What Are the Best Fish Species for a Community Tank?

January 26, 2024

When it comes to creating a vibrant, lively and peaceful community fish tank, the choice of fish species matters a lot. Not all fish species coexist harmoniously, and not all will thrive in the same water conditions. Are you considering setting up a community fish tank, but unsure which fish species to include? Or perhaps you’re looking to add some new species to your existing tank? In this article, we will discuss some of the best fish species for a community tank. We’ll look at their scientific names, sizes, care requirements, temperament, and how they interact within a community setting.

The Perfect Balance in Your Aquarium: Community Fish Tanks

The concept of a community tank revolves around a beautifully curated aquarium where different fish species coexist peacefully. These tanks are visually appealing, lively, and make a great hobby for fish enthusiasts. While it may seem simple, creating a balanced community tank requires a deep understanding of different fish species and their unique needs. Let’s explore some of the best fish species for a community tank.

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The Peaceful Tetra: A Great Starter Fish

Tetras, scientifically known as Characidae, are among the most popular choices for community tanks. They are small freshwater fish, typically ranging in size from 1 to 2 inches. Being peaceful by nature, tetras are easy to care for and get along well with other fish species.

In a community tank, tetras will usually keep to themselves, swimming together in schools and not bothering their tank mates. Tetras thrive in water with a pH level of around 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature range of 70 to 80°F.

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There are numerous varieties of tetras, each with their unique coloration and body patterns. Some of the most common include the Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, and Rummy-nose Tetra.

Guppies: Small in Size, Big in Personality

Guppies, bearing the scientific name Poecilia reticulata, are another excellent choice for a community tank. Despite their small size, typically between 0.6 to 2.4 inches, guppies add a burst of color and activity to your aquarium.

These tiny creatures are not just eye-catching; they’re also peaceful, easy to care for, and get along well with other non-aggressive species. Guppies prefer a pH level of 6.8 to 7.8 and temperatures between 72 to 82°F.

Male guppies are particularly notable for their bright, multicolored patterns, which add a vibrant touch to any community tank. They are quite hardy and can adjust to various water conditions, making them a fantastic choice for beginners.

Corydoras Catfish: The Friendly Bottom-Dwellers

Corydoras Catfish, known scientifically as Callichthyidae, are a delightful addition to any community tank. These small fish, usually around 1 to 2.5 inches in size, are peaceful, friendly, and make excellent tank mates.

Corydoras are bottom-dwelling fish, meaning they spend most of their time at the bottom of the tank. However, they’re not just there to keep out of the way. These little creatures play a vital role in keeping the tank clean by consuming leftover food and algae.

They thrive in water with a pH level of 7.0 to 7.8 and temperatures between 70 to 78°F. Despite their size, Corydoras are quite active and love to dig in the substrate, so be sure to provide a tank with a soft bottom to avoid injury.

Betta Fish: The Jewel of the Aquarium

The Betta fish, scientifically known as Betta splendens, is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful species you can add to a community tank. With their vibrant colors and flowing fins, they are the jewels of the aquarium.

Bettas usually measure around 2.5 to 3 inches in size. They are relatively easy to care for, requiring a water pH level of 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature range of 78 to 80°F.

Despite their aggressive reputation, Bettas can live peacefully in community tanks under the right circumstances. It’s best to keep only one male Betta in a tank, as they can become territorial. Females, on the other hand, tend to be less aggressive.

Platies: The Hardy and Peaceful Tank Mates

Platies, or Xiphophorus maculatus, are a fantastic choice for community tanks due to their peaceful nature, colorful appearance, and hardy temperament. They typically measure around 1.5 to 3 inches in size and can adapt to various water conditions, making them ideal for beginners.

Platies thrive in water with a pH level of 7.0 to 8.3 and temperatures between 70 to 80°F. They are livebearers, meaning they give birth to live young, which can add an exciting dimension to your community tank.

Remember to provide a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spaces, as platies love to explore and hide among the plants. As they are peaceful and non-aggressive, they can coexist well with a range of other fish species.

So, when planning your community fish tank, consider incorporating some of these species. They not only contribute to the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium but also create a harmonious, lively, and balanced underwater community.

Zebra Danios: The Active Swimmers

Zebra Danios, scientifically known as Danio rerio, are renowned for their lively nature and beautiful striped patterns, making them an excellent addition to your community fish tank. These fish are known for their active, playful behavior and spend most of their time swimming near the top of the tank.

Zebra Danios typically measure 2 to 2.5 inches in size. They prefer a pH level of 6.5 to 7.2 and water temperatures between 65 to 77°F. Zebra Danios are hardy and can adapt to a range of water conditions, making them suitable for beginners.

These fish are peaceful and sociable and tend to form schools, giving your tank an added dimension of activity. It is recommended to keep at least six Zebra Danios together to encourage schooling behavior.

A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is advised for keeping Zebra Danios. Since they are schooling fish, their active swimming requires more space. A well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spaces would suit them well.

Zebra Danios are indeed a great choice for community tanks due to their easy temperament, peaceful nature, and active swimming.

Swordtails: The Vibrant Community Fish

Swordtails, scientifically known as Xiphophorus hellerii, are popular freshwater fish known for their distinct, elongated lower fin resembling a sword. These fish are peaceful, making them a great choice for community tanks.

Typically, Swordtails can grow up to 5 inches in size. They thrive in water with a pH level of 7.0 to 8.4 and temperatures between 72 to 82°F. Swordtails are livebearers, just like platies, giving birth to live young.

Given their size, an adult Swordtail would ideally require a minimum tank size of 29 gallons. They are relatively easy to care for and can adapt to various water conditions.

Swordtails are not just peaceful but also active swimmers. They enjoy having plenty of space to swim, so ensure your tank is spacious enough. Also, as they love to jump, a tank with a lid is a must to prevent any accidental escapes.

Adding Swordtails to your community tank would certainly enhance its vibrancy and activity, thanks to their beautiful colors and active nature.


Creating a harmonious, vibrant, and balanced underwater community requires careful selection of fish species. Fish like Tetras, Guppies, Corydoras Catfish, Betta Fish, Platies, Zebra Danios, and Swordtails are all excellent options for community tanks due to their peaceful temperament, unique characteristics, and care level.

Remember, every fish species has unique needs in terms of tank size, water conditions, and companionship. Hence, it’s essential to consider these factors when planning your community fish tank.

With a well-thought-out plan and the right mix of species, your community tank can become a visually stunning, lively, and peaceful underwater world. So, whether you are a beginner or an experienced fish enthusiast, these wonderful freshwater fish species can help you create a thriving community tank that is sure to captivate anyone’s attention.