16 Striped Freshwater Fish Perfect for Your Aquarium

Oscar fish (Astronotus ocellatus)
© TigerStocks/Shutterstock.com

Written by Kirstin Harrington

Updated: July 26, 2023

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The numerous health benefits of owning an aquarium including lowered blood pressure and reduced stress are just a couple of reasons to have a fish tank. Freshwater tanks are generally more straightforward to maintain than saltwater tanks and their inhabitants are more understanding of blunders made by inexperienced fish owners. 

Freshwater fish come in a stunning variety of vibrant and distinct kinds. Today we will look at 16 of the most incredible freshwater fish with stripes that will make a great addition to your tank! 

1. Zebrafish

zebra danio fish isolated white

One of the most popular striped aquarium fish is the zebrafish.

©Grigorev Mikhail/Shutterstock.com

The fish family that includes minnows includes the zebrafish. It is a freshwater fish with Southeast Asian roots. In terms of hobby aquarium fish, it has emerged as one of the most desirable species, and it is also becoming more well-known and in demand in scientific studies. 

The ease with which this species may be maintained and reproduced in captivity is one factor in its appeal. In fact, it is popular as a novice fish in the aquatic community. Yes, you are able to purchase it rather cheaply and find it in most marine pet stores. 

It can eat a variety of dried and live fish foods, and it can survive an extensive variety of water temperatures and conditions. You can keep zebrafish in small tanks because they are compact, highly sociable, and incredibly prolific. 

2. White Cloud Mountain Minnow

A small school of minnows

Minnows are peaceful, small fish that are available in a variety of types and colors.


White cloud mountain minnows are tiny, vibrant fish that were previously referred to as “the working man’s neon” due to how similar in coloration they are in comparison to neon tetras but were cheaper to buy.  

The males of white clouds are more delicate and vivid than the females, and they reach an adult size of one and a half inches. They are fish that live in the top or center of the aquarium. 

A bright line runs from the eye to the tail, where it terminates in a dark area encircled by vivid red. 

Their bodies have a glimmering bronze hue. You should keep this type of fish in sizable schools, ideally with at least six fish per group. Do not put larger fish in the same tank with you since they might consume the white cloud mountain minnows.

3. Glowlight Tetra

Glowlight tetras get their name from how they look under blacklight.

Glowlight tetras get their name from how they look under blacklight.

© CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original

One of the most popular freshwater species among fish keepers is the glowlight tetra. They’re entertaining to observe, colorful, energetic, and simple to take care of. The glowlight tetra has been a popular choice among aquarists all over the globe since it was first introduced to the pet market in 1933. 

These fish can really liven up every freshwater tank since they have such vivid colors. Glowlight tetras frequently congregate and swim around the aquarium as a shoaling species to produce a captivating exhibition of color.

It transforms into a transparent, silvery base hue. This becomes reasonably obvious when you look at them closely. The whole length of the fish has a horizontal stripe. It stretches all the way down to the tail’s very tip.

Caring for glowlight tetras is actually pretty simple, especially when juxtaposed with many other well-known species. They are very resilient and tolerant to a variety of environmental factors.

4. Tiger Barb


barbs have translucent back fins.

©André Karwath aka Aka, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

The extremely common tiger barb is a simple fish to take care of and can be fascinating to observe as it swims rapidly in schools of at least six. However, it can be slightly aggressive and bite any fish with fluid fins, like Bettas. 

This is not the best fish for a communal tank. It is clear how this member of the barb family gained its common name thanks to four tiger-like black lines on an orange-yellow body. 

The well-known tiger barb is made even more colorful with red-edged fins and a scarlet face. 

Strict breeding practices have recently produced a variety of colors, including albinos, greens, blacks, and reds. The genetically altered tiger barb glows in a variety of hues.

5. Buenos Aires Tetra

Buenos Aires tetra’s stripe almost looks iridescent in certain light.

©CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original

Because of its toughness and simplicity of maintenance, the Buenos Aires tetra is very popular. These fish used to be marketed in huge quantities, but as a result of their tendency to consume aquarium plants, their appeal has waned over time. 

One of the bigger tetras is the Buenos Aires tetra, which may reach a length of almost three inches. It has a silver body with a thin blue line that runs from behind the gill to the caudal fin, whereupon there is a black marking in the form of a diamond. 

A splatter of red may be visible at the very top of the eye, and the fins are orange-red. There are albino and other color variants, as well as one with a yellow tail.

6. Dwarf Gourami

A green beautiful planted tropical freshwater aquarium with fishes. Dwarf gourami (Colisa lalia) fish in a home aquarium, lalius close-up

Dwarf gourami are available in a range of different colors.

