There are hundreds of species of fish that can be kept in captivity and a well-designed aquarium can make a great feature in any room. There are also different types of fish including cold water, tropical and saltwater fish. Let’s look at the advantages of each and see what sort of fish within these categories make the best pets.
Cold water fish
The most obvious advantage of keeping cold-water fish is that they are able to live in aquariums that are not heated at all, saving the need for fancy heating systems. They can often survive in water that is the same as room temperature and can be a great choice for beginners. Some common cold-water fish include:
Goldfish are one of the most common fish that are kept as pets and they are relatively easy to care for. Do remember that fish are entirely dependent on their owners for their environment, care and food quality. Don’t think of a Goldfish as ‘just a goldfish’ and ensure they receive the care they deserve. Goldfish are social creatures and should be kept in pairs.
This is a beautiful cold-water fish that had red and orange fins, a blue body and golden spots. They are hardy fish that can tolerate cooler water temperatures and look amazing in a group of 6 – 8 together in a suitably sized aquarium of around 10 gallons. Note that large groups of males should not be kept together due to aggression.
Most loaches can be kept in cooler temperatures and do wonders for algae build-up throughout the aquarium. Loaches are popular for their unusual appearances, often described as being ‘alien-like’. Hillstream loaches are best kept in groups of 3 – 4 and should be housed in a minimum-sized aquarium of 50 gallons.
Shrimp make great additions to cold water aquariums and are popular with fish keepers due to their love for eating algae and leftover fish food. Cherry shrimp are bright red/pink in colour and do best in groups of 10 – 15. They are prolific breeders, so if well cared for, you may soon have plenty of shrimp babies…!
There are a wide range of tropical fish that come in a variety of sizes and beautiful colours. Keeping tropical fish can be difficult as they require decent-sized aquariums, water-heating elements and air pumps. However, tropical fish make rewarding pets and can certainly be a talking point for observers. Some great beginner tropical fish include:
Needing to be kept in a minimum of a 20-gallon tank, guppies make great beginner tropical fish due to their easy care and small size. They are also relatively cheap to purchase. The Guppy is available in a variety of striking colours and looks great kept in groups of 10 – 15.
Also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta’s are gorgeous and elegant fish that are relatively easy to look after. They live up to their fighter fish names and tend to fight with other Betta’s, so they need to be housed in an aquarium where they are the only fighter fish. They can be kept with other tropical fish such as Neon Tetras and Rasbora’s.
Originating from South America, these beautiful fish are hardy and easy to care for. Similar to Betta’s, they can also display signs of aggression, so need to be kept singularly or kept in large groups. By keeping them in large groups, their aggressive tendencies seem to subside.
It could be said that Saltwater fish are the hardest group to care for in captivity. Saltwater aquariums can be difficult to set up and it can be hard to maintain the correct levels of water requirements. However, once the tank has been established, the exciting part can begin; finding saltwater fish to fill it with! Common saltwater fish include:
A popular fish from the film Finding Nemo, the clownfish is an easy saltwater fish to keep in a marine aquarium. They will often acquire a particular area of the tank to call home and once established, it will rarely leave this area. It may be best to keep a male and female couple in the aquarium so that they can become a mated pair.
Does anyone remember Marvin’s forgetful friend from Finding Nemo? Introducing Dory the Blue Tang! These fish are not usually very aggressive, but males can have a tendency to fight with other males. Blue Tangs are easy to care for and look beautiful when kept with a range of other colourful marine fish.
These cute little fish spend the majority of their time sifting through sand and rubble to find food, making great additions to aid in aquarium hygiene. They can sometimes become territorial with the same species, so ensure that your aquarium is big enough if you are planning on having more than one.
Final thoughts on fish
Fish are brilliant pets to own but do not be fooled into thinking that they are an easy pet to care for. They need a high level of attention and there are a variety of problems that could go wrong with either the fish’s health or the water condition of the aquarium. If cared for properly and the fish are provided with the correct husbandry, fish tanks can make an unusual and relaxing addition to any home.