The Top 7 Fish for Kids

Updated on May 22, 2019
whynot1 profile image

I enjoy sharing my research, thoughts, and opinions—hopefully for the "greater" good.

Children Love Fish as Pets

I still remember getting my first one. It was an angel fish that I received my local pet store owner in exchange for two small hamsters. I was allergic to hamsters and wanted to get rid of them. He gave me the fish in return, which I thought was a pretty good trade.

Kids love pet fish, and they make for great exploration and learning. They come in all sizes, colors, and shapes, which can really spark the imagination. It may sound a bit strange, but I like being in a room with a nice fish tank, as it really soothes the senses. The trickling water of the water pump is quite calming too!

The Basics

Fish are great, but as you know, they aren’t typical pets and often get ignored once the initial novelty wears off. So, maintaining them will require talking to each child about the responsibilities associated with caring for a pet. Who will feed them? Who will clean the tank or bowl? Who will clean the filter? Keeping an aquarium at home can take some time to get the hang of.

Once the decision to move forward is made, there are few other general decisions that you will have to make: Do you want a fresh water or salt water tank? Salt water tanks, or marine tanks, are quite a bit more complicated to deal with, set up, and maintain.

  • Choosing the right fish aquarium. Another question to consider is how big of a tank you will want. Will you want your aquarium to be a 10, 20, or 25 gallon tank? Your budget and your room size will be required to figure out what works for you and your child. Remember, the bigger the tank, the more cleaning it will need!
  • Having a light and water filter will often be necessary. Gravel, plants, and other decorations will be necessary for fish to hide and feel comfortable. Having live plants is really cool, but they require additional care. Light and water filters are necessary to keep the tank clean.

Top 7 Fish for Kids

Bi-color angel fish.
Bi-color angel fish.
  1. Molly Fish: These are colorful and do well with other fish. Molly fish are native to the American South, and Central and South America, and they can be really cool to watch. They require fresh water tanks that are slightly warmer in temperature. They love to hang and hide out in plants. Mollies would prefer a little bit of salt, so you can add aquarium salt—but check with your pet shop to make sure that works with the other fish in your tank.
  2. Platy Fish: The peaceful Platies can come in various colors such as red, blue, and black. They often come in gold too, which is why they get confused with gold fish. They are sometimes referred as moon fish and are very active. They also mate easily, quickly, and love to have babies—hundreds of them at a time, in fact.
  3. Angel Fish: Natives of South America, these beauties are delightful to watch swim around. They are pretty peaceful, although some older males interested in mating can be a little aggressive. However, on the whole, they are pretty docile. When a pair (female and male) hook up, they are pretty much partners for life and only have babies with each other. They typically like warmer water. They also need a deeper, bigger tank because of their physique. They can eat fish flakes, frozen fish food, or live fish food.)
  4. Gold Fish: Gold fish are pretty easy to take care of, which makes them great for kids. Native to Asia, these little ones are peaceful and can get along with most other fish. They require a fresh water tank and prefer a temperature of about 63 degrees Fahrenheit. They do grow pretty quickly and in doing so, generate lots of poop, so make sure you invest in a small tank filter. They also like little places to hide and chill out, so add a few items and/or plants to your tank.
  5. Guppies: These tiny little ones are peaceful and get along with most other fish. They like to hang out with friends, so try to get a few together. The colorful ones are typically male, while the silver-ish ones are mostly female. Because they are so small, try and be sure that they aren’t being eaten by other, bigger fish in the tank.
  6. Blue-Green Chromis (salt/marine water): These friendly fish usually get along with most other types of fish and each other. They come in deep shapes of green and blue and are very pretty. Native to the Indian Ocean, they require salt water tanks. If you do get them, try to get a few, as they prefer to live in schools or groups.
  7. Betta Fish: Bright and colorful, these know how to attract attention. When two males are in the same tank, it could spell trouble. Males will fight each other until one of them dies, so if you get a few betas, make sure that you only take home one male. Be careful with putting these fish with other fish, because they could eat the young of other species. They can also jump out of the water, so if you do get one, then make sure you have a cover for your tank. Basically, they are great when they are alone—but not when they are with other males or small fish.

General Tips

  • Fish don’t really like wide swings in temperature. This could happen if the tank is placed by a window and exposed to direct sunlight. It can also happen if the tank is near a vent, heater, radiator, or fireplace.
  • Believe it or not, fish can be sensitive to sound – so putting your boom box (do they still make those?) or your television by your tank may not be a good idea. Your good vibes may not be good vibes for the fish. Sure it might fit nicely, but noise has a tendency to stress them out.
  • Tap water has chlorine and fluoride in it, which may be harmful to fish, so try to get a pH Kit to help make sure the water is safe for your fish. After cleaning the tank you may have to use your pH kit properly before placing your fish back in the tank.
  • Fish waste (through their gills and poop) increase the ammonia levels in your tank, which can kill off the fish, so it is important to be diligent about cleaning. Bacteria live off the ammonia, so check at your pet store for more info.
  • Not all fish get along. Some species are a bit more aggressive and territorial. So please check again with your pet store owner or worker to get the skinny on putting certain fish you like together.
  • When shopping for fish, make sure you get healthy fish. You can tell which fish are healthy by checking if they are active and alert, have clear eyes, and don't have any visible sores on their bodies.

When Your Fish Dies

It happens. A death of a family pet can be tough on everyone, especially young children. However, there is a silver lining in that it might make a great “teachable moment” in your family.

  • When a fish dies, we should quickly remove it from the tank, so that it doesn’t make the other fish sick too.
  • Often times, they will die because of the quality of the water, so check the PH levels regularly.
  • When a fish dies, we often flush it down the toilet. However, many experts don’t like this idea because it can carry illnesses that can spread. Simply bury it or put it in the trash.

In the end, I think fish are great for kids. It also makes a great "test" of their overall responsibilities on whether they can care for a larger and more involved pet, like a dog!

What is the best pet for children?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers


    Submit a Comment
    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I love fish but I like to eat salmon :(

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I like fish and I recomend you to have one

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I'm getting goldfish today/ I will have a 40 gallon tank and i'm getting 3 fancies. And also getting 2 10 gallons for some tropical for my brother and sister. This helped pick a good fish for them. Thank U a lot for this article

    • carozy profile image


      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Excellent article.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      i like fish but they are a little boring

    • misspeachesx profile image


      8 years ago from Northeast, Washington

      Great hub, however I don't believe goldfish are good for children unless you are willing to commit at least 20 gallons per fish (and more as they grow). Goldfish also require special feeding habits as they must eat small amounts of food throughout the day instead of being fed only once or twice a day. A "small tank filter" is a minimum for any fish species, a "powerful, large, biological filter" is a must for goldfish.

      Regardless, I really enjoyed reading this hub! I've owned all of these species at one time or another :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)