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What Is the Least Smelly Aquarium Fish? Beginner Guide

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Home aquariums are beautiful and can be the center of attention in any room. Unfortunately, if they are not properly taken care of, they can end up being smelly and can end up being an eyesore.

Proper tank maintenance is the key to not having a smelly aquarium. All fish produce waste that can smell after a while of not being cleaned. With that being said, the smaller the fish, the smaller the waste. Partial water changes are crucial to keeping the smell at bay.

Keep reading to learn more about keeping up with your aquarium as well as smaller fish that produce the least waste.

Tank Maintenance 

As mentioned, there is not one particular fish that is less smelly than the rest.

Furthermore, making sure your tank is clean is the key to having an aquarium that does not give off an unpleasant odor.

The best way to do this is with partial water changes. 

Partial water changes should be done on a weekly basis by changing around 10% of the water each week.

water change in aquarium

This will help remove any extra toxins in the water as well as fish poop, leftover food, and decaying plant matter.

Keep in mind you should also always change your filters on a monthly basis as well. This will help keep up with the mess in the tank.

It is also important to remove any decaying matter if possible.

This includes live plant pieces that may have started to decay and any dead fish if there are any. 

10 Low Maintenance Fish 

As stated, there is not one fish that is less smelly than any of the others.

However, there are smaller fish that make great additions to any tank that do produce less waste because of their size.

These fish are considered to be low maintenance but do of course require the basic necessities. 

1. Betta fish

Betta fish

As commonly known, Betta fish are typically very territorial and they are usually housed alone in a smaller tank.

Because of this, the tank usually does not get too dirty and won’t smell unless neglected for a longer period of time.

Again, since they are smaller they do not produce a lot of waste. They are also particularly easy to care for and come in a variety of beautiful colors.

2. Zebra danio

The zebra danio is a small fish, that again does not produce a ton of waste.

However, they do better in groups of at least 6 of their own kind and also do well in a community tank with other species. If you have 6, a 55-gallon tank is recommended.

This can make for a smelly tank, but only if you don’t keep up with it!

3. Platies

Platies are another small freshwater fish that do great in community tanks. They can also be alone or in a small group.

However, they are happier in a group. Since they are small, they do not produce a lot of waste.

4. Dwarf Otocinclus

The dwarf oto is a great addition to any tank and is much smaller than its regular counterpart. They do not produce a lot of waste, but rather clean waste at the bottom of the tank.

They are bottom feeders and do a great job at removing waste.

However, if they do not have enough to feed on, they may go after the slime coats of other fish.

5. Minnows

Minnows come in a variety of different colors and are good additions to freshwater aquariums.

They do best in large groups of their own kind or amongst other species in a large tank.

They are super small and therefore do not produce a lot of waste. 

6. Guppies

Guppies are a beautiful addition to any tank and are great community fish. Since they are smaller fish, they do not typically produce a lot of waste.

However, it is important to note that they breed rather quickly and the tank can get smelly quickly if it is overcrowded.

To prevent this, it is best to choose one sex of guppies that inhabit the tank. If you enjoy color, males are the way to go.

7. Tetras

There are several different types of tetras that come in a variety of colors. However, one thing remains the same, they are small.

Again, this leads to less waste. As with other smaller fish, they love to be in communities but make sure it does not get overcrowded to prevent waste build-up. 

8. Cherry Barbs 

Cherry barbs are bright fish that make a great addition to any freshwater tank. However, they like to be in groups of 6.

They also make a great feature in your tank because they are very playful and you will catch them darting around the tank. 

9. Kuhli Loaches

While Kuhli loaches do not look like your typical fish, they are actually good additions to a freshwater tank.

They should be kept in groups of three and are great at removing waste throughout the tank; therefore, are not smelly. 

10. Swordtails

Swordtails are another smaller freshwater fish that do great in a community tank or amongst themselves.

They do best in groups and should be at least a group of 4. This amount of fish could go in a 10-gallon tank. If cleaned properly, they will not be smelly.

They do also come in a variety of colors, but the most popular is a vibrant red.