The 10 Best Freshwater Fish For 55 Gallon Fish Tank

Choosing the appropriate fish for a 55 gallon freshwater tank is a major task. You want fish that you can properly care for and that you enjoy.

Select carefully, as some require more attention than others. We’ve compiled a list of 10 top freshwater aquarium fish for a 55-gallon aquarium, along with their basic details.

Big or small, our guide on stocking 55 gallon freshwater tank is meant to assist you in building the ideal home for your fishy companions. Come with us as we explore the world of 55 gallon freshwater fish!

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Top Swimmers

Silver Hatchet Fish:

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Adult Size: Varies, depending on the species
  • Temperature: Varies, typically tropical
  • Diet & Feeding: Various, including insects and worms.
  • Lifespan: Varies
  • Behavior: Keep at least six.

The unique appearance of silver hatchet fish is similar to that of a hatchet blade. They maintain their fin posture, resembling wings, close to the water’s surface. But since they are known to be great jumpers, it’s a good idea to have at least six in the tank.

Since these top freshwater aquarium fish are frequently taken from the wild, it is crucial to make sure they are fed properly and take precautions against illnesses like Ich or white spots.

Silver Hatchet Fish

Danios (Common):

  • Care Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Adult Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Temperature: 72-74°F (22-23°C)
  • Diet & Feeding:
  • Lifespan: 2-5 years
  • Behavior: Prefers to be kept in groups of six or more.

Because they can swim quickly, “common” danios—such as zebra and leopard danios—tend to stay close to the top of the tank. These top freshwater aquarium fish thrive in clusters of six or more and are resilient to water temperatures between 72 and 74°F (22 and 23°C).


Golden Wonder Killifish:

  • Care Level: Intermediate
  • Adult Size: Up to 4 inches (10 cm)
  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Carnivore, prefers frozen or live foods
  • Lifespan: Species-specific
  • Behavior: Can be aggressive, prefers slightly cooler temperatures

Magnificent Wonder Male killifish, Aplocheilus lineatus, can grow up to 4 inches long, making them a striking focal point fish in a 55 gallon freshwater tank. These top freshwater aquarium fish can be a little combative, especially among the males, and they prefer slightly colder temperatures between 72 and 78°F (22 and 26°C).

It’s advised to keep a higher proportion of females than males and to obstruct their line of sight with floating plants to reduce aggression. They tend to jump, so a tight lid is essential.

Golden Wonder Killifish

Mid Dwellers


  • Care Level: Intermediate to Expert
  • Adult Size: 6-8 inches (15-20 cm)
  • Temperature: 82-86°F (28-30°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Carnivore, prefers high-quality frozen or live foods
  • Lifespan: Up to 10 years
  • Behavior: Peaceful

Being omnivores, parrotfish need substantial diets such as red worms and pellets. Food high in astaxanthin intensifies its brilliant colors, but avoiding small river fish is crucial to keep the color from fading. Although they can easily adjust to changing temperatures in the water, they may have problems in conditions that cause diseases or color loss.


Serpae Tetras:

  • Care Level: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Adult Size: Up to 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Temperature: Typically kept around 72-74°F (22-23°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivores, accept a variety of foods
  • Lifespan: 3-5 years
  • Behavior: Active, Bold

The striking red-orange bodies of serpae tetras make them bold and self-assured swimmers, perfect 55 gallon freshwater fish. Keep them in groups of 8–10 with fast companions, such as black skirt tetras, to keep them from getting rowdy and to liven up the aquarium.

Serpae Tetras

Cherry Barbs:

  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Temperature: 73-81°F (23-27°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivores, thrive on a varied diet
  • Lifespan: 4-6 years
  • Behavior: Peaceful, Social

Cherry barbs are great for a calm 55 gallon freshwater tank, but they’re often overlooked. The females are tannish-red in color with a black stripe, while the males are bright red in color. Like tetras and rasboras, they are amiable and simple to breed. For improved survival, these top freshwater aquarium fish remove their parents after breeding and create a marble substrate and dense foliage for their offspring.

Cherry Barbs

Rainbow Fish

  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Adult Size: Varies by species, typically 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm)
  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivores
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Behavior: Social

If you’re struggling to choose the perfect color for your aquarium, think about the Southeastern multicolored minnow in a 55 gallon freshwater tank. Depending on their breeding condition, these Rainbow Shiners display vivid colors like orange, purple, hot pink, blue, and black.

These 55 gallon freshwater fish are ideal for a small outdoor pond or coldwater aquarium since they can withstand temperatures as low as 72°F (22°C). Remember that they only live for two to three years, and read our forum for helpful advice on effectively raising them at home.

Rainbow Fish

Bottom Dwellers

Corydoras Catfish (Coryfish):

  • Care Level: Beginner
  • Adult Size: Varies by species, typically 2-3 inches (5-7.5 cm)
  • Temperature: 72-78°F (22-26°C)
  • Diet & Feeding: Omnivores, prefer sinking pellets, wafers, and live/frozen foods
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Behavior: Social,

Like all catfish, corys are bottom feeders that, by consuming waste and leftover food, keep your tank tidy. They may, however, create some mess as they pierce the substrate. Even though these 55 gallon freshwater fish help clean the tank, other scavengers like snails and prawns may be needed.

Corydoras Catfish

Common Pleco:

  • Care Level: On the fence for a 55-gallon tank
  • Adult Size: Up to a foot or more
  • Temperature: Species-specific
  • Diet & Feeding: Algae wafers, vegetables, occasional meat
  • Lifespan: Up to 15 years
  • Behavior: Can be territorial

Common Plecos have a maximum size of one foot and have the potential to grow aggressively with age. They might do OK in a moderately stocked tank with larger fish, but for the typical tropical fish owner, a smaller species, such as the Rubbernose Pleco, is usually a better option.

Common Pleco


  • Care Level: Species-specific attitudes
  • Adult Size: 6-10 inches (based on species)
  • Temperature: Species-specific
  • Diet & Feeding: Varied diet, including meaty foods
  • Lifespan: Species-specific
  • Behavior: Species-specific attitudes

Fish known as geophagus, or sand-sifters, spend the entire day sorting through the sand in your 55 gallon freshwater tank. Because of their variety, these larger fish, which range in size from 6 to 10 inches, have distinct attitudes. While some people are calm, others can be more violent.



Picking the perfect fish for 55 gallon freshwater can be a bit overwhelming given the wide range of options.

This freshwater aquarium fish list gives you 10 fantastic choices and helpful advice on choosing the best fish for your tank. Take some time to explore what’s available and figure out what you really like. It’s all about understanding your preferences and finding a fish that suits both you, your and requirements.

Scott Evans

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