…continued from “step two“
1. Fish choice in general
2. Fish Size and numbers
3. Releasing the fish
4. Community Tanks in General
5. Good fish first
6. Easy mistakes and bad advice
7. Let’s Talk Fish
Picking the right tropical fish to keep is important.
The usual way of choosing fish to place in a community aquarium is to include fish and plant species that have similar needs.
This means, make sure your community has fish that enjoy the same pH hardness and temperament as the other inhabitants. Don’t put small fish with others that will make a meal of them unless you want just a few fat well-fed big fish.
You also want to have the fish inhabit different layers or regions of the tank. You want a fish selection that will include bottom, middle and top swellers. These can consist of lively or sedate fish, night or day dwellers, large and small, just about anything, remembering that they all must fit into the basic definition of “community”.
Remember that not all big fish are going to eat little ones and not all little fish will remain little and may well grow up to have a different behaviour pattern when they get bigger.
My nephew had a few little angels that used to be terrified by other fish and hide. One day he noticed them sailing large and sedately around the tank swallowing the little ones every now and again. It was at this point he stopped wondering where the Neons were going.
2. Fish Size and Numbers
The first question you must ask yourself is, how many fish can my tank support?
Sounds like an easy question, but it is one that can cause a lot of argument because it depends on the fish species, filtration and your management of your tank.
The general rule of thumb for fish capacity is about 1cm fish length per litre of actual water in the tank. (1 inch per gallon). This is why I always use a bucket to fill my tank because depending on how much gravel, rock and wood you have in your tank determines the amount of water you eventually get into the tank. Also remember that one cm fish that grow to six cm must be counted as the full six cm to begin withl. So find out the full grown size of the purchase.
3. Releasing the fish
Before buying the fish, watch them swimming in the tanks at the pet shop to make sure they have no diseases, that their fins are wide open and they are swimming actively. Diseases and parasites are very common in dealer’s tanks so it is very important to be aware of what some diseases look like, check through the tanks to be sure of the general quality of the dealer’s stock and how well the tanks are cared for.
When you finally purchase fish they will be in a plastic bag filled with air.
You don’t want to add them directly into the tank. Due to temperature and pH differences it is wise to float the bag for about twenty minutes to let the temperatures equalise.; Once this is done, you can open the bag and over the course of the next hour slowly add some of your tank water to the bag. This will allow the fish to adjust to any differences in water. OK, now to add the fish, you don’t want to just dump them in; its a better idea to net them out carefully and release them to the tank that way.
4. community tanks in general
The tropical fish you choose will depend on whether you want a community tank or whether you want to specialise in a single type of fish. I would recommend a community tank of tropical fish to begin with so that you can become familiar with a wide variety of fish. When setting up a community tank seek advice about which fish will live in harmony. Also remember that some fish get bigger and will eventually end up able to swallow others. Use this guide to be sure that the advice you are getting is accurate and always keep yourself well informed. There will be some conflicting information but in the end there is only one expert you need to worry about – that is the one you will become as your fish teach you about themselves.
5. Good First Fish
Tropical Fish can be divided up as to where they come from, how they breed or what their patterns of behaviour are. I will be looking at some of the more popualr and easy ones to start with but there are a wide variety of fish that could be good community fish. It isn’t necessary to know all the fish family names below but it is a way of remembering their general types and so doing – their general likes and dislikes.
Platties, Mollies, Swords, Guppies
White clouds, Danios, Rasboras, Barbs
Siamese Fighters, Gouramis
Tetras (a huge family)
Catfish family, Bronze Catfish
Khulii Loach, Malayan Loach
6. Easy mistakes and bad advice
If we define a good beginners’ tropical fish as one that’s easy to feed and care for, hardy, able to lvie in a variety of water conditions and attractive, then there are a number of widely available tropical fish that fit this bill nicely. Many fish are regularly sold as beginners’ fish, but watch out! Some of these fish are really not suited for beginners.
6.1 mistake number 1: goldfish
All Goldfish are cold-water fish and do not do well in the lower oxygen levels found in tropical aquaria, and therefore should not be housed with tropical species.
6.2 mistake number 2: (too few for schooling)
While many beginners are tempted to get just one or two of each of several different schooling fish, this should be resisted. Schooling fish do better if there are several of their own species present for them to interact with. A minimum of 6 of each of the mid-water schooling fish is recommended, where as 4 is the bare minimum for Corys.
In the long run, a school of a dozen fish showing their natural behaviour will be more pleasing than a mixed group of fish at a time,. The aquarist might, for instance, build up a school of eight fish of a certain species, and then turn to building up a school of six of another.
6.3 mistake number 3: (livebearers are easy)
This is true for guppies (and more of them a bit later) but anyone who tells you that Mollies, Platys and Swordfish are the easiest community fish to keep is about fifty years out of date. They were the easy fish to keep when there were efw other breeds available. Swords for example become bullies, as they get bigger. Mollies need salt in their tanks to remain healthy and quite a bit of greenery. Add to that an alkaline water preference for Sail fin Mollies and you could definitely find easier fish to keep.
Part of the problem with these fish is that they have been over bred in the past so they often are nowadays susceptible to diseases. However, some authors and aquarium “experts” are adamant they are still good fish to keep as a beginner. I would ask the advice of your local dealer as to the strains he has in stock and how hardy they are. (include list of trusted dealers).
7. Lets Talk Fish
Finally! At last, we can have a close look at all the beautiful tropical fish that would be wonderful to keep.
This will be a long post, we can proceed onto the next page:
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