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Why True Experts Will Not Tell You What Fish to Get

(The First Tank Guide)

Why can't someone just tell me what fish will be best in my fish tank? That would make it a lot easier to get the tank set up and running.

Actually, this would be an impossible task. An experienced aquarium keeper may be able to make some suggestions, but those suggestions will by their existence provide false information by their omissions. There are an infinite number of possible, safe, combinations of compatible fish, and you get into some really odd combinations which can work at some stages in the fish's life cycles but my not work at other stages - or may work for some people but may not normally work together.

Short of publishing a several thousand page book, which would still be incomplete - and may be erroneous due to the availability of fish in some areas or their unavailability in other areas, this is not a possible task.

For example, fish "A" and fish "B" may be compatible, and fish "A" and fish "C" may be compatible, but fish "B" and fish "C" may not be compatible. Or fish "A" may be compatible with fish "B" while their juveniles, and not when they're adults, but fish "A" and fish "C" may be compatible when they are adults, but not when they are juveniles. Also, fish "A" and fish "B" may be compatible, and fish "B" and fish "C" may be compatible, and fish "A" and fish "C" may be compatible, but fish "A," fish "B," and fish "C" may not all be compatible together. Also, because of variations between individuals, fish that are normally compatible may not be compatible for particular individuals.

Short of a several thousand page book, the only general information that anyone educated about fish care (and who is being honest with you) can provide are general guidelines on what to look for in compatibility, or what may become compatibility issues.

The only person who can even approach answering this question is the person at the pet store who is showing you fish they currently have in stock that may make good combinations in your tank.

If you want someone to make recommendations for you about what fish to get, you need to start by going to your local pet shop to see what fish they carry that you find interesting. Then review your fish and aquarium books to see other fish you may be interested in getting. Once you have done this and have some ideas and a list of fish you may be interested in, then you can discuss those fish with experts to see what compatibility issues there may be with those fish.

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June 19, 2005
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February 26, 2013
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