and it would be best to know the differences. Below is a list and a short discussion of the aquarium fish you can pick.

Tetra Cardinals Medium

These are some of the most appealing freshwater aquaria you will find. They have a characteristic bright blue strip running the length of their body.

Below the bright blue are red stripes also running all over their body.

This distinguishes them explicitly from Neon Tetra, another variety in the same family.

The Tank

This South American variety prefers sufficiently-vegetated tributaries in its natural habitat. Make sure the aquarium has good plants and subdued or low lighting – this is necessary to replicate their natural surroundings as much as possible. A ten-gallon tank will be sufficient.

The fish is kind of hardy, but the ideal water conditions are soft and acidic - 4 dGH and below 6 PH. The tetra cardinal love being in a group of six or so of others and are hospital to other friendly fish.

Ideal tank mates for Paracheirodon axelrodi include other tetra species Rasboras and Danios. The catfish family, small to medium is pretty perfect. 


They need very soft water – about 4 dGH - for breeding and a pH of 5-6. The female tetra can lay more than 100 eggs, and you will need to transfer the adults at this time. It will take only 24 hours for the eggs to hatch and five days to be swimming around.

Brine shrimp is the ideal food for the babies – you can also feed them other appropriate small foods.

The adults are not too choosy and will accept a wide range of small foods such as blood-worms – freeze dried, brine shrimp, tubifex, flake food and micro-pellet food among others.

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Swordtail Koi Tricolor

Swordtails are one freshwater fish variety in demand, and the Koi tricolor is among the favorites for many home breeders.

They are active with males growing as much as 8cm, and their characteristic sword takes shape at 5cm. The females are much bigger and can grow as much as 12cm.

This fish adorns reddish-orange marks on top of white. They showcase a semi-transparent body that is quite appealing to look at.

They are omnivorous varieties and will eat anything suitable from green algae to brine shrimp; you name it.


The ideal environment for the swordtail koi is between 7 and 8 pH level, moderate hardness and a temperature of around 26 degrees Celsius. The perfect tank size for the swords is 10 gallons.

This variety is relatively peaceful and can live well with non-violent others.


Interestingly, swordtails give birth to babies that come out swimming. Be sure to separate the babies from the adults or they will become a sumptuous dinner for them.

The ideal breeding environment includes a temperature of 78 degrees Fahrenheit. Check for ammonia, nitrates, KH, and pH to ensure they are at safe levels.

The fish are prolific breeders and will give birth every month. There have been reports of aggression among the male swordtails, and so it would be a good idea to limit their number in the aquarium.

For example, a ratio of one male to three females is a good one – you don’t want too many bullies in one place.

But swordtails can give birth even in the absence of males. Typically, the females store sperms in a pouch within their body and can fertilize the eggs when necessary.

Regardless, these are tough fish and can look after themselves even when there are bigger fish in the aquarium. But don’t let keep them with others that are likely to eat them.

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Harlequin Rasboras

The Harlequin Rasboras are an attractive easy to care and lively freshwater fish you will find. A school of these metallic color varieties will make any living room vibrant and natural feeling.

There is a good reason why the Trigonostigma heteromorpha are popular, and it all has to do with their reddish copper color and vibrancy.

They are purely freshwater varieties, and you will never find them in impure water. The Rasboras are quite typical in Southeastern Asia lowland waters where it is acidic and soft.

They love spots with subdued lighting, an open area for swimming and dense vegetation.


The water temperature is not too critical but would be nice if you kept it between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A slightly acidic pH of around 6.4 is not too shabby, and they like it when they are in a school.

Have them in a group of more than three – they are pretty friendly, and you will never find them in a struggle with other fish.


Harlequins are omnivorous and not quite demanding when it comes to their diet. They will consume live food, flakes and others like brine shrimp. Sticking to a wide variety of diet is usually ideal to prevent digestive problems.

Male Harlequins display a rounded extension under a black wedge on posterior section of the fish. The females have a straight wedge.


