90 Gallon Aquarium Stocking Ideas For Single Species and Community Tanks

Hey, fellow fishkeeper! If you’re looking for some cool stocking ideas for your 90 gallon tank, you’re in the right place. Whether you want a single species tank or a community aquarium, you’ll find some great options below.
90 Gallon Aquarium Stocking Ideas
Geophagus (Top Left), Bosemani Rainbow Fish (Top Right), Kuhli Loach (Bottom Left), Roseline Shark (Bottom Right)

Let’s get straight into why you’re here and go over some single species and community tank ideas.

90 Gallon Single Species Stocking Ideas

A single species tank is a great option as you don’t have to worry about the different water parameters needed for different types of fish and it can be easier at feeding time.

It’s also a great option if you want to keep more aggressive fish, which would be too feisty in a community tank setup.

You can go with 1 single larger fish (wet pet) or a big group of smaller schooling fish, it’s entirely up to you and what you like the look of.

There are so many options to choose from, so I’ve chosen fish of varying sizes, so you can get an idea of how many fish you can keep of a particular size.

I’ve concentrated mainly on larger fish here, as having a 90-gallon tank really opens up the door for keeping some larger species.

If you’d prefer to keep lots of smaller fish, see my stocking ideas for a 37-gallon tank. You can double up on the fish listed (apart from the betta – only keep 1) to create an eye-catching tank.

Choose one of the following options for a great looking single-species 90 gallon aquarium.

  • 1 Flowerhorn
  • 1 Midas cichlid
  • 1 Jaguar cichlid
  • 1 Oscar
  • 5 Fancy goldfish
  • 6 Silver dollars
  • 6-8 Discus
  • 20 Peacock cichlids
  • 25 Mbuna cichlids

90 Gallon Community Tank Stocking Ideas

When choosing fish for a community tank, it’s a good idea to pick a mix of centerpiece, community/schooling, bottom dwellers, and algae eaters to create a stunning display that will have fish at every level of the water column and help keep your tank clean.

Sticking to the following arrangement is a great place to start.

  • 1-5 Centerpiece fish
  • 6-12 Community and/or schooling fish
  • 1-9 Bottom dwellers/clean-up crew
  • Shrimps and snails

Centerpiece Fish For 90 Gallon Tank

The show-offs of the aquarium, these fish are beautiful…it’s all eyes on them!

Choose one of the following options

  • 1 Geophagus altifrons
  • 1 Severum cichlid
  • 2 Angelfish (1 male, 1 female – may breed)
  • 2 Electric blue acaras
  • 3 Pearl gourami’s

Schooling and Community Fish For 90 Gallon Tank

These guys like to be kept in larger groups (minimum of 6) to bring the best out in them, so they don’t hide away.

Choose one or two of the following options. 

  • 6 Black skirt tetras
  • 6 Black phantom tertras
  • 6 Bosemani rainbow fish
  • 6 Brilliant green rasboras
  • 6 Congo tetras
  • 6 Roseline sharks (aka Denison Barbs)
  • 6 Spotted hatchetfish
  • 6 Spotfin hatchetfish

Bottom Dwelling and Cleanup Crew Fish For 90 Gallon Aquarium

Some of my favorite fish are bottom dwellers, they are generally very peaceful and you can get some quirky-looking fish, like the kuhli loach which has a snake-like appearance.

A bonus is most of these fish will help to keep algae under control.

Choose only one of the pleco options (as they can be territorial with other plecos), and ensure you provide some driftwood for them to feed on and some caves to hide in.

Pick one or two of the following options.

  • 1 Green phantom pleco
  • 1 Gold nugget pleco
  • 1 Spotted or striped Raphael catfish
  • 2 Bristlenose plecos
  • 2 Clown plecos
  • 7 Emerald green corydoras
  • 7 Julii corydoras
  • 7 Kuhli loach

Snails and Shrimps For 90 Gallon Aquarium (Optional)

These invertebrates are optional but can be a great addition to your aquarium, they help to keep your tank clean and algae under control.

Pick one or two of the following options:

  • 12 Amano shrimp
  • 20 Cherry shrimp
  • 2-3 Mystery snails
  • 4-5 Nerite snails

Be aware that larger fish will eat your shrimp, so I’d only keep them if you decide to choose smaller types of fish. Ensure you provide plenty of hiding places for them, my cherry shrimp love hiding in cholla wood and in and amongst live plants, such as Java moss.

Cholla wood
Java Moss

Cherry shrimp come in a huge array of colors and I think they look great in an aquarium, they breed pretty easily and the baby shrimp can be a great free food source for your other fish.

Amano shrimp won’t breed and don’t look as eye-catching, but they are larger than cherry shrimp, so can be a better option if you have larger fish.

Snails require harder water and some calcium to keep their shells strong and healthy, so you may need to supplement if you notice any pitting or cracking. A lid on your tank is also a must to stop escapees! 

Stocking Aquariums – Things To Consider First

Before adding fish to your aquarium, you need to consider a few things first to ensure your fish will be happy and healthy.

Water pH

Choose fish that are suitable for the natural pH of your water. Use a water test kit to find out your pH.

Most fish do well in a pH range of 6.5-8.0, but there are some exceptions to that, South American fish generally prefer a lower pH (around 6.0), whereas African cichlids and livebearers (mollies, guppies etc.) prefer a higher pH (around 8.0).

If you’ve got your heart set on keeping some South American cichlids and your pH is too high, I’ve gone over some safe and natural ways to lower your pH.

Water dGH

This is your water hardness, the higher the dGH reading the more minerals you have in your water, and this determines whether you have soft or hard water.

Most fish do well in a dGH range of 4-8, however, there are exceptions to this, Discus fish prefer a low dGH, whereas goldfish, livebearers, and African cichlids prefer a higher dGH.


Choose fish that thrive in a similar temperature range, putting a betta in with a goldfish isn’t going to work.


If you want a community tank, choose fish that are happy to share the tank with other fish. Avoid overly aggressive fish that will want to pick a fight.

Choose fish that are a similar size, in the fish world, if one fish fits in another fish’s mouth, it will become a tasty meal!

Round-up Of Best 90 Gallon Aquarium Stocking Ideas

There are so many combinations to choose from, the list is endless! Make sure you do a little research on fish compatibility if you want a community tank setup to check they can live together happily.

For more stocking ideas and fish species profiles check out the following articles. The stocking ideas for smaller tanks can be used in a 90 gallon aquarium, just with lots more fish…which will look stunning!

Check out the aquarium health section for guides and tips to keep your aquarium in tip-top shape and the freshwater section for more fish info and care guides.

Picture of Paul


Hey, fellow fish enthusiast 👋! I'm Paul and I've been an aquarium addict since I won my first goldfish at the fair many years ago. Let me share with you the knowledge that I've gained along the way (and avoid the mistakes I've made!), so you too can create an underwater paradise for your aquatic friends.