Your aquarium is set up and you’ve tested the water to be sure it is safe. Now, you are ready to run to the store and buy ten or fifteen colorful fish, right? Actually, if you want to have a happy, healthy environment for your fish, there’s a bit more to it than that.
Before deciding which fish to add to your aquarium, there are certain things you should consider. You can’t add a predatory fish to a tank that already contains weak fish. Fish should be about the same size, otherwise, a larger one may end up eating a smaller one. Make sure you consider what the fish will be like when it is fully mature. You want the environment to be stress-free, so it’s best to only select fish that can dwell in an aquarium together peacefully.
The best way to avoid any problems is by researching the needs and attitudes of the fish you want to get so that you will definitely know if they are compatible. You will need to make sure the fish are community fish, which means that they like to be around other fish. You will also need to find out if the fish have about the same water quality preferences and needs in terms of temperature and hardness. They are also much easier to care for if they like the same foods and plants.
A territorial fish, such as a toadfish or a damselfish, will want to be alone so it will try to scare off other fish that are somewhat similar to it, whether in species, shape or color. A peaceful fish, such as a guppy or a swordtail, is least likely to disturb others. A spirited fish, such as a blue damsel or a goatfish, may go after slower fish.
A mildly aggressive fish won’t live well with slow or shy fish, as it will tend to bully them. The same thing applies to an aggressive fish, so this type of fish should only be with active and large fish. A vulnerable fish, such as an angler or a green chromis damsel, will be picked on by other fish, even if they are normally peaceful fish. A fish that may start off being peaceful then grow to become aggressive, should not be added with smaller or vulnerable fish.
A hardy fish, such as a harlequin basslet or a blennyfish, is resistant to many diseases and can live in many different kinds of water conditions or quality. A fish that is moderately hardy is ideal to for a healthy aquarium. A touchy fish such as a flagfin angel or a regal angel, is more likely to obtain a disease since it is really sensitive to the quality of the water.
Of course, you should also consider the fish’s eating habits. A carnivorous fish, such as an angler or an anthias, will eat other fish if they are small enough and is not the best choice for a community tank. Herbivorous fish, such as a tangfish or an angelfish, will need to be fed vegetables for the most part and can be difficult to maintain in a mixed tank.
So, before you start adding fish to the tank, be sure you discuss whether they are suited to a community environment with your local pet store employee. This way, you’ll be able to enjoy your tank without constantly having to rescue fish that are being bullied.