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Choosing your Tropical Fish: What to Look for

If you’ve ever been to an aquarium, then you know that there are thousands of species of fish in the world. Tropical fish come in all sizes, shapes and colors. Which ones will you use to outfit your aquarium?

They are all so beautiful but all fish are not for your tank. You have to be discerning about the fish you put together. Here are a few tips to help you choose just the right mix.

Know your fish – Your fish tank will be a work of art through living colors. But, each fish is different just like other pet species have different temperaments. Books about fish can give you insight on what types of fish are delicate, hearty, saltwater fish or freshwater fish. Now, when you go to the pet store you are knowledgeable about the types of fish that you want for your home.

How healthy are the fish? – Buying fish, especially tropical fish, is an investment. As such, going to a reputable fish breeder or pet store is best. These individuals have the knowledge you need to make the right choices for your aquarium. What do you look for? If fish have any discolorations outside of their normal pigmentation, don’t buy them. Fish that have white spots are probably sick. Fish that seem to be attacking or quite aggressive to other fish in the tank will almost certainly do the same to other fish in your tank.

Saltwater or freshwater – We touched on this a bit but will go more in depth here. Freshwater fish are less expensive. You can get started with fish keeping for less. Saltwater fish cost more and are more labor-intensive when it comes to maintenance. Keeping the temperature, salinity, pH and bacteria levels at a proper level takes constant monitoring in a saltwater environment. Freshwater fish may be heartier and withstand conditions that other fish can’t deal with.

Fish size – Tropical fish come in many sizes. They may start out about an inch long but fish grow just like any other animal species. They may be small and cute now but will grow to be large and cute later. One problem with a tropical aquarium is too many fish for the size of the tank. Buy your fish keeping in mind how big they will get. In this case, less is more.

Fish food – All fish don’t eat pellets. Some like heartier food like worms. New fish (fry) have their own special diet until they are old enough to eat what you feed the rest of your fish. If you don’t want the food to ruin your budget so choose fish with simple tastes.

Before you invest in tropical fish, know what to look for when choosing a species.

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How to Breed Tropical Fish

When you find that you like keeping fish, you may want to breed them and sell the offspring. Breeding is a delicate process. Here are a few basics about the breeding process to help you decide if that is what you want to do.

First let’s learn about tropical fish and the way that they breed. Some fish are easy breeders and some need time and mood to breed. They can give birth to live young (called fry, like “small fry”) or lay eggs. With eggs, the female may lay them in crevices on the bottom, on the sides of the tank or in the open water so the male can come by and fertilize them. There are species that even store the eggs in their mouths

If you want to get into breeding, start with species that are easy to mate. Tetras usually need to set the “mood” so go with guppies or platys. When you get the hang of it, try the tetras, catfish or angelfish.

Get the right fish – Well you will need both male and female fish. If you have a tank full of one or the other, nothing is going to happen. A pet store can help you figure out if you have a good mix of male and female fish.

Watch their mating rituals – Your fish may be ready to breed when you see them pairing off. A male and female that fancy each other can be moved on to the next phase.

Create a breeding tank – It is best to breed your tropical fish in a separate tank. Most fish like clean environments to keep their eggs. Besides, fry are perfect food for many other fish and even the parents if they are in a community tank when they breed. The breeding tank will need to have the same pH, temperature and nutrient levels as the fish are used to. A fry net allows you to separate the babies from the parents as soon as they are born.

Buy appropriate baby food – Baby fish don’t eat the same thing as adult fish. Before you breed, find out what food you need to have on hand for them to eat. Baby fish are quite hungry and you will need to feed them right away.

Sell your new fish – Once the new fish reach a certain age, they are ready to find a place to live. Because they lay so many eggs, it is not logical to keep them all in one tank. Line up prospective buyers or new homes before you begin to breed.

Are you interested in creating new aquatic life? Learn the ins and outs of breeding so you can plan before you begin the process.

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