Determining which types of fish to stock an aquarium with can be tricky. As aquarists, we want our aquatic pets to be compatible with one another as well as pleasing to the eye. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced hobbyist, you may be wondering which fish are the most fun to own and observe?
The most fun aquarium fish to keep and watch are those that are active, colorful, sociable, and unique. Fish that can recognize and interact with their owners are the best, especially those that’ll even take food right out of your hand – think angelfish, betta fish, goldfish, and koi fish!
Now that you know the most fun fish to own are those with distinctive physical characteristics and unique social behaviors, let’s explore this topic together in greater detail. We’ll uncover which species of both fresh and saltwater fish are the ‘coolest’ as well as which ones are the most interactive and exotic.
So, if you’re ready to learn more, then let’s ‘dive deeper’ into the aquatic world of the beat and most fun aquarium fish.
What is the Most Interactive Pet Fish?
The most interactive fish are often the most fun to keep. Oscars, for example, can recognize their owners and will come to the surface in anticipation of being fed. They’ll also come closer the glass and follow your finger as you move it from one end of the tank to the other.
Angelfish, betta fish, goldfish, and koi fish make great interactive aquatic pets. These species not only recognize their owners but can also be trained to take food right out of your hand! To feed them safely by-hand, follow the 7 simple steps listed below:
- Choose a feeding time during the day when the house (for aquarium hobbyists) or back yard (for pond hobbyists) is quiet and free of distraction – try to feed around the same time(s) each day.
- Make sure your hands and arms are clean – wash with antibacterial soap and rinse thoroughly – use gloves if you have an open cut or wound.
- Choose flaked or pellet food suited for your specific breed of fish – make sure not to overfeed.
- Move quietly toward the tank or pond to avoid startling the fish.
- Slowly lower your hand into the tank or pond and wait for your fish to swim up to it.
- Drop the food (if fish are skittish) or wait for fish to take the food out of your hand.
- Leave your hand in the water for a few minutes after feeding so your fish get used to your presence and associate it with something positive.
What is the Most Exotic Pet Fish?
The most exotic pet fish (be it freshwater or freshwater) are usually those with bright colors and vibrant personalities. The ‘top 10’ (in my opinion and in no particular order) include the following:
- Flowerhorn Cichlid
- Electric Blue Jack Dempsey
- Glass Catfish
- German Blue Ram
- Pea Pufferfish
- Glo Tetras
- Discus Fish
- Peter’s Elephantnose Fish
- African Butterflyfish
- Black Ghost Knifefish
What is the Coolest Freshwater Aquarium Fish?
The top 5 ‘coolest’ freshwater aquarium fish (in my opinion) include the following:
Angelfish can be found in both fresh and saltwater environments – though the most common types seen in aquariums are those from South America. Silver in color with black marking and fluttering fins, this species is carnivorous and can grow up to 10-inches in length.
Betta fish and often referred to as Siamese fighting fish and found in the freshwater lakes in Southeast Asia. Vibrantly hued with long, flowing fins and tails, this species is carnivorous by nature and can reach lengths of up to 3 inches in captivity.
Goldfish are a common species beloved by aquarium hobbyists worldwide. Available in a wide range of shapes and colors, this species is special in that it can recognize its owner, grows a massive 12-inches long and can live for 40 years in captivity.
Koi is huge by aquarium fish standards (12 to 15 inches long) with orange and white markings. This species is thought to symbolize luck, prosperity, and good fortune. Best suited for a pond environment, koi fish can be taught to take food right out of their keeper’s hand!
Mandarin dragonets are vibrantly hued boasting various shades of orange, red, blue, green, and purple. Small and active, they make an attractive addition to a well-established marine tank. For experienced aquarists, this species is a joy to observe in captive.
What is the Coolest Saltwater Aquarium Fish?
The top 6 ‘coolest’ freshwater aquarium fish (in my opinion) include the following:
Butterflyfish are a saltwater species with a flat-disk shape, long snout, and fluttering tail. Reminiscent of a butterfly with their straited patterns and bright coloring, this fish is pleasing to the eye and ideal for a large reef tank setup.
Highly active, brightly colored, and popular with marine aquarists worldwide, hawkfish come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Predatory by nature, this species does best in a reef tank setup with other fish of like size and temperament.
Lionfish are a standout species with their fleshy tentacles, fan-like fins, and striped appearance. This species is predatory, venomous, and poses a threat to smaller, weaker tankmates. They’re best kept alone or in a mated pair.
Pufferfish range in size and color with the unique ability to inflate into a ball shape to thwart potential predators. With their fluttering fins and big, bulging eyes, this species is a definite standout in almost any community tank environment.
Seahorses are a marine aquarist favorite and appealing to the eye with their buoyant, anatomical shape. They swim vertically and appear to have the head of a horse. Unique in their ability to mimic the color of their environment, this species does well in a reef tank setup if you are an experienced hobbyist.
I have owned these quirky looking marine fish and can tell you they were one of my favorite to own so far. Cowfish will literally look at you as they stick their snout out of the water taking food from you.
What is the Most Colorful Aquarium Fish?
There are many different types of colorful aquarium fish to choose from. Angelfish, bettas, discus fish, blue rams, guppies, goldfish, neon tetras, paradise fish, rainbowfish, and Oscars round out the vibrant freshwater fish category whereas butterflyfish, clownfish, firefish, hawkfish, gobies, dottybacks, mandarinfish, royal grammas, tangs, and triggerfish are great examples of vivid saltwater fish.
Which Aquatic Creatures (Besides Fish) are the Most Fun to Keep?
There are many aquatic creatures that are fun to keep which aren’t fish perse. For example, crustaceans like crabs, shrimps, and snails can add visual appeal and interest to an aquarium. Some of my personal favorites include cherry shrimp, emerald crabs, and nerite snails. As well, axolotls are a type of salamander that are so unique in its appearance and movements, you can’t help but stop and look!
To conclude, the most fun aquarium fish to own are those with unique appearances and vibrant personalities. The ones that can recognize people and be trained to interact with their keepers are especially good. These include such species as angelfish, betta fish, goldfish, and koi fish.
I trust this article has helped you determine which fish make the best aquatic pets. Thanks for reading and good luck with your aquarist hobby.