For those new to owning an aquarium, the concept of tropical fish may need to be explored. On the surface, the phrase may seem obvious, but there are still some basic facts new hobbyists may not realize.
What are Tropical Fish?
Tropical fish are defined as any number of fish found in aquatic tropical environments around the world, with tropical describing the area of the Earth that surrounds the equator. There are thousands of species of tropical fish.
Many new hobbyists may confuse them for saltwater fish, but that’s not the case at all. Tropical fish can be saltwater fish or freshwater fish. However, many are coral reef fish, which may explain their vibrant colors. Their bright colors and intriguing patterns make them popular among fish tank owners.
Many also tend to be on the small side, so as long as they have room to swim freely, you don’t need an oversized aquarium to give them a good home. The best news is that many breeds are strong, so as long as you properly maintain the tank, they should be easy to care for as well.
If you are planning to create a tropical aquarium, there are a few things you should know.
For one, tropical fish and similar livestock may be accustomed to warmer water than other types of fish. In fact, the aquarium should include a heater to keep the livestock comfortable. The ideal temperature to maintain in tropical fish tanks is 75 to 80 degrees.
The fish also may be more comfortable with plants and live rock in the aquarium with them.
Some of the most popular fish for tropical aquariums include:
- Angelfish: Relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain, there are several breeds of angelfish with varying temperaments.
- Barbs: Lively, strong, and colorful, they’re best kept in schools.
- Bettas: Best known for their long, extravagant fins, bettas only grow to about 2 inches and can live alone.
- Butterflyfish: There are more than 100 species of butterflyfish, including lemon butterflyfish and raccoon butterflyfish.
- Dwarf Gouramis: They are peaceful and shy, and they need to be near the surface of the water in order to breathe air.
- Guppies: Guppies are one of the most common pets for freshwater tropical aquariums.
- Tetras: Tetras are peaceful fish, but ideally you should have six or more.
- Rainbow Sharks: Sharks are wonderful additions to a tropical aquarium, and it’s fun to tell people you have a shark at home.
- Several breeds of Catfish: Catfish provide a unique look in an aquarium, and the fact that many are algae eaters means they can help keep that fish tank clean.
- Cichlids: Cichlids can be somewhat aggressive, so you will want to keep them separated from other fish. But they sure are pretty.
- Mollies: Mollies can be found in freshwater and brackish water, and they require a larger tank.
- Tropical Discus: Known as the kings of the aquarium, the flat, round shape of a discus fish adds an intriguing appeal to your fish tank.