Looking for some fish to put in your brand new aquarium? Want to find fish that are easy to care for? There are lots of choices out there, even if all you want is to keep things simple.
Here are some of the easiest aquarium fish to care for:
These fish are sometimes referred to as "zebra fish", because of the black and silver horizontal stripes on their bodies. There is another variation of danios that sometimes are called "leopard" danios. These have spots instead of stripes and are lighter in color than the striped danios. Both types are actually the same breed, so you can put some of each in an aquarium, and they will all get along. I do not know if there is an easy way to tell if a particular danio is male or female, but this doesn't seem to matter. They tend to just get along, regardless, so you don't have to be concerned about what sex a particular danio is when you select them from the pet store. These fish will sometimes follow each other around the aquarium, and tend to swim very quickly. It's fun to watch them zip by! Danios are "passive", meaning that they will not bother other kinds of passive fish that they share an aquarium with. They make a nice addition to an aquarium of non-agressive fish.
Some tetras are orange, with black fins and a small round black spot on each side of their bodies. Others are silver, with black tipped fins and two horizontal black stripes on each side of their bodies. There are also "neon" tetras, so called because they have a blue or red stripe on their sides that can seem to glow. All kinds get along nicely with others of their kind, or of tetras of a different color, so you can a few of each kind to your aquarium. They will grow to a nice size, usually around an inch long and half an inch "tall", and then stop growing. This makes it easy to figure out how many tetras you can put into an aquarium, because you will have a good idea of just how big they will eventually become. This is another type of fish where you don't need to be concerned about what sex the fish is when you pick them out of the pet store. Tetras are also passive, and will get along with the other passive fish they share an aquarium with. I have had great success with aquariums that contain both tetras and danios.
Here are some fish that are easy, but I wouldn't choose to start with:
Guppies are beautiful! They come in many color varieties and have long, flowing tails. They are also a fairly passive breed of fish, and will tend to leave alone the other breeds of fish that they share an aquarium with. I would hesitate adding random guppies to an aquarium without first knowing all the facts.
Guppies are one of the types of fish where it is absolutely important that you know what sex the fish is before bringing it home to your aquarium! Males tend to be much brighter in color than females, making fish owners want to buy a few more males than they buy of the duller in color females. The problem with that is that male guppies are extremely interested in the female guppies. They will follow them around the aquarium, appearing to harass them, trying constantly to mate. It has been said that for each male guppy you have in your aquarium, you need four female guppies. Less than four females for each male creates tension, because the males can actually chase and harass a female to death, especially if she is outnumbered. To keep things balanced, you will need four duller colored female guppies for every one bright and pretty male guppy in your tank. Not every aquarium owner is going to want to do that.
Another problem with guppies is that they are one of the few kinds of fish that gives birth to live offspring, instead of just laying eggs. Sometimes it can be pretty obvious when a female guppy is pregnant, but it still will be impossible to tell when she will give birth. Guppies produce a bunch of babies at one time. The first thing the other guppies will try to do is eat these baby guppies as soon as they are born. This can be traumatic for small children to watch. If you notice a pregnant guppy, there are small plastic box like things you can buy to put in the aquarium. This separates the pregnant guppy from the rest of the fish, and, once she gives birth, will separate the babies from all the fish including herself. Then you have lots of new little guppies to figure out what to do with.
In short, guppies are pretty, but take more work than you might expect.
I like goldfish. They come in a bunch of different colors and shapes, and are very calm and passive. They get along with everything they live with, including types of goldfish different from themselves and whatever other passive fish they share an aquarium with. They do really well in colder water, so you might not need a heater for your aquarium that contains only goldfish.
What most people don't realize is how messy goldfish really are! An aquarium of goldfish will need to be cleaned more often than an aquarium of tetras or danios. If you decide to try and add even one goldfish into an aquarium that has danios or tetras, be careful! Goldfish excrete enough material to change the ph balance in an aquarium rather quickly, and you will need to clean the tank more often and work to maintain the right balance.
Another thing to keep in mind is that goldfish tend to get a disease refereed to by pet store workers as "ick". A goldfish with ick will have little white spots forming all over it's body, fraying fins, and sometimes cloudy eyes. Ick is highly contagious to the other fish sharing the aquarium, especially to the other goldfish. It can be treated with medication you drop into the water, but you need to do it in a timely fashion if you are going to save your goldfish.
In short, goldfish are easy to care for, but only if you know about the extra work involved with cleaning the tank, and watching out for the ick disease. They do best in an aquarium that only contains goldfish, but you can still get a variety of different looking goldfish in your aquarium.
Here is an easy to care for fish that you might not expect:
Barbs are aggressive fish that are almost wedge shaped. They come in a variety of colors, but are the same breed, and you can mix in a few of each color into one aquarium. Tiger barbs are orange with black tiger stripes. Jade barbs are a dark green color, that will appear to be black until the light from the aquarium hits them just right. In the right light, these fish are a shiny green color, similar to green jade. Albino barbs are very light orange or even white, with white and very faint orange stripes on their bodies. They look like faded tiger barbs.
These fish are aggressive, and will nip at and bite every fish in the tank. What I have found works best is getting an aquarium and only putting barbs into it. They bite each other, but none of them seem to be bothered much by it. These fish are fun because they can swim in an almost school formation sometimes. They are fast, and dart around the aquarium, making hairpin turns. They swim at strange angles, sometimes pointing straight down, or flipping over fast enough to appear to be swimming backwards. They are fun to watch! Just make sure your aquarium only contains barbs, and no other types of fish for best results.