How to Select Ornamental Fish for Your Aquarium - Page 1

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How to Select Ornamental Fish for Your Aquarium

By: Dr. Greg Lewbart

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For most people, freshwater fish are the aquarium fish of choice. Saltwater – or marine – creatures make up less than 10 percent of pet-fish sales and are generally more expensive to keep and less hardy. Here are some tips that will help you put together a basic freshwater aquarium.

Fish for Community Aquarium

Community aquariums house between three and thirty non-aggressive fish in a tank that ranges from 20 to 50 gallons and up. Most of these fish will eat flake or pelleted food and thrive in water with "middle-of-the-road" pH, hardness, and temperature values. Good varieties for a community aquarium include:

  • Mollies
  • Guppies
  • Swordtails
  • Gouramis
  • Silver dollars
  • Tetras
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Small plecostomus species
  • Danios
  • Loaches
  • Koi (primarily in ponds)
  • Goldfish - there are numerous varieties available

    Fish for Aggressive Aquariums

    Aggressive aquariums usually house a small number of larger fish that may attack or even consume more submissive fish. Many "aggressive" species are beautiful to look at – and can live surprisingly long lives. When mixing aggressive species in a single aquarium, choose fish of comparable size and make sure you add some structure (plants, driftwood, etc.) so the animals can "stake out" territory and hide, if necessary. Aggressive aquarium species include:

  • Oscars
  • Jack Dempseys
  • Red devil cichlids
  • Jewel cichlids
  • Convicts
  • Large plecostomus species
  • Green terrors
  • Piranhas (illegal in some states)
  • Carnivorous catfish

    Single Fish Aquariums

    The easiest kind of aquarium to keep is one that houses a single fish. For the most part, fish aren't social creatures and don't require contact with others, except to reproduce. They don't get lonely when there aren't other fish around; in fact, they're often happier not having to compete with others for food, space, and attention. If you're going to have just one fish, here are some good species to choose from:

  • Goldfish
  • Any of the aggressive species
  • Pacu
  • Large catfish

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