©Bukhta Yurii/Shutterstock.com

The timid and calm dwarf gourami is a great addition to a freshwater tank. If you have two of these, the fish will move around together in the water. Since dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish, they require exposure to the water’s surface in order to breathe, using an organ that resembles a lung. 

The body of a male is bright orange-red with straight turquoise-blue bands that continue into the fins. Males are a bit bigger than females. Females never develop the spectacular colors of the males, remaining a less vibrant, silvery blue-gray tint. 

This species is often calm and gets along well with smaller, less aggressive species of animals. 

7. Hachetfish


The hachetfish’s wing-like fins allow them to perform lengthy, floating sweeps across the surface of the water.

©CC BY-SA 3.0 – Original

The wonderful little hatchetfish, a freshwater flying fish, is not well recognized. Hatchetfish fly over the surface of the water in nature in lengthy, floating sweeps using their strong “wing-like” fins. 

Hatchetfish get their name because of their unusual form. Three erratic dark blue to brownish-black lines that angle forward and backward extend along the body from the edge of the abdomen. A blackish streak extends above the anal fin. 

The fins are translucent and pale greenish. As shoaling fish, hatchetfish prefer to live kept in groups of at least 10. They are able to be kept safely with other calm, well-behaved fish species of roughly the same size because they are quite tolerating of bottom dwellers.

8. Angelfish

Regal angelfish look incredible under blue lighting.

©stephan kerkhofs/Shutterstock.com

The angelfish is easily recognizable thanks to its tall, pointy fins and striking patterns on its scales. This fish’s variations are among the most often chosen species to include in freshwater aquariums. 

Among this species, there are many various sorts of angelfish to pick from, including those with marbling, lines, spots, as well as all-white albinos. Three straight black stripes on silver angelfish can lighten or darken according to the fish’s attitude. 

Zebra angelfish are this intriguing variant. The zebra differs from the silver angelfish, which has just three bands, by having four to six bands. 

9. Discus

discus red pigeon in aquarium

The color of discus has allowed them the nickname “King of the Aquarium.”


Discus, which belongs to the Cichlidae family, is sometimes described as the “King of the Aquarium” due to their magnificent appearance and magnificent hues. Because of this fish’s flat, round “disk” shape, the term “Discus” was coined.

When fully mature, Discus’ are quite enormous and need an aquarium that is at least 75 gallons in size. The finest tanks for their body form are tall aquariums. Although discus are mostly quiet, gentle fish, they can occasionally become aggressive, particularly when attempting to couple off and reproduce. 

They have incredibly distinctive designs that can really make a freshwater aquarium magical!

10. African Cichlids

The tropical-reef-fish appearance of African cichlids makes them a lovely aquarium addition.

©CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

Perhaps an aquarium with African cichlids is the best choice for you. Some of the most vibrant, lively, and unusual freshwater fish are African cichlids. At first impression, they resemble tropical reef fish. 

There are several types of African cichlids to choose from, many of which have stripes! One of the most well-known African Cichlids in the hobby is the mbuna species. These robust, vibrant, and active fish range in size from small to medium. 

These types of fish can be extremely hostile toward other fish and are very aggressive. Amazing African cichlids from the Aulonocara genus include peacock cichlids. Some of the world’s most vibrant freshwater fish are the males. 

A diversified species of typically larger predatory African cichlids are called haps. Although they are generally calm fish, many of them are piscivorous, indicating that they will consume any tankmates who are small enough to fit in their mouths.

11. Danio

school of danios

Fish of the


genus prefer to swim in schools.

©Andrej Jakubik/Shutterstock.com

The majority of Danio species are surface centric and rarely reach lengths of two inches long. They are busy and extremely energetic, yet they rarely harm other fish. Through careful breeding, a number of color variations and long-finned varieties have been created. 

Beginner fish keepers love Danios due to the fish’s kind nature and low need for upkeep. Danios are regularly offered at neighborhood pet stores and are well-liked in the pet industry. There are currently 27 identified Danio species. 

The term “blue danio” refers to the fish’s vivid blue coloring. The fish can reach a length of two inches and has gold stripes running the length of its body. One of the biggest Danio species, the black-barred Danio can grow to be three inches long. 

The fish is a striking grayish-brown color with vertical black stripes along the length of its body. 

12. Freshwater Gobies

Round goby

There are invasive colonies of round gobies in America’s Great Lakes.

©Geza Farkas/Shutterstock.com

The majority of the fish in this family stay little, rarely reaching lengths of over four inches. Gobies typically feed on items that float to the tank’s bottom because they are bottom-dwellers, implying they dwell in the benthic zone. 

