Choosing freshwater fish for your aquarium may seem to be a daunting task to the new aquarium keeper. With good reason. There are hundreds of species commonly available at the local fish store and picking out the right species for your setup is a very important process. For the best long term results it is vital to stock your aquarium correctly and not to overstock or stock it with species that don’t get on all that well together.
Ideally you have the freshwater fish species in mind that you want to keep before you start setting up your aquarium. Knowing what you want to keep beforehand will dictate what type of setup you need. For example, developing a stocking list will let you know up front the size of the aquarium you are going to need. Coming up with a stocking list also makes you really think about the fishes you want to keep. In your research you may find that you can’t meet the needs of the species you’re interested in. You may even find totally new species that you didn’t even know about before you started the research process. Aquarium keeping is supposed to be fun so why not make the research fun as well.
A good idea for setting up a tank and selecting species is to set up biotope type tanks. A biotope tank is one that is comprised of species coming from the same area with similar care requirements. You avoid many of the common headaches that folks with community type tanks get.
Community aquariums with a mix of freshwater fish species can actually be harder (in my opinion) to stock and keep than a biotope tank simply because you may be mixing in species with slightly different water requirements. These types of tanks require lots of research to create an community that gets along well.
As you can see there are lots of options available to you when choosing freshwater fish species for your aquarium. Take your time and research your fish thoroughly before you spend any money. Make sure your tank is fully cycled! Stop by FishLore and cruise the species profile pages or join the forum to participate in the craziness.