Aquariums at Home earns an affiliate commission when you buy through links on this site. See footer.

What are The Best Hardy Fish for a Child’s Aquarium?

You are making a really good decision by purchasing fish as a pet for your children. Having tropical fish to take care of teaches children responsibility. Most children will find great pride when given the opportunity to care for another living creature. The wonderful thing about having fish as a pet is you don’t have to take the fish out for a walk and you don’t have to clean a litter box. What you must do is give proper care and maintenance to the aquarium or fish bowl.

What are the best hardy fish for a child’s aquarium? Any fish that can be kept happy and healthy in a smaller aquarium will be suitable. Fish such as Mollies, Neon Tetras, Platy’s, Betta and Zebra Danio’s are a few. Fish that are hardy and can withstand fluctuations in water parameters and temperatures would be an ideal choice for your child’s tank. 

Something to consider before you decide on what fish to purchase is how much money you are willing to spend and do you want to set up an aquarium or do you want to have a fish bowl. Understanding how much you are willing to spend will dictate what you can purchase for aquarium equipment and fish.

Regardless of your child’s age and experience if they are going to have sole responsibility of caring for their pet fish I would highly recommend looking for fish classified as hardy fish. If your children have busy schedules that is another reason for ensuring Hardy fish are in their aquariums.

What is a Hardy Fish?

A hardy fish is a fish that can withstand fluctuations in water temperature without contracting ick or some other sickness. A hardy fish can tolerate higher levels of ammonia and nitrites although you do not want to let your fish suffer in this kind of environment. Ammonia and Nitrites can kill your fish if the levels rise to high. To ensure these levels don’t get out of control make sure the fish waste as well as any leftover fish food are cleaned out on a regular basis. The filter (if your tank has one) should be cleaned on a regular basis as well. Water changes are another way to keep these toxic levels in check.

What Fish to Buy For a Small Aquarium

When purchasing fish always remember that for every gallon of water in the aquarium you can have an inch of fish. So now to find out what are the best hardy fish to buy for a smaller aquarium. Assuming your small aquarium will be heated. There are many more well suited fish for a small aquarium than I have listed here. I am listing my top picks for hardy aquarium fish for children.

Molly Fish

Molly’s are very interesting small aquarium fish. They come in many shapes and colors. Molly’s can be somewhat aggressive but not usually. My recommended choice out of all the molly fish there are available is the black molly variety. I have found these fish to be peaceful and thrive in a community aquarium with other similar tempered fish. Interesting fact about the Molly fish is they can be acclimated to salt water as well however the home hobbyist typically has this breed in a freshwater aquarium.

Red Platy Fish

This is my top pick for a hardy fish for a children’s aquarium. The Red Platy is very easy to care for. Originating from Singapore this fish will add color to your aquarium. Platy’s do thrive better when there are live plants in the aquarium. The Red Platy is a peaceful fish that will do very well in a community tank with other peaceful fish.

Neon Tetra Fish

Neon Tetras are about as beautiful and colorful a freshwater fish that you will find. I like these fish for an aquarium because of their size, you will be able to have so many more fish in a tank versus other fish. It is always a treat to watch how they all interact with one another. Neon Tetras are native to freshwater streams in South America.

What Hardy Fish to Buy for a Fish Bowl

If you decided to fill a fish bowl with fish for your children then you will most likely want to select fish that can withstand cooler temperatures. I am assuming you will not have a heater in your fish bowl. There are more selections of hardy fish for bowls than what I have listed below, I am providing a few of my favorite picks to help you in your selection. So to get started the best hardy fish to buy for a fish bowl in my opinion are;

White Cloud Fish (Is a variety of minnow fish)

The white cloud fish is no stranger to cold water temperatures as that is where you will find this variety in the wild. The white cloud variety can be found in freshwater lakes and streams. You can have multiples of this fish in the same bowl and should not run into any problems with any of them being territorial. The white cloud can also be in a community bowl with other fish varieties.

Betta Fish (or commonly known as the Siamese Fighting Fish)

If you are okay with having only one fish in your bowl then this beautiful fish is the one to bring home. The Betta fish should be kept away from other Betta fish. Most likely when you visit a pet store you will find the Betta fish stuck in tiny little bowls that fit in the palm of your hand. From what I understand that is too small for a Betta. Betta like other fish enjoy room to move around. If you purchase one of these I hope that you would have a large fish bowl to keep it in. One thing to remember if you want to keep other fish with a Betta, do not purchase fish with large fins like the Betta or you might find your other fish eaten.

Zebra Danios

The Zebra Danios or Zebra Fish are part of the minnow family. As a starter fish for children the Danio is a very good selection because of the interesting markings on the fish and that they are very active always darting around they will surely keep your children entertained. The Zebra Danio can be kept with other Zebra fish as well as other similar temperament fish.


Some other freshwater fish for a small aquariums you might be interested in and that I will post some information about in the future are Guppies, Sword Tails and a tank cleaning Plecostomus.

I want to recommend you also read my article on fish for a 10 gallon tank. I feel it will help you even further with your selection.

When you are ready to purchase an aquarium I also have a recommended aquariums page to give you even more great ideas. Recommended aquariums.

Related Aquariums-at-Home Articles

Are Lego’s Safe for Aquariums?

Are Guppies Easy To Keep?

Are Mollies Good Starter Fish?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top