6 Best Centerpiece Fish for a 20-Gallon Tank

Alison Page

Alison Page


Centerpiece Fish for 20 Gallon Tank

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A 20-gallon fish tank is the perfect sized setup for newbies to the hobby.

In a 20-gallon tank, you can keep many of the most popular community fish species, including schools of brightly colored Neon tetras, rasboras, and cute Corydoras catfish. You could also add a few snails and freshwater shrimp to the mix for variety.

But you also have space for some centerpiece fish to provide an eye-catching feature in your aquarium.

Read this guide to discover six beautiful centerpiece fish you might want to consider keeping in your 20-gallon tank.

6 Centerpiece Fish for a 20-Gallon Tank

This part of our guide presents our six favorite fish that can make a real feature statement in your 20-gallon fish tank.

Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare)


Angelfish are beautiful tropical fish that are distinctive with their black, silver, and orange color variants and striking shape.

These are hardy fish that can grow to quite a large size, making them unsuitable for a smaller tank, but one specimen can do fine in a 20-gallon aquarium.

Ideally, a tall-shaped tank with plenty of swimming space is best for these elegant fish.

Angelfish can be somewhat aggressive and are generally happiest when kept as a single specimen unless you can buy a mated pair.

Angelfish can be suitable for novice fish keepers looking for a popular centerpiece fish.

Powder Blue Gourami (Trichogaster lalius)

Powder Blue Gourami

The Powder Blue gourami is one of the supermodels of the freshwater fish-keeping world!

These stunning centerpiece show fish are a type of Dwarf gourami. They’re relatively small, growing to only 3 to 5 inches in length, making Powder Blue gouramis ideal for a 20-gallon tank. They could also use a larger tank. 

In addition, these labyrinth fish are relatively easy to care for and can survive for up to five years when given good water conditions and a high-quality diet.

Powder Blue gouramis can be shy fish that are happiest when kept in loose schools of six or more individuals in a community with similar-sized or smaller slow-moving fish.

Kribensis (Pelvicachromis pulcher)


Kribensis are a fascinating West African dwarf cichlid species that make a wonderful feature fish for any community tank.

These popular aquarium fish are relatively small, with males growing to just about 4 inches long and females somewhat smaller at 2.5 inches in length.

Kribs come in various line-bred color morphs, although red and yellow are the most popular color combo.

Kribs are peaceful fish that can do well in a peaceful community. If you can get a mated pair, you’ll be rewarded with a wonderful display of parentship as the male and female work together to raise a brood of tiny fry.

You’ll need to fill your tank with plenty of lush planting to provide shelter for the fry and a cave or two that the fish can claim as theirs.

Australian Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis)

Australian Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis)

Australian Rainbowfish are beautiful fish that show their best colors when kept in cooler water conditions and in groups of six or more.

These tropical fish are hardy and tolerant of most water conditions, making them a great choice of fish for beginners.

Males of this active schooling fish species are the most colorful, with blue-brown or olive-green bodies and a rosy pink belly highlighted by lines of metallic turquoise and green scales. Also, ensure you check water parameters when dealing with the fish species. 

During the spawning season, male Australian Rainbowfish are even more brightly colored!

Since they grow up to 4 inches long or slightly more, a group of Australian Rainbowfish makes a truly striking sight when cruising through a well-planted 20-gallon tank!

Giant Betta Fish (Betta anabatoides)

Giant Betta Fish

Betta fish are renowned for their bright colors and flowing finnage. These fish are also relatively easy to care for and are often considered good beginner fish. They have peaceful temperaments and are perfect ideas for centerpiece fish. 

Regular betta species don’t grow much more than a few inches in length. But the Giant betta can reach up to a whopping 7 inches long when mature!

Giant bettas are not seen in the wild, being a captive breeding creation. These beautiful fish come in several colors: green, blue, red, and marble.

The main downside to keeping Giant bettas is that these fish are extremely aggressive and will attack most tank mates.

However, you can keep a few snails and shrimp quite safely with these amazing fish, and the betta certainly makes an excellent centerpiece fish in a 20-gallon tank.

Cobra Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Poecilia reticulata

Cobra guppies are a wide variety of Fancy guppy that is extremely popular tropical freshwater fish in the aquarium hobby.

The Cobra guppy is so-named for the spotted, snakeskin pattern across its body. These fish come in many different color combinations.

But did you know that each color and pattern is unique? So, like a fingerprint, no two guppies are the same!

Cobra guppies are readily available and relatively inexpensive fish. These adorable fish do well in various environments, and you can keep a large group of these tiny fish in a 20-gallon tank, making them an ideal centerpiece fish.

Although these active swimming fish are excellent for beginners, the main downside to keeping Fancy guppies is that they have a short lifespan of only a couple of years.

However, guppies are prolific livebearers, so if you keep a group of males and females, you’re sure to end up with plenty of free replacements!

How To Choose a Centerpiece Fish

Before you rush off to the fish store to choose the centerpiece fish for your 20-gallon tank, let’s discuss what qualities the fish should have.


Your chosen fish must be an absolute centerpiece showstopper fish!

That means you need a colorful and eye-catching fish that will stand out in your tank. That said, some centerpiece fish can be quite subdued in color, and their presence and movement around the tank make them the focal point.

For example, most angelfish are silver, black, pale orange, or a combination of both.

That in itself isn’t a color combo that’s going to grab the onlooker’s attention. However, combine those colors with the fish’s unusual shape and graceful movement through the tank, and you have a winner!


A larger fish undoubtedly makes a feature in your tank. However, a school of fish can be just as effective centerpiece candidates as single fish.

Imagine a huge shoal of tiny Cobra guppies in various colors shimmering and fluttering through an imaginatively aquascaped tank. That’s sure to be breathtaking!

Of course, a modest-sized single specimen can be equally effective, such as a single male betta fish with extravagant finnage and marbled patterning.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to choosing centerpiece fish for a 20-gallon fish tank? If you found inspiration in our article, please remember to share it!

Your centerpiece could be a single, large fish, a group of smaller specimens, or perhaps one mid-sized fish with something extra special.

You don’t need to have a community tank, either. You might want to make your 20-gallon aquarium a single-species habitat where the fish species is the centerpiece.

What fish did you choose as your 20-gallon tank centerpiece and why? Tell us about your favorite centerpiece fish in the comments box below. 

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