Monday, February 27th, 2012

A Beginner’s Guide to Community Fish Tanks

Keeping a diverse and colourful community of fish can make your aquarium highly attractive, ensuring that it is a focal point of the room. Whilst your choice of fish tank is important however, it is also vital to choose fish that can coexist in terms of behaviour and habitat.



There are many budding fish keepers that simply opt for the most colourful fish possible when creating their first community. Despite the importance of aesthetics though it is important to make sure your fish can live at the same water temperature, are suited to similar habitats and also that they will not eat or attack each other.

As a first timer or beginner the best advice is to opt for fish that are hardy and can adapt to environmental changes which may result from your mistakes. Additionally, it is advisable to buy fish that aren’t too expensive in the early stages of your fish keeping as it is likely that some will die as you attempt to keep the water quality stable and acquire the skills to keep your fish healthy. Remember that a larger fish tank will be more forgiving than a smaller one when you first start out due to the larger volume of water.

When selecting fish for your tank it is advisable to choose fish that are peaceful rather than aggressive. Aggressive species should really be left to more experienced handlers as they can cause the death of other fish due to biting, infection of wounds and stress. It is also worth bearing in mind that even relatively placid fish can exhibit behaviours such as fin-nipping so if you are choosing fish with delicate fins, it is wise to be extra careful about the other fish in your tank.

5 Key Considerations for Choosing Your Fish

  • Size of Your Fish Tank
    The size of aquarium you choose will determine how many and also the types of fish you can choose. For instance fish that are sensitive to poor water conditions will typically do better in a larger, less crowded tank.
  • Colours and Patterns
    Naturally you want a good selection of fish that vary in colours, size and pattern rather than a collection of drab colours. Your aquarium is like an evolving piece of art so choosing colours can be tricky; a good tip is to buy your fish one species at a time to balance how they look when you add them to the fish tank.
  • Maintaining you Fish Tank
    Maintenance is a major consideration and as mentioned previously it is easier to maintain larger tanks. However, if you are clever about which fish you choose, for example buying scavengers of bottom feeding fish you can create an environment that is self cleaning to an extent.
  • Predation
    Most fish keepers agree that when choosing fish it is advisable to match them by their mouth size i.e. no fish in your tank should have a mouth large enough to swallow another. You should also consider strictly herbivorous fish within your aquarium.

5 Good Community Fish

The following fish can make good community fish and are ideal for beginners:

Golden Barbs – A very harder and peaceful fish of the Barb species

Glowlight Tetra – Easier to start a new tank with than the Neon Tetra.

Silvertip Tetra – Copper colour with white fin tips, very tolerant.

Swordtails – An attractive and hardy livebearer

Corydorus Catfish – Tough clean-up crew.

Your choice of fish community is of course wholly down to personal preference and even if you do select a fish that is of a placid species there is a chance that an individual may still be aggressive. If you do want further information on the types of fish that can be kept together or would like to find out more about fish keeping why not pop into one of our stores or speak to us on our Facebook page.

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