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3 Types and Environments of Aquarium Fish

3 Types and Environments of Aquarium Fish


Aquarium fish come in three different varieties and each one needs its own water environment: 

  1. Tropical fish need heated water
  2. Cold water fish live happily in unheated tanks
  3. Marine fish require a salt water system

Aquarium fish species within these three clusters all have individual requirements and individual levels of maintenance. It is best to choose fish based on the size of the tank, water hardness, fresh or marine water and the compatibility of some fish species with others. The following paragraphs detail basically the different groups of fish.

Cichlids: are fresh water fish and include the commonly known breeds Jewelfish, Discus, Oscar and Angelfish. The can be aggressive due to breeding behaviour and require a large sized tank. They are egg layers and thrive in water with a pH of 7-8 and a temperature of 24-27 degrees celcius with some variation for certain breeds.

Cypriniformes: are also freshwater fish who prefer flowing water. They include the Barbs, Rasboras, Danios, Sharks, White Clouds and Loaches. Most of these species are compatible with the exception of the Tiger Barb which is quite aggressive. Most Cypriniformes are omnivores. The tropical species mentioned above prefer water in the 25-degree range whilst the coldwater Cypriniformes (Goldfish) can live in water 10 –15 degrees Celsius .

Cyprinodonts: such as the Guppy, Molly, Swordtail and Platy are among the easiest of freshwater fish to keep. They are generally omnivores who prefer to live in harder water. They are tropical fish in that they best thrive in water temperature of 20-24 degrees Celsius.

Choracins: are a little harder to care for. The environmental requirements are more species specific. The species include Tetras, Red Eyes, Hatchet Fish, Silver Dollar and Pencil fish. They are all tropical fresh water fish who prefer temperatures between 23 and 28 degrees depending on the individual fish. Choracins are generally insectivores who will eat live, frozen and flaked food.

Anabantids: are the air breathing fish and include Gouramis, Siamese Fighters and Paradise Fish. Each of these fish has very specific husbandry requirements, which differ greatly between each species.

Marine fish are perhaps the hardest to care for. Some of the marine species are the Clown Fish, Damsels, Angels, Butterfly Fishes, Seahorses and Lionfish. Each of these has very different specific requirements. Not only do they require different water temperatures and nutrition requirements, but they also require different water movements, different corals or rock faces to actually eat out of, different plants to attach to and up to five meals a day. Some marine species are also poisonous or dangerous to the aquarist if not handled properly. It is best that specialist advice from our staff be sought for those wishing to keep a marine aquarium.

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