We’ve all done it. For whatever reason, we’ve ended up with a fish unsuitable for its tank mates. Whether it’s through poor research, impulse buying, unknowledgeable employees, fish bought as gifts or ones you took in as rescues, I’ve personally been there and want to share with you the mistakes i have learned. Here’s my list of fish I have found that are definitely not suitable for a traditional mild-mannered community tanks despite what the internet may say.


Tiger barbs:

These lil bastards will team up and destroy any fish they they have beef with, or just any fish. My mom got me one of these once and it proceeded to kill two platys some danios and I can’t even remember what else.  I thought it might just be lonely as she only got me one, which is never a good move with a schooling fish. So I got an albino one too. This only made it worse. They also lived for a couple years and grew surprisingly large further enabling my ability to get more and try to chill them out. Not fun times. These guys need a full school, a huge tank, and a tonne of food or they will starve their tank mates.


Oscars: I personally have never been dumb enough to purchase one of these fish but its reputation speaks for itself. I mean really, they grow huge and can pretty much only be kept with it’s own kind or some other predatory monster fish. I’ve also heard of them eating their own kind too… there’s a reason it’s named after the ultimate grouch.


Angelfish: These are a tough one. Some angel fish are truly timid… usually too much so. They are sensitive to tank mates and are often the victim of fin nipping. But they can also be huge assholes. I’ve seen on IG people who keep them with schools of tetra or other small fish and it looks cool. In my 35 gal I attempted this to much failure. Tank size may have been a factor, but I watched this angel brutally kill these much smaller fish and I can no longer see it as timid.


Banded lepornius: These fish are such a mistake. At first they had great personality and looked amazing. But over time their stripes darken and they turn evil. I had a pair,  which is also apparently a no-no, and they were extremely territorial. I had them for a few years and it took me a long time to notice as they don’t swim around a lot and I had them in a 76gal…. But they were definitely harassing EVERY tank mate. They were getting huge as well so I re-homed them to Petland where they did not get adopted for 4+months… or the employees finally got annoyed with them and got rid of them….


Gouramis: I tried and tried to keep these bastards as community fish. I tried pearl, dwarf and the red ones and they all sucked. It’s not even that they are inadvertently killing anything they just terrorize everyone and seem in general grumpy and unhappy. I’m just not into a grumpy fish.


So there you have it! These are some of the fish I’ve seen people commonly mistake as community fish. Obviously lots of fish are aggressive or semi aggressive but some of these seem to slip into the community tank world with an air of caution. These are just my experiences/ things I’ve seen in the hobby  over the years so I’m sure there’s lots of opinions out there. But, I do pride myself on my community tank skills as I like to keep variety 😊