When people talk about cute pets, they often leave fish off the list. But fish are incredibly cute, and not just physically. Their quirky personalities add to their adorableness, too. The super-popular clownfish, for example, has a silly swimming pattern where they dart back and forth. The black moor goldfish has their cartoon-like eyes. We searched the reef and found the eight cutest pet fish you'll want to take home immediately.
Doesn't that adorable smile just melt your heart?! Pufferfish are one of the cutest pet fish out there, because, well, enough said. Puffers come in both saltwater and freshwater species and many make very entertaining pets. But because many puffers can puff up when they feel threatened, you'll need a very large aquarium (at least 100 gallons!) to keep one of these cuties.
Why they're so cute: Pufferfish have cute, chubby cheeks you can't help but want to squeeze, plus they're silly and have almost dog-like personalities.
Black Moor Goldfish
There are dozens of different kinds of goldfish, but we love the black moor variety because of their cute faces. Those protruding eyes make them look a bit like a character straight from an animator's desktop. Still, these fish are very much real and make excellent pets for anyone seeking a particularly unusual (and cute!)-looking goldfish.
Why they're so cute: The black moor's beautiful color and huge eyes set them apart from other goldfish, giving them that adorable cartoonish appearance.
Shrimp technically aren't fish, but this aquatic creature is downright adorable. Dwarf shrimp are freshwater intvertebrates that are actually beneficial, because they can help control waste and algae in your tank. You can find them in several colors to match your tank's aesthetic.
Why they're so cute: Dwarf shrimp stay tiny at just over 1 inch long and they're helpful antics add to their cuteness!
We thought clownish were cute long before Nemo came around, thank you very much, but the classic cartoon definitely added an extra layer of cute. Clownfish are known for being great fish for beginning marine keepers because they're hardy and don't require a ton of intricate care. Plus, most are raised in captivity, so they're especially hardy in aquariums. And even though they live in anemones in the wild, they don't need them to survive in captivity.
Why they're so cute: Their silly swimming pattern (which is how they earned their name) looks like the clownfish is performing acrobatics, and it's adorable to watch.
A fish that looks like a panda bear? Yes, it exists, and it's as cute as it sounds. The panda cory is a tiny catfish that has black markings across their face and back that give them the appearance of a giant panda. Fortunately, these 2-inch long fish can fit in your home and munch on bloodworms rather than bamboo. They're super cute in any freshwater tank.
Why they're so cute: Panda cories have markings like a panda and cute little whiskers.
Seahorses are one of the coolest and cutest fish on the planet, and, yes, you can keep them as pets. A single horse or small herd of sea horses needs their own dedicated tank in order to thrive. They're delicate animals, however, so plan a special setup that caters to their needs. And just like true horses, sea horses need hitching posts like coral or grass that they can hang onto. How cute is that?
Why they're so cute: Sea horses truly look like cute little horses, plus they hold tails with their partner, just like humans holding hands.
There's something about tiny fish that just makes them that much cuter, which is why we love the neon tetra. Neons have iridescent blue and red stripes down their body. They do best in schools of six tetras or more, and you can watch these little guys dart around your tank all day.
Why they're so cute: Neon tetras are tiny and bright-colored fish that love hanging out in groups.
Even though they're a saltwater species, the Mandarin goby is anything but salty. These cute fish are docile, shy, and incredibly cute. Just look at those vibrant colors! Caring for this species can be tricky because they have a very specific carnivorous diet, but if you're up for the challenge, you'll be rewarded with a super cute fishy friend.
Why they're so cute: With their numerous fins, expressive eyes, and vibrant coloring, the mandarin fish looks like a cute cartoon fish.
Cute Fish for Any Aquarium
Before you settle on a cute pet fish for your aquarium, make sure you're prepared for the upkeep. Marine tanks are usually a lot more time-consuming than freshwater systems, and delicate fish are more challenging to keep than species that are more resilient. Do your research to find an adorable fish that will fit with your lifestyle, so you can help them live their best life while you enjoy their cuteness.