Small Schooling Fish
The tetras that are most commonly found in the fishkeeping hobby are generally small, peaceful, beautiful fish. They are schooling fish and do so to protect their livelihood. Tetras tend to be skittish and always on the lookout for predators, so schooling provides them with the comfort and security they need. A tetra that is not part of a school can stress itself to the point of sickness or even death. Some of the tetras most suitable for a beginner tank are neon tetras, cardinal tetras, black neon tetras, lemon tetras, and bleeding heart tetras.
Danios, members of the cyprinid group of fishes, are fairly similar to tetras. Their hardiness and adaptability make them a good choice for beginner aquarists. One notable characteristic of danios is their uniqueness of appearance within the species. Patterning can be quite different between two danios of the same species, making it relatively easy to identify individuals within a group.
Platies are available in the hobby in a wide range of colors. They are broad-bodied fish and fairly easy to breed, as long as their tank contains enough plants to provide some privacy. Platies generally thrive in small groups of about 5 fish. They will do well in most community tanks, and a group of platies will also create a beautiful single-species tank.