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The aquatics industry has become increasingly popular and since polyethene bags came into existence the hobby has grown from strength to strength. As the hobby grows so does our knowledge of fish keeping, such as how important it is to monitor water quality.
So what are the best types of fish to keep? Bearing in mind species of fish can be as different to each other as a mouse is to an elephant.
Coldwater Fish versus Tropical Fish
All cold water fish that are sold through the aquatic trade will come from breeders and shippers. As the name suggests, cold water fish prefer to be in cooler temperatures than tropical fish. The most common species are Koi and goldfish
. Tropical fish are those that live in warmer waters. When you hear the term tropical fish in the aquatics industry they will commonly be referring to fish that are kept in heated aquariums.
Freshwater Tropical Fish
Freshwater fish are those that do not live in the ocean but their natural habitats can be very diverse. South American Cichlids inhabit the Amazon river and are really soft acidic loving fish as are many tetras and catfishes for example. Where as for example cichlids that come from Africa, Lake Malawi and Tanganyika come from hard and more alkaline water.
Saltwater/Marine and Coral Fish
The coral reefs have a multitude of diverse marine life, more and more tank bred marine fish are now appearing in our aquatic stores but still the majority of marine fish and invertebrates are taken from the wild. Marine life is generally more sensitive to the water parameters because marine aquariums are maintained at a high pH.
Examples of coral reef tropical fish are Damselfish and Yellow Tang fish.
The corals and anemones and other photosynthesizing creatures will also depend on correct and adequate lighting.
So now you know a few examples, what fish are best for you as a beginner in the hobby?
We would recommend starting with a general freshwater community tank, with species such as livebearers, barbs, tetras and rainbowfishes. Starting with a freshwater tank removes the added stress of maintaining the salt content and the species named are hardy fish, therefore, they are fairly adaptable to swings in ph, ammonia, and temperature. However, there are no rules to which fish to keep. Whether it is a general community tank, an aquascape table top aquarium or a marine aquarium the length of your wall research your choice and remember the life critical parameters.