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Choosing your Fish

So, now that you've got your tank set up its time to get some fish. But before you charge off to your local fish shop, spend a little time considering what you want from your aquarium. Like it or not you can't just pick a load of fish and stock your tank at once, and for several very good reasons.

Firstly, the filter in the tank is sterile, and is doing nothing more than circulating water through the sponges. It may trap a lot of the small floating particles clouding the water, but will have no effect on fish waste which will build up in the water. The filter will need time to cycle with the help of a few well chosen "hardy" fish.

Secondly, you cannot just mix fish at random. The fish in our display tanks come from all around the world, not just different water systems, but entirely different continents. They vary in size and temperaments from miniature marvels like the Bumblebee Goby, full grown at 15 millimeters, to giant predatory Barbs and Catfish up to a metre long. Even those species classified as "Community Fish" won't necessarily mix with each other, so its important get the right fish to start your tank off.

There are some, so fascinated by a particular fish, that they enter the hobby just to be able to keep that specific species. Most however want to enjoy the colour and variety of a community tank with all its varied and exciting interactions, and it is to this type of setup that I address these next few paragraphs.

The first few weeks are a difficult time in any new tank, so don't choose fish which are overly sensitive to water quality, or which have specific feeding requirements. Water conditions will be poor for a few weeks and adding high protein foods such a Bloodworm only makes matters worse.

Don't choose large or aggressive species, they may be small and peaceful in the shop, but can limit you choices later when your tank has matured a little. Most of the fish on sale in the shop are juveniles, and it is not always obvious what they will grow into, so ask.

Don't buy expensive fish, even experts can lose fish in a new tank, and cost does not necessarily relate to hardiness. In fact it can be quite the opposite, some fish are expensive because they are rare and difficult to keep.

However, rather than continuing to suggest what you should not choose, I will instead point you to the Beginners Fish Section, where hopefully you find easy to keep species appealing to you personal tastes.