Species for a 60 litre aquarium

As a follow up on my ramblings about picking the species of fish for this project, here is a compilation of some common species that I feel are small enough for an aquarium which is 60 by 30 by 30 cm in size. This list is not anywhere close to completion, just a few of the species which I could remember at the time of compiling. I do plan to update this list in the future with more species. I do not use common names as many are used for more than one species and some species have multiple common names, while scientific names are the same everywhere. If you have any suggestions for which species should be added, please let me know.

South American fish:

These generally prefer soft, blackwater environments, with plenty of bogwood and a leaf litter.

> Mid-water schooling fish (tetras, all are schooling fish):

  • Axelrodia riesei
  • Hyphessobrycon amandae
  • Hyphessobrycon loretoensis
  • Hyphessobrycon peruvianus
  • Lepidarchus adonis
  • Paracheirodon innesi
  • Paracheirodon simulans
  • Characidae gen. sp. “Yellow Glass” (an undescribed dwarf tetra from Peru)

> Centre piece fish (dwarf cichlids):

  • Apistogramma borellii
  • Apistogramma commbrae
  • Apistogramma hongsloi
  • Mikrogeophagus ramirezi (earth eater)

> Bottom dwellers (most are shoaling species):

  • Corydoras cochui
  • Corydoras gladysae
  • Corydoras habrosus
  • Corydoras hastatus
  • Corydoras pygmaeus
  • Corydoras sp. (C144)
  • Nannoptopoma sp. ‘Peru’
  • Nannoptopoma sp. ‘Peru white’
  • Nannoptopoma spectabilis

Asian fish

Many Asian fish prefer neutral type of water.

> Surface dwelling, centre piece fish (Anabantoidei):

  • Betta channoides
  • Betta simplex
  • Betta splendens
  • Betta strohi
  • Trichogaster chuna
  • Trichopsis pumila
  • Parasphaerichtys lineatus
  • Parosphromenus deissneri
  • Pseudosphromenus cupanus
  • Pseudosphromenus dayi

> Mid-water schooling fish:

  • Danio choprae
  • Danio margaritatus
  • Danio erythromicron
  • Danionella dracula
  • Danionella translucida
  • Boraras brigittae
  • Boraras maculatus
  • Boraras merah
  • Boraras micros
  • Boraras naevus (reference)
  • Boraras urophthalmoides
  • Brevibora dorsiocellat
  • Horadandia atukorali
  • Microdevario kubotai
  • Microdevario nana
  • Microdevario gatesi
  • Microrasbora microphthalmai
  • Microrasbora rubescens
  • Paedocypris progenetica (one of the smallest vertebrates in the world; reference)
  • Trigonostigma espei
  • Trigonostigma somphongsi (?) Some sources claim 30 mm, while others over 100 mm. If you have Aquarium Atlas, can you please let me know what it says for the species?

> Bottom dwellers:

  • Erethistes (Hara) jerdoni
  • Erethistes (Hara) maesotensis
  • Yunnanilus sp. ‘rosy’


This popular group of fish usually does best in hard water. They are not schooling fish, but do tend to be quite social. Another consideration for small aquariums is that these fish will breed readily if males and females are kept together and for most species, it is recommended that at least two females are kept per every male to reduce the stress to the females, which is caused by overly eager males.

  • Girardinus creolus
  • Girardinus cubensis
  • Girardinus falcatus
  • Girardinus microdactylus
  • Girardinus metallicus
  • Limia versicolor
  • Micropoecilia bifurca
  • Micropoecilia branneri
  • Micropoecilia minima
  • Micropoecilia picta
  • Neoheterandria cana
  • Neoheterandria elegans
  • Neoheterandria tridentiger
  • Phalloceros caudimaculatus
  • Phalloptychus januarius
  • Poecilia boesemani
  • Poecilia caucana
  • Poecilia caudofasciata
  • Poecilia chica
  • Poecilia dauli
  • Poecilia elegans
  • Poecilia obscura
  • Poecilia parae
  • Poecilia reticulata
  • Poecilia wingei
  • Poeciliopsis presidionis
  • Poeciliopsis turneri
  • Poeciliopsis prolifica
  • Priapichthys puetzi
  • Xenophallus umbratilis
  • Xiphophorus maculatus
  • Xiphophorus variatus


A group of schooling and shoaling species, rainbows are possibly the fish which are most commonly kept in aquariums which are too small and as individuals, instead of groups. Here are some of the wonderful, yet small rainbowfish:

  • Kiunga ballochi
  • Pseudomugil gertrudae
  • Pseudomugil cyanodorsalis
  • Pseudomugil inconspicuus
  • Pseudomugil ivantsoffi
  • Pseudomugil mellis
  • Pseudomugil paskai
  • Pseudomugil reticulatus
  • Pseudomugil signifer (southern populations only)
  • Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis


Occasionally, it is possible to come across uncommon, but interesting fish.

> Sunfish:

  • Elassoma evergladei

> Gobiidae:

  • Brachygobius aggregatus

> Killifish are one of the most suitable fish for small aquariums, but one of the few I am yet to try:

  • Oryzias minustillus

> Lake Tanganyika shell dwelling cichlids, the few African Rift Lake cichlids which may be kept in such small aquariums:

  • Lamprologus stappersi
  • Neolamprologus brevis
  • Neolamprologus kungweensis
  • Neolamprologus laparogramma
  • Neolamprologus multifasciatus
  • Neolamprologus signatus
  • Neolamprologus similis
  • Neolamprologus speciosus
  • Neolamprologus wauthioni

> Dwarf puffers:

  • Carinotetraodon imitator
  • Carinotetraodon travancoricus

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