SOMETHING FISHY: A beginner’s guide to keeping tropical fish
EVERYONE should have a pet. Some people may be put off by the idea of having to clean up poop or be woken up by loud squawking every day, but your choice of pet doesn’t necessarily have to be something cuddly that you can play catch with or teach to talk.
Tropical fish are a great alternative. Not only are fish therapeutically pleasing and interesting animals, but they can be very easy to look after and maintain. You may consider pet fish as boring but you will be amazed at the variety, colours and characters inherent in tropical fish.
I have been keeping tropical fish since my childhood years and have learnt a great deal regarding what to get and how to look after a great array of fishy friends.
If you wish to invest in your first tropical fish tank it’s a good idea to go large. Starting off small is not necessarily easier and once you get into such a hobby (and your fish grow) you will want to upgrade, which can be a mission and comes at a cost.
Invest in a large, rectangular shaped tank (30 liters is a good volume) and first ensure that you have a good place to house it. A fish tank stand is a good idea but ensure that the tank will rest at a comfortable eye-level.
It is also important to keep your tank away from direct sunlight as this will encourage rapid algae growth. You don’t want to have to scrap away algae in order to have a good look at who is inside.
Keep your setup as varied as possible. It’s best to have sections of both soft and gravel substrate. Keep your tank well planted and create lots of hiding places such as caves, tubes and rock tunnels, and decorate as you see fit.
The Nitrogen Cycle
Once your tank is filled up with de-chlorinated water and you have finished creating your own underwater Eden, there is a short waiting period to endure. With a heater installed and set between 25-27 degrees Celsius, and a good filter running, you tank will begin to perform a nitrogen cycle. Your local pet store will provide you with instructions on how to do this correctly.
After completing the above you are now ready to get your first tropical fish! It is always a good idea to only get a few at first and ensure that they are perfectly cheerful before getting more. It is also very important to research each tropical fish species beforehand to understand their needs and requirements and temperament with other fish.
There is tons of info available on the web – written by dedicated tropical fish hobbyists who are more than willing to give expert advice to beginners. However, I can recommend the following families as good fishy pets for the beginner: Corydoras, Gouramis, Loaches, Black Ghost Knife fish, Ramirezis, Algae Eaters and Tetras.
The following post: Something Fishy, consists of tropical fish profiles (including all the info you’ll need for good care) of the following:
- Fire Eel
- Clown Loach
- Glass Catfish
- Julii Corydora
- Red Tail Shark
- Pearl Gourami
- Fancy Goldfish
- Dwarf Gourami
- Bronze Corydora
- Black Ghost Knife
- Pleco (Algae Eater)
- Banded Kuhli Loach
- Black Moor Goldfish
- Blue Ramirezi (Blue Ram)
If you’re interested in starting your own hobby in tropical fish I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have. Otherwise here are some great resources: