Filling your fish tank: Which species are best for you?
A friend of mine got given a fish tank for his graduation. His uncle was never the best at getting him presents; I mean who gives someone a fish tank as a present? I can understand giving fish, or even a fish tank full of fish, but just a fish tank? I don’t know… Anyway this gave Paul; my friend, the chance to choose his own fish.
Seems simple enough, but what fish to go for? There are so many out there. You have the run of the mill goldfish, then there are tropical fish in all of their wonderful variety, then there are all of the other creatures of the sea to choose from.
Well, if you are getting some fish then hopefully I can assist you in choosing the perfect ones for you. I helped Paul with his choices and he is now as happy as a schoolboy whose mother has let him have a day off school ‘ill’. Here are some suggestions:
These are the sturdy, reliable fish tank fish. If you want a simple scene and a traditional selection of creatures then go for the goldfish. They are ridiculed as having a rubbish memory but don’t let that put you off them. Goldfish are the perfect choice to have in your home, if you like the simple things in life. If popping to the pub on a Sunday for a lovely roast and a pint or two is your kind of thing then maybe, just maybe, the goldfish is the one for you.
These unsung heroes do exactly what it says on the tin. If you want a bit of variety in your fish tank and fancy getting a few species then the algae eaters should not be overlooked. They chomp away at all of that grimy green stuff and can play a vital role in keeping their habitat ‘clean’.
Not the flashiest fish but they are the consistently tidy ones. If you like a pristine living space and live in a house where the walls are painted in colours with made up names like ‘natural wicker’; ‘minor light’ and ‘freshly brushed tooth’ then the cleanliness of the algae eater is the fish for you.
These are the fancy, flashy fish. Get a small fleet of them or one lone one in and amongst other fish. I can guarantee if you go for the latter, the angel fish will become your favourite. They are a peaceful addition to your fish tank but be careful; if they grow too big they can eat smaller fish.
They can get a bit big for their boots, ‘ooh I am the prettiest, I am the biggest, I am hungry so I am going to eat you because you are smaller and less beautiful…’ You know what I mean. So if you love to be the centre of attention then I say you opt for an angel fish.
Common clown fish
The clown fish rose to fame after the kid’s film ‘Finding Nemo’ broke. They are a marine fish that are very pretty and brightly coloured. You can opt to go for one or a small school, however if you are going to add a group of these, make sure they are all the same type of clown fish. Otherwise your tank could be under threat of gang warfare as these little guys can be quite aggressive towards other types of their own.
If you have a child who already has a Buzz Lightyear toy; thinks there are monsters in their cupboard; or keeps tying balloons to his bed to escape to a far away island, then the ‘Finding Nemo’ fish is most probably for you. If you didn’t get any of those Pixar references then avoid at all costs.
Other critters of the sea
Now, who says you have to go for fish in the first place? Not me! If you already have a nice selection of fish in your tank then why not go for something else? You can go for crabs, shrimps, snails, or many other wacky yet wondrous species. Be warned though, a regular garden snail will not suffice.
You can get all sorts of spiny, scary looking things to lurk around in your tank. Starfish are a good addition; as are urchins or anemones. If you are a bit on the wild side, as Lou Reed would say, and you like to be a little bit different from the rest of the pack then there are a plethora of invertebrates and crustaceans out there for you.
Now, I want you to think long and hard about which animals you would like to be swimming around in your fish tank. Plenty of deliberation needs to be put in, don’t jump the gun and go for the best looking. Never judge a book by the pictures that are on the front of it. And, if your fish all start eating each other, don’t blame me. Have fun.
Pictures courtesy of Nagashima, Benson Kua, Keven Law, Andreas Marz and Romain Guy