Monday, August 29, 2011

A Guide To Stocking Tropical Freshwater Fish Tank Aquariums

A Guide To Stocking Tropical Freshwater Fish Tank Aquariums
Match-Making Fish
To make your fish tank a stunning swirl of color and activity, you will want to add a variety of tropical freshwater fish. All fish have different fin designs, patterns, colors, shapes, sizes, temperaments and ideal living conditions. 

For the welfare of fish and therefore the success of
fish tank aquariums, it is necessary that you research the fish you would like, to know which ones can live together in health and harmony. 

For example, you cannot match (i.e. without stressing or harming your fish) peaceful and aggressive fish, ones that like cooler water and ones that need higher temperatures etc. Common sense stuff!

Space Out Your Fish
A good idea is to select fish that occupy different levels in tank aquariums so they don't need to compete for space. This adds a fair amount of activity and variety, enhancing the appeal of your fish tank.

Top-Dwelling Fish
Top-dwelling fish generally have upturned mouths for feeding at the water's surface. Danios are active and hardy with a long lifespan making them ideal especially for beginning aquarists. 

One of the most well-liked tropical freshwater fish is the Betta, an easy to look after, peaceful fish with striking fins and a remarkable variety of color. Hatchetfish are unusual but are moderately difficult to manage and are strong jumpers, so you need to replace the lid of your fish tank immediately after feeding and maintenance.

Middle-Dwelling Fish
Middle-dwelling fish could be most striking and be stocked with a mixture of schooling fish and larger colorful fish. Schooling fish are obviously happiest when they are among their own kind and you need to have around six. Examples of schooling fish include Rainbow fish and Tetras.
Rainbow fish are simple to take care of and their amazing iridescent colorations change when light reflects off these fish.

Neon Tetras choose to swim or remain suspended in schools to create a breathtaking array of color. All types of Platies and Guppies are excellent for middle-dwelling fish. 

They are both easy care fish and come in many bright color variations which add excitement and brilliance to tank aquariums. For something slightly larger, Swordtails are easy to look after and have wonderfully diverse fin and color varieties. Mollies add drama and contrast to any fish tank but require a moderate level of care. The following small Gouramis are of a peaceful temperament and easy to look after: Neon Blue Dwarf, Sparkling Gourami and Dwarf Gouramis.

Angels are a striking fish to include in your aquarium but bear in mind they are semi-aggressive and growing to 6 inches they also require at least a 30 gallon tank. 

For a larger tank (50 gallons), Cichlids are an option but many can show signs of aggression. Examples of peaceful ones are Acei Cichlid, Albino Kribensis Cichlid and Brichardi Cichlid. Of course, the Goldfish remains the most popular freshwater fish and comes in many varieties with amazing color patterns and features.

Bottom-Dwelling Fish
Bottom-dwelling fish have down-turned mouths, enabling them to feed on food that falls to the bottom of the tank, thereby keeping the substrate clean. Cory Cats are entertaining, energetic and peaceful scavengers. 

They remain relatively small and survive in a wide range of water conditions. For larger tank aquariums (30-50 gallons), Loaches will add color, interest and beauty to your fish tank aquarium. They are active bottom dwelling scavengers ideally suited for the community aquarium.

All Aggressive or All Peaceful
You will have noticed that I mainly refer to peaceful fish. These community fish can co-exist peacefully with members of their own species and other species of similar size. Being the kind of person who likes to ‘keep the peace' I prefer easy-going fish for an easy life but if you like a bit more action, by all means pick aggressive fish. 

Just remember to keep all the fish species in your fish tank aggressive so no one gets bullied! Aggressive fish are aggressive toward their own species and/or other species, regardless of their size.

Size Of Fish Tank
Most of the fish mentioned are ideal for smaller tank aquariums. Danios, Platies, Bettas, Gouramis and Tetras measure around two inches and are good for the smaller 10 gallon tanks. 

Though small, Guppies thrive best in at least a 20 gallon tank along with Hatchetfish, while the larger Swordtails, Mollies, Rainbow Fish, Angels, Goldfish and Cory Cats will require a minimum of a 30 gallon tank. Loaches and Cichlids normally require a 50 gallon tank.

Do Your Homework!
These tropical freshwater fish are only a guide to varieties of fish which would be suitable in tropical freshwater aquariums. 

It is essential that you research the fish including size, temperament, the tending they require in order to grow and breed, the food they eat, and the water parameters in which each individual type of fish is the most comfortable with. This will be vital in determining the varieties of fish that can be suitably matched. Copyright © 2009 Jill Kaestner @ Kaestner Marketing LLC

Cichlids-How to Keep Lake Malawi African Cichlids

Cichlids-How to Keep Lake Malawi African Cichlids

Probably the most popular fish of all time. With many beautiful species occurring naturally in Africa's Lake Malawi you can recreate your own piece of Africa right in your living room. 

Vibrant colors and quirky behavior along with ease of care are the 3 main reasons the Malawi African Cichlids are so popular. Here are some great tips to help you look after yours.

Replicate the Natural Environment

A couple of facts about Lake Malawi: The average surface temperature ranges between 23 and 28 degrees Celsius

Throughout the lake the pH is a relatively stable 7.8 to 8.5. Replicating these conditions as closely as possible will provide your cichlids with a comfortable environment in which they can thrive. 

Ideally Malawi African Cichlids should have their own aquarium and as usual the larger the better. Larger aquariums minimize fluctuations in water quality, temperature and chemistry.

Temperature should be as constant as possible and although you need to do a little research for your particular species, 26 degrees Celsius is commonly quoted as the accepted average temperature. 

Get your pH to at least 7.8 and keep it there with use of either limestone in your filter or as part of your substrate. 

Buffering can be done with aquarium specific chemicals if necessary. Remember to check your PH between water changes to ensure it doesn't drop too far.
pH Tip: Never attempt to adjust the pH of your tank if you're not performing a water change. Adding buffering chemicals directly to the tank will cause harm to your fish.

Lighting isn't a critical factor in the Malawi African Cichlid aquarium, make sure your lighting isn't too bright for your fish but light enough for you to enjoy the aquarium. 

Most species won't allow you to keep live aquatic plants meaning your lighting doesn't have to be powerful enough for plant growth.
Water flow and surface area are the key points for filtration. Have the water in your tank turned over at least 10 times an hour. Water flow will oxygenate the water and prevent pockets of stagnant water. 


Good bacteria will grow over every surface of your filter media and this will keep the water in good condition between water changes. 

Perform water changes of 30-40% every 2 weeks if you have an average number of fish in your tank.
Feed your fish dependent on their age. 

Baby fish (fry) should be fed sparingly up to 4 times a day, juveniles up to 2 times a day and adults once every other day. Feed amounts the fish will completely consume in 2 minutes (not 5 minutes!). 

Most people overfeed fish, particularly adult fish, they will be healthier and live longer if you feed sparingly. 

Spirulina rich food is always a good choice for Lake Malawi African Cichlids, also consider crustaceans such as Mysis, Cyclops and Krill along with some shrimp mix. Avoid protein rich foods such as regular fish flake.

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