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.
Fish species for the first aquarium
The species which are most often listed as suitable for the first social aquarium include zebra danio, guppy, molly, swordtail, bronze corydoras (or other popular species of Corydoras), algivore, three spot gourami, rosy or Tiger barb, as well as other small species of barbs, tetras, firehead tetras, neon tetras and other characids. If you have a larger tank, you can opt for angelfish or cichlids from Lake Malawi, but here the selection of species is a separate issue.
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