Freshwater Community Tank

Have those flowing Angelfish fins caught your eye? Or perhaps you have been smitten with the adorable Corydoras catfish! Setting up a freshwater community tank offers you an endless variety of fish to choose from that will live in harmony together. Here are a few ideas:

Angel Fish

These attractive fish are a very popular choice among aquarists. Growing to an average adult size of about 5", angelfish would prefer a large area to live in. They thrive in a lower pH, just below or just above 7. Plants, driftwood, and other ornaments will dress up your angel's habitat just fine. As for tankmates, choose from a variety of tetras, Corydoras catfish, rasboras, and other relatively calm and docile fish that will not nibble on your angelfishes' elongated finnage! Be sure to keep more than one, as angels can sometimes become territorial, especially a breeding pair!

Live Bearers

These popular fish are very easy to breed in the home aquarium. Platys, Mollies, Swordtails, and fancy Guppies are available in a variety of colors. These fish prefer their water a little harder, with a pH in the mid 7's range. They do well with live plants and will enjoy any other type of ornamentation you choose. Tetras, rainbows, and other common tropical fish should do fine with Live Bearers.


These fast little fish like their water right at neutral 7. If you keep them well-fed, they shouldn't nibble too much on live plants. Rocks and driftwood make great hiding areas. If you want to keep other docile fish, be sure to keep barbs in schools. A solitary barb will sometimes nip fins! Try some freshwater sharks and loaches with your barbs!


Similar in size to angels, Gouramis can also become aggressive, so it is best to keep them with suitable tankmates such as barbs and freshwater sharks. They shouldn't nibble too much on live plants, and tend to hang around the top of the water. If you notice a strange bubbly-foam around the top of your tank, that is a Gouramis' bubble nest, where they would lay their eggs.

Dwarf Cichlids

Much less aggressive than their regular-sized relatives, these little fish can be quite colorful and fun! They would love a planted tank with plenty of hiding areas along the bottom. Dwarf cichlids such as the Blue or Gold Ram, or Apistogramma species are fine with tetras and other fish that will tolerate a 7 or lower pH. The only time dwarf cichlids can become a bit nippy is during spawning.

Rainbow Fish

Often overlooked in stores, the juveniles of this type of fish can seem quite dull, often silvery and bland. The adults, however, become fantastic shades of blue, yellow, and red! Peaceful, active, and schooling, these friendly fish make great additions to a community tank full of tetras, barbs, or others. Lovely in a planted tank, they will spend most of their time toward the top of the water.


It seems like there are hundreds of tetras to choose from! Most are small in size and will swim contentedly with their school. They thrive in a planted tank and most can tolerate a range in pH from slightly under 7 to mid 7's. Place them in a tank with dwarf cichlids, certain barbs, and even live bearers.

Consult some informational books on the wide variety of tropical fish available for the aquarium hobby. Check out the pictures and you're sure to get some fine ideas for your very own aquatic paradise!