Choosing Aquarium Fish Guide

A difficult choice

Not sure which fish to put in your aquarium? How much? What type? What budget should be allocated? Do you want several species? Can’t choose? This article is made for you! Read through and you will understand how to choose fish for you aquarium correctly!

Choosing the right population for your aquarium is almost an art! But, as always, are some rules you need to respect about the requirements of your fish: * Size of the aquarium * Lifestyle, incompatibility of species * Maintenance parameters, water quality..

There are thousands of species. For beginners, it is advisable to focus on fish that are easy to maintain in aquariums, inexpensive and compatible with each other. First and foremost, you should focus on the type of aquarium you want (saltwater, freshwater, cold water, biotope, community, specific,…). It will obviously be decisive in your decision making.

Tropical freshwater fish are very interesting in terms of their variety of colours and species diversity, so they are the most popular choice for aquarists. The varieties of cold water species that you can choose for your aquarium is not that rich but still offer interesting choices.

Beautiful aquarium

Volume and dimensions of the aquarium

The size of the aquarium is one of the first criteria that must be taken into account when choosing the right fish for your aquarium. The dimensions (width, length, height) and volume constitute the swimming space of your future fish. You can take a look around our site, as we have some guides on specific fish with all the information you need about fish tank size needed for the fish of your choice. Here is a list of cool freshwater tropical aquarium fish that has all the parameters listed so you can choose the best fit for you. It should also be noted that care should be taken to limit the number of fish in order to avoid overpopulation.

Dwarf catfish

Fish lifestyle

Each fish has different needs and lifestyles. For example, some fish are solitary, others can be schooling fish, some live in pairs, sometimes only during the breeding season and so on. It is important to have a good understanding of your fish characteristics to make the right choice.

  • Solitary: the fish lives alone. This will usually limit your choice to a single fish of this type (example: betta splendes, …)
  • Schooling fish: the fish lives in schools, in groups, often starting from 6 members (example: red serpae tetra, cardinals,…)
  • Couple: the fish lives in couple, a dominant male, a dominated female. Often together, they will not hunt each other (example: gouramis,…)

White spotted cichlid

Incompatibility of species

It is essential to check the compatibility of the different species you introduce into your aquarium. It is not so simple, because opinions differ for many people because of their own personal experience and each fish has their own character.

Be careful to exclude any predation from the aquarium during breeding where some, usually peaceful, species can become very aggressive. So it is better to isolate the fish that are in the breeding process from others. Or make sure you have rich fauna with aquarium plants. A planted aquarium can optimize everyone’s private space, delimit territories and offer fry hiding places to avoid ending up as a meal for other fish in you aquarium.

In general, it is advisable not to mix large and small species. Even if there is no risk of predation and both species are known to be peaceful, smaller fish will tend to be stressed, if only by the swimming movements of the larger ones. Stress can generate diseases for your fish. The smallest fish will tend to hide and only come out to feed. It will then become difficult to observe them as well.

In addition, it should be noted that many species are the subject of selections and have reached atypical morphologies: long fins, imposing veilings, body shape, large eyes, etc. These characteristics can cause aggressiveness or curiosity in other fish, which can harm the fish in question.

Choosing aquarium fish

Understand fish diet

When choosing fish for aquarium, it is very important to pay attention to their diet. Although most common fish are rather omnivorous or vegetarian, some feed exclusively on live food and this can quickly become a problem, especially during periods of leave or prolonged absence from your side. So make sure you are not tied to your aquarium and get yourself an automatic fish food dispenser. A mixture of species with different diets will result in different food intake.

It will also be necessary to limit food competition so that you can easily feed the entire aquarium. For example, if you choose rather lively surface fish that feed in the same way as fish that dwell in the bottom of the aquarium, you will have difficulty feeding your bottom dwellers, which will in fact require a dedicated and specialized diet, for example, you will need to buy pellets that drop to the very bottom of your aquarium.

Water quality and water parameters

Of course, the last but not least aquarium fish selection criterion is the water parameters. Acidity of the water? Temperature?….. Indeed, the quality of your water will also limit you in the choice of fish. Some fish like more acidic water, some don’t. Same with temperature. So you should research from where your fish is coming from and it’s natural environment as well.

Hope you found this helpful. There plenty of other helpful resources you can find on our page. Go to the Home Page to find the most important articles for anyone who is interested in fish keeping.

If you are just starting out, you will find these articles useful as well:

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