Unlike the tetra cardinals, the Harlequins are a bit challenging to breed. But spawning is possible in the right conditions. To go about it, you will need to select younglings that you condition with live foods before any attempts at spawning.

The water hardness should never exceed 2 dGH and the temperatures should be around 80 degrees F. Including broad-leafed plants in the tank like the Cryptocorynes is pretty ideal when breeding.

Introduce the breeding stock late in the evening for spawning and remove them once done. This fish has a particular fetish for consuming the fry immediately they hatch.

Blue German Ramirezi Cichlid

This beautiful dwarf variety is easy to keep despite the misconception surrounding it.

Its blue and yellow colors that sparkle in the light leave everyone dumbfounded as to their beauty – they also commonly known as the butterfly cichlid and you now know why.

Those that have never dealt with it often label it as a difficult species to keep – but nothing could be further from the truth.

The Cichlid is native to the Colombo and Venezuela lowlands. You will also find the fish at Orinoco River Delta and Orinoco drainage basin in Rio. But the Mikrogeophagus ramirezi is a dwarf and never grows more than 5cm.

The Water and Tank

Their perfect environment is water with a pH level of 5-6. It must be soft and maintain temperatures of between 80 and 86 degrees F.

They are very sensitive to the quality of water and so be extra keen when dealing with them. That said, make sure that nitrates and ammonia levels are pretty low. This entails regular partial changes of the water - ideally, once per week.

Butterfly cichlids do not require a significant amount of space, and 10 gallons would be just fine. If you want a broader community, then you should be okay with around 29 gallons.


The Blue German Ramirezi Cichlid is not too aggressive to other fish, and so it can be an ideal candidate for the community aquarium.

But please note that the fish has conditions that you must strive to fulfill before introducing them in a community. When aquascaping, add rocks like the ones found in streams and make sure the substrate has hue and color.

Arrange the rocks and objects in a way that there are crevices, valleys, and caves that the fish can hide in let them be shy if they need to. You can add plants that thrive in soft and warm water. Examples include Nymphaea, Cabomba, and Echinodorus.


The processed aquarium varieties flakes are alright. But you should alternate with frozen and meaty live foods like brine shrimp and bloodworm.


There are no clear-cut signs distinguishing the males from the females. As a result, it is always better to introduce the fish when young in groups of six and let nature take its course. If paring occurs, you can then remove the rest.

They tend to breed in the open on leaves or huge stones. The rams can ray as much as 500 eggs which may hatch and be waterborne within four days. If they are conscientious enough not to eat the eggs, both parents look after them until can fend for themselves.

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Swordtail Red Velvet

This variety will add appeal and life to any aquarium. Fish tanks look good when there is a variety of fish strolling around like they are dancing for you. The swordtail red velvet is small fish and doesn’t go beyond 5 inches.

These are as a result of crossbreeding red platies and green swordtails. Apart from the red velvet, the other varieties in existence include red wag and brick-red swordtails.


This variety is omnivorous, and you may catch it feeding on larvae and worms, as well as, plants. They have this particular preference for live food but will not the freeze dried. Canned peas and other veggies are good, but fish flakes and pellets are even better.

In normal circumstances, feed this fish two times in a day changing between the proteins and veggies – they also need a sort of balanced diet.

The Fish Tank

The red velvets prefer swimming in the top and middle sections of the tank. Therefore, makes sure to get the right community companion that will not scramble for swimming space with them.

They love oxygenated water and a bit of salt in the water. Get a suitable babbler and add two teaspoonfuls of salt in a ten-gallon aquarium.

Ideal tank mates include the peaceful catfish. They are not aggressive and share the same requirements as the red velvets.

Tetras are another excellent option for tank mates but will need to be the bigger varieties to avoid getting bullied. Examples include emperor tetras, Congo tetras, and bleeding heart tetras.


The red velvets are live breeders and will give birth to babies as they swim. To make sure they don’t turn dinner for other fish, have a sufficient number of hiding spots for them.

Black Molly

This is yet another freshwater fish that makes a good option. Black mollies get their distinctive characteristics from years of captivity. In other words, you would struggle significantly to come across a molly that has the same dark color.

