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Popular Tropical Fish Species

There are more tropical fish species out there than you could ever count. You want your tank to be filled with beautiful fish that will give you hours of enjoyment. Here are some of the more popular fish species that people are including in their aquariums.

The fish species we will be talking about here are all freshwater fish. For beginners, freshwater tanks are easier to take care of and afford. They give you just as much fun and pleasure as saltwater without the learning curve. You can always adapt your tank for buy a new one to accommodate saltwater tropical fish in the future.

Catfish – There are several species of tropical catfish you can keep in your tank. The best thing about catfish is that they are bottom feeders. They will eat food from the lower end of the tank and scavenge around. They are perfect for community environments since they keep to themselves on the bottom. Use a soft surface on the bottom of the tank since they forage for food there. They can grow to up to four inches.

Cichlids – It’s a funny name but for beautiful fish. They are normally found in the warm climates of South and Central America and Africa but can make their home with you. One of the more popular cichlids is angelfish. They have striking colorful stripes and long pointed rays. There are other cichlids with bright, sparkling scales like the Ram and the Geophagus. Beware though – cichlids are territorial. They may not get along with catfish because they like to claim the entire tank as their territory.

Loaches – Sounds a bit like “leeches” but not as icky. These fish are long and round with beautiful stripe patterns and little whiskers or spines that help them hold onto rocks in fast currents. Loaches are bottom feeders that will also help keep your tank clean. They work in community settings. One caution: They are sensitive to nitrate levels in the water so frequent water changes are necessary even with aquarium cycling.

Rainbow fish – Want some color? Rainbow fish are small and brightly colored making the perfect addition to your tank. They love to swim fast and dart in and out of things. These fish move in schools. Having one or two rainbow fish can lead to aggressiveness among them. Keep several so that there is a balance. Some popular types are: Celebes rainbow, checkered rainbow and Boesemani rainbow.

Tetras – These fish are brightly colored and thrive in open spaces. They also like to hide in vegetation or driftwood. To highlight their colors, keep surrounding light and substrate material darker. They are great for community tanks and move in schools.

What fish are you considering for your tank? Start with these varieties to see which ones you like.

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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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