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What Fish Should I Get?

The Fifty-Million Dollar Unanswerable Question

(The First Tank Guide)

There are thousands of fish available on the market today, resulting in tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of possible, reasonable, viable combinations of fish for your fish tank. To list all the possible combinations of fish for your fish tank, or even a reasonable percentage of good combinations of fish would be impractical, and, in fact, to my knowledge, has never been done or even attempted. Unfortunately, it is not even practical to try to list the most reasonable fish combinations, because I could easily list hundreds of possibilities without ever mentioning a fish that you find interesting and that is available in your area.

Instead, I recommend that you visit your local pet shops and pick up a couple of books on fish and aquarium keeping. Books on the care of pet fish will frequently have some information on several varieties of fish, as well as their care requirements. You can also look through the tanks at the shop and see what fish they have in stock. If you see something interesting, ask the employees about its care requirements and compatibility.

If you have questions about the compatibility of specific fish, feel free to contact me about those particular fish.

Generally speaking, if fish have similar care requirements, are of similar size, and have similar temperaments, they are likely to be compatible. However, this is not always the case.

What Do I Need to Know to Choose Fish for My Fish Tank?

To pick fish for your fish tank, you will want to answer these questions for yourself. Since this can influence the equipment you are gong to need, you really want to be considering these questions when you are first getting started with your aquarium hobby.

  1. What kind of fish do you want to put in your fish tank?
  2. Do you want large fish or small fish in your aquarium?
  3. Do you want freshwater, brackish water or marine fish?
  4. To you want tropical or temperate water fish?
  5. Do you want one species of fish or several species of fish in your tank?
  6. Even if you want only one species of fish in your aquarium, do you want one variety or several varieties of that species? (Not all species are available in multiple varieties, but some species are available in a wide range of different varieties.)
  7. Do you want multiple fish in the tank, or just one fish (or maybe a pair)?
  8. Are you more interested in fish with interesting and attractive coloration, fish with specialized body types, or in intriguing fish behavior?
  9. Are you looking for high maintenance fish, or lower maintenance fish?
  10. Do you want more active fish or more calm and sedentary fish in your aquarium?
  11. Are you interested in aggressive fish or more peaceful fish for this fish tank?
  12. What fish are available in your area that you find interesting? (Browse through your local pet shops to see what they have in stock.)
  13. Can your local pet shop do a special order for you for the fish you are interested in? (Assuming the fish you are interested in is actually available to your local pet shops - not everything is available everywhere.)
  14. What fish have you seen in your fish books that you are interested in? (Are they available in your area?)

These questions should get you started on the right track to finding the fish you want to have in your tank, and in getting compatible fish.




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March 26, 2004
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March 8, 2016
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