Maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of getting an aquarium, but not really sure if it’s for you. Perhaps you’ve been eyeing up the fish in your dentist’s surgery, or you’ve recently been inspired by a trip to a sealife center. Whatever’s triggered your newly-kindled interest, you want to know if the long-term commitment is really worth it.
Before deciding to get an aquarium, you should weigh up the pros and cons. You will have to consider setting aside time to clean out the tank and feed your fish on a regular basis. Also, before purchasing any fish, you should cycle your tank.
This means giving the water adequate time to allow beneficial microorganisms to grow in the water. This should take about a week. You will have to remember to change your water regularly. One-third of the water in the tank should be removed about once a week and clean water added to replace it.
However, compared to owning a larger pet such as a dog or cat, the upkeep is minimal. You should be able to fit it into your daily routine without much problem.
As well as needing less attention than other popular household pets, having an aquarium is sure to enrich your life with the benefits it provides. You’ve probably heard that owning a pet can help to reduce stress levels. The same goes for keeping fish.
So many of us check our mobile phones before going to bed, but this is actually detrimental to our sleep-patterns. If we replaced this habit by watching our fish instead – even just for a few seconds – we would get a much better night’s sleep.
It stands to reason that if you feel less stressed, you will naturally have lower blood pressure. As well as this, by keeping an aquarium at home your anxiety levels will drop. Who knows; you might even save yourself some expensive counseling, or the nasty side-effects of anxiety medication! Stress-relief can also help to prevent you from developing some dangerous addictive behaviors to cope with your anxiety. You will benefit from all this and more by investing in your own aquarium.
Are you convinced yet? If so, read on!
Colorful Fish – Which fish should I buy?
Choosing and finally bringing home your fish can be a lot of fun. The kind of fish you decide on will ultimately be down to personal taste and how experienced you are. However, if you are looking to fill your tank with an array of color, and have a beautiful selection which is sure to put a smile on any visitor’s – as well as your own – face, then this article is written for you. We’ve rounded up ten of the most interesting and colorful fish for all experience levels; the aquarium-novice included!
If you’re looking for color, then nothing quite compares to the glorious shades found on the killifish or Cyprinodontiformes. They are found all over the world – with the exception of Antarctica and Australia – and there are over 1,250 species.
A beginner-friendly species is Aphyosemion striatum. Native to Africa, these small fish (2–2.2in) are mostly found in the streams and shallow water of rainforests. They have distinct, bold, and spectacular coloring; mostly primary shades, but that’s what makes them so striking!
As we’ve said, they’re a great choice for first-time fish-buyers. They don’t need the biggest of tanks, and the water will only need to be regulated to a pH of 6.6–7.2. Feeding them is straightforward; they will accept flakes although they are particularly partial to frozen mini bloodworms.
German Blue Ram
If you’re all about the blue, then this fish is for you! With its electric blue color and peaceful temperament, the Blue Ram makes an excellent choice for your aquarium. Most German Blue Rams are also a combination of bright yellow and green with characteristic red eyes.
Despite what their name suggests, these fish are originally from South America, where their bright color and spiky rays have evolved to discourage predators. They can reach a length of about 2-3inches and have a lifespan of up to 3 years.
Unfortunately, the German Blue Ram isn’t recommended for beginners. It would be better to wait until you have a little more experience with your aquarium and certainly until you have cycled the water.
These fish like plenty of hiding spaces so it would be good to invest in some driftwood and rocks or pebbles for your tank. They are also very social and will happily share their water with Dwarf Rainbow, Discus, and Neon Tetras.
Can a fish actually be too colorful? We don’t think so! When it comes to the Discus, they are definitely at the top of the leader board as far as color is concerned.
It’s no wonder these beautiful fish are so popular. They have a peaceful temperament, can live up to 15 years, and will be happy to share the tank with many other kinds of fish such as Neon Tetras and Ember Tetras.
These fish are by far the biggest so far on our list. They can grow to a staggering 10 inches long, so you will need to consider this when purchasing an aquarium (a 50-gallon tank is recommended if you’re wanting to accommodate these beauties.)
The Discus is native to the Amazon where they swim around in large schools. They are therefore extremely social, but they do have a pecking order. It would be advisable to monitor your smaller Discus and make sure that they are thriving.
This fish is not recommended for complete beginners. The pH of your tank will have to be kept between 4.5 and 7.8, and the water will need to be fairly warm (82-88°F). Since much other fish require a slightly cooler environment, you should do your research before purchasing the Discus. It is recommended to purchase at least 5 for your aquarium.
Diamond Neon Tetra
Also known as ‘Diamond Head Neon Tetra’, these little fish are characterized by the diamond shape between their eyes and fin and the striking blue stripe stretching along the side of their body. They only grow up to 2.4 inches long, so they won’t take up too much space in your aquarium. They are social and prefer going about in school. It is recommended that you buy 5-6 of them for your tank.
Don’t be fooled by its small size; the Diamond Neon Tetra will add character to your aquarium with its magnificent coloring and adventurous nature. However, you’ll need to encourage its curiosity by providing hiding places with pieces of driftwood, plants, and rocks. You can also expect it to live for up to 10 years, so don’t worry if you get quite attached to this sweet little guy!
The Diamond Neon Tetra is perfect for the complete beginner. It will need a tank size of at least 15 gallons, a slightly acidic pH, and a temperature of 68-78° F.
Maybe your heart has already been won over by watching Finding Nemo, but if you decide to invest in these orange-and-white, water-circulating delights, you won’t be disappointed. That’s right; the Clownfish will actually support the upkeep of your aquarium by helping to circulate the water and by removing parasites.
These fish have extremely interesting sexual behavior. Did you know that they can actually change sex? They are born male but can transform themselves into females for mating. The more dominant partner in a couple will change into the female. Once changed, they can’t ever revert back to being male. Also, it is also the male of the species that watches over the eggs until they are hatched.
They will reach a maximum length of 6 inches and are fairly easy to breed. They are also robust and can adapt to a variety of conditions, so suitable for the beginner. However, if possible the water should be kept between 73 and 82° F and at a pH of 8.1 to 8.4.
Thought of as the holy grail of the aquarium, the royal gramma is both beautiful and low-maintenance. Its body is bright yellow and deep purple in color with the two colors merging in the middle (unlike the Royal Dottyback whose colors do not blend), but it isn’t just a pretty face; the Royal Gramma also has a peaceful temperament.
It is fairly small, reaching 3 inches long when it is full-grown. It will live for about five years and spend most of its time hidden away, as it is quite a shy fish. You should therefore provide it with plenty of places to hide.
It is extremely easy to take care of. You will need a tank size of at least 30 gallons and the water should be kept at a temperature of 72°F to 78°F.
Last but not least; this unusual-looking fish will amaze your guests with its large, protruding forehead and tropical coloring. It has distinct but varied patterns on its stocky body and can grow up to a staggering 16 inches long.
Thought best for an aquarium enthusiast of intermediate level, the Flowerhorn Cichlid can unfortunately be a little aggressive around other fish species. Luckily you can still pair them with fish who have similar temperaments such as the Leopard Pleco and Armored Catfish. You don’t want to pair it with smaller, slower fish though, and if it is tank-sharing then you will need to consider a much bigger tank size; at least 150 gallons.