maintenance, care, compatibility
Beginner aquarists often wander in darkness, not knowing exactly what kind of fish to start. Seeing a small and cute Pteigoplicht in a pet store, they do not even realize that he can grow more than 30 cm and live more than 20 years.
But this elegant astronotus will grow very large and will gladly eat everything that fits in his mouth.
So which fish is best avoided at first?
Below I will list 15 species (and here you can find the 10 best fish for beginners, or the top 10 unusual aquarium fish), which are very popular, but it is not very easy to maintain. If you are a beginner aquarist, you better avoid these fish, at least until you gain experience.
Then you can create the necessary conditions in general or you will get a separate aquarium for these fish.
Definitely, each of the fish listed below is not the easiest to keep and requires much more care than a regular fish. As a rule, they need special water parameters, or powerful filtration, or they are aggressive, or they like to spread everything in an aquarium, and most often these fish are simply huge and require very large aquariums.
This is a herbivore relative of the well-known piranha. They belong to the same genus – Characidae.
But the size of a fish when it becomes sexually mature differs from piranha black pacu. And then the newcomers are waiting for problems. Most of the packs that you can see on sale will be no more than 5-7 cm in length, with beautiful colors and peaceful behavior.
However, these fish will outgrow the 200-liter aquarium in the first year of their life and will continue to grow, often reaching a weight of 4 kg and a body length of 40 cm. And their colors will fade.
Unless your home is worth a tonne-aquarium, avoid these fish at all costs. As well as all others about which the seller very vaguely speaks, when asking about its sizes.
Red-tailed catfish or fractal cephalus (Phractocephalus hemioliopterus)
An interesting and beautiful catfish in its own way, so this is often bought by beginners. Of course, the sellers say that they are very hardy (and this is true), grows well (still like!), Eats everything (especially small fish), but they don’t say how big it is. And fractocephalus in nature grow to 80 kg.
In the aquarium, of course, less … but not much. Again – you need to keep it in very large aquariums, with very large fish.
And this is a small …
The fish, which is most often found … on the shelves of supermarkets. In fact, Pangasius are bred in Southeast Asia on an industrial scale in order to sell its fillets.
And as you can guess divorced not because it is shallow and does not grow well. Reaching up to 1.5 meters in length, the pangasius is incredibly voracious.
In the aquarium, he is frightened, in a fright rushes headlong and demolished everything in his path, stupid (if you can say so about fish), besides he can pretend to be dead.
And the list is not quite fish, but rather, not a fish at all. What does not prevent her from buying to keep in the general aquarium.
Axolotl is the larva of the tiger ambystoma, the peculiarity of which is that it may not pass into adult form. The temperature for its content is not higher than 20 degrees. There are no fish in the aquarium with them – either they will eat fish or fish will cut off their gills.
Snails, too, will be superfluous in aqua – they can gobble up and make them worse for them. The ground is large so that they don’t accidentally eat it. The required volume of 30-50 liters per piece ..
We need a low aquarium with a large bottom area. Good filtering.
It is very difficult, if not unreal, to translate into land form. It is obvious that all these requirements can hardly be called simple even for an experienced aquarist.
Do you have algae problems? Get pterigoplichta.
It’s easier to get this fish than to understand what’s wrong in the aquarium. They are quite common in the sale, and buy no problem. But again – in the store they will be no more than 7-10 cm in length.
But he will grow up. Strongly grow.
Very much grow. Most beginners start with an aquarium up to 100 liters.
Buy a pterigoplicht into it is just the same as launching an orca into a pool. They grow up to 30 cm and more.
How much space they need and how much waste you can make yourself.
Another fish that can often be found on sale. Oscar astronotus is often sold, which has a beautiful black and orange color and attracts attention. Astronotus needs an aquarium from 200 liters, as it grows already from 300 to 500 liters.
This is clearly not the fish you dream to buy first. In addition, the astronotus will literally eat any fish that fits into his mouth, he is even fed with goldfish and other medium-sized species. For starters, it is too huge and too aggressive.
For the maintenance of astronotus a separate large aquarium is needed, which contains only large species.
One of the most beautiful fish in a freshwater aquarium. The problem is their high aggressiveness.
Beginners often do not know about it and in the general aquarium they will have a big trouble from Africans. They can kill most of the fish living in the neighborhood and still fight each other.
Although African cichlids are very beautiful, it is better to leave them to more experienced aquarists for their territoriality, special care, and the requirement for frequent water changes.