It’s interesting that their dark color is as a result of a skin condition – yes, skin condition. Black Molly suffers from acute melanism – there is no pigmentation on the skin. Look at as reverse albinism.

While a good number of them adorn a solid dark color, you will still find mollies with yellow streaks running down the dorsal fin. The flanks have a slight silvery color, adding to their appeal.

Black mollies have small body size with the males not exceeding three inches and the females a bit larger. Depending on how well you care for them, the black molly can live up to five years.


Generally, this is one of the most peace-loving community fish. However, having a large of males in the same place is not ideal as they can quickly become aggressive – it's male thing! To ensure the females don’t get harassed, maintain a ratio of one male to three females.

The fish can well survive in any water condition, but freshwater is ideal for them. Mollies are swimming lovers and because you should keep them in large number to avoid harassment, a big tank will be necessary. A 20-gallon tank minimum is ideal.

The recommended water temperature is around 80 degrees F and a pH of 7.5 – 8.2.

Diet and Feeding

Black mollies are not a stress to feed as they can quickly eat anything. But before we can even go there, the fish are algae feeders and will help control any algae breakout the tank may experience – so they are useful after all?

As omnivorous fish, alternate feeding them with plant matter and invertebrates like bloodworm. The ideal greens you should give them include shelled peas, cucumber, and zucchini.


Male mollies are astonishingly aggressive, and you should expect fry in a number of weeks – that is if the tank conditions are ideal. You will also need suitable vegetation for the fry to hide. The bigger mollies are not the most hospitable and will eat any of them they lay their eyes on.

Guppy Female Assorted Colors

Guppies are appealing pets that will make a great addition to any aquarium. The fish reproduces swiftly upon mating, but they have a habit of eating their young. You can easily distinguish between the male and female by merely observing their color, shape, and fins.

The females have rounder bigger bodies than the males. When pregnant, they will appear lumpy or even boxy. However, they are less colorful than their male counterparts.

The tail of the male may have violet, blue, orange and white stripes and spots to attract the females.

These are freshwater and warm water fish commonly found in northeast South America. The guppies are pretty versatile and quickly adapt to different conditions. Their lifespan is between one and three years.


The female guppies mate with various males before they can reproduce. The benefits of this multiple mating are that they increase their immune system strength and produce more offspring.

The fry acquires better characteristics such as predator evasion and good schooling abilities.

Their gestation period is usually between 21 and 30 days. After mating, the females then store the sperms in an internal duct for about eight months during the time which fertilization occurs.

This means that they can continue with the reproduction long after the death of the male.

The ideal temperature for reproduction is 72–79 °F.


Guppies are omnivorous and will feed on both algae and invertebrates. In the wild, this fish variety prefers algal remains more than anything but varies according to food availability.


The ideal temperatures for guppies are between 78 and 82 °F. They prefer hard water, and you should add a tablespoon of salt.

The guppies are commonly peaceful, but they may exhibit nipping behavior towards others like swordtails and platies.

Guppies are a shoaling fish and should never be alone in a tank. They are versatile and can breed in fresh and saline water.

Sterbai Corydoras Cory Catfish

This is among the most peaceful bottom dwellers that typically make a good community pet fish.

The Corydoras sterbai are ingenious to Brazil, and they are ideal for beginners – very easy to care. This variety of fish has dark bodies and white spots on them.

They are tiny and never go beyond 2.7 inches and have a lifespan of between three and four years.


This variety prefers a dark and soft bottom at temperatures of between 70°F - 77°F. Their optimal environment also includes adequate swimming space, clear water with some vegetation.

Sterbai Corydoras prefer smooth pebbles and sand on the bottom of the tank. Ideally, keep them in groups of five or more fish.


The male embeds to the females barbells to fertilize the eggs. The female will then convey the eggs through a particular pouch it has. They then attach the eggs to leaves or other even surfaces.

The eggs hatch within five days, and you can feed the fry with micro-plankton and micro-worm until they become of age.


