A freshwater aquarium can be a great idea. Fish are relatively easy to care for but there are a few things to bear in mind before deciding which fish to get. Remember, first of all, that your aquarium should be left running for two weeks before introducing any fish, to let the good bacteria in your filter mature to a safe level for the fish.
Fish should be purchased from a reputable dealer or pet store. Fish won at fairgrounds rarely last! If the fish in the dealer's shop tank look happy and there are no dead ones floating on the surface, they should be fine.
Try to get compatible fish. School fish tend to be compatible with one another. Examples include catfish, loaches, barbs, pearl and zebra danios, cardinal tetras or neons. A pair of catfish can control the algae but can also grow to be large fish, so ask in the pet store how big that particular breed can get. Also, they can be predatory and eat your other fish. Killifish can be hard to find but are good in a freshwater aquarium, especially for beginners. Oscars eat other fish and make a lot of mess, as do knife fish. Goldfish can suffer from many health problems and need a lower water temperature than many other fish so might be best avoided.
Some fish like a lot of greenery and plants so if your aquarium is to amuse a child, for example, it might be better to opt for the type of fish who prefer a few rocks, else you will not see much of the fish. They hide a lot.
Do not overcrowd your tank. Two inches of fish to every gallon of water is a good rule of thumb to bear in mind. Fish prefer square or rectangular tanks to spherical ones. Angel fish need a tank larger than ten gallons.
Do some research on the freshwater fish you prefer. You should find out about their special needs, whether chemical, temperature, compatibility-related or dietary.
You can get cold water aquariums, sub-tropical and tropical freshwater aquariums so make sure you know what temperature of water your fish likes and do not mix different species of fish if they like different temperatures.
Before adding a fish to your tank, you will need to quarantine it for a short period, to make sure it is healthy and not going to pass any illness to your other fish. Adding more than four fish at once can cause a chemical imbalance so add fish gradually, checking they remain healthy and settle in well, before adding more.
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