Another fish, resembling a shark, is actually a relative of the carp. Shark balu grows up to 30 cm, and also schooling, you need to keep it from 5 individuals.
It is clearly not suitable for small aquariums primarily because of its size, although the nature of the fish is peaceful.
Discus (Symphysodon aequifasciatus, S. heckel and S. haraldi)
Like the African cichlids – discus is one of the most beautiful freshwater fish. Very peaceful with a calm character, it requires special conditions in the aquarium and increased attention. Increased water temperature, frequent changes, cleanliness, special nourishment and space for swimming make it a very difficult fish to maintain.
Best of all he feels in a separate aquarium, where all these conditions are met. And it is better to buy it only when you are already an experienced aquarist.
Preliminary preparation before the acquisition of small fish
If you have never had an aquarium and no experience of keeping fish, then it is best to start fish that need minimal care and are not very demanding to the conditions of existence. This will avoid the death of your fish, as well as gain experience and knowledge in the content of the aquarium.
Many tropical fish require the maintenance of a certain water quality (hardness, acidity, temperature, etc.), the presence or absence of plants, a certain brightness of the light or its absence.
For unpretentious fish, the range of comfortable conditions is much wider, which allows them to be kept in a lower quality environment. They are also less susceptible to negative factors (improper feeding, delayed water changes, etc.).
There are several determining factors when choosing a fish:
- aquarium size;
- selection and compatibility of different types of fish;
- the size and temperament of the fish.
If you already have an aquarium, you need to determine what and how many fish you can fit into it. This will avoid overpopulation, which leads to unnecessary fights, oxygen starvation, eating predators of peace-loving fish.
If you have enough space and money to install an aquarium of any acceptable size, as well as the necessary equipment to ensure the life of the fish, you can proceed to the next heading of this article.
If you are cramped in something, then you need to define your desires, given that small aquariums are much more difficult to maintain than large ones, but the latter require more time for maintenance. For example, a 100-liter aquarium will suit a novice aquarist better than a 50-liter aquarium.
A large aquarium is simpler and better kept for several reasons:
1. Water temperature and quality are more stable.
2. The impact of adverse factors on the fish takes longer, which gives the novice aquarist the opportunity to influence them in a timely manner. For example, in winter time, the water heater broke, the cooling process is slower and you can manage to get off and buy a new one before the fish get cold. Or ampularia died from old age in the thickets of a small aquarium, the water became dull, the smell appeared, fish began to die.
In a large aquarium, this process will occur many times slower and you can remove the dead snail from the can without harming the fish.
3. In small aquariums there is little space for free swimming, and, accordingly, not every favorite decor can be placed in it.
4. Ample opportunities for design and decoration.
5. A large aquarium can hold a lot of large fish or a large number of small ones, it allows you to contain various types of fish.
With all the advantages of large aquariums, it is sometimes not possible to install it. Small aquariums are great for apartments, country houses or hostels, as well as for the second floors of private houses.
Large aquariums weigh a lot, they are difficult to transport, take up more space, and in unforeseen circumstances cause more damage.
The biggest advantage of a small aquarium is a financial issue. Aquarium, equipment, scenery, soil, plants, the cost of electricity, the treatment of fish cost much less.
Before acquiring you need to properly assess the benefits of both large and small aquariums. Answer yourself to the question: “What volume of aquarium would you like and is there an opportunity to contain such a volume?” If finances are not important and you do not often move, then the choice is obvious.
And if you do not want or can not afford a large aquarium, then a small aquarium is what you need for you. In any case, the main thing – comfortable conditions for the maintenance of fish.
In order to determine which fish you like, just read the literature, watch videos, go to a pet shop or to the bird market. Make a list of the types you like most.
This list should be a little more than you will purchase. Subsequently, it turns out that not all fish are suitable for your aquarium, some are incompatible with each other, parameters or temperature conditions will not work for others.
But the abundance of species in the fish market will allow you to finally form a list of the inhabitants of your aquarium.
To understand how roomy a settled aquarium is, you need to carry out simple calculations. In various information sources they vary.
Some are based on the oxygen demand of adult fish, given the surface area of the water. Some cold-loving freshwater fish require 192 cm2 and tropical ones 64 cm2.
Other calculations averaged justify – one liter of water is needed per cm of body length of an adult individual (for example, you can run five fish of 4 cm each in a 20 l aquarium)
For a marine aquarium, for each fish 2.5 cm long at least six months old, 18 liters of water are needed, and for later age 9 liters.
