Top 5 schooling fish: best for beginners


Cardinal Tetra

There is no chance of cardinal tetra not being on this list.

  • They look amazing.
  • They have got a blue and red stripe.
  • They get about 2 and a 1/2 inches or so.
  • They can handle warmer water with Discuss.

So, there are a lot of benefits to keeping them. They school relatively tight and they always look great in any planted tank. 

The other one that comes under the same tetra family, 'NEON TETRA'. Most people can not tell the difference besides the price.

The main difference is they have a blue head and a red tail whereas the cardinals have red and blue all the way through the body. Neons don't get quite as big as cardinal tetras. But usually, they are gonna be half the price.

Rummynose Tetra

It would be a disservice if Rummynose tetra doesn't make it to the list. 

  • They have a red nose, flag tail (black and white stripe on the tail).
  • They tend to be a real tight school, one of the tightest schooling fish you can buy. They will group up really tight, especially if you have a predator in the tank. 
  • If there is some kind of threat in the tank, they will lose the red color on the nose, like water parameters, etc. 

The red nose and striped, black, and whitetail looks amazing against the backdrop of a planted tank. So, what is not to love about them.

Silvertip Tetra

Not a lot of people know about this one, this is the Silvertip tetra. The thing lovable about these guys beside the coloration is they look amazing and different in the tank.

  • They get about 2 and a 1/2 inches.
  • They come towards your finger, they will follow your finger around.
  • The males have a bit of extra orange on them, while the females are of a bit lighter color. 
  • Look great in a planted tank.

Both the males and female looks great so, get a group of them and they will fill your tank with life.

Pork Chop Rasboras

They don't get huge; they get their name from having the black on the side of their body. They are not a super tight schooler, but they look amazing, they are a different color pattern against a planted tank or just a big community tank. 

They go really well with the neon tetra, cardinal tetra; because they can offer that nice contrast for. This is one of the undervalued ones.

There is also Harlequin rasbora, they are very similar fish, they just get larger, the black spot on this fish's body is bigger. They come in a different color tool the purple or black Rasbora Harlequin. These guys are also good for plant tanks.

Ember Tetra

  • They don't get huge.
  • They look amazing.
  • They can go in nano tanks,
  • The red color of the fish pops up against the plant in the tank.

So, if you are looking for a good nano tank schooling fish, this is a great one for you. 


This is again a great fish; Apistogramma dwarf cichlid, they are a great schooling fish

  • Their colors are very bright, which is great for the planted tank.
  • They get nice and tightly schooled

So, that was all, there is a lot more option to choose from, but the above one is most of the hobbyist's top 5 schooling fish.



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