Stocking Tropical Fish


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Advice on Stocking Tropical Freshwater Aquariums: What kind of Fish?


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By : Jill Kaestner


To make your aquarium a dazzling swirl of activity and color, you will want to add a variety of tropical freshwater fish. All fish have different fin designs, patterns, colors, shapes, sizes, temperaments and ideal living conditions. For the welfare of fish and consequently the success of tank aquariums, it is necessary that you research the fish you would like, to know which ones can cohabit in health and harmony. For example, you cannot match (i.e. without stressing or harming your fish) peaceful and aggressive fish, ones that like cooler water and ones that need higher temperatures etc. Common sense stuff!

Space Out Your Fish

A good idea is to choose fish that occupy different levels in fish tanks so they don’t need to contend for space. This adds a fair amount of activity and variety, enhancing the attractiveness of your fish tank aquarium.

Top-Dwelling Fish

Top-dwelling fish generally have upturned mouths for feeding at the water’s surface. Danios are energetic and hardy with a long lifespan making them ideal particularly for beginning aquarists. One of the most promoted tropical freshwater fish is the Betta, an easy to look after, peaceful fish with conspicuous fins and an amazing variety of color. Hatchetfish are unusual but are somewhat difficult to manage and are strong jumpers, so you need to replace the lid of your aquarium immediately after feeding and maintenance.

Middle-Dwelling Fish

Middle-dwelling fish could be most striking and be stocked with larger colorful fish and a mixture of schooling fish. Schooling fish are clearly happiest when they are with their mates and you need to have around six. Examples of schooling fish include Rainbow fish and Tetras. Rainbow fish are easy to look after and their amazing shimmering colorations change when light reflects off these fish. Neon Tetras choose to swim or remain suspended in schools to create a magnificent array of color. All types of Platies and Guppies are first-rate for middle-dwelling fish. They are both easy care fish and come in many bright color variations which add excitement and brilliance to freshwater fish tanks. For something slightly larger, Swordtails are easy to look after and have wonderfully diverse fin and color varieties. Mollies add drama and contrast to any aquarium but require a moderate level of care. The following small Gouramis are of a peaceful temperament and easy to tend: Neon Blue Dwarf, Sparkling Gourami and Dwarf Gouramis. Angels are a striking fish to include in your aquarium but bear in mind they are semi-aggressive and growing to 6 inches they also require at least a 30 gallon tank. For a larger tank (50 gallons), Cichlids are an option but many can display signs of aggression. Examples of peaceful ones are Albino Kribensis Cichlid, Acei Cichlid and Brichardi Cichlid. Of course, the Goldfish remains the most popular freshwater fish and comes in many varieties with amazing features and color patterns.

Bottom-Dwelling Fish

Bottom-dwelling fish have down-turned mouths, enabling them to feed on food that drops to the bottom of the aquarium, thereby keeping the substrate clean. Cory Cats are entertaining, energetic and peaceful scavengers. They stay relatively small and stay alive in a wide range of water conditions. For larger tank aquariums (30-50 gallons), Loaches will add color, beauty and interest to your aquarium. They are active bottom dwelling scavengers ideally matched for the community fish tank.

All Peaceful or All Aggressive

You will have noticed that I mainly refer to passive fish. These community fish can co-exist peacefully with members of their own species and other species of similar size. Being the sort of person who likes to “keep the peace” I prefer easy-going fish for an easy life but if you like a bit more action, by all means select aggressive fish. Just remember to keep all the fish species in your fish tank aggressive so no one gets bullied! Aggressive fish are assertive toward their own species and/or other species, irrespective of their size.

Fish Tank Sizes

Most of the fish mentioned are ideal for smaller tropical freshwater aquariums. Bettas, Danios, Gouramis, Platies and Tetras measure around two inches and are fine for the smaller 10 gallon tanks. Though small, Guppies thrive best in at least a 20 gallon tank along with Hatchetfish, while the larger Swordtails, Mollies, Rainbow Fish, Angels, Goldfish and Cory Cats will require at least a 30 gallon tank. Cichlids and Loaches normally require a 50 gallon tank.

Research Your Fish!

These tropical freshwater fish are only a guide to varieties of fish which would be appropriate in aquariums. It is fundamental that you research the fish including size, temperament, the tending they require in order to grow and breed, the food they eat, and the water parameters in which each individual type of fish is the most comfortable with. This will be vital in determining the varieties of fish that can be suitably matched.

Copyright © 2009 Jill Kaestner @ Kaestner Marketing LLC

Author Resource:- Jill Kaestner I have started ‘Aquarius’, a website to display some of my favorite fish tanks, and to provide you with expert guidance on setting up, stocking and servicing your freshwater fish tanks.

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