5 Best Pet Fish for Kids

If your kiddo is asking non-stop to set up an aquarium, and you're about to say yes, it's time to learn about the best pet fish for kids. It's also a good idea to chat about responsible fish ownership with your little ones. Aquatic friends need just as much care and attention as the family cat or dog with daily feedings, attention, and maintenance.

But which pet fish should you choose? The best pet fish for kids will hold their attention for more than a week. Visit the pet store a few times to see which fish they keep going back to and develop a long-term interest in caring for and enjoying.

OK, ready to explore some fish? You can't go wrong with any of these charismatic and colorful aquatic friends. When you head to the pet store, focus on these top fish pets.

The OG of Pet Fish

To keep a kid's interest, choose intriguing and playful fish. These top two wildly popular species hit the mark and will likely have you glued to the tank as well.

1. Goldfish

At some point, every child needs to have a goldfish. Maybe they win one at the summer carnival or school fun night! These bright orange, yellow, white, and black fish come in many fancy and common varieties, so your child can pick out the coolest-looking one. The bulging eyes of the Bubble Eye goldfish are super goofy! And the fluffy toupee-like structure atop the head of an oranda is neat too. Goldfish are great for families with ornamental ponds outside or larger aquariums inside. Goldfish are in the carp family, and some varieties can grow to a foot or more and live 10 to 20 years!

2. Betta

The flowy, cascading fins of the colorful betta are stunning. Kids can't walk past these fish without letting out an ooh or ahh. Also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, male bettas are ready to duke it out with other male bettas, so you'll want just one in the tank. And, be ready to play! Bettas love one-on-one attention from you. Bettas are one of the best pet fish for kids because they are native to shallow pools and Asian rice paddies, making them easy to house in small desk-top tanks in a child's bedroom. Check out the BettaBow Kits for simple setup and maintenance.

More Fun Pet Fish

The next three pets on our list may be less common, but are equally as exciting to kids. Be sure to browse them on your next trip to the fish store.

3. Angelfish

With their uncommon triangular-shaped bodies, angelfish often catch the eyes of curious kids. Why do they look like that? How do they swim? Get ready for a rapid-fire list of questions about these popular South American fish as your kids peer inside the tank. Thankfully, angelfish are an easy tropical fish to manage. But, they do require a minimum aquarium size of 20 gallons for one pair. They enjoy a range of warmer water temps between 78° and 84° F and are peaceful tankmates to fish the same size or larger.

4. Shrimp

OK, so these guys aren't technically fish, but they live in freshwater aquariums and require the same setup as fish. Good options for beginners are the cherry shrimp and brine shrimp. You may know the brine shrimp as sea monkeys!

If your kid is a fan of monsters, spiders, and anything creepy crawly, the crazy swimming patterns and bottom-feeding scavenger movements of freshwater shrimp will keep them mesmerized. Aqueon has a food specially designed for freshwater shrimp that can help enhance their colors and keep their exoskeleton strong. Look for the clear ghost shrimp variety if your little one would think it's neat to see the shrimp's insides from the outside!

5. Tetras

Schooling fish, like tetras, are sure to keep even the most inquisitive toddler entertained. The bold, striped fish dart back and forth across the tank in clusters, much like a dance routine. Red and blue neon tetras, yellow lemon tetras, and orange glowlights are true conversation pieces in a freshwater aquarium. These fish are easy to mix into an existing tank of community fish, like danios, barbs, and rasboras.

Once you decide which pet fish is perfect for your kiddo, get an aquarium set up. And be sure you do this before bringing the pet home. Here are some tips for choosing the best home for the fish, which accessories you'll need, and how to get the water ready. Once your aquarium has cycled, welcome the scaly friend(s) into your family!