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What Freshwater Aquarium Fish Has the Most Personality?

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Choosing fish for your aquarium can be a difficult task, especially when you want a fish that displays a personality. 

Some have more of a ‘personality’ than others and it is important to choose which species of fish will be right for you.

Oscars, mollies, cichlids, goldfish, and betta fish are on the list of fish that have the most personality. However, Oscars seem to be the winner of the top fish. Having an oscar isn’t feasible for everyone as they are larger. Some cichlids, mollies, and betta fish are great for smaller tanks.

Like dogs, some fish have different personalities that are better suited for different owners. 

Keep reading to learn more about how these species display their personality and which would be best for you!


Oscars are a large species of freshwater fish that have a large personality to go along with them. 

Because of this, not everyone can own one of these fish since they can grow up to 12 inches in their first year of life. 

With that being said, one oscar needs at least a 55-gallon tank to live in, but a 75-gallon tank is better.

If you do have the room, you will find that an oscar is a “dog” of the fish family. They are known to recognize their owner and will even “follow” them in the tank if the owner walks back and forth. 

Oscar fish

There are also reports that they will wiggle their tail back and forth when they are excited. 

Aside from these characteristics, Oscars are typically very playful. If you throw an aluminum foil ball or ping pong ball in the tank, they will nudge it with their face and tail. 

You can even put “goals” in the aquarium and train the oscar to put the ball in the goals. 

Oscars will also follow your fingers and learn how to feed right out of your hand! This is great for building a connection with your fish and associating you with a good thing. 


On the much smaller end of the spectrum of freshwater fish are mollies. While their personalities do not shine as much as an oscar, they can be very playful. 

Unlike the Oscars, they do best as a part of a community and with others of their own kind. 

Mollies will swim up the tank when it’s feeding time and can eat out of your hand once they are comfortable with you. 

You will see them following your finger the majority of the time as well. 

They are also playful amongst their own kind and you will often catch them chasing after each other and exploring if they have enough room in the tank. 


Cichlids are great fish that do tend to show their personality. They are much like the Oscars but on a smaller scale. 

Common cichlids include angelfish, discus fish, the electric blue cichlid, convict cichlid, cockatoo cichlid, peacock cichlid, and more. 

Since they come in such a variety you are bound to find a species that fits your type. 

Like the others, many cichlids will follow your finger, or even watch and follow you from the tan as you move around the room. 

Some will also feed out of your hand which is again, a great way to build your connection with your fish. 

With that being said, some are more friendly than others so you will want to do some research on each breed to find one that best suits your wants. 


The common goldfish also shows a great personality and can even be trained. 

Unlike the others, a goldfish can live in room temps and does not have such strict water parameters as other fish. 

This makes them a great starter fish! However, as opposed to what is commonly thought, they should not be placed in a small tank or fish bowl. 

Goldfish need at least a 10-gallon tank for one fish alone. Tank room should be added if you are getting more than one fish or are adding any decorations or live plants. 

With that being said, if you do have enough room, hoops can also be added to the tank. Goldfish can be taught to swim through these hoops which can be quite entertaining!

You can also teach them to follow your fingers and eat out of your hand, especially brine shrimp or worms since they are omnivores. 

Betta Fish 

Betta fish are quite entertaining and do display quite the personality. Since they are naturally curious, they love exploring new additions in a tank, such as toys or even your fingers. 

Just like the others, they will follow your fingers and feed out of your hand as well. 

They will play will hoops and small balls as well. You can teach them to nudge small balls to a certain spot in the tank and do flips underwater. They can also be taught several other tricks as well! 

With that being said, it is important to understand that bettas should not be placed in a fishbowl or a container as you find at the store. 

They should at least have a 5-gallon tank but of course the bigger the better since they love to explore. Bettas will even flare up at you at certain times to express their content.


It is important to note that these claims do not come from a scientific basis and many people tend to believe that fish do not have feelings and therefore cannot express happiness or playfulness. 

With that being said, many fish owners disagree with this based on the behaviors above. 

If you end up homing any of these fish in your home aquarium, you can base your opinions on your own observations. 

I am certain you will find that fish, like any other pet, do have their own personalities and traits.

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