Some fish species share the size of the aquarium geographically and protect their habitat from other representatives. This leads to a decrease in the number of inhabitants in it.
At the simultaneous maintenance of different species need to pay attention to even the acquisition of fish. The key to a good selection of pets for an aquarium is the following conditions:
- similarity of climatic conditions (it is impossible to combine freshwater and saltwater fish, freshwater and brackish water bodies);
- about the same hardness and acidity of water;
- the same temperature;
- similar conditions on the speed of flow, soil quality, the presence of thickets and shelters, lighting.
Fish are doing well in conditions as close as possible to their natural habitat.
When settling an aquarium, it is necessary to take into account the preferences of species with respect to their location in the layers of the water column, and try to evenly distribute them.
Small can be considered an aquarium from 20 to 40 cm in length (I note that there are still nano-aquariums, but this is more of an art). In smaller than these, it is difficult to keep practically any fish, except perhaps the rooster or cardinals. Small aquariums need practically the same equipment as for large ones.
Especially important is the heater and filter. A good lamp does not hurt if you want to keep plants or enjoy your fish to the fullest.
Small aquarium snugly located
Compared to the environment, the mini aquarium is very small, but choosing the right fish and plants will not be a problem. The main thing that the fish had enough space for her normal life.
Some fish, such as the cockerel, even prefer small aquariums, this is due to the fact that many small fish live in nature in ditches, often even in large puddles.
The biggest problem in mini-aquariums is the small amount of water. And as a result, any changes in it are instant. In a larger aquarium, changes in the composition of the water as a result of contamination are not as significant as if the same amount enters the mini-aquarium.
For comparison, one gram per 100 liters of water will give a concentration of 1 milligram per liter, and the same gram per 10 liters will yield 10 milligrams per liter. This means that any shift in balance – overfeeding, the death of fish, a rare replacement of water, instantly affects the state of the mini-aquarium.
The only way to avoid all this in a small aquarium, regular monitoring of water parameters, maintenance, and most importantly, moderate and adequate feeding.
Caring for a mini-aquarium is very simple and is based on the same principles as caring for a large one. Replacing a portion of the water is a key point, a little and often, here’s the golden rule. Very often aquarists clean the tank every month and replace all the water.
But only in one case, you need to change in the aquarium more than 50% of the water – if an emergency happens. In nano-aquariums, a large water change still introduces instability and imbalance. A good habit is to change no more than 10-15% of the water for a mini-aquarium at a time.
If you need to replace more, break for several times. Three times 10% better than one 30%.
The most important point. The food you give is the main source, and in some cases even the only one, of various decay products.
The less you feed, the less dirt and the more stable the aquarium. Of course, the fish must be fed, and your task is to maintain a balance between a well-fed fish and a overfed fish.
A good way is to give as much food as fish eat in a minute so that no food will fall to the bottom. Factory feed for fish, in the form of flakes, a good choice for a small aquarium, it slowly sinks and gives less waste, but also gives small waste and feeds they need not excessively.
It is better to feed the fish in the new aquarium for them. When the balance is established, or you start the bottom fish, for example, catfish, you can add other types of feed for a full diet.
Choose a fish for a mini-aquarium is quite a challenge. It is not enough for this simply to choose a small fish, although this is the same factor.
It is also important not to forget that the fish you choose will live in a limited place, which means you cannot stop at the types of aggressive or territorial. A common mistake is to buy male swordtails, dwarf gourami or cichlids, they can be real hooligans.
And the types of active fish, such as danios, get along well, but can interfere with other fish because of their vigor.
A good choice for a mini aquarium is small barbs, for example, cherry and many types of haracin ones – neons, rasbora, erythrozonuses. To clean the aquarium, corridors of all kinds are well suited, or algae eater – ototsinklyus.
From shrimp – Amano shrimp and cherry shrimp.
There are still not very famous fish, but which are ideal for small aquariums:
- Pseudomogil gertrude
- Copper tetra or Hasemania nana
- Orizias vovora (Oryzias woworae) or rice fish
- Tetra Amanda
For the upper layer (although they float everywhere), partilias and mollies. Guppies are also very popular, but I would not advise taking pedigreeds, because of their very weak resistance to diseases, the result of intragenital crossing, you can take an endler’s guppy.
The endlers are 2 times smaller than normal guppies, much brighter, but the fins are not voile. Breed more often, the fry are larger, but less at a time than the usual guppies.
The male cockerel can become a highlight, but only it is better to keep him alone, because of the violent temper in relation to relatives.