Fish for bigginers

Which fish are best for the first aquarium?

Are you considering starting your first aquarium? Are you wondering what kind of fish to choose? Do popular species available in most pet shop include fish that are particularly suitable for a beginner aquarist and their first aquarium?

What should characterize the fish for the first aquarium?

Fish that are eligible for the first aquarium should have a high flexibility in relation to the physical and chemical parameters of the water. This way they will not be much bothered by the shortcomings that may occur in the first aquarium. Avoid aggressive species as well. Usually at the beginning of your aquarium adventure you do not have any experience how to deal with fish aggression in a tank. Fighting fish often result in losses in stocking and, eventually discouragement.

What to pay attention to when selecting fish for the first aquarium

Of course, the main determinant is the size of the tank, which decides which fish we can buy. Therefore, when reviewing the descriptions of species it is necessary to pay attention to the size to which fish grow up. In addition to all above, there are food and water requirements. The latter two factors are extremely important when planning a social aquarium, and the majority of the first aquariums are usually social ones. In social tanks fish from different parts of the world are kept without paying attention to their place of origin. However, it is important to choose animals that will not show aggression towards each other and have similar requirements for water and food quality.

Single-species and biotope aquariums

You can also create a single-species aquarium, it will give you the opportunity to observe interesting behaviors inside the group. We can choose such an aquarium due to its visual effect (have you ever seen an aquarium with neon tetra or tiger barbs alone?) or because the fish we have decided to use are better suited for single species aquariums, e.g. due to timidity or diet. Those who feel more confident in the field of aquaristics may be tempted to create an environmental aquarium. In such a reservoir they will try to recreate a biotope of black waters from South America, a rice field from Asia, or a fragment of Lake Malawi or Tanganyika. In such tanks it is possible to combine several species of fish from a given region, naturally taking into account their requirements.

10 fish species for beginners

Here is a list of fish species that are most popular among beginner aquarists. These fish do not cause any serious problems. They are are pretty, sociable, and can be accompanied by other species in a social tank. They do not grow big, either.

  • Rainbow fish
  • Black Molly
  • Common platy
  • Algivore
  • Zebra danio
  • Bronze Corydora
  • Neon tetra
  • Three spot gourami
  • The harlequin rasbora
  • The rosy barb

What other fish species are suitable for a first aquarium?

Fish considered suitable for a first social aquarium include Poeciliidae such as aforementioned guppies and mollies. In addition to the black mollies, there are other interesting farmed forms you can consider. Having a larger aquarium (about 250 liters) you can get a closer look at swordtails. The number of farmed forms is truly overwhelming. For the smallest tanks, a good choice would be Endler’s livebearer. You can’t forget about bottom fish in social tanks. Corydoras are the most popular choice as they are very active flock fish. In most cases, commercially available species are easy to care for, for example three-lined cory and pygmy catfish. The second group of demersal fish are Loricariidae fish, whose representatives are incorrectly called algivores. This family includes the popular bushynose (Ancistrus sp.) as well as “long plecos” of fantastic shape from the genus Loricaria, Sturisomaor Farlowella. The beginner aquarist will not have problems with smaller species of barbs such as tiger barb, Odessa barb, or characins such as tetras or Hemmigramus such as firehead tetra, neon tetra. If you have a large tank, you can opt for angelfish. Lake Malawi cichlids will also be a good choice but be careful to select proper species and sex ratio.

What about bettas and goldfish?

I did not mention these popular fish, betta and goldfish, on purpose. These are species popular among beginners, but they are not suitable for social tanks. Bettas can be pushy with smaller fish. In turn, more vigorous species will bother it or even bite its long fins while goldfish are a cold water species and ate unlikely to function well with fish from tropical regions. The latter also not the very best option for planted tanks, as they will damage the plants and dig them out. When deciding on these fish, it is worth to provide them with single-species aquariums or, in case of betta, carefully plan the stock.

dr inż. (Ph.D.Eng) Aleksandra Kwaśniak-Płacheta

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