Choosing your Fish
Now that your tank is all up and running and the nitrogen cycle has finished processing you should be ready to add your first selection of fish into your tank.
It is recommended to add fish in small quantities. This allows your filter bacteria to grow with your fish. To add too many fish at once will result in an excess of waste that cannot be broken down.
What should you keep in your aquarium? There are hundreds of species to choose from, each with their own individual requirements. Mostly people tend to go through the cross compatibility of a number of species as shown in the table below. Tables such as these help give a general consensus of what species will happily coexist with others. However they are not the absolute answer, for example Neon Tetra are a great community fish, whereas Buenos Aires Tetra can be known to nip fins. In this case the Neon Tetra is the preferential tank mate for any long finned species.
All Pond Solutions Compatibility Chart
Another way to choose your fish is based on the behaviour of a species. Generally speaking community species will not happy coexist with aggressive tank mates. However, aggressive species such as African Cichlids will happily coexist with each other as they quell each other’s aggressions in sufficient stocking densities. Equally, a simple rule of ‘can it fit in the mouth’ is very true in most cases. Most fish are omnivores and will graze both on vegetative material as well as other foods. Therefore it is not advisable to keep Micro Rasbora (below) with a maximum length in some cases of 1” with Oscars which can attain lengths of over 12”.
Where do you go from there? This can be quite overwhelming. Our website is structured to try and help you choose species that will cohabit together. The community section is full of largely peaceful species; although there are some conflicts, especially in regards to shrimp. On the whole, a high majority of species in the community area will co-exist, they will almost all live in the same water quality as well, making them ideal tank mates.
The Cichlid area is different; it is recommended that research is done on all species in this area before purchasing. The vast majority of these species are aggressive to a greater or lesser degree and they come from a wide range of water types from largely peaceful Discus who thrive in a pH of 6.5 or lower to African Cichlids who hail from the great lakes Malawi, Tanganyika
and Victoria and have a pH as high as 8.5 and will compete for territory within tanks.
There are of course exceptions to the rule, sometimes you can buy 5 identical fish and find that 1 is particularly boisterous or exceptionally timid. Fish after all, are animals and each have their own individual personality and do not always play by the rules!