Community Fish Tank - 5 Centre Piece Fish Ideas 2023


We have all been there, you’ve just finished setting up your dream planted tank with community fish, but something is missing, one final cherry on top of the cake, a centre piece fish. One bold fish which helps ties together the rest of the aquarium and becomes the focal point of the aquarium. A centre piece fish is generally larger than the rest of the fish and is usually the most colourful or interesting fish in terms of behaviour. Always keep in mind that you should only add a centre piece fish which is compatible with your other fish and if your aquarium is large enough.


Siamese Fighting Fish – These fish have a feisty reputation, and it is generally well deserved. If you put a male fighting fish with another fighting fish or a fish which even remotely looks like another fighting fish in terms of colour or finnage then they will fight to the bitter end. Siamese fighting fish all have different personalities when it comes to community fish tankmates, some are more mellow, and some are just outright aggressive and can never be kept with any other fish. From my experience it is best to purchase a fighting fish which is already with other fish at the shop when you buy it, that way you can gage its temperament towards other fish. It is always a gamble buying a fighting fish which is on its own at the shop if you plan to keep it with other fish as you have no idea how it will react. Over half of all fighting fish can be kept with peaceful community fish from my experience. They work well when paired with fish like corydoras, cardinal tetras or harlequin rasboras. I have had great experiences with these tank mates, don’t be surprised if your fighting fish pays the other fish a bit of attention every now and then as long as the is no actual contact. Have the other fish in schools to help them feel safe and confident. A planed tank the is half open space and half dense plants can work well as it gives fish a chance to hide. I recommend a tank of at least 60cm in length if you plan on keeping your fighting fish with other fish, this gives the fish enough room to move away from each other if needed.


Honey Gourami – Honey gourami are generally very peaceful; males may spar for dominance but if you are only keeping one you should not have any issues. They have bright colours, you can get an orange variety or a yellow variety, in my opinion the yellow variety contrast the best in a planted tank. These little fish have two feelers which you may see them using at times. I have seen these fish work well with other small peaceful schooling community fish such as small tetras, Corydoras and bristlenose.


Kribensis – Kribensis are a dwarf cichlid with beautiful colours. They can become territorial when breeding but if you just keep a single specimen in your aquarium, you won’t have this issue. Kribensis appreciate hiding spots, so it is worth keeping this mind when you are aquascaping your tank. I have kept these fish with a variety of community fish, most other peaceful fish should not be a problem. These fish can be a little secretive which makes them a good option for a centre piece fish that might not be on display 24/7 and it becomes a bit more exciting when they do pop out into the open.


Bolivian Ram – Bolivian rams are a peaceful dwarf cichlid, if you just keep one then you don’t need to worry about territorial issues when breeding. These fish look amazing once coloured up. I have found these fish to be very peaceful towards other tankmates, they do well when kept with popular schooling community fish. Bolivian rams are a type of dwarf earth eater meaning they like to sift sand and will eat mainly from the substrate, keep this in mind when feeding them as I have noticed these can get out competed in tanks where they are fed only at the surface. These fish are constantly busy and very hardy, a great centrepiece fish for a beginner fishkeeper!


Angelfish – These are one of the most popular fish in the hobby. Angelfish have an appearance like no other fish. They have triangular shaped tall bodies and reach a fully grown size of 6 inches. Because of this you will need a large tank with adequate horizontal and vertical swimming space. Angelfish are relatively peaceful, but each fish has their own personality. If angelfish breed, they will become especially territorial towards other fish which try to venture near their eggs. Because of this I suggest it is best to just keep one as a centrepiece fish in a community aquarium. Angelfish fish grow large, they will make a quick meal out of small tetras like cardinal tetras so it’s best to keep them with larger peaceful tankmates, lemon tetras and corydoras work well.


Pro tip: All fish have their own personality and unfortunately you are not able to 100% predict how they will react to other fish, keep this in mind and be prepared to act if you see aggression. It is always a good idea to have a backup option.



AQUAnatur was created by an established UK aquarium installation and maintenance company near London which has been running for over 25 years! Our team are very experienced and happy to help offer advice with any aquarium questions. We are always available via phone or email Monday -Friday, feel free to contact us, we would love to help! AQUAnatur supply a range of aquariums and aquascaping products. If you have a question, please leave a comment or contact us via phone or email.

By Alasdair McPhail

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