Keeping Fish

Aquarium Fish to Avoid for Beginners

Aquarium Fish to Avoid for Beginners

When you first start an aquarium it is advisable that you choose your fish carefully, in this article we will show you some aquarium fish to avoid as they are simply too difficult to look after for beginners.

Some images and products shown in this article are affiliate links, we may earn a small commission, we hope you find the information useful.

Choosing Aquarium Fish Carefully

Very often when a new fishkeeper visits their local pet store to purchase some nice fish to go in their new aquarium it is easy to be drawn in by a fish’s beauty.

Colourful vibrant fish attract the eye but in many cases, these specialist fish can be very difficult to look after.

Choosing your first aquarium fish needs careful planning so that you can look after them easily while learning all the fundamentals of keeping fish and maintaining an aquarium correctly.

The size of your fish tank can greatly impact your choice of fish, also determining what type of fish will survive in the setup you have created in the aquarium.

It is recommended that for a beginner tropical freshwater fish would be the best type of fish to begin with, as keeping saltwater fish takes a lot of skill to get the water conditions perfect to safely look after the fish.

Aquarium Fish To Avoid

Below are listed some aquarium fish you should avoid if it is your first time keeping fish, it is always easier to start with more hardy fish so that you can build up your fish keeping skills before attempting to keep fish that require lots of attention.


Angelfish are beautiful fish, in some circumstances, they would make great fish for an aquarium even for beginners, we have included the angelfish in our list, simply because they are aggressive fish. If angelfish are not mixed with the correct varieties of fish in your tank they can cause you all sorts of problems, they could even kill other fish in your tank by stressing them out, so we recommend you avoid them until you gain fishkeeping experience.

Angelfish aquarium fish to avoid for beginners


Gouramis are another aggressive fish that should be avoided for your first fish choice, they bully other fish and can cause many problems in an aquarium. Gouramis are easy to take care of so if you are opting to keep just one type of fish then they could be an option but don’t mix them with other varieties of fish until you have experience of what fish they will work with.

Gouramis aquarium fish to avoid for beginners

Bala Sharks

Many people love the look of a shark and think it would be cool to have a Bala shark in a freshwater aquarium, the problem is they look very small in a pet store but trust me they very quickly become large, so unless you are starting out with an aquarium that is at least 4 feet in length avoid the Bala Shark fish in your first aquarium.

Bala Sharks aquarium fish to avoid for beginners


The Oscar fish in a similar fashion to the Bala Shark look very small in the pet store, they look fun, cool, and friendly, but they grow to become massive fish very quickly, and would not be suitable for a small beginner aquarium.

Oscars aquarium fish to avoid for beginners


Guppy fish can be a good beginner fish but they need to be treated with caution, in many cases, guppies carry worms or parasites that can be a problem to fix, if not treated the guppies will simply die causing new fishkeepers to think they have done something wrong, normally it is the fault of the fish stores fault for not quarantining guppy fish properly when receiving them from importers. The guppy fish have had years of inbreeding which has weakened their resilience to disease and they can be tricky to take care of unless you have some experience of keeping fish.

Guppies aquarium fish to avoid for beginners

Large Plecos

Large plecos should be avoided for your first fish choice they are more of an intermediate fish for fishkeepers, also the large plecos are very expensive due to them being a rare variety of fish so to risk a high-value fish as a beginner we would not recommend. Large Plecos as their name implies means they also get very large in size so they are not suitable for a small aquarium.

Large Plecos aquarium fish to avoid for beginners


goldfish! I can hear you saying it now “why are goldfish on your list of fish to avoid when beginning to keep fish”. Believe it or not, a goldfish is a fish that actually should grow to be very large, a goldfish should be kept in an aquarium of at least 4 feet to allow them to grow and be happy. A Goldfish also produces a lot of waste because they are a fish that is constantly eating, which makes keeping your water safe for other fish that may be in the aquarium very difficult when just starting out keeping fish.

Goldfish aquarium fish to avoid for beginners

What Aquarium Fish Should I consider as a Beginner?

OK, we have discussed aquarium fish you should avoid as a beginner, so what are the fish you can consider keeping when first starting out keeping an aquarium.



Rasboras are a common type of fish that are easily available in most pet stores, they are very hardy and grow to around 2 to 3 inches in size. The Rasboras like to be in schools of about 6 fish or more and are easily manageable for beginners.


Tetra Fish

Tetras are a great fish for beginners and they are available in most pet stores, there are many varieties of tetra fish that will add great colour and fun to a new aquarium. Tetras like the Rasboras like to be kept in groups of at least 6 or more fish as they are a schooling type of fish.



Platies are very hardy and are perfect for new fishkeepers, they are livebearers so don’t purchase too many as they will soon expand in populating an aquarium, they are a fun fish to keep and children love platies.

Choosing Your First Aquarium

Whatever type of fish you choose to keep in an aquarium it is important to know the fundamentals about the aquarium itself, it is a misconception that when you first start to keep fish you should start off with a small aquarium.

The fact is that the larger the aquarium size the easier it is to maintain it, larger volumes of water are easier to control than smaller volumes, a small aquarium will get dirty very quickly and will require constant maintenance to ensure the water is safe for the fish, a larger aquarium will require less frequent maintenance due to the water volume not becoming polluted with fish waste so quickly.

Large 4 foot 300 Ltr Aquarium Kit White
Suitable for freshwater, tropical & salt water marine life Built-in filter, air pump and LED light Adjustable & detachable 300W heater

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Large 4 foot 300 Ltr Aquarium Kit Black
Black trim 300L tank with curved 11m thick glass & matching black cabinet Built-in filter, air pump, LED light & adjustable 300W heater

Last update on 2024-05-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Aquarium Fish To Avoid Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right fish when starting out as a new fishkeeper is important, some fish are difficult to keep and some are much easier.

The bigger the fish tank the better chance you will have at being able to keep fish more easily.

Avoiding aggressive fish is a good idea for beginners, learning what fish will mix with other fish comes with learning and experience.

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