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6 Low-Maintenance Pet Fish That Basically Anyone Can Keep Alive

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, pets...

These types of fish are perfect if you're looking for a no-fuss, low-maintenance pet

If we're being honest, yes, pet fish are a bit easier to care for than, say, a dog or cat. But if you're still living with the childhood trauma of coming home from school to find your beloved goldfish belly up in his bowl, then you know that keeping a flippered friend alive isn't exactly a walk in the park.

That trauma, however, doesn't mean you shouldn't get a fish or two if you're looking for an easy-to-care for pet. We know that the big flush is always inevitable, but you'll avoid that heartache a bit longer if you invest your time in nurturing certain species that are known to be more low-maintenance.

What makes a fish easy?

As a fish owner, I can tell you there’s a lot more that goes into the care of fish than you might think. Life happens, you get busy and those fun little fish tend to take the back burner. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish, choose one that’s hardy. Look for a fish that can handle a little overfeeding (because how much is a "pinch," really?) or a little underfeeding (oops). You’ll also want a fish that can stand less-than-frequent water changes, because who has time for that? Finally, you’re going to want a fish that’s peaceful. Take my word on that one — after spending all day keeping my children from killing each other, the last thing I want to do is break up a fish fight.

Not to worry — we won’t leave you high and dry in the fish aisle. We went straight to the experts to find out which fish are the most no-fuss.

These are the simplest fish to keep.


These types of fish are perfect if you're looking for a no-fuss, low-maintenance pet

Image: KidStock/Brand X Pictures/Getty images

According to Nick Saint-Erne, D.V.M., Certified Aquatic Veterinarian, resident PetSmart veterinarian, the easiest and most popular starter fish is the Betta. They’re the only fish that don’t require a filter or heater and can be kept in small bowls. The only real maintenance you’ll face with these guys is a 25 percent water change once a week.

More: Thinking of Adopting a Cat? There's No Better Time Than Kitten Season

Bettas have gotten a bad rep, as their nickname, "the fighting fish" suggests. While it’s true you can’t house more than one male betta in the same tank, that doesn’t mean they have to live solitary lives. "They can be kept with other similar-sized fish of different species in a larger aquarium," says Saint-Erne.

Next Up: Tetras

Updated by Sarah Long on 7/10/2017.

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