Choosing Your Fish
Before you take any steps toward setting up a new aquarium – before you even purchase an aquarium – you need to consider the type of fish you’d like to keep! In most cases, fish type is central in determining other factors, such as the type of food they will eat, what type of aquarium they will need, and whether or not they will need an aquarium heater.
Goldfish are an extremely popular choice for beginners in the fish keeping hobby due to their hardy nature. In fact, they are able to live for ten years or longer with the proper care! Because goldfish grow quickly and produce a lot of waste, 13-35 L of water in an aquarium is recommended for one goldfish, and about 45 L – 75 L for two. Do keep in mind that it is best not to keep goldfish in constant tropical conditions, despite their wide tolerance for varying water temperatures, so you will need to consider this if your intent is to keep a community tank with tropical fish.
A few of the most common species of tropical fish include Tetras, Bettas, and Guppies, which require a heater to keep aquarium water at the appropriate temperature (usually between 76 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit). These fish also generally require a 10-gallon tank, at the smallest, to thrive in communities with other fish. A Betta can, however, get by in a 5-gallon tank, but will do better in a community aquarium.
Other Freshwater Options
Other popular fish species include Barbs, Corys, and Platys, all of which are freshwater “community” fish and do well sharing an aquarium with other fish. Barbs and Platys tend to be middle-dwelling fish, meaning they are likely to remain at the center of the aquarium, and Corys are bottom dwellers, typically swimming along the bottom of a tank. Often, the shape of a fish’s mouth will determine where they are most likely to consume food in an aquarium, and consequently where they are most likely to remain. For instance, bottom dwellers have downturned mouths that are ideal for the sinking pellet variety of fish food, and fish that swim in the middle or near the surface of an aquarium have straight or upturned mouths, which may be more conducive to the flake variety of food. Be sure to select the most appropriate type of food for your fish!
Is Saltwater For You?
Generally, if you are new to the fish keeping hobby, it may best to start with a freshwater aquarium, which is easier to maintain than a saltwater aquarium. The reason for this is that saltwater aquariums require a bit more upkeep for fish to thrive, and are less forgiving when water conditions slip. However, if you have your heart set on a saltwater tank, your options in selecting fish include colorful Clownfish, Tangs, and Angelfish, to name a few. Just like freshwater fish, you need to consider how large the fish will grow and how the different fish types will get along. You will also need to add marine salt to your saltwater tank make the water chemistry correct.
Easy to use aquarium kits are a great way to determine chemical levels and keep water safe for your fish. Ensuring the proper habitat for your fish is also important – aquarium decorations, plants, or rocks are a fun way to enhance your aquarium, and can also provide benefits for your fish.
Whichever type of fish you choose, your aquarium is bound to be a fun and special addition to your home!
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