Choosing the Right Fish for Your Aquarium


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Researching the type of fish best suited for your aquarium goals is a process that should be completed at the very beginning of your planning stage. Far too many people make the mistake of choosing the wrong kind of fish for their tank and end up with major problems down the road.

Here are the main questions you’ll want to ask when determining what type of fish to house:

  • How large do these fish grow?
  • How many fish do I want in my tank?
  • Do I want multiple kinds of fish? If so, do these fish types get along with each other?
  • Does this fish require freshwater or saltwater? Am I prepared for the extra cost and maintenance of a saltwater tank?
  • What kind of water conditions does this fish require?
  • Do these fish breed heavily? If so, do I have room to house multiple offspring?
  • Are there any specific ailments that plague this type of fish?

There are multiple books available that are specific to each species of fish. If you have your eye on a type, it makes sense to pick up a book written specifically for your target species. It will provide you with all the information you need to ensure that fish is actually the ideal choice for your goals.

Freshwater Fish Tank Options

If you want to keep it simple and cost effective, chances are you’ll choose a freshwater tank setup. Here are some of the more popular options for these basic tanks:

  • Danios: These small fish are strong, cheap, and tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. They are ideal as a first fish, since they can withstand a lot of abuse without being killed off. They also don’t grow incredibly large, so they can be used in a smaller tank.
  • Goldfish: Perhaps the most iconic pet to keep in a tank, the goldfish is a decent choice. Although often kept in small bowls at first, it’s important to remember that goldfish can grow to be quite large, so you’ll need adequate room – especially if you plan on keeping multiples of these fish.
  • White Cloud Minnow: This fish is comfortable in a wide range of water temperatures, and can even be kept in a tank that has no heating control over the water. As long as the room itself doesn’t fall below room temperature, these fish will be plenty happy in a basic tank.
  • Tetra: The tetra is another small type of fish that’s suitable for a beginning freshwater aquarium. These are fairly shy creatures, so they need plenty of nesting room to be happy. Although they may not show themselves as often as some fish, they are a lot of fun to watch when they do come out for a swim.
  • Betta: The betta fish is suitable for a fairly small tank, as they aren’t known for getting along well with others – especially other males. Although many people keep them in extremely small tanks, it’s humane to give them plenty of room to swim around and be happy.

Saltwater Fish Tank Options

If you’re looking for something a bit more exotic, you might decide on a saltwater tank instead. Although these fish are significantly more expensive, they can be quite spectacular to look at.

You might consider saltwater fish such as:

  • Butterfly fish: These small fish are beautiful to watch, with high contrast stripes that span the length of their bodies, painted in vibrant colors. Others have spots instead of stripes, or may even have random blobs of color instead.
  • Coral Beauty: This type of angelfish has a neon bright color and is easily one of the most beautiful types of saltwater fish that can be stored in a home aquarium. However, they require a lot of space, so you’ll want to steer clear unless your setup is 75 gallons or more.
  • Tangs: These fish come in just about every color you can imagine, but no matter what color it comes in, it’s sure to be vibrant. They are fast fish, so they need a lot of room to swim around. This fish is a great option for tanks that are even larger than 75 gallons.
  • Firefish: Want a fish that’s very small? Then the firefish might be a great choice for you. They don’t grow very large, but they still offer vibrant coloration and agile swimming ability.

Hopefully this guide helps you decide the best type of fish for your aquarium goals. Remember to do thorough research on your favorite fish type before making any decisions.

Author: Tristan Gordon VIEW ALL AUTHORS POSTS

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