Setting up a River Tank style aquarium, or Riparium, is not as difficult as it may sound, but you will have to take some special measures.

One being, which fish are best suited to a tank with constantly flowing water, or current. Second, will they survive with Crabs, Chameleons, Frogs and whatever else lives in this diverse type of tank. Rivers are most commonly Freshwater, so we will focus on those species.

Freshwater tanks have proven to be easier to manage than Saltwater tanks, and their critters are more tolerant of errors made by novice owners. Many people think Saltwater fish are the only ones with an interesting, colorful flare, but many Freshwater fish species offer a stunning array of color and uniqueness that will make your aquarium shine. whether you’re a new or experienced fish owner, it’s hard not to get hooked on the River Tank environment with all the different creatures and their personalities.

Let’s take a closer look at ten fish that thrive best in a river style aquarium:


Guppies are great for new fish owners. They are usually on the lower cost end. Also, they tend to breed with each other very fast if the genders are not separated. They come in different colors, with males more flamboyant than females. Guppies can also respond to different humidity levels and have striking characteristics, making them so famous. It is necessary to keep the water temperature steady at around  50°F – 84°F (10-29°C) so that your fish can find everlasting happiness in their tanks.

Golden Dwarf Barbs

The Golden Dwarf Barb is a much lesser-known type of freshwater fish. They are also a great choice for new aquarium owners. These fish can grow up to 1.5 inches, and they can be easily spotted for their golden yellow colors matched with black markings on their body. They do very well when they are kept in a tank with plants, which makes them very well suited to the river tank. It is recommended not to keep more than five of these at a time in one tank as they may bicker among the school about the pecking order.


The Platy fish or Platies (plural) is a beautiful freshwater fish that comes in many exotic colors. They are quite peaceful fish that perform well in their habitats. You can see them playing with the guppies and the mollies; they’re very friendly! The Platy fish requires a combination of plant-based foods and proteins, although occasionally it may also consume meat-based products. Since they are really small, it’s important you don’t overfeed them, or give them oversized food.

Neon Tetra / Cardinal Tetra

These Tetras are small, thin, and very easy to look after. They are perfect for new aquarium owners; They typically reach a maximum of 3 cm in length. Neons and Cardinals can be recognized by their blue striped bodies and their vivid red markings. The Neon Tetra is smaller than the Cardinal Tetra and the blue and red does not run the length of their body.  These fish, like most in this list, are known for being very calm and peaceful species of aquarium fish as well as active swimmers. They perform their best when kept in tanks of rocks, trees, and other accessories in which they can hide. These are some of the most popular freshwater species on our list with over 2 million sold in the US each month.


Mollies can grow between 3 to 4 inches in length and are omnivorous, which implies they can consume crops and other species. These fish are easy going and small. What’s unique about this freshwater critter is that, unlike most fish, they give birth to their babies. in a river tank, this is less likely to occur, but Mollies do love to reproduce, so if you do not want a lot of these gorgeous fish in your tank, keep one gender, to be on the safe side.

Tiger Barb

Often confused with the Black Tetra… The Tiger Barb is a freshwater fish that can grow up to 3.9 inches in length. This species loves to be in schools, so you might consider buying more than one. Some of them can grow up to 13 centimeters, but when in captivity they tend to be smaller. The tiger barbs are very colorful with a playful and active personality. The fish is very safe for beginners. Although tiger barbs tend to establish somewhat of a pecking order, they are well suited for tanks with larger and active fish.

Dwarf Indian Loach

The Dwarf Indian Loach is a bottom – dweller and originates from the streams in India; hence the name. The fish is also referred to as a scale less fish, because they have really small scales that are embedded to their skin. They have the personality of an active scavenger, and are also semi – aggressive and would enjoy the company of only its kind. Currently due to their limited population, they are being farm raised, thus, you might only be able to buy from a specialty store.

Clown Loach

The Clown loach is a tropical freshwater fish that belongs to the botiid loach family. This species comes from the inland waters of Indonesia, on the island of Sumatra. The Clown loach’s red fins, black striped body and active behavior have made it one of the most popular loach species for beginners. The fish is peaceful ; they coexist well with any other species. Although they would eat up snails on sight, you might have to remove any snail from your tank. Finally, the Clown loach is active during the day however, they easily shy away from light.


the Rainbowfish is yet another popular fish that is easy to take care of. Their bright colors do not break-in until they reach adulthood. These fish can be timid, but they are typically at home with other fish in their ponds. Rainbowfish have an excellent time with barbs and tetras.

Zebra Danio

The Zebra Danio is a low maintenance and small type of fish which usually grows up to five to seven cm at most. This type of fish likes to be in groups because they are schooling fish, If left alone, they can become distressed. Zebra Danios like to eat worms, insects, and crustaceans. They may also consume the usual fish flake meal, but we suggest spicing up their diet. This fish species is also known to jump out of the tank, so take extra precautions and keep the tank cover sealed.


Freshwater fish come in a wide range of shapes, colors, and sizes. The most common fish in standard aquariums, may not necessarily be best suited for a constantly flowing river style tank. If you’re new to fish keeping, we suggest starting small and introducing only a few fish at a time, allowing you to get to know what works best and learn how to take care of each species of fish before you add another one.

Make sure to research the species that get along with each other before you buy. This article serves only as an sample of the common varieties of freshwater fish that thrive well in a Riparium or “River Tank,” rather than a guide on how to take care of each fish.