Buying healthy and beautiful freshwater fish is the key to having a beautiful aquarium. It is not a complicated process, but it is one that takes much care. There are a few easy things to do to ensure that you are buying the best fish, as well as the healthiest fish, possible. Among these are to research the different varieties of fish to decide which ones are the best for you, which ones are the best for the tank you possess, as well as where to get your fish.
Following these simple instructions will ensure that you will have one of the most beautiful and healthy freshwater aquariums around!
- Researching Varieties of Freshwater Fish: There are literally hundreds and hundreds of varieties of freshwater fish. This is why it is important to research all of the differences and find out which types of fish are the best for you and the aquarium you possess. We are going to split them up into five different groups.
- Small Freshwater Fish - The small freshwater fish varieties are among some of the most common in aquariums across the globe. These varieties are the most popular family aquarium fish. This is often because they are small and live for two to five or six years tops in captivity. These types of fish are often very low maintenance. Their tanks require moderate cleaning, and are even easy for children to care for. They are not as susceptible to diseases, except for ick (caused by Ichthyophthirius Multifiliis), which is a common illness for most fish, and can be easily treated. They are also very active, making them exciting pets for the family. Some of these fish breeds include Mollies, Guppies, Gouramis, Tetras, Bettas and Platys.
- Large Freshwater Fish - Large freshwater fish are a much different story than the small. If you choose to purchase fish that grow larger, you will definitely sacrifice the number of fish that you can purchase. Often it is only practical to have one to three large fish within a tank. Despite this sacrifice, the larger fish often come with more personality. Some people even refer to their large fish as their underwater dogs. They will often interact with their owners outside of the aquarium, playing games and making faces. This is more common for the Cichlid varieties, such as the Oscar, which come in several breed and color varieties. Sometimes the larger fish can become destructive, and they are much dirtier fish. If you are looking for easy tank maintenance, these types are not for you. Some other breeds are the Bala Shark, Jack Dempseys, Green Terrors, Texas Cichlids, Tin Foil Barbs, Angelfish and Parrotfish.
- Goldfish Types - It isn't any secret that Goldfish are probably the most common and popular fish in the world! They are very easy to care for and fun to own. Goldfish are extremely simple. They can live with or without an air pump as long as the water in their tank or bowl is changed periodically. They can also live in outdoor ponds during the summer or year-round if you live in a warm part of the country. There are many different fish that fall into the Goldfish category. There are Comets, which can grow up to five or six inches, and are the most common. There are also Fantails, Black Moors, Shubunkins, and finally Japanese Koi, which can grow up to twelve inches or so.
- Freshwater Wild Fish - Everyone knows these types of fish, especially if they are a fisherman. Some people however choose to keep these wild fish in tanks as pets. They tend to be quite dirty, causing a dirty and hard to care for tank. They can also be temperamental and hard to take care of as pets. It is also hard to find them, causing people to catch them and then keep them, making it very hard for them to adjust. Some of these types of fish include Bass, Bluegills, Sunfish and Trout.
- Bottom Feeders - There is one main kind of bottom feeder (algae eater) fish, which is called the Plecostomus. Commonly called the Pleco, it is used for keeping tanks clean. A Pleco is imperative for owners of tanks with dirty fish such as an Oscar. A well taken care of Pleco can live for many years and grow up to a foot in length, however it will usually grow to the size of his surroundings. If you decide to purchase a Pleco, remember to always use caution when handling him. A Pleco does not take well to netting because it has an exoskeleton, which is very sharp and can cut the net--and your skin--very easily.
- Determining Fish By Tank Size: There is a common rule of thumb when it comes to knowing how much space your fish need, and this is one gallon per inch of fish. This is an adequate rule, but should only be taken so far. By this rule, if you had a twelve-inch fish, you would only need a twelve-gallon tank. This is why it is preferable to have two gallons per inch of fish. You would not want to put a twelve-inch Oscar into a ten gallon tank. It would be miserable without any room to swim around and have fun! You also would not want to put thirty Mollies into a ten gallon tank. It is always important to keep this in mind when purchasing your fish, especially if you already have the tank in your possession.
- Where to Purchase Your Fish: There are many fine places that you can purchase fish. One of the most important things to keep in mind no matter where you choose to go is cleanliness. A clean fish tank is a healthy fish tank, so watch for tanks free of debris and algae, and keep an eye out for dead fish. If there are large numbers of dead fish floating around the tanks, stay away from that establishment.
- Chain Stores: There are many chain pet supply stores that are good places to buy fish. They usually have staff that are trained in fish care and have general knowledge. Among these are, PetSmart, Pet Supplies Plus and Petco.
- Privately Owned Stores: Almost every town has one or two privately owned pet stores. These stores can go one way or the other, so it will be important to check them out and even talk to the staff before purchasing. Often, the people that work at and own these stores will be a bit more knowledgeable and passionate about owning fish than they will be at the chain stores.
- Breeders: It is not as common to find, but is possible, to find a fish breeder who breeds the particular kind you are looking for. These breeders can be found online or in a newspaper. This is when you will get the healthiest and youngest fish. You may pay a bit more buying directly from the breeder, but you will have confidence in the fish you purchase.
Now that you have a bit more knowledge on what fish to choose and all of the things to consider, hopefully purchasing your new fish will be a fun and educational experience! Good luck and have fun shopping for your new family pets!