When you become interested in owning a tropical aquarium, the number of beginner tropical fish available can feel almost overwhelming.
You can walk into your local aquarium shop and see tank after tank of brightly coloured fish, but you probably have little idea how to care for any of these beginner tropical fish, which will make good tank-mates in a community tank, and how big some of these fish may grow.
Gouramis are part of the Anabantid family, this means that in addition to breathing through their gills these fish are able to take gulps of air at the surface of the water.
You might see Dwarf gourami or the bigger three spot variety in your local fish store, other types of Anabantids which you could come across include Betta fish and Leopard bush fish.
While Gouramis can be added to a community tank with similarly sized tank-mates male Gouramis can be territorial. It is wise to keep only a single male unless you have a large tank where two males can establish their own territories.
Gouramis prefer a well-planted tank and with a water temperature in the range of 74-79 F, (24-26 C).
To provide your Gouramis with a well-balanced diet you should feed them a combination of both fresh and dry foods, such as larvae and flake food.
Molly fish are small tropical fish with a colourful body. They are known for their peaceful nature in the aquarium - which makes them an ideal beginner tropical fish. While you will find a lot of different types of mollies advertised for sale most of them are derived from two common molly species.
The short-finned molly and the sail-fin molly, both of these varieties of molly are quite simple to keep. The two areas where owners sometimes run into trouble are feeding and and water parameters. Like many fish mollies are prone to eating more than they need.
They will do well on a diet of good flake food and vegetables, although frozen or live food is equally acceptable. The essential point is that mollies should not be overfed.
Two or three times a day for 1 - 2 minutes is sufficient. This level of feeding will help to maintain your water quality. Mollies do not respond well to fluctuations in water conditions.
To avoid causing them undue stress it is best to maintain stable temperature and a higher pH around 7.5-8.5 if possible.
Danios are peaceful fish and great for new aquarium-keepers since they are quite hardy and simple to keep.
While they are not properly called ‘tropical fish’ they are happy in tropical temperatures along with their tropical tank-mates. The important thing to remember about Danios is that they are happiest in large groups.
If you are going to keep Danios then you will need five or six of them in a larger tank and at least three in a smaller aquarium although 38L is probably the smallest tank you should consider with Danios since they are active fish and need room to swim.
Danios appreciate decorations and plants in an aquarium so that they can have places to hide, they also like water movement so ensure that your filter creates at least some water disturbance.
You can keep Danios happily with smaller fish but it is best to avoid the more aggressive fish species who may chase them around the tank. Compatible fish to keep with Danios include Corydoras, Guppies, Tetras, Bettas etc.
Tetras are shoaling fish that are best kept in groups of at least six. Among the most common types of Tetra is the Neon Tetra, these colourful red and blue fish will grow to be between one and two inches in length and thrive in well planted tanks.
Other types of Tetra you may come across include the Black neon tetra and the Rummy-nose tetra. All of these small shoaling fish help to provide a colourful, moving background against which your larger ‘centrepiece’ fish can be displayed to best effect.
Amano Shrimp are normally a translucent grey colour, sometimes there may be shades of light brown or green present as well. You will notice that they possess long antennae combined with long legs and a translucent tail.
They can be kept in tanks of almost any size but they are happiest in a tank which has plenty of live plants which offer them lots of interesting places to climb. While an adult Amano shrimp can grow to a length in excess of two inches the ones you are likely to come across in your local aquarium shop will be much smaller.
It is important to remember that these young shrimps will grow, so don’t overstock the tank with a lot of shrimps thinking that they will always be small.
Feeding your Amano shrimps is quite simple they are great aquarium cleaners and enjoy eating soft algae, dead plant matter, and other materials which occur naturally in your aquarium.
If you believe that your tank is too clean to support the shrimps you can supplement their food with fish flakes, algae wafers, blanched spinach, and similar food items.
Understanding the preferred environment and food of each type of beginner tropical fish that you want to keep will be invaluable in helping you to care for them but it is still a good idea to thoroughly research each fish species before you buy.
Proper aquarium care takes time to learn and no matter how much experience you gain there is always more to learn - and always - Have fun along the way!
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