A highly appealing fish that may be maintained in a home tank is the cobalt goby. The main attraction of this fish is its look, although hobbyists who keep freshwater aquariums also enjoy it for its small size. 

The marbled sleeper goby is distinctive in that it is prized as both a food source and a component of the freshwater aquarium. It looks even more amazing in a tank because of the distinctive pattern on its scales.

13. Loaches

Kuhli loach

Kuhli loaches are part of the Cobitidae (loach) family.


Any tank with freshwater fish from the tropics should have loaches. They are typically calm scavengers who spend their time searching the bottom for scraps of food. Clown loaches are vibrant, lively striped fish that are probably the most well-known members of the Loach family, yet they have the potential to go very big. 

They do well in tanks with capacities of 55 gallons or more since they do well in educational facilities. The sensitivity of weather loaches to variations in atmospheric pressure is well documented. 

They are fish that are lively, but when the temperature changes, their activity increases even more so. The sides of their bodies are covered in many stripes. Zebra loaches can be identified by their numerous vertical bands, some of which extend onto their fins. 

They are among the smaller loach species, and because of their calm temperament and diminutive size, they are a popular choice for communal aquariums.

14. Plecos

There are over 150 kinds of plecos.

©CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original

Catfish with sucker-shaped mouths and bone plates and spines covering their bodies in place of scales that shield them are known as plecos, and there are over 150 kinds in all. Their body is covered in patches and stripes.  

One of the most well-known species of plecos is bristlenose plecos. The wonderful tiny catfish 

known as the zebra pleco has striking black and white lines, just like its namesake. 

For serious fish keepers wishing to build up a single-species tank, zebra plecos are a good option. A fantastic fit for a community tank is the tiny to medium-sized catfish known as the tiger pleco. 

The striking white-striped pattern on the black body of these unique catfish contrasts with their dark color. They are distinctive and captivating exhibition fish due to the stripes on their big fins.

15. Freshwater Eels

Fire Eel

Fire eels have extremely unique noses.

©Cheng Wei/Shutterstock.com

Why not think about having freshwater eels as pets instead of typical freshwater fish? Eels are great additions to the family’s tanks and make wonderful pets. Fire eels are stunning freshwater aquarium fish, despite not actually being true eels. 

The fire eel, a unique yet large breed, is about 20 inches long and needs the most available room in your tanks. The eel’s markings resemble painted fire flames on a sports car. 

Eels don’t attack people when they see them. They do, however, have notoriously sharp teeth that will hurt if they do bite. These are great to keep in a tank by themselves, in the event that they do become aggressive. 

16. Neon Tetra

The neon tetra has a light-blue back over a silver-white abdomen and an iridescent red stripe from the middle of the body.

These are one of the most popular freshwater fish found in domestic tanks.

©Kristiana Berzina/Shutterstock.com

Originally from South America, the hardy little neon tetra fish has since spread throughout the world to become the shimmering focal point of aquariums. Since neon tetras are a shoaling species, they must be housed in schools of at least six. 

The neon tetra’s body is just an inch and a half long, slender, and torpedo-shaped. The color of this fish compensates for its small size. A striking neon blue stripe runs from the base of the neon tetra’s nose to its tail fin.

This brilliant stripe is supposed to make them more apparent to one another under dark conditions. The neon tetra ranks as one of the most popular aquarium fish because of its striking red, white, and blue coloration.

Final Thoughts

Having freshwater fish can be a great way to add a pet to your home. There are so many species available and freshwater fish are much easier to care for than saltwater alternatives. Today we’ve taken a look at several of the most popular and unique striped freshwater fish.

Whether you’re looking for something that can thrive on its own or a species that needs a school of 10 or more, we’ve got you covered! From loaches to tetras to gobies, here at A to Z Animals, we hope you found a new finned friend to add to your aquarium! 

Summary of 16 Striped Freshwater Fish Perfect for Your Aquarium

NumberStriped Freshwater Fish
2White Cloud Mountain Minnow
3Glowlight Tetra
4Tiger Barb
5Buenos Aires Tetra
6Dwarf Gourami
10African Cichlids
12Freshwater Gobies
15Freshwater Eels
16Neon Tetra
Summary Table of 16 Striped Freshwater Fish Perfect for Your Aquarium

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About the Author

Kirstin is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering animals, news topics, fun places, and helpful tips. Kirstin has been writing on a variety of topics for over five years. She has her real estate license, along with an associates degree in another field. A resident of Minnesota, Kirstin treats her two cats (Spook and Finlay) like the children they are. She never misses an opportunity to explore a thrift store with a coffee in hand, especially if it’s a cold autumn day!

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