Adding an aquarium to your household is a popular step to introducing basic animal care and responsibility for children, a way to get involved with a new hobby, or simply provide a means of relaxation. They are considered an easy to care for, inexpensive, and easy option – but be aware that this might not always be the case, and running out to buy what looks best may be a disaster in the making.
There are many shapes and sizes of tanks, and an incredible array of fish that are very cool to look at. There also is saltwater and freshwater habitats, and various other species that can cohabit with your fish.
The bind many first time fish owners get into is not understanding the care of their tank, the types of fish they have, and mixing and matching species that shouldn’t be put together. We are going to briefly explore low-maintenance, freshwater fish options for you to choose from to ensure a happy, healthy aquarium environment.
Fish Buying 101
Before walking into your local pet store determined to walk out with everything you need to set up your perfect aquarium, first take a few things into consideration. The biggest detail to pay attention to when getting started is tank size. Once filled with water, tanks weigh quite a bit and they need a sturdy place for them to sit. The later they are, the more they will weigh.
You also don’t want to fill up the space you have with fish. Fish need space, especially if you have multiple species that like to school together. Even freshwater fish can be aggressive when they are too tightly packed together and you want everyone to have enough room to swim away when needed.
Keep the general rule of thumb in mind: 1 inch of fish needs approximately one gallon. For fish that grow larger, such as many goldfish, you may want to provide 2 gallons per one inch. Overcrowding can result in diseases and fin shredding or picking.
You also want to take into account the various filters, lighting, gravel, and decor that is needed. For a great selection, take a look at the ratings and reviews at Tankarium. You can also find suggestions for various fish ailments that appear from time to time.
The Best Low-Maintenance, Freshwater Fish to Consider
Keep in mind the 1 inch of fish per gallon rule, and also remember that some fish don’t always get along with one another. These are seriously easy to care for suggestions, and provide a great selection of choices to get started with.
The original, easy-to-care for option, the Betta lives either on its own, or can be placed with a variety of other small fish as long as they are not another Betta. Place two male Bettas together and they will fight to the death.
Goldfish simply require cooler water for their own happiness and health, and are incredibly basic and easy to care for. Be sure to have a strong filtration system, however, as they are rather dirty overall. They generally do best with other goldfish since they will grow, and eat fish smaller than in time.
Zebrafish, or danios, are small, striped fish that actually belong to the minnow family. They are somewhat tropical and require the warmer waters of a tropical tank, but only grow to about an inch and a half and are seriously easy to care for. Choose a few as they will swim in a school.
These tiny fish are incredibly colorful and you can pick and choose from various types to make up schools of 6 or more as they swim together for safety. Non-aggressive, they mix well into freshwater tanks and with community minded fish species.
Mollies (and Platys)
Crazy robust, chances are if you purchase a Mollie or Platy, you are purchasing more than one as they are often pregnant. Livebearers, they are very community minded and most people keep these two together in tanks without other species as they generally reproduce quickly.
The Rasbora is a peaceful community fish that grows up to 2 inches long. Flashy and bright colored, they come in various hues to brighten up your tank. They also work well with other fish and are a favorite for beginner’s aquarium set-ups.
Peaceful and quiet, Corydoras are a type of small catfish. Also called Corycats, they are bottom dwellers and feeders, they can grow up to 3 inches in length and help keep your tank nice and clean from bottom sediments.
Barbs can get up to 3 or 4 inches in length and are quite colorful. They are considered semi-aggressive and somewhat territorial, but do well with other community fish. Avoid placing them with long finned species as they will pick on the fins.