Choosing Freshwater Starter Fish

So you have bought your first freshwater aquarium, have had it set up for a week or so with all the equipment and everything is in check! Your patience for a fish is quickly depleting, and you’ve all but exploded because of the excitement. But a question comes to mind once you reach the fish store. What fish should I get? How many? You soon realize you probably should’ve did some research before you left. Well, that’s where this article comes in. Keep in mind several things when buying your first freshwater fish: tank size, the adult size of the fish you want, and how many you can put in the tank.

 First off, tank size

Depending on the size of your aquarium, you may be limited to what you can choose. For instance, say you have a ten gallon aquarium. You have a wide variety of choices, but the amount of fish you put in there is slim. The smaller the tank, the less room you have for fish. One thing you never want to do is overcrowd an aquarium.

When choosing the fish species, you want a fish that isn’t picky on water parameters, or the food that they eat. You also want a fish you can “experiment” with. You want it to be hardy enough to where you have room to make mistakes but for the fish to stand up to it. If you want several fish in your aquarium, or a community of fish, do schools. Add two or three fish to start off with, and build on those fish after the aquarium has had time to build the bacteria to stand up to the new fish. About one to two weeks should be allowed in-between new additions of fish to the aquarium.

A big “no no” is goldfish

Unless you properly maintain the aquarium, they stink, and unless you’re creating a cold-water aquarium, I wouldn’t do a goldfish.

Another issue with adding fish, that far too often happens, is if you have several schooling groups in your aquarium, and then you buy a fish that has no buddies to swim with, that fish will either become aggressive towards the other fish or intimidated by them and will either pick on the fish or hide from them.

I find keeping your fish close to the same size usually works out better than having various sizes. A large, aggressive fish is more than likely going to nibble or possibly eat the other fish. Also, when you buy your new creatures, and get them home, acclimate them. I find floating the bag for 10 to 15 minutes, and then cutting a small “slit” in the bag and letting it set for another 5 minutes does really well.

Here are a few examples of some good fish for you to put in your tank:

  • Cherry Barbs
  • Rosy Barbs
  • Cory Catfish
  • Danios
  • Rainbow Fish
  • Guppies
  • Endlers

To sum it all up, research is your best friend when adding a new addition to an aquarium. The more you learn, the more likely you are to succeed! Good luck with your new wet friends!


Photo credit: From flickr by ibanezgfx




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