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Top 10 Cheap Nano Fish For a Stunning Display


Looking for some cheaper nano fish to round out your display?

Perhaps you are looking for a budget centerpiece fish that will fit into a smaller aquarium.

Here are a few suggestions with sizes and average prices we found!

Prices are the average of several online retail shops, and current as of publication May 2023. We looked at other independant online fish breeders and retailers (not Amazon or Ebay)


#1 Guppies

First up, we have the ever vibrant and eye-catching guppies. I feel like there's a new morph every time I turn around.

These small aquarium fish come in a huge variety of colors and are perfect for any beginner aquarist. Not only are they fairly cheap, but they are also easy to care for and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions.

 We found them to range considerably from $4 a fish to $20 online for specific breeds. Females were usually cheaper. Average size is about 2", males smaller (see below).

#2 Celestial Pearl Danio

If you're looking for something a little more unique, consider the Celestial pearl danio. These tiny fish may be small, but their striking spotted blue and orange coloration makes them stand out in any tank. 

While the prices of CPD's have spiked in the last few years, these still made it on our list for their cost/value. Give a school a try!

 We found these in packs of 6-12 on average. Price per fish is about $8 online. Size is a diminutive 1". 

#3 Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)

Betta fish, also unfortunately known as Siamese fighting fish, are not only beautiful to look at but they are also very easy to care for. These little guys thrive in small spaces, so you won't need a massive tank to give them a comfortable home. 10 Gallons should be your minimum!

Plus, these decently low-cost fish come in a variety of colors so you can choose the perfect one to complement your aquarium's color scheme!

Bettas are what one would call a 'centerpiece' fish- Meaning its held singly in an aquarium, and is quite a show-stopper.

 Price per male was about $12 for a basic Veiltail. Highest morph was Painted Koi at about $50. Not super cheap, but again, value.

Avg. size was 2.5"

#4 Pygmy Corydoras

Pygmy Corydoras are the perfect bottom-dwelling fish. They are peaceful and won't disturb your other fish, making them great tank mates. Plus, they only get about an inch long!

They love to 'graze' and sift along the substrate in herds- they remind me of little sheep!

Tiniest cory cats are about 1" as adults. Prices are about $8 a fish, and almost always sold in little schools.

#5 Sparkling Dwarf Gourami

These underrated little fish are actually related to Bettas!

Similarly undemanding, (if not quite as colorful) these dwarf Gouramis are thrilling in a trio of one Male, two females. Subtle coloration, breeding behavior,  and typically under $6 a fish? Sign us up!

 We found them in multiples and they grow under 2". Average was about $6/ fish.

#6 Neon Tetras

These little guys are one of the most popular coloful fish for cheap, and it's not hard to see why.

Their bright neon colors add a sizzle and flash to any tank, and they're small enough to fit in almost all Nano aquariums.

They are schoolers, so you'll want to grab at least 6-12 for their comfort and best effect. They will be very shy otherwise.

Most nano tetras fit this mold; including the Ember Tetras, Cardinals, Ruby, Gold Tetras, and Von Rios!

 Among the cheapest you can find, at about $3- $4 a pop. Teeny flashy fish top out at 1.5"

#7 White Cloud Mountain Minnows

Another resilient fish that can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and water conditions. They are a schooling fish, so you'll want to get a few of them to keep each other company.

Plus...  they come in stunning morphs such as Yellow-fin, Gold, and Long-fin that will really make your tank pop!

A cheap fish, plus you save money on nixing a heater? A highly underrated fish in my opinion.


Sold in schools at about $4 a fish. Under 1.5" long!


#8 Long Fin Zebra Danios

Need a lot of activity near the top/ middle of your water column? Check out this long- finned variety of Zebra Danios!

They are even more active than guppies, and will come running for food. Zebra Danios are an excellent, easygoing beginner fish- they ask for so little!

At the time of this writing, a six pack can be had for under $15.

Fish are about 1.5" as adults.


#9 Endlers

These are very closely related to Guppies (Poecilia reticulata), and have almost identical needs.

Even though most Endler variants are much smaller than guppies (at about an inch), they will still cross breed with guppies. Just something to be aware of if you have them already!

Endlers are typically among the cheapest little fish you can buy for a nano aquarium.

Some of the more highly -bred varieties (such as Green Cobras, or Japanese Blues) can be a little more pricey, though.

Basic Endlers come in at $2 each. Higher breeds like Cobras can go up to $7. They grow no longer than 1", although females are larger.

#10 Platies

lastly on the list are the hardy and vibrant Platy! Not only do they come in a range of dazzling colors and patterns, but they're also super chill and easy to care for. 

Lil' beggars are very similar to guppies and endlers- live bearing, active, and will eat whatever you give them!

Platies are a little larger than average, at about 2.5", and are on average about $3 for the more common colors and morphs.


There you have it, folks! Ten of the best budget-friendly fish out there that will make your Nano aquarium pop. These low-cost fish may be easier on your wallet, but they're just as cool and colorful as many costlier varieties.

Find your new Nano buddies here!

- Abby 

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