These bottom dwellers are omnivorous and so will feed on greens live and frozen foods. Include the pellet food, live worms and brine for healthier fish.

King Tiger Pleco

Tiger Pleco is a favorite pet fish for a pretty good reason. Yes, the colors that give the fish its name are just one reason. It has characteristic white stripes that cover its entire body including the eyes.

This fish is an introvert and loves its peace and quiet. It is territorial and enjoys staying at the bottom of the lake.

The fish can grow up to 4.7 inches in height and take on an entirely different appearance than they had when young.

The fish is native to lower Rio Xingu and Brazil where the water and conditions are ideal for them.

The Tank

It is not a must to include high amounts of plants in the tank. But you can throw in several stones and sand and maintain temperatures of about 82 degrees F. The ideal tank size for this fish variety is 55 gallons of water.

The water in their natural habitat is pretty fast, and so you should make sure the tank has a strong current. It should be a little acidic at 5.8 – 7.0 pH and ensure high oxygen level.

Tiger Pleco is a bit shy, and so include a few hiding spots such as caves and crevices.


Tiger Plecos are mostly algae feeders, but that doesn't mean you should restrict them to that diet. If you do, your fish will suffer from malnutrition making them weak.

Generally, the fish are omnivorous and feed on greens, insects, other invertebrates. Give them blood-worm, flakes and algae wafers.

Veggies and fruits such as broccoli, shelled fish and melons are good. But avoid fruits and vegetables that are acidic – it’s not ideal.


They need a big tank as they are quite aggressive. Ideally, you should have two couples of Tiger Pleco. The males will search for an ideal place for breeding and start cleaning it to attract the female.

Once enticed, they female join them and begin laying eggs in the cave which the male looks after until they hatch.

Betta Splendens Siamese

This fish is native to Cambodia, Thailand, parts of China, Malaysia and Indonesia.

These places have slow-moving water, paddies, rice fields, swamps, and ponds. However, their rising popularity has led to captivity breeding.

Because of their brilliant coloration and long flowing fins, the male bettas are more popular than their female counterparts.

The females do not have bright colors, and their fins are not as long.


You can never have males living in the same tank, but females are non-aggressive and can love together without problems. You can add one male to the tank of females and other peaceful species. Avoid tiger barbs and other fin-nipping types.

Bettas thrive in heat, and so you should maintain temperatures above 75 degrees F. Even though the fish thrives in low dissolved oxygen, it doesn’t mean they require less of it. The bettas have an organ that allows them to breathe directly from the water surface.

Acidity should be between neutral and slightly acidic, and movement should be at a minimum. They are friendly enough to live in a community tank but only if there are no fin-nipping tiger barbs and the like.


In the wild, bettas live off insect and larvae. Their body system is different that of vegetable eating fish and is in such a way that it can digest protein easily. Their upturned mouth is ideal for snatching insects from the water surface.

But that does not mean they cannot adapt to eating freeze-dried and frozen foods as well as flakes. Good options include daphnia, tubifex, brine shrimp and plankton.


Bêttas have a very brief lifespan, and so they are ready to breed before they are one year old. You will not need specialized equipment of a sizeable tank for a successful breeding process. Feed them live foods before breeding and maintain temperatures of about 80. The pH should be at approximately 7.

Males blow bubble nests when ready to spawn. Provide a few hiding places for the females as the males can get pretty aggressive at this time. In the bubble nest, the male will wrap around an upturned female and fertilize the eggs as she expels them.

The male then takes up the task of looking after the eggs until they hatch. Remove the female as he may get aggressive towards her at this time. When the fry hatch, you can now also remove the male to prevent him from eating his young.

Feed the young lads baby brine shrimps and other foods made for them.

Final Word

Freshwater aquarium fish are not too hard to keep as long as you are aware of their ideal conditions. The Best Freshwater Aquarium Fish Combination should be easy to look after and will fill the living room with life and calming effect to bring down stress. So, why not? Go ahead and choose the appropriate combination for you.

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